The Keetoowah Society and the Avocation of Religious Nationalism in the Cherokee Nation, 1855-1867
 Chapter Five
A New Nation

We boldly claim that we have done our duty, to the full extent of our power, as the friends and allies of the Federal Government. More than three fourths of the able bodied men of the loyal Cherokee, fought in the Federal army, which is a vastly larger proportion of men than any state in the Union has furnished for the war. We fought to the end of the war, and when the last rebel was whipped, we were honorably mustered out of the service. The graves of eight hundred Cherokee warriors, fallen by our side in your service, testify that we have done our duty. Now, having done our whole duty to the Government, all we ask is that the Government do its duty to us -- that it fulfill its treaty obligations to us -- that it fulfill its solemn, reiterated pledges. We ask no gifts, no charities, but simply our rights for which we have fought and bled in your armies, and for which so many of our noblest men have died.

We make our earnest appeal to the President of the United States and to Congress. We entreat you to regard sacredly your past treaties with us, and to enact no law that shall sweep out of existence those most sacred rights which you have guaranteed to us forever.

1866 Cherokee Delegation: Smith Christie, James McDaniel,
Thomas Pegg, White Catcher, Daniel Ross, John B. Jones, Samuel Benge [1]
I hope the war will close soon, and we will get time to sit down in peace...This war -- it will ruin a great many good people. They will not only lose all their property but a great many will lose their character, which is of more value than all their property...I am almost ashamed of my tribe...I want to see the end of this war and then I will be willing to give up the ghost. [2]
On June 23, 1865, Brigadier General Stand Watie of the Confederate States of America, in the presence of Master Mason Robert M. Jones, surrendered his sword to Lieutenant Colonel Asa Matthews of the United States Army at Doaksville Lodge No. 52 in the Choctaw Nation. [3] Watie's surrender came more than two months after the surrender of General Lee at Appomatox and more than a month after the surrender of E. Kirby Smith, Commander of troops west of the Mississippi. [4] Brigadier General Watie was one of the last Confederate Generals to surrender and abandon what by now had clearly become the “lost cause.” [5]

Less than a month before the surrender of Watie, a Grand Council of the Southern Indians had been held at Armstrong Academy in the western portion of the Indian Territory for the purposes of establishing a “United Nations of the Indian Territory.” [6] The “United Nations” was presided over by the leaders of the Five Nations as well as Plains Indians who had fought on the side of the Confederacy; present at the meeting were freemasons Stand Watie, William Penn Adair, John Jumper, Samuel Checote, George Stidham, Robert Jones, Peter Pitchlyn, Chilly McIntosh, D.N. McIntosh, and Reverend J.S. Murrow. Originally planned to present a united front in dealing with an impending surrender to the Federal Government, the council quickly took on other meaning. [7]

Uniting under the principle that “An Indian shall not spill an Indian's blood,” [8] the council authorized the Chiefs of the various Nations to “extend in the name of this confederation the hand of fellowship to all Nations of Indians.” The delegates were further authorized to “communicate with the proper military authorities of the United States for the purposes of effecting a cessation of hostilities” [9] and to encourage the Union Indians to “cooperate with this council in its efforts to renew friendly relations with the U.S. Government.” [10] Bloodied yet unbowed, the Confederate Indians made no mention of defeat, wrongdoing, or mistakes in judgment. They also required that any permanent treaty, i.e. terms of surrender, be ratified by the national councils of each tribe. [11]

On June 15, 1865, a second meeting of the “United Nations of the Indian Territory” ratified the positions put forward at the earlier meeting and Stand Watie appointed a commission of six delegates that would “forward the great work of establishing thorough harmony among all Indian tribes.” [12] Shortly after the council disbanded, Major General Francis Herron (Iowa Mosaic Lodge #125) sent Lieutenant Colonel Matthews as Federal peace commissioner to Doaksville, Choctaw Nation to come to terms with members of the council. When he surrendered on June 19, Chief Peter Pitchlyn (Knights Templar Washington Commandery #1) expressed the sentiments of many of the Southern Indians:

Our late allies in war, the Confederate armies, have long since ceased to resist the national authorities; they have all been either captured or surrendered to the forces of the United States. It therefore becomes us as brave people to forget and lay aside our prejudices and prove ourselves equal to the occasion. Let reason obtain now that the sway of our passions and let us meet in council with the proper spirit and resume our former relations with the United States. [13]
On June 28, Stand Watie sent Knights of the Golden Circle William P. Adair and James Bell to meet with General Francis Herron to negotiate terms of surrender for the Confederate Cherokee. [14] Though the war was now over with the surrender of Watie, a new era had begun in the Cherokee Nation. A once beautiful and prosperous Nation had been reduced to charred ashes and barren fields. A once proud people who had reunited following the disarray of removal were once again shattered by a violence that made their previous passion pale in consideration. Yet from the ashes came a hope of a new day and a new way. At the center of the reconstruction of the Cherokee Nation would be the Keetoowah Society.

His Terrible Swift Sword

He went with the Indians down around Fort Gibson where they fought the Indians who stayed with the South. Uncle Jacob say he killed many a man during the war, and showed me the musket and sword he used to fight with; said he didn't shoot the women and children -- just whack their heads off with the sword, and I could almost see the blood dripping from the point. It made me scared at his stories. [15]
The Civil War in the Cherokee Nation began as it did throughout the United States, proud armies arrayed against each other in magnificent pageants which so quickly become but fearsome reminders that ideals once so noble fall quickly before the brutal reality of war. The Civil War within the Cherokee Nation even more quickly disintegrated into an internecine conflict in which the lines between civilian and combatant were conveniently blurred and the ferocity of war struck the innocent and the guilty alike. The Nation, once so proud, was reduced to ruins:
The events of the war brought to them more of the desolation and ruin than perhaps to any other community. Raided and sacked alternately, not only by Confederate and Union forces, but by the vindictive ferocity and hate of their own factional divisions, their country became a blackened and desolate waste. Driven from comfortable homes, exposed to want, misery, and the elements, they perished like sheep in a snowstorm. Their houses, fences, and other improvements were burned, their orchards destroyed, their flocks and herds were slaughtered or driven off, their schools broken up, their schoolhouses given to the flames, and their churches and public buildings subjected to a similar fate; and that entire portion of their country which had been occupied by their settlements was distinguishable from the virgin prairie only by the scorched and blackened chimneys and the plowed but now neglected fields. [16]
Their houses, barns, fences and orchards, after two years of partial or total abandonment, look as hopeless as can be conceived. From being once so proud, intelligent, and wealthy tribe of Indians, the Cherokees are now stripped of nearly all...This is a sad picture, not overdrawn, and which no good man can see and not feel real sorry for their condition. [17]
The Civil War had disastrous consequences for the people of the Cherokee Nation. James Mooney, early ethnologist and historian of the Nation, summarized the Cherokee experience, “After five years of desolation the Cherokee emerged from the war with their numbers reduced from 21,000 to 14,000, and their whole country in ashes.” [18] Some 2,200 Cherokee fought on the Union side; as many as eight hundred lost their lives. [19] Even as early as 1863, one-third of the adult women in the Nation were widows and one-fourth of the children were orphans. A total of 3,530 men from the Indian Territory served in the Union Army, and 1018 died during their enlistment. No state suffered greater losses than did the Indian Territory in the Civil War. [20]

These numbers, horrific as they may be, do little to detail the personal agony of the people caught in the winds of a bitter war. On August 21, 1863, Confederate renegade William Quantrill entered an unprotected Lawrence, Kansas with four hundred men and proceeded to burn the town to the ground. As it burned, Quantrill's men went from door to door killing every male citizen they found; within eight hours the town was destroyed and 187 persons were killed. [21] In a letter to the Board, Reverend Evan Jones told of his personal losses, “My family also has been made to drink the cup of sorrow. In that sad and savage tragedy at Lawrence on the 21st of August, my eldest son fell victim. It was indeed a bitter affliction.” [22]

A month later Jones was to report, “In addition to the loss of our son by the ruffian band at Lawrence, we have been called to mourn a daughter whose death was hastened by the shock of the carnage at Lawrence and intensified by finding her own brother among the victims.” [23] During the coming winter, two more of Evan Jones daughters died in Lawrence, “Our family afflictions, stroke after stroke, each entering deeply into our heart, have been repeated in rapid succession. But we would not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when rebuked by him. But I forbear at present to dwell on home sorrows and take the liberty of troubling you with a word of the bitter distresses which have come upon the poor Cherokee.” [24]

Watie's soldiers moved throughout the Nation with ferocity and operated a campaign of terror without impunity. Though never accustomed to the cowardly acts of Quantrill, Watie's men were often ruthless, “One day just as Daniel, Lewis, and Jim and others were making their way up from Gibson when a party of Watie's men followed on a couple of horses behind, found a Drew man sitting by the road, killed him, and then placing a rope around his neck hauled him about as children would a sleigh.” [25] Watie even wrote to his wife of their exploits,

Killed few pins in Tahlequah. They had been holding council. I had the old council house set on fire and burned down. Also John Ross's house. Poor Andy Nave [relative of Ross] was killed when he refused to surrender and was shot by Dick Fields. I felt sorry as he used to be quite friendly toward me before the war...They found some negro soldiers at Park Hill killed two and two white men. They brought in some of Ross's negroes... [26]
Though Stand Watie and his men were often cited for guerrilla campaigns, neither the “Pins” nor the Federal troops were not without recognition for their assaults upon civilians and Confederate supporters. [27] Morris Sheppard, from Webber's Falls, recalled the Pins, “Pretty soon all de young Cherokee Menfolks all gone off to de war, and de Pins was riding `round all de time, and it ain't safe to be in dat part around Webber's Falls.” [28] Patsy Perryman, a slave in the Flint district, recalls her encounter with the “Pins:”
Mammy said the patrollers and “Pin” Indians caused a lot of trouble after the war started. The master went to war and left my mistress to look after the place. The “Pins” came to the farm one day and broke down the doors, cut feather beds open and sent the feathers flying in the wind, stole the horses, killed the sheep and done lots of mean things. [29]
Hannah Hicks, daughter of Samuel Worcester whose husband was murdered in the Civil War, also described the activities of the Pins, “We hear today that the Pins are committing outrages on hungry mountain and in Flint, robbing destroying property and killing. It is so dreadful...Alas, alas, for this miserable people, destroying each other as fast as they can.” [30] Rev. Stephen Foreman reported Cherokee losses to the Pins, “The Pins are robbing the people of their negroes, horse, guns, etc.... Major Murrell, it was said, lost seven blacks and a number of horses and mules.” [31] Foreman, himself, was deprived of his “property” by the Pins, “They first took from before my eyes, my two black men, Joe and Charles, and one horse and a mule.” [32]

William McLoughlin, in his After the Trail of Tears, (though offering no evidence to support his position) states that “whenever the Pins `stole' slaves, they claimed to be liberating them, but they may have sold some to slave traders from southern states” [33] However, the historical record speaks otherwise. The slaves that were “stolen” from the Southern Cherokee were incorporated into the Indian Home Guards or sent back to the refugee camp at Neosho and then on to Kansas:

