BECK index

Native Tribes, Removal & the West

by Sanderson Beck

Jackson, Creeks & Seminoles in Florida 1817-21
Cherokees & Laws 1817-29
Evarts & Opposition to Cherokee Removal
Cherokees & Removal West 1830-43
Choctaws & Chickasaws
Creeks & Removal West 1825-44
Black Hawk War
Second Seminole War 1835-43
Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho & Kiowa
Texas Revolution in Mexico 1817-36
Texas Republic 1836-44
Americans in New Mexico & Oregon

United States Democracy & Slavery 1801-1844 has been published as a book. For ordering information, please click here.

Jackson, Creeks & Seminoles in Florida 1817-21

Jefferson & Indian Issues

      Before Monroe became President, many Indians had been removed from the Northwest Territory, and during his administration most of them had left Indiana and Illinois to move west of the Mississippi River. In the South the Fort Jackson Treaty in August 1814 had forced the friendly Creeks to cede 23 million acres while those hostile fled to Florida.
      On 29 September 1817 the Michigan Territory Governor Lewis Cass and Ohio Governor Duncan McArthur made a treaty with the Wyandot, Seneca, Delaware, Shawnee, Potawatomi, Ottawa and Chippewa tribes to give away their claim to 4.6 million acres and move to allocated reservations totaling 103 square miles and 30,000 acres. The United States also negotiated to pay differing amounts of annuities to the various tribes.
      Spain governed East and West Florida but had lost portions of each to the US in 1810 and 1813. On 27 March 1814 Americans led by General Andrew Jackson had defeated the Red Stick Creeks at Horseshoe Bend, and many Creeks migrated to Florida. Jackson again led US troops this time with Creek allies who defeated about 250 fugitive slaves and Choctaws at Negro Fort on 27 July 1816.
      Jackson had a paternalistic attitude toward the tribes and believed that their nations could not co-exist in the States, but they were promised land in the territories. Jackson had adopted the infant Creek orphan Lyncoya in 1813 and raised him until his death in June 1828. Jackson and his associates would acquire much land taken from the Indians including 45,000 acres in northern Alabama.
      Skirmishes continued on the Florida border in 1817, and Col. Edward Nicolls in August reported in Georgia newspapers that Seminoles were murdering people there. In the fall Secretary of War Calhoun instructed General Edmund Gaines to remove Seminoles from ceded land, beginning the First Seminole War. Chief King Hatchy complained to Gaines that for every American killed, they had slaughtered several Seminoles. When Gaines sent a column of soldiers in November, the outnumbered Seminoles fired on them and had a few men and one woman killed before fleeing. On November 12 Gaines found evidence of British support, and he sent Major David Twiggs with 250 men who killed 4 warriors and a woman and burned the Creek village of Fowltown in Georgia territory. On the 30th Fowltown warriors and escaped slaves attacked a hospital ship on the Apalachicola River and killed 36 US soldiers, 6 women and 4 children; 4 soldiers escaped, and one woman was captured. This began the First Seminole War. The Seminole natives were the Oconee tribe affiliated with Creeks; but the Creek word simanó-li actually means “frontiersman” or “outcast,” and all refugees in Florida were called Seminoles. Jackson and his friend John Coffee planned a road that was constructed from June 1817 to January 1819 and connected Nashville to Lake Ponchartrain, shortening by 17 days mail service from Washington to New Orleans.
      On 16 December 1817 Secretary of War John Calhoun ordered General Edmund P. Gaines to demand reparations from the Seminoles and if necessary to cross the border and attack them but not the Spanish forts. Because of smuggling, Calhoun sent Gaines to capture Amelia Island off the east coast of the Florida-Georgia border, and without opposition they occupied it on December 23. President Monroe summoned General Andrew Jackson from Tennessee to Fort Scott near Fowltown in Georgia and sent him a letter on the 28th. Before receiving it Jackson had sent a letter to Monroe on 6 January 1818 criticizing the limits put on Gaines, and Jackson volunteered to seize the Floridas in 60 days. Later Monroe would ask Jackson to alter a letter that led to the seizing of Florida. Jackson received Calhoun’s orders on January 11. On the 30th Monroe ordered Calhoun to instruct Jackson not to attack Spanish troops, but Calhoun never sent that order. Meanwhile Secretary of State Adams was negotiating with Spain for the cession of the Floridas. Many Indians learning that Jackson was appointed fled from Georgia into Spanish Florida.
      On January 22 General Jackson led 1,000 Tennessee militia on a 46-day journey to Fort Scott. They burned hostile villages and seized cattle and food. They were joined by 1,000 Georgia militia. On March 14 at Fort Fowltown they found dangling from a red pole fifty fresh scalps they identified as from the boat ambush on the Apalachicola. Jackson had the fort rebuilt and named Fort Gadsden. The Creek chief William McIntosh considered this a continuation of the Creek civil war of 1813-14, and on April 1 about 1,400 of his warriors joined General Jackson. His warriors captured three Red Sticks and took over the town of Red Ground, capturing 238 Seminoles. When Jackson found a thousand head of cattle with Georgia brands, he had the Indian town set on fire. They reached the Spanish fort of St. Mark’s on April 6 and demanded its surrender. The next day Francisco Caso y Luengo accepted the terms that private property would be respected. Jackson used the fort as a supply base. He arrested 70-year-old Alexander Arbuthnot, a Scottish trader whom Creeks had given power of attorney and who had warned the Suwanee people to flee. Arbuthnot in January had written to the Indian agent Mitchell asking for protection against aggressive Americans on the border. The American naval Captain McKeever used a Union Jack flag to fool into coming aboard two Seminole chiefs, Himomathle Mico and Hillis Hadjo (a.k.a. Francis the Prophet), and they were hanged without a trial on April 8.
      Jackson’s army moved east a hundred miles and arrived at Chief Billy Bowlegs’ town on April 18. On the way there McIntosh’s warriors and some fifty men from Tennessee fought enemy Creeks for three hours, killing 37 and taking 6 men and 97 women and children prisoners along with 700 cattle. They reached Bowlegs at sunset and forced several hundred Negro warriors and Seminoles to flee across the Suwanee River. Jackson’s force destroyed villages of the Miccasukee and killed Chief Kinache. The army and a few blacks fought them to help families escape. Jackson had more than 300 houses burned and captured livestock. He also arrested the British soldier Robert Ambrister for training and equipping Seminoles.
      On April 22 Captain Obed Wright led a contingent that slaughtered at least ten people at a Chehaw village including McIntosh’s uncle, chief Howard. They did not realize that Chehaws were allies of Jackson who arrested Wright and apologized to the tribe. Wright fled to Havana, and the Chehaws were given an $8,000 indemnity as compensation. Jackson prohibited obeying any order from the War Department or an officer that did not pass through him as the commander. Monroe disagreed and wrote him that the Department passed on orders of the President who must be obeyed; yet he urged Jackson not to retire. Georgia’s Governor Rabun complained that Jackson had sent Georgia militia to Florida without his consent.
      Jackson’s army went back to St. Mark’s. There a court martial tried the two Britons who had no lawyer and no witnesses. Arbuthnot claimed he was there to help the natives and only gave them gunpowder for hunting, and he had advised Seminole chief Bowlegs not to throw away his people fighting Jackson’s army. General Gaines presided over a court martial, which sentenced Arbuthnot to death and Ambrister to fifty lashes and hard labor for one year; but on April 29 Jackson had Arbuthnot hanged and Ambrister shot, and he wrote Calhoun that he wanted to make an awful example to the British. Jackson left a garrison of 200 troops at St. Mark’s and then returned to Fort Gadsden with 1,200 soldiers. On May 13 Monroe and his cabinet agreed that Americans should remain in Florida until Spain had acceptable garrisons.
      Rumors that 500 Seminole warriors were gathering at Pensacola led Jackson to invade Spanish West Florida, but actually Major William Young had found only 87 Indians in the Pensacola area. Spanish Governor José Masot accused Jackson of aggression and left Pensacola for nearby Fort Barrancas, and Jackson’s army attacked Pensacola on May 24. After artillery fired on both sides, Masot surrendered the fort on the 28th to Jackson who announced that Americans would occupy Florida until Spain could control the borders. He sent Masot and the garrison to Havana, appointed Col. William King the US governor and a customs collector. On June 2 Jackson sent a letter to Monroe informing him that Americans occupied the forts of St. Mark’s, Gadsden, and Barrancas and that with more forces he could take over Fort St. Augustine and Cuba in a few days. Jackson sent two companies of volunteers to kill hostiles between the Mobile and Apalachicola rivers.
      Newspapers criticized the execution of the two Britons. On July 15 Monroe’s cabinet discussed Florida. Calhoun, Treasury Secretary Crawford, and Attorney General William Wirt blamed Jackson for disobeying orders; but Secretary of State Adams agreed with Jackson that Spain could not control the Floridas, and he wanted them sold to the United States. Wirt wrote an article explaining in Washington’s National Intelligencer that Jackson had acted without orders for patriotic motives and that the President restored the Spanish authorities in their two Floridas. The editorial clarified that the President returned them because only Congress could declare war.
      On October 19 Jackson persuaded the Chickasaws to sell their land, about a third of Tennessee and one-tenth of Kentucky, for $20,000 a year for 15 years. Two mixed-race Colbert brothers who led the tribe received $17,000, and three others got $3,000; but the proceedings were kept secret to conceal the bribery. On November 28 Adams wrote to US Minister George Erving that Spain must decide either to protect her territory in Florida or cede the province to the United States.
      Letters in the Richmond Enquirer attacked Jackson in 1818 and 1819 and were later published in 1830 as The Letters of Algernon Sydney in Defence of Civil Liberty and against the Encroachments of Military Despotism by a citizen of Virginia whom Henry Clay of Kentucky knew was Benjamin Watkins Leigh. The US Congress met in December 1818 and began discussing Florida. On 19 January 1819 a House committee reported that the court martial of Arbuthnot and Ambrister was illegal. The next day Speaker Clay made a 2-hour oration disapproving of Jackson for acting without orders from the President or authorization by Congress. Clay blamed the Seminole War on the unjust Fort Jackson treaty with the Creeks in August 1814 which refugees in Florida resented. He also criticized Jackson for hanging the two captured chiefs and for executing the two Britons. Clay warned against the errors that gave rise to Alexander, Caesar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte. Nonetheless on February 8 the House declined to reprimand Jackson on each of the charges, and a bill to prohibit American soldiers from invading foreign territory without Congressional approval was defeated 112-42. However, the Senate censured Jackson. Clay told Jackson it was not personal, but Jackson never forgave him.
      British Foreign Secretary Castlereagh refused to let this interfere with good relations, and in October 1818 the US Congress debated the Anglo-American Convention and ratified it on 30 January 1819. Pensacola and St. Mark’s fort were restored to Spain, though the US maintained the occupation of Fort Gadsden. The Monroe administration proposed the Sabine River as the boundary between Louisiana and Texas. Adams negotiated a treaty with Spanish envoy Onís which recognized Spain’s territory west of Louisiana from the Sabine, Red, and Arkansas rivers and south of the 42nd parallel west from Wyoming. In exchange Spain recognized the Louisiana purchase from France and ceded Florida to the US government which paid $5 million for the private American claims against Spain. The treaty was signed on 22 February 1819; but disputes over recent Spanish grants of Florida land delayed acceptance of the treaty until the US Senate finally ratified it on 19 February 1821.
      Monroe in his last annual address to Congress on 7 December 1824 said this about the situation of the aborigines:

Experience has shown that unless the tribes be civilized
they can never be incorporated
into our system in any form whatever.
It has likewise shown that in the regular augmentation
of our population with the extension of our settlements
their situation will become deplorable,
if their extinction is not menaced.
Some well-digested plan which will rescue them
from such calamities is due to their rights,
to the rights of humanity, and to the honor of the nation.
Their civilization is indispensable to their safety,
and this can be accomplished only by degrees….
Difficulties of the most serious character present themselves
to the attainment of this very desirable result
on the territory on which they now reside.
To remove them from it by force,
even with a view to their own security and happiness,
would be revolting to humanity and utterly unjustifiable.
Between the limits of our present states and territories
and the Rocky Mountains and Mexico
there is a vast territory to which they might be invited
with inducements which might be successful.
It is thought if that territory should be divided into districts
by previous agreement with the tribes now residing there
and civil governments be established in each,
with schools for every branch of instruction
in literature and the arts of civilized life,
that all the tribes now within our limits
might gradually be drawn there.
The execution of this plan would necessarily
be attended with expense, and that not inconsiderable,
but it is doubted whether any other can be devised which
would be less liable to that objection or more likely to succeed.1

