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Amanda Coyle Et Al. Choctaws. Commission, No. R-479
August 1899. Amanda Coyle appeared before the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, at Atoka, and applied for enrollment as a citizen by blood. She stated that she was 27 years old; that her mother had been dead 24 years; that her mother was on the Choctaw tribal rolls; that her father died when she was a year old, and that he was a white man.
At the end of this brief examination Commissioner McKennon stated:
As you are not on the Choctaw rolls your enrollment will be refused.
August 21, 1902. Amanda Coyle and her son, James Robert Coyle, appeared before the commission at Muskogee and again applied for enrollment as a citizen by blood.
She testified that she was born in the Chickasaw Nation at the old Dan Harris mill, on Rice Creek, and that she had lived in the Chickasaw Nation all her life; that her father was Daniel Harrison, who had some Choctaw blood, but that she did not know exactly how much; that he died when she was a year old: that her mother was Mary Pierce, who was one-half Choctaw; that both her mother and father had lived in the Indian Territory all their lives; that she had been married twice; that her first husband was Ulysses Grant; that she married him when she was 14 years old and had one child by him; that the child died, as did also her husband; that her second husband was Lander T. Coyle, and that James Robert Coyle was her son; that a white woman named Laura Stevens raised her and called her by her mother’s name. Pierce that she was known as Amanda Pierce.
At the conclusion of her testimony she offered the affidavits of Dixon Gibson. Patsy Poff, Dr. Long, and S. D. Lawrence, which were accepted by the commission and made a part of the record.
Dixon Gibson makes oath that he is 40 years old, an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation; that he knew Mary Pierce, and that she was a half-breed Choctaw, enrolled and recognized as such at the time of her death; that Mary Pierce had a daughter named Amanda Pierce; that he knows the said Amanda Pierce well; that she has always resided in the Chickasaw Nation and is now married to a white man named Coyle, and lives at Emet, Ind. T.
Patsy Poff makes oath that she is 70 years old, an enrolled Choctaw citizen by blood; that she knew Mary Pierce, who was a half- breed Choctaw Indian, enrolled and recognized as such at the time of her death; that in 1872 she waited on Mary Pierce, as a midwife, and that the said Mary Pierce gave birth to a female child, afterwards named and known as Amanda Pierce; that she has known Amanda Pierce contiguously since her birth; that Amanda has always resided in the Chickasaw Nation and now lives with her husband. L. T. Coyle, at Emet. Ind. T.
Dr. Long makes oath that he is a regular practicing physician; that he attended Mrs. L. T. Coyle when she gave birth to a male child.
Silas D. Lawrence makes oath that he is about 59 years old, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation by blood: that he knew Mary Pierce, who was a half-breed Choctaw-woman; that she had a daughter named Amanda Pierce; that Mary Pierce died about 24 years ago in the Chickasaw Nation, on Rush Creek, in Pickens County.
July 31, 1903. Decision of Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, in which it is stated that the names of the applicants do not appear upon any of the tribal rolls, and concludes as follows:
It Is therefore the opinion of the commission that the application for the enrollment of Amanda Coyle and James Robert Coyle as citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation should be denied, under the provisions of section 21 of the act of Congress approved June 28, 1898 (30 Stats., 495), and It Is so ordered.
July 31, 1903. Record transmitted to the department
November 28, 1903. The record returned to the commission by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs calling attention to the fact that there is considerable evidence in the record tending to show that the mother of the principal applicant was a Choctaw, and enrolled as such, and that there was no evidence submitted tending to show that this is not so. And the commission was directed to examine the tribal rolls and advise the Indian Office whether the name of the mother of the applicant appears thereon.
December 29, 1903. The Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes advises the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that the 1885. 1893, and 1896 Choctaw rolls had been examined, and that the name of the mother of the principal applicant did not appear thereon.
February 27, 1904. The Secretary advised that commission as follows:
The Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs recommends that your decision be concurred in, finding no reason to disturb your decision; it is hereby affirmed.
Statement By Council
Counsel for claimants first respectfully direct attention to the solemn farce played by the learned Government officers in this case; the record clearly shows that the mother of the principal applicant died in 1875 and was recognized and enrolled as a citizen at that time. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs directs the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes to examine the tribal rolls to see if her name appears thereon. The Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes advises the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that they have examined the roll of 1885, made 10 years after the death of the party whose name was sought; the 1893 roll, made 18 years after the death of the party whose name was sought: the 1896 roll, made 21 years after the death of the party whose name was sought, and that her name did not appear on any of these rolls. Upon receiving the report the Commissioner of Indian Affairs advised the Secretary of the search of the rolls named and the failure to find thereon the name of applicant’s mother, and the Secretary, discovering no reason why other rolls should be examined, affirms the decision of the commission denying applicants. There were rolls of Choctaws in the custody of the Secretary at Washington made prior to the date of the death of applicant’s mother and there is now in the office of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes a complete roll of all the counties of the Choctaw Nation for the year 1868, made four years prior to the death of applicant’s mother.
But counsel submit that applicants should be enrolled whether their names appear on said rolls or not, as they are undoubtedly of Choctaw blood, born to the allegiance of the Choctaw Nation, and lifelong residents thereof.
Those entitled to enrollment are: Amanda Coyle and James Robert Coyle.
Ballinger & Lee