Letter of Dixon J. Bynum, January 1911

Department of The Interior,
Commissioner To The Five Civilized Tribes,

Muskogee, Okla., January 27, 1911
Hon. W. C. Pollock.
Assistant Attorney, Interior Department, Washington, D. C.

Sir: With reference to the enrollment of Indians confined in penal or eleemosynary institutions, I beg to advise that of the 768 Indians who have been confined at one time or another during the past 10 years at the United States penitentiary at Leavenworth. Kans., 542 have been identified as members of one of the Five Civilized Tribes and 98 as Indians coming from parts of the United States which would appear to indicate that they were members of other tribes of Indians. In making a final investigation of Indians in said institution a list of 55 was prepared of persons who died during confinement or who were discharged within six months prior to, or subsequent to. December 1. 1905, the date prescribed under the act of Congress approved April 26, 1906 (34 Stat. L, 137), as being the limitation of time during which applications for enrollment could be received. Of this 55, 23 were identified, which identification includes all who are still confined in the penitentiary or who have been but recently discharged. With reference to the 32 remaining unidentified, all possible data were secured from the records of the penitentiary, and letters were addressed to the parties themselves, their relatives, friends, and attorneys in attempts at identification: however, the great majority of these communications have been returned undelivered. In my experience, however, in making this investigation I do not believe that a single person failed in enrollment by reason of having been confined in either the above or the Atlanta Penitentiary. The fact that they can not be identified comes from these persons using an alias to conceal their identities or by reason of misunderstanding of the authorities in setting out their names or the fact that so many have three or four names. For instance, I found Littletown Birdhead, still confined in the penitentiary, who stated that his name was Talof Harjo, and is enrolled as a Creek Indian by blood opposite No. 7501.

There were 49 Indians received to May 23, 1910, in the Atlanta Penitentiary, of Georgia, of which 43 have been identified as members of the Five Civilized Tribes. Of the six not so identified four were discharged sufficient time prior to December 1, 1905, to have returned and made application for enrollment; one was discharged February 3, 1906, and can not be located; and the sixth, Roscoe Hamilton, claims to derive his Indian blood from his mother, Catherine Hamilton, and she states that she is a Cherokee Indian, but her name can not be identified upon any of the tribal rolls.

Investigation of the Odd Fellows Home near Checotah, Okla., developed that only eight of the children were supposed to have Indian blood. Of these eight, five were found to be enrolled and allotted, and the claim of the others, viz, Cecil Edward, Alfred D., and Mary Caroline McMillan, who were 16, 14, and 12 years of age, respectively, was found to be based upon the fact that their uncle, Andrew Jackson McMillan, married a Chickasaw Indian and was himself enrolled as an intermarried white.

In the Cherokee Orphans Home at Pryor all children have been enrolled with the exception of two boys, whose cases have been investigated by Mr. Mills.

In the Chickasaw Orphan Home at Lebanon, Okla., all the inmates have been enrolled; likewise the Creek Orphans Home at Okmulgee, Okla., with one exception, viz, Mattie Byrd, whose case is in the hands of Mr. Bliss.

In the Armstrong Academy all have been enrolled; likewise in the Tullahassee Boarding School at Tullahassee, Okla.

In the Wheelock Orphan Academy at Millerton, Okla., all the inmates have been enrolled.

In the Marrow Indian Orphan Home all have been enrolled with the exception of the four Archibald children, whose cases Mr. Bliss has.

All of the Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes in the insane asylum at Canton, S. Dak., have been enrolled. Respectfully,

Dixon H. Bynum,
Chief Clerk

Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma

Notes About the Book:

Source:  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, Published 1913, by the Department of the Interior, United States.

Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and then ocr’d. Minimal editing has been done, and readers can and should expect some errors in the textual output. Several spellings have been used for the same tribe of Indians.

This site includes some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record and should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way endorse the stereotypes implied.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.