When he got away into Cherokee country some of them called the “Pins” helped to smuggle him on up into Missouri (Neosho) and over into Kansas, but he soon found that he couldn't get along and stay safe unless he went with the Army. He went with them until the war was over, and was around Fort Gibson a lot. [34]
Throughout the duration of the war, Reverend John Jones of the Third Indian Home Guard maintained a mission for the refugees who had clustered in and around Fort Gibson for protection from the ravages of war. [35] They attended to the sick and destitute and regularly held religious services for nearly two hundred worshipers in a makeshift church erected on the campgrounds. In addition to services from Jones, the native ministers performed “religious services” as well. The mission also operated a school for freedmen, the first in Indian Territory. The school taught nearly eighty students, most of them refugees from the Indian Territory. [36]

Large numbers of African-Americans had returned to the Nation on the heels of Colonel Phillips, Colonel Williams, and the assembled forces of the First Kansas Colored Volunteers and the Indian Home Guard. As many as six to eight thousand of the refugees clustered around Fort Gibson; many African Americans stayed with their families in the Federal army while others occupied abandoned property in and around the Fort. In late October, Thomas Pegg and the Cherokee Council granted the Freedmen independent status within the Cherokee Nation. Though not yet citizens of the Nation, laws were passed annulling prohibitions against teaching blacks to read and write, inhibiting them from engaging in labor or commerce, or preventing them from carrying firearms. Though the act was not liberation, it provided for the relief of the Freedmen and enabled the Baptist missionaries to open the Freedmen's schools [37]

Late in the war, there was second battle at Cabin Creek involving the First Kansas Colored Volunteers; this battle was to be the last significant battle in the Indian Territory. On September 16, 1864, General Richard Gano's Texas troops and Stand Watie's Confederate Indians came upon African-Americans cutting hay for the Federal cavalry at nearby Fort Gibson, less than twelve miles away. Lightly defended by the Federal troops, the haycutters were easy prey for the Confederate forces who operated under the “black flag”:

Gano and Watie galloped their line to within rifle range, then unlimbered their cannon. A few grape shots scattered the Federal guard, and the exultant victors rode unopposed into the hay-cutters camp. With guns across their saddles, the ragged Confederate Indians jogged up and down through the uncut hay and tall weed patches, shooting hidden Negroes like jackrabbits. Some black men rose from the weeds calling, “O! Good master, save and spare me,” but all were shot down. Some were found submerged in the water under the creek banks, only their noses above the surface. These were killed like the others and their bodies dragged out onto the pebble bars. [38]

When the larger battle was over, the First Kansas Colored Volunteers lost 117 men killed and 65 wounded; as the rebel forces shot and bayoneted wounded Federal troops, they called out to each other, “Where is the First Kansas Nigger now?” [39]

Stand Watie's actions in the Second Battle of Cabin Creek earned him universal accolades throughout the Confederacy. General Douglas issued a proclamation highlighting his valor and courage:
The brilliancy and completeness of this expedition has not been excelled in the history of the war. Firm, brave and confident, the officers had but to order and the men cheerfully executed. The whole having been conducted with perfect harmony between the war-torn veteran Stand Watie, the chivalrous Gano, and their respective commands. [40]
Yet, as Sarah Watie had pointed out so poignantly not so long ago, “a great many will lose their character, which is of more value than all their property.” General Watie continuously reflected upon his actions, which many then and have since likened to Quantrill, but his resolve was firm:
Although these things have been heaped upon me, and it would be supposed that I have become still hurts my feelings. I am not a murderer. Sometimes I examine myself thoroughly and I will always come to the conclusion that I am not such a bad man as I am looked upon. God will give me justice if I am to be punished for the opinions of other people. If I commit an error, I do it without bad intention....I call upon my God to judge me; he knows that I love my friends and above all others, my wife and children. [41]
The Cherokee Nation in 1865 was in ashes. Having been built anew following the disastrous consequences of removal, it stood now as if it had never been. Yet, even greater than the desolation of the land was the pain within the hearts of a people who had once again been divided by the forces which reigned terror throughout their recent history. If the Nation were to be rebuilt, then the hearts of the people must be healed. If the hearts were to be healed, then “the great work of establishing thorough harmony” must go forward. If it were to go forward, it must be done together as one people, “as if they had been raised from one family.”

Thorough Harmony

When the Keetoowah heard that Watie and the Knights of the Golden Circle sought a “thorough harmony” within the Cherokee people, it seemed that peace was truly at hand. However, when the Watie delegation arrived at Fort Gibson to present themselves to the government, they were bearing arms, bristling with defiance, and walked and talked not like a people who sought conciliation. [42] The delegation presented John Garrett, the commander of Fort Gibson, with a copy of Watie's surrender treaty which allowed for an unprecedented surrender “without demanding their paroles or their arms.” [43] Garrett found the Southern delegation so troublesome and problematic that he ordered them to the other side of the Arkansas River and only allowed them in the Fort Gibson with the accompaniment of the loyal Cherokee. [44]

The Government that had been seated in Cowskin Prairie in January, 1863 was now the legitimate government of the Cherokee Nation; it was incumbent upon the official government to take action and determine how the Nation would be reunited. Acting Principal Chief Lewis Downing called the National Council into session and on July 13, 1865, an act was passed whose purposes were to reunite the Cherokee Nation and provide for a lasting peace. [45] The act concluded with the following statement:

Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Lewis Downing, Assistant and Acting Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, do hereby offer amnesty and pardon to all citizens of the Cherokee Nation who participated in the Rebellion in the United States, and against the existing Government of the Cherokee Nation, upon the conditions set forth in the foregoing act, and earnestly invite all such citizens to return to the Cherokee Nation, comply with the requirements of said act, and henceforth lend their support to law and order in the Cherokee Nation. [46]
In addition to passing the Amnesty Act, the Council also appointed a committee of delegates to meet with Watie delegation, “to assure them of amicable feelings” and “their desire for peace.” The Cherokee delegation consisted of William P. Ross, Smith Christie, Budd Gritts, Thomas Pegg, Jones C.C. Daniel, White Catcher, James Vann, and Houston Benge. [47]

The Cherokee delegations met but there were some serious problems with the negotiations which mitigated against the success even before they started. The first was a provision in the Amnesty Act which supported the previous confiscation act and prohibited the “right to possess and recover any improvements” owned by “persons declared to be disloyal to the Cherokee Nation.” [48] The second was the charge of the Cherokee negotiating committee which made sure that Watie's committee did not receive recognition: “the Cherokee Nation is not to be understood by their present action as recognising the said Cherokees in any other capacity than as private persons.” [49] Given these serious sticking points, as well as the general animosity between the two parties, there was little success afforded the negotiations through the summer. [50]

In order to accommodate a satisfactory resolution to problematic issues, a peace conference was called for to be held at Fort Smith, Arkansas in early September. Notifications were sent to the officers of the various nations. [51] Andrew Johnson, the new President of the United States, appointed a commission of representatives led by Dennis H. Cooley, the new Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Prominent among the commission was Ely S. Parker, the former adjutant to General Grant who had composed the letter of surrender at Appomattox. Parker was a Seneca and grandnephew of the great Chief Red Jacket. Parker, Knights Templar of Monroe Commandery #12 (N.Y.) and Past Worshipful Master Miners Lodge #273 (Galena, Ill. -- home of U.S. Grant), would go on to become the first Native American Commissioner of Indian Affairs under President Grant. [52]

When the delegates from the Cherokee Nation arrived at Fort Smith, they found large delegations from both the Plains Indians as well as the Five Nations: from the Creeks -- Micco Hutke, Cotchoche, and Lochar Harjo [53]; from the Seminole -- John Chupco, Pascofar, Chocote Harjo as well as African-Americans Robert Johnson and Caesar Bruner; [54] from the Cherokee -- Lewis Downing, Smith Christie, Thomas Pegg, and William P. Ross. [55] Upon arriving at the peace conference, the Cherokee delegation was pleased to learn that “simple minded full-bloods” [56] of the Creek Nation had passed a law recognizing African-Americans members of their community as citizens of the Creek Nation. [57] Noticeably absent from the opening ceremonies were the Southern delegates who had decided to meet first at Armstrong Academy and come to the assembly after the proceedings had begun. [58]

Reverend Lewis Downing, Cherokee Chief and leader of the Keetoowah Society, opened the peace conference with an invocation delivered in the Cherokee tongue. What happened next astonished the assembled delegates from the loyal Indians. Cooley noted that the assembled multitude had signed treaties with the Confederacy and were thus traitors to the United States of America:

By these nations having entered into treaties with the so-called Confederate States, and the rebellion being now ended, they are left without any treaty whatever, or treaty obligations for protection by the United States.

Under the terms of the treaties with the United States, and the laws of Congress of July 5, 1862, all these nations and tribes forfeited and lost all their rights to annuities and lands. The President, however, does not desire to take advantage of or enforce the penalties for the unwise actions of these nations. [59]

The real purposes of the meeting had been expressed in a letter from a Kansas constituent to his representative in Washington, “white men from here and Kansas City will go along. Treaties will be made -- railroad grants fixed up and things done generally...& we should have a hand in it.” [60]

The Union Indians were shocked beyond belief. They had given up their lands, their lives, and their future for the preservation of their sacred relationship with the United States of America. Instead of appreciating their losses or offering reparations for the terrible catastrophe which had become the Nation, the Federal authorities lumped the loyal Indians with the disloyal Indians and set forth a series of demands upon the all. [61] Chief Armstrong of the Wyandot declared the council to be a farce and wondered why the Federal authorities had not reserved their “talk” for the real enemies -- the disloyal Indians due to arrive shortly. [62]

The Keetoowah delegation rose to their defense; they insisted that they had come to the peace council to renew peaceful alliances with their Cherokee brethren and to begin fruitful relations with the United States as a united people. They asserted that though the Nation had formed a contingent relationship with the Confederacy in October 1861, the Keetoowah Council had, in early February 1863, abrogated the treaty and reestablished relations with the United States. [63] Smith Christie asserted equally, “We beg leave respectfully to say that we have not the proper authority to make a treaty, or to enter into any agreement of any kind with the United States.” [64] The Keetoowah delegations assured Cooley that Chief Ross was at hand and should be alerted of the Federal policy and be allowed to negotiate for the Nation.