Cherokees & Laws 1817-29

      When Thomas Jefferson was governing Virginia in 1776, he advised moving Cherokees west because they were allied with the British. Yet President Jefferson in 1806 urged the Cherokees to continue learning how to farm. In 1809 he hoped they would mix their blood, and by the census of 1825 Cherokees had married 147 white men and 73 white women.
      On 28 June 1817 General Andrew Jackson spoke to the national committee of the Cherokees and alienated the part-Cherokee John Ross by his threats and condescension. Jackson negotiated a treaty with the Cherokees who ceded two million acres in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama to the United States in exchange for an equal amount of land west of the Mississippi River, though the US would be allowed to build factories, military posts, and roads there.
      About 6,000 Cherokees moved and were given a rifle, a blanket, and a brass kettle or a beaver trap, and transportation by flat-bottomed boats with provisions. Cherokees who stayed could become US citizens and were granted 640 acres per family, but lost it if they left. The treaty was signed by 31 chiefs in the East, and the US Senate ratified the treaty on July 8. In the West the bribes amounted to $4,225, and the chiefs Major Ridge and Charles Hicks persuaded a council on September 3 to cancel the committee.
      Jackson’s friend Sam Houston, who had lived with the Cherokees, became a federal agent in 1818 and registered Cherokees for emigration. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions opened a school in the Arkansas Territory for the Cherokees. Hicks led a delegation of eleven chiefs that included the Ross brothers, John and Lewis, that went to Washington in January 1819 and met with Secretary of War Calhoun. On February 27 they confirmed the 1817 treaty, and the total land ceded was 1,541,000 acres in Tennessee, 986,880 acres of mountains in North Carolina, 739,000 acres of rich land in Alabama, and 536,000 acres of farmland in Georgia. In 1818 the United States reached a peak selling Tennessee Valley and Alabama land for $7 million. In 1820 the state of Georgia began attacking Cherokees by government, newspapers, and courts.
      The Cherokee silversmith Sequoyah invented a syllabary of 86 letters for the Iroquoian language of Cherokee that is related to Mohawk, Oneida, and Seneca-Cayuga. Elias Boudinot was a co-founder of the American Bible Society and became its president in 1816. He worked for Indian rights and in 1816 published Star in the West, or A Humble Attempt to Discover the Long Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. He started a Board School for Indians in Connecticut and in his will left 4,542 acres in Pennsylvania for Indians and $5,000 for missionaries to help them. A young Cherokee born Gallegina Uwati took the name Elias Boudinot and became a Christian in 1820. The first printed native American law code, The Laws of the Cherokee Nation, was published in 1821. In 1824 he collaborated on the translation of the New Testament into Cherokee using Sequoyah’s syllabary.
      The Cherokees had 10 million acres in western Georgia. In the fall of 1822 the Cherokee Legislative Council established the National Superior Court in New Town that became their Supreme Court. That year the US Congress appropriated $30,000 which was not nearly enough. On 23 October 1823 the Creek chief William McIntosh acting as a US Commissioner tried to bribe with $12,000 Cherokee chiefs Charles Hicks, Alexander McCoy, and John Ross during negotiations, but they refused to cede any more land or to move west.
      In the case of Johnson v. McIntosh in 1823 US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall asserted the right of “discovery of this immense continent” to “the great nations of Europe” and that “those relations which were to exist between the discoverer and the natives were to be regulated by themselves.” He admitted that the rights of the rightful occupants of the soil were impaired. He claimed that the rights of the British government were passed to the United States which “asserted a title to all lands occupied by Indians within the chartered limits of the British colonies” with limited sovereignty and “the exclusive right of extinguishing the titles” of occupancy. He admitted, “Humanity, however, acting on public opinion, has established, as a general rule, that the conquered shall not be wantonly oppressed.” He assumed,

The tribes of Indians inhabiting this country
were fierce savages, whose occupation was war,
and whose substance was drawn chiefly from the forest.
To leave them in possession of their country,
was to leave the country a wilderness;
to govern them as a distinct people, was impossible,
because they were as brave and as high-spirited
as they were fierce, and were ready
to repel by arms every attempt on their independence.2

Marshall noted that the result was “frequent and bloody wars” though “European policy, numbers, and skill prevailed.”
      Cherokees sent a delegation to Washington in 1824 and explained they are the original inhabitants and that their treaties with the United States Government defined their territory, and President Monroe received their diplomatic mission. Monroe in his last annual address to Congress on 7 December 1824 admitted that Indians had made progress and had 32 schools with 916 students.
      In a special message on 25 January 1825 President Monroe, believing that Indians could not be incorporated into their system, warned that without changes “their degradation and extermination will be inevitable.” He advised the resettlement of Indians west of the Mississippi to territory with permanent guarantees for Indian control. He hoped the plan would be voluntary, and Calhoun planned to move 80,000 Indians; but the Congress did not want to spend the money, and both houses even refused to authorize a study.
      Cherokee land bordered the Osage nation. The Big and Little Osage and Kansas Indians ceded the rest of their territory in Missouri to the US in 1818, and on 2 June 1825 William Clark for the United States signed a treaty with the Osage tribe in western territory (later Kansas) in which they ceded land west of the state of Missouri and the Arkansas Territory and north and west of the Red River. The Osages retained only a 50-mile wedge. They moved to land near what became the town of Independence. The Osages suffered from cholera in 1829-31 and from smallpox in 1837-38.
      In 1825 the Cherokee Legislative Council revised their civil and criminal codes, decreed that minerals from mines on their land belonged to the Cherokee Nation with one-quarter going to the discoverers. On November 12 they made New Town a permanent capital renamed New Echota. Cherokees had 776 slaves and 1,700 farms with corn fields that produced 269,000 bushels a year, 80,000 livestock, and 63,000 peach trees.
      By 1826 the Cherokees had 18 mission schools, and that year the Methodists began opening several schools. Elias Boudinot went on a lecture tour to the northeast and raised money for a newspaper planned by the Legislative Council. Samuel Worcester purchased a printing press in Boston with type for Cherokee as well as English. During his life Worcester would translate the Bible and hymns into Cherokee.
      On 26 July 1827 a convention of Cherokees at New Echota revised their government modeled on the US Constitution in northwestern Georgia and declared their independence. Towns elected representatives who elected John Ross chief and a kinsman assistant chief, and Major Ridge was elected adviser to the chief. In February 1828 the first newspaper in an Indian language, the weekly Cherokee Phoenix, began publishing in English and Cherokee. The Cherokees had a tribal constitution.
      Georgia Governor George Troup wanted to remove the Cherokees still in Georgia, and in 1828 he was elected to the US Senate and was one of those Jackson put on committees to favor removal. The Georgia legislature claimed ownership of all Cherokee territory and nullified Cherokee laws and titles there. Georgia Governor John Forsyth had warned the Cherokee tribe that they must leave the state or be removed, and on 20 December 1828 the Georgia legislature decreed that Indians in Georgia would come under their jurisdiction in June 1829. The Cherokees sent a delegation that reached Washington in April 1829.
      Jackson asked Eaton to prepare a reply which denied the Indians the rights of a sovereign nation, stated that the United States had no constitutional authority to support their rights in Georgia, and that they could not make demands while residing in a state of the US. He engaged Thomas L. McKenney, who had been head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs since 1824, to use humanitarian arguments to persuade church groups that the Indians should be removed. Jackson also sent Generals John Coffee and William Carroll to advise Creeks and Cherokees to migrate voluntarily. Jackson believed that because of the greed of white men the two races could not get along and that removal would help the Indians escape annihilation. However, the chiefs declined to abandon their native land, and they would not urge others to go west. Jackson then ordered the army to remove all white intruders from Indian lands to prevent conflicts, and if necessary to destroy their homes and crops.
      In January 1829 Elias Boudinot published the first Cherokee book with hymns translated from Cherokee religious texts, and he was editor of the bilingual Cherokee Phoenix 1828-32. Cherokees sent memorials to Congress and on February 17 a letter to Secretary of War Porter. Gold was discovered in Habersham County, Georgia near Cherokee land in July 1829, and in 1830 miners sent gold valued at $212,000 to the US Mint in Philadelphia.
         Most of Jackson’s message to Congress on 8 December 1829 was about the Indian tribes in southern states. He wrote that the government had introduced the arts of civilization hoping to reclaim them from a “wandering life.” However, whites had also purchased their lands and drove them into the wilderness. Thus the government defeated its own policy. A few tribes had remained in Georgia and Alabama, and those states had claimed sovereignty and extended law over Indians who then asked for US protection. Yet he noted that the Constitution states, “No new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state” without the consent of its legislature. Therefore he “advised them to emigrate beyond the Mississippi or submit to the laws of those states.” He observed,

Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization,
which by destroying the resources of the savage
doom him to weakness and decay,
the fate of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware
is fast overtaking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek.
That this fate surely awaits them if they remain
within the limits of the states does not admit of a doubt.
Humanity and national honor demand that
every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity.3

Therefore Jackson suggested “setting apart an ample district west of the Mississippi” that was “to be guaranteed to the Indian tribes.” He hoped that they would learn the arts of civilization and raise up a commonwealth to perpetuate the race. He stated that “emigration should be voluntary,” for it would be cruel and unjust to compel the aborigines to move to a distant land. He hoped that by submitting to the laws of states they would be merged into the population like other citizens. He was concerned about the security of whites and the Indians because of their conflicts.
      On December 19 the Georgia legislature began passing laws that allowed confiscation of Cherokee land and prohibiting meetings of the Cherokee Legislative Council in Georgia, and imprisonment of Cherokees who urged rejection of emigration. These would go into effect in June 1830 and nullified contracts between Indians and Indians, made it illegal for an Indian to testify against a white, and outlawed Cherokees digging for gold. Mississippi had a state law that could force Indians to pay debts and state taxes. Yet with the help of Presbygational missionaries the Cherokees had learned how to shift from hunting to farming, and many had been converted to Christianity.
      The famous actor Edwin Forrest offered $500 for an original play, and he played a chief during King Philip’s War (1675-76) in Metamora; or, The Last of the Wampanoags by John Augustus Stone in New York in December 1829.
      Mississippi had a state law that could force Indians to pay debts and state taxes. On December 19 the Georgia legislature began passing laws that allowed confiscation of Cherokee land and prohibiting meetings of the Cherokee Legislative Council in Georgia, and imprisonment of Cherokees who urged rejection of emigration. These would go into effect in June 1830 and nullified contracts between Indians and Indians, made it illegal for an Indian to testify against a white, and outlawed Cherokees digging for gold. Yet with the help of Presbygational missionaries the Cherokees had learned how to shift from hunting to farming, and many had been converted to Christianity.
      On 19 May 1830 Horace Everett made a speech in the US House of Representatives criticizing the removal bill as unmitigated evil with extreme violence, a deplorable breach of public faith, and incalculable suffering that would “stain the fair name of the country.” Cherokees refused to meet with President Jackson at Nashville in September. Many people supported a petition campaign led by Catherine Beecher.

Evarts & Opposition to Cherokee Removal

      Jeremiah Evarts was born in Vermont on 3 February 1781 and graduated from Yale College in 1802. He became a lawyer and practiced law in New Haven. In 1810 he began editing the religious monthly Panoplist. In 1811 he was elected treasurer of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. In January 1821 the Panoplist became the Missionary Herald for the American Board, and Evarts would supervise the journal until his death. He supported the right of the Cherokees to stay in Georgia, and he believed the federal government should protect their rights.
      On 12 March 1827 the Superintendent of Indian Affairs Thomas McKenney wrote to Evarts urging him and the American Board to support the voluntary removal of the Indians to preserve them, but the American Board was committed to helping the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles) to stay where they were. On 22 July 1829 McKenney with help from the Dutch Reformed Church established the Indian Board for the Emigration, Preservation, and Improvement of the Aborigines of America based on Eaton’s letter to the Cherokees on April 18. Evarts using the name “William Pennwrote a series of essays between August 5 to December 19 that were printed in the Washington National Intelligencer, giving the legal case for the rights of the Indians and against removal. In #1 he asked the following simple question:

Have the Indian tribes, residing as separate communities
in the neighborhood of the whites,
a permanent title to the territory,
which they inherited from their fathers,
which they have neither forfeited nor sold,
and which they now occupy?4

On August 8 in #2 he wrote,

The Cherokees are human beings, endowed by their Creator
with the same natural rights as other men.
They are in peaceable possession of a territory
which they have always regarded as their own.
This territory was in possession of their ancestors,
through an unknown series of generations,
and has come down to them with a title
absolutely unencumbered in every respect.5

