Friday, February 17, 2017

The Family of Alexander and Mary Nivens,Cherokee Freedmen - Celebrating Freedmen Families


In April of 1901 Alexander Nivens appeared in front of the Dawes Commission, for the purpose of enrolling himself, wife Mary and their six children as Cherokee Freedmen. His children were Samuel, Charles, John, Wheeler, June and Amelia. Alexander was 60 years of age at the time, and his wife Mary was 48. The four youngest children were all under 18 years. Both Alexander and Mary were both born before slavery was abolished in the Cherokee Nation. Alexander had been enslaved by Cherokee John Nivens, and Mary had been enslaved by Cherokee John Adair.


National Archives Publication M1186 Cherokee Freedman Card #31
Ancestry.com. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Dawes Census Cards for Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Reverse side of Card
(Source: Same as Above)

Both Alexander and Mary had been previously enumerated on the 1880 Roll of Authenticated Cherokees, and also on the 1896 Cherokee Census Roll.
1896 Cherokee Roll
Ancestry.com. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959 [
database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Selected Tribal Records
The National Archives at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas.


In addition to Alex and the six children on the card above, two additional children Alex and Mary, who were then grown and with their own families also appeared in front of the Dawes Commission, each with their own families.

Richard Nivens, appeared for himself and his wife Annie and their children, and another son, Callis appeared for himself and his wife Emma and their children. Richard and Callis were both sons of Alexander and Mary Nivens. Annie, the wife of Richard was the daughter of Anderson and Sarah Bean. Callis's wife Emma was the daughter of Jimmie and Patsy Dennis. Emma's mother Patsy was the slave of George Sanders. (Her father Jimmie was not a Cherokee citizen.)

National Archives Publication M1186 Cherokee Freedman Card 35

(Reverse side of Callis's card)



National Archives Publication M1186  Cherokee Freedman Card #34



Reverse side of Richard Nivens Card

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The questioning of Alexander was the standard with questions about himself, place of birth, wife and the names of his children. There was some interest about the status of his wife's parents and if they had been slaves or not. Alexander answered all questions easily and pointed out when asked, that he did know that Mary's parents were slaves, and that he even remembered that her mother Judy was a slave. Mary's family had been taken south during the Civil War, but returned to the Ft. Gibson area when freed.

National Archives Publication M1301 Cherokee Freedman Packet #31
(Source: Same as above)

(2nd page of interview in Niven Packet)


Random memorandum found in same packet.

Mary, wife of Alexander, was interviewed in the 1930s for the Indian Pioneer interview project. Her interview provide a small glimpse into life during those first years of freedom. She also spoke about the time when a cholera epidemic had affected the community, and she had lost so many family members. Because there was so much loss of life she even wished that she would succumb to the same disease affecting the area. Her final days were spent with her grown son Samuel. The land allotment that the family once had, was no longer in the their possession, and she simply described the loss of land sadly as simply being "all gone, now."

Original data: Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian and Pioneer Historical Collection Foreman, Grant, ed. 
Indian Pioneer History Collection. IPH 1–40, microfilm, 
40 rolls. Indian Archives Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


(Source: same as above page)

The Nivens lived in the Hulbert Okalhoma community for many years. A quick look at the 1920 census records reflected the Nivens living in the same community of Neros, Pettits, and Fords, all well known Cherokee Freedmen families. These would have been the times when they were living on their land allotments that were later lost or sold away from the family.

1920 Federal Census, Hulbert, Oklahoma


There are a few land records that reflect the family's receipt of land allotments. 

(Ancestry.com. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Land Allotment Jackets for Five Civilized Tribes, 
1884-1934 [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2014.
Images 394 and 395 of 431)

The Nivens remained in Oklahoma in the 1930s, but by 1940 Callis and family had relocated to Labette County Kansas, and had settled in the town of Parsons. The family may have moved on to other places now that many decades have passed, but theirs is a strong legacy coming out of the Cherokee Nation. They survived enslavement, witnessed the post Civil War years of resettlement and adjustment, and worked the land of their birth for several decades. As westward expansion opened up in the Territory, they claimed their land and worked their land for some time before moving away. Having moved to places beyond Oklahoma, it is hoped that the Nivens legacy is is still a strong legacy of family and resilience and sustenance.
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(This is the 5th article in a series devoted to sharing families once enslaved in Indian Territory. The focus is on Freedmen from the Five Civilized Tribes and are part of the effort in 2017 to document 52 families in 52 weeks.)


