Tag Archives: Moses Crittenden

Fort Smith, Arkansas, Criminal Case Files, 1866-1900

This will be a brief entry as I am currently traveling outside of the United States.  It is difficult to tranfer images and post while traveling. However, I am still researching whenever possible while I am traveling.

So, for now, I can only tantalize readers with a note about a blog to come, in the next few weeks. I have just located some newly indexed records of Fort Smith, Criminal Case Files, 1866-1900. Included in these files are court proceedings from the late 1860s involving Moses Crittenden and a charge from the United States that he had provided “spirits” to an “Indian”.

Once I am somewhere where I can download and study the many pages of documents I will post an article about what I find.  I think I may be close to an answer as to the timing of why Moses relocated from Arkansas to Oklahoma when he did. This is one of the many research questions that have puzzled me and for which I did not think I would ever have an answer!

More info to come as soon as I have the ability to download and post.

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Filed under Cherokee History in Arkansas, Cherokee Roots, Journal, Research

Christmas and Family

Christmas is all about family for me. Tonight and tomorrow will be spent with my two boys, their spouses and my grandchildren.

This afternoon I am remembering Christmases past with family members who are no longer with me, my dad and my grandparents.

My Paternal Grandparents with Grandchildren 1951

My Paternal Grandparents with Grandchildren 1951

Me with my Dad as Santa Claus 1951

Me with my Dad as Santa Claus 1951

Maternal Grandmother Eliza Jane Critteden West wtih her Adult Children about 1952

Maternal Grandmother Eliza Jane Critteden West wtih her Adult Children about 1952

I am also thinking about my ancestors and wondering what their holidays were like. Last month I was blessed to stand on the beautiful land in Arkansas where my great grandfather Moses Crittenden, many of his relatives and other early Cherokee settlers, lived for much of the 19th century.

1850 Cherokee Land Freedom Polk County Arkansas Photo Taken 2014

1850 Cherokee Land Freedom Polk County Arkansas Photo Taken 2014

Standing looking out over where they lived I could feel the community and lives of my ancestors surrounding me. Today I can’t help but wonder about their family holiday traditions over almost 40 years on that land. I hope they can feel the love that I send out to them this day across time and space.

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Dawes Census Cards for Five Civilized Tribes

The Dawes Census Cards are an excellent source for working through complicated family connections.

At Ancestry.com the census cards can be found in the data base under; Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Dawes Census Cards for Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 

This data set contains the citizenship enrollment cards, sometimes referred to as census cards, which were prepared by the Dawes Commission. Individuals were enrolled as citizens of tribes according to the following categories:
•By blood
•By marriage
•Newborns, by blood
•Minors, by blood
•Freedmen (former black slaves of Indians)
•Newborn freedmen
•Minor freedmen

The census cards list information about the enrollee, and sometimes also include information about other family members.

You will need to have done your homework before you search these cards. I have found when I try to look up someone using only their name, I do not get a good return. If you are prepared with the Dawes Census card number, or the Dawes Enrollment number, and tribe you should not have any problem. It is helpful to also know the category (options listed above), although that may be one of the pieces of information that you are trying to locate.

If the person you are researching is not on the final rolls, you can use the following instructions, provided by Ancestry.com to try to locate them.
To locate an individual’s doubtful or rejected enrollment card, use the following steps:
1. Choose a tribal category, indicated as “doubtful” or “rejected”, from the browse table.
2. Choose an enrollment card number range.
3. Use the “next” and “previous” buttons on the image viewer to navigate yourself through the images.
4. Check the names listed on each image for the individual(s) you are looking for.

So, what can you find on these cards? If a person is mentioned on the card, even if it is not that person’s census card, they will still come up in your search.

I have been concentrating on one branch of my family, the descendants of my grandmother’s half-brother, Anthony Crittenden. One of my Crittenden cousins, Anthony’s great granddaughter, provided me with a search she had done on census card numbers for Anthony’s mother, Emily Crittenden Weaver. I started pulling up cards using those numbers.

Emily Crittenden Weaver Dawes Census Card

Emily Crittenden Weaver Dawes Census Card

Emily Crittenden Weaver Dawes Census Card 2

Emily Crittenden Weaver Dawes Census Card 2

Why have I been concentrating on this branch of the family? Throughout the years there was a lot of intermarriage between families related through blood or marriage to my great grandfather, Moses Crittenden.

My great grandfather died in 1899, before the interview process started for Dawes applicants. The Crittendens were a close knit family and a look at census data shows that many of the families often moved together from place to place. Through reading the interview packets of his relatives, I have been able to piece together a significant amount of information about locations and dates of moves from one place to another.

The Dawes application packets have a lot of information about spouses and children of the applicants. There is seldom any information about parents for applicants who are no longer minors. Siblings of adults are also seldom noted.  However, this information is often listed on the census cards.

Mary Weaver Crittenden Dawes Census Card

Mary Weaver Crittenden Dawes Census Card

The census data cards have been useful in putting together family connections, especially when trying to clarify details of two relatives with the same given and surnames born around the same year. The cards almost always list the mother and father of the applicant, along with spouses and children.

Mary Weaver Crittenden Dawes Census Card 2

Mary Weaver Crittenden Dawes Census Card 2

The cards also have a lot of notes on them, including cross references to other census cards.

Mary Weaver Crittenden Dawes Census Card 3

Mary Weaver Crittenden Dawes Census Card 3

Of course, the information I have found has led to many more research questions, and hours browsing through even more Dawes applications. More about that in a future blog!

