Seminole Town Site Act

AN ACT To provide for the appointment of town-site commissioners and the location of a a town in the Seminole Nation.

Be it enacted by the general council of the Seminole Nation:

SEC. 1. That A. J. Brown, Thomas McGeisey, Thomas Factor, W. L. Joseph, and Dorsey Fife he, and are hereby, appointed as town-site commissioners for the Seminole Nation, and their term of office shall continue for four years and until their successors are appointed by the general council and qualified.

The said commissioners shall each execute a bond in the sum of five thousand dollars, to be approved by the general council, for the faithful performance of their duty, and they, or either of them, may be impeached and removed from office, and fined or otherwise punished by the general council, for malfeasance or improper conduct while in office.

Before entering upon their duties the said commissioners shall elect one of their number as president and one as secretary. They shall keep a record of all their doings and transactions and make a report of the same to the general council once in each year.

SEC. 2. That said commission shall select a suitable tract or tracts of land in the Seminole Nation, not exceeding six hundred and forty acres, for a town, to be known and designated as Wewoka. And when selected the said commissioners shall cause the same to be surveyed and divided into lots, blocks, streets, and alleys of suitable width and size for residence and building purposes, and have the same numbered and platted according to the usual plan adopted by the United States for laying out and establishing town sites.

There shall also be set apart one block for public buildings and two additional blocks or squares, properly located, for public parks.

SEC. 3. Should any or all of the lands selected by said commission for purposes herein mentioned be owned, occupied, or claimed by any member of the Seminole Nation for business, agricultural, or grazing purposes, or as a home, or for any other legitimate purpose, then and in that event the said commission shall, before entering upon such land for the purpose of using them as a town site, make and enter into a contract or agreement with such person or persons for the relinquishment of their right and title to the same, and in consideration thereof the said commissioners shall have the right, and they are hereby em powered, to grant and relinquish to such person or persons owning, occupying, or claiming said lands an interest in said town equivalent to one-fourth the entire number of acres which they may own, occupy, or claim : Provided, That such person or persons shall have the right and privilege of selecting in said town the said one-fourth interest, subject to the approval of the said commission, which selection shall include any buildings that may at the time belong to such person or persons.

SEC. 4. That a description of the tracts of land which may be selected by said commissioners for the purpose aforesaid, according to the United States survey of the same, shall be reported to the national council, with a plat of the town, showing the survey of the same into lots, blocks, streets, and alleys, and also the blocks or squares for parks and public buildings, whereupon the president and secretary of the said national council, with the approval of the principal chief of the Seminole Nation, shall convey the tracts of land so selected and reported in trust to the said commissioners, who shall have the general management of the said town.

The said commission shall have power to sell or lease the said town lots upon such terms and conditions and for such considerations as they may deem proper, and to execute leases as in their judgment may be for the best interests of the said town, the Seminole Nation, and people : Provided, That no sale shall be made to non-citizens, whether Indians by blood or otherwise, until the tribal organization as such shall cease to exist : And provided, That no transfer of the title of lots shall be made to any person or persons, except upon the condition that a building or buildings, or other valuable improvements, shall be erected thereon within six months from date of lease or purchase of such lot or lots: Provided, That said commissioners may in there discretion, for good cause shown, extend the time for the completion of such building, buildings, or improvements.

SEC. 5. That said commission shall keep a record of all lots and blocks sold, leased, or otherwise disposed of by them, and they shall pay over to the treasurer of the Seminole Nation once every six months the net proceeds of sales of the aforesaid three-fourths interest in said town : Provided, That the aforesaid one-fourth interest belonging to person or persons who may be entitled to the same as aforesaid shall be conveyed to such person or persons aforesaid, and said person or persons shall have the exclusive management and control of the same, and may lease, sell, or convey the same upon the terms and conditions as here in before provided for the disposition of other lots and blocks. The said commissioners shall be allowed pay for their services in the management of the town, and on sales of lots five per centum of all moneys that may be received on account of such sales or leases.

SEC. 6. That said commissioners are hereby authorized to appoint a city marshal for the said town of Wewoka, who shall have the power to arrest all offenders and disturbers of the peace and protect the lives and property of the people. The said marshal shall execute a bond in such sum as said commission may prescribe for the faithful performance of his duty, and he may be removed from office by said commission for good and sufficient cause. The said commission shall also have the right to appoint a city attorney and police judge for such time and upon such terms and conditions as they may prescribe. They shall also have the power, when the population of said town is two hundred or more, to organize a city government for the said town and provide for the election of a mayor and city council in such manner and upon such terms and conditions as they may prescribe, and they shall fix the salaries or designate the fees to be paid to each of the city officers, subject to the approval of the national council. The said commission shall have the right to levy and collect taxes in said town for the purpose of maintaining a city government and making such improvements as they may deem necessary: Provided, That no taxes shall be levied or collected on the lots in said town during the existence of the Indian government.

SEC. 7. That the town of Wewoka shall, and is hereby, declared to be the capital and seat of government of the Seminole Nation, and shall remain as such so long as the present tribal organization exists.

SEC. 8. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.

I hereby certify that the foregoing act was duly considered and passed by the general council of the Seminole Nation at Wewoka, I. T., on this 23d day of April, 1897.

Nuthcup Harjo,
President of the Council

T. S. McGeisey, Secretary
Approved April 23, 1897

John F. Brown,
Principal Chief

History, Land, Seminole,

United States. Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Laws, Decisions and Regulations Affecting the work of the Commissioners to Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1906. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1906.

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