In 1899 Hester Murphy applied for herself and her family as citizens of the Creek Nation in front of the Dawes Commission. From the records reflect the Murphy family from Coweta, a family well documented and strongly connected to the community, the land and to the Muskogee Creek Nation. On the enrollment cards, Hester's name is found as well as those of her daughters Fannie and Ruth, her sons Fred and Walter, an associate Joseph Stephens who was not related. She was a member of North Fork Town, and prior to the war, was once enslaved by Moty Canard.
Source: The National Archives at Ft. Worth, Ft. Worth Texas 1868-1914
NAI Number: 251747 Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75
(Color Image Accessed from Ancestry)
To verify her presence, several questions were directed to her about various payments made to Creek citizens. They discussed whether she was on the 1890 roll, and if she had received the $29 payment and if she had drawn the $14 that was also paid.
Also in the interview the voice of Freedman leader Sugar George was found. He was a major leader who served in the House of Warriors, the House of Kings, and he served as town king of North Fork Colored town.
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The Murphy family did obtain their land allotments and the allotment records and interviews also tell more of the Murphy family story.
There is much to be learned from the Murphy family file. The relationships among the various "classes" of Creeks was a strong one, and the Murphys were viewed as Creeks and not as outsiders. Their status as "Freedmen" was outweighed by their simply being viewed and treated as Creek. In addition, the roll that "Freedmen" such as Sugar George was evident and his involvement as a ruler in the nation is verified, and undisputed.
The lives of the Freedmen from the Creek Nation were closely aligned to all Creeks and the culture of this family was without one that was strong and deeply rooted as Muskogee Creek people.
(This is the 29th article in a 52-article series devoted to sharing histories 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 ongoing project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.)