Z. T. Bottoms, Choctaw

Z. T. Bottoms Et Al., Choctaw.
Dawes Commission. No. 8. United States court, No. 115. Citizenship court. No. 75-T. Commission, No. 5024

September 8, 1800. Petition filed with Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, alleging that claimants were descendants of Billy Bottoms, alias Nockatubbee, a half-breed Choctaw and Ann Meshulahtubbee, a full-blood Choctaw; that certain of claimants were residing in the nations and enjoying privileges of citizens. Attached to the petition were 37 affidavits in support thereof.

Note.-In the Court of Claims record of Mississippi Choctaw Indians claiming land under the treaty of 1830 the following names appear upon pages indicated: Nocatubbee, pages 140-149: Nockahtubbee, pages 592, 370 and 648: Nocentubbee, page 196; Masholetubbee, page 559; and in the records of the Atoka Revisory Board, on page 306 appears the name “Nockehtubbee.”

October 9, 1896. Answer of Choctaw Nation filed, alleging that ” there is no evidence that this claim has ever been disputed by the Choctaw Nation.”

December 1, 1896. The word “Denied” written across back of petition.

February 22, 1897. Appeal perfected in United States court, southern district. Indian Territory, for trial de novo: answer of Choctaw Nation stricken from files because filed too late; evidence taken before master: no appearance on part of nation: it was shown by the testimony that the petitioners were residents of the nation, enjoying the rights of citizenship; that Z. T. Bottoms had been sued in the Chickasaw court as a citizen; that the following writ of possession had been issued by the district judge of the Chickasaw Nation:

Indian Territory,
Chickasaw Nation, Pontotoc County.

To the sheriff or any constable of Pontotoc County, greeting:

You are hereby commanded by his honor, R. B. Willis, district Judge of the Chickasaw Nation, to proceed and attach one Z. T. Bottoms, a citizen and resident of Pontotoc County, Chickasaw Nation, a house and lot of posts, put up and owned by W. T. Shannon, a citizen of said county and nation, in the year 1890. You are hereby commanded to hold this improvement in your possession until the rights of property can be tried at the May term of court, 1897, or some Judicial proceedings made of the same. Fail not but make your return of this to said court.

A. T. McKinney, Clerk of District Court, Chickasaw Nation.

June 23. 1897, Master’s report filed. The master found as follows:

The testimony in this case shows that the applicants, except those that were Intermarried, were descendants of William and Ann Bottoms. The evidence in the case further shows that William and Ann Bottoms were Choctaw Indians.

The master further found that 34 of the applicants were nonresidents or intermarried not in accordance with the laws of the nation, and recommended that they be not enrolled. The report concluded as follows:

I recommend that the lineal descendants of William and Ann Bottoms as contained In this record, who reside In the Indian Territory, be admitted as members of the Choctaw Tribe.

November 15, 1897. Judgment of United States court rendered, admitting the following-named persons as citizens of the Choctaw Nation:

William Fletcher Bottoms, William Henry Bottoms, Rosa Bell Bottoms, William Elmer Bottoms, Rebecca Morrow, William Fletcher Morrow, Walter Morrow, Letitia Morrow, Jewell Morrow, Beulah Morrow, Minnie Morrow, Winnie Morrow, William Ira Bottoms, Claudie McClellan Bottoms, Bettie Jane Bottoms, Pearl Putnam, Hattie Jane Putnam, Frankie Lee Putnam, Pauline E. Bennett, Zachariah Thomas Bottoms, William Luther Bottoms, Francis Caroline Bottoms, James Zachariah Bottoms, Joseph Smith Bottoms, Bertha May Bottoms, September Bottoms, Ester E. Bottoms, William Alexander Bottoms, Allia A. Bottoms, Bertha Annie Bottoms, Thomas Atwood, Emmett Montgomery, Thomas W. Segroves, Elizabeth Segroves, Charles Webster Segroves, George Franklin Segroves, Doc Thomas Segroves, William Cleveland Segroves, Zachariah Segroves, Para lee Segroves, James B. Segroves, Samuel Montgomery Segroves, Eldredge Kirkland, Jessie Ester Kirkland, Mary Pruda Kirkland, William Walter Kirkland, Sallie Grace Kirkland, Joseph Kirkland, Beulah Kirkland, William Kirkland, Monte Kirkland, Lee Kirkland, Laura Inez Kirkland, Roxie Kirkland, Sallie Kirkland, Ulsley Mainnard, Marcus L. Ivey, James L. Ivey, William J. Ivey, Thomas F. Ivey, Nora E. Ivey, Lewis A. Ivey, Nancy Ann Steppick, Charles Franklin Steppick, Thomas Joseph Steppick, George Washington Steppick, William Oscar Steppick, Bessie L. Steppick, John H. Gregory, Thomas L. Ivey, Elisha W. Ivey, Bertie L. Ivey, Katie Crawford, Nora Lee Crawford.

