Today is a day of celebration for me. Years of research has finally led to me plotting each piece of land allotted to my grandmother and to her, then minor, son on the appropriate plat maps.
The steps to accomplish this were numerous. Some of the steps had to wait for additional records to be digitalized. The final step was for me to spread out dozens of pages of notes and copies of documents and meticulously read through each legal land description and locate the land on the plat maps.
This research was somewhat complicated by my grandmother’s Dawes Allotment Application Package. There were pages and pages of documents. My grandfather acted as her legal representative and first picked one plot of land and then came back to the commission and said he had changed his mind.
In addition, two of the pieces of land that my grandmother had been allotted were disputed as having claims from others. One of those cases was settled in her favor, the other was not.
The dates on the materials in her packet range from 1905 to 1910. During that time my grandmother moved from Indian Territory to New Mexico. She also changed the power of attorney from my grandfather to her married sister in 1910.
Because my grandfather changed his mind about one piece of land, and another was taken back and replaced because of a dispute, originally all I had was a copy of a certificate obtained from Tahlequah saying that my grandmother’s land allotment had been cancelled.
I did not give up and a few days after getting this information I located copies of the Dawes Allotment packets online. At the time I was in Tahlequah conducting genealogy research. I took the land descriptions that I found online in my grandmother’s Allotment packet and spent hours in the Wagoner County courthouse the next day tracing the history of my grandmother’s and uncle’s land from the time it was allotted until it was no longer in their possession.
The day before I left Tahlequah to return to Washington State I drove out to my grandmother’s land and stood on it. It was an overwhelming feeling to be standing there.
It has been almost two years since I was in Oklahoma. I will return this October to continue my journey into my family history. While there I will visit Craig and Nowata counties where some of my grandmother’s allotment land was located and once again stand on soil that belonged to my grandmother.
My next post will explain the process and resources that I used to go from a Dawes Roll number to plat maps with the allotment land identified.