Proclamation May 28, 1828

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May 6, 1828. 7 Stat. 311. Proclamation, May 28, 1828.

Articles of a Convention, concluded at the City of Washington this sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, between James Barbour, Secretary of War, being especially authorized there for by the President of the United States, and the undersigned, Chiefs and Head Men of the Cherokee Nation of Indians, West of the Mississippi, they being duly authorized and empowered by their Nation.

Object of the Treaty. Whereas, it being the anxious desire of the Government of the United States to secure to the Cherokee nation of Indians, as well as those now living within the limits of the Territory of Arkansas, as those of their friends and brothers who reside in Stales East of the Mississippi, and who may wish to join their brothers of the West, a permanent home, and which shall, under the most solemn guarantee of the United States, be, and remain, theirs forever – a home that shall never, in all future time, be embarrassed by having extended around it lines, or placed over it the jurisdiction of a Territory or State, nor be pressed upon by the extension, in any way, of any of the limits of any existing Territory or State; and. Whereas, the present location of the Cherokees in Arkansas being unfavorable to their present repose, and tending, as the past demonstrates, to their future degradation and misery; and the Cherokees being anxious to avoid such consequences, and yet not questioning their light to their lands in Arkansas, as secured to them by Treaty, and resting also upon the pledges given them by the President of the United States, and the Secretary of War, of March 1818, and 8th October 1821, in regard to the outlet to the West, and as may be seen on referring to the records of the War Department, still being anxious to secure a permanent home, and to free themselves, and their posterity, from an embarrassing connection with the Territory of Arkansas, and guard themselves from such connections in future; and. Whereas, it being important, not to the Cherokees only, but also to the Choctaws, and in regard also to the question which may be agitated in the future respecting the location of the latter, as well as the former, within the limits of the Territory or State of Arkansas, as the case may be, and their removal there from; and to avoid the cost which may attend negotiations to rid the Territory or State of Arkansas whenever it may become a State, of either, or both of those Tribes, the parties hereto do hereby conclude the following Articles, viz:

Western Boundary of Arkansas Defined. Art. 1. The Western boundary of Arkansas shall be, and the same is, hereby defined, viz: A line shall be run, commencing on Red River, at the point where the Eastern Choctaw line strikes said River, and run due North with said line to the River Arkansas,

Territory Guaranteed to Cherokees by United States. Art. 2. The United States agree to possess the Cherokees, and to guarantee it to them for-thence in a direct line to the South West corner of Missouri ever and that guarantee is hereby solemnly pledged, of seven million acres of land’ to be bounded as follows, viz: Commencing at that point on Arkansas River where the Eastern Choctaw boundary line strikes said River, and running thence with the Western boundary line of Missouri till it crosses the waters of Neasho, generally called Grand River, thence due west to a point from which a due South course will strike the present North West corner of Arkansas Territory, thence continuing due South, on and with the present Western boundary line of the Territory to the main branch of Arkansas River, thence down said River to its junction with the Canadian River, and thence up and between the said Rivers Arkansas and Canadian, to a point at which a line running North and South from River to River, will give the aforesaid seven mil-lions of acres. In addition to the seven millions of acres thus provided for. and bounded, the United States further guarantee to the Cherokee Nation a perpetual outlet. West, and a free and unmolested use of all the Country lying West of the Western boundary of the above described limits, and as far West as the sovereignty of the United States, and their right of soil extend.

United States to Run the Lines. Art. 3. The United States agree to have the lines of the above cession run without delay, say not later than the first of October next, and to remove, immediately after the running of the Eastern line from the Arkansas River to the South West corner of Missouri, all white persons from the West to the East of said line, and also all others, should there be any there, who may be unacceptable to the Cherokees, so that no obstacles arising out of the presence of a white population, or a population of any other sort, shall exist to annoy the Cherokees – and also to keep all such from the West of said line in future.

Persons to Be Appointed to Value Cherokee Improvements. Art. 4. The United States moreover agree to appoint suitable persons whose duty it shall be, in conjunction with the Agent, to value all such improvements as the Cherokees may abandon in their removal from their present homes to the District of Country as ceded in the second Article of this agreement, and to pay for the same immediately after the assessment is made, and the amount ascertained. It is further agreed, that the property and improvements connected with the agency, shall be sold under the direction of the Agent, and the proceeds of the same applied to aid in the erection, in the country to which the Cherokees are going, of a Grist, and Saw Mill, for their use. The afore-said property and improvements are thus defined: Commence at the Arkansas River opposite William Stinnetts, and run due North one mile, thence due East to a point from which a due South line to the Arkansas River would include the Chalybeate, or Mineral Spring, attached to or near the present residence of the Agent, and thence up said River (Arkansas) to the place of beginning

