Friday, June 2, 2017

Levi and Eliza Carney & Family, Choctaw Freedmen

In June 1899, Levi Carney appeared in front of the Dawes Commission to enroll his wife Eliza, daughters Mary and Frances, and a niece Edna Choate and her daughter Myrtle Powell. They were residents of San Bois. Levi was born enslaved and was held by Choctaw Jesse Jones, and wife Eliza was enslaved by Thomas LeFlore.

Levi's parents were Jerry and Sealy Carney. His father Jerry Carney was once enslaved by Storm LeFlore, and Sealy Carney was once enslaved by Jesse Jones. Eliza Carney's father was Nelson Harris, but her mother's name was not known.

The National Archives at Ft. Worth, Texas, USA;
Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914;
NAI Number 251747; Records Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Record Group Number : 75
Choctaw Freedman Card #769


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The application jacket consisted of 16 pages, with the first interview made of Levi exclusively. It was a simple interview without complication. Levi explained that one member of the household was is niece and she was the daughter of his sister Julia. Julia was at one time enslaved by Kelley Frazier. This family file is an example during the years of enslavement, parents and in some cases even siblings were enslaved by different people. Levi and one of his parents were enslaved by Jesse Jones, his mother by Thomas Le Flore, and his sister by Kelley Frazier.


National Archives Publication M1301,

Cherokee Freedman File #769
Accessed on Fold 3


A second set of interviews are found in the file, with the commission seeking clarification about the parentage and status of the children of Edna, and also whether parents of the  two younger nieces were indeed married. A document was provided confirming that the couple was married. In addition a birth record for Myrtle was also included in the file.
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It should also be noted that this interview occurred in 1904, several years after the initial application was made. Among those interviewed were: Nick Powell, husband of Edna, (Levi's niece), Levi Carney, Amos Choate, (Edna's brother). The interviews were short and not complicated. Amos Choate's interview was primarily for clarification about Myrtle  - Edna's daughter 

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Mrytle was enrolled after the inquiry was made about her, and a letter was sent to the family about her status. 





Document reflecting the marriage of Edna Choate and Nick Powell
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The Carney family of San Bois was admitted without complication as Choctaw Freedmen. Like many  I. T. Freedmen, they have a connection to other families within the nation as well. This family of San Bois had a tie to some of the Choates from the Skullyville area, in the northern part of the Choctaw Nation.  Like many families reflected in the records, the file continually are a link to others in the same community and all are part of the larger family narrative.

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This is the 17th article of a 52-article series devoted to sharing histories and stories of families once held as enslaved people in Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. The focus is on the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes and these posts are part of an on-going project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.

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