[M640, roll 12, frame 980+]
Fort Smith, Arks. April 10, 1856
Dr. Ch. W. Dean
Supt. Southern Superintendency
Your petitioner, C. D. Pryor, would most respectfully represent that he is lawfully the owner of, and entitled to the possession of certain negroes, to wit: Sancho, a man, Scipio, a man, Ishmail, a man, William, a man, Billy, a man, Cyrus, a boy or young man, Sampson, a boy, Jim Boy, a boy, Teanear or Tenny, a woman and her eight children, Lucy, a woman and her four children, Nancy, a woman, and her four children, Hetty, a girl, and Rhody, a young woman, and Tharnar, a woman and her two children, all now running at large in the Seminole Nation, that your petitioner purchased said Negroes from Daniel B. Aspberry, a Creek Indian, (in evidence of which I beg leave to refer you to a copy of the original bill of sale, herewith presented, marked "A" and pray it to be taken as part of this petition) that Aspberry is anxious and willing to deliver me said Negroes, but is prevented from so doing by the unjust interference of parties in no manner having a right so to stop him, and hence I would ask your official interference to place me in possession of my lawful property, thus withheld from me by persons who profess to have no claim themselves to said Negroes, nor to act for any one who ever had, or has, or pretends to have a right or title to said Negroes.
That Aspberry had a full and indisputable title to the Negroes will appear from the accompanying proofs which I furnish herewith, and pray that they may be taken as part of this petition, and examined in evidence of Title; and that you may more fully and fairly understand the nature of the whole transaction. I will as briefly as possible recount the circumstances attending his own purchase, and subsequent sale to me, and hope that this also may be taken as part of this petition.
Sometime in the month of May A. D. 1854, some of the Negroes appealed to me to purchase the whole of said Negroes from D. B. Aspberry, and that they themselves would find purchasers for themselves from me, within the Creek and Seminole nations, and that some of them had relations who were free, and who would assist them in paying me a fair price for their freedom; thus appealed to. I mentioned the subject to D. B. Aspberry and after some delay succeeded in making the purchase of the whole of them, and went to the Seminole Country to put in execution my promise to the Negroes, and dispose of them to persons there, as promised them. When I arrived in the Seminole Country the agent Mr. Washbourne was absent, and not dreaming of any opposition, I saw some of the Negroes and told them that I had succeeded in purchasing all of the Negroes, and that I was then willing to dispose of them there; allowing each Negro an opportunity of selecting a purchaser that they would be willing to live with, and to liberate such as would pay a fair price for their freedom. The Negroes expressed themselves satisfied, but told me that some of the Seminoles objected to the arrangement, and disputed Aspberry's right to sell. Upon enquiry I learned that Halleck Tustenuggee was one of the persons who so opposed the title, and I immediately started to see him, but he was not at home, when I returned home. As soon as I learned that Halleck had retuned to his home, and I could possibly do so, I went to see him, tho' he was not at his own house but some 12 miles distant, and drinking; he requested of me to know my business, which I told him, and he disputed the right of Aspberry to sell.
