Letter Thomas D. Wooldridge – October 10, 1833

Mississippi, Lowndes County, October 10, 1833.

DEAR SIR: I am requested to write you as agent for John McGilry and Taner McGilbry, who have taken citizenship as Choctaws under the provisions of the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creekk agreeable to the fourteenth article of said treaty. Application was made through me to Mr. Dowsing, who is acting as agent for locating reservations of said treaty: the location was wished by the Indians to adjoin the parent by a connection of one-half mile, and connect one on the other in that way throughout. This was objected by the acting agent set contrary to his instructions from the principal agent, Col. Martin.

I have consulted several men, learned in law, who give it as their opinion that they were entitled to run their land in any way so as to adjoin the location of the parent. Is there any doubt as regards this location? If there is, is it not a well-founded doubt on the part of the Choctaws? I will refer you to that clause of the treaty where it is expressed, “that where any well-founded doubt arises as to the construction of the treaty, tile most favorable shall be given to the Choctaw:” this does certainly give this right claimed by the Choctaws.” If you are not the proper officer of the government that should be applied to on this subject for information, will you be so good as to lay this statement before them for instructions, and forward them to me as soon as possible.

There are a few settlers that have settled on this laud, who are endeavoring to prejudice the government against the Indians and their rights. It is understood by the Indians that one of them, Gabriel Felder, has written a remonstrance to your department against their locating their lands agreeable to the most favorable construction of said treaty, adding that it was only advantageous to a speculator. If this is the case, I can assure you it is without foundation, and should take it as a singular favor to be furnished with a copy of that letter. I have no fears that such would go to the prejudice of the Indians, as I have every confidence that ample justice will be dealt out to those unfortunate people; and that, as regards the location, no speculator will be benefited or injured. In that event be so good as to advise me on this subject as early as possible. There appears to be one more difficulty in this location: the State line between Alabama and Mississippi running, through the improvements, a part is wanted on each side, which we wish to be advised on. I hope that Mr. Felder will not be countenanced in his nullification notions, who not only wishes to nullify the laws and treaty, but the rights of those unfortunate Indians. The Indians urge me to press on you for a construction of the treaty, and to advise them, through me, as soon as possible, as they wish to know before the lands are sold.

I am yours, &c., THOMAS D. WOOLDRIDGE

Hon. LEWIS CASS, Secretary of War

P. S. Enclosed you have a map of the land wanted : they are all entitled to six sections and a half of land, including Gordon McGilbry’s claim. Those marked It is the land claimed by the McGilbry’s: those marked R embrace all the improvements owned by the whole of them. Please direct your letter to Pickensville, Alabama.

Section 28, and northwest ¼ of 27, and northeast ¼ of 23, is wanted for Turner McGilbry, and two children under ten years of age. Section 35 and west half of section 34, for Gordon, and two children under ten years of age.

Fractional ½ section 1 in Alabama, southwest ¼ of` section 2, north half 11, northeast ¼ of 10, southeast ¼ of 3, and west ½ of 3, northeast ¼ of 4, cast half of 33, and northwest ¼ of 33, northeast ¼ of 32, and southeast ¼ of 29, for John McGilbry, and four children over ten years of age, and two under.

You will see by the map is nearly in a body. It would be an extremely hard case to confine them to the river and river swamps. We think they are entitled to the location as laid down by the treaty, and Col. Trahern, who was locating a few days since orphan claims, gave it as his opinion that they were entitled to those lands and respected their claims.

Yours, respectfully, THOMAS D. WOOLDRIDGE.

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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