Certified copy of judgment hereto attached, marked “Exhibit A.”

January 21, 1808. Motion for new trial filed by nation. Record does not disclose proceedings on motion, but case was appealed by nation to United States Supreme Court.

March 3, 1890. Judgment corrected, on motion of claimants, by striking out the names of Bertha Ann Bottoms, Sallie Gracie Kirkland, and James L. Ivey.

May 15. 1899. Mandate of United States Supreme Court affirming judgment of United States district court.

December 17, 1002. Decree of Choctaw-Chickasaw citizenship court vacating judgment of United States district court in “test case.”

March 10, 1003. Record filed in citizenship court for trial de novo. In the citizenship court 43 witnesses were examined by both attorneys for claimants and for nations. (List of witnesses and synopsis of testimony hereto attached.) Seventeen of the 43 witnesses gave positive testimony that claimants were descendants of Choctaw Indians, said testimony being based upon personal knowledge of the Indian ancestors. Twenty-five of the 43 witnesses confined their testimony to family connections, relationship, and descent from Indian ancestors. Although 42 witnesses testified in this case before the citizenship court to material facts, such as blood, descent, residence or tribal affiliation, and recognition of claimants, the court saw fit to refer to the testimony of only of the six witnesses to which reference is made, one is shown to be mentally unsound, and two others based their testimony on his statements to them. The statements of the court as to what the others testified to are incorrect, and in one instance the exact opposite of what the witness stated.


List of names of claimants not in court judgment but who applied to the commission prior to December 1, 1905: Samuel Bottoms, Thomas B. Bottoms, Lonnie Moore, Gracie Bottoms, Louie Segroves, Bertha May Segroves, Ethel Lillian Segroves.

Witnesses before Choctaw-Chickasaw citizenship court in Bottoms case:

Henry Dollerhite, 46 years old, testified as to acquaintance with and death of Henry and Elsie Perkins.

J. A. Sexton, aged 63, knew Billy Bottoms in Cherokee County, Tex., in 1859; also Zack and Smith Bottoms. Also knew the Hills there; that he could not understand the language talked by Billy Bottoms: that Billy’s daughter told him her father was one-quarter Cherokee, one-quarter white, and one-half Choctaw; that when he talked with Billy Bottoms his daughter interpreted for him; that Billy Bottoms lived with his daughter, and that his wife was dead: that Billy Bottoms was an old man and crippled; that he was about 80 years old; that witness is not related to Bottoms and has no claim himself; that Z. T. Bottoms is a son of Smith Bottoms.

On cross-examination he stated Billy Bottoms died about the year 1800 or 1861; that he understood Billy Bottoms came from Alabama to Texas; that he did not know whether Billy Bottoms talked Cherokee or Choctaw; that he never heard Billy Bottoms say anything that he could understand; that Billy Bottoms’s grandchildren were not permitted to attend school in Texas because they were Indians.

Redirect: They claimed to be Choctaws. In response to the court (Judge A.): They looked like Indians. I could not understand their language. I have heard Choctaws talk, but do not know the difference. Billy Bottoms’s daughter said the language was Choctaw.

Joe Steppick, 64 years old, testified as to his knowledge of the Hills.

