Letter and reports regarding the 1857 Old Settlers Roll and the 1857 Creek Payroll

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Letters and reports regarding the 1857 Old Settlers Roll and the 1857 Creek Payroll.

Creek Agency
Aug. 20, 1857


You were advised in my last letter of the fact that the Creek Agent had reported the enrollment of the Creeks as completed. On Wednesday the 29th July I left Fort Smith with the funds for the payment, and arrived at this place on Saturday the 1st inst. Contrary to my expectation the Indians did not assemble to receive their money until Monday the 10th inst., when the payment commenced. During the ensuing week I paid off the Lower Creek with a few scattering exceptions, some of whom have been paid since, and the remainder will attend at the Upper Creeks payment, which will be made at the residence of Genl Chilly McIntosh on the North Fork of the Canadian, where I had notified the Upper Creeks to meet me on the 19th inst (yesterday), but an unusually heavy fall of rain during the last three days, by raising all the neighboring water courses, has rendered it impossible for me to get there at the appointed time with the money. I expect to leave this place tomorrow morning, and shall not fail to complete the payments to both Creeks and Seminole at the earliest practicable moment.

Very Respectfully
You most obt Servt
Elias Rector
Supt Ind Affs.

Hon. J. W. Denver
Commr Ind. Affs.

Southern Superintendency
Fort Smith Arks
Sept. 12th, 1857


I have the honor to report that being officially notified on the 25th July last by Wm. H. Garrett Esq the Creek Agent, that the National Council of that tribe had finally completed, and passed upon the rolls of the whole nation, required for the payment to them of the sum of three hundred thousand dollars provided by the Treaty of 1856 to be paid per capita to all the members of the tribe, I left this place on the 29th July with the necessary guards having in charge this, and other moneys for the Creeks, and Seminoles, and arrived at the Creek Agency on the 1st of August.

It being then discovered by the Chiefs that the rolls were still incomplete, the council proceeded to reexamine them, and I was compelled to await their final action until the 10th of August when the rolls were delivered to me, certified by the proper authorities in due form as correct and complete. In the mean time on the 3d of August, I was furnished by the Treasurer of the Creek Nation with authenticated copies of an act of the National Council, passed in open council, and in presence of the Agent, appropriating to the purpose of erecting, and endowing four seminaries of learning, the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, provided by the Senate's Amendment to Article VI of the same treaty to be paid the Creeks for "any specific national object" directed by the council. The Treasurers presented me with their letters to myself in regard to the payment and the mode of payment of that sum.

Having ample evidence that the act was duly passed in open council of the whole nation convened after full notice, and the object specified being evidently national I paid over to the Treasurers, their official character being duly established, and they personally known to me, the said sum of one hundred thousand dollars, $22,000 in money, and my draft on the assistant Treasurer at New Orleans for $78,000 payable at their special request to their agents Messrs Brown, Johnson, & co. Bankers of "New Orleans" for them, and received from them their receipt therefore in duplicate, in the form prescribed by law, and my instructions, and on the 4th day of August 1857. I also paid over to the same Treasurer, taking their receipt for each separate sum, as directed by my instructions, the sum in the aggregate of $4820 being money appropriated for fulfilling treaties with the Creeks, for black-smithing and assistant, wheelright, wagon maker, iron, and steel, and agricultural implements as per Tabular Statement No. 25 furnished me from your office.

At the solicitation of the chiefs I consented to pay the per capita money to the Lower Creeks at the Agency, and to the Upper Creeks at the residence of Chilly McIntosh on the North Fork of the Canadian River, accordingly on the 10th of August. I commenced the payment to the Lower Creek at the agency, and continued to pay from day to day until the 21st of August, when no other persons offering themselves to be paid. I proceeded to the "North Fork", commenced there the payment to the "Upper Creeks" on the 24th of August, and concluded on the 29th August no other persons offering themselves to be paid.

The amount to be paid per capita was $300,000. The whole number of individuals to be paid 14,888 making the amount payable to each twenty dollars fifteen and a fourth cents within a small fraction over - not having been able to procure at the mint in New Orleans, any silver coin smaller than dimes, I paid to each person $20.10 which will leave in my hands an aggregate excess of $751.20 - The number of persons on the roll not paid is 877 entitled to 17,627.70.

It is my intention if approved by you to pay those persons that remain yet unpaid at the time when I pay the sum of $120,000 allowed by the Treaty to those Creeks who emigrated West of the Mississippi prior to 1832, and I have so informed the chiefs of the Creeks, and I request instruction also as to said sum of $751.20 which will remain in my hands unexpended, and which it would be well I respectfully suggest to pay over to the chiefs to aid in paying persons omitted to be placed on the rolls there being I learn several such persons.