After considerable argument upon the matter, he asked me to go to the house of Mr. F. A. Cummings, a licensed trader in the Seminole Country, and that he would come over the next day and have further conversation about the matter, and expressed a desire that the matter should be referred to the Creek general Council which would convene on the 26th of the then present month of December, and that he would go with me to the said Council and have the matter decided. I repaired to Mr. Cummings and waited for three days, and he did no come, but sent me word to go on to the Council, and that he would positively meet me then, on the day appointed; I went to the Council, and after waiting till the 31st day of the month, he entirely failed to come, and he did not attend the Council at all. I then repaired to Fort Smith, and met the Seminole Agent, Mr. J. W. Washbourne, and requested his official interference in the affair, to place me in possession of my property. Mr. Washbourne informed me that some communication had been made to Gov. T. S. Drew, then Superintendent relative to the business, and that he would have to consult with him, and ascertain whether he would be allowed to act in the premises; and thereupon addressed to Gov. Drew the letter, a copy of which I herewith furnish marked "B" and pray that you may accept it in evidence. Gov. Drew replied that he had made a communication to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs relative thereto, and could take no steps in the matter, but in conversation as to the proofs of Aspberry's title said he could see no reason for their detention if the title was clear, and advised me again to see the Seminoles, Mr. Washbourne, also requested that I should see the Seminoles, and suggested as a fit and proper time to do so, to be at his agency at the time of the payment of the annuity which would take place in a few days, and at which all of the Seminole Chiefs would be present. I attended the Council, and met Halleck Tustunuggee, and proposed to him to have the whole matter investigated by the Council with the Agent, Mr. Washbourne, present, he consented to this, and promised to meet the Council upon the matter on the following day, but left on the same day, and went to his home; I then received from Mr. Washbourne, a copy of his letter to Gov. Drew, mentioned above, as marked "B" and by it learned that the Seminole Chiefs had made no dispute about the title of the Negroes in question, but were offended at the manner in which it was alleged that they were taken from the Seminole Country, which I assured him had been misrepresented, to him, and told him that I would and could prove it to have been so. I then again asked of him to interpose in his official capacity, and herewith present a copy of my letter to him in evidence of the fact, marked "C" and received in reply his own letter also herewith presented, marked "D", in reply.
The next day after receiving the last mentioned letter I left for home, and sent a further request to Halleck Tustunuggee to meet me at the Creek Council, which was then in session at Tuckabatchie, and that his agent, Mr. Washbourne, would pass by, or near the Council, and would be present, as would also Col. W. H. Garrett Creek Agent, who was then at Tuckabatchie engaged in paying out the funds of the Lost Property claim, to the Creeks, and that both Agents, and all the Creek Chiefs could investigate the matter. This Halleck positively refused to do; and after getting proofs from the Creeks that the alleged violence in taking the Negroes complained of by the Seminoles was the acts, and authorized acts, of the legally constituted officers of the Creek Nation. I obtained a certificate to that effect from Col. Garrett, and again called on Gov. Drew, and furnished him with it. He then informed me that he has made another communication to the Department at Washington and that he could not act in the matter until he has received an answer thereto. I urged upon him the necessity of immediate action, as I had strong reasons for believing that Halleck and others mediated selling a portion of the Negroes, and so informed Gov. Drew, he replied that he would issue an order to the Seminoles to refrain from selling, or any manner disposing of them until the opinion of the Department was received; and he also, at the same time told the Seminoles under no consideration to permit any of the Negroes to be given up to any person whomever, until the decision had arrived from Washington. This letter of Gov. Drew's was written in the latter part of March 1854, and a few days previous to his arrival from office, and reached the Seminole Country through the hands of Old Abram, the Negro interpreter, by whom it was sent, addressed to Halleck Tustenuggee and other Seminole chiefs. I went up a few days afterwards, and saw John Jumper, and Parscofa - in relation to the business, when Jumper informed me that he well knew that the Negroes in question were rightfully and without doubt the property of Marpayache, at the time that she sold them, and that he had himself seen her about the time of her sale to Aspberry and tried to prevent her selling, but that she failed to take his advice, and that the Negroes were undoubtedly her own, and that no one had any right to say she should not sale. He requested me to stay until the Seminole Council would meet, which was to be on the 29th of March, and assured me that the Seminoles would give me a satisfactory explanation relative to the business, that he would appoint men to attend to the business with me. I upon that assurance remained, and after a long consultation among themselves, they at length, through Halleck Tustenuggee, and Passock Yohola, gave me the following answer: "That the chiefs had never properly understood, before the then present time, what I wanted, but they are then satisfied that what I wished for was right; that they were fully acquainted with the facts of the case, and knew without doubt