Further Agreement. Art. 5. It is further agreed, that the United States, in consideration of the inconvenience and trouble attending the removal, and on account of the reduced value of a great portion of the lands herein ceded to the Cherokees, as compared with that of those in Arkansas which were made theirs by the Treaty of 18 17, and the Convention of 1819, will pay to the Cherokees, immediately after their removal which shall be within fourteen months of the date of this agreement, the sum fifty thousand dollars; also an annuity for three years, of two thousand dollars, toward defraying the cost and trouble which may attend upon going after and recovering their stock, which may stray into the Territory in quest of the pastures from which they may be driven – also, eight thousand seven hundred and sixty dollars, for spoliations committed on them, (the Cherokees, ) which sum will be in full of all demands of the kind up to this date, as well as those against the Osages, as those against citizens of the United States – this being the amount of the claims for said spoliations, as rendered by the Cherokees, and which are believed to be correctly and fairly stated. – Also, one thousand two hundred dollars for the use of Thomas Graves, a Cherokee Chief, for losses sustained in his property, and for personal suffering endured by him when confined as a prisoner on a criminal, but false accusation; also, five hundred dollars for the use o! George Guess, another Cherokee, for the great benefits he has conferred upon the Cherokee people, in the beneficial results they are now experiencing from the use of the Alphabet discovered by him, to whom also, in consideration of his relinquishing a valuable saline, the privilege is hereby given to locate and occupy another saline on Lee’s Creek. It is further agreed by the United States, to pay two thousand dollars, annually, to the Cherokees, for ten years, to be expended under the direction of the President of the United States in the education of their children, in their own country, in letters and the mechanic arts; also, one thousand dollars towards the purchase of a Printing Press and Types to aid the Cherokees in the progress of education, and to benefit and enlighten them as a people, in their own, and our language. It is agreed further that the expense incurred other than that paid by the United States in the erection of the buildings and improvements, so far as that may have been paid by the benevolent society who has been, and yet is, engaged in instructing the Cherokee children, shall be paid to the society, it being the understanding that the amount shall be expended in the erection of other buildings and improvements, for like purposes, in the country herein ceded to the Cherokees. The United States relinquish their claim due by the Cherokees to the late United States Factory, provided the same does not exceed three thousand five hundred dollars.

Further Agreement. Art. 6. It is moreover agreed by the United States, whenever the Cherokees may desire it, to give them a set of plain laws, suited to their condition – also, when they may wish to lay off their lands, and own them individually, a surveyor shall be sent to make the surveys at the cost of the United States.

Cherokees to Surrender Lands in Arkansas Within Fourteen Months. Art. 7. The Chiefs and Head Men of the Cherokee Nation, aforesaid, for and in consideration of the foregoing stipulations and provisions, do hereby agree, in the name and behalf of their Nation, to give up, and they do hereby surrender to the United States, and agree to leave the same within fourteen months, as herein before stipulated, all the lands to which they are entitled in Arkansas, and which were secured to them by the Treaty of 8th January 1817 and the Convention of the 27th February, 1819.

Cost of Emigration, etc., to be Borne By the United States.

Art. 8. The Cherokee Nation, West of the Mississippi having, by this agreement, freed themselves from the harassing and ruinous effects consequent upon a location amidst a white population, and secured to their posterity, under the solemn sanction of the guarantee of the United States, as continued in this agreement a large extent of unembarrassed country; and that their Brothers yet remaining in the States may be induced to join them and enjoy the repose and blessings of such a State in the future, it is further agreed, on the part of the United States, that to each Head of a Cherokee family now residing within the chartered limits of Georgia, or of either of the States, East of the Mississippi, who may desire to remove West, shall be given, on enrolling himself for emigration, a good Rifle, a Blanket, and Kettle, and five pounds of Tobacco: (and to each member of his family one Blanket,) also, a just compensation for the property he may abandon, to be assessed by persons to be appointed by the President of the United States. The cost of the emigration of all such shall also be borne by the United States, and good and suitable ways opened, and provisions procured for their comfort, accommodation, and support, by the way, and provisions for twelve months after their arrival at the Agency; and to each person, or head of a family, if he take along with him four persons, shall be paid immediately on his arriving at the Agency and reporting himself and his family or followers, as emigrants and permanent settlers, in addition to the above, provided he and they shall have emigrated from within the Chartered limits of the State of Georgia, the sum of fifty dollars, and this sum in proportion to any greater or less number that may accompany him from within the aforesaid Chartered limits of the State of Georgia.

A Certain Tract of Land To Be Reserved for the Benefit of the United States. Art. 9. It is understood and agreed by the parties to this Convention, that a Tract of Land, two miles wide and six miles long, shall be, and the same is hereby, reserved for the use and benefit of the United States, for the accommodation of the military force which is now, or which may hereafter be, stationed at Fort Gibson, on the Neasho, or Grand River, to commence on said River half a mile below the aforesaid Fort, and to urn thence due East two miles, thence Northwardly six miles, to a point which shall be two mile;, distant from the River aforesaid, thence due West to the said River, and down it to the place of beginning. And the Cherokees agree that the United States shall have and possess the right of establishing a road through their country for the purpose of having a free and unmolested way to and from said Fort.