Monday, February 6, 2017

The Family of Piner and Rachel Clayton, Choctaw Freedmen (Celebrating Freedmen Families)

Coming from the Skullyville area of the Choctaw Nation, the Piner Clayton appeared in front of the Dawes Commission to enroll himself and his family as Choctaw Freedmen, on June 14th  of 1899. I took an interest in this family because they lived in the Skullyville area, near Oak Lodge, which is the same community of my own ancestors, who lived nearby. Being so close in the same Oak Lodge area, of Skullyville, I cannot help but wonder if they knew each other. That community is now known as Spiro, Oklahoma. The family was later approved for enrollment in 1903 except the youngest child whose enrollment came much later.

National Archives Publication M1186 Choctaw Freedman Card #749
National Archives at Ft. Woth, Ft. Worth Texas USA; Enroloment Cards for the Five
Civiliaed tribes 1898-1914; NAI Number: 251747; Records Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affair; Records Group 75

On an earlier roll created in 1896 the card reflects that the Claytons were enrolled as being from Skullyville. However upon closer examination of the card, a faint pencil line was drawn through the word Skullyville and the community of Jack's Fork was written faintly above it.

Close up of card from above.

Piner was enrolling his children only, for his wife was not a citizen of the Choctaw Nation. The children were Willie, James, Diamond, Ana and Argutha. Piner was 49 years old at that time, and he and his family had been once enslaved by Thomas Ainsworth before the Civil War.

Piner Clayton's parents were Sylvester Clayton, and Minnie Clayton. Nothing is known about Sylvester Clayton except that he was deceased at the time of the Dawes enrollment. Piner's mother Millie was also deceased by that time,, but it is known that she was also enslaved by Tom Ainsworth.

Reverse side of Enrollment Card
Source: Same as top image above.


The interview for the Clayton file was not an extensive one. Most of the focus in the file appeared to be for the youngest child, Argutha. Argutha's case was added because he was born after the father Piner had initially appeared in front of the Dawes Commission.

National Archives Publication M1301 Application Jacket
Application Jackets Choctaw Freedman #749
Image Obtained from Fold3.com
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/55652625


Included also in the file was a birth affidavit for the youngest child Argutha. (Note that by 1910, the child was referred to in the federal census as "Augustus.")

(Source: Same as previous image)
In an effort to learn more about the family the Federal census of 1900 and 1910 were examined. In 1900 the family was enumerated in Mountain township, in the Choctaw Nation. However, by the time of the 1910 census the family had relocated to Braden. (Braden was and is still called "Braden Bottoms" by those living in what is now LeFlore County, Oklahoma.)

1900 Census Reflecting Clayton Family


1910 Census Reflecting Claytons in Braden Township

The move to the Braden Bottoms could have possibly been due to the Claytons being approved for land allotment and for having selected their land by 1910. The applications for allotment were examined and an extensive files for the Clayton family appeared for Piner and the children. Because Argutha's roll number was out of sequence on the enrollment card (see above) his land allotment application was conducted later, but he too received land as did each of the members of the Clayton household.

Sample of land record of Piner Clayton. Each member of the family excluding Rachel the mother,  
received their own land, and each had a file with the land descriptions and plat map.

The Clayton Family lived for several decades in the eastern Oklahoma community in LeFlore County. Some eventually moved to Oklahoma. This strong family has deep Oklahoma roots that continue to thrive both on Oklahoma soil and places beyond.

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(This is the 4th article in a series devoted to sharing families once enslaved in Indian Territory. The focus is on Freedmen from the Five Civilized Tribes and are part of the effort in 2017 to document 52 families in 52 weeks.)

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Family of Elijah Canard, Creek Freedmen - Celebrating Freedmen Families

Many who research Freedmen from the Muscogee Creek Nation area aware that there are challenges facing the researcher, because many of the application jackets were never digitized and are thus lost. Although a good portion are indeed missing and the words of the ancestors are lost to time, there are some cases where interviews survived, and they are worth examining.

The family of Elijah Canard, is such a family whose history can be examined and studied. The family data should also be studied because it illustrates agin how many of the families were blended with families from other nations. In this case the Canard family is blended with a family of Chickasaw Freedmen.

The enrollment card of Elijah Canard's family is full of information, full of clues, and can lead the researcher to explore additional records.