that Marpayache was the lawful owner of the Negroes at the time of her sale to Aspberry, and that no one had any right to prevent her from selling, but that what was objectionable was, that she had not complied with their old custom of obtaining the consent of her town chiefs to sell, but that she had been advised not to sell by John Jumper, and still persisted in selling, and that no one had any right to interfere, that her grandfather at the time of his death had enjoined upon the town chiefs to see that the property was kept together, and that the Negroes made corn for his children, which they had always done, but that as she had sold them, after being engaged repeatedly no to do so, that the chiefs had done their duty, and could do nothing further, and that as soon as Mr. Washbourne returned to his agency, that I could come up and bring up my papers, and that the Negroes could be pointed out, and I could take the negroes, that no one in the Seminole Nation would or should prevent or hinder me from peaceably taking posession of them, and that they were satisfied. I asked for nothing but what was right. They also assured me that they would hold their Nation bound to me for the safe-keeping of the Negroes until the return of Mr. Washbourne, and at the same time gave me posession of one of the Negroes, a man by the name of "Bob" or Robert, and expressed themselves highly gratified that I had promised to liberate him upon such fair terms, the payment of $300. I then gave Robert his papers of manumission, the act was approved by every one present. They then requested to know how they would know what negroes the Nation was accountable for, unless they had a list of their names, and required such list of me. I told them that I had not anticipated meeting the Council, that it was wholly unexpected, and that I had not brought my papers with me, but that if the two chiefs who were appointed to attend to the matter would meet me at any specified time, at a place mentioned, Billy Harjo's, that I would show them all of my papers, and they agreed to do and appointed eight days after, as the time of meeting me. I repaired to Billy Harjo's, at the time specified, but they failed to come, and a short time afterwards I went again to the Nation with my papers, and requested of John Jumper, as head chief, a certificate of the action of the Council of the 1st inst. mentioned above, as the Chiefs Halleck and Passock Yohola had failed to meet me as promised, at Billy Harjo's, when I was to obtain one from them, after an examination of the papers relative to the sale of the Negroes. I wrote out such a certificate as I wished signed, and requested Jumper to sign it. He replied that he knew that everything contained in the certificate was true (the certificate was a recapitulation of the decision of the Council, as given me by Halleck and Passok Yohola) but that he did not like to sign any paper himself alone, relative to the acts of other chiefs, that they might not like it; I assured him that I only wished the certificate to show to Mr. Washbourne, that he might ask for and receive permission to turn the Negroes over to me, and that white people generally required anything to be done in writing which they were to impart to a third party, to show the truth of such statements. He answered by saying that Passock Yohola was subpoenaed to attend the United States Court, and that he would go down in a few days, and either see yourself or Mr. Washbourne, and would make a true statement of what was done in Council to either of you, and that he would instruct him so to do. I told him that that course would satisfy me and left him.
During the Session of the Court, Passock Yohola came down, and I came down with him, and upon reaching Fort Smith, found you absent, and Mr. Washbourne also. I immediately communicated my business to Mr. Campbell your clerk, who informed me that sickness or some important call, had carried you to your family at Fayetteville, but that you had left instructions to be sent for, if anything requiring your attention came up, and Mr. C. offered to write. I told him that the Indian would not probably remain long enough for a letter to reach you, and for you to reach this place in time to see him, and that I thought the best plan would be to take his statement before Mr. A. M. Wilson, U. S. District Attorney, and to present that to you; he concurred in my opinion, and I so intended. On the next Monday Mr. Washbourne came down, which was the day upon which the court organized at Van Buren, and the day upon which I wished to have the statement made. I went to the Seminole camp, and found Mr. Washbourne, he was very angry at some letter which Gov. Drew had written to the Department relative to this business, and also told me that he had been informed that Col. Garrett, the Creek Agent, had received instructions to act in the matter, and that he would have nothing more to do with it, and he then told me that if any Council was held about the matter, at which Col. Garrett, presided, he would instruct the Seminoles not to attend it, and then told Passock Yohola to go home, and to make no statement here, and consequently I lost the opportunity of then making the proofs which I wished to lay before you. After the departure of Passock Yohola , I convinced Mr. Washbourne that I was ignorant of the fact of Gov. Drew's having written any letter to the Department relative to the business, and referred him to the fact of my being at his agency, by his request, at the time the letter was written. I also assured him that he was misinformed relative to Col. Garrett's having received any instructions to enquire into the affair and asked of him to go by the Creek Agency and to ascertain from Garrett himself, as to what instructions he had had in the matter. He did so, and Col. Garrett informed him that he had none. Mr. Washbourne, then on his way to his agency, told me that he would as soon as he had reached his agency call