Monday, January 30, 2017

The Family of Elijah Canard, Creek Freedmen - Celebrating Freedmen Families

Many who research Freedmen from the Muscogee Creek Nation area aware that there are challenges facing the researcher, because many of the application jackets were never digitized and are thus lost. Although a good portion are indeed missing and the words of the ancestors are lost to time, there are some cases where interviews survived, and they are worth examining.

The family of Elijah Canard, is such a family whose history can be examined and studied. The family data should also be studied because it illustrates agin how many of the families were blended with families from other nations. In this case the Canard family is blended with a family of Chickasaw Freedmen.

The enrollment card of Elijah Canard's family is full of information, full of clues, and can lead the researcher to explore additional records.

National Archives Publication M1186 Creek Freedman Card #221

The National Archives at Ft Worth; Ft Worth, Texas, USA; Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; NAI Number: 251747; Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs;

Record Group Number: 75
In August 1898, Elijah Canard appeared in front of the Dawes Commission to enroll himself and his family as Creek Freedmen. Though Creeks, they resided in the Chickasaw Nation, in the town of Maxwell, Indian Territory. It is noted quickly that James and the children had been recognized as Creeks prior to that and their names were already on a roll  in 1895. Elijah was enrolling his sons, James, Jimmie and Johnie in addition to two gr. nephews, Earnest and Wilford McIntosh.

Elijah was 41 years old at the time, and he had been enslaved by Moty Canard. Prior to Elijah's appearance with the Dawes Commission, his name had been inscribed on the 1867 Dunn Roll, and this was noted on the card as well. In addition, his name was also listed on the 1890 Roll of Creek citizens. On the 1867 Dunn Roll, Elijah's name appeared as Elijah McIntosh, #934 (At that time he was listed as having belonged to Arkansas Town.) 

Dunn Roll page obtained from:
Ancestry - Oklahoma & Indian Territory Indian Censuses & Rolls 1851-1959
Image number 196 of 592
(Note the hand-written number "228" aside the name, referring to the later Dawes Card.)
 His parents were Caesar Canard, who was enslaved by Moty Canard, and his mother was Clara Hared, enslaved by Maria McIntosh. both parents apparently died right after the Civil War. By the time of the Dawes Commission, he belonged to North Fork Town. James' mother was Tilda Canard, and the mother of Jimmie and Johnie was listed a Leathy. Elijah's current wife was said to be Martha Canard, a Chickasaw Freedman. 

Reverse side of enrollment card. (see citation from top image above)

Anthony & Peggy McIntosh were the parents of Elijah's gr. nephews. Their father Anthony was not a citizen, but their mother Peggy was a Creek Freedman who belonged to North Fork Town. Peggy was the niece to Elijah and the mother to Earnest and Wilford McIntosh, the two young boys. All had their citizenship approved by the Creek Council in August 1895.

From the Application Jacket:

The first person interviewed was Polly Perry. She was a brother to Elijah, but she was there to testify on behalf of the two boys Ernest and Wilford McIntosh. The mother of the two boys was Peggy McIntosh and she was deceased. Peggy their mother was the daughter of Polly's sister. (Both Polly and Peggy's mother were siblings also to Elijah Canard.) Polly explained the relationship in her interview.

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326247

On the second page of the interview Elijah himself speaks and shares more information about the family data including details about the father of the two boys.


National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326248

Much more is revealed in the application jacket of Elijah, where there is much interest in the enrollment of the nephews, their parents and whether they had been previously enrolled by the Creek Nation. 
National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326249

Details about the movement during and after the war is revealed when Miley Johnson was interviewed. She explains where they were taken during the war and where the family, including Elijah lived after the war ended.

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326250

There was still interest in the status of the children and the need to determine if they had even been enrolled as Chickasaw Freedmen, as their mother was from Chickasaw Freedmen communities.

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326251


Three years later, in September 1901, and then again in October, the status of Elijah (Lige) Canard was examined more thoroughly by the Commission.

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326252

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326253


National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326254

Contained also in the file were two pages pertaining to the lands allotted to some of the members of the family, including the sons Jimmie and Johnnie. Attention was paid to the fact that the mother was Chickasaw, and that they were applying as Creek Freedmen. There was analysis of Elijah's name whether it was Canard, or Walker. The name Walker does not appear on the enrollment card, but comes out in this application Jacket. 

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326255


It is also noted that Willie Cohee of the Chickasaw Nation had previously made application for the boys to be enrolled as Chickasaw Freedmen and that lands were to have been allotted to them as such. The exact description of the land appears in those pages. 

National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326256


National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326257


Further analysis concluded that there were no conflicting interests in spite of the lands set aside for the sons,  and that no attempt to convey the lands to them, so it was decided that the Chickasaw allotments be stricken and that they be enrolled as Creek Freedmen allottees.



National Archives Publication M1301
Application Jackets Chickasaw Freedman Packet #228
Image Obtained from Fold3:
https://www.fold3.com/image/260/66326258

Since there was much discussion about the lands allotted to the children, I decided to see where their allotted lands were located, and it appears that they received land near each other. In Township 19, Range 8 the lands reflecting their family allotments are shown below.
Ancestry.com. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Land Allotment Jackets for Five Civilized Tribes, 1884-1934 
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2014.
(Creek Freedmen: Image 42 of 869)

It is not known whether the family retained the land over the years or not. Many Creeks lost land over the years due to land thieves and swindlers, known to take advantage of many families in rural communities throughout Oklahoma.  Hopefully this family was able to retain lands over the next century. Regardless, theirs is a history of survival of slavery, freedom, Creek citizenship, membership in their tribal town, and finally ownership of their own land after the Dawes Rolls were finally closed.

This particular case reflects many aspects of the complex nature of the lives of Indian Territory Freedmen. Many married citizens of other nations, and though this family lived in Chickasaw country, they were indeed Creeks and thus were entitled to lands as Creek citizens. The family's structure was complicated by the fact that Elijah Canard was the guardian to his niece's children, with their parents having preceded them in death.



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(This is the fourth article in a series devoted to sharing families once enslaved in Indian Territory. The focus is on Freedmen from the Five Civilized Tribes, and are part of the effort to document 52 families in 52 weeks.)

1 comment:

Carlotta Kemp said...

Thanks, Angela, great research! Keep it coming.

Carlotta