Sunday, February 12, 2012

Examining the First Draft of the Choctaw Freedmen Dawes Roll

Early Roster of Choctaw Freedman Roll
This early roster represents the hand written copy made before the Final Roll was Compiled.

Those who use the Dawes Records often see references on the Enrollment cards that the enrollees' names appeared on earlier rolls. However, one does not always see the names of the Final Dawes enrollees on the first draft copy from which the Final Rolls were made. It is worth exploring such documents to learn more about the family and when they enrolled in in some cases with whom they went to the Dawes Commission.

Before the final roll was compiled, a hand-written copy of the roll was made. These were entries made in ledgers of those Freedmen applicants who had been approved to have their names placed on the final rolls. And interestingly, in some cases the names appeared on the Final Roll in exactly the same sequence as they appeared on the First Draft.

The following example can be noted. Polly Ann Eliza Miller, and Davis Frazier both young people, appeared on Choctaw Freedman Cards 670 and 671 respectively.

National Archives Publication M1186
Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes Reel 51
Choctaw Nation, Choctaw Freedman Card Nos.670 and 671


Both were born well after slavery had ended in the Choctaw Nation, so no slaveholder is listed on their cards. However, the parental data reflects who their parents were, and who the Indian slave owner of their parents were. See reverse side below:

Reverse side of Freedmen Cards, reflecting parents and slaveholders of parents
(National Archives Publication M1186
Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes Reel 51
Choctaw Nation, Choctaw Freedman Card Nos.670 and 671)


Polly's parents were Jackson Crow and Jane Crow. Davis's parents were Silas and Indiana Frazier. 

Jackson Crow, Polly's father, was a slave of Choctaw Nail Perry. Davis Frazier's father was not a slave, but was a Choctaw Indian named Silas Frazier. Davis Frazier's mother was Indiana Frazier and she was a slave of Sophia Perry.* 

The two have cards that are close in number and although at first glance they might appear to be unrelated family history indicated that they were in actuality cousins. Nail Perry was the patriarch of the Perry clan that lived in Sugar Loaf, County of the Choctaw Nation, and he was also a witness in each case involving the slaves held by the Perry family. Nail Perry was the son and Hardy and Sophia Perry. 

Both Polly and Davis, not only had enrollment cards close in number, they were listed on the hand roster together as well.

On the First Draft of the Freedmen Roll, Polly Miller and Davis Frazier were actually listed together

Both had been interviewed on the same day and it is known  by family that they were part of the same family clan (Perry's, Fraziers and Waltons) There is also the likelihood that the two of them went to the Commission at the same time. Both had, in fact had their names put on their enrollment cards on the same date, June 6, 1899.

The value of looking at the earliest document that eventually led to the creation of the Final Rolls can she light on the enrollment process, and even give a glimpse into the movement of the officials of the Dawes Commission. One can also learn when the Dawes Commissioners visited the various communities, throughout the Territory.

My gr. grandparents were on Choctaw Freedmen Card No. 777
(National Archives Publication M1186
Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes 
Choctaw Nation, Choctaw Freedman Card No. 777)


I was pleased to also find them on the original First Draft Copy of the Choctaw Freedman Roll:

The same Walton family appeared also on the first draft of the Freedman Roll

The early draft is also useful, as they occasionally contain notes about the family or in some cases the slave holder and their estate. In the image above there is a reference to J.D. Davis and his heirs. On the official Enrollment Card, the slaveholder is simply listed as Jim Davis. This small difference might provide a small clue to another record set that may hold data with further research.

Although the genealogical data presented on the First Draft Roster of the Freedman Roll, will rarely differ, it is still useful to see the names of the approved applicants on the that first draft roll. It would be this roll upon which subsequent decisions would also be made. 

As genealogists we must look for all possible resources, including early drafts of the Final Rolls.

* Sophia Perry was the mother to Nail Perry who would frequently vouch for the Waltons and the inter-related families.

11 comments:

Terry said...

Greetings Angela,

There is/was another very interesting aspect to that Choctaw Freedmen 1896 "citizenship" census that bears mentioning.

On may on the earlier entries of Choctaw Freedmen their "tribal enrollment number" is including in the census.

This provides additional proof of their citizenship in the Choctaw Nation. Their enrollment numbers on this document and their Dawes Card continues to illustrate how the Choctaw Freedmen descendants are being marginalized when the history of the tribe is told today.

J. Mark Lowe said...

A wonderful combination of using original records to tell an important story. Thanks Angela. GREAT!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Thank you so much, Mark!

Kelley Folsom Softbreeze said...

I am from Vermont, and I am a member of one of the unrecognized bands of the Abenakis. I recently had my DNA tested through 'Ancestry By DNA". From my geneological research, I had expected my test results to show I was about 25% native american. I was quite surprised to find out I am 25% Sub-saharan African, only 3% native american, and 72% European. I was talking with someone shortly after I received the test results, who knows someone from the Swanton, Vt area. She was told by this person that apparently during the late 1800s and early 1900s there was ALOT of inter-marrying between the Abenakis and african-americans. I think if alot of Abenakis in the Northwestern part of Vermont had their DNA tested, they would be surprised like I was to find out that they have African ancestry as well as Native American.
I love doing beadwork. When I found out about my african ancestry, I ordered a book on Zulu beadwork. The Zulu tribe are from South Africa. Their beadwork techniques are unique from any other types of beadwork in the world. I feel like I have been given a wonderful gift. :)

colinsed said...

Cuz Dick and I have been looking for a list of Nail Perry's slaves for some time. He will be glad to get a copy of this article.

seekingtoledo said...

This may sound stupid, but did this census include any people who came from Mississippi? Thank You.

seekingtoledo said...

If you want, you can send the info, if you have any back to my email, seekingtoledo@gmail.com. Thank You

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

This particular document did not include Mississippi Choctaws. Some of the older members may have been born in Mississippi, but this was an Indian Territory document.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. You have a very interesting website and blog. As to the myth of the "Indian Ancestor", you said on the website that in the state of Virginia that information can be obtained brom WWI draft cards. I had a great-grandfather who filled out his card by checking both black and indian. This was a surprise because previously I had been told he was half-white. When I showed the card to my relatives, they started screaming it was a typo because there are no indians in our family. How likely do you think it was a typo? In 1900 and 1910 Census, he was listed as mulatto. Unfortunately, there isn't any more info thanks to Plecker's Laws and nobody in the family since then will talk about genealogy.

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Hello Colin, I will be curious also to know if the Thompsons were connected to Nail Perry. I see that Charlotte Thompson was the slave holder of Anderson Thompson. Was Charlotte possibly connected to Garrett Thompson, whom I believe was also connected to Eliza? Just wondering....

JD Woods aka Paul Lazarus said...

Hey Angela. I'm also a descendant of freedmen of The Choctaw as well as a possibly a blood member of the SAME that held a line of my family as slaves. I was enlightened yesterday by the fact that The 13th Amendant DID NOT free the slaves in Indian Territory and it almost 20 years before my anceestors were granted citizenship into the nation. I have Dawes card imfo and all. Is there anything eles need to help my search for more knowledge on my Native roots.