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African-Native American Genealogy Forum

Re: Caesar COLBERT Choctaw FreedmanCitizenship-Rig

Greetings Angela,

Just a SMALL correction. Bettie's father was Robert Howard LOVE, who ironically was one of the signers of the Treaty of Fort Smith in 1866. Bettie's mother (Margaret Ann WILSON nee LOVE) was enslaved by Roberts’s brother Benjamin, and came to Indian Territory as his slave. During the "War of the Rebellion" and pregnant with Bettie, (1864-65)she was sold to a Choctaw by the name of Charley WILSON.

Now you know I don't like to talk about my genealogy (okay, I'm taking my tongue outta my cheek now) but this may be a good time to bring some of this to light.

I had pretty much stopped performing research on my on lines, and concentrated on the bigger picture of enslavement and "freedmen" struggles for citizenship and the like, because frankly it was a great story and took me to so many other resources for investigation.

By doing this research I told myself that I would more than likely discover my ancestors in this manner and I have not been disappointed. As a result, my research into the newspaper archives and now the Congressional Record has "uncovered" some amazing history about the “freedmen” but to my amazement, my own family as well.

The several messages I posted yesterday all come from the congressional record and reveal the voices of the people in Indian Territory that we rarely get an opportunity to hear.

So, here is one I discovered about Bettie. It shows just what type of documents we can look too for discovery and enlightenment on the history, culture, and heritage of all people who resided in Indian Territory. More importantly, it reveals to all the story of the so called freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes.

It is a little long but I cut it down from nine pages to three.

TESTIMONY OF MR. ALBERT J. LEE, RECALLED
Re-direct examination by M. BALLINGER:
Mr. BALLINGER. Were you attorney in the Bettie Ligon case?
Mr. LEE. Yes; I was and am.
Mr. BALLINGER [ a paper to the witness]. Did you receive that letter from the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes?
Mr. LEE. I did.
Mr. BALLINGER. I offer that in evidence.
No objection being offered the letter was put in evidence. It is as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
COMMISSIONER TO THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES,
Muskogee, Ind. T., July 8, 1905.
ALBERT J. LEE,
Attorney at Law, Ardmore, Ind. T.
DEAR SIR: Receipt is hereby acknowledged of your letter of June 27, 1905, in which you state that the affidavit of Margaret Ann Wilson was filed by Attorney Cruce, of that city, in support of the application of Bettie Ligon for enrollment as a Choctaw or Chickasaw by blood.
In reply to your letter, you are advised that it does not appear from the records of this office that application has been made to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes for the enrollment of Betty Ligon as a citizen by blood of the Choctaw or Chickasaw nation, but she has been enrolled as a Choctaw freedman and her enrollment as such approved by the Secretary of the Interior.
Respectfully, TAMS BIXBY, Commissioner.

Mr. BALLINGER. Did you receive the decision of the Commission in that case?
Mr. LEE. I did.
Mr. BALLINGER. Is this the copy you received [hands paper to the witness]?
Mr. LEE. That is.
Mr. BALLINGER. I desire to insert this statement from this decision.
Mr. ROGERS. I prefer to have the whole decision.

*my note: THANK YOU Mr. ROGERS, without his insistence on putting the entire document in the record a little knowledge would have been missing from my research concerning Margaret Ann WILSON.

Mr. BALLINGER. It will greatly encumber the record and I only want one line.
The document was put in evidence. It is as follows:

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
COMMISSIONER TO THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES.
In the matter of the petition for the transfer of the names of Bettie Ligon, et al. from the roll of Choctaw freedmen to the roll of citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation.

On March 5, 1906 there was filed with the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes by Albert J. Lee, attorney for the petitioners, a petition praying for the transfer of the names of the following persons from the roll of Choctaw freedmen to the roll of citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation: Bettie Ligon, Mat Ligon, Clarence Ligon, Mitchel Ligon, Gladys Ligon, Leader Ligon, Chadwick Ligon, Mable Douglas, and Sophia Myrtle Douglas.

The petition alleges that Bettie Ligon, the principal petitioner is a daughter of Bob Love, a recognized Chickasaw Indian citizen, and a mixed breed slave

(this is the info I was not aware of, Margaret being “mixed breed.”) In fact, the rear of her enrollment card appeared to have her father’s name erased. I am still trying to ascertain who he was. I suspect he is from the COLBERT family.

woman named Margaret Ann Wilson that the petitioner, Mable Douglas, is a daughter of the said Bettie Ligon and the lawful wife of Anderson Douglas, and is the mother of the petitioner, Sophia Myrtle Douglas; that the petitioners Mat Clarence, Mitchel, Gladys, Leader, and Chadwick Ligon, are the children of the said Bettie Ligon by her lawful husband Hadley Ligon; that the petitioners have always insisted that they were entitled to enrollment as citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation, and that when before the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes the principal petitioner made formal application for enrollment as such, setting out the facts that she was a daughter of Bob Love, a recognized Chickasaw Indian citizen, which formal application and statement of descent resulted in her enrollment and the enrollment of her children without her consent as freedmen of the Choctaw Nation.