Evarts analyzed the treaties between the United States and Cherokees’ recognition of them as a nation especially the Hopewell Treaty of 1785 and the compact between Georgia and the US in 1802 when the state demanded that the US remove all the Indians from its territory. He presented and discussed 16 treaties from 1785 to 1819 that were ratified by the US. In Essay #20 he noted that the spurious Indian Spring Treaty made with Georgia on 12 February 1825 was considered a fraud by the highest authorities, and he explained how Governor Troup claimed that the treaty which Georgia made with the Creeks gave the United States “the whole territory within the limits of Georgia.” Evarts urged following the immutable Christian principles of morality in Essay #23. In #24 he wrote that the plan was to be distrusted because its advocates talked of “future generosity and kindness” instead of “honor, truth, and justice.” He also predicted that “the constrained migration of 60,000” poor people would cause much suffering. He warned the United States not to incur the guilt of violating treaties. The Penn essays were published and circulated by many periodicals that reached about a half million citizens.
      Eleazar Lord founded the Manhattan Fire Insurance Company, and he supported Evarts’ efforts by organizing protests against Cherokee removal in New York City that began in August. Lord wrote a statement on the rights of the southern Indians, and Evarts urged him to send it to prominent lawyers in several cities. Lord organized a large public meeting in New York in December that started a campaign to petition the US Congress on behalf of the Indians, and he printed 300 copies of the petition as a pamphlet. He sent 250 copies of the New York American which printed it to supporters around the country. New York Senator Nathan Sanford presented the petition in Congress on 4 January 1830, and it was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. Georgia Senator John Forsyth helped block the printing of the memorial. The petition argued that the Cherokees had the right to live on their land and that removal to useless lands would cause misery. Another petition was disseminated at a Boston meeting on February 22, and Washington soon got many petitions from New England.
      George B. Cheever was inspired by Evarts and in January wrote an article for the American Monthly Magazine, and Evarts persuaded him to publish it as a pamphlet that was 72 pages which Evarts sent to every member of Congress. That month Lewis Cass published an article in the North American Review supporting removal, and Samuel Worcester in March wrote a response for the Spirit of the Pilgrims which had criticized that article. During the debate in Congress the Whig Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen known as the “Christian Statesmen” led the effort to support the Indians’ rights. Evarts went to Washington on April 3 and was concerned about the Jacksonian spirit of party. After the House passed the Removal Bill on May 26, he wrote his “Protest Against the Principles and Policy of the Indian Bill of May 1830,” but even the Jackson Democrats who opposed the bill refused to sign the protest. The Cherokee Phoenix published it on July 24.
      Evart returned to Boston and published long extracts of speeches by twelve congressmen against Indian removal, and the only one by a southerner was by David Crockett of Tennessee. In his introduction to the speeches he noted that in December 1827 the legislature and executive of Georgia took a new attitude that Georgia had a title to all the land and could take it by force and that the United States must “extinguish the Indian title.” Cheever wrote a review of the speeches against the bill for the Spirit of the Pilgrims, but he exaggerated the barrenness of the Indian country in the Arkansas Territory (northeastern Oklahoma).
      Evarts also noted that most women were on the side of the Indians. Henry Clay sent him an encouraging letter on August 23. Evarts wrote a history of the Indian Bill that was serialized monthly in the New York Observer from July 10 to December 4. He also had two William Penn letters published in the National Intelligencer on November 24 and 27. He managed to get the annual congress of the American Board to approve a moderate resolution by the Prudential Committee, and he sent it to the US Senate committee on 1 February 1831. This memorial emphasized the misery that the removal would cause. Evarts was exhausted and had tuberculosis, and he died on May 10. Many of his ethical arguments would be used by abolitionists.

Cherokees & Removal West 1830-43

      The Indian Removal bill was to move about 60,000 Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles from the states of North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River, and it was reported out of the Senate and House Committees by 24 February 1830. On April 6 New Jersey Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen gave a six-hour speech over three days against moving the Cherokees from Georgia. He argued against unilateral expropriation violating the Hopewell Treaty of 1785, and he suggested that the US Army could protect the Cherokees from intrusions. He concluded by asking,

Mr. President,
if we abandon these aboriginal proprietors of our soil—
these early allies and adopted children of our forefathers,
how shall we justify it to our country,
to all the glory of the past and the promise of the future?...
How shall we justify this trespass to ourselves?6

On May 15 the Cherokee Phoenix promised that they would be firm and united in demanding justice. David Crockett considered the bill “oppression with a vengeance.” The Senate passed the bill easily 28-19, but the House vote on May 26 was 102-98 with the southern states voting in favor 61-16 and others against 82-41. President Jackson signed it two days later, giving Cherokees “perpetual title” to land in US territory west of the Mississippi that was not “in any state or organized territory.” It also authorized “the President to exchange any or all of such districts,” and to act “to cause such tribe or nation to be protected.” Jackson apparently believed that he could not protect the Cherokees from greedy whites in the state of Georgia but he could in a federal territory. Pennsylvanian Joseph Hemphill in the House tried to delay the removal with a commission to examine the new Cherokee territory and give responsibility to Congress; but this would take more than a year, and southerners defeated it in the House.
      The Indian Removal Act appropriated $500,000 for provisions, but this would not provide enough funds for the tribes moving west over several years. He was not able to prevent speculators from buying about 85% of the land from the Cherokees who wanted to stay in Georgia. Quakers and other religious groups were outraged by the removal of natives. Van Buren praised Jackson’s policy, and the misery of the removals would not become widely known until after Jackson’s presidency.
      The Cherokees refused to leave Georgia. In July the Legislative Council resolved not to exchange land or move, but they asked the President for protection. They challenged Jackson’s right to discontinue their $6,000 annuity by paying each person which would have been 50 cents each. Chief Ross retained a Georgia law firm, William Wirt, and Associates of Baltimore. At the end of 1830 Georgia passed a law prohibiting whites from entering Cherokee land as of March 1831. President Jackson informed the Senate in February that he would no longer enforce the Indian Intercourse Act of 1802 that protected their lands from intruders. Cherokees wanted to keep gold prospectors off their land, and Wirt appealed their case to the US Supreme Court. On March 18 in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia Chief Justice Marshall declared that Cherokees were neither a sovereign nation nor subject to state laws but were “domestic dependent nations” and a ward of the United States which claimed the exclusive right to regulate trade with them and respect their rights. Marshall concluded that the US Supreme Court was not the tribunal to redress the rights of the Cherokee nation that had been wronged. The Cherokees accepted this as the US Government having to protect their rights.
      On 7 July 1831 Samuel Worcester and ten other missionaries were arrested and then convicted of living on Indian land without a permit and on September 15 were sentenced to four years hard labor. Governor Gilmer granted them clemency, which only Worcester and Dr. Elizur Butler refused. Wirt also appealed their case, and on 23 March 1832 the US Supreme Court in Worcester v. Georgia struck down the Georgia law as unconstitutional. Georgia refused to appear in court on this case and did not accept the court’s mandate. Worcester and Butler declined a pardon until after the law was repealed in December. The Georgia government used a lottery to raffle off the unoccupied Cherokee land to whites. President Jackson refused to enforce the court’s judgment and was believed to have said, “John Marshall has rendered his decision; now let him enforce it.”
      The Cherokee Council met on July 23 at Red Clay, Tennessee with US Commissioner Elisha Chester who urged immediate removal, and several leaders became advocates for a treaty. In October 1832 John Ross and a delegation were sent to Washington, but those for a treaty were upset that Ross refused to accept $3.25 million for their land. When Ross got home in April 1833, he learned that his house and farm had been given to a lottery winner. His wife and children were living on the second floor, and they moved across the border to Tennessee and built a two-story log house. Other Cherokee leaders opposing a treaty also lost their homes. After the meeting Cherokee Phoenix editor Boudinot resigned, and the paper under Hicks stopped publishing in May 1834.
      Congress passed a law replacing the Bureau of Indian Affairs with the Office of Indian Affairs under an Indian Commissioner in June 1834. That year Congress created the new Indian Territory west of Arkansas, Missouri, and the Iowa Territory. Wealthy John Ross who owned slaves and was only one-eighth Cherokee, was elected as the Principal Chief of the Cherokees, and he tried to negotiate with Jackson, asking for $20 million; but Jackson did not like him. Some Cherokee chiefs who wanted a treaty included the Speaker of the Cherokee National Council, Major Ridge, his son John, and Elias Boudinot, and in February 1835 they ceded the Cherokees’ land to the US for $4.5 million. Jackson explained the treaty in a letter to the Cherokee Tribe on March 16, and it was published in newspapers on April 7. Some Cherokee leaders secretly signed a treaty on March 29. Ross led those refusing removal, and that summer he persuaded the Cherokees to vote against the treaty 2,225 to 114. Georgia’s Governor Lumpkin had Ross and others at his home arrested on November 7, but Ross was released in December and went to Washington.
      While he was gone, Jackson’s envoy, Rev. John Schermerhorn, at New Echota, Georgia on 29 December 1835 managed to get some Cherokee chiefs to sign a treaty trading their land in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee for $5 million and 7 million acres by the Red River. Yet soon about 12,000 Cherokees signed a resolution denouncing it, and 3,250 Cherokees in North Carolina signed a petition asking the Senate to reject the treaty. The US Senate ratified the treaty 31-15 on 23 May 1836, and the remaining 16,542 Cherokees had two years from that date to leave the states for the western territory.
      The Cherokees had been practicing agriculture since before the Europeans arrived, and now they had 2,809 farmers who were growing corn and wheat, 3,129 spinners, and 2,484 weavers. In late 1836 about 13,000 from southern tribes were waiting at Memphis for removal agents to bring steamboats to take them to Indian Territory. The largest Chickasaw and Cherokee migrations began in 1837.
      On 23 April 1837 in a letter to President Van Buren complaining about the cruel treatment of the Cherokees in the Treaty of 1835 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote,

   Such a dereliction of all faith and virtue,
such a denial of justice, and such deafness
to screams for mercy were never heard of in times of peace
and in the dealing of a nation with its own allies and wards,
since the earth was made.
   Sir, does this government think that the people
of the United States are become savage and mad?
From their mind are the sentiments of love
and a good nature wiped clean out?
The soul of man, the justice,
the mercy that is the heart’s heart in all men,
from Maine to Georgia, does abhor this business.

Van Buren agreed to postpone the removal until May 1840; but when Georgia mobilized 2,000 soldiers, the President changed his mind. General Scott gave the contract for the removal to the Cherokee Council in July to move more than 11,000 Cherokees, and the Council chose John Ross to chair the committee.
      On 26 May 1838 General John Wool was sent with soldiers to enforce the treaty by rounding up Cherokees and putting them in stockades. He said the white men “like vultures, are watching, ready to pounce upon their prey and strip them of everything they have.” General Winfield Scott was given 7,000 troops and on June 6 reported that the Cherokees had lost so much property during their capture for removal that they lacked “bedding, cooking utensils, clothes, and ponies,” but he blamed the Indians for believing John Ross’s assurances. Many Cherokees escaped into the mountains of North Carolina.
      The 18,000 Cherokees on the 800-mile Trail of Tears during the fall and winter of 1838-39 did not have adequate food, and many suffered from pellagra, tuberculosis, and pneumonia; about 6,000 died on the way. The Cherokees reached the Indian Territory that is now northeastern Oklahoma in the first three months of 1839. During Jackson’s presidency 45,960 Indians were removed west of the Mississippi, and from 1789 to 1838 the US Government relocated an estimated 81,282 Indians.
      In 1836 the Western Cherokees had organized a Temperance Society. The Western Cherokee Chief John Jolly and others invited the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Seneca, Delaware, Shawnee, Quapaw, and Sauk tribes to meet at Takatoah (Double Springs) on 15 September 1838. When the Eastern Cherokees reached the western territory in 1839, they found that the Glasgow and Harrison firm, which had the government contract, had provided unhealthy meat and flour and meal infested with weevils. On June 10 the agent assured Ross that 75,000 pounds of corn meal, rice, and flour were on their way. John Brown was the first chief of the Western Cherokees, and he dissolved the Council on the 20th.
      Two days later the followers of Ross murdered the treaty-party leaders John Ridge, Major Ridge, and Elias Boudinot. On July 1 about 2,000 Cherokees gathered at the Illinois Camp Ground to form a new government. Then on September 6 the united East-West Cherokees held an assembly at the new capital of Tahlequah, and the Council adopted a constitution based on the earlier one. The $800,000 due the Cherokee emigrants to pay for spoliation and improvements so that they could establish new homes was withheld by the advice of General Arbuckle until the recalcitrant treaty party abandoned their new government and accepted the rule of the previous settlers.
      Chief John Ross and his nephew William Coodey went to Washington, but the US Government recognized John Rogers, John Smith, and Dutch as the top three Cherokee chiefs, and at Fort Gibson in February 1840 these older settlers declared they would not let Ross participate in the government; but a House Committee on Indian Affairs took the side of the Ross party. John Howard Payne accompanied Ross and reported on the first session of the Cherokee National Council meeting at Tahlequah in October 1840. In 1841 President Tyler’s War Department employed Payne to report on the West Cherokees, and in November eleven public schools were provided. In 1843 John Ross invited 21 tribes in the Indian Territory to a Grand Council at Tahlequah to resolve differences and border conflicts. The first issue of the Cherokee Advocate was published at Tahlequah in September 1844.

