J. W. Sparks, Choctaw-Chickasaw

J. W. Sparks Et Al.

Commission, No. 82. United States court, No. 37. Choctaw-Chickasaw citizenship court, No. 40.


September 8, 1896. Application filed for the admission of J. W. Sparks as an intermarried citizen of the Chickasaw Nation.

November 10, 1896. Decision of the commission admitting J. W. Sparks “as an intermarried citizen, and Synthia Sparks, his daughter, as a citizen by blood.”

Case appealed to United States court, Ardmore, Ind. T. Record before commission certified to court, and additional evidence taken before master.

March 12, 1898. Judgment was entered affirming the judgment of the commission, and admitting J. W. Sparks as a member of the Chickasaw Tribe of Indians by intermarriage and Synthia Sparks as a member of the Chickasaw Tribe of Indians by blood. (Certified copy of the judgment is hereto attached, marked “Exhibit A.”)

December 17, 1902. Judgment of the United States court, affirming the decision of the commission in 1896, vacated by decree of the citizenship court in the test case.

March 14, 1903. Case certified to Choctaw-Chickasaw citizenship court for trial de novo. J. W. Sparks and a witness by the name of Fletcher appear before the court on May 27, 1904, and testified as to the rights of the claimants. A certificate was offered in evidence in words and figures following:

Department Of The Interior.
Commission To The Five Civilized Tribes.

I, Tarns Bixby, chairman of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, do hereby certify that the name at Sarah Hughes appears on page 130 of the 1893 leased-district payment roll of the Chickasaw Nation, opposite No. 18 on said page.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my band at Muskogee, Ind. T., this May 26, 1904.

Tams Bixby, Chairman.

(Indorsed:) Citizenship court. Filed June 7, 1904. Jas. B. Cassada, clerk.

Sarah Hughes, referred to in the above certificate, was a Chickasaw woman, originally married to Jackson Colbert, a well-known Chickasaw residing in Tishomingo County. Jackson Colbert died, and on August 26, 1880, Sarah intermarried with J. W. Sparks in accordance with the Chickasaw laws, as appears from the following certificate of record:

Exhibit A

I hereby certify that I have this day united in the holy bonds of matrimony Mr. J. W. Sparks to Mrs. Sarah Colbert, of the C. N. Given under my hand this the 16th day of August 1880.

John E. Anderson, C. & P. Judge, T. C. C. X. Recorded August 26, 1880. Certified to.

I, Edward Turner, county clerk of Tishomingo County, Chickasaw Nation, do hereby certify that the above certificate of marriage of Mr. J. W. Sparks to Mrs. Sarah Colbert is true and of the original.

Given under my hand and seal this the 29th day of September 1898.

[seal.] Edward Turner,
County Clerk, T. C. C. N.

(Indorsed:) Citizenship court. Filed May 27, 1904. Jas. B. Cassada, clerk.

It is shown by the record that J. W. Sparks paid the Chickasaw Nation for said license the sum of $50, and that Synthia Sparks is the daughter of Sarah Sparks, nee Colbert. Subsequently, and in 1882, J. W. Sparks and Sarah secured a divorce in the Chickasaw courts, and J. W. Sparks has not since remarried. The evidence is conclusive that J. W. Sparks and his daughter, Synthia, lived continuously in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, J. W. Sparks since 1880 and Synthia from the date of her birth up to 1904, when the case was tried before the citizenship court. Counsel for claimants. Ballinger & Lee, state that they have since continued to reside in and are now residents of the Chickasaw Nation.

November 28, 1904. The following opinion was rendered by Judge Weaver and signed by all the members of the court:

In the Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship court, sitting at Tishomingo, Ind. T.

J. W. Sparks et al. plaintiffs, v. the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, defendants. On the Chickasaw docket. No. 40.


Weaver, J.

The plaintiffs in this case are J. W. Sparks and Cynthia Sparks, his daughter. Sparks is a white man and claims his right to citizenship by reason of his marriage with one Sarah Colbert, who was the widow of one Jackson Colbert, who was a recognized citizen of the Choctaw Nation. Said plaintiff afterwards obtained a divorce from his wife, and she subsequently married a man by the name of Hughes, from whom she separated, although there was no divorce, and has since died.