No answer to the petition has been filed by the attorneys for the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations within the fifteen days allowed for the purpose by the regulations adopted by the Commissioner January 2, 1906.

The petitioners have been enrolled as Choctaw freedmen and their names appear on the final roll of Choctaw freedmen approved by the Secretary of the Interior as follows: Bettie Ligon (as Betty Ligon), opposite No. 2604; Clarence Ligon, opposite No. 2607; Mitchel Ligon (as Mitchell Ligon), opposite No. 2608; Gladys Ligon, opposite No. 2609; Leader Ligon, opposite No. 2610; Chadwick Ligon (as Shadrack Ligon), opposite No. 2611; Mable Douglas (as Mabel Douglass), opposite No. 2605;-’Sophia Myrtle Douglas (as Sophia Myrtle Douglass), opposite No. 2612.

This office has no record of any application ever having been made for the enrollment of Mat Ligon as a Choctaw freedman. It is presumed, however, that the petitioner, Mat Ligon, is identical with Nathaniel Ligon, a son of Bettie Ligon, and enrolled as a Choctaw freedman opposite No. 2606.

Application was made for the enrollment of all the petitioners, except Sophia Myrtle Douglass, as Choctaw freedmen by Bettie Ligon, at Ardmore, Ind. T., September 20, 1898. Subsequent thereto written application was made for the enrollment of Sophia Myrtle Douglass as a Choctaw freedman.

It does not appear from the records of this office that at the time application was made for the enrollment of the petitioners as Choctaw freedmen, or at any time subsequent thereto and prior to December 25, 1906, was any application made for the enrollment of any of said petitioners as a citizen by blood of the Chickasaw Nation.

The records of this office show that on September 9, 1896, original application was made to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes for the enrollment of Bettie Ligon, Hadley Ligon, Mabel Ligon, Natt Ligon, Clarence Ligon, Mitchell Ligon, and Gladys Ligon as citizens of the Chickasaw Nation. All of said applicants, except Hadley Ligon, claimed rights to enrollment by blood, and as descendants of a former slave woman. Hadley Ligon claimed right to enrollment by reason of his marriage with Bettie Ligon.

On November 8, 1898, their application was rejected by the Commission, without prejudice to the applicants’ claim as freedmen; no appeal was taken from the decision.

It is not alleged in the petition, neither does it appear from the tribal records of the Chickasaw Nation in the possession of this office, that any of the petitioners have ever been recognized by the tribal authorities of the Chickasaw Nation as a citizen by blood of said tribe; nor has any of said petitioners been admitted to citizenship in the Chickasaw Nation by any duly constituted court or citizenship committee of said nation, or the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, or the United States court under the pro visions of the act of Congress approved June 10, 1896 (29 Stats., 321), or by the Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship court.

The name of R. H. Love appears on the 1878 Chickasaw Annuity Roll. It can not be determined from the petition whether Bob Love, the alleged father of the principal petitioner, Bettie Ligon, is identical with the R. H. Love whose name appears on said roll.

The name in the petition that Bob Love was a recognized Chickasaw Indian citizen is considered immaterial, inasmuch as it appears from the records of this office that the principal petitioner, Bettie Ligon, was born in the year 1865, and that neither she nor any of her children, the petitioners herein, has ever been recognized or enrolled as a citizen by blood of the Chickasaw Nation by any dimly constituted authority.

ORDER.

I am of the opinion that the petition fails to state facts sufficient to warrant a hearing upon the alleged rights of the petitioners to enrollment as citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation; that the absence of any tribal recognition whatsoever of any of the petitioners as citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation is conclusive under the pro- visions of the act of Congress approved May31, 1900 (31 Stats., 221), as to my jurisdiction to now receive or consider any application for the enrollment of any of the petitioners herein as citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation; that the petition should be denied, and it is so ordered.

TAMS Bixby,

Upon further research I found Bettie’s insistence that her father was Robert Howard LOVE followed her in death. Her daughter witnessed her certificate of death and included Robert Howard LOVE on the document. The certificate also informed me she was born in Burneyville, which now becomes a place to investigate.

It will also be noted that according to the Joe and Dillard PERRY case, the application made in 1896 should have been considered a continuing application and like the Dillard’s, the children of Jesse and Dora McGEE, the children of Morris IMPSON and a host of others, Bettie and all of her descendants should have been classified as Chickasaw’s by blood.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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