[M234, roll 227, frame 119-23]
T Hartley Crawford
Commr of Indian Affairs
5 August 1843
I forward the enclosed communication relative to a disputed claim for a Negro named Toney, at the request of the Chiefs of the Upper Chiefs, with the view of obtaining a decision on the matter by the Hon. Secretary of War.
David Barnett one of said chiefs, claims Toney as his property purchased of one of the heirs of Miche Barnett, and denies the right of his former master Gad Humphreys Seminole Agent, to free him, on the ground that Hardage (named in the letter sent) sold him to Humphreys without any authority, as will be shown by the record of title.
Tony claims his freedom by authority of papers from Humphreys his former Master, and also under the order of General Jesup, who freed all Negroes who surrendered themselves within a certain time in Florida, and on both these points he has been sustained I believe by Col. Davenport Comg. Fort Gibson and Genl. Z. Taylor U. S. A., who may have addressed the Dept. on the subject.
I have been much troubled by Negroe questions arising between the Creek and Seminoles on account of this order of Genl. Jesup, and as it is of some importance as affecting the harmony of the two Nations, I would be pleased to be advised by the Department if the right of Negroes to freedom, emanating from the sanction of the order referenced to, will be regarded a valid & sufficient, in all cases arising under it. This point is involved in the present case, as well as the question of Hardage's right to sell to Humphreys.
I would respectfully suggest that Capt. Page U. S. A., Col. Davenport -- Inf., & Brig. Genl. Taylor be addressed on the subject, before a decision is made in the present case.
I am Sir with respect
Yr Obt Servt
Main Canadian, Creek Nation West, 25th July 1843
To the Honorable Secretary of War
We the undersigned Head Men & Warriors of the Upper Town of Creek Indians beg leave to represent to you a circumstance that has lately taken place, and ask your advice in what manner we shall proceed to be invested of what one of our people has been divested of. Some twenty five or thirty years ago, some five or six Negroes belonging to a Creek man (who resided on the Chattahoochie River in the Old Nation by the name of Miche Barnard), run off to Florida and there joined the Seminoles. Some years after they run off it appears that an old Indian by the name of Hardage went to Florida and met with one of the Negroes belonging to Barnard by the name of Toney and claimed him, he then sold him without any authority whatever to the Seminole Agent who afterward set the said Toney free, who then went and settled among the Seminoles, and at the time they become hostile against the United States he was one of the principal leaders and was taken prisoner with one of the first parties who were brought to this country. On his arrival here he was claimed by one of Miche Barnard's children by the name of Singiche Barnard and demanded of the Seminoles which they refused to give in consequence of his having his free papers without a regular trial for the right of property before the Creek and Seminole Chiefs in general Council which was done. A copy of the decision reads as follows:
Toney, a Negro
|In this case the decision of the chiefs and head men of the Creek nation|
The Negro man named Toney upon the evidence produced before them and no paper appearing to the freedom of said Toney produced he is the property of Singecha Barnard & possession is to be given him.
Jas. L. Alexander
E. R. Riger
|Rolly McIntosh, his X mark
Ufaula Hadjo, his X mark
Tuck a batche Micco, his X mark
Co wock Rooche Emarthla, his X mark
Jim Boy, his X mark
Since this decision was made the Negro Toney has been traded to David Barnard a native of the Tuckabatchie Town who has always been the undeviating friend to the white man and his parents before him - he is now the only legal claimant.
Some months after the decision was made giving S. Barnard said Negro Capt. page an officer of the Army was ordered to get a few Seminole Chiefs to accompany him to Florida for the purpose of trying to effect a treaty with the Seminoles then in Florida - he took the liberty of taking Toney with him as an interpreter without the permission of his master. Toney has lately returned and when encamped about forty miles below Fort Gibson his life was threatened by the Seminoles, he fled and went to Fort Gibson for protection and since that time has been detained and protected by the Commanding Officer now at Fort Gibson so that his rightful owner cannot get him.
We request your intervention in behalf of David Barnett one of our citizens and to obtain your advice what manner we shall proceed to get our just property.
Your Friend & Brother
Tom Marthlo Micco, his X mark
Tuckabutche Micco, his X mark
Opoethleyoholo, his X mark
Tusconer Hadjo ,his X mark
Nea Locco Chopco, his X mark
Pas Couf Emathlo, his X mark
Witness Jas. L. Alexander
PS. Please direct to Jas. L. Alexander Fort Gibson