Cooley's response even future astonished the Keetoowah. He viciously attacked Chief Ross, accused him of being an enemy of the United States of America, and intimated that he considered Ross not even worthy of a Presidential pardon. [65] The Keetoowah immediately called upon Ross to come to the council. By the time John Ross made it to the convention later in the week, the Southern delegation had arrived as well. When Ross asked to address the convention, agent Cooley read a declaration from James Harlan, Secretary of the Interior: [66]

Whereas, we believe him still at heart an enemy of the United States and disposed to breed discord among his people, represent the will and wishes of the loyal Cherokees, and is not the choice of any considerable portion of the Cherokee nation for the office which he claims, but which by their law we believe he does not in fact hold....we the undersigned Commissioners sent by the President of the United States...refuse as commissioners to recognize said Ross as chief of the Cherokee nation. [67]
Commissioner Cooley then turned to the Southern Delegation, which included Freemasons John Jumper, Winchester Colbert, Stand Watie, Samuel Checote, and Peter Pitchlyn, and asked them if they had any comment on the declaration. Before they would answer, Brother Ross rose to his defense:
I claim to be as loyal a man as any citizen of the United States...I have been forty odd years Chief of the Cherokees, elected time after time. They re-elected me in my absence and I came on to the council at my advanced age, after burying my wife and burying my son I had three sons in your army, also three grandsons and three nephews. If I had been disloyal I would not have shrunk from going where the enemies of the United States were. I came on with the hope that I might be useful to my people, to those of my people who had separated from the Nation, and to the Government of the United States. I came here not for the purpose of resisting the policy of the United States...I have never been charged with being an enemy of the United States...Far from a desire to use influence to prejudice any against the interests of the U.S., I resisted to the last moment the policy of disunion that was set out by a portion of the border states of Arkansas and Texas. [68]
No sooner had Ross issued up his defense that Elias C. Boudinot rose to challenge his character:
But, Sir, there are serious charges which I will make against him...The fact is the Cherokee Nation has long been rent in twin by dissensions & I here charge these upon the same John Ross. I charge him with it here today & I will do it tomorrow. I will show that the treaty made with the Confederate States was made at his instigation. I will show the deep duplicity & falsity that have followed him from his childhood to the present day, when the winters of 65 or 70 years have silvered his head with sin, what can you expect of him now. [69]
With that declaration, even Cooley had had enough, “The purpose of this council is not to stir up old feelings...I trust that no one may come into this council and attempt to stir up bad feelings which ought to have been buried years ago.” With that admonition, the Council was closed for the day. [70]

Though Cooley had admonished Boudinot publicly, the two became fast friends at the conference and spent the rest of time engaged in correspondences and communications. The effect of which sealed the Keetoowah from establishing any positive relations with any members of the committee. The Keetoowah demanded that a statement of their position be included in the preliminary accord and that the charges against Ross be dropped. The Council agreed to the first provision, but steadfastly refused to drop any of the charges made against Ross nor would they acknowledge any position of responsibility held by Ross. [71]

Although the provisional treaty was signed by Southern members of the Cherokee delegation, it meant nothing until it was to be agreed upon in a formal council to be held in Washington D.C. [72] The conference committee accomplished nothing; the Keetoowah rejected all concessions and all suggestions of compromise. Members from the Creek Nation had steadfastly even refused to sign any accord settled at Fort Smith. Cooley, having accomplished nothing but exactly that which he had set out to do at the bidding of James Harlan, adjourned the Fort Smith council, sine die. [73]

The conference had accomplished its purposes. John Ross, Chief of the Cherokee and leader of the Keetoowah, had been broken. Following the council, he collapsed and was confined to his bed for nearly a week. Ross, the once proud leader of a grand and glorious people, had been dragged through the mud by politicians whose only goal was to decimate an opponent of the Harlan Bill. The Harlan Bill, whose sole purpose was to destroy the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation, was applauded by Elias Boudinot at the council as “one of the grandest schemes ever devised for the red man and entitles the author the lasting gratitude of every Indian.” [74] Chief Ross was disturbed but not yet destroyed; from his bed in the Cherokee Nation, he wrote to his sister of the incident:

And, let not your hearts be troubled by the extraordinary proceedings of the Hon. Commsrs. at Fort Smith. I regret that such groundless stigma upon my character should be fabricated, and published under official sanction -- and feel mortified on acct. of my friends and family in the East. God is just and truth is mighty, when the facts and charges alleged shall be impartially investigated -- I bid defiance and fear not the result. [75]
A New Nation
Lane: On a point suggested by my colleague I should like to ask him a question. Does he not know that a large number of black persons have intermarried with the Indians of these nations and become members of the tribes? Does he object to the provision of the bill which permits black people to continue to go in and become members of the tribes?

Pomeroy: I understand that Negroes and Indians have intermarried. I do not object to it...

Lane: The finest specimens of manhood I have ever gazed upon in my life are half-breed Indians crossed with negroes. It is a fact...that while amalgamation with the white man deteriorates both races, the amalgamation of the Indian and the black man advances both races; and so far as I am concerned I should like to see these eighty thousand square miles, almost in the geographical center of the United States, opened up to the Indian and the black man, and let them amalgamate and build up a race that will be an improvement upon both.

Senate Debate on the Harlan Bill February 23, 1865 [76]
In October 1865, the Cherokee Council met in its entirety for the first time since the beginning of hostilities in 1861. The Fort Smith “treaties” were actually truces which provided a temporary settlement of affairs and a stable political arrangement until a more permanent treaty could be signed in Washington. However, the October Council was still dominated by the Keetoowah faction as many of the Knights of the Golden Circle were reticent to return to the active political affairs of the Nation until their security could be guaranteed. [77]

The first affair that the Council entertained was a response to the claims of the Federal Government that John Ross was not a legitimate representative of the Cherokee Nation; the Council released a statement demanding “the United States to do full justice to John Ross Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation upon a fair and impartial investigation.” [78] The Keetoowah Society, with John Ross as its unofficial leader, recognized that their credibility as agents of the Cherokee Nation rested upon the status of Chief John Ross. If the Federal government refused to recognize Ross as their appointed leader of the Nation, the Society stood little chance in negotiations in Washington. [79]

The Cherokee National Council took another and unprecedented step. In a grant entitled an “Act Granting Citizenship to Evan Jones and Son, J.B. Jones and their families,” the Cherokee Nation declared:

It is now more than forty years since the missionaries of that Missionary Society came into the Cherokee Nation. When the Cherokees were poor and covered with darkness, light with regard to the other world was brought to us by Evan Jones, and at a later date by his son, John B. Jones. And we do bear witness that they have done their work well, and that they have striven to discharge the duties incumbent upon them in doing good to the people and performing faithfully their duties to God. And we bear witness that their work was highly prosperous up to the time when they were driven from the country by the United States agent in 1861. And now, after the close of the war, we are informed that the Missionary Society have determined to resume their work of enlightening our land...Be it enacted by the National Council, That Evan Jones and his son John B. Jones be...admitted to citizenship in this nation, together with their families. [80]
Though citizenship had been granted to those who married into the Nation as was accustomed by tradition, this was the first, and perhaps only time, that residents origin in the Nation not of Cherokee were granted citizenship. The act was of immediate importance because it established the validity of John B. Jones as a representative of the Cherokee Nation in the upcoming negotiations in Washington. [81] Its lasting importance was to be confirmed a year later when the question citizenship for the Freedmen of the Cherokee Nation was addressed.

The status of the Freedmen within the Cherokee Nation was a critical issue and one that had proven to be a divisive one with respect to negotiations with the Knights of the Golden Circle and their eventual return to the Nation. [82] One thing that united all of the Five Nations, however, was a universal opposition to a provision in the s. 459, the Harlan Bill, which advocated opening up of the Indian Territory to colonization by all African-Americans as opposed to only those former residents of the Nation. Harlan and Lane cynically proposed to “open up this country for him” (the former slave) [83] in order to solicit support for a bill whose real purpose was to open the Indian land to free colonization and land speculation by white settlers and railroad interests. [84]

There were four plans for the disposal of the tricky question of the Freedmen within the Five Nations. The Confederate Cherokee sought to remove the Freedmen from the Cherokee Nation, at the joint expense of the Nation and the Federal Government, and place them in colonies outside of the Cherokee Nation. A plan proposed by Chief Downing, as a means to compromise with the Southern Delegation, recommend providing an area of land within the Nation for the colonization of the Freedmen until that time when civil rights were established within the Nation. A third plan, and the one which was eventually to be adopted, was the incorporation of the Freedmen into the Nation, granting them citizenship, land, and annuities as members of the Nation. The last plan, opposed by all but Boudinot, was the Harlan plan which opened up the Indian Territory to colonization of African-Americans from throughout the United States. [85]

Lewis Downing's plan of a nation within a nation was similar to a common practice within the Upper Creeks, but was not acceptable to the African-American members of the Cherokee Nation who opposed segregation and desired to stay with their Cherokee families. Downing and his supporters were also relatively sure that the Federal government which had been less that forthright and charitable with the Cherokee would be even less so with a Freedmen government. [86] What was notable about the plan was that it was an attempt to provide a compromise between the Northern and Southern Cherokee and was an indication of what was to become a characteristic of Downing's leadership in the Nation. All discussions at this point were just preliminary exercises, whatever happened would be decided in Washington.

On January 18, 1866, the Keetoowah delegation consisting of John Ross, Smith Christie, Thomas Pegg, James McDaniel, White Catcher, Daniel H. Ross, John B. Jones, and Samuel Benge met in Jones and Christie's room at Joy's Hotel in Washington, D.C. [87] The delegation composed two documents which the believe would establish their positions on the issues: Memorial of the Delegates of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States and the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress and Communication of the Delegation of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States. The first document was a summation of the history of the Civil War in the Cherokee Nation detailing the courage and dedication of the loyal party; the second was a testimonial to Chief John Ross's honor and executive ability.

Shortly after arriving in Washington, the Keetoowah delegation received an audience with President Andrew Johnson, Secretary Harlan, and Commissioner Cooley in the President's office in the White House. Thomas Pegg addressed the President and his representatives and presented them with the Memorial of the Delegates of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States and the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress. The memorial began with a discussion of the Harlan Bill, but quickly moved to the critical issues:

When the rebellion broke out the Cherokees were divided into two parties. The loyal and the disloyal. Both had been thoroughly organized for two or three years -- and prepared for the struggle. Under the lead of Stand Watie, lately a General in the rebel army, the disloyal element, (small in numbers but backed by strong influences from the rebellious states) had been organized into “Blue Lodges,” and Knights of the Golden Circle.” The loyal masses, by a general movement of the populace, had organized themselves into a Loyal League, known as the Keetoowah Society, but by the rebels it was called, in derision, “The Pin Society.” The Loyal League embraced the great mass of the men of the Cherokee nation, especially the full-blooded Indians.

The object of this League was resistance to encroachments on Indian rights and Indian Territory and to preserve the integrity and peace of the Cherokee Nation, according to the stipulations of the treaty of A.D., 1846.

The Constitution of the Society bound its members by the most sacred obligations, to an unfielding fidelity to our treaties with the United States, and to an unfaltering support of our National Government, constituted under those treaties. Lodges of this society were formed in every part of our country, and the great majority of the voters of the Nation joined it. Secret meetings were held among the mountains, and in deep forests. The eternal fidelity to our treaty obligations was inculcated on young and old.

By these means, the great majority of the Cherokees were already grounded in their fidelity to the Federal Government. Their friendship with the “North” was enthusiastic. Their opposition to the rebels was intense. While some members of the Society were pro-slavery in their sentiments, yet they loved their country better than slavery -- while the great majority of its members were positive and strong anti-slavery men. Many were Christians and were opposed to slavery, not only from patriotic motives, but from religious conviction also. [88]

The rest of the document went on to detail the four year history of the Civil War in the Cherokee Nation and to articulate that the Keetoowah, or Loyal League, had been the center of the resistance to the rebellion. It also stressed that as the majority of the Nation had been loyal to the United States, they should not be punished but protected and assured their rights as a sovereign ally of the United States. They concluded the Memorial:

Now that the unity of your own great Republic has been secured, and the blood and toil and suffering of patriotic Cherokees have helped to cement the Union, we ask that you preserve and protect both the integrity and the peace of our Nation, against the machinations of all those who would rend it to fragments.