Capt. J. Rogers to be Paid in Full for Property Lost in the Service of United States. Art. 10. It is agreed that Captain James Rogers, in consideration of his having lost a horse in the service of the United States, and for services rendered by him to the United States, shall be paid, in full for the above, and all other claims for losses and services, the sum of Five Hundred Dollars.

Art. 11. This Treaty to be binding on the contracting parties so soon as It is ratified by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Done at the place, and on the day and year above written.

James Barbour. [L. S.l
Black Fox, his x mark, [L. S.l
Thomas Graves, his x mark, [L. S.l
George Guess,* [L. S.]
Thomas Maw,* [L. S.]
George Marvis,* [L. S.]
John Looney, * [L. S.l
John Rogers, [L. S.]
J. W. Flawey, Counselor of Del. [L .S.]
Chiefs of the delegation.

Witnesses:
Thos. L. McKenney,
James Rogers, interpreter,
D. Kurtz,
H. Miller,
Thomas Murray,
D. Brown, secretary Cherokee delegation,
Pierye Pierya,
E. W. Duval, United States agent, etc. Ratified with the following proviso:

“Provided, nevertheless, that the said convention shall not be so construed as to extend the northern boundary of he ‘perpetual outlet west’ provided for and guaranteed in the second article of said convention, north of the thirty-sixth degree of north latitude, or so as to interfere with the lands as-signed, or to be assigned west of the Mississippi river, to the Creek Indians who have emigrated, or may emigrate, from the States of Georgia and Alabama, under the provisions of any treaty or treaties heretofore concluded between the United Sates and the Creek tribe of Indians; and provided further. That nothing in the said convention shall be construed to cede or assign to the Cherokees any lands heretofore ceded or assigned to any tribe or tribes of Indians, by any treaty now existing and in force, with any such tribe or tribes.”
Department of War,
31st May 1828.


To the Hon. Henry Clay,

Secretary of State: Sir: I have the honor to transmit, herewith, the acceptance of the terms, by the Cherokees, upon which the recent convention with them was ratified. You will have the goodness to cause the same to be attached to the treaty, and published with it.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Sam’l. L. Southard.

To the Secretary of War,
Council Room, Williamson’s Hotel,
Washington City: Washington, May 31st, 1828

Sir: The undersigned, chiefs of the Cherokee Nation, west of the Mississippi for and in behalf of said nation, hereby agree to, and accept of, the terms upon which the Senate of the United States ratified the convention, concluded at Washington on the sixth day of May, 1828, between the United States and said nation.

In testimony whereof, they hereunto subscribe their names and affix their seals.

Thomas Graves, his x mark, [L. S.]
George Maw, his x mark, [L. S.]
George Guess, his x mark, [L. S.]
Thomas Marvis, his x mark, [L. S.]
John Rogers.

Signed and sealed in the presence of –
E. W. Duval, United States agent, etc.
Thomas Murray,
James Rogers, interpreter.

The inaccuracies of this treaty were corrected by:


Treaty With The Western Cherokee, 1833.

Articles of agreement and convention made and concluded at Fort Gibson, on the Arkansas river on the fourteenth day of February one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three, by and between Montfort Stokes, Henry L. Ellsworth and John F. Schermerhorn duly appointed Commissioners on the part of the United States and the undersigned Chiefs and Head-men of the Cherokee nation of Indians west of the Mississippi, they being duly authorized and empowered by their nation.

Preamble. Whereas articles of convention were concluded at the city of Washington, on the sixth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, between James Barbour, Secretary of War, being specially authorized there for by the President of the United States, and the chiefs and head men of the Cherokee nation of Indians west of the Mississippi, which articles of convention were duly ratified. And whereas it was agreed by the second article of said convention as follows “That the United States agree to possess the Cherokees, and to guarantee it to them forever, and that guarantee is solemnly pledged, of seven millions of acres of land, said land to be bound as follows, viz, commencing at a point on Arkansas river, where the eastern Choctaw boundary line strikes said river, and running thence with the western line of Arkansas Territory to the southwest corner of Missouri, and thence with the western boundary line of Missouri till it crosses the waters of Neosho, generally called Grand river, thence due west, to a point from which a due south course will strike the present northwest corner of Arkansas Territory, thence continuing due south on and with the present boundary line on the west of said Territory, to the main branch of Arkansas river, thence down said river to its junction with the Canadian, and thence up, and between said rivers Arkansas and Canadian to a point at which a line, running north and south, from river to river, will give the aforesaid seven millions of acres, thus provided for and bounded. The United States further guarantees to the Cherokee nation a perpetual outlet west, and a free and unmolested use of all the country lying west of the western boundary of the above-described limits; and as far west, as the sovereignty of the United States and their right of soil extend. And whereas there was to said articles of convention and agreement, the following-proviso viz. “Provided nevertheless, that said convention, shall not be construed, as to extend the northern boundary of said perpetual outlet west, provided for and guaranteed in the second article of said convention, north of the thirty-sixth degree of north latitude, or so as to interfere with the lands as-signed or to be assigned, west of the Mississippi river, to the Creek Indians who have emigrated, or may emigrate, from the States of Georgia and Alabama, under the provision of any treaty, or treaties, heretofore concluded, between the United States, and the Creek tribe of Indians – and provided further, that nothing in said convention, shall be construed, to cede, or assign, to the Cherokees any lands heretofore ceded, or assigned, to any tribe, or tribes of Indians, by any treaty now existing and in force, with any such tribe or tribes. And whereas, it appears from the Creek treaty, made with the United States, by the Creek nation, dated twenty-fourth day of January eighteen hundred and twenty-six, at the city of Washington; that they had the right to select, a part of the country described within the boundaries mentioned above in said Cherokee articles of agreement – and whereas, both the Cherokee and Creek nations of Indians west of the Mississippi, anxious to have their boundaries settled in an amicable manner, have met each other in council, and, after full deliberation mutually agreed upon the boundary lines between them – Now there-fore, the United States on one part, and the chief and head-men of the Cherokee nation of Indians west of the Mississippi on the other part, agree as follows:

Land granted to the Cherokees; Further guaranty. Art. 1. The United States agree to possess the Cherokees, and to guarantee it to them forever, and that guarantee is hereby pledged, of seven millions of acres of land, to be bounded as follows viz: Beginning at a point on the old western territorial line of Arkansas Territory, being twenty-five miles north from the point, where the Territorial line crosses Arkansas river – thence running from said north point, south, on the said Territorial line, to the place where said Territorial line crosses the Verdigris River – thence down said Verdigris river to the Arkansas River – thence down said Arkansas to a point, where a stone is placed opposite to the east or lower bank of Grand River at its junction with the Arkansas – thence running south, forty-four degrees west, one mile – thence in a straight line to a point four miles northerly from the mouth of the north fork of the Canadian – thence along the said four miles line to the Canadian – thence down the Canadian to the Arkansas – thence, down the Arkansas, to that point on the Arkansas, where the eastern Choctaw boundary strikes, said river; and running thence with the western line of Arkansas Territory as now defined, to the southern corner of Missouri – thence along the western Missouri line, to the land assigned the Senecas to Grand River; thence up said Grand river, as far as the south line of the Osage reservation, extended if necessary – thence up and between said south Osage line, extended west if necessary and a line drawn due west, from the point of beginning, to a certain distance west, at which, a line running north and south, from said Osage line, to said due west line, will make seven millions of acres within the whole described boundaries. In addition to the seven millions of acres of land, thus provided for, and bounded, the United States, further guarantee to the Cherokee nation, a perpetual outlet to the west and a free and unmolested use of all the country lying west, of the western boundary of said seven millions of acres, as far west as the sovereignty of the United States and their right of soil extend – Provided however, that if the saline, or salt plain, on the great western prairie, shall fall within said limits prescribed for said outlet, the right is reserved to the United States to permit other tribes of red men. to get salt on said plain in common with the Cherokees – and letters patent shall be issued by the United States as soon as practicable for the land hereby guaranteed.

Quit claim to the United States of former grant. Art. 2. The Cherokee nation hereby relinquish and quit claim to the United States all the right, interest and title which the Cherokees have, or claim to have in and to all the land ceded, or claimed to have been ceded to said Cherokee nation by said treaty of sixth of May one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, and not embraced within the limits or boundaries fixed in this present supplementary treaty or articles of convention and agreement.

Sixth article of treaty of May 6, 1828, annulled. Art. 3. The Cherokee nation, having particularly requested the United States to annul and cancel the sixth article of said treaty of sixth May, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, the United States, agree to cancel the same, and the same is hereby annulled – Said sixth article referred to, is in the following words – “It is moreover agreed by the United States, when the Cherokees may desire it, to give them a plain set of laws, suited to their condition – also when they may wish to lay off their lands and own them individually, a surveyor shall be sent to survey them at the expense of the United States.

Blacksmith and other workmen, materials and shops. Art. 4. In consideration of the establishment of new boundaries in part, for the lands ceded to said Cherokee nation, and in view of the improvement of said nation, the United States will cause to be erected, on land now guaranteed to the said nation, four blacksmith shops, one wagon maker shop, one wheelwright shop, and the necessary tools and implements furnished for the same; together with one ton of iron, and two hundred and fifty pounds of steel, for each of said blacksmith shops to be worked up, for the benefit of the poorer class of red men, belonging to the Cherokee nation – And the United States, will employ four blacksmiths, one wagon-maker, and one wheelwright, to work in said shops respectively, for the benefit of said Cherokee nation; and said materials shall be furnished annually and said services continued, so long as the president may deem proper – And said United States, will cause to^ be erected on said lands, for the benefit of said Cherokees, eight patent railway corn mills, in lieu of the mills to be erected according to the stipulation of the fourth article of said treaty, of sixth May, one thousand eight hundred twenty-eight, from the avails of the sale of the old agency.

