Smith County, Texas

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Thompson Family’s Quest for Choctaw Enrollment

Submitted by Estelle Corder

 

Floy (Abernathy) Little and I have been working on proof of her Choctaw Nation THOMPSON families. She was reared by her grandparents Allison A. and Laura (THOMPSON) BRASFIELD and had visited some of her relatives that lived in the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma. Trying to find the proof of how this family was "Choctaw by Blood" has not been easy.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
WASHINGTON

April 4, 1905

I.T.D. 4222 - 1905
L.R.S.

Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes, Muskogee, Indian Territory

Sir:

On April 5, 1905, the Department rendered a decision concerning the following Choctaw enrollment cases:

Mary E. O'QUINN et al.  M.C.R. 7124 
Rufus O. THOMPSON et al  M.C.R. 581 
Mattie HOLLOWAY et al.  M.C.R. 458

In said decision it was held that the applicants in the cases referred to above were not entitled to be identified as Mississippi Choctaws, or to be enrolled as citizens by blood of the choctaw Nation.

In view of the approved opinions of the Assistant Attorney-General in the Choctaw enrollment cases of James S. LONG et al. and William C. THOMPSON et al., copies of which were recently forwarded to you, the Department has reconsidered its said decision of April 5, 1905.

Title M. C. R. 7124 includes the application of Mrs. O'QUINN for the enrollment of herself and children as Choctaw by blood, and for the enrollment of her husband, Thomas J. O'QUINN, as a citizen by intermarriage of the Choctaw Nation. From the testimony of Mrs. O'QUINN it appears that she is a one-sixteenth Choctaw; that she was born about 1854 in Texas; that she continued to reside therein until the year 1891, and that she then removed to the Choctaw-­Chickasaw country. She was married March 22, 1871, to the said Thomas J. O'QUINN, prior to her removal to the Territory. It further appears that she is the daughter of John T. THOMPSON, deceased, a one-eighth Choctaw, by Mary J. KERR, a white woman; further that the said John T. THOMPSON is a son of Archibald THOMPSON, and that the latter was the son of Henry

THOMPSON, a white man, by a half-blood Choctaw woman named MARGARET McCOY. It is here noted that the Archibald THOMPSON referred to above was the uncle of the principal applicant in the case of William C. THOMPSON et al. M> C> R>341. The record also shows that the name of Mrs. O'QUINN, as well as the names of her husband and children, appear upon the 1896 roll of the Choctaw Nation.

According to the opinions referred to above, the Department has jurisdiction to determine these chases upon their merits, in as much as the applicants are so enrolled. Those of them who are of Choctaw blood are entitled to be enrolled inasmuch as they removed to the Choctaw-Chickasaw country and established a residence therein prior to June 28, 1898. It does not appear, however, that Thomas J. O'QUINN, who claims by intermarriage, is entitled to enrollment. This conclusion follows because his marriage to Mary E. O'QUINN occurred in Texas in 1871 at a time when he had not, so far as the record reveals, been a citizen of the Indian Territory for several years, if at all. Under such circumstances, it is considered he would be barred from enrollment by the act of the Choctaw Council approved October 1840. See page 120, eighth annual report of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Nor does the record disclose that subsequent to his removal to the Territory he remarried the principal applicant in accordance with the tribal laws.

Although modifying its decision as indicated above, concerning the enrollment of the applicants embraced decision under title M. C. R. 7124, the Department adheres to its former decision in so far as it was determined therein that they are not entitled to identification as Mississippi Choctaws.

Title M. C. R. 581 includes the application of Rufus 0. THOMPSON for the enrollment of himself as a Choctaw by blood, and the enrollment of his wife, Martha Louisiana THOMPSON, as a citizen by intermarriage of the Choctaw Nation. The principal applicant included under this title is a brother of the said Mary E. O'QUINN. He was born in Texas and resided therein until about the year 1891, when he removed to the Indian Territory. His name and that of his wife appear upon the 1896 census roll of the choctaw Nation, placed thereon by the revisory committee in January 1897.

Accordingly, the Department has jurisdiction to determine his case upon its merits, and it now finds that by blood was residence he is entitled to enrollment as a citizen by blood of the Choctaw Nation, and his wife as a citizen by intermarriage thereof. See opinions referred to above, relative to the enrollment of James S. LONG and William C. THOMPSON.

It does not appear, however, that the decision of the Department, to the effect that the applicants embraced under title M. C. R. 581 are not entitled to identification as Mississippi Choctaws, should be disturbed.

Title M. C. R. 458 includes the application of Mattie HOLLOWAY for the enrollment of herself and her minor Children, Ivy BOLENSIEFEN, Jessie HOLLOWAY, Willie HOLLOWAY, and Hallie Hazel HOLLOWAY, as citizens by blood of the choctaw Nation, and for their identification as Mississippi Choctaws. The principal applicant removed to the Choctaw-Chickasaw county in 1894. Her Choctaw blood is established by the showing that she is the daughter of the said Mary E. O'QUINN.

The Department adhere to its former decision that she and her children are not entitled to identification as Mississippi choctaws, but concluded, in view of the approved opinions referred to above, that by blood and residence she and her children are entitled to enrollment as citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation. The jurisdiction of the Department in this case to determine the rights of the applicants upon their merits is based upon the fact that their names appear upon the 1896 census roll of the Choctaw Nation.

For the reasons set forth above, the decision of the Department of April 5, 1905, is rescinded, and the decision of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes of March 5, 1904, is reversed, to the extent indicated herein, and you are now directed to enroll all of the applicants in this case except Thomas J. O'QUINN.

The order directing the suspension of all enrollment and allotment proceedings affecting the applicants in the consolidated case of William C. THOMPSON et al. is hereby revoked, in so far as it affects the applicants mentioned herein.

 

(SIGNED) Respectfully,
Thos. Ryan
First Assistant Secretary

Through the Commissioner of Indian Affairs

(The THOMPSON families lived in Smith County, Texas before moving to Indian Territory. The THOMPSON'S lived in Carroll County, Miss. before moving to Texas.)

 

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