Our people are already far advanced in civilization, and are all anxious for still further advancement in all that pertains to civilization and Christianity. With the blessing of God, all we want to make us a happy and prosperous people, is that the Government secure to us our rights, immovably. [89]
That the Cherokee Delegation would begin their defense of their national interests with a discussion of the Keetoowah Society speaks to the importance of the Society in national affairs and to the importance of such in the hearts of the Cherokee people. That it would speak of the Keetoowah Society as the loyal party, and that it consisted of “great mass of the men of the Cherokee Nation” was a critical element in the Cherokee Delegations argument. By asserting that the “Knights of the Golden Circle” were the “disloyal element (small in numbers but backed by strong influences from the rebellious states),” [90] the delegation attempted to present the Keetoowah Society in terms synonymous with the Cherokee Nation. They also wanted to assert that the Southern forces were led by “intruders,” “the majority of the regiment were white men, and the majority of those white men were not citizens of the Cherokee Nation.” [91]

In the other document presented to the President and his delegation, entitled the Communication of the Delegation of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States, the Cherokee Delegates once again stressed the role of these secret societies. The Communication was testimonial to Chief Ross's status as legitimate representative of the Cherokee Nation, but it noted that a Southern delegation had now arrived in Washington and was attempting to undermine his credibility. The Communication stressed the relationship of this delegation to the Knights of the Golden Circle,

For several years before the outbreak of war, there was in our midsts an element inimical to our institutions...susceptible of becoming exceedingly dangerous when fondled and nursed by such spirits as Albert Pike and backed by the powerful army of General Ben McCulloch. This element was headed by Stand Watie...and stimulated by such sheets as the Arkansan, published by his nephew, E. C. Boudinot...This element in their midst, organized into Lodges of the Knights of the Golden Circle. [92]
To meet this challenge, Chief Ross proclaimed neutrality which “nine-tenths of the whole nation supported:
In order to uphold the peaceable, friendly policy always inculcated by the Chief with the United States...and alarmed at the teachings of the party to whom we have alluded, the masses of the Nation had organized the Loyal League pledged to an unfaltering support of their principles, and to keep from office and power every man suspected of treasonable designs against the Nation and the Federal Government. [93]
When these statements were circulated around Washington, they naturally fell into the hands of the Southern delegation led by John Rollin Ridge and composed of Knights of the Golden Circle Stand Watie, Saladin Watie, Elias C. Boudinot, and William Penn Adair. They were assisted behind the scenes by the ever wily Albert Pike. Boudinot and Adair, responding in early February, noted that though the Civil War may have accentuated the divide between these two parties, their struggle went much further back in Cherokee history than the Civil War. Particularly responding to the opening section beginning “when the rebellion broke out,” Boudinot and Adair described this section as:
a malicious misrepresentation from beginning to end...a miserable attempt to represent an infamous, secret inquisition, proscriptive in design and murderous in intention, as a commendable and praiseworthy association. The “Pin Society” was organized five years before the war when the words “loyal” and “disloyal,” now so common, were unknown within the broad limits of the Republic and years before the idea of secession was thought of or dreamed of in Indian country...

The purpose of this secret society was to secure and perpetuate the power of Mr. Ross and his friends by arraying the great mass of full bloods against the half-bloods and white men of the Nation; to inflame and incite the innate prejudices of caste among the indians, and thus enable demagogues, peculators of public funds, and murderers to enjoy in security their ill-gotten gains.

It is well understood that at such [secret] meetings, the question of assassinating prominent citizens of the Nation, obnoxious to the order, was frequently discussed and voted upon; murders were committed in pursuance of their decisions. [94]

The series of petty assaults upon John Ross and the Keetoowah delegation had a single purpose; the Southern delegation sought to end the political dominance of the Keetoowah within the Cherokee Nation by quite simply dividing the Cherokee Nation into two nations. If they could argue well enough that they stood in danger of the Keetoowah faction, the Knights of the Golden Circle would have the Canadian District and another large district as their own enclave over which “the old dominant party” would have no jurisdiction. [95] The Southern delegation, having no official recognition nor representing anything but the interests of the Knights of the Golden Circle, were permitted by the Government to launch a series of baseless charges against John Ross. [96] Agent Cooley and his associates treated the Knights as if they were legitimate representatives and they succeeded in “hounding to the brink of the grave a trusted leader who, for nearly forty years, with distinction had served his tribe faithfully as chief, and who was responsible more than any other man for the advanced position to which the tribe had attained.” [97]

In the end they accomplished nothing but that which they had sought. In early March, the distinguished old leader of the Cherokee Nation went down; he became bedridden and spent the remainder of his short life operating the affairs of the Nation from his deathbed. The Southern delegation, advised by Albert Pike, and led by Elias C. Boudinot, William Penn Adair, and John Rollin Ridge soon enough fell subject to their own venom. In a dispute over some twenty-eight thousand dollars, Boudinot wrote to Stand Watie that he had been disgraced by the treachery of Ridge and Adair -- they had attempted to steal his share of the money. The Southern Delegation was eventually destroyed by the row; Boudinot wrote to Ridge, “all friendly relations between you and me have ceased forever, and that you have proved yourself a faithless and ungrateful friend, a slanderer and a liar, a thief and a coward.” [98] The Knights of the Golden Circle would soon disappear from the Cherokee Nation.

Troubles also beset the Keetoowah delegation, but of a different sort during the Summer of 1866. Judge Thomas Pegg, founding member of the Keetoowah Society -- Confederate Cherokee and member of the peace delegation at Bird Creek -- Captain of Company E of the Third Indian Regiment, United States Volunteers -- Acting Chief at Cowskin Prairie -- defender of John Ross before President Andrew Johnson, passed away in early April. The Keetoowah Party submitted a draft of a treaty resolution to Secretary Harlan, who in a bluff designed to win concessions from the loyal Cherokee ignored it in favor of submitting a signed treaty with the Southern Delegation to Congress for approval. [99] The Southern Delegates were elated, “The President has ordered that a treaty be made with us for our own prorata share of the Nation. Ross is trying to beat us in the Senate... Ross will be beaten there. His day is done. Ours is fast rising and bright. We will get what we asked for.” [100] Shortly afterwards, Chief John Ross, “worn out with the labor of years and accumulated sorrows,” began to move rapidly toward his final reward. [101]

John B. Jones and John Ross had been in constant communication during the negotiations of the treaty because of a difference of opinion between the former slaveholder and the idealistic young Cherokee minister. Agreeing on all other points in the treaty, Ross and Jones differed as to whether African Americans, free and former slaves, would be admitted as citizens in the new nation. Ross, whether to distract or dissuade the young minister, sent him back to his former residence in North Carolina to determine if the Eastern Band of the Cherokee sought to emigrate to the Indian Territory. When the talks made little or no progress towards completion, John Jones returned to Washington and reentered the negotiation process. [102]

All of the other delegations from the Indian Territory had already negotiated treaties with the Federal Government. The treaty with the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations was signed in early April and received excellent terms of surrender including compensation for slaves lost as a result of emancipation. [103] The Creek and Seminole Nations, with negotiations handled by African Americans Reverend Harry Islands and Robert Johnson, met with Ely S. Parker and Federal representatives from early March to the middle of April. When negotiations were over, the Creeks and Seminoles, who had suffered more than any other Nation for their commitment to African American enfranchisement, were asked to sign a confession of war guilt. The Federal Government ignored the losses of the loyal Muscogean people, and “in view of such liabilities (ignoring their allegiance to the United States) the United States require of the Creeks a portion of their land.” [104]

The Cherokee Nation came to the treaty table in early July with a new treaty. Having had their hand forced by the Southern Delegation, who having agreed to any stipulation in order to gain acceptance of their treaty, the Keetoowah delegation compromised on a number of issues which it felt went against the best interests of the Nation. The Keetoowah knew that if there were not concessions to the Federal government, President Johnson and his agents would simply ratify the Southern Delegation's treaty and destroy the Cherokee Nation. The Keetoowah Delegation presented a treaty that made concessions on certain points, but refused the separation of the Nation. It excluded land grants to the railroads, and prohibited Harlan's territorial government. [105] Chief Ross and his Keetoowah allies would make concessions, but never would they surrender to any party that would rend the Nation asunder. [106]

The treaty put forward by Ross and the Northern Delegation was signed on July 19, 1866. The treaty declared the “pretended treaty” with the “so-called Confederate States” signed in October, 1861 to be null and void. Amnesty was declared for all offenses prior to July 4, 1866; the confiscation laws passed by the Keetoowah were repealed and the seized land was returned to its former owners. A section of the Nation was provided for the disloyal Cherokee, and any blacks who wished to remain with them, to live. A United States Court was created in Indian Territory. Slavery was abolished forever within the Nation. Right of way was granted to railroads. A “United Nations” was created within the Indian Territory and “friendly Indians” from the West were allowed to settle in Indian Territory. [107] One of the most controversial aspects of the Northern Delegation's treaty was its acquiescence to the demands of the government for eight hundred thousand acres in Kansas formerly known as the “Cherokee Neutral Lands.” [108]

When the Southern Delegation learned that a treaty had been signed with the Keetoowah delegation and that it had become the binding treaty with the Cherokee Nation, they were incredulous. They had been used, abused, and thrown overboard by the very people in whom they had placed their trust. A later writer was to remark on the negotiations, “From one end to the other, and through all its courses, there has been dishonesty. The poison seemed to pervade the very atmosphere of Indian affairs, to enter it was to die a moral death.” [109] William P. Adair, seemingly oblivious to the role that his Knights of the Golden Circle had played in this affair, questioned the loyalty of the delegation even to their own party. Believing they were bribed, he wondered whether there would be consequences, “I think the `pin' Cherokees themselves will kill their delegation for giving away their country. If they have killed people for selling land and getting value received, what will they do... to their delegation for giving away 7 or 8,000,000 acres of our best country to our worst enemies for nothing.” [110]

In the treaty there were several acts which recognized the contributions of the missionaries to Cherokee society and provided for their welfare and defense. Article 24 of the 1866 treaty specifically noted the contribution of Evan Jones:

As a slight testimony to the useful and arduous services of Rev. Evan Jones, for forty years a missionary in the Cherokee Nation, now a cripple old and poor, it is agreed that the sum of three thousand dollars be paid to him, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, out of any Cherokee fund in or to come into his hands not otherwise appropriated. [111]
Article 14 provided one hundred and sixty acres for “every society or denomination which has erected buildings within the Cherokee country for missionary and educational purposes.” [112] Article 30 requested that the United States compensate all missionaries for losses, “resulting from their being ordered or driven from the country by United States agents, and from their property being taken and destroyed by United States troops.” [113] It is evident by this treaty that either the Keetoowah were strongly appreciative of the missionaries in general, or at least particularly appreciated the Baptist missionary which was a member of their delegation.