This supplementary to a former treaty. Art. 5. These articles of agreement and convention are to be considered supplementary, to the treaty before mentioned between the United States and the Cherokee nation west of the Mississippi dated sixth of May one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, and not to vary the rights of the parties to said treaty, any further, than said treaty is inconsistent with the provisions of this treaty, now concluded, or these articles of convention or agreement.

One mile square for the agency. Art. 6. It is further agreed by the Cherokee nation, that one mile square shall be reserved and set apart from the lands hereby guaranteed, for the accommodation of the Cherokee agency: and the location of the same shall be designated by the Cherokee nation, in conjunction with the agent of the Government of the United States.

Treaty binding when ratified. Art. 7. This treaty, or articles of convention, after the same have been ratified, by the President and Senate shall be obligatory on the United States and said Cherokee nation.

In testimony whereof, the said Montfort Stokes, Henry L. Ellsworth, and John F. Schermerhorn, commissioners as aforesaid, and the chiefs and head men of the Cherokee nation aforesaid, have hereunto set our hands, at For; Gibson on the Arkansas River, on the 14th day of February, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three.

Montfort Stokes,
Henry L. Ellsworth,
J. F. Schermerhorn,
John Jolly, his x mark.
Black Coat, his x mark,
Walter Weller,
Principal chiefs:

John Rogers, President Commissioners.
Glass, president Council.

Signed, sealed, and delivered in our presence:
S. C. Stambaugh, secretary commissioners,
Geo. Vashon, agent Cherokees west,
Jno. Campbell, agent Creeks,
W. Arbuckle, colonel Seventh Infantry,
Alexander Brown, his x mark,
Jno Hambly,
Interpreters,

Wilson Nesbitt,
N. Young, major U. S. Army,

Peter A. Cams,
W. Seawell, lieutenant Seventh Infantry,
Wm. Thornton, clerk committee.
Charles Webber, clerk council.

The Cherokees had always been an agricultural people and for that reason were more attached to their homes than are town dwellers. They had passed an act in May 1825, imposing a death penalty on anyone who should propose the sale or exchange of their lands, and although the boundaries and acreage of their reservation was not satisfactory to anyone they were much displeased with the action of the delegation and many threats were made against them. The entire Arkansas Cherokee nation moved in the winter of 1828-9 to their new western home. Tohlonteeskee, or Deep Creek, a southern branch of Illinois River, section sixteen, township twelve north range twenty-one east, was created the capitol and the nation was divided into four districts.

The Circuit Courts

Sec. 1. Be it further enacted, That there shall be established two judicial circuits, and one Judge elected to each circuit.

The following division of the Nation into four Districts shall continue until otherwise altered by law, to wit:

1. Neosho District. – Commencing at the line of Washington county where the Saline road crosses the same, and following said road to the head of Spring creek; thence down the same to Grand river; thence down Grand river to the Arkansas, and thence along the western boundary of the Nation, including all the country north and west of the above line.

2. Salisaw District. – Beginning at the line of Washington County near Wilson’s store, where the wagon road crosses the same by Jack Bean’s; thence along said road by Chas. Vann’s down the Salisaw to the crossing of the creek by Dr. Palmer’s; thence, south, to the top of the mountain, and along the top of the same to a point opposite John L. McCoy’s; thence to the crossing of the Salisaw by the military road, and along said road to Grand river.

3. Illinois District. – Commencing at the mouth of Salisaw creek, and running up the same to the military road; thence along said road to Grand River, and down the same to the Arkansas, including all the country west of this line and the Arkansas.

4. Lees Creek District. – Including all the country lying south and east of the above described lines.

The Northern circuit shall be composed of Neosho and Salisaw Districts; and the Southern of Illinois and Lee’s Creek District. And the following places are designated in each District for holding courts, viz:

In Neosho District, at Sitewake’s Village on Spavinaw.

In Salisaw District, at Tahlequah.

In Illinois District, at Tah-lon-tuskee.

In Lees Creek District, at George Guess’.

The Judges shall hold their respective courts in Neosho and Illinois Districts, on the first Monday in May and September, and for Salisaw and Lee’s Creek Districts, on the second Monday in May and September.

Sec. 4. The Circuit Court shall have complete jurisdiction, in all criminal matters, and also in civil cases where the amount at issue is not less than one hundred dollars; hut may also try and decide suits, when the amount is less than one hundred and over twenty-five dollars, provided such suit has been brought by appeal from the District Court; and all decisions where the sum does not exceed one hundred dollars, shall be final; but if above that amount, an appeal may be granted to the Supreme Court, if moved for before the adjournment of such court; and in the trial of all cases, the Clerk shall write out in full the testimony which may be given by witnesses of both par-ties. And in the event of an appeal to the Supreme Court, such written testimony, with the proceedings and decisions of the court, being certified to by the Clerk, sealed and marked on the outside, with the nature of the case and the names of the parties, they shall be transmitted by the Sheriff of the District, directed to the Chief Justice. And the party, so appealing to the Supreme Court, shall be required to enter into bond with security, to the satisfaction of the Court, for the maintenance of said suit and payment of all costs.