Most of the persons yet unpaid reside out of the limits of the Creek Country, some in the Cherokee Nation, and some in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama.

I entertained grave doubts whether these persons residing in the states were entitled to be paid as bona-fide members of the Creek Nation, but having expressed those doubts to the chiefs, and fully made known to them the instruction for your office on the subject, and they having nevertheless enrolled those persons, I did not consider that I possessed any authority to change the rolls, or to require it to be done as perhaps the Creeks themselves are necessarily judges in such a case as to who a their own citizens, and as I was aware that if any of those persons were now to emigrated to the Creek Nation they would be received by them, and regarded by the "United States" as members of the nation to all intents, and purposes.

But I did not conceive it was proper for me to pay to any other person, the moneys coming to those of full age who resided elsewhere than in the Creek Nation, and were not themselves present. To avoid this objection many such persons had been enrolled as members of other families, and thus some were paid through inadvertence, but in accordance with the rolls. But when it appeared that the party was a non resident of full age and was not present, I, refused to pay and third person for him, deeming that to do so would be equivalent to paying on powers of attorney, and I trust my action in this particular may meet with your approval.

I request to be furnished with specific instructions as to the course I shall pursue in the case of these non residents upon two points:

1st. Whether they should [be] paid at all.

2d. Whether if it is admitted they are of age, I can pay, any third person for them where they are enrolled as members of such person's family; and in the event that that I am sp instructed what disposition, I shall make of it, and whether, I may, or may not pay the same over to the Treasurers to the Chiefs, taking their receipts for the same as paid them for the particular persons entitled, and their agreement so to distribute the same, as otherwise the moneys may remain in my hands as infinite period

I have caused to be prepared roll of the individuals yet unpaid upon the "Census Rolls" for the sum of $300,000 showing the number of such persons to be 877. The number of families to be 201? and the amount to which they are entitled $17,6727.70 while the number of individual already paid on the original rolls is 14,011 of families 3,479, and the amount already paid $281,621.10.

Upon this new roll I propose to pay those yet unpaid to avoid confusion by the double use of, and double certificates on the original rolls, and I propose to forward to your office with my "Quarterly Account Current" the said original rolls with all the necessary receipts and certificates.

I have paid upon rolls made out from, and in strict conformity with that furnished from your office, all the parties, who have come forward entitled to share in the sum of $10,000 to be paid under Article VI of said treaty to "those individuals and their heirs who under act of Congress of March 3d 1837 have received money in "lieu of reservations of land to which they were entitled" & - Having thus paid in the presence of the chiefs, and of the Agent, and interpreter of the Creeks 190 of the persons and their representatives on said roll so furnished me the sum of $8,795.10 leaving unpaid 26 such persons, and their representatives who did not present themselves, and there thus remaining in my hands unpaid, the sum of $1,204.90 of said sum. I have advised the chiefs that I will pay these remaining parties if they present themselves, when I pay said sum of $120,000 which it is my intention to do so at as a day as practicable until which time I propose to retain the rolls of these payments.

The roll of persons entitled to receive said sum of $120,000 which by article VI of the Treaty of 1856 is to "be equally, and justly distributes, and paid, under the direction of the general council, to those Creeks, or their descendants who emigrated west of the Mississippi river prior to said Treaty of 1832" has not been completed. Before it was commenced, I fully advised the chief, under the treaty, and my instructions, that said sum was to be in full compensation for the "claims of such Creeks to an allowance equivalent to the reservations granted to the Eastern Creeks by the Treaty", and that no part of it could be "allowed or paid to any other person whatsoever, than those who are actual, and bona-fide members of the Creek Nation", and that it was the understanding of the office [of] Indian Affairs that the claimants "or individuals from whom they derive their rights, should have been actual, and bona fide members of the Nation at the date of the execution of the Treaty August 7th 1856.

The non completion of the roll of persons entitled is owing to a disagreement in the council, as to the question whether a band of Co-as-Sar-ties now some 180 in number, who left the Creek country last about the year 1805, and emigrated to Texas, and settled there are entitled to share in said moneys.

They removed it is said, from Texas to the present Creek country about fourteen years since, and have been since then considered as Creeks, have partaken of their annuities and were admitted to share said sums of $300,000 - certain Shawnees, for some time settled in the nation also claim to share said moneys.

The question thus raised has been much debated in Council, and much may be said on both sides. The letter of the Treaty seems to entitle the Co-as-Sar-ties, as they are admitted to have been members of the Creek confederacy before they emigrated to Texas, to share in the moneys. The ground on which the claim was put in the correspondence preceding the Treaty seems to exclude them, that claim being avowedly made only in behalf of the friends and followers of McIntosh to whom the Unites States first gave the Creeks country west, while again their claim was really based upon the fact that though west of the Mississippi, they still remained co-owners of the lands East, and entitled to share equally in the proceeds of it's sale which it is alleged was also the case with the Co-as-Sar-ties after they had emigrated.

