[M234, roll 223, frame 264]
(Please forward the papers to the address of James Smith Esqr Clerk of the Circuit Court of Shelby county, Shelby Courthouse, Alabama.)
Sept. 19th, 1832
To the Honorable Lewis Cass
Secretary of War
Some three or more years since I purchased of Elizabeth Grayson four Negroes; by the birth of two others since the time of the purchase (their increase), the number now amounts to six - for these four Negroes, I paid at the time of the purchase the sum of twelve hundred dollars. A suit is now instituted in the Circuit Court of Shelby County against me by a half breed Indian commonly called Ben Hawkins for the recovery of the same. Suits have also been instituted by other members of the Hawkins family against other individuals to whom Negroes belonging to the same estate have in like manner heretofore been sold.
The object of this address is to procure if possible from the office of Indian Affairs a copy of the numbers & names of all the Negroes of the Hawkins & McIntosh family, given in to Col. Tutt, as lost, by the said families, at the time of the murder of Chief McIntosh and of Hawkins, in order that the same may be used as evidence by me in defense of my right in the suit instituted against me as before stated & now pending. The time of the commencement of the setting of the Court is the 29th of October next at which time the case comes on for trial.
Please send the papers in due form of law and properly certified & authenticated, so that no difficulty may arise as to their being admitted as evidence. By doing so you will perhaps preserve the remnent of an old mans life from indigence & misery, and his rising family from utter helplessness & ruin.
I am very respectfully
Your Obd't Serv't
P. S. It may perhaps be proper to state that I have lived amongst the Indians upwards of thirty years, that I have intermarried with an Indian woman & that my family are consequently half breeds.