This jurisdictional division was in vogue and it was succeeded by:

An Act to Organize the Nation into Eight Districts and for Holding Elections. He it enacted by the National Council, That the following divisions of the Nation into eight Districts, shall continue until altered by law – to wit:

I. Skin Bayou District. Commencing at the mouth of Salisaw Creek, thence up the same to a point where the Rogue’s Path crosses; thence along said path to Bear Meat’s old place; thence on a direct line to the two Knobs or Peaks, running between the same, to the nearest point of the State line; thence south along said line to the Arkansas River, and up the same to the place of beginning.

II. Illinois District. Commencing at the point where the Rogue’s Path crosses Salisaw Creek; thence on a direct line to Big Bear’s (Allen Gafford’s) on Elk Creek, and down said creek to its junction with Illinois River; thence crossing Short Mountain to Eli Harlin’s, (including said Harlin in the District;) thence along the road by Joseph Coodey’s and Dennis Biggs’ to Grand River, at Fort Gibson; thence on the main road to the ferry on the Verdigris River, down the same to the Arkansas River; thence down said river to the mouth of Salisaw Creek, and up the same to the place of beginning,

III. Canadian District. Commencing at the junction of the Arkansas and Canadian Rivers; thence up the Canadian to the Creek boundary; thence along the said boundary to the Arkansas River, and down the same to the place of beginning.

IV. Flint District. Commencing at the point where the Rogue’s Path crosses the Salisaw creek; thence along the line of Illinois District to the Illinois River; thence up said river to the mouth of Caney creek, and up said creek to Buffington’s, thence along the main old road to the crossing of the south branch of the Barren Fork of Illinois; thence up said creek to the State line, and along said line to the line of Skin Bayou District; thence west along said District line to the place of beginning.

V. Going Snake District. Commencing on Caney creek at Fawn’s Camp on the right, and following the path leading to Thos. F. Taylor’s until the same forks on the mountain; thence along the right hand old path (leaving said Taylor’s to the left,) to Dick Sanders’ on the Barren Fork; thence along the road to James McDaniel’s on Big Illinois; thence along the road or path leading to the Grand Saline, to Spring creek, thence up said creek to the crossing of the Washington county wagon road, at Gore’s old cabin, following said road to Flint creek, then up said creek to the State line; then south along said line to Flint District, and along the same to the place of beginning.

VI. Tahlequah District.

Commencing at Fawn’s Camp on Caney Creek, and following the line of Going Snake District to Spring creek; thence down said creek to Grand River, and down the same to Fort Gibson; thence along the line of Illinois District to the Illinois River; thence up said river to Caney creek, and up the same to the place of beginning.

VII. Delaware District.

Commencing at the point on Spring Creek where Going Snake and Tahlequah Districts corner; thence to the nearest source of Little Saline Creek, and down the same to its junction with Big Saline Creek; thence on a direct line to Grand River at the mouth of Spavinaw creek; thence up said river to the termination of the Cherokee territory, and including all of the country east of the above described line to the State line and north of Going Snake District

VIII. Saline District.

Commencing at the north-west corner of Delaware District; thence south along the western line of the said District to Tahlequah District on Spring creek; thence down said creek to Grand River, and along the same to Fort Gibson, including all the country west not embraced in any of the before described Districts.

Be it further enacted. That the election of two members of the National Committee, and three members of the Council, and one Sheriff for each District, shall be held on the first Monday in August, 1841: – and all free male citizens, who shall have attained to the age of eighteen years, shall be equally entitled to vote in the District of which they may he residents; and every voter shall name the person for whom he votes.

Be it further enacted. That there shall be two superintendents at each precinct, to preside over the elections, who shall appoint a clerk, whose duty it shall be to make a list of all candidates, and register the name of each voter, stating the candidate for whom each vote is given.

In the event that any persons hereinafter named as superintendents, are unable or refuse to serve as such, then the people assembled to vote may choose others to fill such vacancies as may occur. The register or list of votes polled at each precinct shall be certified by the superintendents and clerk, and on the following day after the election, the superintendents shall assemble at the first named precincts in this act, in each District, and count all votes legally given, and issue a written certificate of election to each candidate, who shall have received the highest number of votes. The certified register of votes shall then be sealed up, and transmitted to the Principal Chief, marked, “Election returns for _________ District.”

The following places are designated as precincts in the several Districts.

1. For Skin Bayou District. – First precinct at the present place of holding Courts: – George Lowrey, jr., and Michael Waters, superintendents. Second precinct at Little Jno. Rogers': – G. W. Gunter and John Rogers, superintendents.

