Sunday, January 20, 2008

Early Records – What are the ROLLS? - Part 2

*Emigration Roll of 1817*

Families listed on this portion of this Treaty Roll were expected to voluntarily remove themselves and their families to Arkansas Territory. They were issued a horse, supplies, a rifle, provisions, $270 in gold, and a map for a self guided walking tour to Arkansas Territory, via Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, then cross the Mississippi River at the head waters, and turn south to follow the western bank of the Mississippi until they reached Fort Smith Arkansas.

1740 Cherokee families are listed on this section of the Treaty Roll. Not all of them completed the trip to Arkansas Territory, or else returned to the Old Cherokee Nation after they had arrived in Arkansas. These families were not recounted until the Old Settlers Roll of 1850 in Oklahoma Territory. Only 1466 Cherokee families that had been listed on the Emigration Roll were left in Oklahoma Territory by the time the Old Settlers Roll was taken. Other families had dropped off the trail along the way, bought farms, and ‘passed for white’. Fragments of these families are scattered throughout the Deep South and the Mid West.

One Cherokee leader, Chief John Ross, assembled a large group of followers and migrated to New Spain. They had been promised large land grants by the Mexican government in East Texas to form a Red Wall against further white settlers from America. This group of people later became known as the Texas Cherokees. Their existence was short lived, as Texas revolted against Mexico and tried to drive the Cherokees out of the New Republic.

*Henderson** Roll of 1835* (also known as the *Trail of Tears Roll*)

Some of the Cherokee families that had signed up for the Reservation Roll and the Emigration Roll changed their minds about leaving and stayed in the Old Cherokee Nation, believing in their leaders efforts to secure the Home Land through political efforts. In 1835, the Treaty of New Echota was signed by a handful of local Town Chiefs, which ceded the entire Cherokee Nation to the American government.

2760 Cherokee families, still living in the Old Cherokee Nation in 1835, were listed on the Henderson Roll for immediate removal under the Indian Removal Act. The US Army did not move in to enforce the removal until 1837. Many of the Cherokees listed on this Roll fled the forced removal into Alabama, Western Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

Those Cherokee families that fled into other states literally dropped off the federal radar and disappeared into the hills. The government had no mandate to remove the Indians from most of these other states or territories. There were never any Treaties with the Cherokees in these states, so their names do not appear on any Treaty Rolls. This makes them very hard to trace and the only traces that can be found are on the original Treaty Rolls listed above.

The Trail of Tears followed the same Army maps that led them on a land route through Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, across the Mississippi River at the head waters, and turn south to follow the western bank of the Mississippi until they reached Fort Smith Arkansas in New Indian Territory. Approximately 16,000 Cherokees started this march and approximately 4,000 did not complete the trip. Of this 4,000, many died from age, exposure, disease or starvation, and the others simply disappeared to become farmers along the way. By 1900, fragments of these families were scattered throughout the US, in every US State and Possession.

(to be continued)