Choctaws & Chickasaws

      The American Board sent Rev. Elias Cornelius to visit Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws in 1817. Their missionaries went to the Choctaws in May 1818, and they found they had good land in the state of Mississippi with “considerable wealth” and civilized tendencies. Choctaw leaders wanted education but not Christian indoctrination. On 3 March 1819 the US Congress passed the Civilization Act and appropriated $10,000 to prevent the “decline and final extinction of the Indian tribes.” The American Board provided more than $7,000 for the mission, and the US Government put in less than $2,000.
      Commissioners Andrew Jackson and Thomas Hines negotiated a treaty that was signed at Doak’s Stand on the Natchez Trace on 18 October 1820, and the US Senate approved it on 8 January 1821. The Choctaws ceded about 6 million acres in Mississippi in exchange for 13 million acres between the Arkansas and Red rivers with $52,000 for 36 schools. Settlers would be granted one square mile of land. The Choctaw Nation was to be the central authority, but a government agent was to seize any whiskey brought there. A corps of light-horse men were to be paid $200 a year to compel men to pay debts and “bad men” to leave. Some Choctaws felt betrayed and repudiated the treaty. Calhoun recognized the injustice and stopped the removal. Cyrus Byington arrived in Elliot in April 1820 to replace the superintendent Cyrus Kingsford. Byington studied the Choctaw language and began translating texts to encourage literacy. He brought along John Pickering’s Cherokee grammar and other native books. Mingo Hwoolatahoomah and his captains enacted laws in the Six Towns district which banned whiskey and regulated marriages, sexual practices, and work habits.
      In September 1824 Chief Pushmataha led a Choctaw delegation to Washington and negotiated a new treaty that promised the Choctaws annual payments of $6,000 which President Monroe signed on 22 January 1825. By then Choctaws had eleven English-language schools, Cherokees six, Chickasaws two, and Creeks one. In an 1825 treaty the Choctaws ceded the eastern portion of their western land that would become part of the state of Arkansas in 1836.
      Thomas McKenney had been the Superintendent of Indian Affairs since 1824, and on 17 October 1827 he urged the Choctaw Council to sell or trade their land in Mississippi and sign a removal treaty. Two years later President Jackson offered land west of the Mississippi River where they could live “as long as grass grows and water runs in peace and plenty.” The Choctaw chiefs declined both offers. Alfred Wright and Byington published a catechism in 1827 and Choctaw hymns in 1829. By June that year the Choctaw schools had three spellers, some scripture, and stories in Choctaw. Choctaws generally found the Methodists’ belief in free will, universal grace, and mystical experience closer to their traditions than the theology of American Board missionaries who emphasized sin and salvation, words not in the Choctaw language. Most of the Choctaws were still in Mississippi. They adapted to the many whites who had been arriving in large numbers since Mississippi became a state in December 1817. The population of Mississippi would increase from 75,448 in 1820 to 606,526 in 1850.
      On 19 January 1830 the Mississippi legislature extended its jurisdiction over “the person and property” of all Indians living in the state. In March a general council with 800 people became unified as David Folsom and John Garland resigned leaving the Methodist convert Greenwood Leflore the only chief. The Council drew up a treaty to cede their Mississippi land to move west. Jackson’s Indian Removal Act became law on May 28. On August 23 the President assured Choctaw leaders that removal was in their interest, or they would be subject to the laws of Mississippi. When Superintendent McKenney considered native rights in the removal, Jackson dismissed him in August.
      Choctaws had declined to go to Franklin, but secret bribes persuaded them to sign the first removal treaty at Dancing Rabbit Creek on September 27, and in exchange for 10.5 million acres mostly in Mississippi and western Alabama they were given 13 million acres west of the Arkansas Territory between the Red River and the Canadian River. In December 1830 Eaton told Congress there were no secret agreements or bribes, and the Senate ratified it on 25 February 1831. In November about 4,000 Choctaws had gathered at Vicksburg to depart. Their emigration would begin in the fall followed by others in 1832 and 1833. The winter of 1831-32 was especially miserable. The head of each family was given a rifle, a kettle, 5 pounds of tobacco, and a blanket for each family member. The US Government spent $5 million moving the Choctaws, but much corruption and mismanagement left the natives with inadequate provisions. When supplies were not available, they were given certificates. About 12,500 Choctaws were removed as some 3,000 died of cholera.
      The American Board missionaries had contributed $61,982 to the Choctaws who also received $64,000 from annuities, $20,242 from the US Treasury, and $1,697 from Choctaw donors. The missionaries had taught 528 students in their schools and the villages. A small group left after the treaty was signed, and larger migrations were in the winter of 1831-32 and during 1833. By then most of the Choctaws had moved. The Choctaw Nation had about 15,000 people, and some 2,500 died on these migrations. About 5,000 Choctaws chose the option of staying in Mississippi.
      In the western territory the Choctaw Nation had a government with a constitution with laws in English and Choctaw. The three districts each had a chief and a council of ten elected by men over 21. One of the first laws was about witches, and in 1834 three Choctaws killed a man and a woman in the tribe who were accused of being witches. Superintendent Armstrong withheld annuities until the murderers were arrested. Then the Council made a law with the death penalty for anyone who killed someone accused of witchcraft and 60 lashes for charging anyone with being a witch. By 1836 the Choctaws had 300 children in 12 schools.
      In August 1835 the minister Wright had sent his Choctaw spelling book to Boston for printing. In September 1837 he completed his translations of the Gospels and Epistles of John and in July 1839 the Gospel of Matthew. His manuscripts were published by Worcester at Park Hill in July 1840.

      The Chickasaws lived in western Tennessee and northern Mississippi near the Choctaws, and they had many horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, and poultry. Women spun and wove clothes, milked cows, and made butter and cheese. Chickasaws and Choctaws had languages derived from Muskogee, and both societies were matrilineal. Levi Colbert (Itawamba) negotiated with the United States Government for the Chickasaws and signed land cession treaties in 1816, 1818, and 1830. The 1818 treaty paid off his brother William Colbert’s debt of $1,115. Several white men joined the tribe and married Chickasaws, and their children were educated. The Chickasaws had a few written laws that were enforced. They got a missionary school in 1820 and another in 1821, and the tribe spent $3,000 a year on education.
      In 1827 Indian Commissioner Thomas McKenney met with Levi Colbert and others to discuss relocating the tribe to Indian Territory. In 1828 Levi led a group of Chickasaws who explored possible sites in the western Indian Territory. President Jackson met with 21 Chickasaw chiefs at a church in Franklin on 23 August 1829 and gave them a talk that was printed in many newspapers. As the “great father” he promised not to force their removal, but he warned that annihilation was the likely alternative. He urged them to go to a land of promise and peace before the Great Spirit calls them to die. He warned that by staying with the whites their national character would be lost.
      President Jackson in his message to Congress on 8 December 1829 explained his case for Indian removal. He argued it would end conflicts between general and state governments over the Indians and would allow “civilized” people land “now occupied by a few savage hunters.” Tribes in all of Mississippi and western Alabama would be moved to where they could “pursue happiness in their own way.” He noted that some Choctaw and Chickasaw had already moved beyond the Mississippi River. He argued that those “unwilling to submit to the laws of the states and mingle with their populations” have only “this alternative, perhaps utter annihilation.” He concluded that the federal government has a duty to the new states “to extinguish as soon as possible the Indian title to all lands which Congress themselves have included within their limits.”7
      Chickasaws exported 1,000 bales of cotton in 1830. That year the state of Mississippi extended its laws over the Chicksaws, and the US Government withdrew its support in order to help southern states drive away Indians. The Chickasaw chiefs held a council for four days and accepted a treaty offered by Major Eaton and General Coffee which they signed on 31 August 1830 at Franklin. The US Senate had technical objections, and Coffee had to renegotiate the treaty at Pontotoc that was not signed until 20 October 1832. The US Congress refused to ratify this treaty, but the sale of land was confirmed in the treaty signed at Washington on 24 May 1834 that created Articles of Confederation and a Commission of Seven led by Minko Ishtehotopa made up of George Colbert, Levi and his son Martin, Henry and Benjamin Love, and Isaac Albertson. They supervised the surveying and distribution of land in lots.
      Some Chickasaws married to Choctaws had moved to Indian Territory in the winter of 1831. General John Coffee urged Chickasaws to settle on Choctaw land, but in 1833 a Chickasaw delegation found Choctaws hostile. The Choctaw chief Peter Pitchlynn was worried about Chickasaws settling on Choctaw land. On land west of Choctaws the Chickasaws faced white settlers and conflict over wilder Indian hunting grounds. Whites often used liquor to manipulate Indians, and many Chickasaws believed that drinking whisky retarded progress. In 1836 Chickasaw leaders asked the US Government for a place to settle but were persuaded to live with the Choctaws and accepted the Doaksville Convention in 1837 by which the Chickasaws could lease the western portion of Choctaw land. The Choctaw commissioner Peter Pitchlynn demanded that the Chickasaws become Choctaw citizens and assigned them a political district to elect their representatives to the Choctaw Council. They chose Col. Edmund Pickens who served until 1855. The Chickasaws’ agent Gaines Kingsbury argued that their territory was too isolated for protection or supply, and he urged them to trade with the Choctaws.
      The Chickasaws emigration west began in 1837 when they first moved to the Boggy and Blue rivers while others settled in Choctaw country. Some prosperous Chickasaws brought many slaves. During the emigration in the winter of 1837-38 more than 500 Chickasaws caught smallpox and died. The chiefs asked the US Government for a fort near the mouth of the Washita River to protect them from the wild Indians south of the Red River, but nothing was done for four years. Many Chickasaws moved to woodlands in the northern part of the Choctaw nation to get away from whites. Some Chickasaw men had more than one wife even though that was prohibited by the Choctaw constitution. In the late 1830s Texans forced Indian bands out of their republic toward the Chickasaws’ district.
      Their chief George Colbert, son of a Scottish settler from North Carolina and a Chickasaw mother, had fought with the US Army under General Anthony Wayne in 1794. He recruited 350 Chickasaws and served under General Jackson against the Creeks during the War of 1812 and in the Florida war against the Seminoles. Colbert had 150 slaves and planted about 400 acres of cotton in the West. He was very elderly when he died in November 1839. Old Chief Tish-o-mingo died in May 1841.
      Some Chickasaws, who had money from land sold, declined to work much, but others purchased herds of livestock from Choctaws and became prosperous. Bands of Delaware, Shawnee, Kickapoo, Cherokee, Caddo, Yuchi, and Koasati stole livestock from Chickasaws and traded them to Comanches for horses they had taken from whites in Texas. In the spring of 1841 Fort Gibson sent three companies to drive out the intruding Indians temporarily. That summer about 70 Texans crossed the Red River and ravaged Chickasaw property, but this led to General Zachary Taylor establishing Fort Washita in 1842. By 1843 the Chickasaws had 500 acres of corn and a surplus of 40,000 bushels. In July 1844 the first census counted 4,111 Chickasaws. In December their commissioners approved a manual labor school, and $3,600 per year funded its operation.

Creeks & Removal West 1825-44

      On 12 February 1825 the Coweta town chief William McIntosh and eight other chiefs sold 4,700,000 acres of Creek territory in Georgia to the United States for $217,600 and a perpetual annuity of $20,000 in a second treaty at Indian Springs, Georgia. The US Senate ratified the treaty 38-4 on March 3, and Adams signed it two days later before learning of rumors that it was fraudulent. The Creeks had to leave the ceded territory before September 1826. McIntosh was also paid a large amount which he was supposed to use for his people, but on April 30 Red Stick chief Menawa and more than 120 Creek police called “Law Menders” attacked the McIntosh plantation, burned his house, and killed him. They also put to death Etomme Tustunnuggee and Samuel Hawkins. A majority of Creeks opposed the deal that had bribed tribal leaders.
      On 24 January 1826 the US War Department made another treaty in Washington with Creek chiefs who ceded their Georgia land while maintaining a strip west of the Chattahoochee River, and Creeks had to leave Georgia by the end of the year. The treaty returned to the Creeks 3 million acres in Alabama. War Secretary Barbour proposed resettling Indians as individuals instead of as tribes in an attempt to “civilize” them. In September surveyors were sent to begin the sale of the Indian lands. When Creek officials arrested some, Governor Troup ordered the cavalry to protect the surveyors. General Gaines informed the Creek Council that $400,000 promised in the treaty would be paid to those emigrating rather than to the McIntosh faction.
      White settlers and land speculators had driven many Creeks from their land in Georgia and Alabama. The new Georgia Governor Troup ordered Sectional Surveyors to meet in Milledgeville on August 14. Some Creeks were living on the ceded land, and War Secretary Barbour affirmed that the deadline on 1 January 1827 would be enforced. On that day the United States promised to pay the $20,000 perpetual annuity and $217,600, but $159,700 of it went to 21 Creeks and 3 Cherokees. The Creeks still had almost 200,000 acres in Georgia. Commissioner McKenney’s treaty signed at Fort Mitchell on November 15 declared that Creeks no longer had any land in Georgia. A group of 707 Creeks emigrated in November, leaving 20,690 Creeks. By the end of 1827 the Creeks had only the 5 million acres in the state of Alabama. Their Council controlled the $34,500 annuity and met for ten days in October 1828 while troops were occupying Tuckabatchee.
      On 23 March 1829 Jackson sent a letter to the Creeks, who called him “Sharp Knife.” He asked them to surrender the murderer of Elijah Wells in Georgia to preserve peace. He also wrote,

Where you now are, you and my white children
are too near to each other to live in harmony and peace.
Your game is destroyed,
and many of your people will not work and till the Earth.
Beyond the great river Mississippi,
where a part of your nation has gone,
your father has provided a country
large enough for all of you,
and he advises you to remove to it.
There your white brothers will not trouble you;
they will have no claim to the land,
and you can live upon it, you and all your children,
as long as the grass grows or the water runs, in peace and plenty.
It will be yours for ever.
For the improvements in the country where you now live,
and for all the stock which you cannot take with you,
your father will pay you a fair price.7