2. Flint District. – First precinct at George Chambers’ Camp Ground: – George Chambers and Andrew Ross, superintendents. Second precinct at Broken Canoe’s: – Ezekial Starr and George Still, superintendents.

3. Illinois District. – First precinct at Moses Smith’s: – John Brewer and Richard Ratcliff, superintendents. Second precinct at Cat Fields: – Archibald Fields and Alexander Foreman, superintendents.

4. Canadian District. – First precinct at James Thorn’s: – Joseph Vann and John Thorn, superintendents. Second precinct at George Chisholm’s: – Dutch and David Foreman, superintendents.

5. Going Snake District. – First precinct at Hair Conrad’s: – Hair Conrad and Samuel Foreman, superintendents. Second precinct at Rising Fawn’s in Piney Woods) – Geo. Starr, John Harnage, superintendents.

6. Tahlequah District. – First precinct at Tahlequah: – Stephen Fore ¦ man and David Carter, superintendents. Second precinct at William Camp-bell’s: – Thomas Wilson and Thigh Walker, superintendents.

7. Delaware District. – First precinct at J. Buffington’s: – Richard Taylor and William Wilson, superintendents. Second precinct at Johnson Fields': – James D. Wofford and Hiram Landrum, superintendents.

8. Saline District. – First precinct at the Grand Saline: – Nicholas M’Nair and Brice Martin, superintendents. Second precinct at West’s Saline: – David “Vann and Bluford West, superintendents.

The superintendents and clerks shall be required to take the following oath: – “You do solemnly swear that you will conduct the election according to the provisions of the act passed Nov. 4th, 1S40.”

Approved- J NO. ROSS.


Tahlequah, Nov. 4th, 1840.

The jurisdiction of Delaware District was extended over the “Neutral band” by:

An Act Annexing a Tract Called 800,000 Acres of Land, to Delaware District.

Be it enacted by the National Council. That this section of country ceded to the Cherokees by the Treaty of 1835, and known as the “eight hundred thousand acre tract,” be, and the same is hereby attached to Delaware District, and shall henceforth form a part of said District.

Tahlequah, Dec. 1st, 1846.
Approved- JNO. ROSS.


The name of Skin Bayou District was derived from the local stream, which had been named by the early courier de hois. It was changed by:

An Act Changing the Name of Skin Bayou District.

Be it enacted by the National Council, That the name of Skin Bayou District be and the same is hereby changed, and that the said District shall be called from and after the passage of this act, Se-quo-yah; and so much of the act passed November 4th, l840, as militates against this act be and the same is hereby repealed.

Tahlequah, November 4th, 1851.
Approved – JNO. ROSS.


Cooweescoowee District was constituted in 1856:

An Act Organizing Cooweescoowee District

Be it enacted by the National Council, That all that portion of the territory belonging to the Cherokee people, within the following boundary, be and is hereby organized into a District, to be known as Cooweescoowee District, with all the immunities and corporate capacities of other districts of this Nation, towit: Commencing at the cornerstone of the Creek Nation, a few miles north nr northwest of old Union Mission; running thence a due east course until it strikes the Missouri road, running west of Neosho or Grand River; then along said road to about one mile northward of the crossing of Rock Creek; then along a certain trail known as Mathis’ tract, until said trace strikes the northern boundary line of the Cherokee country; then west-ward along said line, and following the boundary line of the Cherokee outlet west to the point of beginning.

Be it further enacted. That the precincts for holding elections shall be and are placed at the following localities:

1. At the Sulphur spring on Dog Creek, near Jim McNair’s cow-pen.
2. At the White Spring.
3. At the Yellow Spring.
4. At or near Dick Duck’s.

The court house of Cooweescoowee District from 1856 to December 7, 1867, was on Bird Creek in the eastern part of Osage county and was located by:

An Act to Amend an Act entitled “An Act Relative to the Court House in Cooweescoowee District.” Be it enacted by the National Council, That the act in relation to building a court house in Cooweescoowee District, passed December 7, 1867, be so amended as to require the District Judge to have said court house built at the Sulphur Springs, on the waters of Dog Creek, near Jesse Henry’s, in said District, instead of the place designated in said act, “Clermont’s Mounds.”

JOHN YOUNG, Speaker of Council.
Concurred in – PIG SMITH, President of the Senate.

Presented and approved, 24th November, 1868.

LEWIS DOWNING, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Tahlequah, C. N., Nov. 13, 1868.


