W. R. Sessums, Choctaw

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No. 21.
W. R. Sessums Et Al., Choctaws

Dawes Commission, No. 452. United States court, McAlester. No. 10. Citizenship court, McAlester, No. 36.

September 3, 1896. Application filed with the commission for the enrollment of W. R. Sessums and 42 others as Choctaws by blood. Petition alleges that W. R. Sessums is the son of Redding Sessums, who was the son of Penny Fisher, a full-blood Choctaw Indian woman. All of claimants are lineal descendants of Penny Fisher and her son, Redding Sessums, who were born and lived in the old Choctaw Nation, Miss. All of claimants settled in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations prior to 1893, and have since settlement continuously resided therein. The Indian blood and de-scent of the applicants from Penny Fisher and Redding Sessums is fully established by the testimony of Mary Ann Smith, a former Indian slave: Mitchell Nelson, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation; S. P. Perry, a Choctaw slave; and Ed McGee: who all resided, in 1830, in the Choctaw Nation, Miss., and knew Penny Fisher and Redding Sessums. The testimony of a number of witnesses as to the descent of the claimants from said ancestors appears of record.

December 2, 1896. The Dawes Commission rendered a decision in words and figures as follows: “Application denied.”

Case appealed to United States court, South McAlester, Ind. T. Records of Dawes Commission transmitted to court. Courthouse burned and records destroyed. Copy of duplicate in Dawes Commission submitted.

October 30, 1898. Master submitted following report:

In the United States Court in the Indian Territory, Central Judicial District, at South McAlester.

W. R. Sessums et al., plaintiffs, v. The Choctaw Nation, defendant.

Report Of Special Master In Chancery

To the Hon. W. H. H. Clayton. Judge of said Court:

Having been appointed special master to examine the evidence and report the facts in the above cause. I respectfully submit:

That I find from the evidence that W. R. Sessums is one-quarter-blood Choctaw Indian and is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, and that said W. R. Sessums’s children, J. F. Sessums. Mary Sessums Bailey, W. R. Sessums, jr., Sarah Sessums Swagger. R. L. A. Sessums, H. D. Sessums, Mattie Sessums, and B. It. Sessums all reside in the Choctaw Nation and are applicants, together with their children.

I find that A. B. Sessums. J. R. Sessums, Buchanan Sessums, M. K. Sessums, Harrison Sessums, and Martini Sessums Flemming, are brothers and sister and one-eighth Choctaw Indians, and are residents of the Choctaw Nation, and are the children of William Sessums, who is dead. They and their children are applicants.

I find that the above-named plaintiffs, W. R. Sessums and William Sessums. deceased, are grandsons of a Mississippi Choctaw full-blood woman named Penny Fisher, being the sons of Redding Sessums, who the evidence shows to be the son of the said Penny Fisher by her white husband, Jacob Sessums. That Penny Fisher died In Mississippi about 1845. The defendant submitted no evidence in this case.

Respectfully submitted on this day of August. 1897.
Fee $3 paid by plaintiffs.

F. N. Foster, Special Master.


January 20, 1898. A decree was entered admitting the following persons: W. K. Sessums, J. F. Sessums, Mary Bailey, W. R. Sessums, jr., Sarah Swagger, H. D. Sessums, R. L. A, Sessums, Mattie Sessums, B. R. Sessums, Maud Sessums, Rosa Ann Sessums, Myrtle Sessums, Mary Sessums, Ethie Sessums, Daniel Sessums, Emanuel Bailey F. A. Bailey, W. A. Bailey, Minnie Bailey, Mary Alice Bailey, Mary J. Sessums, Sallie Sessums, W. F. Sessums, B. R. Sessums, A. B. Sessums, George A. Sessums, Ervil Sessums, Mary E. Harrison, W. A. Harrison, Eva Harrison, Eddie Harrison, Jeffie Harrison, Martha Flemming, Joseph Hemming, Newton Flemming, William Flemming, and Jesse Flemming. (Certified copy hereto attached.)

December 17, 1902. Decree of United States court vacated by decree of citizenship court in test case.

March 9, 1903. Case transmitted to citizenship court for trial de novo.

W. R. Sessums, who had made a deposition filed with the commission and the court, was examined by counsel for the nations and also one Harrison. Other witnesses who testified for claimants in the United States court and before the Dawes Commission were tendered by counsel for claimants to counsel for the nations for examination. The witnesses, Mary Ann Smith, Mitchell Nelson, and Ed McGee, who had known claimants’ ancestors in the Choctaw Nation east of the Mississippi and who had testified before the commission and the court, were dead; only one remains-S. P. Perry. The copies of the depositions of Mary Ann Smith, Mitchell Nelson, and Ed McGee, furnished by the Dawes Commission after the originals were burned in the courthouse at McAlester, were discarded by the court and were not considered as competent evidence. An additional reason was assigned by the court for discarding the deposition of Ed McGee upon the ground that it was taken in a proceeding before the United States court, and service was made therein upon the Choctaw Nation only and not upon the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. A similar reason was assigned for rejecting the deposition of S. P. Perry, who testified for claimants in the United States court. None of these depositions were accepted in evidence. The ruling of the court on the admissibility of these depositions in evidence was deferred until final hearing, and therefore claimants had no opportunity to take the testimony of S. P. Perry before the citizenship court.