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Filed under Cherokee Roots, Dawes Allotment, Family connections, Journal, Research, Uncategorized

Meeting My Crittenden Relatives

Yesterday was a memorable day on my family history trip. In Warner Oklahoma I met my second cousin, Bruce Crittenden, and his daughter Susie.

Me, Susie (Bruce's daughter), 2nd Cousin Bruce Crittenden

Me, Susie (Bruce’s daughter), 2nd Cousin Bruce Crittenden

Susie and I found each other online a couple of months ago when she wrote me a note after reading Cherokee Roots Blog. She introduced herself as Moses Crittenden’s great great granddaughter. As Moses was my great grandfather that meant that Susie’s father and I are second cousins.

Moments after meeting Bruce yesterday I could feel my eyes welling up as I had just met my first descendant of Moses Crittenden and the first blood relative of my extremely large Cherokee family outside of my mother’s immediate family.

This was the culmination of five years of research that started with a search for my grandmother’s Cherokee ancestors. I could have never guessed what an inspiring and surprising journey it would be.

After almost four weeks on the road in Oklahoma and Arkansas I took some time to go to the cemetery where Anthony Crittenden, my grandmother’s half-brother is buried. Being there with his grandson and great granddaughter added special meaning to this moment.

Great Uncle Anthony Crittenden's Headstone

Great Uncle Anthony Crittenden’s Headstone

I will be sharing more memories and discoveries from this trip over the next few weeks.

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Accidental Discoveries

On my current genealogy trip to Oklahoma and Arkansas I am struck by the number of accidental discoveries that are enhancing my efforts at solving the mysteries of my ancestors.

When I came to Oklahoma on my first genealogy trip I was still missing so many basic details in my family’s lineage that the majority of the trip was about filling in the blank spots on the family tree; dates, middle names and first wives or husbands that I never knew existed.

This trip, while I am still filling in a few holes, my main goal is to discover the context and subtler details of my ancestors’ lives. No longer satisfied with knowing in what city and state they were born or lived, I want to know exactly what acreage they inhabited.

When they moved from Arkansas to Oklahoma, why did they make the move? Where did they go to school, to church? I find that my hunger for details is insatiable.

And I am finding that because I know so much more about my family that I am more in tune with leads to follow that might provide answers.

What has surprised me this trip is the casual decision made to say a few words to someone, or open a book that happens to be in front of me, that has led to me finding some missing details that I thought I might never find.

One of these accidental discoveries occurred two weeks ago in Wagoner, Oklahoma. It was a day that I had planned to do some exploring in another county with my second cousin, John. At the last minute he had some work obligations that could not be put off.

Rather than explore without him I decided to wrap up a few local details and reschedule with John for the next day.

One of the items on my list was to go to the Wagoner County Court House to see if I could find a follow-up document to some papers that I had found on my last trip regarding the sale of my grandmother’s Dawes Allotment land in Wagoner County.

While standing at the window in the County Clerk’s office waiting to talk with someone, I turned my head and noticed a very large and very old log book of some kind. It was at least two feet by three feet and four to six inches thick. There were lettered tabs on the right hand edge.

I opened the cover and it said something like Probates, 1907-1911. I flipped to “W” for West, my grandmother’s married name and saw nothing. Then I flipped to “C” for Crittenden my grandmother’s maiden name and the first two entries were for Moses Crittenden, her father, and Isaac Crittenden, her brother.

Isaac Crittenden

Isaac Crittenden

Next to their names were some dates and docket numbers. I wrote them down and when it was my turn to be waited on I asked if this book was just for display or did they have access to these particular old documents.

The answer was that the documents were in storage in another facility and that if I returned in a couple of days they would have copies of them for me. When I returned three days later I was told that they could not find the papers for Moses but that they had an 18 page document regarding the probate listed under Isaac Crittenden.

I knew Isaac did not die until many years after the date of this document so was very curious what this probate document was regarding.

What I found was that on April 1, 1907, shortly after Oklahoma became a state, Margaret Crittenden, Isaac’s mother, had filed to be Isaac’s, then still a minor, guardian over the possessions that he had inherited from his father, Moses, in 1999 and over the Dawes land that Isaac had been allotted.

Included in this document was a complete legal description of Isaac’s allotment land. At the end of this legal description was the answer to a question I had been asking for the past five years.

I knew from census data that my grandmother lived with her mother outside of Wagoner in Township 16 in 1900 and probably for some time before that. I had descriptions of my grandmother’s, and her brother Isaac’s, Dawes allotment land in Township 16. On my last trip I had gone and stood on that land and wondered if any of the allotment land that they received was the land on which they had lived.

And now, this amazing accidental discovery answered a question to which I thought I would never know the answer. At the end of the description of Isaac’s allotment land in the probate papers is the following sentence.

“All 90 acres being Cherokee land with valuable buildings thereon being part of the old ‘M.Crittenden Homestead’. Estimated that 25 acres are in cultivation. This land is part prairie and part timber.

I could have stood at some other window in the clerk’s office. One that did not have an old probate log sitting behind it. I could have not turned around and been curious enough to open it. This accidental discovery could so easily have never been made. But it was. And now I know exactly where my grandmother lived from the late 1890s until she married my grandfather in 1903.

Every day of this trip I feel a little closer to my grandmother and to the amazing life that she lead.

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