a council and investigate the whole affair, and told me that I should have timely notice of the time of holding the Council, and that I must attend. I promised to do so. He as soon as he reached his agency appointed the time of the Council, and wrote to me, advising me of the fact, but I did not receive his letter, or any other notification, until several days after the Council had met and adjourned - of this Mr. Washbourne is well satisfied - At the Council mentioned, Halleck and Passock Yohola, having been bribed by other parties, who wished to purchase the Negroes of them, went forward and told Mr. Washbourne, that the Negroes belonged to the minor children of Charley Brown, who died a few years ago in this country; and that said Charley Brown was the original Cubbitche Micco, and the real owner of the Negroes, and that Markatiche was only acting as guardian for Charley Brown, while his children were in this Country and himself in Florida, which was utterly false and without foundation in fact. They had been assured that if they would do this, and carry the matter before the Creek Council that they should be well paid, and that the persons, Chilly McIntosh and Watt Grayson of the Creek Nation, could gain the Negroes in that Council. They urged Mr. Washbourne to send the matter before the Creek Council, and assured him that that was the only place at which the trial of the right of property could be possibly decided, as it was a matter entirely under control of the Creek laws, made so by the Convention of 1845, between the two Nations and the U. S. Learning a few days afterwards what had transpired, I saw Mr. Washbourne, and told him of the deception practiced upon him; at the same time showing the statement made by Markateche before Genl. Arbuckle, on the 15th of August 1850, a copy of which I had procured from the office of the Superintendent, and which I herewith present marked "E". Mr. Washbourne told me that he was them satisfied that the Seminoles had deceived him in regard to the matter, but that they had brought to him a paper signed by Marcellus Duval, Esqr. showing that the Negroes belonged to Cubbitche Micco, and also assured him that Charley Brown was Cubbitche Micco, and had bro't forward Brown's children, and pointed them out as the owners. He told me that he had referred the whole matter to the Creek Council for investigation, and could do nothing more until such was made. I protested against the proceedings, and expressed my unwillingness to go again before an Indian Council, as I thought the intercourse law provided for the .. before the Agents. Mr. Washbourne objected to that course, and wrote to Col. Garrett, by the Seminole, who attended the Council that he wished the matter settled there. I again objected, and he wrote to Col. Garrett that tho' I opposed it he wished the matter to be investigated by the Creek Council, and the right of Marpayache to sell to Aspberry either established or refuted, and requested of Col. Garrett to see that the Seminoles had full justice done them in the premises. I attended the Council, and saw Col. Garrett, and as before protested against the proposed course, and he saw the Seminoles and they urged the investigation by the Council, and assured him that they were there in attendance upon the Council, to have the matter finally settled. Col. Garrett told me he had no control over the matter, and that if Marpayache had a right to sell, that the fact ought to be proven before the Council. I told that the fact could easily be proven, but that I preferred having it done before the Agents, so that it could all be made ---- of record. He told me he could not control the matter, and it would go before the Council. He then went again to see the Seminoles, and they again assured him of their anxiety to have the matter tried by the Creek laws. They said that they had come for that purpose, and in conversation, denied having told Mr. Washbourne that Charley Brown was Cubbitche Micco, and also admitted that Cubbitche Micco died many years ago in Florida, and that he had appointed Micco potoke as guardian for his children, and that the said Micco potoke had acted as such till the time of his death. Col. Garrett then asked of the Creeks to investigate the affair and to settle it, and they promised to commence the examination on the next day. Col. Garrett then being through with his business, left for his agency, and on the next day, the Seminoles bro't the matter before the Council and the examination commenced. It proceeded far enough to establish the facts that Cubbitche Micco or Kinhijah, the original owner of the Negroes died in Florida and that Tuskahenehaw was his son, and that the Miccasucka Town of Indians had by request of Kinhijah, appointed Micco potoke to act as guardian for the property of the children, and that he had continued so to act until the time of his death, when he turned the property over to Miccanopah the head chief of the Seminole Nation, in this Country, as the property of Markatiche and Marpayache, and that Miccanopah and Coa harjo and other Seminole Chiefs had so proven it to be, when it was endeavored to take it from them, by other persons, who had purchased of Kinhijah's distant relations; and that Charley Brown was only distantly related to Kinhijah, and had no right to the property, but before the rendition of the decision of the Council, the Seminoles refused to proceed with the trial, and denied having ever instructed Mr. Washbourne, their Agent, to say that they were willing so to have it tried, and upon his letter, which was then before the Council being read to them, they asserted that its statements were false, and said they would not hold themselves bound by the decision of the Creek Council, and that the proper place to try the matter was before the Seminole Agent and Council, and they left the Creek Council, without concluding the trial, and asked of the Creek Council to send the matter back to the Seminole Council.