In concluding its opinion the court says:

During the period between 1882 and 1839 the Choctaw Indians were removing from their old domain in Mississippi to their new possessions in the Indian Territory. Redding Sessums did not come with them. On the contrary, he went directly from Mississippi to Texas, and remained there until he died in 1883, and none of his descendants came to the Indian Territory until offer his death. It seems to me that it is reasonable to suppose, if Redding Sessums was a half-breed Choctaw Indian, as is claimed in this case, that there would have been offered some proof, at least, tending to show that he claimed his identity as such, and that he would have made some effort during the 83 years of his life to establish that fact, but so far as the testimony in this case extends It is apparent that he never did so. Judgment will be rendered accordingly.


Statement By Counsel

The record in this case is clear that the claimants are descended from Penny Fisher, a full-blood Choctaw woman, and her son. Redding Sessums, a, half breed, who lived east of the Mississippi River in the old Choctaw Nation; that all of them were admitted by judgment of the United States court, and have continuously resided in the Choctaw Nation since on or before the year 1893, and still reside therein. Counsel therefore submit that these persons should be enrolled. They are as follows. Persons included in judgment of United States court January 20, 1898: W. R. Sessums, J. F. Sessums. Mary Bailey, W. R. Sessums, jr., Sarah Swagger, H. D. Sessums, R. L. A. Sessums, Mattie Sessums, B. R. Sessums, Maud Sessums, Rosa Ann Sessums, Myrtle Sessums, Mary Sessums, Ethie Sessums, Daniel Sessums, Emanuel Sessums, F. A. Bailey, W. A. Bailey, Minnie Bailey, Mary Alice Bailey, Mary J. Sessums, Sallie Sessums, W. F. Sessums, B. R. Sessums, A. B. Sessums, George A. Sessums, Ervil Sessums, Mary E. Harrison, W. A. Harrison, Eva Harrison, Eddie Harrison, Jeffie Harrison, Martha Flemming, Joseph Flemming, Newton Flemming, William Flemming, Jesse Flemming.

Following children of above persons for whose enrollment application was duly made to the commission and who were denied by decision of commission May 8, 1906, because their parents had been denied by the Choctaw-Chickasaw citizenship court: Ruth Hazel Harrison, Charlie L. Sessums, Jacob C. Sessums, Mamie G. Fleming, Lizzie V. Fleming, Homer B. Bailey, James Henry Ramsey, Mary D. Bratcher, Bessie E. Bratcher, Elbirtra Bratcher. (Official copy of decision of commission hereto attached and marked “Exhibit B.”

(Forty-seven in all.)
Respectfully submitted.
Ballinger & Lee, Attorneys for Claimants.

Copy of order of court

United States Of America, Indian Territory, Central District, ss:

In the United States Court In the Indian Territory, Central District, at a term thereof begun and held at South McAlester, in the Indian Territory, on the 20th day of January, A. D. 1898.

Present: The Hon. William H. H. Clayton, judge of wild court.
The following order was made and entered of record, to wit:

W. R. Sessums et al. v. Choctaw Nation. No. 10. Dawes Commission, No. 452.

Judgment

This cause came on to be heard on this the 20th day of January A. D. 1808. In open court, whereupon the plaintiffs and defendant announced ready for trial, and the court having heard the evidence in the case, the argument of counsel, and being fully advised in the premises, doth find that the plaintiffs, W. R. Sessums, J. F. Sessums, Mary Bailey, W. R. Sessums, jr., Sarah Swagger, H. D. Sessums, R. L. A. Sessums, Mattie Sessums, B. R. Sessums, Maud Sessums, Rosa Ann Sessums, Myrtle Sessums, Mary Sessums, Etie Sessums, Daniel Sessums, Emanuel Bailey, F. A. Bailey, W. A. Bailey, Minnie Bailey, May Alice Bailey, Mary J. Sessums, Sallie Sessums, W. F. Sessums, B. R. Sessums, A. B. Sessums, Gen. A. Sessums, Ervil Sessums, Mary E. Harrison, Eva Harrison, Eddie Harrison, Jeffie Harrison, Martini Fleming, Joseph Fleming, Newton Fleming, Wm. Fleming, and Jessie Fleming, and W. A. Harrison are all members and citizens of the Choctaw Nation and Tribe of Indians by blood, and as such are entitled to all the rights, privileges, immunities, and benefits of citizens and members by blood of the Choctaw Nation and Tribe of Indians.