In the end, it appears that John B. Jones was able to win over Chief John Ross or that the Keetoowah delegation made a collective decision that African American enfranchisement was a critical part of their new Nation. Article 9 of the 1866 treaty declared:

The Cherokee Nation having, voluntarily, in February, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, by an act of the national council, forever abolished slavery, hereby covenant and agree that never hereafter shall slavery or involuntary servitude exist in their nation otherwise than in the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, in accordance with laws applicable to all of the members alike. They further agree that all freedmen who have been liberated by voluntary act of their former owners or by law, as well as all free colored persons who were in the country at the commencement of the rebellion, and are now residents therein, or who may return within six months, and their descendants, shall have all the rights of native Cherokees: Provided, That owners of slaves so emancipated in the Cherokee Nation shall never receive any compensation or pay for the slaves so emancipated. [114]
In the Treaty of 1866, an ideology that was alien to Cherokee thought and culture, e.g. that humans beings could be held in subhuman bondage solely on the basis of their race, was permanently and totally abandoned.

Without a doubt, the struggle to end racism within the Nation would be as long and as hard as the one to seal the breach between the progressives and the traditionalists within Cherokee Society. However, on that July day, approximately three years to the day from the first Battle of Honey Springs, the Cherokee Nation recognized its African heritage by granting citizenship to those who had for so long been a defining presence in the Nation. An idea that had begun in the mountains of North Carolina some forty years before, that of the abolition of slavery within the Cherokee Nation, had finally come to fruition. The struggle for abolition and enfranchisement had ended, the struggle for equality had just begun.

The Treaty of 1866 was signed on July nineteenth by Federal agents Dennis Cooley and Elijah Sells and by the Keetoowah delegation composed of Smith Christie, John B. Jones, White Catcher, James McDaniel, Samuel H. Benge, and Daniel H. Ross. [115] The treaty was taken to John Ross's bedside where he feebly acknowledged its contents where he scribbled his shaky signature; he was by then almost too feeble to sign his name. [116] Weakened but still defiant, he continued to have no regrets, “My people have kept me in the harness, not of my own seeking, but of their own choice. I have never deceived them; and now I look back, not one act of my public life rises up to upbraid me. I have done the best I could, and today on this bed of sickness, my heart approves all that I have done. ” [117] The treaty was ratified by Congress on July 27, 1866 and approved by the Cherokee Delegation on July 31, 1866. The following day, Chief John Ross was called to his final reward.

Reconstructing a Nation

With the death of Chief John Ross, Acting Chief Lewis Downing became Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Downing, a full blood Baptist minister educated under Evan Jones at the Baptist Mission, had succeeded Jesse Bushyhead to the pastorate of the Peavine Baptist Church in the Goingsnake District. Speaking hardly a word of English, he was one of the founding members of the Keetoowah Society and had been both a Confederate Cherokee and a member of the Third Indian Home Guards. With the rise of Lewis Downing to the position of Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the Keetoowah Society had all but achieved its initial plans. Few of those men who gathered in Peavine Baptist Church on that April day in 1858 would have ever expected that they could have come so far.

In early May of 1866, John B. Jones and Smith Christie had left the Cherokee Delegation in Washington for a few days to attend the Annual meeting of the Baptist Home Mission Board. At this meeting, the final transfer of the Indian missions from the Foreign to the Home Mission Board was accomplished; Jones was appointed “General Missionary for Indian Territory” and given responsibility for all Northern Baptist missions in the Indian Territory. In addition, Jones was given responsibility for developing missions and religious outreach to the Freedmen within Indian Territory. To do so, he asked for funding to support the ministries of two new Cherokee and of two new Creek preachers. Jones also notified the board that he had written a provision into the Treaty of 1866 which would provide funding for the continuing Baptist mission in the Indian Territory. [118]

As they returned to the Cherokee Nation in August of 1866, the Cherokee Nation was as divided as it had ever been. The Southern delegation felt betrayed by the Federal government and refused to assent to the treaty of the Keetoowah Delegation. William Penn Adair stated that the treaty “is not binding upon the Southern Cherokees, as we refused to sign it, and fought it to the last and are still fighting it.” [119] A critical issue for the Southern delegation was the very same issue which had provoked a divide between John Ross and John Jones, i.e., what would be status of the “black Cherokee” in the new Nation. Though the Treaty of 1866 had made provisions for the liberation and incorporation of the African-Americans within the Cherokee Nation back into full citizenship, the issue would be troublesome. [120] Elias Boudinot wrote to Stand Watie that the resolution of the “negro difficulties” as well as the plight of the African Americans in the Nation was to be the responsibility of the Keetoowah: “They shoulder all the responsibility of the negro matter.” [121]

With the return of both parties to the Cherokee Nation in August of 1866, all eyes turned to the General Council meeting which would be held in the upcoming days. The Council would meet to make an attempt at “binding up the Nation's wounds” by electing new leadership, by amending the Cherokee Constitution to incorporate the principles of the newly signed Treaty of 1866, and by rebuilding the political and social structure of the Nation. The returning African American Cherokee, both From Kansas to the North and Texas to the South, looked to the council to see if what had been promised in Washington would be fulfilled in Tahlequah. [122] Considering the losses on both sides during the Civil War and with the Nation still bitterly divided, reconstruction in the Cherokee Nation would seem as difficult as it would be any where else in the country.

Chief Lewis Downing was confident that he would be reelected the Principal Chief in the upcoming elections and that he would be able to continue both the Keetoowah dominance in political affairs and the Keetoowah program for the rebuilding of the Cherokee Nation. However, to the shock of the Keetoowah, the Cherokee Council on October 19, 1866 chose William Potter Ross (Cherokee Lodge #21) to succeed his uncle as Principal Chief. Although it was Cherokee tradition for worthy nephews to succeed their uncles as Chiefs, the choice of Ross over Downing struck a serious blow against the designs of the Keetoowah for national power. [123] Though Reverend Downing had personal prestige and political experience, it was unlikely that the Nation would choose one so closely associated with the "ignorant and but slightly progressed in moral and intellectual improvement" [124] which made up the backbone of the his congregation.

William Potter Ross, a well-educated, mixed blood lawyer and merchant seemed the perfect choice because he articulated the best of both possible worlds in the Cherokee Nation. Though closely affiliated with John Ross and the Keetoowahs, William Potter Ross was educated at Princeton, a former slaveholder, and was committed to the rapid acculturation of the Cherokee into white educational, social, and political institutions. However, he had little in common with the Keetoowah except for the support of his uncle's policies; he did not speak, write, or read Cherokee and had little rapport with the fullbloods who made up the core of the Keetoowah. Though closely associated with the Keetoowah, William P. Ross would prove to be cut from a different cloth. [125]

However, Ross had a different ace up his sleeve. One of the founding members of Cherokee Lodge #21, he was to go on to become the Worshipful Master of the lodge in 1851 -- a time before the lodge had split over the issues which ultimately led to the Civil War. In addition, William P. Ross had been the leader of the reconciliation of the Cherokee Nation following the Treaty of 1846:

He (Ross) and the other headmen of the Cherokee nation were at the capital to arrange a treaty made necessary by the late enforced removal of their tribe from Georgia to the Indian Territory. These headmen were arrayed in two hostile factions, and the negotiations were at a standstill. But at one of the meetings of Federal Lodge (Federal Lodge #1, Washington, D.C.), the rival leaders, all Freemasons, were brought together by the exertions of Worshipful Master S. Yorke and other members, and the treaty was successfully completed. [126]
In spite of their political, social, and party differences, one of the key elements which had brought together the disparate elements of Cherokee Society had been the interest in and promotion of brotherhood by the Freemasonic lodges in the Cherokee Nation.

Many of the leaders of the Keetoowah Society and the Knights of the Golden Circle were former Freemasons in the lodges of the Indian Territory. Many of the government agents, military officials, religious authorities, and influential citizens of the Indian Territory were also Freemasons. Without a doubt, some of the African Americans that lived in the Cherokee Nation were made Masons in Indian Territory, Kansas, Missouri, New Orleans, or places farther East. That William P. Ross was a power broker and conciliatory force in the Cherokee Nation under the auspices of the Masonic brotherhood is a factor that cannot be ignored. [127]

Unfortunately, if the Cherokee Nation elected William Ross because they believed that he would, once again, be able to heal the breach that severed the Nation, they underestimated the depth of both the impasse within the Nation and Ross's contempt for the Knights of the Golden Circle. It had not been long since the spectacle at Fort Gibson and William Ross would not soon forget the infamy heaped upon the family name and the role that such a characterization had played upon the physical health of his uncle. In addition to the family feud that existed between the Ross and Ridge factions, William P. Ross held the Southern Cherokee responsible for the plight of the Nation and its terrible destruction in the Civil War. Little did Ross know that if it were not for the pleadings of Sarah Watie that he, himself, would have never lived to assume the responsibility for leadership in the Cherokee Nation. [128]

Immediately upon assuming office, Chief Ross appointed “two suitable persons whose duty shall be to translate into the Cherokee Language the report of the Committee... and also to translate the aforesaid treaty into the Cherokee Language.” [129] Amendments to the Cherokee Constitution were made which would reflect the agreements of the Treaty of 1866; difficult as they may have been for the Cherokee to accept, the amendments reflected “the most favorable terms they could.” [130] Knowing that the times ahead would be difficult and the changes to the Cherokee Constitution would demand his personal involvement in their implementation, Chief Ross personally took part in their design and structure of the amendments. [131]

The first amendment to the Cherokee Constitution proposed by the council committee struck at the very heart of that which had divided the Nation into Keetoowah and Knight of the Golden Circle: all references to the institution of slavery which had been written into the Cherokee Constitution since 1827 were stricken from the laws of the Nation. The second amendment granted enfranchisement rights to all former Cherokee slaves who returned to the Nation by January 17, 1867. [132] Other acts nullified and repealed the confiscation laws and also nullified all purchases of confiscated property, established a quasi- sovereign area within the Canadian district where the Southern Cherokee could exercise their political autonomy, and spelled out some small electoral and political reforms. Chief Ross called a “General meeting of the People” at Tahlequah to be held November 26, 1866 in order to ratify the amendments and hear the new treaty read. [133]

Chief William Ross, in spite of his personal animosity towards the Southern Cherokee, sought to reconstitute and reunify the Cherokee Nation. Though not necessarily as a Keetoowah, he spoke the Keetoowah message:

For the first time for more than five years the people are assembled in general convention. For the first time since the war have you all met as friends and brothers. I most devoutly thank the Great Ruler of the Universe that it is my privilege to address you as one people. I thank him that amidst the carnage, the horror, and the desolation of those long dark years of conflict, we have not been entirely swept off the face of the earth...