The Eastern Cherokees enacted earlier election laws but the following was in a fuller and more perfect form:

Resolved by the Committee and Council, in General Council Convened, That the elections to be holden hereafter in the several Districts for members of the General Council, Sheriff’s and Constables, shall be held at the following precincts until otherwise altered by the General Council, viz: Chickamauga District: The first precinct to be at the Court House, the second at Hunter Langly’s in Lookout Valley; third at Hick’s Mill and the fourth at Kah-noh-cloo’s. Chattooga District. First precinct at the Court House, second at Ah-ne-lah-ka-yah’s in Turkey Town, third at James Fields’, Turnip Mountain, fourth at Laugh-at-mush’s, Will’s Valley, fifth at Edward Gunter’s in Creek Path, and sixth at Raccoon Town, at Little Turtle’s house. Coosawatee District: First at the Court House, and the third at Ellijay. Ahmohee District: First at the Court House, second at Squires in Long Savannah, third at Chee-squah-ne-ta’s, fourth at Swimmers, Highwassee Old Town. Hickory Log District: First at the Court House, second at the old Court House, third at or near Big Savannah. Hightower District: First at the Court House, second at Pipes Spring, third at Yon-nah-oo-woh-yee’s. Tahquohee District: First at the Court House, second at Choowalookee’s, third at Oowatee’s, fourth at Skenah Town, fifth at Beach Town. Aquohee District: First at the Court House, second at Lame Dick’s, third at Highwassee Town, fourth at widow Nettle Carriers’, fifth at Chee-yoh-ee.

Be it further Resolved, That two superintendents and one clerk shall be appointed to take the votes at each precinct, and it shall be the duty of the Circuit Judges respectively to make such appointments while on their Judicial Circuit last preceding the general elections for members of the General Council, and shall notify the managers and clerks of their appointment, by the Sheriff of the District, and in case either of the Circuit Judges shall fail to hold his courts agreeably to law, or any of the managers or clerks shall refuse to act, the District Judge shall be authorized to fill such vacancies; and in case any shall fail to attend on the day of the election, the voters shall be allowed to choose some suitable person or persons to act in his or their stead.

Be it further Resolved, That the clerks shall particularly take down the names of all persons voting and for whom they may vote; and the managers and clerks shall meet at the court house in their respective Districts on the Wednesday succeeding the election, then and there to count the votes and issue a certificate to each member elect, of his constitutional election.

Be it further Resolved, That the managers and clerks while acting shall be upon oath, and shall not be entitled to receive any compensation from the National Treasury for their services.
New Echota, 2d Nov. 1829.

Approved- JNO. ROSS.


The first comprehensive election law of the “Old Settler” Cherokees was:

An Act Respecting Elections.

Resolved by the Committee and Council, in General Council Convened, That from and after this date, the members of the National Committee and Council, and the officers (Judges and Light-horse) of the Cherokee Nation, shall he elected by a vote of the people, given in at their respective precincts in each District, and for which purpose it is hereby

Further Resolved, That the people of the Cherokee Nation shall meet at their respective precincts in each District once in two years, on the second Monday in July, and proceed to elect by vote, two members of the National Committee and two members of the National Council, which members shall be elected to serve two years from the date of their election; and there shall be also elected at the same time and place two District Judges and two National Light-horse to serve two years from the date of their election, whose duties it shall be to serve in their respective Districts as set forth by law.

Resolved Further, That all elections under the law as herein above specific purposes, shall be superintended by the Judges of the same District, and each candidate for the above named offices shall make known to the Judges superintending the elections, which office they design to run for; and it shall be the duty of the Judges to have this distinctly understood by the people before voting, after which they can proceed to vote, one at a time by calling the names of such candidates which they judge are the best qualified to fill the office running for, and after all the people present have voted, the Judges shall count out publicly the number of votes given to each one of the candidates took up for the same office, and such candidates as have thereby gained the highest number of votes for the different offices shall thereby be considered duly and lawfully elected to the respective offices for which they were candidates and run for. And it shall be the duty of the Judges as before required under section third to give each member thus elected to the National Committee and Council, Judges and Light-horse, a certificate of their election, which shall be their voucher to the National Council of such members, Judges and Light-horse having been duly elected according to law.

Resolved Further, That all elections under the law as herein above specified for the purpose of electing members to the National Committee and Council, Judges and Light-horse shall be and are hereby required to be held at the following named places in each District: That is the precinct or place for holding elections under the law; that in Lees Creek District, shall be at the present residence of Little Charles, of Skin Bayou; that in Sallisaw District at Fox’s residence on Sallisaw Creek; that in Illinois District at the National Council House (Tah-lon-tee-skee) and that in Neosho District at John Drew’s residence on Bayou Menard. Tah-lon-tee-skee, May 10, 1834.
Approved- JOHN JOLLY, Prin’l. Chief.

At various subsequent dates the election laws were changed to conform with the progress of the Cherokee Nation, but they always adhered to the viva voci method of voting, recorded by a clerk from each party, judges of election supervising the work of the opposing party clerk, all parties except the voter being kept at a distance of fifty feet from the polls by regularly appointed supervisors or guards. Council met before 1867 on the first Monday of October and after 1867 on the first Monday of November of each year, the regular session lasting four weeks. Elections were held on the first Monday of August of odd numbered years.

 



MLA Source Citation:

Starr, Emmett. History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folk Lore. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: The Warden Company. 1921 AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 26 December 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/proclamation-may-28-1828.htm - Last updated on Apr 5th, 2013


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