There is some attempt made to prove that she was a Chiekasaw Indian by blood, but it was meager and unsatisfactory, and what there is of it shows that her father was a white man and her mother a Cherokee Indian. Neither is there any evidence before us tending to show that she or any of her people had ever lived in the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nations permanently until her marriage to Jackson Colbert.

So, as she was neither n Chickasaw by blood nor a “white person.” she had no rights as a member of the tribe by blood or by intermarriage with Colbert. As she was not entitled to citizenship by blood, her daughter, Cynthia Sparks, was not so entitled, Sparks being a white man; and as she was not a “white person,” she took nothing by reason of her marriage with a Chickasaw, and therefore she could not confer anything by reason of her second marriage, even if she otherwise could, a question which it Is not necessary to pass upon in this case.

I am therefore of the opinion that the plaintiffs are not entitled to citizenship or enrollment in the Chickasaw Nation, and judgment will he rendered accordingly.

Walter L. Weaves.
Associate Judge. We concur.

Spencer B. Adams, Chief Judge.
H. S. Foote, Associate Judge.

November 28, 1904. Decree entered denying J. W. Sparks and Cynthia Sparks citizenship in the Chickasaw Nation.

May 27, 1901. Barney Sparks appeared before the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, sitting at Muskogee, and applied for enrollment as a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation by intermarriage with Cynthia Sparks, and for the enrollment of their minor child, Thomas Augustas Sparks. The record of his testimony at this hearing is in part as follows:

Q. When did you marry Cynthia Sparks?-
A. The 6th of September 1899, I believe, if I mistake not.

Q. Had you ever been married to her before that?-
A. Yes, sir.

Q. When?-
A. Married in August-the 14th of August-before that.

Q. Was that the first time you were ever married, the 14th of August, 1899?-
A. Yes, sir; the first time.

Q. Had Cynthia Sparks ever married before that?-
A. No, sir.

Q. The marriage of the 14th day of August, 1899, was under United States license?-
A. Yes. sir.

Q. Have you that marriage license and certificate?-
A. Have I with me?

Q. Yes, sir.-
A. No sir.

Q. And on the 6th of September, of the same year, you were married to the same woman under a Chickasaw license?-
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Why did you marry her the second time?-
A. It was her desire to be married under Indian law.

Q. Why didn’t you marry her under the Indian law at first?-
A. Well, sir, I was told that they didn’t issue any license.

Q. Who told you so?-
A. I don’t know as anyone at the present time. I heard it talked of.

Q. Anyone that represented the Chickasaw Nation?-
A. Just men talking.

Q. Did you make an attempt to marry under the Chickasaw law first?-
A. No; I never made the attempt. I talked to my wife about it, and she said that her father had said they wouldn’t issue any license. So I Just married under the United States law.

Q. Have you your license and certificate under the Chickasaw law?-
A. Yes, sir.

There is offered in evidence, filed and made a part of the record in this case, a license issued by Simon Wolf, county and probate Judge of Pontotoc County of the Chickasaw Nation, to Barney Sparks, a citizen of the United States, to marry Cynthia Sparks, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation by blood. Also the certificate of Simon Wolf as to the marriage of Barney Sparks and Cynthia Sparks of the 6th of September, 1899; the said marriage license and certificate being recorded in the marriage records of Pontotoc County, Chickasaw Nation, book C, pages 85 and 86, the 8th of September, 1899.

Q. How much did you pay for this license?-
A. I think $50.

Q. Have you a receipt for ft?-
A. No, sir; I haven’t.

Q. Are you and this woman living together now?-
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Have you any children?-
A. I have one.

Q. What is his name?-
A. Tommie Augustus-Thomas Augustus.

September 22, 1902. There was filed with the commission a written application for the enrollment of Charles William Sparks, born August 23, 1902, infant son of Barney and Cynthia Sparks.

January 27, 1905. Decision was rendered by the Dawes Commission, in words and figures as follows, to wit:

In the matter of the application for the enrollment of Thomas Augustus Sparks and Charles William Sparks as citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation.

The applicants, Thomas Augustus Sparks and Charles William Sparks, claim the right to enrollment as citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation through their mother, Cynthia Sparks.