The court further finds Unit J. R. Sessums. W. A. Sessums, Eva Sessums. Thomas M. Sessums, Juna L. Sessums, Mary A. Sessums, Buchanan Sessums are not residents of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nation, are not entitled to the rights, privileges, immunities, and benefits of Choctaw Indians and members of the Choctaw Nation and Tribe of Indians.

It is therefore ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the plaintiffs, W. R. Sessums, .7. F. Sessums. Mary Bailey, W. R. Sessums. jr.. Sarah Swager, II. D. Sessums. R. L. A. Sessums, Mattie Sessums, B. R. Sessums, Maud Sessums, Rosa Ann Sessums, Myrtle Sessums, Mary Sessums, Ethic Sessums, Daniel Sessums, Emanuel Bailey, F. A. Bailey, Minnie Bailey, Mary Alice Bailey, Mary J. Sessums, Sallie Sessums, W. F. Sessums, B. R. Sessums, A. B. Sessums, George A. Sessums, Ervil Sessums, Mary E. Harrison, W. A. Harrison, Eva Harrison, Eddie Harrison, Jeffie Harrison, Martha Fleming, Joseph Fleming, Newton Fleming, William Fleming, and Jesse Fleming, all and each of them be admitted to and granted all the rights, privileges, immunities, and benefits of citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation and Tribe of Indians; that each of their names be placed upon the legal roll of citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation and Tribe of Indians by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, and that the clerk of this court transmit to said commission a certified copy of the judgment In this case, and that the plaintiffs herein have and recover of and from the defendant all their costs laid out and expended herein, for all of which let execution issue.

And It Is further by the court considered, adjudged, and decreed that the aforementioned J. R. Sessums, W. A. Sessums, Eva Sessums, Thomas M. Sessums, Juna L. Sessums, Mary A. Sessums, and Buckhanan Sessums take nothing by their suit; that their names be excluded from the rolls of Choclaw citizens prepared or to be prepared by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes: and that said Choctaw Nation have and recover of the said parties all its costs In this action as to them expended.

United States Of America, Indian Territory, Central District, ss:

I, E. J. Fannin, clerk of the District Court of the United States for the Central District of the Indian Territory, do hereby certify the foregoing to be a true copy of an order made by said court on the 20th of January 1898, as appears from the records of said court now on file in my office.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand, at my office in South McAlester, in said district, this 1st day of February A. D. 1898.

[seal.] E. J. Fannin. Clerk


Department Of The Interior
Commissioner To The Five Civilized Tribes

In the matter of the petition for the enrollment of Wilson R. Sessums et al. as citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation

On January 27, l906, there was filed with the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes by Tom D. McKeown, attorney for the petitioners, petitions for the enrollment of the following persons as citizens of the Choctaw Nation: Wilson R. Sessums: Wilson R. Sessums. jr., his two minor children, Sealy Caroline Sessums and Willie F. Sessums: Mary E. Harrison: Walter A. Harrison and his minor child, Ruth Hazel Harrison: Mary Bailey and her two minor children, William A. Bailey and Minnie May Bailey.

On February 9, 1906. Tom D. McKeown, attorney for the petitioners, filed with the commissioner petitions for the enrollment of the following persons as citizens of the Choctaw Nation: John F. Sessums, his wife. Mary E. Sessums, and their minor children, Lula M., Carrie E., William D., Charlie L., and Jacob C. Sessums: Jesse Fleming (now Jesse Arms): Martha Fleming and her minor children, Mamie C., and Lizzie V. Fleming: Emanuel W. Bailey and her minor children, Homer B. and Hester E. Bailey: Newton Fleming and his minor child, Lois Fleming: Rosa A. Ramsey and her minor child, James Ramsey: Mary A. Bailey (now Bratcher): Minnie M. Hill and her minor children. Joseph F., Dorothy E., and William A. Hill; Myrtle Sessums (now Moore) and her minor children, Mattie E., and Rosa V. Moore: Eva May Harrison (now Clayton) and her minor child, Mable Thelma Clayton: Effie A. Batcher and her minor children, Mary D. Bratcher, Bessie Bratcher, Elberta Bratcher, Nellie A. Bratcher, and Walter L. Bratcher.

These petitions have been consolidated and will be considered as one case, Inasmuch as the alleged rights of the petitioners to enrollment are derived from the same source.

