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The Dawes Commission

In January, 1900, the Commission began to consider the problems of making a correct roll of the citizens of the Cherokee Nation, as required by Section 21 of the Curtis law, approved June 28, 1898.

In making rolls of citizenship of the several tribes, as required by law, the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes is authorized and directed to take the Roll of Cherokee citizens of 1880 (not including Freedmen) as the only roll intended to be confirmed by this and preceding Acts of Congress, and to enroll all persons now living, whose names are found on said roll, and all descendants born since the date of said roll to persons whose names are found thereon, and all persons who have been enrolled by the Tribal Authorities who have heretofore made permanent settlement in the Cherokee Nation whose parents, by reason of their Cherokee blood, have been lawfully admitted, and shall investigate the right of all other persons whose names are found on any other rolls, and omit all such as may have been Placed thereon by fraud or without authority of law, enrolling only such as may have lawful rights thereto, and their descendants born since such rolls were made, with such intermarried white persons as may be entitled to citizenship under Cherokee laws.

It shall make a roll of Cherokee freedmen in strict compliance with the decree of the Court of Claims tendered the 3rd day of February, 1896. The classes to be considered under both of the Acts quoted are Cherokees by blood and inter-marriage,adopted Delawares, adopted Shawnees, and freedmen. The Tribal rolls were found to be in a state of great confusion, and it was early seen that to secure accuracy and to make anything approaching satisfactory progress, indexes would first have to be made of the principal rolls of the Nation. Such aids, requiring great labor and care, were prepared of the roll of 1880, comprising 20,439 names, the strip payment roll of 1894 of 24,989 names, and the census roll of 1896 of 33,008 names.

This work being completed, the Commission advertised appointments in the Cherokee Nation for the enrollment of Cherokee citizens. These appointments extended from May 14 to December 20, 1900, but, owing to unforeseen circumstances, it was found impossible to begin this work prior to July 9, and these appointments were canceled.

New appointments were announced and kept as follows.

  • Fairland - Monday, July 9 to Friday, July 13
  • Westville - Monday, July 16 to Friday, July 20
  • Stilwell - Monday, July 23 to Friday, July 27
  • Bunch - Monday, July 30 to Friday, August 3
  • Sallisaw - Monday, August 6 to Friday, August 10
  • Muldrow - Monday, August 13 to Friday, August 17
  • Fort Gibson - Monday, August 20 to Friday, August 31
  • Pryor Creek - Monday, September 10 to Friday, September 14
  • Vinita - Monday, September 17 to Friday, October 5
  • Bartlesville - Monday, October 8 to Friday, October 12
  • Nowata - Monday, October 15 to Friday, October 19
  • Claremore - Monday, October 22 to Friday, November 16
  • Chelsea - Monday, November 19 to Friday, November 23
  • Tahlequah - Tuesday, November 27 to Thursday, December 20

After the close of the appointment at Tahlequah, the Cherokee enrollment division returned to Muskogee and remained there during the remainder of the winter until March 30, 1901, continuing enrollment work and perfecting the records and disposition of data accumulated in the field.

Examples

  • Larkin Goddard, son of Ira Goddard and Elizabeth Blythe, married December 23, 1869, Catherine England, daughter of William England and Elizabeth Harlan.
  • The Cherokee Strip owned by the Cherokee Nation, contained about 12,000 square miles, located between 96 and 100 longitude and 36 and 37 latitude.
  • Frederick Spencer Barton, born 1851, married September 6, 1888 Mary Vann Lasley, born 1862.