It is uncertain what will be the decision, and I have understood that those who oppose the enrollment of these Indians, intend in case, they are admitted to be enrolled, to appeal to your office, the Department of the Interior, and the President which would greatly delay the payment. I am inclined to think that the decision will be in favor of their environment and I desire to be instructed whether in such case, if no appeal is taken, I, am to regard the decision of the Council as conclusive whatever may be my own opinion and if not, what course I am to take, and also what course I am to take in case of such appeal.

I ask these instruction, in consequence of my present instruction that none are to share this fund except actual and bona fide members of the Tribe, which has left me in doubt whether I was expected to exercise and supervisory power in that respect, though I have regard to the per capita moneys, deemed it my duty in the absence of explicit authority to take the roll as conclusive, even where non residents of the Nation perhaps being citizens of the United States, and also where persons of pure African descent, were enrolled as Creeks, and presented themselves to be paid greatly as I doubted the propriety of such enrollment.

Nor has the list of those claimants who are to be paid out of the sum of $70,000 to be paid the Creeks under Article VI of the Treaty yet been finished, a committee of five persons was appointed long since to determine what claims should be allowed; very many claims have been presented, and rejected, and only about $43,000 up to this time allowed. I have made fully known to the Creek authorities my instructions , and the views of your office as to these moneys, advising them that "such claims only should be allowed, as were under Treaty stipulations, or from mistakes or errors in former payments, or for losses, indemnity, services, advances, and other good consideration" that the fund was not one "which the council may distribute, or divide for themselves, and friends or other parties whom they might desire to favor", but I am greatly inclined to believe that the purpose is to divide it out among a few of the principal men, for claims no better than others rejected, and which ought but to be paid, and the delay in completing the list of claims has arisen I am satisfied from, the difficulties met with in effecting this object.

I shall forward to your office with my next "Quarterly Account Current", all the vouchers, and evidences of payment above mentioned.

I also deem it proper to inform you that I have learned that the sum of $100,000 paid by me as above stated to the Treasurers of the Creek Nation was after it's receipt by them, and when it had passed beyond my control paid over in pursuance of an act of the "General Council" as part of his fee to the council of the nation, who prosecuted their claims before Congress, and in the "Court of Claims", and before your predecessor when the Treaty was negotiated.

I have the honor to be yours
E. Rector

Southern Superintendency Ind Affs
Fort Smith Arks
September 19th 1857


Sufficient time has not yet elapsed since my appointment as Superintendent to enable me to visit any other of the "Tribes" under my charge, then the Creeks, and Seminoles; or to make myself thoroughly acquainted with the wants, and condition even of those.

Still a long residence near the frontier, and much intercourse with those tribes while for several years, I heed another office under the government have made me to some extent familiar with them, their country, and their condition, and will be my warrants to you for the suggestions in this "Report".

Having been specifically charged with the duty of paying the moneys due the Indians in this Jurisdiction, I expected on my return from Washington to have been able to pay those due the Creeks, and Seminoles in the month of June at the farthest, and prepared myself to do so. But unexpected delays on the part of the Creeks, in the completion of the necessary census and rolls postponed the time, detained me in the Creek, and Seminole country until the 7th of September, and prevented me, in the mean time from undertaking any other duty at a distance from my office.

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I respectfully suggest that instead of this provision, it is but common justice to the illiterate Indian, that the criminal laws to which he is subject, should be distinctly specified in a brief and simple code within the comprehension of them all; and also that the progress which the Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaw, at least have attained makes it proper that the punishment of misdemeanors, and minor offences committed within their limits no matter by whom, being infractions of their law should be intrusted to their own tribunals; many worthless men who now infest the Indian country; would no longer do so, if thus made subject to their laws, and no longer shielded by privilege.  It is also provided by the law, that the criminal laws thus adopted  "Shall not extend to crimes committed by one Indian against the person, or property of another Indian.  