      About 1,200 Creeks emigrated to the Arkansas River by the mouth of the Verdigris River in 1829. Creek delegates went to Washington in January 1830. Unsuccessful with President Jackson, they presented their petition to the Congress on February 9. Jackson in June ordered the annuities to be divided and given to individuals instead of all of it to the leaders. Senator Benton chaired the committee on Indian affairs and investigated. The trader Col. A. P. Chouteau reported that the Western Creeks were producing 50 bushels of corn per acre and 19 bushels of wheat on the prairies. Most Creeks had no money and lacked traps, guns, clothing, and food.
      On 1 March 1832 chiefs Roley and Chilly McIntosh and 15 others made Chouteau their attorney to get these items owed them by the treaty. In December 1834 a shipment sank in the Arkansas River that carried 1,000 rifles, ammunition, and 520 pairs of blankets, and very little was salvaged. Epidemics of influenza and especially cholera and smallpox had caused the death of 500 Creeks, but 290 Creeks and Cherokees were vaccinated in the winter of 1833-34. An Indian council at Fort Gibson in September 1834 prepared the way for better relations with the wilder prairie tribes. Delawares had been destroying most of the game and many buffalo in and near Creek country. Osages killed stock and hogs and stole horses and other property.
      In January 1832 the Alabama legislature passed a bill that made all Cherokees and Creeks subject to Alabama laws. Creek chiefs signed the treaty of Cusseta on March 24 ceding all their land in Alabama, and in exchange the 90 chiefs received one square mile each and others half that. They gave up 5,200,000 acres and got back 2,157,000 acres in the West. The Creeks could sell these or by living on them for five years they were promised titles and citizenship. Article 5 mandated the United States to expel intruders from their lands and protect them from fraudulent speculators. On April 5 Secretary of War Lewis Cass ordered the US Marshal Crawford for southern Alabama to enforce the obligation. Crawford put a notice in three newspapers warning whites to withdraw by July 15 or as soon as their crops were harvested. Those who lived by the border and had fields in Creek lands were not bothered, though the marshal had soldiers burn the town of Irwinton.
      Alabama passed a law abrogating the authority of tribal chiefs and imposing punishment for those violating tribal cessions. Representatives of the Creeks who had moved west of the Mississippi signed a treaty at Fort Gibson with US commissioners on 14 February 1833. In the first year after their removal about one fourth of the Creek nation perished. Generals Winfield Scott and Thomas Jesup led 10,000 troops who removed 19,600 Creeks over the next two years, and 3,500 died of disease after arriving.
      Many squatters occupied the Alabama land, and the local militia fought for them against the Creeks. In 1834 and 1835 settlers and Creeks occasionally killed each other. The Second Creek War broke out in 1836 in the Chattahoochee Valley. After the burning of the town Lutcapoga by whites, hundreds of Creeks joined the veteran Chief Neamathla, and on May 19 the US Government sent in troops. When the elderly chief was captured in early June, thousands of his people surrendered and were imprisoned. Attacks by white settlers increased during the summer, and Jackson ordered the remaining Creeks deported. Secretary of War Cass sent General Scott, who was replaced by Shackelford and then Jesup. Two more chiefs were defeated, and on July 2 hundreds of Creek rebels were put in manacles and chains.
      On the 14th the 2,498 Creeks including 800 warriors were put on two riverboats for New Orleans and then up the Mississippi to Little Rock. On the way Yuchi Indians rolled the barrels of manacles and chains overboard. More than 10,000 destitute Creeks arrived at Fort Gibson in December. The killing of Chief William McIntosh had divided the Creek nation. In 1837 a total of 14,609 Creeks were forced to move west in five separate groups as over 3,500 Creeks died on their 750-mile trek to Fort Gibson in the Indian Territory. The US Army transported about 5,000 of these, most of whom had volunteered to fight in the Seminole War. Only a few Creeks remained in Alabama.
      The Lower Creeks led by William’s brother Roley McIntosh were a majority of the 19,000 Creeks in the West while 2,321 Upper Creeks led by Opothleyaholo settled by the Canadian River in December 1836; 379 had died on the way. The Upper Creeks were bitter to whites who had oppressed them in Alabama and made them destitute. Six dram shops sold whiskey publicly. In 1837 the Lower Creeks produced about 45,000 bushels of corn more than they used and sold it to the Fort Gibson commissariat. In May three steamships from New Orleans brought so much pork and flour to Fort Gibson that by June the meat was spoiling. Harrison, Glasgow & Company had begun issuing rations to the Indians in April, and they bought the damaged provisions. Their former employee Austin Raines reported that contractors paid Indians $20,000 for their corn rations that year, and much of the money was spent on whiskey.
      A drought in 1838 destroyed crops, and Raines reported in June that half the 16,000 Creeks had no provisions. Only the Lower Creeks had a surplus of corn, and they sold 40,000 bushels. The US Congress approved $150,000 to feed Creeks, Osage, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and others. General Matthew Arbuckle and Captain William Armstrong negotiated a treaty with the Creeks that was signed on November 23. Osage chiefs arrived on 6 January 1839 and signed a treaty on the 11th. On February 1 about 2,000 starving Creeks gathered at the depot near Fort Gibson. On the 17th the Creek agent James Logan held a meeting attended by 1,500 Creek warriors from both sides, and this began a process that started to unite the Creeks in a tribal council the next year. In the spring of 1839 Arbuckle ordered the Osages to return stolen horses to the Creeks and Cherokees. Limited vaccination had not curbed smallpox among the Creeks, Seminoles, and Cherokees.
      The Creeks lagged behind the Cherokees and Choctaws in education but began to establish a few schools in 1841. Major Ethan Allen Hitchcock was sent in September to investigate charges affecting the Creeks in the West, and the Creek Benjamin Marshall informed him that white men were selling cattle and cheating about the weight. The Creeks began holding a general council annually in the spring of 1842, and that fall two Methodist missionaries came to the Creeks. By 1843 the Upper Creeks were growing corn, vegetables, fruit, cotton, and rice.

Black Hawk War

      Chief Black Hawk repudiated the 1804 treaty that the Sauks and Foxes had made at St. Louis, and like many tribes in the War of 1812 he fought on the side of the British. Many tribes made peace with the United States at Portage des Sioux in July 1815, but the Fox, Sauk, Kickapoo, and Winnebago refused to agree. To protect the increasing number of settlers from hostile tribes to the northwest in 1816 and 1817 outposts were strengthened at Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison in Indiana, Fort Shelby in Detroit, Fort Gratiot and Fort Mackinac in eastern Michigan, and Fort Dearborn and Fort Clark in Illinois. In 1816 new forts were built on Rock Island, Prairie du Chien, and Fort Howard by mouth of the Fox River. In May 1816 Black Hawk signed a peace treaty and recognized the 1804 treaty which ceded their land in northwestern Illinois. In May 1817 Thomas Forsyth began distributing annuities to the Sauks and Foxes. In September tribes owning land in Ohio were told they must cede them for annuities and presents and sign cession treaties. In the next four year tribes were forced to live on reservations or move west of the Mississippi River. Fort Snelling, Fort Saginaw, and Fort Brady were constructed between 1819 and 1822. By 1824 Black Hawk and others had to go more than two hundred miles from their homes in Saukenuk (Rock Island) to find good hunting.
      Lewis Cass governed the Michigan Territory 1813-36, and on 19 August 1825 he and the Superintendent of Indian Affairs William Clark negotiated a treaty at Prairie du Chien in southwest Wisconsin that made peace between the Sioux nations and the Sauk and Fox, Menominee, Iowa, Winnebago, and the Anishinaabeg group which included the Odawa, Saulteaux, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Oji-Cree, and Algonquin peoples. The Potawatomi ceded much land in Indiana, and the Miami gave up their reservations for $55,000 and an annuity of $25,000. The treaty of Fond du Lac made by Cass and Thomas McKenney with the Ojibwe was signed by 85 natives on 5 August 1826. In the spring of 1827 Winnebago Chief Red Bird attacked farmers near Prairie du Chien and then retreated to the east along the Wisconsin River followed by General Henry Atkinson’s army. They and another force from Fort Howard trapped the Winnebagos at the Fox-Wisconsin portage, and Red Bird surrendered. Fort Winnebago was then built there.
      On 4 September 1827 the Illinois Governor Ninian Edwards wrote to Secretary of War Barbour complaining that Indians were using land ceded in the 1804 treaty at St. Louis, but he received no reply. Then he wrote to the Indian Agent William Clark threatening to remove the Indians. Clark promised he would remove them by 25 May 1829. That date passed, and in July the General Land Office put up the land for sale in Springfield, Illinois in October. Forsyth told the Sauks they could not return to Saukenuk in the spring of 1830. Chief Keokuk led the Sauk in Illinois, and he agreed with Clark to the Fourth Treaty of Prairie du Chien on 15 July 1830, and the Yankton Sioux and Santee Sioux accepted it on October 13. They agreed to live between the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers.
      In the winter of 1830-31 Chief Black Hawk led about 1,500 Sauk, Meskwakis, and Kickapoos from the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River to cross into Illinois. After a while he left but told whites he would return in the spring of 1831, and he sent his son with a deputation to the Osages, Cherokees, Creeks, and other tribes; but he only got support from local Kickapoos, Potawatomis, and some Winnebagos. The new Governor John Reynolds and Clark asked Washington for help. Black Hawk did return to Saukenuk in the spring with 300 warriors and their families. Reynolds called out 700 militia and appealed to Clark. He notified General Edmund Gaines who led federal troops to Rock Island. Gaines met with Black Hawk, Keokuk, and others, and he told them they had to leave because of the 1804 treaty; but Black Hawk refused. Keokuk warned of American power and persuaded 50 families to leave Black Hawk’s “British Band.” On June 25 about 1,500 troops joined Gaines, who sent them against Saukenuk the next morning, but Black Hawk’s band had crossed the Mississippi the night before. Gaines sent messengers. On June 30 Black Hawk agreed not to return to Saukenuk, to stop communicating with the British, to recognize the authority of Keokuk, and to allow the US to build roads across their land in Iowa, and Gaines promised to provide corn equal to their Saukenuk harvest.
      Sioux and Menominees had killed some Fox chiefs in 1830, and in retaliation the next summer Foxes and Sauk killed 25 Menominees. US authorities demanded the surrender of the Foxes. They appealed to Black Hawk, and he agreed to support them against the interfering Americans. While going home he learned from the Winnebagos that Potawatomis, Ojibwes, and Ottawas would fight with the Sauk and Foxes, and the British promised to provide guns, ammunition, and provisions.
      Black Hawk with at least 1,500 warriors and others returned to Illinois on 5 April 1832. On the 16th Gov. Reynolds called for volunteers, and 1,700 signed up including Abraham Lincoln. About 275 Illinois militia drove the rebelling Indians north but lost the battle at Stillman’s Run on May 14 to about 45 warriors. Fearing retribution, Black Hawk led his band north. The Sauk and Foxes needed provisions, and an army of about 1,500 men was pursuing them. One week later about 50 Potawatomis split off and massacred 15 people at Davis’s settlement at Indian Creek, and then they fled toward Chicago. Black Hawk sent out raiders in June, and the militia killed eleven Indians at Horseshoe Bend. On June 24 Black Hawk with about 200 men attacked the Apple River Fort in a short battle before fleeing to the west.
      On July 21 about 700 militia killed most of Black Hawk’s sixty or so warriors at Wisconsin Heights. As about 500 in the band were trying to cross the Mississippi, Atkinson’s army of 1,300 attacked them. In the battle by Bad Axe River on August 1 and 2 the soldiers killed at least 150 and captured 75, but Black Hawk escaped. After hiding on an island in the Mississippi River, he surrendered on August 27. He was imprisoned with ten other leaders near St. Louis. General Winfield Scott and Illinois Governor John Reynolds made a treaty in September with tribes that gave the US control over about a third of eastern Iowa. The US Senate ratified this agreement in February 1833, and on June 1 the purchased land was opened for settlement.
      President Jackson ordered Black Hawk and the others to Washington in April 1833, and he met with them on the 26th. Black Hawk was released in July, and Jackson persuaded him to go on a tour of the East to learn about civilization. Jackson amazed people by attending the Front Street Theater with them. He encouraged Black Hawk to “bury the tomahawk and live in peace with the frontiers,” and the chief said he would do so. After the brief tour they were imprisoned at Norfolk, Virginia, and then in June they were sent by steamboat to major cities as far as Detroit. Black Hawk spent his last years living with the Sauk in Iowa until his death in October 1838. After the Black Hawk War in the northwest many Americans demanded that all remaining Indians be sent west of the Mississippi. In 1833 Kickapoos began moving to Kansas, but many Potawatomis refused to go.
      Between 1837 and 1842 the United States purchased 191 million acres for $70 million in gifts and annuities. In October 1842 Sauk and Fox chiefs negotiated with Iowa Territory Governor John Chambers and sold ten million acres for 5% interest on $800,000 and payment of their $258,566 debt. They had to evacuate the eastern half of the cession by May 1843 but could occupy the other half for three years before moving to land by the Missouri River in Kansas. The Sauks and Foxes would live on 435,200 acres at the Osage River headwaters for 23 years.