I procured a certificate from the Chiefs of the Creeks, which Mr. Benj. Marshall one of the number was requested to make known to Col. Garrett, showing the cause for not concluding the trial, and my willingness to go on, there being no record of the facts proven, kept by the Council, I could not obtain them in writing, and hence will have to refer you to Col. Garrett for the authorized version given him by Mr. Marshall, he now being here. The Seminoles said that they would settle the matter in their own Council as soon as their Agent returned. Up to this time, no pretence of title had been set up for any one, by the Seminoles, except the heirs of Charley Browns, and I procured the statement of Tuckabatchee Micco, Mr. Geo. Stidham, and Mr. Marshall, all of which accompany this letter, marked "F, G & H", which I pray may be read in evidence, and a certificate of the referral of the Seminoles to conclude the matter, and visited Mr. Washbourne, and placed the certificate last mentioned in his hands, which he now has. I then asked of him to examine the matter himself, and assured him that the Seminoles had deceived him, and misrepresented the facts of the case. Mr. Washbourne was then in Fayetteville, and I called upon him then and exhibited some of the proofs, and in conversation with General Smithson, his predecessor in office, was informed by him that the Seminole Chiefs themselves had shown him the papers referred to by Mr. Washbourne, and also another paper made by some officer of Government, whose name he did not recollect, clearly establishing the title of Markatiche and Sister, and he also said that the papers were accompanied by a notification from Genl. M. Arbuckle, once commanding officer upon this frontier, forbidding any one to buy the Negroes from any other claimants as they were undoubtedly the property of Markatiche and Marpayache; he also informed Mr. Washbourne of the same facts, and Mr. Washbourne called upon you, (at that time 1st of August last on a visit to your family) for instructions in the matter, and informed me that you had declined to interfere, but would upon the examination before the Council asked for by the Seminoles lay the matter before the Department at Washington and recommend some action upon it. Mr. Washbourne then told me that as soon as he reached his agency he would investigate the whole matter, when I could be present, and present my proofs. I then asked of him what course he wished me to pursue, and he gave me the Memorandum marked "K" which is herewith presented, for my guidance, and upon my informing him that John Jumper sold one of the Negroes and that I feared would sell more of them, in violation of his promise contained in his letter to me, of January 6, 1855 (and which is herewith transmitted marked "L") he again went to the Seminoles forewarning them from selling the Negroes, and prohibiting them from so doing, and requested me upon my return home to deliver it to Mr. Aird, and request it to be read to the Seminole Chiefs, John Jumper, and Jim Factor the interpreter. When I presented the letter, I informed Jumper of what Genl. Smithson had told Mr. Washbourne, relative to the papers concerning the title of Marpayache, and he told me it was all true, that such papers had been shown Genl. Smithson, and that they were still in the Country, and should be brought forward when Mr. Washbourne arrived.