Cherokees! If you firmly resolve to become one people... We are all possessors of a common inheritance so let us enjoy it... Let us not look back upon the dark valley of the past, with its lost friends, blighted hopes and sad and fearful associations... Never did we have more to live for, to labor for, and to gain. [134]

At this meeting, Riley Keys (Cherokee Lodge #21), Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was chosen President of the Council. Under the guidance of General Secretary, the Reverend Budd Gritts, the amendments to the Constitution “were read, considered, and severally approved, and adopted by the Cherokee people.” On December 7, 1866, Chief William P. Ross issued a proclamation declaring the amendments to be part of the Constitution. [135]

For the first time since the Cherokee Constitution disenfranchised Blacks in 1827, African American Cherokees were made citizens of the Cherokee Nation by the National Council's actions. At the time of the Treaty of 1866, there were seventeen thousand residents of the Cherokee Nation; estimates of the number of African Americans in the Cherokee Nation following the Civil War set the number at slightly above two-thousand. [136] More than half of the African Americans in the Cherokee Nation had fled or lost their lives in the Civil War. [137] If one-third of the Cherokee women were widows and one-fourth of the children orphans, one can only guess as to the status of African American Cherokee following the war. If the Cherokee Nation suffered greatly as a result of the Civil War, then the African American Cherokee made their contribution to the effort as well.

The Treaty of 1866 and the amendments made by the Cherokee Nation also remembered those others who had been a significant part of the struggle:

All native born Cherokees, all Indians, and whites legally members of the Nation by adoption, and all freedmen who have been liberated by voluntary act of their former owners or by law, as well as free colored persons who were in the country at the commencement of the rebellion, and are now residents therein, or who may return within six months from the 19th day of July, 1866, and their descendants, who reside within the limits of the Cherokee Nation, shall be taken and deemed to be, citizens of the Cherokee Nation. [138]
The war being over and the battle won, the Nation had come full circle. Thus the new Cherokee Nation came to reflect the old Cherokee Nation, and the ideal of the “beloved community” which had been at the heart of the Keetoowah message came to be a guiding principle of this Nation once again risen from the ashes.

Many of the freedmen returned to their homes and attempted to settle among the families with which they had lived before the war; some of the freedmen stayed with their plantations even though they had been abandoned. [139] Many of those who had fled returned to land which had been made barren at the hands of the internecine war which had made waste of a once fruitful land. [140] The freedmen resettled along the river bottomland and settled among those whom had always been their friends, as “none but the poorest and lowest of the Indians will live among the Freedmen.” [141] Within a few years, the Black Cherokee had returned to the status they had attained before the Nation had become “civilized”:

freedmen are the most industrious, economical, and in may respects, the more intelligent of the population of the Cherokee Nation... Most of these freedmen have oxteams, and among them blacksmiths, carpenters, wheelwrights, etc... I have the honor to report that the existing relations between the freedmen of the Indian Territory and their former masters are generally satisfactory. The rights of the freedmen are acknowledged by all; fair compensation for labor is paid; a fair proportion of crops to be raised on the old plantations is allowed; labor for the freedmen to perform is abundant, and nearly all are self-supporting. [142]
Within several years, African American Cherokee were elected to Cherokee Council where they served as representatives for their people. [143] Though there were many struggles yet to come, a new day had once again dawned in the Nation. [144]

A New Mission

On October 31, 1866, the Cherokee Council followed up on Article 14 of the Treaty of 1866 by authorizing the Northern Baptists “to remove their mission station from the Baptist Mission in the Nation to some other locality.” The Council appointed a committee led by Lewis Downing and Benjamin Snell which was authorized “to erect buildings thereon and other improvements for the purposes of prosecuting their missionary work, and the free use of timber and other building material and fuel is hereby granted.” [145] The Baptist Mission having been burned by the Knights of the Golden Circle, the Council appropriated three thousand dollars for the construction of a new mission.

There was a debate as to whether the new mission should be located in Tahlequah or at Fort Gibson, but the Joneses, under the guidance of Dr. Elisha Taylor of the Home Mission Board, decided upon Fort Gibson. [146] Fort Gibson was within a few miles of the old Ebenezer Baptist Church, the first Baptist Church in Indian Territory and the center of the Keetoowah mission to the Creek Nation. It was also the area in which the greatest concentration of freedmen resided. [147] John Jones's freedmen's school was located in Fort Gibson, so it was decided that the new Baptist mission would begin there. His father being advanced in age, John Jones assumed responsibility for the new mission. [148]

The Baptist's new mission, as had all of its previous missions, would be led by the native ministers. Smith Christie and Toostoo, being the core of the missionary outreach of the Keetoowah Society after Downing and Gritts had assumed new political responsibilities, began their mission at Fort Gibson in early October. Toostoo, chosen Speaker of the House by the Keetoowah Council in January 1863, would be perfect for the new mission to the freedmen. John Jones wrote to the Home Mission Board of Toostoo (Spring Frog) in October, 1866:

Toostoo is a full Indian and does not speak English. For many years he has been one of our best and most reliable and efficient helpers in the good work. At the beginning of the rebellion, he was much persecuted for his anti-slavery principles. In the summer of 1862 he came to the Union line [picket line] with a large party of men, entered into the service [Second Indian Home Guard] as a captain, and served to the end of the war in the same company as myself. In garrison, in camp, or in field, I have always found him ready to speak and to work for that dear Saviour whose gospel he is now preaching. His prayers by the side of dying soldiers were subjects of frequent remark by white officers. [149]
Having no places to meet, the Baptist churches resorted to the brush arbors, the camp meetings, and the riverside baptisms which had been at the core of the gospel message in the Indian Territory from their very beginnings. Having rebuilt and reconstituted their churches following removal, the Cherokee churches were once again facing the same task. John Jones, Smith Christie, and Spring Frog, as Cherokee Baptist circuit riders, made their routes from their homes in the Flint District in the East to deep within the Creek Nation. Soon the Baptist mission would employ four more native ministers, including two whom had long served the Baptist mission in the Creek Nation.

One of the new Creek missionaries, James Perryman, had been an associate of John Davise of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and was a contemporary of William and Chilly McIntosh in the Creek Baptist Church before the war. Perryman had for some thirty years been translating the Baptist gospel message into the Creek language; his publication I stutsi in Naktsokv (The Child's Book) in 1835 was the first publication in what was to become the state of Oklahoma. Perryman's son, Joseph, would in later years be chosen Chief of the Creek Nation following the Green Peach War between the Loyal League, who were led by Isparhechar, and the Pins, who were led by Freemason Samuel Checote. [150] With the establishment of Baptist missionaries within the Creek Nation, the core constituency of the Keetoowah Society had been reestablished.

The Keetoowah Society flourished in the midst of what seemed to be the hardest time for the new Baptist churches. With no church structures to hold their congregations, the Baptist ministers moved their mission into the fields and meeting places of their constituency. The lines between the Baptist missions and the Keetoowah Society, as if they had ever been that clear, became increasingly blurred. With six new Baptist ministers, Jones and the Keetoowah Society carried the Keetoowah message throughout the Nation.

The Society, having been victorious in their ascendancy to political power, could now come out of secret and begin the restoration of the Cherokee Nation in public. Its meetings, which were now public gatherings, served as the focal point for traditional religious and political activity within the Nation. Stomp dances were held, ball-play returned following its long sleep during the Civil War, and women and children were allowed to participate in its meetings. Many times, these meetings served as gathering places at which the gadugi, or labor cooperatives, worked collectively to rebuild homes and farms destroyed by the war. [151] The Nation was once again those “who loved and lived as free people and had never surrendered to anybody.” “They loved one another for they were just like one family, just as if they had been raised from one family. They all came as a unit to their fire to smoke, to aid one another and to protect their government with what little powder and lead they had to use in protecting it.” [152]

In 1866, the Keetoowah Society attempted to reorganize following the destruction and dissipation of the lodges during the Civil War years. If the lodges had been meeting during the Civil War at all, they had been doing so in relative isolation and independence of each other, except in the area in and around the resettlement areas at Neosho and Fort Gibson. New amendments were made to the Keetoowah laws which dealt with their new circumstances. Article 32, a new provision added to the Keetoowah Constitution in 1866, read:

Be it resolved by the Keetoowah Convention, as soon as this law is enacted and shall become a law it will be the duty according to law to visit all the lodges in their respective districts and explain the Keetoowah laws.

Be it further resolved by the Keetoowah convention, that each district captain shall name a small lodge and make up a roll of names of the members of that lodge and report same to the head captains at first meeting held by Keetoowah Convention. The District Captain, or the Secretary, shall call the names on the roll. [153]

The effect of such amendment was to reconstitute and reorganize the Society following the destruction and diaspora of the Keetoowah Society during the turbulent years of the Civil War. With the enemy no longer a threat and the Keetoowah in political power, an effort could be made to rebuild the Society through public effort.

In late 1866, there was an important meeting of the Keetoowah in the Saline District about forty miles north of Fort Gibson to decide what would be the future of the organization. John Smith, son of one of the founders of the Ancient Keetoowahs, described the meeting: “All the people camped out there. All the old men were seers. They kept themselves clean with medicine. The medicine men investigated the future of the Keetoowahs.” [154] The prophecy foretold of difficult times to come and of future leaders but it focused on an immediate necessity, that of healing the Nation by rebuilding the Keetoowah: “When they get together, they going to make a strong organization. They gonna get ready to get together.” [155]

William P. Ross, however, was less than receptive to the idea of reconciliation with his former enemies. When it came time to appoint a delegation to Washington to negotiate relations and further settlements with the Federal government, he refused to appoint any representatives from the Southern delegation. In addition to his personal contempt for the “Treaty Party,” he was suspicious of certain delegates among the Southern delegation whom he believed were in alliance with railroad companies and white interests who sought to undermine Cherokee sovereignty. [156] At a convention held in the southern part of the Canadian District in late December, the Knights of the Golden Circle met to discuss their political disenfranchisement under the auspices of the Ross leadership. Realizing that Ross had no intention of granting their membership any political status, the Knights once again sent their own delegation to Washington to negotiate for political power. [157]

The Keetoowah, and especially Evan and John Jones, began to realize that as long as Ross was in a leadership position within the Cherokee Nation, there would be no real reconciliation and no progress as a Nation. He was, after all, a Ross. The Knights of the Golden Circle hated him as much as he hated them for the things they had done to his uncle and, as Ross perceived it, to his Nation. To the Keetoowah, Ross lacked the spirit of the “traditional harmony ethic” which was at the core of the Keetoowah belief system. [158]

Having been through the negotiations in Washington earlier in the year, the Keetoowah knew that the political officials and white interests would use the continuing factionalism against the Nation in an attempt to ultimately destroy it. If the Cherokee Nation were to survive the onslaught of white settlers, railroads, and other commercial interests and land speculators, they would have to be united. [159] They knew that the only way to survive the upcoming years was to respect the power of the prophecy from the Saline meeting that: “when they get together, they going to make a strong organization.” [160]

The problem was not with the people of the Cherokee Nation; they had come to learn to live with each and to exhibit a generosity of spirit and willingness to forgive which is one of the unique characteristics of the Cherokee people. Many of the Southern Cherokee who had fled into Texas, Arkansas, and the Choctaw Nation began to return to the Nation and take up residence in their old homes, even if it meant removing those who had obtained the property under the now repealed Confiscation Act. The new Federal agent, John Humphreys, wrote at the beginning of 1867 of the new spirit that had seemed to take hold of the Nation; he found a remarkable “disposition to forget the past and unite as one people.” [161]

If the problem was not with the people but with the leadership of the new Nation, then the people must set about to change that leadership if they wished to build a new Nation. In early 1867, Lewis Downing, John B. Jones, and Evan Jones set about crafting a policy in order to change the leadership of the Nation. They sought to forge a new political party based upon the principle of National unity. They set the forces of the Keetoowah Society in motion towards the defeat of William P. Ross in the National elections coming in August. If that defeat were to be accomplished, the Joneses believed a coalition party uniting the various political forces in the Nation would be needed. In addition, a candidate who spoke openly of reconciliation and reunification would be required to head that party.