The right of the applicants mother, Cynthia Sparks (as Synthia Sparks or Cynthia Sparks), to citizenship in the Chickasaw Nation having been adversely determined by a decree of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Citizenship Court of November 28, 1904, in case No. 40 upon the Tishomingo docket of said court, It is hereby ordered that the application for the enrollment of Thomas Augustus Sparks and Charles William Sparks as citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation be dismissed.

Statement By Counsel For Claimants

Counsel for claimants respectfully submit that as Sarah Sparks was duly enrolled Chickasaw Indian, and intermarried according to the laws of the Chickasaw Nation with J. W. Sparks, said union resulting in the birth of one child, Cynthia Sparks, who duly and lawfully intermarried under the Chickasaw laws with Barney Sparks, by whom she had two children, Thomas Augustus Sparks and Charles William Sparks, and that as all of said persons have continuously resided in the Chickasaw Nation, as shown by the record, and were denied enrollment by the citizenship court after having received favorable judgments in the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes in 1896 and the United States court in 1897, and were subsequently denied by the commission solely because of the decree of the citizenship court, and in disregard of their rights as shown by the records, that the following persons are in law, equity, and good conscience entitled to enrollment:

J. W. Sparks, Cynthia Sparks, Thomas Augustus Sparks, Charles William Sparks.

(4 in all.)

Judgment attached.
Respectfully submitted.
Ballinger & Lee.

Transcript Of Proceedings

United States Court, Indian Territory, Southern District, ss:

At a stated term of the United States court in the Indian Territory, ______ district, begun and had in the court rooms at Ardmore, in the Indian Territory, on the 15th day of November, in the year of our Lord 1897. Present: The Hon. Hosea Townsend, judge of said court. On the 12th day of March 1898, being a regular day of said term of said court, among the proceedings had were the following, to wit:

(37) J. W. Sparks et al., plaintiffs, v. Chickasaw Nation, defendants. Judgment.

This day this cause coming on to be heard, upon the pleadings, proof exhibits, master’s report, and the exceptions filed thereto: and the court, being advised, is of opinion that the exceptions filed to the master’s report herein by the applicants should be, and the same are hereby, sustained, and the said report is in all other respects confirmed; and the court, being sufficiently advised upon the whole case:

Doth order, adjudge, and decree that the applicant, J. W. Sparks, be and he Is hereby admitted as a member of the Chickasaw Tribe of Indians by intermarriage; and that the applicant Cynthia Sparks, be and she is hereby admitted as a member of the Chickasaw Tribe of Indians by blood; and that they each and both have all the rights, privileges, and immunities as members of the Chickasaw Tribe of Indians in the way and manner above indicated.

The clerk of this court is hereby ordered to transmit a certified copy of this Judgment to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians for their proper enrollment, which said commission is hereby directed to place their names upon the roll made out by it for the Chickasaw Nation as members of said tribe of Indians.

To this Judgment the Chickasaw Nation excepts.

_______ _______, Judge.

United States Court,
Indian Territory, Southern District, ss:

I, C. M. Campbell, clerk of the United States court within and for the district and Territory aforesaid, do hereby certify that the foregoing orders are truly taken and correctly copied from court Journals of said court, as the same appears to me.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said court, at Ardmore, this 4th day of May, A. D. 1898.

[seal.] C. M. Campbell, Clerk.

This is to certify that I am the officer having the custody of the records pertaining to the enrollment of the members of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Tribes of Indians, and the disposition of the land of said tribes, and that the above and foregoing is a true and correct copy of a certified copy of the Judgment of the court dated March 12, 1898, on file in this office, in the matter of the petition of J. W. Sparks et al. for enrollment as members of the Chickasaw Tribe of Indians.

J. Geo. Wright,
Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes

By W. H. Angell,
Clerk in Charge of Chickasaw Records
Dated at Muskogee, Okla. this 14th day of October 1910


United States Congress. Five Civilized Tribes In Oklahoma, Reports of the Department of the Interior and Evidentiary Papers in support of S. 7625, a Bill for the Relief of Certain Members of the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma, Sixty-second Congress, Third Session. Department of the Interior, United States. 1913.

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