When I met Mr. Washbourne, on his way to his agency, I told him I had followed his instructions in everything, except getting Col. Jas. Logan's certificate, and that if he required that, that I would yet get it, and have it in time for the Council. He replied that he would not require it of me as Jumper had said the papers were still in the country, proving Marpayache's rights, and that he would enforce the presentation of those papers, which Genl. Smithson had informed him he had seen in posession of the Seminoles, and upon their merits and other proofs rest the case. I expressed myself satisfied, and Mr. Washbourne notified me of the time he would convene the Council, and I was promptly at the time and place.
On the day of Council, Mr. Washbourne asked for the papers, which had been shown to General Smithson, and they were not presented. He ordered their production, and Halleck Tustenuggee left the Council to get them, and delayed the Council two days, and upon his return failed to bring them, but bro't the one marked "M" herewith accompanying, and another in no manner relating to the matter in question. When he was repeatedly asked by Mr. Washbourne where the papers were, which had been shown to Genl. Smithson, he would invariably reply that these two papers were all the papers that he had, and these he had found in an old trunk of Charley Browns' after Charley's death, and refused to give any other answer, tho' repeatedly questioned relative to the papers shown to Genl. Smithson. I then wanted Mr. Washbourne to swear all the witnesses who should testify, which he declined doing, as he thought he had no right to do so, and in that I differed with him, and protested against proceeding. Mr. Washbourne however did proceed to inquire, and here for the first time I was informed that there were other heirs of Cubbitche Micco, or Kinhijah, who would contend for a portion of the estate, and the Seminoles there said that Halleck know them to be justly entitled to a portion of the estate, as they were grandchildren of Kinhijah, and jointly entitled with the children of Tuskanehaw. Mr. Washbourne then proceeded to enquire of Halleck relative to the children of Kinhijah, and the number of such children, and it was informed that Kinhijah had eight children. Halleck at the time holding up all the papers in his right hand, and three in his left to denote the number, which he frequently expressed. Mr. Washbourne then asked him if he knew names, he replied that he did, and went on to enumerate, and gave the names of fourteen instead of eight, all which names Mr. Washbourne took down; he then asked him what had become of them, and as Mr. Washbourne would call over the names, Halleck would tell him the place at which the person mentioned died; and whether or not he left any heirs. Mr. Washbourne in enquiring would ask if such persons had received any benefits from the estate of Kinhijah, and would record the answer, and upon questioning them relative to the father of Sharp Kee, a woman, the daughter of Chitto Larney, the son of Kinhijah, was informed that Sharp Kee was then present, but had received her property in Florida, and made a memorandum of it, which he gave me, and has since certified to, which I herewith present, as it contains the names of the heirs represented by Halleck to be now living, and shows that instead of 8 as he first stated that he counted 14 children to Kinhijah, the certificate is marked "N"
At this Council Chilly McIntosh and Watt Grayson were present, and contested the right of Marpayache to sell, and after Mr. Washbourne had made the enumeration and referred the matter to the chiefs, they again refused to decide and requested the same to be sent back to the Creek General Council for adjudication, and Chilly McIntosh informed Mr. Washbourne that the Creek Council was the only power to completely decide the question, and although I strongly remonstrated against that course, and warned Mr. Washbourne of the delay that would ensue he still determined to send it back, and I told him that Chilly McIntosh had in the Creek Council when the matter was taken before by the Seminoles in June, said that the Creek Council had no right, and that he had evidently an unjust motive in taking the steps he then took. Mr. Washbourne was assured by the Seminoles that they would now abide the decision of the Creek Council and urged its being sent before the Council, which was to convene at Hillabee Square in about 20 days from that time. I could do nothing but submit.
At the time of holding the Council before Mr. Washbourne, mentioned above, I had evidence that Chilly McIntosh had bribed Halleck Tustenuggee to give up the papers, relative to, and establishing Marpayache's title, to said Chilly McIntosh, and that he had suppressed them, and asked of him to call on Robert the Negro of Markateche, and find out what he did with the papers belonging to his mistress which were placed in his hands after her death. Mr. Washbourne did so, and Robert made to Mr. Washbourne the statement herewith transmitted, marked "O".
