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Williams Plantation

From microfilm of "Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs"


[M234, roll 239, frame 468]

Russell [Co.], Ala. 31 July 1839

Sir,

Mr. Williams (Wiley's? father?) living in the Upper part of this County has about 20 Indians living with him as slaves. They are anxious to go to Arkansas and some 4 or 5 half breed Negroes of the Barnard? family, residing now in Chambers, near Honest Joe or Arnold Seals. I told them I thought Government would move them this fall. I would be at the trouble of starting them, with some man, say Seaborn Smith, E-y? Johnson, or some good person - it would cost about $35 per head, inform me if any thing can be done for them, the Indians dare not let Mr. Williams know any thing about it.

Respectfully
L. Blake

Judge A. Iverson
Washington City

[address on back says Society Hill, Ala.]


[M234, roll 239, frames 466]

Washington City Aug. 7th 1839

Dr. Sir,

I take the liberty of enclosing a letter just rec'd from Mr. Luther Blake of Ala. & to which I beg have to call your attention. There are no doubt other Indians scattered through the old Creek country, who would emigrate if they had the opportunity. I take the liberty of suggesting that the subject br referred to the next Congress, that the means may be appropriated of removing them & that the Department then take such steps as it's wisdom may dictate to accomplish that object.

I am respectfully
your obt. Servt.
A. Iverson

T. Hartley Crawford Esqr.
Com. of Indian Affs.


[M234, roll 240, frame 152]

W. D. O. I. A.
[War Department, Office Indian Affairs]
Aug. 13, 1839

Mr. L. Blake
Society Hill, Russell Co.,
Alabama

Sir,

Your letter of the 31st ultimo to the Hon. Alfred Iverson, relative to certain Creek Indians, amounting to about twenty, living with Mr. Williams as slaves, has been referred by that gentleman to this office.

In your letter you state that these people are anxious to go to Arkansas and request information as to what can be done, on the part of this Department, for the accomplishment of their wishes.

In reply to your letter I have to remark, in the first place, that this office has not, at this time, any fund at its disposal, applicable to the removal of these Indians to the Nation West.  Before it will proceed to any action upon the subject more specific information is required and, particularly, it must be informed by what process, or under what law, Mr. Williams has acquired any right or interest in these people which enables him to hold them as slaves and how they came into his posession.  I will be obliged to you for any information which you may be enabled to communicate that may tend to enlighten this office upon these points. 


[M234, roll 239, frames 470]

Washington City Aug. 15th 1839

Dear Sir,

I am in receipt of your communication of the 13th inst. upon the subject of certain Creek Indians said to be in the posession of Mr. Williams of Ala. & held by him as slaves. I have no information upon this subject other than was given in Mr. Blake's letter. Upon my return to Columbus in Sept. I will institute some enquiries into this matter, the result of which shall be made known to you.

I am respectfully
Your obt. Servt.
A. Iverson

T. Hartley Crawford Esq.
Comr. of Ind. Affs.


[M234, roll 240, frame 129]

Society Hill
8th May 1841

Dear Sir,

Yours of the 24th of April I duly rec'd.  Those Indians are some that were persuaded to remain by white persons who had them in their employ mostly in Georgia and told them such tales as would best induce them to remain, that they might use them as slaves.  Since the nation emigrated, those they were living with, have moved into this pu--han.  The Indians have found out that they have been deceived, that they are living as slaves and now want to get west with their people - and seeing me pass came and made it known to to me.  I told them I would write to the department about it and done so some 18 months since - and they informed me that there was no money that could be used for the purpose, but were disposed to send them.  The cost would not be much, say about $40 per head, as there is so few of them.  I have seen some of them within a few days and I assure you that humanity requires that they should be taken to Arkansas.  I would start them at any time. 

Your friends are well
Truly Yours
Luther Blake

Col. J. J. Abert
Washington City D. C.


[M234, roll 240, frames 142-3, letter B. 1210]

Society Hill
25 June 1841

Sir,

Yours of the 31st May I have.  You wish to be favored with the precise number of Indians, males, females, adults & children, in whose charge they are and how they are subsisted.  I can not inform you how many of each yet there are without the trouble of going thirty or forty miles.  They subsist themselves by work with the promise of pay, living with the slaves of those for whom they work, and look on him as their master.  And they knowing that I had nothing to do with emigration, thought perhaps I yet had something to do with the business and seeing me pass came to me and made their wishes known.  And I ought of humanity thought it my duty to inform your Department of their situation.  To ascertain all you ask as a favor would be attended with some expense otherwise it would afford me pleasure to give you the information. 

You think to take them off by water would be the cheapest you are mistaken.  By land is the cheapest, though longer in doing it.  It is true that some articles of subsistence are very little lower, not enough however to make up the difference in money in 1836.  Money could be had at 8 percent, now 16 to 20 on which every two or three hundred miles is up 5 percent, discount.

You wish me to state the lowest sum I would regard as a just compensation for their removal & c. including every species of charges to be paid on the production of the certificate of said Agent that they had been delivered into his hands at his Agency in said settlement.  On these conditions, $100 per head is the lowest for --- some Diss--- might --- all after the expense of getting them near say between Fort Smith and Fort Gibson.

Government would or I did think would be willing to pay all reasonable expenses and a fair compensation to have them taken to Arkansas rather than they should live here and become slaves.  I do not say it would cost $40 per head but I would prefer to take 500 at $20 than 30 at $40.  I am not anxious on my part but I am on the part of the Indians.  

I have the Honor
Luther Blake

Hon. T. Hartley Crawford
Ind. Bu.
Washington City D. C.