Department of the Interior Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes
Atoka, I. T. June 12, 1901
In the matter of the application of Melinda Williams for identification as a Mississippi Choctaw.
Melinda Williams having been duly sworn testified as follows:
Examination by the Commission:
Q. What is your name?
A. Melinda Williams
Q. What is your age?
Q. What is your post-office address?
A. Cottondale, Wise County, Texas
Q. How long have you lived there?
A. Twenty years
Q. Where did you live before you lived there?
A. I lived in middle Texas for a while; I was born and raised in Mississippi.
Q. And from Mississippi you moved to Texas?
Q. How long did you live in Mississippi?
A. I was something near 25 years old when I left there-somewhere between 21 and 25.
Q. What is your fathers name?
A. Paul Davis
Q. Is he living?
Q. What is your mothers name?
A. Eunice Davis
Q. Is she living?
Q. Through which one of your parents do you derive your Choctaw blood?
A. My father.
Q. How much Choctaw blood do you claim?
A. My grandfather was a half.
Q. Well how, much do you claim.
A. How much would it be?
Q. If your grandfather was a half, how much would your father be?
A. He would be a third or fourth.
Q. If he was a fourth, how much would you be?
A. About a sixtheenth, is it?
Q. What is the half of a fourth?
A. I cant absolutely tell; I dont know nothing.
Q. It is about an eighth>
Q. Has your father, through whom you claim your right to identification as a Mississippi Choctaw ever been recognized in any manner or enrolled as a member of the Choctaw tribe of Indiana by either the Choctaw tribal authorities or the authorities of the United States.
A. I cant tell you whether he was or not.
Q. Are you married?
A. I am a widow.
Q. Have you any children under twenty-one years of age and unmarried?
A. No, I aint got but one and she is twenty-eight.
Q. You are making this application for yourself alone?
Q. Is your name on any of the tribal rolls of the Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory?
A. No, I dont guess it is; we have had our name there one time and it was done by fraud and we was out of it.
Q. Have you ever made application to the Choctaw tribal authorities in Indian Territory to be enrolled as a member of that tribe.
Q. How long ago was it?
A. Six or seven years.
Q. You made application to the Choctaw tribal authorities?
A. Yes, we made application to this here man, but he was a fraud and he is in the pen now.
Q. Did you ever go to the council?
A. No, we-
Q. Did you ever appear before the Choctaw Council and make application.
A. No, just before this man; he was all. I dont know his name.
Q. What was he doing?
A. He pretended to be getting up our claims.
Q. Was he an attorney?
A. He claimed he was.
Q. Well, you just gave him your case and papers?
Q. You didnt make application to the Council then?
A. No, only that man.
Q. Well, you said a while ago your names were on the rolls?
A. No I misunderstood.
Q. Did you or any one for you, in 1896, make application to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes for citizenship in the Choctaw Nation under the Act of Congress of June 10, 1896?
A. I dont know whether I did.
Q. Did you ever make such application?
Q. Did you authorize any one for you?
A. No, I never knew I could get in there in itI was raised in the nation with the Choctaw Indians.
Q. Have you ever been admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw nation by either the Choctaw tribal authorities, the Commission to the Five Civilised Tribes, or by judgment of the United States Court in Indian Territory?
Q. Have you ever made application prior to this time to either the Choctaw Tribal authorities or the authorities of the United States to be admitted or enrolled as a citsen of the Choctaw nation?
Q. Is this is the first application of any description you have ever made?
Q. Is it now your purpose to make application for identification as a Mississippi Choctaw?
Q. Do you claim your rights as a beneficiary under the provisions of the fourteenth article of the treaty of 1830?
Q. Are you familiar with the provisions of that article of that treaty?
Q. Article fourteen of the treaty of 1836 is as follows;
Each Choctaw head of a family being desirous to remain and become a citizen of the state shall be permitted to do so by signifying to the Agent his intention within six months from the ratification of this treaty, and he or she shall thereupon be entitled to a reservation of one section of six hundred and forty acres of land to be bounded by sectional lines of survey; in like manner shall be entitled to one half that quantity for each unmarried child which may be living with him over ten years of age, and a quarter section to such child as may be under ten years of age, to adjoin the location of the parent. If they reside upon said land intending to become citizens of the States for five years after the ratification of this treaty, in that case a grant in fee simple shall issue. Said reservation shall include the present improvement of the head of the family or a portion of it. Persons claiming under this article shall not lose the privilege of the Choctaw citizen, but if they ever remove, are not to be entitled to any portion of the Choctaw annuity. Do you claim under that article?
Q. Have you ever received any benefits as a Choctaw Indian?
Q. Have any of your ancestors ever received any benefits as Choctaw Indians?
A. No, not as I know of.
Q. What was the name of your ancestor or ancestors who were residents in the old Choctaw nation in Mississippi and Alabama and acknowledged members of the Choctaw nation in 1830 when the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was entered in to between the United States and the Choctaw tribe of Indians?
A. Well, my grand-father was named Daniel Davis, and my father was named Paul Davis.
Q. Did they or one of them live in Mississippi in 1830?
Q. Which one?
A. Both of them.
Q. Did this ancestor, or either of them, if Choctaw Indians, remove from the territory occupied by the old Choctaw Nation in Mississippi or Alabama to the present Choctaw nation in Indian Territory at the time of the removal of the other members of the Choctaw tribe from 1833 to 1838.
Q. If they did not remove with the other members of the tribe, did one or either of them, within six months after the ratification of the treaty of 1830, signify to the united States Indian Agent to the Choctaw Indians in Mississippi their intention to remain in Mississippi and become citizens of the United States?
A. I declare I cant tell youI dont know.
Q. Have any of your ancestors ever claimed or received any land in Mississippi as beneficiaries under the provisions of the four-tenth article of the treaty of 1930?
Q. Are there any additional statements you desire to make in support of this application?
A. No, not that I know of
Q. Have you any documentary evidence; affidavits, written evidence of any description, copies of records, deeds or patents, or any proper papers showing that your ancestors were ever recognized members of the Choctaw tribe of Indians in Mississippi in 1830, or that they eve complied or attempted to comply with the previsions of the fourteenth article of the treaty of 1830, or that they ever received any benefits under that article of the treaty?
Affidavit of T. H. Parkman offers in evidence by applicant, marked Exhibit A filed and made a part of the record in this case; affidavit of Susie Lord offering in evidence by applicant marked Exhibit B, filed and made a part of the record in this case.
Q. Would you like time in which to file additional evidence?
Thirty days time is allowed applicant in which to file additional evidence in support of this claim.
The decision of this Commission as to your application for identification as a Mississippi Choctaw will be determined at the earliest possible date and report of same will be made to the secretary of the Interior, conformable to the provisions of the 21st. Section of the Act of Congress of June 28, 1898, and a copy of the same will be mailed to you at your post-office address as given in your testimony.
Applicant is apparently a white woman.
Henry G. Hains being duly sworn on his oath states that as stenographer to the Commission to the Five Civilised Tribes, he reported in full all proceedings had in the above entitled cause on June 18, 1901, print of his stenograph notes in said cause on said date.
Henry G. Hains
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 15th day of July 1901
D. W. Liecerbaugh