Pension of Oker-kee-wer-you, widow of Toney

Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, January 30, 1871.

SIR: We submit herewith declaration for reissue and increase in the case of Oker-kee-wer-you, (Oocker-we-you,) widow of “Toney,” (Toney.) The discrepancies between this and the original declaration are glaring and illustrate the utter recklessness with which applications were made in this locality; but the ignorance of the pensioner, and her frankness under a rigid cross-examination, relieve her of all blame. Her marriage to the soldier is established to our satisfaction by the testimony of Morter Vaun, who has been designated by the Indian agent as our interpreter. Mr. Vaun was a soldier in the United States Army, and is a member of the Cherokee national council; his acquaintance with the citizens of the nation is extensive, and his veracity is attested by all who know him. The death of the soldier was occasioned by a disease which seems to have frequently proved fatal among Indian soldiers, and was doubtless incurred in the service and in line of duty.

The age of the minor child it will be in this, as in most Indian cases, impossible to establish except approximately, but we have given the date of birth as early as by any possibility it could have occurred.

If by you deemed compatible with the interests of the Government, we recommend that her claim for reissue and increase be allowed. We would be gratified if immediate action is taken thereupon, in. order that the certificate, if issued, may reach us before our departure. Should you approve our recommendation, please sign the order below, and send, with case, to the widows’ certificate division. We will correct “examiners’ rolls” on receipt of certificate.

Yours, respectfully,
Special Agents United States Pension-Office.
Commissioner of Pension.

Special-Chief of Widows’ Division:

As recommendation in the foregoing reissue certificate to Oo-ker-we-you, widow of Toney, private, Company D, Third Indian Home Guards, at $8 per mouth, commencing February 22, 1865, with increase of $2 per month, commencing July 25, 1866, and ending March 1, 1871, on account of minor child, Ta-key. Former payment to be deducted.


United States Pension-Agency,

Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, January 30, 1871.

Sir “Oo-ker-we-you” appeared before us today to establish her title to pension, as widow of Toney, late private Company D, Third Regiment Indian Home Guards. We also inquired relative to her claim for bounty; and, upon examining the records seized at the office of Alexander Clapperton, we ascertained from a pencil memorandum that her claim was contested by “Polly D. Toney,” sister of the soldier. Of the marriage, (according to the “custom of the Cherokees”) of said Oo-ker-wee-you to “Toney,” we think there is no doubt. Morter Vaun, at present acting as our interpreter, and a member of the Cherokee national council, (one of the few reliable men connected with that body,) swears that he has been acquainted with her twenty-five years; that he well knew her husband “Toney” that he knows that for about ten years previous to his death said soldier and applicant lived together as man and wife, and were recognized as such throughout the nation; and that her relationship to the soldier was known to “Polly D. Toney,” the sister. His statement is corroborated by the affidavit of Joe Shade, who, though unknown to us, appears to be credible and disinterested.

We have recommended the continuance of the widow’s pension upon the testimony referred to. We know nothing of the condition of the bounty claim, except that it appears that neither original nor additional has been paid. If, however, the testimony on file in your office, in connection with our statement, will warrant such action, and you will forward the bounty check to us, we will endeavor to secure to the applicant the full benefit of the same-a, rare consummation in this Territory-and will take such receipts and additional evidence as you may require. If preferable, the checks may be sent to the United States Indian agent, Rev. John B. Jones, with notice to us.

Very respectfully, yours,
Special Agent United States Pensions-Office
Hon. E. B. FRENCH,
Second Auditor Treasury.

42nd Congress. Alleged Frauds Against Certain Indian Soldiers. House of Representatives Report, 2nd Session, No. 96.

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