Z. T. Bottoms, 45 years old; lived in the Chickasaw Nation 19 years; came from Texas: was born in Cherokee County, Tex.; father was Smith A. Bottoms; he was part Choctaw Indian; that Zack and Eldredge Bottoms were his uncles; last time he saw Zach was in the Territory 19 years ago; that he died at White Bead in 1896: mother died in Texas; did not know grandparents; do not know degree of Choctaw blood.

No cross-examination.

James Segroves. 33 years of age: testified that the Hills were descendants of Zack Bottoms; that Zack Bottoms was his grandfather; was born in Cherokee County, Tex.

Cross-examination: I have lived in the Indian Territory 14 years.

T. J. Blagg 45 years of age; lived in Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations since 1885; came from Texas; knew the Hills to be descendants of the Bottoms; that the Hills held land in the nations, and were recognized as citizens.

A. A. Palmer. 44 years old; married into the Hill family; held farm as Indians.

John Logan, 74 years old; lived in Choctaw Nation 30 years; no relation to Hills or Bottoms; knew William Bottoms in Alabama; Prudence Bottoms, daughter of William Bottoms, made his father’s house her home; knew her sister Piety; Piety married Ben Hill; old Billy Bottoms was known as a Choctaw Indian; he was a cripple; he had the appearance of a quarter-breed Indian: he lived near Hacketsburg: Tom Bottoms was Billy Bottoms’s oldest son; Ben Hill and Kirkland, who married Billy Bottoms’s youngest daughter, moved to Cherokee County, Tex.; don’t know where Billy Bottoms went, but, he left Alabama.

Cross-examination: Was born in Franklin County, Ala., in 1830; left Alabama in the fall of 1852; claimants came before he did; does not know positively that Billy Bottoms’s wife was descended from Masholatubbee.

Redirect examination: Prudy Bottoms told him her mother’s name was Ann Masholatubbee, and Billy Bottoms talked the Indian language.

Joe Freeman, colored, 81 years old. Choctaw freedman; lived at Doaksville when freed; knew Billy Bottoms at Doaksville; he was crippled in his legs; got drunk with his master, and run horse races; Billy Bottoms talked Choctaw; witness understands some Choctaw, but can not talk it: Billy Bottoms was at Doaksville before the war; witness counts in Choctaw: knows Choctaw names of animals; does not know what became of Bottoms; “he roamed.”

Cross-examination: Bottoms would go and come: was away once two years from first to last; last time seen about five years-about ten or fifteen years before the war; never saw his family; thinks he had one: never heard names of children and does not know where they were: understands Bottoms came from Mississippi; does not know where he went when he left: heard him say he was a Choctaw Indian and came from Mississippi; does not know his age; might have been 40.

Redirect examination: States he does not undertake to fix Bottom’s age: that, he did not know how old he was.

G. J. Humphrey, 36 years old; states that his mother was Mary Hill, a sister of Louis Hill: his mother told him that her mother was a three-quarter-blood Choctaw.

Cross-examination: Have lived in this county 13 years; family through which he claims came from Mississippi; mother’s grandfather was Billy Bottoms: mother said Billy Bottoms and son Zack came to Territory with Indians; that they came from old Choctaw country.

H. F. Murry (for nation), 80 years old, an intermarried citizen; knew Louis Hill in 1877; Hill claimed to be a Chickasaw; went before Chickasaw committee and was rejected; thereafter Louis’s father came into the Territory and said Louis was not Chickasaw but Choctaw.

Daniel Underwood, about 100 years old; lived in Choctaw Nation about 98 years; lived in Choctaw Nation in Mississippi; knew Chief Musholatubbee, a Choctaw; knew Musholatubbe’s daughter, Barret: knew Ann Musholatubbee; does not know what relation she was to Chief Musholatubbee: knew Billy Bottoms; he had no wife when known by witness. Billy Bottoms was a Choctaw, nearly full blood; he came to this country and lived somewhere on Blue; Billy Bottoms and Ann Musholatubbee lived together in old nation; Billy Bottoms was a cripple.