I attended the Creek Council to which was referred the investigation, and Halleck and the Seminoles failed to attend, and consequently, no action was had. A few days afterward, I procured the statement of "Spanish Toney", a Creek Indian, who was present at the Council of the Seminoles on the first of April 1855, and heard the decision of the Council as understood to me, and herewith transmit the same, marked "P".
There was nothing more done with the matter until the Creek
Council met again in December last, when the Seminoles came forward and
requested an investigation of the matter, and upon being asked by the Creeks why
they wished again to bring it before the Council, when they had refused to
conclude the hearing at the June Council, they were answered by Pascofa who
informed the Creeks that John Jumper, their head chief was angry at the refusal
of the Seminoles to conclude the matter, and that he had ordered them to attend
the present Council, and have the matter determined, and that the Seminoles
would hold themselves bound by whatever decision was made by the Creek Council.
Upon this assurance the Creek Council again took up the matter, and the
Seminoles were represented by Chilly McIntosh who had purchased the rights of
all claimants adverse to Markateche and Marpayache, except Suchimhoka, and contended as co-heirs with Markateche and Marpayache for a division of the estate of their grandfather Kinhijah alleging that no
division of the estate of Kinhijah or Cubbitche Micco had ever been made, and that Sharp kee, Alla hoke, Suffah
Yotee, Hoste, Mut char hee, Nook sa harjo, and Pa ho see, were equally entitled to a joint share as
large as had been received by Mar ka techee, Marpayachee, and Such im ho ka, and represented that Sharp
Kee had never received any share, altho' Mr. Washbourne's
certificate was then in court to prove that the same witness had once before admitted to him, and positively proved that
Sharp Kee had received her property in Florida. The witnesses who made this statement were Halleck Tustunuggee and Passok
In contradiction of this, twas proven by Parscofa, George Cloud, Cochar Nacoofta, and other Seminoles, that no such as Alla hoke, Suffa Yote, Hoste, Mut char hie, Nook sa harjo, and Pahosee, were now living, or ever had lived, who were in any manner related to Kinhijah, and that there were now no such persons in the Seminole Country, altho' represented to be by Halleck Tustenuggee and Passock Yohola; and it was further proved that a division of the estate of Kin hi jah had been made, and that each child to whom he had bequeathed property had received the same, and had ever enjoyed and used it.
The Court after hearing the evidence in part adjourned, and notified the Seminoles to have some of the heirs present at a time designated, when a final decision would be given. The Court again met and upon the most incontrovertible testimony made the decision which is herewith transmitted marked "Q" which I hope may be read in evidence. At the time of the decision of the Court, Chilly McIntosh was present defending the title of Sharp Kee and others against Aspberry, and expressed himself perfectly ready for trial, and at the rendition of the decree of the Court, thanked them for their verdict.
Now, Sir, I am aware that I have gone already to considerable length in stating this case, but would ask you patience further, and as I have, had to rely somewhat on verbal statements to make my own claim. I would beg of you to refer the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to Col. James Logan, former Agent for the Creeks, the Seminole delegation and Agent, and the Creek delegation and Agent, for confirmation of all the facts here set forth, and also for that follow - which are:
That the Seminoles, since the rendition of this decree have written to Tuckabatchie Micco, and stated to him, that they were not satisfied with the decision, that the estate of Kinhijah was never divided at all, and that no part was ever set aside for Tuskenehaw, the father of Marpayache, and that consequently the other heirs were jointly entitled.