Second Seminole War 1835-43

      About 6,000 Seminoles including 1,500 warriors lived in Florida. In early September 1823 about 425 Seminoles led by Mikasuki chief Neamathia and the United States agreed to a treaty at Moultrie Creek that created a reservation of 4 million acres in central Florida for the Seminoles. The US promised to pay the Seminole tribe $5,000 a year for the next twenty years. The Seminoles accepted that roads across the reservation could be built, and they agreed to return fugitive slaves to the United States.
      The Seminoles in the treaty of Payne’s Landing on 9 May 1832 sold their land in Florida for about $80,000, and seven chiefs left in October to find land where Creeks were settling. Those chiefs signed a treaty at Fort Gibson in Indian Territory in March 1833; but when they returned to Florida, most of them renounced the treaty that Micanopy and four other Seminole chiefs had opposed along with Osceola. Finally in 1834 General James Gadsden persuaded the remaining chiefs to move west, and Seminoles were required to move by 1835. Eight chiefs got permission to leave at the end of the year; but five prominent chiefs refused, and the Seminole agent Wiley Thompson removed them. In October 1834 he noted that the Seminoles had spent their annuity that year on much gunpowder and lead.
      The Second Seminole War broke out in 1835. Osceola spoke out against removal so much that Thompson had him put in jail for two nights in June. After an incident at a campfire in which a Seminole was killed, in early August some Seminoles killed Private Kinsley Dalton while he was carrying mail from Fort Brooke to Fort King. Creek Chief Charley Emathla did not want war, and in November he persuaded his followers to board ships. The young warrior Osceola felt betrayed and killed Emathla. On December 23 Major Francis Dade led 110 soldiers out of Fort Brooke heading for Fort King; but on the 28th in central Florida about 180 Seminoles led by Chief Micanopy ambushed them, massacring all except for two soldiers. On the same day Osceola and his band killed Thompson and six others outside Fort King.
      On December 31 about 750 Florida militia defeated 250 Seminoles led by Osceola who attacked them while they were crossing the Ouithlacoochie River. After another battle at Dunlawton in January 1836 the Congress approved $620,000 for the war and put General Winfield Scott in command of an army of 5,000 men. General Gaines led 1,100 volunteers raised in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina from New Orleans by ship to Fort Brooke. On February 27 about a thousand Seminole warriors again ambushed the army led by Gaines at the Ouithlacoochee River. In April the Seminoles attacked several forts. Richard Keith Call was appointed Governor of the Florida Territory, but in December he was relieved of command by General Thomas Jesup. By the end of 1836 the US Army had only deported about 400 Seminoles.
      In late January 1837 Seminoles began asking for a truce, and many surrendered in the Dade Capitulation on March 6; but on June 2 Osceola and Sam Jones with some 200 warriors persuaded 700 who had surrendered to leave. In May and June the US Army deported almost 1,600 Seminoles. Despite the financial panic of 1837 Congress authorized $1,600,000 more for the war, increasing the number of troops to 8,993 by October. On the 21st Osceola and 81 others were captured under a flag of truce at Fort Peyton, and Osceola died of a tonsil infection in prison three months later. On December 25 at Lake Okeechobee about 400 Seminoles led by “Alligator” Sam Jones defeated 1,100 soldiers commanded by Col. Zachary Taylor, but in February 1838 the Seminole chiefs Tuskegee and Halleck Hadjo agreed to stop fighting. After killing or capturing at least 2,500 Seminoles and returning some 400 Negroes to local planters, Jesup resigned in May.
      The forced removal of 1,200 Seminoles began in 1838. The Seminole population in Florida was reduced to less than 400, and the US troops there were cut back from 9,000 to about 2,300. Yet by 1840 the number of regulars and militia had increased back up to 6,500. In December 1842 President Tyler told Congress that the Second Seminole War had been terminated. The last battle of that war was fought on 19 April 1843 at the Pelchikaha Swamp where 200 soldiers defeated 70 warriors. By November only 42 Seminole warriors, 33 Mikasukis, 10 Creeks and 10 Tallahassee remained in Florida on a reservation. The Second Seminole War cost the United States about $35 million and 1,535 military deaths, three-quarters of them by disease. The war dead also included several hundred Seminoles, over a hundred white civilians, and 25 militiamen. By 1843 the government had shipped 3,824 people from Florida to the Indian Territory.
      In the winter of 1836-37 at the Indian Territory in the West the Creeks had occupied the best land near the Canadian and West Fork rivers. Chief Micanopy and his band managed to find land at Deep Fork, and in 1841 they fenced in 800 acres and planted corn. In March 1842 there were 2,833 immigrants scattered in various places in the Indian Territory. Alligator, Wild Cat, and other chiefs camped with about 1,500 Seminoles around Fort Gibson where they were destitute. In 1843 their agent Thomas Judge said they needed 350 hoes and 159 axes. Another group of 350 captives left Tampa Bay and arrived in April. In 1844 the great flood of the Grand and Arkansas rivers drove many Seminoles from their homes and destroyed corn. The Council met on July 31, and a census reported 3,136 Seminoles not counting Negroes.

Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho & Kiowa

      In 1804 Lewis and Clark had noticed some Cheyenne at an Arikara village with Crow prisoners. The Cheyenne fought the Crows around 1820. The Journal of Jacob Fowler in November 1821 described Cheyenne and Kiowas traveling together perhaps with some Comanches and Apaches. The Cheyenne were moving west and were driven southwest by Assiniboin whom they called “Ho Hé,” but for a long time they did not have weapons for fighting them. The Cheyenne reached the Missouri River and lived with Mandans and Arikaras in earth lodges growing crops and hunting. In the summer of 1825 the US General Atkinson negotiated friendship treaties with the Arikara, Cheyenne, Crow, Mandan, Ponca, and some bands of Sioux.
      The Cheyenne often fought the Pawnees who captured the Cheyenne medicine arrows in 1830. About 1831 Cheyenne and Arapahos moved south of the Platte River. Kiowas lived in the Black Hills in the north as neighbors of the Crow and along the Little Missouri, Powder, and Tongue rivers. At first the Cheyenne were friendly with the Kiowas and Comanches, but relations were more hostile between 1826 and 1840. The Cheyenne may have battled the Shoshone in 1834. That year US Army troops from Fort Gibson tried to make peace with aggressive Comanches and Kiowas, and in July about 7,000 natives including Plains tribes, the Osage, and the resettled Five Civilized Tribes gathered around Fort Gibson. The Comanche and Wichita agreed to let the eastern tribes hunt east of Cross Timbers. In 1836 Cheyenne camped by the South Platte River were attacked by about thirty Kiowas and Comanches, and this led to the battle on Wolf Creek in the summer of 1838 when Cheyenne and Arapahos fought Kiowas, Comanches, and some Apaches. Yet all these tribes made peace and exchanged gifts in 1840 by the Arkansas River near Bent’s Fort. In 1841 the first wagon train moved along the Platte Rover on the way to Oregon.

      In 1805 the US Army Captain Zebulon Pike had negotiated a treaty with the eastern Sioux (Dakota) who ceded land to the United States. The northern tribes supported the British in the War of 1812, but after the war American flags replaced the British Union Jack. In 1817 Major Stephen Long went to investigate those sites and reached the village of Chief Wabasha on July 12. He heard stories later published by William Snelling in his Tales of the Northwest in 1830. In the summer of 1819 the Indian agent Major Thomas Forsyth brought $2,000 in goods for the Sioux and provisions for the fort that Lt. Col. Henry Leavenworth was in charge of building. Forsyth was concerned that the whites were corrupting the Sioux, and he favored the golden rule and honest policy of William Penn. Fort St. Anthony was built at the mouth of the Minnesota that summer. Col. Josiah Snelling took command in September 1820 and encouraged cultivating crops. Renamed Fort Snelling in 1825 he had to leave the fort because of poor health in 1827.
      Major Lawrence Taliafero had arrived as the US Indian Agent in early summer of 1820, and he tried to help civilize the Sioux for nearly twenty years. He believed that the white fur traders were a bad influence on the Sioux whom he encouraged to farm as game became sparse. Scott Campbell was the son of a trader and a Dakota mother, and he served as an interpreter. The US Government provided $1,200 for gifts annually, and the Sioux got a council house in 1823. That year Long explored the Minnesota River, and William Keating estimated there were 28,100 Sioux in seven or more tribes, and he wrote a Narrative of an Expedition.
      Major Taliafero tried to facilitate peace between the Sioux and the Chippewa (Ojibwe). In 1824 he led a group of Sioux, Chippewas, and Menominees to visit Washington, and they planned an intertribal council that took place at Prairie du Chien and resulted in a treaty in August 1825 that was ratified in February 1826. Chiefs participating included Wabasha, Tatankamani, Little Crow, and Shakopee. A border was established in northern Iowa between the Sauk and Fox tribe and the Sioux, and a second one separated the Sioux from the Chippewas. Some of Taliafero’s delegation who drank whiskey with sugar died on the way home. After Sioux attacked some Chippewas by Ft. Snelling in the summer of 1827, the US Commandant forced the Sioux to turn over the offenders to the Chippewas who made them run the gauntlet. Raids between these tribes would continue. In 1825 Taliafero had divided 17 trading posts between the competing American Fur Company and the Columbia Fur Company, and in August 1830 he forbade them to give whiskey or high wines to Indians.
      During the severe winter of 1828-29 lack of game and farm crops caused more than thirty lodges to starve to death. Cloud Man had barely survived, and he was persuaded to try farming in the summer, and more workers joined him the next year. Another treaty made at Prairie du Chien in July 1830 tried to stop tribal conflicts and provided a $2,000 annuity for ten years. US President Jackson also promised to provide a blacksmith and tools. Wabasha’s Dakota band joined the US side in the Black Hawk War in 1832 but near the end massacred 68 defenseless Sauks and Foxes, and raiding went on for another decade. The Indian Intercourse Act of 1834 reformed regulations. A few missionaries came to the Sioux in 1837, and Stephen Return Riggs edited the Grammar and Dictionary of the Dakota Language for the Smithsonian Institution publication.
      A Sioux delegation agreed to another treaty in Washington on 29 September 1837 that was proclaimed in June 1838. The Sioux were to receive $110,000 and traders $90,000 in payment for Sioux debts. The annuity of $10,000 a year was to last twenty years plus $8,250 annually for medicine, tools, and livestock. Initial payments were not made until the US Senate ratified the treaty nine months later. Conflicts between the Chippewas and Sioux reached a crisis in the summer 1839, and Taliafero resigned fearing a coming northwestern Indian war. He was succeeded by Amos Bruce whose eight years were fairly peaceful.
      In 1841 US Secretary of War John Bell appointed James Doty to govern the Wisconsin Territory, and he negotiated a treaty at Traverse des Sioux on July 31 which purchased more than 30 million acres for $1,300,000. Then on August 11 Doty persuaded five of the seven Mdewakanton bands to cede all their two million acres and move across the Minnesota River. Red Wing and Wabasha refused to sell. Some of the Indians expecting large annuities did not hunt or farm, and by the fall of 1842 were in a poor condition. Taliafero opposed the Doty treaties, and the US Senate did not ratify them. In 1843 missionary Samuel Pond opened a school at Shakopee’s village, and Riggs and others helped a Sisseton band at Traverse des Sioux. Smallpox had been a problem in the 1830s.