In the Spring of 1867, the Baptist ministers approached Lewis Downing about breaking with the Ross party and initiating his own candidacy for the Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Downing shared the Jones's belief that Ross's vindictiveness had no place in the political effort to reunite the Cherokee Nation. [162] Downing was opposed to any discriminatory policies towards any part of the Nation, and the idea of national unity was crystallized by the formation of the coalition party which was to become known as the Downing Party. [163] The breakaway party, led by the Downing and the fullbloods, would place their faith in the ethic of harmony which was at the center of the “Kituwah Spirit.”

Downing, a Baptist minister, knew that the fullbloods and the African Americans of the Cherokee Nation would support the Downing Party's candidacy for Chief of the Cherokee Nation. The strength of the Downing Party's candidacy lay with those people who had been at the heart of the Baptist missionary outreach within the Cherokee Nation: those people “who as a body were always swayed by impulses rather than by reason.” [164] Downing, though not biologically himself a fullblood, was a fullblood in the cultural sense and represented the fullblood aims and interests in political affairs. As Head Captain of the Keetoowah Society, especially considering the recent reorganization under Article 32, he had a large and potent political organization behind him. [165]

Downing used his associations and contacts within the Baptist Churches to make an outreach to the African American members of the Cherokee Nation. [166] That Lewis Downing had presided over the National Council which had become the first Southern state to end slavery in 1863 was a fact that would not be lost among the African American Cherokee. As many African Americans had seen Lewis Downing in the pulpit at their churches during the many long years since removal was also something not soon forgotten.

Yet, to win, Downing needed the support of those who had been his enemy. Knowing this, the Keetoowah set out on a policy of reconciliation with those who had for so long been their bitter enemy and between whom so much innocent blood had been spilled. In Spring of 1867, Lewis Downing was sent to Washington as a member of Ross's council to negotiate with the Federal government. In Washington, Downing met instead with delegates of the Southern Party and discussed his plans to displace Ross as Chief of the Cherokee. The Southern Party, by no means charmed by Lewis Downing and the Keetoowah Party, realized that they now had the opportunity to replace Ross. They had no political opportunities with Ross, but Downing who was now reaching out to them offered them the opportunity for real political power.

In his meetings with the Southern delegation, Downing made several overtures to those who had for so long been out of power in the Cherokee government. The first concession was to merge the two delegations from the Cherokee Nation into one and to present a united front to the Federal government. The second was an agreement to appoint members of the Knights of the Golden Circle to positions of power within the Cherokee Nation should Downing be elected Principal Chief. In return, an agreement was reached that the nominee for the Principal Chief would be a fullblood. [167]

Elias Boudinot, who supported a territorial government as defined by the Harlan Bill and who was also a lobbyist for the railroads, would have no part in the negotiations with the Keetoowah. However, William Penn Adair (Flint Lodge #74) and James Scales were receptive to the reconciliation attempts. They were especially receptive because they were offered positions as delegates to Washington should Downing be elected. All deals aside, Adair and Scales must have known that only through unity was there the strength to defeat the constant flow of Congressional bills, such as the Harlan Bill, which would attempt to open up the Indian Territory for white exploitation.

In early April, William P. Boudinot wrote to his uncle Stand Watie, who was by this time more interested in rebuilding his farm than in the political affairs of the Nation, of the upcoming election:

The Pins are going it pretty lively on the Head right question pro or con. Downing expected to win next August on that hobby in a canter over Ross... The Pin ticket for Chiefs next election is Bill Ross and Jim Beam (Csomana-tah) on one side -- Louis Downing and Crabgrass (Captain James Vann) on the other. The offices are worth a little now and with Jones and Ross in the foreground to intrigue, backbite, and blarney, the race is expected with some interest by Southern Lookers on. [168]
No doubt in conversation with his brother, Boudinot also wrote to Watie of the reconciliation effort, “If you proceed [to Washington], give my respects to Cornelius, Adair, and Scales. It is reported that the latter are likely to be bought off and that they will be paid a handsome sum by way of `compromise' with the other delegation so that the latter may swindle without further opposition.” [169] However, in spite of his animosity, even Boudinot was forced to admit that the “Kituwah Spirit” was beginning to prevail, “The Pins are generally friendly but are organized in each District with a fair supply of arms, ammunition, and speeches.” [170]

John Jones was facing one of the most difficult tasks of his career in the ministry. Even though Downing was Head Captain of the Keetoowah and a leader in the Baptist Church, many in his flock were reticent to break with the Ross family whom for so many years had been the leadership of the Nation. Paired with the fact that they would have to be joining hands with the very ones who had wrought such destruction in their personal lives presented the Keetoowah with troublesome issues:

It is doubtful if many of the Keetoowahs would have broken with the Ross group to support any candidate other than their head captain. They were a conservative group and any sudden change was frowned upon. The character of the fullblood is not that of a man who would fight four bloody and destructive years and then suddenly join hands with the enemy. [171]
Soon, though there was a break within the ranks:
Among the Cherokees an opposition is arising to our religion. A Cherokee, who was distinguished for his Loyalty to the U.S. Government during the war has led the opposition. The Baptists are the special object of his hatred because they appear to be more prosperous. He tells the people that the Christian religion was devised by white men for the purpose of deceiving the Indians and getting their lands; that the white men have a fixed reward for every one they baptised, and this is the reason why they are so zealous. He says that Christianity has a great about God which is true, but it has just enough falsehood to make it dangerous. That if the Baptists prevail, the whites will extend a territorial government over the Cherokees in a short time. Many wicked men who know better, have taken up this story and are circulating it for political effect because Colonel Downing, a prominent Baptist, is a candidate for Chieftancy. [172]
John Jones, in spite of dissension within the ranks, continued to press the issue that even though the Keetoowah were making deals with the enemy, it was in the interest of the unity of Cherokee Society and the preservation of the Cherokee Nation. The “Downing Party” was the party of national unity and inclusion, bringing together freedmen, full blood, and mixed blood in a way which had not been known since before removal. Though many Keetoowah clung to the Ross family, the prospect for ending four decades of dissension within the Nation offered real promise.

The work of John B. Jones during the summer of 1867 to seal the breach which had for so long rendered it asunder is seen as one of the Baptist missionary's greatest efforts and most lasting contribution to the Nation. John Barlett Meserve notes that “Faithful John Buttrick Jones rendered no greater service to the Cherokees than he did during the summer and fall of 1867.” [173] William G. McLoughlin, in Champions of the Cherokees, states, “...On the whole the Jones's efforts to bring about a reconciliation, even though it split the Ross Party and alienated some fullbloods, was a success -- perhaps one of their more dramatic successes in Cherokee politics.” [174]

Soon, even the Southern delegation began to believe that there was hope for this new Nation, “At this time I think our prospects in Washington are much better than they have ever been, provided we can beat Bill Ross for Chief which I feel assured can be done with proper management... Should the opposition to Ross act in concert and defeat him, I feel confident in our success in closing out Cherokee business in Washington.” Whether the Knights of the Golden Circle believed that the war was over or simply sought to remove, once and for all, the Ross family from their dominance in the political affairs in the Nation, we may never know. What we do know is that even Stand Watie believed in the promise of a new Nation enough to cast his lots with the Downing Party. [175]

The election of August 1867 was a tightly contested battle in which tempers flared. According to Chuweska Fodder, an eyewitness, fights -- participated in by both men and women -- were the order of the day. When it was announced the Lewis Downing had defeated William Ross, sporadic fighting broke out in all nine districts between “Downing men” and “Ross men.” [176] When all was said and done, Lewis Downing had become the first fullblood to be elected to the position of Principal Chief since the Constitution of the Cherokee Nation was written in 1827. [177] The long war was over; peace had come to the Nation.

From all over the Indian Territory, the Southern Cherokees returned to their homes. Even Stand Watie, the former Confederate General, returned to the Nation and settled near Webbers Falls in the Canadian District. Sarah Watie, who had once said, “ I don't believe I could live one year longer if I knew that we could not be settled...I am so perfectly sick of the world,” [178] now found something to live for in this new land. Saladin Watie wrote to his father of her late in 1867, “I think we have got along very well so far... better than all mama has grown stout and healthy. She steps about like some sixteen year old girl.” [179]

In 1858, a small group of men gathered at the Peavine Baptist Church and committed themselves to the following creed:

Few members of men of the society met secretly and discussed the condition of the country where they lived. The name Cherokee was in danger. The Cherokee Nation was about to disintegrate. It seemed intended to drown our Cherokee Nation and destroy it. For that reason, we resolve to stop it from scattering or forever lose the name Cherokee. We must love each other and abide by treaties made with the Federal government. We must cherish them in our hearts. Second, we must abide by the treaties made with other races of people. Third, we must abide by our constitution and laws and uphold the name of the Cherokee Nation. Right here we must endeavor to strengthen our society. Our society must be called Keetoowah. [180]
In the nearly ten years which had passed, this loyal group of dedicated partisans gave all for the preservation of their Nation. Dedicated to the idea of the “beloved community” and the importance of the “Kituwah Spirit,” the members of the Keetoowah Society struggled, fought, and even died to protect these ideals which had so long been a part of the national consciousness.

When Lewis Downing approached the National Council for the first time in November of 1867, he did so as the Head Captain of the Keetoowah Society, Baptist minister, and incredibly -- the leader of his Nation. In his first address, he called upon the Council to restore the “beloved community” and to establish “thorough harmony” within the Nation:

The very great importance of the entire unity of our Nation cannot have escaped your attention. Our laws should be uniform, the jurisdiction of our Courts should be the same over every part of our Nation and over every individual citizen. It is for the interest of the people of Canadian District as well as for the interests of the people of other Districts, that every line of distinction be blotted out. That we should be one in our laws, one in our institutions, one in feeling, and one in destiny. I, therefore recommend that the Council adopt immediate measures for bringing about the removal of such distinctions. [181]
In assessing the contributions of the Keetoowah Society from 1855-1867, William McLoughlin stated in The Cherokees and Christianity, “Its original objectives had been achieved. The fullblood majority was in control of the Nation. The institution of slavery had been abolished. The gap between the wealthy slaveholders with their large plantations and the non-slaveholding farmers with one horse and a plough had been substantially narrowed.” [182] However, let us turn to Rochelle Ward, the daughter of a slave from the Flint District in the Cherokee Nation, who poignantly summed up their principal contribution, “Chief Downing ... was a big man after the Civil War when the Indians stopped fighting among themselves.” [183]


[1] Cherokee Nation, Memorial of the Delegates of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States and the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress, (Washington, D.C.: Washington Chronicle Print, 1866), 7.

[2] Sarah Watie, quoted in Dale and Lytton, Cherokee Cavaliers, 188.

