Collection: Indian Home Guard

Department of Interior Reports 1A – 5A

No. 1 A. FORT GIBSON. C. N., August, 1, 1865. DEAR SIR: I have, been here for a month attending to business for the Cherokees and Creeks, particularly for bark pay of deceased soldiers and pensions for widows. The three Indian regiments were mustered out the 31st of May, 1865, and each company had a white lieutenant, and I am the attorney for them all. It is reported here that these lieutenants and others are now making out papers in Kansas to draw the pay of deceased soldiers and the bounty of those who were not paid, and that General Blunt is certifying to such claims as well as others. I write this to request you to withhold all action on any claims of these regiments of Indian Home Guards until my arrival in Washington, which will be about the 1st of October. My authority is derived from the Indians, officers, and soldiers, the chiefs, and the United States Indian agents. Judge Harlan, Dunn, and Coleman are here. and are well qualified to fill those places. As to Mr. Sell, I will say nothing until I see you. Yours, JOHN W. WRIGHT. Hon. JUSTIN HARLIN. No. 2 A. Department Of The Interior, Washington, D. C. July 11, 1866. SIR: It having come to my knowledge that it considerable number of Cherokees, Creeks, and other Indians have appointed you their...

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Letter, Department of the Interior

Department of the Interior, Washington D. C., April 30, 1872. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the following resolution, adopted by the House of Representatives, December 11, 1871: Resolved, That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, directed to transmit to this House copies of all letters, telegrams, and reports of special agents and other official papers or records of the Department pertaining to the payment of bounties, back pay, and pensions to the First, Second, and Third Regiments of Indian Home Guards, together with copies of all letters in the ease taken from the pension agency at Fort Gibson, Arkansas, (Indian Territory.) The voluminous papers herewith transmitted, will, I trust, be a sufficient apology for the delay in forwarding reply. I have the honor to submit herewith copies of the documents called for, which for convenience of reference have been numbered. I also present, as briefly as the nature of the case will admit, a statement of the causes which led to the condition of things set forth in those documents, and the action of the Department from time to time relative thereto. Indian Troops During the war of the rebellion a number of the residents of the Indian Territory, members of the various tribes therein located, were organized into regiments for military service in the armies of the United States,...

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Alleged Frauds Against Certain Indian Soldiers

June 8,¬†1872.¬óLaid on the table and ordered to he printed. Mr. BURDETT, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, made the following REPORT The Committee on Indian Affairs to whom were referred the sundry papers, documents, and memoranda appertaining to certain transactions of John W. Wright and others with members of the First, Second, and Third Regiments Indian Home Guards, submitted to Congress by the Secretary of the Interior, with his letter of April 30, 1872, in response to the following House resolution: “Resolved, That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, directed to transmit to this House copies of all letters, telegrams, and reports of special agents and other official papers or records of his Department pertaining to the payment of bounties, back pay, and pensions to the First, Second, and Third Regiments of Home Guards, together with copies of all letters in the case, taken, from the pension agency at Fort Gibson, Arkansas;” submit the following report: That from the voluminous papers submitted by the Secretary of the Interior, and the complicated nature of the transactions involved, they have not found it possible, in the limited time allowed for their consideration, to make such a critical examination of the case as to enable them to lay before the House a full report of their conclusions in the matters involved; nor do they think it necessary,...

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Judges of Districts in the Cherokee Nation, July 1865, to July 1870

Executive Department Of The Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, January 26, 1871. Gentlemen: Enclosed you will please find a list of the names of the districts, and also a list of the judges of the several districts up to present time. Also copies of the act in relation to marriage and estate, and the act in relation to a seal. There is no law legalizing marriages contracted according to the customs of the country, or annulling such marriages. The copy enclosed is all the information I can give you in relation to marriages, as regards the seal. There is no law authorizing any of the judges to use a seal in any of his official transactions. The names of the clerks of the several districts I could not get on account of being locked up in the Auditor’s office at this place, and he resides some distance from here. I will send after the key to his office, and forward you a list as soon as it can be done. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, JAMES VANN, Acting Principal Chief Cherokee Nation. ALLEN Ross, Secretary. Messrs. F. E. FOSTER and GEO. E. WEBSTER. P. S. I shall be at Gibson next week, and will then give you all the information required. An Act in regard to marriage and estates. Be it enacted by the national council, That all regular ministers of...

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Inquiry, Widow and Children of George Fieske

Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, February 9, 1871. SIR: Please inform us if the widow of George Fieske, formerly of Company E, Second Indian Home Guards, has remarried or died since the death of the soldier; also if the soldier left any children under sixteen at the time of his death, and the names and dates of birth (and, if any have died, the dates of death) of any such, as well as who is the authorized guardian of the children. Respectfully, yours, F. E. FOSTER, Special Agent United States Pension-Office. Hon. RED BIRD SIX-KILLER, Tahlequah, Cherokee...

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Pension of Oker-kee-wer-you, widow of Toney

Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, January 30, 1871. SIR: We submit herewith declaration for reissue and increase in the case of Oker-kee-wer-you, (Oocker-we-you,) widow of “Toney,” (Toney.) The discrepancies between this and the original declaration are glaring and illustrate the utter recklessness with which applications were made in this locality; but the ignorance of the pensioner, and her frankness under a rigid cross-examination, relieve her of all blame. Her marriage to the soldier is established to our satisfaction by the testimony of Morter Vaun, who has been designated by the Indian agent as our interpreter. Mr. Vaun was a soldier in the United States Army, and is a member of the Cherokee national council; his acquaintance with the citizens of the nation is extensive, and his veracity is attested by all who know him. The death of the soldier was occasioned by a disease which seems to have frequently proved fatal among Indian soldiers, and was doubtless incurred in the service and in line of duty. The age of the minor child it will be in this, as in most Indian cases, impossible to establish except approximately, but we have given the date of birth as early as by any possibility it could have occurred. If by you deemed compatible with the interests of the Government, we recommend that her claim for reissue and increase be allowed. We would be...