Catherine Franklin, freedwoman, came from Pontotoc County, Miss., with first Indians coming; was 16 years old then; knew Billy Bottoms. He was a Choctaw and had two daughters, Piety and Prudie: Billy Bottoms came to nation near Doaksville; thinks Billy Bottoms’s wife died in old nation: her name was Ann Musholatubbee; she was a Choctaw; Billy Bottoms was crippled; talked Choctaw.

Marcus L. Ivey testified as to the Hills; Louis Hill was his uncle.

Minerva Anderson, freedwoman, 79 years old, born in Mississippi; was a large girl when she left Mississippi; came to Doaksville, Ind. T.; knew Bill}’ Bottoms at Doaksville, also his son Zack; some called him Nocatubbee; he was a Choctaw; he could not speak plain English; he was lame; his Indian name was Nocatubbee; the Indians called him by that name: he was about Doaksville two or three years; don’t know what became of him; he left because he was charged with killing a doctor; he raced horses and drank; knew him between the years 1840 and 1844: he was middle aged.

Ophelia Kirkland testified as to her marriage to a Kirkland; lived in Choctaw Nation 20 years: married at Paoli in 1881.

W. L. Bottoms testified that he is son of Z. T. Bottoms; lived in Choctaw Nation 18 years.

W. A. Bottoms lived in nation 32 years; father was Alexander Bottoms; married in nation in 1898: paid $50 license.

Philip Stephenson. 75 years old, freedman, born in Mississippi: 4 years old when he left there; knew Billy Bottoms at Pitchlyn’s, here on Blue; knew him for a period of 12 months about 10 years before the war.

Levina King, 72 years: Choctaw by blood; born at Shawneetown, Choctaw Nation; knew Bottoms around Doaksville, also his son Zack; he was Choctaw, talked Choctaw language; called Enocatubbee; got into trouble and died; killed a doctor; knew the man they killed: brought him to my house; he was alive and said Billy Bottoms and Pitchlyn butchered him: Billy Bottoms was lame; his wife died in Mississippi; knew him when I was about 9 years old, near Fort Towson.

Elizabeth Seagroves, 55 years old, daughter of Zack Bottoms; relates family history; lived in nations 22 years; knew Billy Bottoms; he died in Cherokee County, Tex., before I was grown: Zack Bottoms died at Paoli. Chickasaw Nation: Billy Bottoms was dark, a Choctaw: could hardly talk English; Billy Bottoms died before the war: don’t remember whether it was in 1859 or not.

Mrs. Z. T. Bottoms testified as to marriage and kinfolk of her husband: been living in Territory 19 years; states names of her children.

Rebecca Morrow; daughter of W. F. Bottoms and granddaughter of Nelson Bottoms: was born at Cairo, Ill.; 46 years old.

Samuel M. Seagroves, son of Mrs. Seagroves.

Ezekiel Putnam, husband of Pearl Bottoms.

Robert Hope: have known Z. T. Bottoms for 40 years; knew his father. Smith Bottoms, in Texas; he was a dark-completed man, and did not claim to be a white man. I am a cousin of Tom Bottoms’s wife.

M. F. Montgomery. 32 years old daughter of Lucinda Bottoms.

Thomas L. Ivey: mother was a Hill; relates family history of the Hills.

Mrs. L. Bottoms, wife of Newton Wesley Bottoms, a son of William Fletcher Bottoms, and grandson of Nelson Bottoms.

W. W. Ivey, brother of Thomas L. Ivey.

William Fletcher Bottoms, 69 years old, son of Nelson Bottoms; Nelson Bottoms died in 1877 in Arkansas; I married Eliza J. Boyd in Hardenville, Ill. My father married Sallie Ann Arnold and moved from Alabama to Illinois; left Alabama in 1840 or 1841; remember seeing Billy Bottoms once in Alabama when I was a child; he had been away a long time; he did not stay long; father and I served in the Union Army: Billy Bottoms went to the Territory and Texas when he left Alabama: I know this from letters I have seen; some letters said he was in Territory and some in Texas; letters received about 1853 or 1854; I have never moved to Territory; I live in Jack County, Tex; I batched there two years; my wife would not come; letters received from Billy Bottoms in Territory came before letters from Texas.