Now in contradiction of this, I refer you to the accompanying record made in Florida in 1835, by the Seminole Chiefs, and which has since the rendition of the decree of the Court in Feb'y last been discovered, whereby it is clearly shown that Tuskenehaw died seized and possessed of 74 Negroes, and that they were inherited from his father, Kinhijah - this record is marked "R", and I pray that it may be read in evidence. Also, I would refer the Commissioner to Mr. G. W. Stidham, one of the Creek delegates, to prove the fact that the Seminoles, Halleck Tustenuggee and Passock Yahola when questioned relative to their evidence before Mr. Washbourne, in June last, when they endeavored to prove the title to the Negroes to vest in the heirs of Charley Brown, justified themselves by saying that they thought that the Seminole law, which gave property to distant relatives would cover the case, and gave this as an excuse for so deciding, which you will see by reference to the accompanying record marked "S", is not the Seminole law, but directly the reverse of it. I would also respectfully refer the Commissioner to Col. Jas Logan, former Creek Agent, and Benj. Marshall, Esqr., one of the Creek delegation, to prove the following facts, which were proved in a Creek Council at which they were present, and at which it was clearly and distinctly proven entirely by Seminole testimony, that the Negroes in question were the property of Markateche and Marpayache, and that she has had peaceable posession of them until the time of her death, except such annoyances as she recites in her statement to Genl. Arbuckle, in 1850, and would beg of you to call his attention to them in proof of the following facts.
That upon a claim being set up by Mr. John Love under the purchase of these same Negroes by his brother Hugh Love, then deceased, which was investigated before the Creek Council in the year of 1844 or 1845, the following decision was made: "that the Negroes in question are the property of Markatiche and Marpayache, the daughters of Tuskenehaw, the son of Kinhijah, and the facts of the case were proven by the testimony of Ca Harjo, Cloud, Micconopah, No coos Yohola, and Passock Yohola, the latter being one of the men, who now by bribery and corruption has been induced to gain, say all he before stated, and utterly contradicted his recorded evidence - that Col. Judge, Seminole Agent at that time, and Col. Logan, Creek Agent, at that time, were present, and with the witnesses above named, all Seminoles, attested the decision.
It was also proven in the Creek Council, in June last, that
Kinhijah did make will, and that he left the property in question to Tus kene
and that it was kept by Micco potoka, who was the guardian of his children, Mar
ka te che and Marpayache, until his death, and at all times defended by him as
such - that Micco potoka never made any claim to the property; but defended
against the claim of Love, in Florida, and when Love attempted to get posession
of it there, and in Louisiana when Love followed it as it was being
brought to this Country, under charge of Micconopah, and Micco potoka or Copiah
Yohola, and that at the time of his death, he turned over to Micconopah the
evidences of Markateche's and Marpayache's title, and that they were in existence
and used at the time of the trial; in 1844 or 1845, as mentioned - and in further
proof of this fact, I would refer to the certificate of Jacob Derrisaw, one of
the Chiefs of the Cowetah town of the Creek Nation, herewith transmitted, and
marked "T", which I pray may be read in evidence.
I will also, as soon a I return home, furnish you proof that Watt Grayson, one of the parties contesting my rights to these Negroes, admitted to me in presence of Mr. J. M. C. Smith, of the Creek Nation, that Chilly McIntosh did obtain the papers proving Markateche's and Marpayache's title given her by the Council of 1844 or 1845, from Halleck Tustunuggee, in September last, and that he had them in his posession at the time of the trial by the Creek Council in February last.
Now, Sir, I would again ask your official interference in the matter, and request of you to take such steps as will place me in the possession of my property, and should you decline doing so, would request of you to lay the matter before the Department at Washington at your earliest convenience, as it is one of great importance to myself, and hope that it may at once have action on it.
Before I conclude, I would beg leave to point out to you the evident fact of a mistake in the record of the Seminole Council, made in Florida, and referred to and accompanying this, marked "R", wherein Micco potoka or Copiah Yohola is spoken of as owner, when it should have evidently been as Guardian, as will be seen by reference to the certificate of Mr. Derrisaw, as well as of his own renunciation of all right to sell the property, and which will be further proved by the testimony of Messrs. Marshall, Stidham, and Col. Logan, as also the papers shown to Genl. Smithson, but which are now suppressed by Chilly McIntosh; and should you refer it to the Department, I would ask of you to refer the Commissioner to the Creek and Seminole delegations, now on their way to Washington, and to Col. Jas. Logan, now in Washington, and to Col. Garrett, Creek Agent, and to Mr. Washbourne, Seminole Agent, for the substantiation of the facts herein stated.
All of which is respectfully submitted
Your most obt. serv.
C. D. Pryor