Sunday, February 7, 2021

First Chickasaw Freedman: William Alexander Card #1

The story of William Alexander is an interesting one. He was a relatively young man when the Dawes enrollment process unfolded in Indian Territory. This young man had become active politically in the community of Chickasaw Freedmen. He was among a group of Freedmen who met at Dawes Academy where a convention of Freedmen had gathered. This meeting in 1898 was a critical one because the status of Chickasaw Freedmen was one of an un-adopted people, without a nation to call their own. This convention was a major one where they addressed their concerns about an uncertain future.

William Alexander was also connected to other Chickasaw Freedmen of note. He was the son of Margaret Wilson, who was the mother of Bettie Ligon, the head litigant in a major lawsuit made by Freedmen. This case is referred to as equity Case 7071. William Alexander was Bettie Ligon's half brother.

When the Dawes Commission came to the Stonewall area in September 1898, William Alexander was the first to be interviewed.  He was placed on Card #1 and his roll number is also #1.

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

Source: Same a above

 The participation of William Alexander in the social issue of the day would have brought about a strong belief in his influence as a leader, and his stature on the local level. As an active member in the Committee of Chickasaw Freedmen it is understood how he was the first to be interviewed in his area by the Dawes Commission.

His influence should not be forgotten.

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