Affidavit of W. J. Thompson, Exhibit A½
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Exhibit Affidavit of W. J Thompson of November 21, 1908, of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
My father, Giles Thompson. In 1824 married a half-breed Indian, the daughter of Noah Wall. in 1830 my father assisted in making the treaty of Dancing Rabbit, and his name appears in the supplemental treaty of Dancing Rabbit as a beneficiary thereunder. His name also appears on the roll of 1830 the same as any other Indian. My father came to this country in 1832 or the spring of 1833. Some time in 1840 he settled at Boggy Depot in the Choctaw Nation and opened up the salt works. My father was given a grant by the Choctaw Council to operate those works and no one could come within a square mile of them. He operated those works for many years.
My father was recognized as any other Indian; used to be a member of the council. In 1875 he came to the Chickasaw Nation, or removed there from the Choctaw Nation. There was a census taken in 1874 In the Choctaw Nation, just before father left the nation, by Sheriff S. Gardner, and my father’s name appeared on that census and all of his family except myself, as I was not born at that time: was not born until July 14, 1876.
In 1870 father moved to the Chickasaw Nation, where I was born. In 1876 I was born on the farm. My father died in 1877 and the Chickasaw courts administered on his estate and the seal of the Chickasaw Nation is on the administrator. My father made a will, and in that will he gave me the farm that I was born on. He willed all of the children personal property find other farms. My mother was administrator of the will.
The papers in this case are in Muskogee and I think they are with the Dawes Commission, but it is possible that they are with the citizenship court.
After the death of my father I lived on the farm for many years and owned it and controlled It the same as any other citizen. I had other farms in the country and I improved them the same as any other citizen in the country. Permits were issued to my renters on my farms.
I attended school in the Choctaw Nation at Atoka the same as other Indian citizens, and had to pay no tuition.
About 1880, I believe, my sister. Myrtle Thompson, now Randolph, married white man and the Choctaw authorities issued him a license for $50 to marry her; and about the year 1883 my sister, Minnie Thompson, married William Wheat and was issued a national license, at least that is my understanding of the matter.
Both Wheat and Randolph were accorded rights the same as other citizens and improved farms and were issued permits. We were Choctaws, and father moved to the Chickasaw Nation in 1875. My brother and I were small, and not being citizens by birth of the Chickasaw Nation did not take the same interest in citizenship affairs as we would probably have done had we continued to reside at our home in the Choctaw Nation. I myself was not of age until 1897.
Through my mother, Ellen Wall, and my stepfather, Samuel C. Wall, we brought suit In the Indian court for the possession of a certain tract of land which we claimed as Indian citizens, and a decision was rendered at one of the places holding court at that time, either at Tishomingo or Oakland, in our favor.
We also brought suit in the Choctaw Nation on a note given by an Indian citizen for certain cattle, the amount which was claimed being about $14,000, including the interest. I first attempted to file a suit in the United States court, but Judge Clayton refused to take jurisdiction; his action in the matter was based upon the ground that he had no jurisdiction because both of the parties were Indian citizens. Subsequently the case was filed in the court of Judge John Harrison, who was an Indian judge of Atoka County, Choctaw Nation.
The latter court assumed jurisdiction and the case was tried therein.
The papers should be with the records of that court at this time. My mother, Ellen Wall, was a party to that suit.
We made application to the Dawes Commission for enrollment in 1896 and our petition was denied. We took an appeal to the United Stales court and the decision of the commission was reversed. Subsequently, supposing that we must go to the citizenship court, we transferred our case to that court where a decision adverse to us was rendered. Still later, on February 19, 1907, an opinion was rendered by Attorney General Bonaparte holding that the Judgment of the citizenship court was final. Two sentences in the opinion should be noted. One of them is as follows:
“Indeed, as I have suggested, the applicants themselves, having voluntarily submitted to the Jurisdiction to the commission, might be fairly held estopped to now deny it.”
The other sentence of the opinion of Mr. Bonaparte is as follows:
“Whatever their intrinsic merits, these claims have been finally decided adversely to the claimants by the Judgment of the citizenship court.”
This opinion is followed by the opinion of Cyrus H. Kingsberry and his sister. Lucy E. Littlepage, the offspring of white parents, both of which were adopted by an act of the Choctaw Council. In the latter case the applicants didn’t go before the citizenship court. Their names were found upon the tribal Choctaw roll of 1885. The opinion was in their favor and they were placed upon the finally approved rolls.