Texas Revolution in Mexico 1817-36

      Col. Perry and forty Americans had been wiped out in Texas by royalist forces in the middle of June in 1817 near Matagorda. On 22 February 1819 Spain made a treaty that ceded Florida to the United States in exchange for agreement on the Sabine River as the border between Texas in New Spain and the United States. The filibuster Dr. James Long of Mississippi led an invasion of Texas with about 200 men including James Bowie that took over Nacogdoches on 22 June 1819. They set up a Council with Long as President and declared independence. In July the Spanish consul in New Orleans warned Viceroy Apodaca in Mexico City of the revolt. They published the Texas Republican newspaper for one month in August. Long went to ask help from the smuggler Jean Lafitte at Galveston, not knowing he was spying for Spain. Long in early October appointed Lafitte a governor. The expedition lacked supplies, and Bowie and others left. About 500 Spanish troops marched to Nacogdoches and captured more than forty men while Long escaped to Natchitoches in Louisiana. Long raised money for another expedition, and with 52 men on 4 October 1821 they captured the Presidio La Bahía that became Goliad. Four days later Spanish troops forced them to surrender, and Long was imprisoned until he was killed by a guard on 8 April 1822.
      Stephen F. Austin’s father Moses Austin had invested in the Bank of St. Louis but lost his fortune in the panic of 1819. Moses went to San Antonio de Béxar in December 1820 and asked the royal Governor Antonio de Martinez for an empresarial grant from Spain which was rejected until Felipe de Bastrop advised Austin to emphasize that he was a Catholic and a Spanish citizen who was loyal to the King. Then Martinez, the town council, and the Commandant General granted 200,000 acres for 300 American families which Viceroy Apodaca approved on 17 January 1821. Moses returned to Missouri to recruit colonists, and before dying on June 10 he turned over the grant to his son Stephen who led a small group from Louisiana and reached San Antonio de Béxar by the Brazos and Colorado rivers in August. In New Orleans he had offered farmers 177 acres and ranchers 4,428 acres, and in December the first colonists received a grant by the Brazos River in Texas.
      After Mexico became independent of Spain in 1821, the new government refused to recognize the grant. Austin went to San Antonio in July and explored the Colorado, Guadalupe, and Brazos rivers to their mouths, and in the fall he asked Governor Martinez for 10 million acres. Austin went to Mexico City, and in April 1823 he persuaded the Mexican Congress to let him bring 300 families to Texas. They named the colony San Felipe de Austin and required colonists to become Mexican citizens and Catholics. In 1824 the Mexican Congress formed the new state of Coahuila y Texas with the capital at Saltillo, and a law authorized 24 empresario grants including one for 800 families. On July 13 the state of Coahuila and Texas banned the importation of slaves. Green DeWitt founded a colony at Gonzales in 1825.
      Austin’s colony had to defend against Comanches and Karankawas. In May he was given permission to bring 500 families to his colony, and in the next four years he got contracts to bring 800 more families. In 1826 and 1827 six other Americans including David G. Burnett got contracts to bring a total of 1,400 families to Texas. In December 1826 about 200 Fredonians led by Haden Edwards in eastern Texas revolted near Nacogdoches, but in January 1827 Mexican soldiers and militiamen from Austin’s colony forced them to retreat across the Sabine. Austin declined to join and had issued a proclamation warning against the insurrection. In the spring of 1828 General Mier y Terán sent a report to President Guadalupe Victoria which noted that the Anglo-Americans outnumbered the Mexicans ten to one, refused naturalization, and ignored slave reforms. The Mexicans excluded the Anglos from town councils. Most colonist families brought one or two Negro slaves, and he warned that Texas could cause a revolution in Mexico.
      In February 1828 Austin had started a meeting of Freemasons at San Felipe; but the Mexican government outlawed Freemasonry on October 26, and in 1829 Austin decided not to form Masonic lodges. He granted 640 acres for each man, 320 for a wife, 160 for each child, and 80 acres for each slave. Mexico banned slavery in September 1829, but Austin got them classified as indentured servants for life. Many immigrants did not obey the rules to be Catholics and loyal to the government. After Vice President Anastasio Bustamente gained power, on 6 April 1830 the Centralist government prohibited foreign colonization and suspended contracts. John Austin urged independence, and arms were brought from New York and New Orleans.
      A Texas state congress met in January 1831 and declared that José Maria Letona had been elected governor. Mier y Terán sent out garrison commander Juan David Bradburn, and he impressed slaves without compensating owners and proclaimed martial law along the coast on 15 March 1832. By then Texas had more than 11,000 colonists. On April 28 the Mexican government excluded citizens of the United States from settling in Texas, though the rights and contracts of colonists were recognized. Bradburn in May arrested the 22-year-old Alabama lawyer, William Travis, and Patrick Jack for demanding his release. Over 150 soldiers took up arms and marched to Anahuac. On June 13 the Texans agreed on the Turtle Bayou Resolutions, declaring they were federalists who supported General Santa Anna. Later they demanded freedom, turned Anahuac’s prisoners over to civilian authority, and insisted that Bradburn resign and choose his successor. Col. Piedras reinforced Bradburn and resolved the conflicts.
      Delegates from towns began meeting at San Felipe in October to work on a state constitution. They met again on 1 April 1833, and they formed two committees headed by Sam Houston to draft a constitution and by David G. Burnett to petition the government to separate republican Texas from Coahuila. The constitution provided free elections with universal suffrage and other human rights. Austin visited the commandant general at Saltillo and went back to Mexico City in July to ask for a state government for Texas. On October 2 he sent a letter to the San Antonio Council urging them to organize a local government independent of Coahuila despite Mexico’s opposition. The Council disapproved and sent the letter to the central government. Austin was arrested in January 1834, and on February 13 he was incarcerated in a dungeon at Mexico City. He was held in Mexican prisons until December when he was released on bail; but he was not allowed to leave Mexico City until August 1835.
      Anthony Butler was the US Chargé to Mexico from October 1829, and in April 1835 he facilitated a joint commission to survey disputed Texas territory between the Sabine and Nueces Rivers. On June 9 he asked US President Jackson and Secretary of State Forsythe of Georgia to provide $500,000 to buy the territory; but Jackson declined to alter the boundary even though that summer he had instructed him to offer Mexico $550,000 for San Francisco Bay. Travis gathered 25 men and a cannon, and on June 29 they forced the 45 men in the Anahuac garrison to surrender. On July 17 meetings at Rio Navidad and Guadalupe Victoria in Texas passed resolutions for war and condemned Santa Anna’s arbitrary rule.
      Stephen Austin returned to Velasco on September 1, and at a celebrating dinner and ball he encouraged the consultation that William Wharton had called to decide on a general government. He had warned General Santa Anna that Mexican troops in Texas could cause a war. Santa Anna sent 300 soldiers under General Cós to Copano, and they began marching to San Antonio de Béxar.
      Samuel Houston was born on 2 March 1793 in Virginia, but in 1807 his widowed mother moved to Tennessee where he avoided school to read classics. Sam became friendly with the Cherokee tribe of Chief John Jolly, and for three years he lived with Indian girls. Houston fought in the Creek War in 1814 and was wounded three times. In 1817 General Jackson helped him become subagent to the Cherokees. Houston became a lawyer in 1818 and the next year Tennessee’s attorney general. By 1823 he was a major general in the state militia. He was in the US House of Representatives from 1823 until 1827 when he was elected Governor of Tennessee. In April 1829 his marriage broke down, and Houston went to live with Cherokees in Arkansas Territory. He went to Texas in December 1832, and Jim Bowie guided him to San Antonio where Houston took care of his work with the Comanches. In the 1833 convention he was chairman of the committee that drafted a state constitution which Austin took to Mexico. On 11 September 1835 he wrote to his friend Jackson, asking him to keep the Creek Indians out of Texas by sending them to their Indian Territory.
      The Texans’ revolt began near Gonzales on October 2 when Mexican soldiers tried to retrieve an old cannon that Texans dared them to take. The soldiers retreated, and the Texans formed a navy and the Texas Rangers. On October 4 Austin sent a circular to committees of safety proclaiming war against military despots. Four days later he issued a general appeal for volunteers with Gonzalez as army headquarters. Houston recruited volunteers and commanded the company from Nacogdoches. On October 13 an army of about 350 men began marching to the San Antonio River.
      Some 125 militia from Matagorda had marched to Goliad and occupied the presidio on the 10th, and that day Austin began publishing the Telegraph and Texas Register at San Felipe. Three days later General Austin led an army of 350 men from Gonzales and besieged San Antonio de Béxar on October 13. Mexico blamed US Chargé Butler for instigating the rebellion and obtained his recall on October 21. One week later Austin’s 90 militia led by James Bowie and James Fannin drove 275 Mexican soldiers from Mission Concepción outside besieged San Antonio.
      A provisional government of Texans called the Consultation achieved a quorum on November 3. In a declaration four days later they demanded restoration of the Mexican Constitution of 1824. They appointed Austin, Branch Archer, and William Wharton as commissioners, and on the 14th the Consultation named Sam Houston commander of the Texas forces and instructed him to raise an army. The Texas Rangers were mobilized, and the battalion had 150 men paid $1.25 a day. Captain Jack Hays got repeating pistols made by Samuel Colt that provided the advantage over Comanche arrows. The next day they recognized the claims of the Cherokees in East Texas. The Mexican General Cós surrendered to the Texan siege of San Antonio on December 10 when the Mexican garrison surrendered and left Texas. By the end of 1835 about 30,000 Americans were living in Texas outnumbering the 3,000 Mexicans there, and no Mexican soldiers remained in Texas.
      Houston arrived at Goliad on 15 January 1836 and found them short on provisions. He spoke to his forces but did not accept Tejanos of Mexican descent. On the 17th Houston sent Bowie with 30 men to blow up the fortress at the Alamo, an old Spanish mission, and abandon San Antonio, but Lt. Col. William Barret Travis refused to obey. The General Council called an election for February 1, and 59 delegates met at a new capital called “Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1. Houston had made a peace treaty with the Cherokees at Chief Bowl’s village on February 23. That day Santa Anna’s Mexican army of about 2,300 men besieged San Antonio, and the next day Travis wrote a desperate letter “To the People of Texas & all Americans in the world” saying they would not retreat or surrender the Alamo and ending with the words “VICTORY OR DEATH.” Another letter brought 32 volunteers from Gonzales to the Alamo which now had 182 men.
      Col. David Crockett had been a rifleman under Jackson in the Creek War and was elected to the Tennessee legislature in 1821 and to the US Congress in 1827 and was re-elected twice. In 1831 he opposed Jackson on land legislation and joined the Whigs who sent him in 1834 on a speaking tour to the Northeast where he supported the US Bank. Crockett went to Texas, and on 14 January 1836 he signed up with 65 other volunteers to support the Government of Texas in exchange for 4,600 acres.
      On March 2 Sam Houston and 57 other delegates signed the Texas declaration of independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Then the convention began working on a constitution, and they appointed Houston commander-in-chief of the army. Lt. Col. William Travis, James Bowie, and Crockett tried to hold out against Santa Anna’s Mexican army at the Alamo. General Houston sent them a message to leave the Alamo; but they stayed and refused to surrender. Santa Anna ordered an assault on March 6, and in ninety minutes the Mexican army lost 521 soldiers while taking the Alamo and killing all the fighting men including seven who surrendered. Santa Anna spared only about thirty women, children, and slaves.
      On March 17 a Texas national convention adopted a constitution and elected David G. Burnet president with Lorenzo de Zavala as vice president. On the 11th Houston had ordered Col. Fannin to destroy Fort Defiance and retreat to Victoria. Two days later a Mexican army, which had about three times as many men, attacked 400 Texans led by Fannin at Coleto Creek. Each side had ten killed and about 66 wounded or missing. The next day the Texans surrendered, and the Mexican army escorted them to Goliad where on March 27 General Santa Anna had 332 Texan prisoners including Col. Fanning executed. Travis, Bowie, and James Fannin had each smuggled slaves into the US from Cuba.
      President Jackson had appointed Mississippi’s Senator Powhatan Ellis the Chargé to Mexico in January 1836, and he reached Mexico City in April. That month Stephen Austin asked for American aid against Mexico’s army; but Jackson replied that the US had a treaty with Mexico, and he suggested that the Texans’ revolution was “rash and premature.” David G. Burnet, the Interim President of Texas, sent Secretary of War Thomas Rusk to tell Houston on April 4 that he must fight. Houston had an army of 900 men, and on April 21 they defeated one of the divided Mexican armies by the San Jacinto River, killing 650 and capturing 300 while only 11 of their men died. A bullet shattered Houston’s right ankle. The next day they captured General Santa Anna who agreed to order all Mexican forces out of Texas. On May 14 Burnet and Santa Anna signed the two treaties of Velasco which established the independent Republic of Texas, though the Mexican minister notified the Americans that Santa Anna as a prisoner had no authority. In June the remaining 4,000 Mexicans troops left Texas by crossing the Rio Grande. On May 19 Comanches, Kiowas, and others attacked Fort Parker, killing five people and capturing five. By July the Texas army had increased to 2,300 men. Veterans were allowed land grants in Texas or transportation back to the United States.
      General Edmund Gaines commanded US troops in western Louisiana, and he sent Col. Whistler with a detachment to occupy Nacogdoches in July. That month President Jackson ordered Chargé Ellis to return to Washington, and he closed the legation in December. Mexican minister Gorostiza complained about the invasion of Mexico, broke off relations in October, and left Washington. Jackson had sent Henry Morfit to see if the Texas republic was ready for independence, and his reports reached Washington in October. He estimated that 30,000 Anglo-Americans were in Texas along with 20,000 Indians, 5,000 Negroes, and only 3,470 Mexicans.