National Archives Publication M1186 Creek Freedman Card #221

The National Archives at Ft Worth; Ft Worth, Texas, USA; Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; NAI Number: 251747; Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs;

Record Group Number: 75
In August 1898, Elijah Canard appeared in front of the Dawes Commission to enroll himself and his family as Creek Freedmen. Though Creeks, they resided in the Chickasaw Nation, in the town of Maxwell, Indian Territory. It is noted quickly that James and the children had been recognized as Creeks prior to that and their names were already on a roll  in 1895. Elijah was enrolling his sons, James, Jimmie and Johnie in addition to two gr. nephews, Earnest and Wilford McIntosh.

Elijah was 41 years old at the time, and he had been enslaved by Moty Canard. Prior to Elijah's appearance with the Dawes Commission, his name had been inscribed on the 1867 Dunn Roll, and this was noted on the card as well. In addition, his name was also listed on the 1890 Roll of Creek citizens. On the 1867 Dunn Roll, Elijah's name appeared as Elijah McIntosh, #934 (At that time he was listed as having belonged to Arkansas Town.) 

Dunn Roll page obtained from:
Ancestry - Oklahoma & Indian Territory Indian Censuses & Rolls 1851-1959
Image number 196 of 592
(Note the hand-written number "228" aside the name, referring to the later Dawes Card.)
 His parents were Caesar Canard, who was enslaved by Moty Canard, and his mother was Clara Hared, enslaved by Maria McIntosh. both parents apparently died right after the Civil War. By the time of the Dawes Commission, he belonged to North Fork Town. James' mother was Tilda Canard, and the mother of Jimmie and Johnie was listed a Leathy. Elijah's current wife was said to be Martha Canard, a Chickasaw Freedman. 

Reverse side of enrollment card. (see citation from top image above)

Anthony & Peggy McIntosh were the parents of Elijah's gr. nephews. Their father Anthony was not a citizen, but their mother Peggy was a Creek Freedman who belonged to North Fork Town. Peggy was the niece to Elijah and the mother to Earnest and Wilford McIntosh, the two young boys. All had their citizenship approved by the Creek Council in August 1895.

From the Application Jacket:

The first person interviewed was Polly Perry. She was a brother to Elijah, but she was there to testify on behalf of the two boys Ernest and Wilford McIntosh. The mother of the two boys was Peggy McIntosh and she was deceased. Peggy their mother was the daughter of Polly's sister. (Both Polly and Peggy's mother were siblings also to Elijah Canard.) Polly explained the relationship in her interview.

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326247

On the second page of the interview Elijah himself speaks and shares more information about the family data including details about the father of the two boys.


National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326248

Much more is revealed in the application jacket of Elijah, where there is much interest in the enrollment of the nephews, their parents and whether they had been previously enrolled by the Creek Nation. 
National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326249

Details about the movement during and after the war is revealed when Miley Johnson was interviewed. She explains where they were taken during the war and where the family, including Elijah lived after the war ended.

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326250

There was still interest in the status of the children and the need to determine if they had even been enrolled as Chickasaw Freedmen, as their mother was from Chickasaw Freedmen communities.

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326251


Three years later, in September 1901, and then again in October, the status of Elijah (Lige) Canard was examined more thoroughly by the Commission.

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326252

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326253


National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326254

Contained also in the file were two pages pertaining to the lands allotted to some of the members of the family, including the sons Jimmie and Johnnie. Attention was paid to the fact that the mother was Chickasaw, and that they were applying as Creek Freedmen. There was analysis of Elijah's name whether it was Canard, or Walker. The name Walker does not appear on the enrollment card, but comes out in this application Jacket. 

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326255


It is also noted that Willie Cohee of the Chickasaw Nation had previously made application for the boys to be enrolled as Chickasaw Freedmen and that lands were to have been allotted to them as such. The exact description of the land appears in those pages. 

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326256


National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326257


Further analysis concluded that there were no conflicting interests in spite of the lands set aside for the sons,  and that no attempt to convey the lands to them, so it was decided that the Chickasaw allotments be stricken and that they be enrolled as Creek Freedmen allottees.



National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326258

Since there was much discussion about the lands allotted to the children, I decided to see where their allotted lands were located, and it appears that they received land near each other. In Township 19, Range 8 the lands reflecting their family allotments are shown below.
Ancestry.com. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Land Allotment Jackets for Five Civilized Tribes, 1884-1934 
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2014.
(Creek Freedmen: Image 42 of 869)

It is not known whether the family retained the land over the years or not. Many Creeks lost land over the years due to land thieves and swindlers, known to take advantage of many families in rural communities throughout Oklahoma.  Hopefully this family was able to retain lands over the next century. Regardless, theirs is a history of survival of slavery, freedom, Creek citizenship, membership in their tribal town, and finally ownership of their own land after the Dawes Rolls were finally closed.

