The Cherokee Emigration Records 1829-1835 were among the most valued finds on my family research trip to Oklahoma and Arkansas last month. For those of us whose Cherokee ancestors were early settlers who migrated to Arkansas before 1835 it contains a wealth of information.
To have some understanding of what the emigration records represent it is necessary to have some understanding of the 1828 Treaty with the Cherokee.
Under the Treaty with the Cherokee 1828 the U.S. Government made many promises. Two of those promises (see articles 2 and 3 of the treaty under resources below) were:
“Article 2…seven million acres of land in Arkansas…and a free and unmolested use of all the Country lying West..
Article 3… and to remove, immediately after the running of the Eastern line from the Arkansas River to the South-West corner of Missouri, all white persons from the West to the East of said line, and also all others, should there be any there, who may be unacceptable to the Cherokees, so that no obstacles arising out of the presence of a white population, or a population of any other sort, shall exist to annoy the Cherokees— and also to keep all such from the West of said line in future.”
As we all know, those U.S. promises meant nothing in the long run.
The government did fulfill a portion of the provisions laid out in Article 4.
“The United States moreover agree to appoint suitable persons whose duty it shall be, in conjunction with the Agent, to value all such improvements as the Cherokees may abandon in their removal from their present homes to the District of Country as ceded in the second Article of this agreement, and to pay for the same immediately after the assessment is made, and the amount ascertained.”
This brings us to the Cherokee Emigration Records 1829-1835. This document contains the names and property valuations of Cherokees who emigrated under the 1828 Treaty between 1829 and 1835.
I will use my great, great grandfather William Crittenden as an example of some of the information that can be found in these records.
One of the most important pieces of information for me is a better idea of when William moved from Georgia to Arkansas. I knew that as an early settler he had come sometime before 1837.
While the emigration records do not give me an exact date of his emigration, they do tell me the date that the valuation of his property was made, February 18, 1832. The valuations were made after the people listed had already moved. So, I know now that William and his immediate family left Georgia some time before 1832.
I have also been very curious about where William Crittenden lived in Georgia. The property valuation states that his property was on Petit’s Mill Creek. This will be especially meaningful to me when I travel to Georgia, I hope in the next few years.
Additional detail in the valuation of property:
1 house valued at $36.00
8 acres of high land valued at $5 per acre
2 acres of high land valued at $2 per acre
31/2 acres of low land valued at $6 acre
1 lot valued at $3
1 tub-still valued at $100
No apple or peach trees on the property
Total valuation of William Crittenden’s property in Georgia – $204
Some of the valuations have foot notes about the property. I was lucky to find one for William’s property.
“House but tolerable, as well as the land and fences; mill and fine stream, good mill works.”
I am not sure what “but tolerable” means, and it could well be an error in interpreting the handwritten notes from the original documents.
I have other relatives listed in the emigration rolls. None in as direct a line to me as my great, great grandfather William. However, I will eventually incorporate the information for them into my family’s history.
This is but one resource I found in my almost one month research trip to Oklahoma and Arkansas. As I make my way through my findings and organize them for entry into the family tree I will continue to share them with you.
I hope that some of you will find the Cherokee Emigration Records a helpful resource in your documentation of your Cherokee roots and family.
Resources for further research regarding Cherokee treaties and emigration
Treaty with the Western Cherokee, 1828
The United States agree to possess the Cherokees, and to guarantee it to them forever, and that guarantee is hereby solemnly pledged, of seven millions of acres of land, to be bounded as follows, viz: Commencing at that point on Arkansas River where the Eastern Choctaw boundary line strikes said River, and running thence with the Western line of Arkansas, as defined in the foregoing article, to the South-West corner of Missouri, and thence with the Western boundary line of Missouri till it crosses the waters of Neasho, generally called Grand River, thence due West to a point from which a due South course will strike the present North West corner of Arkansas Territory, thence continuing due South, on and with the present Western boundary line of the Territory to the main branch of Arkansas River, thence down said River to its junction with the Canadian River, and thence up and between the said Rivers Arkansas and Canadian, to a point at which a line running North and South from River to River, will give the aforesaid seven millions of acres. In addition to the seven millions of acres thus provided for, and bounded, the United States further guarantee to the Cherokee Nation a perpetual outlet, West, and a free and unmolested use of all the Country lying West of the Western boundary of the above described limits, and as far West as the sovereignty of the United States, and their right of soil extend.
The United States agree to have the lines of the above cession run without delay, say not later than the first of October next, and to remove, immediately after the running of the Eastern line from the Arkansas River to the South-West corner of Missouri, all white persons from the West to the East of said line, and also all others, should there be any there, who may be unacceptable to the Cherokees, so that no obstacles arising out of the presence of a white population, or a population of any other sort, shall exist to annoy the Cherokees— and also to keep all such from the West of said line in future.
Cherokee Emigration Records 1829-1835 – This book is a reprint of Senate Doc. #403, 24th Congress, 1st Session. It was compiled and indexed by Larry S. Watson with a 1990 copyright by HISTREE. It includes not only the valuation records of the land and improvements left in the east, but copies of the Treaty with the Cherokee 1817, Treaty with the Cherokee 1819, and Treaty with the Cherokee 1828. Reading the treaties helps to put the emigration records in context.
I have not been able to find an ebook or a hard copy of this book available for sale online. It is available at several libraries.
The Oklahoma Red Book Compiled by W. B. Richards, Corporation Record Clerk, Under the Supervision of Benjamin F. Harrison, Secretary of State, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This book covers much of the history of government history of public and private land in Oklahoma both before and after statehood. It can be downloaded from Amazon for Kindle for 99 cents.
Treaty with the Western Cherokee, 1828, May 6, 1828. | 7 Stat., 311. | Proclamation, May 28, 1828.
Cherokee Emigration Rolls 1817-1837 – National Archives database