Texas Republic 1836-44

      On 5 September 1836 Texans elected Sam Houston over Austin as their President with 79% of the 6,449 votes. Burnett resigned on October 22, and Houston was inaugurated. Mirabeau Lamar became Vice President. Houston sent Austin’s friend William Wharton as minister to the United States. On December 16 the Texas Congress authorized incorporation of the Texas Railroad, Navigation, and a Banking Company, but it was criticized for corruption. On the 19th Texas claimed the territory between the United States and Rio Grande from its mouth to its source. Stephen Austin was weakened by malaria and died of pneumonia on December 27. Comanches and Kiowas raided from the Red River country, but Houston made peace with the Comanches. The United States recognized the Republic of Texas in March 1837, and in August the US Senate rejected annexation. In 1838 Houston withdrew the annexation offer, and by the end of his term of office in December the debt of Texas reached $1,942,000.
      The Texas constitution did not allow the sitting President to run for re-election, and in the fall of 1838 diplomatic Mirabeau Lamar was elected for three years with David Burnet as Vice President. Lamar supported public education and a municipal code, but he opposed annexation to the United States. By January 1839 the Texas government raised $1,375,000 for troops and Texas Rangers.
      On 19 March 1840 at Béxar 12 Comanche chiefs met with Texan commissioners who demanded the release of 13 white captives, but they produced only one little girl. When they refused to return the others, the Texas military detained them. The armed chiefs fought and were killed along with 23 Comanches in the yard. The Texans had 7 killed and 10 wounded and took 29 Comanche women and children as prisoners. Lamar wanted to remove the Cherokees from Texas, and on July 15-16 by the Neches River the Texas army and Tonkawa allies killed more than a hundred Cherokees led by Chief Bowles. The troops then raided Delaware and Shawnee villages. On August 6 about 600 Comanches attacked Victoria without success and two days later burned Linnville. On the 12th about 200 Texas Rangers and militia claimed they killed 87 Comanches at Plum Creek. Col. John Moore led 90 Texans with 12 Lipan Indians and chased the Comanches and attacked their village on the Red Fork of the Colorado River on October 24. They carried out Lamar’s extermination orders by killing 128 men and women; they spared 34 captives, burned the village, and stole 500 horses. Lamar spent $2.5 million fighting Comanches in 1840.
      Some Texans tried to establish a republic of the Rio Grande, and they chose Jesus Cardenas president on 18 January 1840 and made Antonio Canales commander-in-chief. Samuel Jordan formed a separate force, and the Centralist Mexicans led by General Mariano Arista defeated the Canales insurgents at Morelos, Coahuila on March 25. Canales retreated to San Antonio, Texas. His vanguard led by Samuel Jordan occupied Laredo and other towns but were defeated by Centralists under General Rafael Vasquez near Saltillo on October 25 as 408 men were killed. Many of Jordan’s soldiers deserted, but he escaped to Texas. In 1840 Texas moved its capital from Houston to the new city of Austin. Lamar tried to solve the debt problem by printing money, but the currency soon lost 97% of its face value.
      After much negotiation Mexico and the United States agreed on 10 September 1838 to let claims be settled by a mixed commission’s arbitration. By February 1842 only one-fifth of the claims were allowed, and the commissioners and the umpire decided that Mexico owed the United States $2,026,139. President Tyler in March sent the slave-owner Waddy Thompson to pressure Mexico which on 30 January 1843 agreed to pay the interest over five years.
      Robert Baylor began the Texas Baptist Union Association in 1840 and the Texas Baptist Education Society in 1841 which led to the founding of Baylor University in 1845.
      The Texas government in 1840 warned Mexico that if they did not recognize the independence of Texas soon, they would blockade Mexican ports. That year about a hundred Texans joined with more than two hundred federalists to fight for the Republic of the Rio Grande, but Centralist Mexico’s army of a thousand men defeated them on October 23. After the state of Yucatán seceded in March 1841, they welcomed Texan warships and got their support in 1842.
      In September 1841 Sam Houston was elected president of Texas again with Burnet as Vice President. In his message to the Texan congress on December 13 President Houston warned against interfering with Mexican revolutions, and he declared neutrality and urged kindness to Mexicans. The Lamar administration had created many offices and spent $4,855,215, and left behind a debt of $8 million; but in his second term Houston would only disburse $511,092 in three years.
      On 9 January 1842 General Arista proclaimed from Monterey that they had only tolerated the Texas Republic because of their civil wars. On March 5 a Mexican army of 500 men led by General Vasquez took over San Antonio and declared Mexican law, but they left two days later. On the 10th Houston called up soldiers, and on the 26th he imposed a blockade on Mexican ports on the east coast from Tabasco to the Rio Grande. On May 12 the minister Bocanegra accused the United States Government of violating their friendship treaty. The Texas Congress approved an offensive war against Mexico in June, but Houston vetoed the bill because of lack of funds. A special session of the Texas congress met on June 27, and they approved war against Mexico with 5,000 troops. In early July a Mexican force of 700 infantry and 500 cavalry led by Canales attacked General Davis by the Nueces River, but 192 Texan volunteers fought them off. In August the British declared neutrality in regard to Texan independence.
      On September 11 about a thousand Mexicans led by General Woll occupied San Antonio. Six days later about 500 Mexican soldiers massacred 33 Texas militiamen including their leader Nicholas Mosby Dawson and captured 15 near the presidio at San Antonio. On the same day at Salado Creek about 220 Texas militia defeated a Mexican army of 900 infantry, 500 cavalry, and 200 Cherokee scouts in the battle at Salado Creek, killing 60 and wounding hundreds while only one Texan was killed. Woll took 53 Texans to the Perote Castle prison in Mexico City. The Texas militia attacked Mexican border settlements in November and took Laredo, and about 200 went home. Then 308 men led by Col. William Fisher killed about 600 of Ampudia’s soldiers at Ciudad Mier on December 26; but they were defeated as 280 were captured. Although 181 escaped on 11 February 1843, all but five were recaptured in the desert. On March 25 the 17 chosen by lots were executed by a firing squad. Captain Ewen Cameron had drawn a white bean but was executed on April 26, and others died in prison of exposure and starvation. A general amnesty paroled the remaining few on 16 September 1844.
      In east Texas from 1839 to 1844 the land feud between the rival vigilante Regulators and Moderators disturbed Harrison and Shelby counties. After about fifty people were killed, President Houston and General Rusk arrived in August to resolve the conflict by summoning militia who arrested ten leaders from both sides.
      About 25 nobles from German states formed the Adelsverein to protect German immigrants in Texas, and Prince Karl of Solms-Braunfels contributed $80,000 but stayed in Texas only a year. He offered $9,000 for a grant of 4 million acres in Comanche territory in June 1844, and 439 German immigrants arrived in December. Karl also spent $1,111 for 9,000 acres on the Guadalupe River. Most of the Germans opposed slavery, and they tended to vote with Mexicans against Americans. About that time the Penateka Comanches were removed to a reservation. In June 1842 Fisher and Burchard Miller got a grant of 5,000 square miles for Germans, Dutch, Swiss, Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes. Henri Castro was the Texan consul general in Paris, and in September 1844 he spent $200,000 organizing Castroville for hundreds of Alsatians by the Medina River.
      On 23 August 1843 Mexico’s President Santa Anna warned the United States that if they annexed Texas, there would be a war. The abolitionist Stephen Andrews came to Texas to free slaves, and in the summer he went to England to raise money for that project. John Quincy Adams gave him a letter of recommendation.
      President Houston had appointed a commission to negotiate with the Indians on the frontier in July 1842, and on 29 September 1843 Edward Terrant and George Terrell made a peace treaty for Texas at Bird’s Fort in northern Texas with the Delaware, Chickasaw, Waco, Tawakani, Keechi, Caddo, Anadahkah, Ionie, Biloxi, and Cherokee. In September the American officials had secret talks with Houston on the annexation of Texas, and on October 16 the US Secretary of State Abel Upshur began negotiating a treaty with the Texas minister Isaac Van Zandt.
      On December 5 United States President Tyler advised Congress that the United States should end hostilities between Texas and Mexico because war weakens both sides. Diplomacy led to an armistice signed on 15 February 1844; but President Houston refused to ratify it because it called Texas a department of Mexico. On June 8 the US Congress rejected a treaty of annexation. On the 16th President Santa Anna sent a message resuming hostility.
      Texans elected Congressman doctor Anson Jones as President on September 2 with Kenneth Anderson as Vice President. In his inaugural address Jones promised to reduce expenditures, stop issuing paper money, revise tariff laws, establish public schools, begin a penal system, encourage internal improvement, and make peace with Mexico and the Indians. Between December 1836 and February 1845 the Texas Republic spent $3,815,011 protecting the frontier from Indians in the United States. The number of slaves in Texas increased from about 3,700 in 1837 to 24,401 in 1845 while the slaveholders rose from about 700 in 1837 to 3,651 in 1845. The Tennessee Democrat James Polk campaigned that he would annex Texas, and he was elected US President in November 1844.

Americans in New Mexico & Oregon

      The high price of beaver skins because of the popularity of hats lured Americans into New Mexico. In 1817 during the Spanish rule Auguste Chouteau and Jules de Mun of St. Louis were captured there with $30,000 worth of pelts. After Mexico became independent of Spain in 1821, William Becknell, who traded with Indians, left Franklin, Missouri in September and followed the Arkansas River west and reached Santa Fé, New Mexico with trading goods in November. Soon trappers were using the Santa Fé Trail to take beaver skins worth about $100,000 a year; but this slowed down in the 1830s as beaver became scarce. Trade increased between St. Louis and Santa Fé, and in 1824 about $35,000 of merchandise brought in 25 wagons was sold for $190,000 in gold, silver, and furs. About half the trade was for cotton goods, but Indians liked to buy empty bottles.
      Starting in 1822 Jedidiah Smith traveled more than 16,000 miles in the West in the next nine years. He worked in the fur trade for General William Ashley, and at the first Rocky Mountain rendezvous in July 1825 he presented Ashley with 9,000 pounds of beaver furs worth $50,000 in St. Louis. The Yumas and Mojaves raided travelers, and in 1827 they attacked Jedidiah and others who were trapping by the Colorado River in California. Ten of their party were killed, but he and eight others escaped. Jedidah went to Oregon and returned to St. Louis in October 1830. He was guiding a wagon train on the Santa Fé Trail. On 27 May 1831 while he was looking for water, Comanche hunters attacked him by a water hole. Before he was killed, he killed two of them.
      In 1829 an appeal for a military escort led to Washington sending Major Bennet Riley with four companies of infantry to protect a caravan; but they stopped at the Mexican border and were attacked by Plains Indians on horses. The response to this was to call in the United States Cavalry. From 1831 to 1840 Josiah Gregg made eight trips to Santa Fé, and in 1844 he published his Commerce of the Prairies which included his reports on botany and geology. Bent’s Fort on the upper Arkansas River became the starting place in 1833 for the Santa Fé Trail to the southwest. This was a trading post for Bent, St. Vrain & Company until 1849 when a cholera epidemic ravaged the Cheyenne and Plains Indians.
      On 19 June 1841 a Texan expedition of merchants with $200,000 of trading goods accompanied by 320 armed men led by Brigadier General Hugh McCleod with artillery left from Austin to go to Santa Fé. Comanche and Kiowa attacked them along the way, and they were short of water and supplies. In New Mexico a Mexican army of about 1,000 men captured the advance troops led by Col. Cooke on September 17. Governor Armijo wanted some killed; but his council decided to make them march 2,000 miles as prisoners to Mexico City, and at least sixty died on the way. In the winter they were transferred to Perote Prison in Veracruz. Santa Anna granted clemency to 119 who were released on June 13, his birthday, and many managed to return to New Orleans by September. Texas Governor Lamar was blamed for the disaster.
      In June 1843 Col. Jacob Snively led 180 Texans who wanted to plunder New Mexico. They killed 18 Mexican soldiers and captured about 80. New Mexico’s Governor Armijo led a force of 500 men but avoided them. A US Army detachment led by Captain Cooke disarmed the Texans. In 1844 Mexico closed the Santa Fé Trail to Americans.

      A treaty signed on 20 October 1818 and ratified on 30 January 1819 by the United States and Britain clarified their border as the 49th parallel and made the Oregon country from there south to Mexican California open to both nations. Russia made treaties with Britain and the United States in 1824 and 1825 giving up claim to the territory south of the 54°40′ parallel.
      The British Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) governed the Columbia District from Fort Vancouver. The North West Company had bought out John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company and competed against HBC and then merged with them in 1821. George Simpson crossed the country and arrived in 1824 to administer the company and develop farming around Fort Vancouver. His superintendent, Dr. John McLoughlin, had forts rebuilt at Walla Walla and Okanagan, and he opened a new post at Fort Colville to control the Columbia River trade. In December young Peter Ogden led 75 trappers to explore the upper Snake River country and Bear River which led him to discover the Great Salt Lake.
      In the spring of 1822 William Ashley hired a hundred men who took a keel boat on the Upper Missouri River to establish a headquarters at the mouth of the Yellowstone River. Attacks by Arikara and Blackfeet in the Dakota country caused losses in 1823, and in the fall Ashley sent trappers led by Jedediah Smith west from Fort Kiowa. In the winter they made it through South Pass to the Green River in March 1824 and found many beavers. In the spring they met at Henry’s Fork by Green River to trade at the first rendezvous which became an annual event for mountain men. In 1826 Ashley sent a caravan to trade traps, guns, ammunition, knives, tobacco, and alcohol for pelts. The next year Ashley bought the Columbia Fur Company.
      Astor’s American Fur Company built Fort Union at the mouth of the Yellowstone River in 1828 and Fort McKenzie by the Marias River in 1831, and they challenged Ashley’s Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Their competition caused over-trapping and extermination of the beavers. At the 1832 rendezvous five trappers were killed, and profits dwindled in 1834. In 1837 HBC bought Fort Hall on the Snake River to help transport their beavers to the East. Only 120 Mountain Men attended the last rendezvous in 1840 when the American Fur Company announced they would no longer send their caravan. The price of beaver pelts that had been $6 a pound fell to $2.62 in 1841 on the London market. Davy-Crockett hats made from raccoon skins became popular in Germany, Russia, and Poland, and 4 million raccoon pelts were shipped to England in the 1840s.
      Marcus Whitman was a physician and Presbyterian minister who in 1835 with Rev. Samuel Parker began looking to start a mission in the northwest for the Cayuse Indians. They chose a place near Walla Walla and returned the next year with his wife Narcissa on a wagon train to found the mission. The mountain man Jim Bridger had been wounded during the battle of Pierre’s Hole on 17 July 1832, and Whitman removed the arrowhead from his back. Oregon City leaders formed the Pioneer Lyceum and Literary Club in 1842 and urged settlers on the coast to form an independent government. That year Whitman went east and then led a large wagon train west on the Oregon Trail in 1843.
      On July 5 settlers ratified the Organic Act which protected individual rights and mandated good faith toward Indians and banned slavery. They also excluded free Negroes as did the states of Indiana and Illinois and the territory that became Iowa. Settlers could petition for exceptions, and the 1850 census would count 58 blacks in Oregon.
      Cornelius Gilliam had fought in the Black Hawk War in 1832 and the Seminole War in 1837, and he was a county sheriff and was elected to the Missouri Senate in 1842. In 1844 he led a wagon train to Oregon. A report estimated that nearly 6,000 Americans in the Oregon country outnumbered about 750 British.


1. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume II, p. 261.
2. Johnson v. McIntosh, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543 (1823).
3. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume II, p. 458 and The Annals of America, Volume 5, p. 336.
4. Cherokee Removal: The “William Penn” Essays and Other Writings by Jeremiah Evarts, p. 52.
5. Ibid., p. 53.
6. American Lion by Jon Meacham, p. 142.
7. The Papers of Andrew Jackson ed. Daniel Feller et al, Volume VII, p. 112-113.

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