Collection: Trail of Tears

New Echota, Georgia, September 27, 1837

SIR: Yours of the 29th and 30th of August have been received. In relation to what is said in that of the 29th, I have to state as follows: In the month of August I received from the Treasurer of the United States $200,000, in drafts on sundry banks and receivers of public moneys in the South, to be disbursed under the act of Congress of July 2, 1836, for carrying into effect the Cherokee treaty. Of these drafts there are on hand to the amount of $25,000; the balance have been disposed of, some to the recipients of money under the treaty, and others have been exchanged at par for available funds. Within a few days after the receipt of the drafts I disposed of several thousand dollars of them to recipients, chiefly merchants and business men, and some of the principal men among the Cherokees, who understood their value. It was, however, soon discovered that the great mass of recipients among the whites did not understand them, and it was out of the question to attempt to pass them to the illiterate Indians. About the same time suddenly, sprung up among the Cherokees a spirit of enrolling for emigration and the greater number of persons enrolling became recipients of small sums which the drafts would not answer to pay. You are aware how important it is to...

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Commissioner of Indian Affairs dated July 3, 1837

Extract of a letter from Messrs. W. Lumpkin and John Kennedy, commissioners, &c, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs dated July 3, 1837. “As to the kind of funds which would be received at this time here, in discharge of claims under the treaty, it is proper to remark that every recipient would prefer specie, because it is worth more that the paper of any bank which has suspended specie payments; yet all recipients who expect or intend to use their funds in Georgia, would take the bills of the Augusta Bank, rather than lie out of the money. “The recipients who wish to use their money in the State of Tennessee, will be satisfied with nothing but specie, and would not take the bills of the Tennessee Bank at all in payment of their demands against the Government. Our only object in giving you this retrospective sketch, is to afford the means of correcting the evils of which we complain, hereafter.” Extracts of a letter from Captain J. P. Simonton to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated Athens, Ga., August 10, 1837. “I have the honor to inform you that since my last to you, in June, I have been endeavoring to procure the funds deposited in the Bank of Augusta, Georgia, for the purpose of carrying out the Cherokee treaty. I have finally procured $200,000, and am...

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Commissioners’ Office, New Echota, May 29, 1837

SIR: Being apprised that you have been notified that you might consider yourself relieved from duty here, as soon as you have performed the duties in which you are now engaged in the Indian Department, we deem it expedient to state to you, that the duties in which you are now engaged, as disbursing agent under the Cherokee treaty of 1835, will necessarily require the constant services of a disbursing agent to the end of the present year, or longer. We take pleasure in adding, that if consistent with the public interest, it would afford us personal gratification to have your services at this station continued. We are, very respectfully, your obedient servants, WILSON LUMPKIN, JOHN KENNEDY, Commissioners Trail of Tears...

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New Echota, Georgia, May 13, 1837

Cashier of the branch of the Planters’ Bank of Tennessee, at Athens, pay to the order of Captain J. P. Simonton, disbursing agent, two hundred thousand dollars. RICHARD BENNETT. Disbursing Agent, &c, Endorsed Wilson Lumpkin, John Kennedy, United States Commissioner; J. P. Simonton, Captain U.S.A.D.A.C.R. I, Samuel H. Gordon, notary public for the county of McMinn, in the State of Tennessee, do hereby certify that on the day, I was requested by Captain J. P. Simonton to call upon the cashier of the branch at Athens of the Planters’ Bank of the State of Tennessee, and to request of said cashier to state in what bank paper he was willing or offered to pay the check presented by Doctor Reynolds, which check was for two hundred thousand dollars. Said, cashier said he was willing to pay $75,000 in notes of the Planters’ Bank payable in New Orleans, and the balance depending where the Doctor might want it. Given under my hand, this 6th of June, 1837. SAMUEL H. GORDON, Notary Public Trail of Tears...