This particular case reflects many aspects of the complex nature of the lives of Indian Territory Freedmen. Many married citizens of other nations, and though this family lived in Chickasaw country, they were indeed Creeks and thus were entitled to lands as Creek citizens. The family's structure was complicated by the fact that Elijah Canard was the guardian to his niece's children, with their parents having preceded them in death.



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(This is the fourth article in a series devoted to sharing families once enslaved in Indian Territory. The focus is on Freedmen from the Five Civilized Tribes, and are part of the effort to document 52 families in 52 weeks.)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Family of Serena & Perry Cohee, Chickasaw Freedmen - Celebrating Freedman Families

The family of Serena and Perry Cohee is a fascinating one from the Chickasaw Nation. The documents reflecting this family also illustrate how Freedmen of the various nations intermingled and lived blended cultural lives. In addition, the records also reflect the way Freedmen from this nation were treated when appearing for the Dawes Commission. 

Serena Cohee (later known as Serena Brown) appeared in front of the Dawes Commission in September 1898. She was a resident of Pontotoc County and resided near Purcell, Indian Territory. By looking at the card, it appears that she applied on behalf of herself and her children, Eddie, Washington and Annie. A one year old child's name was added at a later date--Myrtle Lee Brown. (A notation to the side indicates that Myrtle was born in December 1901.)

National Archives Publication M1186
Chickasaw Freedman Card #348

The National Archives at Ft Worth; Ft Worth, Texas, USA; Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; NAI Number: 251747; Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
 Record Group Number: 75

On the reverse side of the card, more about Serena is revealed. Her father's name was "Washn" Mays. His name is clearly an abbreviation for "Washington". He had been enslaved by Sam Colbert. Her mother was Susan Brown, also enslaved by the same Chickasaw slave holder, Sam Colbert.

The father of the Cohee children was Perry Cohee, but it is noted that at the time of Serena's appearance at the Dawes Commission, he was deceased. Serena had clearly remarried, by the time Myrtle was born, and her father's name is shown as Emanuel Brown.
(Source: Same as above image)

Serena's interview, as such, is presented as a simple statement. The full testimony given by Serena is not included in the Dawes packet. This was the case of many Chickasaw Freedmen. In fact it was later noticed after some time, that Chickasaw Freedmen cases were being "modified" by some of the Dawes commissioners and their true interviews having been replaced by these short statements. In many situations some of those Freedman cases with brief statements were later challenged by attorneys investigating the enrollment process for Freedmen and inquiries were later made as to why the testimonies were not included in the official files. Such is the case with this file, however, much more still can be found even with the modified testimony.

It is important to keep in mind that the Freedmen of this nation were never adopted by their former slave-holding nation, and they had lived for over three decades without a country. Abbreviated statements such as found in the Dawes application packet for Serena and her family, are quite frequently found in this collection of Chickasaw Freedman documents. See the page below.

(The single "interview" contained in Susan Cohee's file)
National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jacket for Chickasaw Freedman 348
Ancestry.com. U.S., Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

The youngest child's name (Myrtle) is not included, because at the time, she had not yet been born. But among the additional items in the file was the birth affidavit for Myrtle. From this document much more can be learned, in spite of the limited data in the abbreviated interview. 

Myrtle was born in 1901 in Purcell. By this time, Serena had re-married, and her husband was a Emanuel Brown, and he is listed as the father of the child Myrtle. However, it should be noted that on one portion of the card, Emanuel was said to have been a Chickasaw Freedman. But the bottom portion of the same document says that Emanuel Brown was actually a Creek by blood.
(Source: same as above image)

Two other documents are part of the Application jacket, but not further mention of Emanuel Brown. 

(Source: Same as above)

(Source: Same as above)


The statements about Myrtle's husband Emanuel is intriguing and conflicting. He was listed as a Chickasaw Freedman and then as a Creek. So, I decided to see if more could be learned about him. Was he Creek, or was he Chickasaw? And was he a citizen by blood or classified as a "Freedman?"

Emanuel Brown's Creek Family

A search was made on the Oklahoma Historical Society database for Dawes enrollees. There was an Emanuel Brown on the rolls, and he was of the Creek Nation. Another search was made just in case of a spelling difference to see if a "Manuel", or "Emmanuel" may have been on the roll from either Creek or Chickasaw nations. There was a "Manual" Brown, but this child was a Creek New Born, and not an adult. There was no one on the roll with the name Emmanuel spelled with two "m"s, so, it appears that Emanuel Brown the adult male, was the husband of Serena and father to Myrtle. And that Emanuel Brown was a Creek Freedman.