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Pension Minerva Davis, widow of Jesse Davis

Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, February 2, 1871. SIR: Enclosed herewith please find original papers in the case of Minerva Davis, widow of Jesse Davis, (certificate No. 104,659,) with application for increase on account of minor children, &c. The pensioner is totally blind. Morter Vann, one of the identifying witnesses, is acting as our interpreter, is reliable, and has been questioned outside the facts included in his affidavit. These declarations embody the facts elicited by laborious cross-examination, and care is taken to exclude every allegation, which the deponents cannot make intelligently and without reserve. As in the cases heretofore sent, the ages of the children are fixed with due regard to the interests of the Government, care being taken to give dates of birth quite as early as they could have occurred. In recommending the allowance of this, as of other claims, we are somewhat influenced by the fact that the Department has already accepted the evidence furnished as to marriage and death of soldier, and also by the impression made upon us by the bearing and frankness of the witnesses and claimant. As heretofore, we affix an order for the admission of the claim for increase, and issue of a new certificate, to be signed by you in case our recommendation has your approval. Very respectfully, yours, GEO. E. WEBSTER, F. E. FOSTER, Special Agents United States Pension-Office. HOD....

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Bounty and Back Pay. widow of Wolf-Track

Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, February 3, 1871. Sir: We are requested to ascertain what amount was paid on the claims for back pay and bounty of the widow of Wolf-Track, late of Company L, Third Regiment Indian Home Guards. The records of J. W. Wright, seized by the Government, show the amount due on said claim to have been $173.14, less $9.19. The widow complains that she received only $85. Will you please inform us what amount was allowed, whether paid by draft or current money, at one or different times? “Rope,” of Company G, Third Regiment Indian Home Guards, received his original bounty, but alleges that the additional was paid by John W. Wright to another man bearing the same, who is the father-in-law of J. Brown Wright, and who deserted from the Second Regiment. He insists that Wright made such payment, knowing it to be erroneous, and that his (claimant’s) efforts to secure the money have been unavailing. Respectfully, yours, GEO. E. WEBSTER, Special Agent Pension-Office. Hon. E. B. FRENCH, Second...

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Bounty of James Taylor

Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, February 7, 1871. SIR: Enclosed herewith please find application for bounties, original and additional, of James Taylor, late a private in Company C, of the Second Regiment Indian Home Guards. If, as we believe, these claims have been already paid, it will be advisable to trace the money to its destination. Claimant insists that he has never received any penny of it, and the fact that he has for some time been in Arkansas furnishes some assurance of his veracity. As he speaks English fluently and is resolute in his determination to recover his dues, his case is well calculated to furnish an index of the manner in which bounty money was appropriated in this country. Otherwise it is by no means peculiar. The correspondence in our possession indicates that there was no hesitation in indorsing and receipting for claimants; and in most of the eases in which any bounty was received, the claimants were compelled to take store goods, after deducting $15 attorney’s fee and such debts as might appear on the books of any of the traders in the vicinity. Respectfully, yours, GEO. WEBSTER Special Agent Pension-Office. Hon E. B. FRENCH, Second...

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Bounty Declaration of OCTI-AH-CHEE-HARJO

Office Of Creek Agent, Creek Agency, Indian Territory, August 4, 1870. Some time since an application was made to Judge Wright by one POK-HEE for the back pay and bounty of her brother, whose name was OCTI-AH-CHEE-HARJO, and a private in Company G, First Indian Regiment, who died near Fort Scott, Kansas, about two years after his enlistment. Some Regiment, after the application the money arrived at Gibson, but in the mean time the girl Pok-kee had died, since which time a brother of the deceased soldier has applied repeatedly for the money, but he has been unable to get it. He now applies to me to know where the money is, so that he may make the proper application for it. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, F. A. FIELD, Captain, United States Army, Agent. Hon. E. S. PARKER, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington D....

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Declaration for Increase of Pension, Elizabeth Walking Stick

Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, February 7, 1871. SIR: Enclosed please find declaration for increase of pension in the case of Elizabeth Walking Stick, including pensioner’s affidavit relative to discrepancies between the documents of today and those of her original application. We also transmit herewith the original papers, and also the pensioner’s certificate. The identity of the pensioner was established by her witnesses, one of whom is known to us, and by Morter Vann, our interpreter. She speaks English freely. It would appear useless to hold claimants in this country responsible for any statements that may appear in their original declarations. They are ignorant of the simplest requisites to a reliable and truthful declaration. They were not even questioned as to the facts relative to which they were made to depose. After copying the contents of the adjutant general’s roll, Wright’s agents filled the remainder of the blank at hazard. The applications were kept until a number had accumulated, and then at judge was called to execute the batch, having never seen the affiants. Claimants were in most cases sworn by J. W. Wright, J. B. Wright, or one of their clerks, as Spencer S. Stephens. Of this fact we have evidence both direct and documentary. That the number of fraudulent claims in this nation were not multiplied is to be attributed to the reticence of the Indians, and an...

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