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Letter of Samuel H. Gordon

Be it known, that on the day of the date hereof, I, Samuel H. Gordon, notary public for the county of McMinn, in the State of Tennessee, duly commissioned and sworn according to law, residing in the town of Athens, in said State, at the request of J. C. Reynolds, exhibited to William Clarke, cashier of the office of said bank at Athens, the original check whereof a true copy is on the other side written, and demanded payment thereof from said cashier, at said office, it being the place where said check was made payable, and I was answered by said cashier, that “he is willing to pay said check, when properly endorsed, in the notes of the Planters’ Bank of Tennessee, payable in specie, on demand; which he believes is the kind of money contemplated by Government in the contract with the Planters’ Bank, should be issued in payment of Treasury warrants, and that the Planters’ Bank notes are always redeemed with specie when presented.” Whereupon I, the said notary, at the request aforesaid, have, and do hereby, solemnly protest against the drawer of the said check and endorsers, and all concerned, for all exchange, re-exchange, costs, damages, interests, suffered and to be suffered for want of payment thereof. This done and protested at Athens aforesaid, this 27th day of May, 1837. In testimony whereof I have...

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Office Of Planters’ Bank, Tennessee June 6, 1837

DEAR SIR; For your satisfaction, and for the information of the department, I beg leave to say, in explanation of the protest of Major Bennett’s check in your favor, for $200,000, that, in the conversation between Doct. Reynolds, who presented it, and myself, and in my communication to him before the protest, I stated that I did not think I ought to issue any paper except payable at New Orleans. I was induced to believe so from the general suspension in the eastern cities, and the great revulsion in the money market of our whole country. But he refused to receive any of that kind; and as this refusal was not contemplated by the bank, inasmuch as Judge Kennedy had made a personal request to the president of this office, in April last, for $75,000 of the aforesaid sum, in the notes payable at New Orleans, nothing more was said as to when the balance would be payable; but this would have been managed as satisfactorily as possible, if Doctor Reynolds had been authorized to receive the $75,000 agreeably to the Judge’s requisition, and which we had taken special pains to have here accordingly. We are extremely anxious to accommodate, as far as possible, at all times, and I cannot conceive that we have been otherwise in this instance. In haste, I am, very respectfully, your friend and most...

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Trail of Tears Evaluation

The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek contains a long list of individuals (3547) receiving land reservations and positively recognizes these people as members of the tribe in a legally binding fashion. Many of these land recipients are elsewhere identified as countrymen or mixed bloods. There can be little doubt that they were accepted as leaders and members of the tribe. The various claims to land and claims for other reasons are found in American State Papers and offer positive identification of mixed bloods in individual cases. They also help pinpoint the location of mixed-blood land holdings.

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Athens, Tennessee, June 6 1837

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that, on the 13th of May, I received from Richard Bennett a draft on the branch of the Planters’ Bank of Tennessee, at Athens, for $200,000, to be disbursed under the Cherokee treaty of 1835; which draft has been returned to me protested, under the following circumstances: The commissioners deeming it expedient to have $100,000 delivered at New Echota, before the funds there on hand should be exhausted, requested that, as my personal services at New Echota would no readily be dispensed with, Dr. Reynolds should take my draft, proceed to Athens, and procure for the present wants of the disbursing agent $100,000; twenty-five thousand to be in specie, and seventy-five thousand in notes of the Planters’ Bank, payable at Nashville. The draft was accordingly presented by Dr. Reynolds at the bank, with the instructions of the commissioners with regard to the kinds of money wanted; when the cashier refused to pay any other money than notes of the Planters’ Bank, payable at New Orleans. Upon receiving this refusal, Dr. Reynolds had the draft formally protested, and returned it to me at New Echota. It was omitted to be stated in the body of the protest, that the notes offered were those payable at New Orleans. This being considered necessary by the commissioners and myself, who were the endorsers of the...

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Office Indian Affairs, July 25, 1835

SIR: The selection and general supervision of the agents to be employed in appraising improvements under the treaty with the Cherokee Indians of December 29, 1835, having been committed to you, I proceed to state some principles for their observance in the execution of this duty. You will divide the country ceded by the first article of the treaty into convenient districts, and assign to each a sufficient number of agents for the prompt completion of this business. You will report to this office the names and residences of these agents, and indicate the district in which each is to be employed. The improvements to be valued are such as were in the possession of the Cherokees at the date of the treaty, and as add any value to their lands. The agents will be required to take an oath to act with perfect impartiality, and they will be specially instructed to receive all the statements and estimates of the Indians, and to examine, personally, every thing pointed out to them. And in determining the value of the improvements, they will be influenced neither by a desire to be generous on the one hand nor parsimonious on the other. Each improvement will be appraised by two agents, and when their estimates agree, and are approved by you, they will be final. If they disagree, the decision will be referred...

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