Letter from Department of War April 8, 1834

23 Congress No. 1230

In Relation To The Location Of Reservations Under The Choctaw Treaty Of The 27th Of September, 1830.

Communicated To The Senate April 11, 1834.

DEPARTMENT OF WAR April 8, 1834.

SIR: I have the honor to communicate a report from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, with accompanying documents, containing the
information called for by the resolutions of the Senate of the 3d of March, in relation to the location of reservations under the treaty with the Choctaws of September 27th, 1830.

     I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,   LEWIS CASS
Hon. MARTIN VAN BUREN, President of the Senate.

Indian Affairs, April 8,

     SIR: In compliance with the first
resolution of the Senate of the 3d ult., I have the honor to state that William
Trahern, Esq., was appointed to locate the reservations for orphans
under the 19th article of the treaty with the Choctaws of 27th September, 1830, and Col. George W. Martin to locate the other reservation granted in the same treaty. I transmit, herewith, copies of the instructions to these gentlemen, and of the correspondence between them and this department, and between this department and other persons, touching the locations of said reservations, and
the manner in which the duties of these agents have been performed.
I also lay before you, in conformity with the second
resolution of the Senate, “copies of the registers of the names of such Choctaw
reservations of land under the 14th and 10th articles of said treaty,” with the
instructions given to the agents who prepared these registers.
All these papers have been copied in full, with the
exception of some to Col. William Ward, in 1831,  of which such passages have been omitted as related solely to the general business of his agency, and
of three letters received from Mr. Gwinn and Col. Martin.
The letter of the first is dated June 20, 1833; those
of the last, November 18th and 19th. Extracts of these only are given, as the other portions implicate the conduct of persons who are not officers of the government, nor responsible to this department.

     I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant ELBERT HERRING.
Hon. LEWIS CASS, Secretary of War.

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, January 7, 1834.

      SIR; I have received your letter
of December 6, and entirely approve of your general views concerning the
execution of your duty in the location of the Choctaw reservations. I am aware
that you must have many difficulties to encounter, but I am satisfied that you will meet them in a proper manner, and with a determination to comply with the laws and your instructions.
I have applied to the General Land Office to procure copies of the plats for you. The enclosed memorandum furnishes the answer.
     As it appears to be out of the
power of that officer to render you the necessary assistance, I have directed
some of the topographical officers to prepare and forward to you copies of such
plats as are in the General Land Office. As the others arrive they shall be copied and forwarded to you. I understand it is almost impracticable for the surveyor general to have topics prepared for you, in consequence of the pressure
upon his office. Under these circumstances I must refer you to the plats of the
respective land offices, till copies can be sent by this department. In the meantime, should you find it indispensably necessary, you are authorized to have
such a general sketch prepared as you may find essential in the performance of your duty, if it can be effected for a small expenditure.

     Very respectfully, &c., LEW. CASS.
TO GEORGE W. MARTIN, Esq., Columbus, Alabama.

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, January 7, 1834

SIR: I have the honor to enclose a copy of the Opinion of the Attorney General on the. question submitted by you, respecting the location of Choctaw reservations.

Very respectfully, &c.,  LEW CASS
To the Hon. WILLIAM S. ARCHER, House of
Representatives of the U. Slates.


     SIR: I have looked into the supplement to the
Choctaw treaty of the 28th September, 1830, upon which, as I understand, the
question proposed to me in your communication of the 26th inst. arises; and I
have the honor to submit the following opinion as the result of my reflections thereon.
The articles, both of the principal treaty and of the
supplement, carefully provide, as a general rule, that the several reservations
granted therein shall include the existing residences and improvements of the respective grantees. In particular instances, this general rule is departed
from, but usually in such a manner as to indicate, very clearly, that each reservation, unless special provision to tile contrary be expressly made, is to
include, so far as it can, the premises actually improved by the party; reference being first had, agreeably to the decision already made by you, to his actual place of residence. Where the reservation is only of one section, or of a part of a section, there can be no difficulty in making the location upon this principle. And in accordance with it, I think that where the reservation exceeds a section, the excess beyond the section containing the dwelling house, ought to
be so taken from a contiguous section as to include the other improvements, if any, possessed by the grantee at the date of the treaty; and if those improvements are on different sections, I think the excess ought to be taken
from that section within which the greatest portion of the improvements shall
have fallen. If the grantee had no improvements in his possession at the date of
the treaty, except such as shall have fallen within the section containing his dwelling house, then I am of opinion that he may locate the excess beyond that
section, in any contiguous section not otherwise appropriated.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
The letter of Mr. Archer, referred to in your communication, is herewith returned.
To the Hon. LEWIS CASS, Secretary of War.

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Office Indian Affairs,
February 3, 1834

SIR: Juba B. Hancock as transmitted to this office papers to establish his
claim to reservations for himself and two children, under the 14th article of
the treaty of September 27, 1830. He states that he is a white man, married to a
Choctaw woman, the mother of these children. That his son William Mitchell, was
twelve years old on the 1st day of September, 1830, and his daughter, Mary Melinda, was ten years old on the 14 of February, 1830 that his name and theirs were registered by Col. Ward, in August, 1831, but leaf on which they were registered was lost. This statement is supported by the affidavit of Giles Thompson and David Fulsom, and P. P. Pitchlynn, certifying that the claimant was, for many years prior to the treaty a citizen, and entitled to all the privileges of a citizen.
You are requested to inquire of Col. Ward whether these
circumstances are truly stated, and if they are, you will locate a section for the father, and a half section for each of the children, and apprise the department of the result.

Very respectfully, &c., E. HERRING.

P. S. There is a third child Caroline Delia, who is now about ten years of age, and of course entitled to a quarter section.
To Col. GEO. W. MARTIN, Columbus, Alabama.

WASHINGTON CITY, February 10, 1834

     SIR: Under the treaty of Dancing Rabbit
Creek, Cue W. Harkins was entitled to two sections of land, the one to include
his improvement, and the other to be a floating claim. A considerable time before the treaty Mr. Harkins had built and paid for a house on section 31 in township 16, range 1 east; and at that time said George W. Harkins had no other improvement in the nation, but resided with his mother. But as he did not reside on that section at the time of making the treaty, it was denied to him, and given to Vaughn Brashears, who was also entitled under the treaty to his own improvement, which was situated on the section next adjoining, on the south, to
wit: section 6 in township 15, range 1 east, to which latter section the said Brashears had a rightful and proper claim.
As the treaty provides that, in all cases of
doubt, the construction shall be in favor of the Indian claims, it is thought
that as Harkins had no other residence or improvement of his own, that this must be the land to which, under the true meaning of the treaty, he is entitled.
It is therefore respectfully asked that a patent shall
not issue to said Brashears, but that the case may be considered, and the title
to said section 31 awarded to George W. Harkins.

     I have the honor to be, your obedient
To the Hon. LEWIS CASS, Secretary of War

Armstrong Roll of Choctaw, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 1831. Document 512, Correspondence on the Subject of the Emigration of Indians between the 30th November, 1831 and 27th December, 1833 With Abstracts of Expenditures by Disbursing Agents, in the Removal and Subsistence of Indians. Furnished in answer to a resolution of the Senate of 27th December, 1833, by the Commissary General of Subsistence., Vol. III, printed in Washington by Duff Green, 1835.

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