While my case was pending I went to Tishomingo and I talked with Mr. Cornish, attorney for the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. I asked him where I could find the records pertaining to my citizenship and he said at Tuskahoma and I went and got the national secretary, Mr. Wilson, and be showed me through the vault and I examined the records there, which were very few, but was told that Mr. Cornish had them with him at South McAlester. I left Tishomingo and went to South McAlester to the office of Mansfield, McMurray & Coraish and told the num in charge of the office that Mr. Cornish had sent me to look through the records of the Choctaw Nation. He looked surprised at first and I told him who I was and he then took me to a room at one side of the office which was partly filled with boxes and I went through a great many of those records and opened box after box and found records pertaining to national affairs, some of them pertaining to the net proceed money. I looked further and found that some records entitled an act of the Choctaw Council together with the date, all in writing. In searching through those papers I found a roll made in 1874 by Sheriff S. Gardner, of Blue County, and also rolls of other counties, and in this roll of Blue County of 1874 I found the name of my father, Giles Thompson, and all our family except myself, as I was not born at that time as heretofore stated. I also found in searching over those records a large book about 8 or 10 inches wide and about 18 to 20 inches in length and it had a list of names, among which I found a list of persons entitled, as heirs of Giles Thompson, to receive money from the Choctaw Nation. I also saw the name of Samuel C. Wall as the heir of Noah Wall in the same book. I brought the census roll of 1874 and those books with me to Klowa where my nephew. Mr. Ward, was then senator, and told him what I had done and he said it would be all right.
On my way home on the train taking the records with me I met Mr. Cornish and I told him that I went to Tuskahoma but found no records there pertaining to citizenship, and that I went to his office and told his help there that he had sent me over and that I had found the records there, and Mr. Cornish was very angry, turned very white, and said to me that he was surprised that the men in his office had permitted me to go through the records and that I was the only person who had ever gone through those records regarding citizenship. I told him I didn’t think that I had done anything wrong, but that I thought I was entitled to see the records pertaining to my father’s citizenship in this country and that that was all I wanted, and that if I was not entitled to citizenship I did not want it; all I wanted was a fair trial and I thought that he should allow me that. So we talked for some time and I told him that I didn’t think that he should be mad at me and he said that he was not so mad at me as he was at his help in his office. Mr. Johnston was on the train with me and Mr. Cornish got up and went over and sat down with him and I went on to Tuskahoma to see my attorney. Mr. O. W. Patchell. and I showed him the rolls and books and told him; what I had done. Mr. Cornish was very angry upon learning what I had done and he remarked that this put him in a very embarrassing position. Afterwards Mr. Patchell and I had a talk with Mr. Cornish in Tuskahoma and he made the same statement about the books that he had to me; that is that it put him in a very embarrassing position for me to go to Tuskahoma and then for me to go to his office at South McAlester and find the records there in place of Tuskahoma. Mr. Patchell and I told Mr. Cornish that all we cared about the books and records was for the information in them concerning my father and that we thought they should be made a part of the record and he then agreed to have the national secretary to certify to those records, and, accordingly, we turned them over to him. I don’t think that Mr. Cornish over carried out his promise. This occurred in September or October of 1904, as nearly as I can remember.
I desire to add that, although I have been denied enrollment as a citizen of the Indian Nation, notwithstanding that I am the son of Giles Thompson, it is a fact that my father’s slaves have been enrolled as freedmen upon the grounds that their former master, who was my father, was a citizen of the Choctaw Nation.
I can not understand why this should be.
I wish also to state that I talked to Judge Weaver after the decision was handed down in his office at Tishomingo, and he told me he thought I was as much entitled to citizenship as any Indian in the Territory, and that he was sorry that the judges did not agree with him, and he used these words: I can’t for the life of me see after the attorneys of the nations admitting that your father, Giles Thompson, appeared upon the 1830 roll and the treaty of 1830, how they could cut you out, and I hope you can get it reopened in a higher court.
My half brothers and sisters, children of my father and his first wife, who was an Indian, and the descendants of such brothers and sisters, have all been enrolled and land has been allotted to them.
I, William J. Thompson, being duly sworn, state upon my oath that the statements appearing above ou this and the preceding five pages are true as to all matters which I have referred to as coming within my personal knowledge, and that all the other statements on said pages are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
William J. Thompson.
United States Of America.
State Of Oklahoma, Garvin County.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, a clerk of the United States, court in and for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, this 21st day of November, 1908.
K. P. Harrison. Clerk
[seal] By John Cordell, Deputy