Being curious about Emanuel Brown's ancestry, I decided to study the enrollment card of Emanuel Brown, which was an amazing exercise. He was born about 1868 after the Civil War, so he was clearly not born enslaved. He had also been previously listed on one of the "Old Series" Creek Cards. And prior to that he was on the 1895 roll as "Manuel" Brown.

National Archives Publication M1186
Creek Freedman Card #1441

The National Archives at Ft Worth; Ft Worth, Texas, USA; Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; NAI Number: 251747; Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
 Record Group Number: 75

Emanuel's father was a Chickasaw Freedman, Jack Brown, who was, by that time deceased. His mother was Amelia Hutton, who was apparently still living at the time of the Dawes enrollment.

(Source: Same as above image)

Manuel's mother was Amelia Hutton, daughter of Peter and Creasy Wolf of Canadian Town. They had at one time been enslaved by Wm. Reed. Amelia's husband was Joe Hutton, son of Jim Grayson and Venus Grayson of North Fork Town. With this information, clearly, there is much more that can be learned, because the Hutton family has had much research conducted on the family line,  by many individuals over the years. And studying the history of that line will take the family history down another unique path. With a rich Creek history of Amelia and her ancestry and also by studying more about the old tribal towns of the Creek Nation, so much more will be learned. It is also important to note that Creek history is an amazing one, with much contact between many families. The tribal towns are equally as rich and this knowledge of the family's ties to Canadian Town, and even Ketchapataka Town through her husband Joe.

Back to Serena Cohee Brown

A small notation appeared at the end of the abbreviated interview to take note of Chickasaw Freedman card #344. That was the enrollment card of Susan Brown--Serena Cohee's mother.

National Archives Publication M1186
Chickasaw Freedman Card #344

The National Archives at Ft Worth; Ft Worth, Texas, USA; Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; NAI Number: 251747; Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
 Record Group Number: 75

(Reverse side of card)
(Source: same as above image)


Only two pages are found in the application jacket of Susan Brown. And it too, appears to be an abbreviated interview as there are no questions and answers in detail. However---the summary is still useful and quite valuable to the family research. The brief "statement" made by Amelia reflects an extensive family with quite a complex structure. Each new branch can lead the researcher to much more on the family line.
National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jacket for Chickasaw Freedman 344
Ancestry.com. U.S., Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

The remaining document in the file is a memorandum simply stating that Susan was enrolled by the Dawes Commission. However, this is significant, as it entitled her to receive her own land allotment, and that even at her mature age, she was not removed from the rolls because of having died before the rolls closed.

The structure of the Chickasaw ancestry of Serena's mother Susan connects to others as well in the family. And the fact that her mother Susan was living, she did receive her land allotment, and by searching the land records, her allotment certificate was also found.

Ancestry.com. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Land Allotment Jackets for Five Civilized Tribes, 1884-1934 
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2014.
Original data: Department of the Interior. Office of Indian Affairs. 
Five Civilized Tribes Agency. Applications for Allotment, compiled 1899–1907.

Susan Brown, her daughter and other children and grandchildren including Cohees, Stevenson and others were a cohesive family living in the Purcell area of the Chickasaw Nation. Other families were the Mays, Alexanders, and Bruners. And this family even with such a small file, is one that extended into the Creek and also Seminole Nations. They survived many obstacles that were placed in the paths of the Freedmen of that nation. It is not known if they were able to retain their land for in subsequent years many families lost their land do to the efforts of many to swindle the people from their land. But it is evident that this family did survive to receive their land, and eventual American citizenship that came with Oklahoma statehood.

So, clearly, the file of Serena Cohee, and her extensive family is a fascinating one to research. Her husband Perry most likely has ties to the other Cohee Freedmen families. By following the clues left on the documents it leads the researcher to the Creek Nation, to the Tribal towns, including Canadian Town and Kethaptaka town.

Clearly the descendants of the Cohees, and Browns and Huttons have an amazingly rich history and much to celebrate as they survived removal, enslavement, freedom, and finally a nation to call their own.
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This is the third in a series devoted to sharing families once enslaved in Indian Territory. The focus  is on Freedmen from the Five Civilized Tribes, and are part of the effort to document 52 families in 52 weeks.