Marcus L. Ivey, brother of two other Ivey boys just testified.

Robert C. Florence, 55 years: citizen by marriage; knew Smith Bottoms: knew Zack Bottoms; lived neighbor to Zack in Cherokee County, Tex.; Zack Bottoms appeared to be one-half Choctaw; Smith Bottoms showed Indian, but not as much as Zack: I have been living in Territory since 1872; I knew Tom Bottoms, son of Smith Bottoms; Bottoms have been holding lands here as citizens for 12 or 15 years; Tom Bottoms sued in Indian courts; Zack Bottoms was buried on my place several years ago; Zack Bottoms had all the general features of an Indian; if I knew nothing of him, but met him in the road, would say he was an Indian.

William Kirkland; have lived in the Chickasaw Nation 24 years; am a brother of Charles Kirkland. Testified as to marriage of his sister.

Nancy Ann Steppick, age 46 years, granddaughter of Piety Hill; lived in Territory 29 years; married a John Gregory in Texas: married Steppick in Territory under Choctaw laws by Choctaw judge; knew Zack Bottoms; he appeared to be an Indian; Zack Bottoms talked Choctaw; I had permits issued six or seven years: sent children to schools in Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations.

Joseph Kirkland, son of William Kirkland: lived in Territory 24 years: knew Zack Bottoms; he appeared to be an Indian.

William Henry Bottoms, son of W. F. Bottoms, grandson of Nelson Bottoms: held a place eight or nine years before admitted by court.

William W. Hill, 70 years old, lives in Cooke County, Tex.; lived in Cherokee County, Tex.. 14 years: knew Billy Bottoms, Zack Bottoms, Smith Bottoms, and Eldredge Bottoms; lived within 4 miles of Billy Bottoms; he lived with his children; his wife was not living; knew his daughters Prudence and Piety; Billy Bottoms was old, a cripple, and could not talk good English; he looked to be an Indian or mixed blood; appeared to be three-quarters Indian; he talked Indian language. I have no interest in this case. Billy Hill killed my brother: they were not related.

Seth Bottoms. 80 years old; lived in Brinn, Ala.: fathers name William Bottoms: mother was Ann Witt: father’s mother married in Jefferson County. Tenn. I am oldest child, born in 1824: I was born in Monroe County, Miss. My understanding is my father was born in Virginia; father had a family Bible. I don’t know what became of it; never heard father claim to be a Choctaw; he never had any other name; it seems to me I have heard he had Choctaw blood. I never heard father say where he came from; I never heard father say he married in Tennessee. Daniel Witt said he was my mother’s brother: he might have been a half brother.

Family Bible, filed in the record as evidence, shows: Thomas, born April 13, 1807: Piety, born January 16, 1809; Zack born September 20, 1812.

There are other names following those, but the writing is illegible.

Riley S. Bottoms, 63 years of age. Am postmaster at Knowles. Ala.; am a grandson of William Bottoms; have seen grandfather: never heard him claim to be a Choctaw; grandmother died in Monroe County. Miss.: about all I now about grandfather and grandmother I learned from Uncle Seth.

Nancy Rudolph, 58 years old, lives at Knowles, Ala.; sister of Riley Bottoms. “I reckon I have heard my mother say grandmother’s name was Annie Witt.”

Wiley Wooten, 80 years old, lives in Franklin County. Ala.; lived there all my life except two years in Mississippi: knew a Mr. Bottoms in Marion County, Ala.: his Indian name was Nockatubbee: was called by both names. I knew three of his children, Thomas. Seth, and Eagle; his first name was William. When Bottoms left Alabama his son Zack went with him; don’t know where he came from to Marion County; I was 7 or 8 years old: Seth Bottoms and I are about the same age. Bottoms looks somewhat like an Indian.

Mrs. M. E. Hays, 51 years of age, lived in Brinn, Ala. My father is Seth Bottoms. He died the 25th of this month; he lived with me for three years. For the last year his mind has been mighty feeble; some clays he would have a good mind and some days he would not. I do not believe he could make an accurate statement.


Choctaw, History,

United States Congress. 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. Department of the Interior, United States. 1913.

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