There have always been, from a period immediately following the first settlements in North America by the whites, many white men permanently domiciled in the Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw nations.  Many of them have intermarried there, and their children are recognized as Indians.  Some of them are naturalized, and I venture to submit that the law ought to be so amended as that every white man, not a government officer, or employee, settling permanently in these nations, and at least those marrying there, should be, for all the purposes of the criminal code, regarded as Indians, subject to the Indian laws, and not entitled to any particular protection in the Courts of the United States.  The Indians think, and justly think, that those who voluntarily come into, and settle in their country, ought to be subject to their laws, and Tribunals. I also submit considering their importance that the terms "White-man", and "Indian" need to be defined. An Indian indicted for murder is charges in the indictment with killing a person who was "a white man, and not an Indian". The allegation is material, and his life may wholly depend on the truth. Whether the term "White man" would include a person whose father was an Indian, or half breed, and his mother white, or one whose mother was an Indian, or half breed, and his father white, are important questions, which ought not to be left to be settled at some time when a man's life is at stake. So there are many persons both in the present Creek , and Cherokee country, or who may hereafter go there, who [are] Creeks, or Cherokees by birth, and blood, have been, or still are citizens of the United States, and of North Carolina, Georgia, or Alabama, by Treaty, or Statute, whether they would be deemed Indians, so that an offence committed against them by an Indian could not be tried by the United States courts; or whether their citizenship would entitle them to be redressed in those courts; and to decline the jurisdiction of the Indian courts, are also grave questions, that should be settled in advance.

Among the Creeks, and Seminoles in particular are also many Negroes of unmixed African blood, and many persons partly of that blood, free, and enjoying the rights, among the Indians themselves, of citizenship; intermarrying with the latter, and sharing their annuities, and other moneys. An offence committed by one of these against the person, or property of an Indian, and "vice-versa", is, by the letter of the law, punishable under the laws of the Unites States, in the courts of the United States. It is evident that this should not continue to be the case; but that, over these persons, the Indian Tribunals, should have exclusive jurisdiction.

I particularly invite your attention to the subject of the moneys invested in stocks by the United States of which mention is made in the report of the Creek Agent. Being the proceeds of land reserved by the Treaty of 1832 for those Creeks, who, being orphaned were neither heads of families, nor members of families, it seems evident that they belong to those who were orphans, or who represent those that were orphans at the date of the Treaty. Those persons have for several years claimed the moneys, and the Creek authorities do not contest, I understand, but admit their right to receive them, and it is understood that the sum of $200,000 would not have been set apart by the Treaty of 1856, for school purposes, but for the expectation that these orphans moneys, the interest on which had for some time been paid the nation for these purposes would be paid over to the persons entitled to receive them. I respectfully suggest that payment to them ought not to be longer delayed.

Time is of no value to the Indian and they are proverbially dilatory, and inert. If I should be required to pay all moneys, annuities included, payable to the Tribes in my Superintendency, that duty will occupy almost the whole of my time, and require my almost constant absence from my office. Thus doubling the labor, and increasing ten-fold the pecuniary responsibility of the Superintendent, is not accompanied by any increase of compensation, over that received by former officers who had no active duties to perform, and seldom, if ever needed to leave their office. I have received and herewith transmit the reports made to me for the present year by the Agents for the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, Seminoles, Cherokees, and Neosho, with the reports to them, from teachers, and others, accompanying the same; and I beg leave to refer you to them for detailed information in regard to the Tribes under their charge.

The advances made by the principal tribes in the Superintendency towards civilization have been heretofore represented to your office in colors quite sufficiently flattering, and admitting of no additions by myself, I have been much struck with the great order, quiet, and sobriety of the Creeks, and Seminoles at their payments. They are all engaged to some extent in farming, wear the appearances of comfort, and are evidently well disposed, and peaceful. But I am satisfied that there is a certain point, not far in advance of that which them Choctaws have already reached, and far in the rear of that occupied by intelligent free communities of our own race, at which the progress of all these Tribes must cease, unless their natural, and individual relations with our government, and their tenure of real estate are wholly changed, and he will be their truest friend who shall convince them that while they continue aliens, and dependants, and wards of the United States, and while there is among them no individual property if fee in land, they can never aspire successfully to a civil condition much higher than that which they have already attained.

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Office Supt. Ind. Affrs.
Fort Smith
January 14th 1858


I have the honor herewith to transmit the Census Roll of those Creek Indians, or their descendants who emigrated west of the Mississippi River prior to the Treaty of 1832 and who are entitled to participate in the 120,000 dollars provided for in the 6th Act of Treaty of 7th August 1856 as taken and approved by the General Council of the Creek Nation.

By reference to the instructions given to Supt. Rector by the Secretary of Interior of date 10th April 1857 I cannot see that it was the intention of the Secretary that this roll should be forwarded to you before the payment of the money to the Indians, but as Supt. Rector is absent I comply with the request of Agent Garrett who ----- the roll in this office with request that it be forwarded to you for you action.

Very Respectfully
your obt. servt.
R. P. Pulliam
Clerk Supt. Ind. Affrs.

Charles E. Mix Esqr.
Acting Commr. Ind. Affrs.
Washington City