The petitions allege that the petitioners are the descendants of Pennie Sessums (nee Fisher), who it is claimed, was a full-blood Choctaw Indian, and was duly enrolled and recognized as a citizen of the Choctaw Nation. The petitioners claim descent from said Pennie Sessums (nee Fisher) through Redding Sessums and William Sessums.

No answer to the petition has been filed by the attorneys for the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations within the 15 days allowed for that purpose by the regulations adopted by the commissioner January 2, 1906.

The records of this office show that the petitioners, Wilson R. Sessums (under the name of W. R. Sessums), Wilson R. Sessums, jr. (under the name of W. R. Sessums, jr.), and his minor son William F. Sessums, Mary Bailey, William A. Bailey, Minnie May Bailey (under the name of Minnie B. Bailey), Walter A. Harrison, Mary E. Harrison, John F. Sessums (under the name of J. F. Sessums), William D. Sessums, Martha Fleming, Jesse Fleming, now Arms (under the mime of Jessie Lee Fleming). Emanuel W. Bailey, Newton Fleming, Rosa A. Ramsey, Mary A. Bailey (now Bratcher), Myrtle Sessums (now Moore), Eva May Harrison (now Clayton), and Effie A. Bratcher, were denied citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes under the provisions of the act of Congress approved June 10, 1890 (29 Stats., 321): that on January 20, 1898. they, together with the petitioner. Sealy Caroline Sessums (under the name of Selia Sessums), were admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by a judgment of the United States court for the central district of Indian Territory, and that on March 9, 1904, they were denied citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by a decree of the Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship court in case No. 36 on the South McAlester docket of said court.

The records of this office further show that on May 27, 1904, the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes dismissed the application for the enrollment of Ruth Hazel Harrison, Charlie L. Sessums, Jacob C. Sessums, Mamie G. Fleming, Lizzie V. Fleming, Homer B. Bailey, James Henry Ramsey, Mary D. Bratcher, Bessie E. Bratcher, and Elbirtra Bratcher as citizens of the Choctaw Nation for the reason that the persons through whom they claim citizenship had been denied by the Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship court.

This office has no record of any application ever having been made for the enrollment of the petitioners. Hester E. Bailey, Lois Fleming, Minnie M. Hill, Joseph F. Hill, Dorothy E. Hill, William A. Hill, Mattie E. Moore, Rosa V. Moore, Mable Thelma Clayton, Nellie A. Bratcher, and Walter L. Bratcher as citizens of the Choctaw Nation, prior to the filing of the petitions herein; neither does it appear that any application was ever made by the enrollment of the petitioners, Lulu M. Sessums and Carrie E. Sessums, as citizens of the Choctaw Nation. It is possible, however, that these petitioners are identical with May Sessums and Ethel Sessums, who were admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by the United States court of the central district of Indian Territory on January 20, 1898, and who were denied citizenship by the Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship court on March 9, 1904, in case No. 36, on the South McAlester docket of said court.

It does not appear from the records of this office, neither is it alleged in the petitions, that the petitioners or their ancestors, Redding Sessums or William Sessums, were recognized or enrolled as citizens of the Choctaw Nation by any duly constituted authority prior to January 20, 1898, the date on which certain of the petitioners heretofore mentioned were admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by a judgment of the United States court for the central district of Indian Territory. The names of none of the petitioners or of the above-named ancestors appear on any of the tribal rolls of the Choctaw Nation in the possession of this office: neither does it appear that Pennie Sessums (nee Fisher) was ever recognized or enrolled as a citizen of the Choctaw Nation by any duly constituted authority: her name does not appear on any of the tribal rolls of the Choctaw Nation in the possession of this office.

Order

I am of the opinion that the petitions fail to allege facts sufficient to warrant a hearing relative to the petitioners’ alleged rights to enrollment as citizens of the Choctaw Nation: that the principal petitioners having been denied citizenship by the Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship court, and it not being alleged Ik the petitions or shown by the records of this office that any of the petitioners Were recognized or enrolled citizens of the Choctaw Nation prior to January 20, 1898, the date on which they were admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by the United States court, they do not come under the opinion of the Assistant Attorney General of December 8, 1905, in the Choctaw enrollment case of Loula West et al., and that there is no authority of law for the enrollment of any of the petitioners as citizens of the Choctaw Nation; that the petition should be denied, and it is so ordered.

Tams Bixby, Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes.
Muskogee, Ind. T., May 8, 1906.




MLA Source Citation:

United States Congress. Five Civilized Tribes In Oklahoma, Reports of the Department of the Interior and Evidentiary Papers in support of S. 7625, a Bill for the Relief of Certain Members of the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma, Sixty-second Congress, Third Session. Department of the Interior, United States. 1913. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 15 April 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/w-r-sessums-choctaw.htm - Last updated on Oct 15th, 2012


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