[3] Peter Pitchlyn, prominent Freemason and President of the Choctaw Nation, had signed a treaty less than a week before Watie. [Annie Abel, The American Indian and the End of the Confederacy, 1863-1866, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993, 148]. The treaty can be found in together with the treaties of 1855, 1865, and 1866 (Wilmington, Del. : Scholarly Resources, 1973). For information on Peter Pitchlyn, see Charles “” The Atlantic Monthly, vol. 25, no. 150 (April 1870): 486-497; W. David Baird, (Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, 1986).

[4] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Vol. 68, 1284.

[5] Laurence Hauptman, Between two fires: American Indians in the Civil War (New York: Free Press, 1995), 42-43; Gayle Ann Brown, “Confederate Surrenders in Indian Territory” in Fisher, The Civil War in Indian Territory, 127-129.

[6] Stand Watie to Sarah Watie in Dale and Litton, 228; Grant Foreman, A History of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1942), 132-133; Franks, 179; Brown, 128; Abel, The American Indian and the End of the Confederacy, 138-149; Debo, 164; Charles Royce, The Cherokee Nation of Indians (Chicago: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975), 219.

[7] Dale and Lytton, 229; Wardell, 179; Foreman, 132.

[8] Franks, 179; Brown, 128.

[9] Brown, 128.

[10] Resolutions of the Grand Council, June 16, 1865, United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Vol. 68, 1103-4.

[11] ibid.

[12] Watie quoted in Wardell, 180.

[13] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Vol. 67, 1105.

[14] Franks, 182.

[15] Phoebe Banks in Baker, 30.

[16] Charles Royce, “Cherokee Nation,” Fifth Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology, 376.

[17] Justin Harlan to William Coffin, September 2, 1863, in Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (Washington, D.C., 1863), 179.

[18] Mooney, 150; Thornton, 94.

[19] Cherokee Nation, Memorial of the Delegates of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States and the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress, (Washington, D.C.: Washington Chronicle Print, 1866), 7.

[20] Gaines, 124

[21] For background on Quantrill, see Carl W. Breihan, The Killer Legions of Quantrill (Seattle: Hangman Press, 1971); Albert E. Castel, William Clarke Quantrill: his life and times (New York: F. Fell, 1962); Edward E. Leslie, The Devil knows how to ride: the true story of William Clark Quantrill and his Confederate raiders (New York: Random House, 1996); Duane Schultz, Quantrill's war: the Life and Times of William Clarke Quantrill, 1837-1865 (New York : St. Martin's Press, 1996); Harrison Trow and John P. Burch, Charles W. Quantrell : a True History of his Guerilla Warfare on the Missouri and Kansas Border during the Civil War of 1861 (Vega, Tex. : J.P. Burch, 1923). For details on Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, see Lawrence D. Bailey, Quantrell's raid on Lawrence: with names of victims of the raid, ed. and reprinted by C.R. Green, (Lyndon, Kansas: 1899); Joseph S. Boughton, The Lawrence massacre by a band of Missouri ruffians under Quantrell, August 21, 1863 (Lawrence, KS.: n.p., 1884); Thomas Goodrich, Bloody dawn : the Story of the Lawrence Massacre (Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, 1991); Peter D. Ridenour, Quantrell's Raid, Aug. 21, 1863; from the Autobiography of Peter D. Ridenour who Survived the Raid (Lawrence, KS: Douglas County Historical Society, 1968); John C. Shea, Reminiscences of Quantrell's Raid upon the City of Lawrence, Kansas: Thrilling Narratives by Living Eyewitnesses (Kansas City, MO.: Isaac P. Moore, 1879).

[22] Evan Jones, letters, ABMU, September 22, 1863.

[23] Evan Jones, letters, ABMU, October 29, 1863.

[24] Evan Jones, letters, ABMU, March 2, 1864. John Ross also lost his eldest son to a Confederate prison camp.

[25] Foreman, A History of Oklahoma, 116.

[26] Stand Watie, quoted in Woodward, 287. It is worth noting that that although Watie burned much in Tahlequah including the Cherokee Council House, Cherokee Lodge #21 was not burned nor threatened and its charter and jewels were protected throughout the war. [Ballenger, History of Cherokee Lodge #10, 11]

[27] Grant Foreman, in his History of Oklahoma, notes that Phillips and the Third Indian Home Guard, “killed a good many Indians without more warrant in military necessity than Stand Watie had to justify his ruthless slaughter.” [126].

[28] Morris Sheppard in Baker, 379.

[29] Patsy Perryman in Baker, 315.

[30] Hannah Hicks, “The Diary of Hannah Hicks,” American Scene 13 (1972): 11.

[31] Stephen Foreman, Diary, July 8, 1862, Western History Collection, University of Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma.

[32] ibid.

[33] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 413.

[34] Mary Grayson, in Baker, 177.

[35] Though perhaps not significant, it is worth noting that located at Fort Gibson was Fort Gibson Lodge #53 which had been formed with the assistance of members from Cherokee Lodge #21.

[36] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 412. The mission at Fort Gibson was located within a few miles of the old Ebenezer Church, which was the first Baptist Church in Indian Territory. It was also the point at which the Keetoowah mission to the Creek Nation was conducted.

[37] Littlefield, The Cherokee Freedmen, 16.

[38] Monaghan, 308.

[39] Britton, Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 373. See also Jess C. (Muskogee, Okla. : Hoffman Printing, 1964); Stella E. Carselowey Crouch, (Vinita, OK: n.p., 1964).

[40] Ohland Morton, “Confederate Government Relations with the Five Civilized Tribes” in Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol. XXXI, Nos, 2-3 (Autumn, 1933): 318.

[41] Stand Watie, quoted in Dale and Lytton, Cherokee Cavaliers, 128.

[42] Abel, 156.

[43] Bussey to Reynolds, July 10, 1865, in Abel, 158.

[44] Abel, 156-157.

[45] Wardell, 181.

[46] Abel, 161.

[47] ibid.

[48] Abel, 159.

[49] Abel, 160.

[50] Wardell, 181; Royce, 221.

[51] Royce, 219-220.

[52] Denslow, 142-147; Hauptman, 182-183. For more information on Ely S. Parker, see William H. Armstrong, Warrior in two camps : Ely S. Parker, Union General and Seneca Chief (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1978); Harold W. Felton, Ely S. Parker, Spokesman for the Senecas (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1973); Arthur C. Parker, The Life of General Ely S. Parker (New York: AMS Press, 1983).

[53] Debo, Road to Disappearance, 167.

[54] Lancaster, Removal Aftershock, 157.

[55] Woodward, 291. John Ross arrived from Washington prior to the conference but was too tired to attend the opening ceremonies.

[56] Debo, Road to Disappearance, 167.

[57] ibid.

[58] Abel, 171.

[59] Abel, 188.

[60] Debo, 166; Marion Turtle Rock, Illustrated history of Oklahoma, its occupation by Spain and France--its sale to the United States--its opening to settlement in 1889--and the meeting of the first territorial Legislature, (Topeka, Kan., C.B. Hamilton & son, printers, 1890), 107-110.

[61] Tyner, 51.

[62] Woodward, 292.

[63] Royce, 221; United States Office of Indian Affairs, Annual reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, [1824-1848] (New York , N.Y.: AMS Press, 1976), 315.

[64] Wardell, 187.

[65] Royce, 221-222.

[66] Harlan, from Iowa, and James Lane from Kansas, had introduced a bill in Congress terminating federal treaties with the Indian Nations and opening up the Indian Territory for railroad and land speculation. A prominent portion of the bill was to consolidate all of the various nations into a single body; in addition, a large block of Cherokee Land, the Cherokee Outlet, would be turned over to Kansas. Chief Ross bitterly opposed Harlan's bill in Congress. For more information on Harlan, see Johnson Brigham, James Harlan [microform] (Iowa City, Iowa: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1913); William Penniman Clarke, A Base Slander Refuted, (Washington, n.p., 1869);

[67] Woodward, 296.

[68] Abel, 203.

[69] Abel, 205.

[70] ibid.

[71] United States Office of Indian Affairs, Annual reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, [1824-1848] (New York , N.Y.: AMS Press, 1976), 336-343.

[72] Royce, 222.

[73] Abel, 218; Wardell, 193.

[74] Wardell, 193. Boudinot's statement can be viewed within the context of his role as an apologist for white conquest of the Five Nations. Even as a delegate to the Confederate States of America, he was quick to place the interests of the Cherokee Nation behind personal opportunity and political advancement. His opportunism in the Nation rivals that of James Lane in Kansas.

[75] Ross, Papers, 652.

[76] Senate Debate on the Harlan Bill, in United States, Congressional Globe, 38th Congress, 2nd Session, 1021-1022.

[77] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokee, 415; Wardell, 194.

[78] , submitting the Memorial of their National Council, with the Correspondence between John Ross, Principal Chief, and certain Officers of the Rebellious States (Washington, Gibson Brothers Printers, 1866).

[79] Abel, 346.

[80] Cherokee Nation, Council Records, November 7, 1865, Oklahoma Historical Society Archives, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

[81] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 416.

[82] This was universally problematic within the Five Nations. The loyal Creek and Seminoles were willing to incorporate Africans into the Nation and grant them citizenship, but the Southern Delegations opposed the granting of equality. The Southern Indians found it quite distressing that the United States was asking the Indians to do what the U.S. itself had yet to do. They found the hypocrisy quite interesting and suspected, rightfully so, ulterior motives in such actions. [Abel, 211] For more information on the Freedmen in Indian Territory, see , (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1984); , (Washington, D.C. : U.S. Government Printing Office, 1907); Cherokee Nation, Reply of Colored Citizens of the Cherokee Nation, to a "Memorial of the Principal Chief and Cherokee Delegation, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Praying for the Removal of Intruders from the Cherokee nation," (Washington, D. C.: Downs & Brown, Printers, 1879); Chickasaw Freedmen Association, Statement of the Chickasaw Freedmen setting forth their wrongs, grievances, claims and needs, 1894, (Fort Smith, Ark, J.H. Mayers & Co., Printers, 1894); Daniel Littlefield, Africans and Seminoles: from Removal to Emancipation, (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977); The Cherokee Freedmen: from Emancipation to American citizenship (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978); Africans and Creeks: from the Colonial period to the Civil War (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979); The Chickasaw freedmen: a People without a Country (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980);

[83] Senate Debate on the Harlan Bill, in United States, Congressional Globe, 38th Congress, 2nd Session, 1022.

[84] Annie Abel referred to the Harlan Bill as “pernicious to the extreme, designedly deceptive. Its real purpose was nothing more than the capitalistic exploitation of southern Indian preserves. Under the pretext of bringing the red man more nearly within the range of his white brother's wholly materialistic civilization, its framers intended to nullify the important treaty pledges of the United States and the Cherokees. ” [Annie Heloise Abel, The American Indian and Reconstruction, (Cleveland: Arthur C. Clarke, 1925), 254.]

[85] Roethler, 219-220

[86] ibid.

[87] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokee, 423. For a full description of the Cherokee delegations experiences in Washington, see Moulton, 186-195.

[88] Cherokee Nation, Memorial of the Delegates of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States and the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress, 3.

[89] Cherokee Nation, Memorial of the Delegates of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States and the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress, 9-10.

[90] ibid.

[91] Cherokee Nation, Memorial of the Delegates of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States and the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress, 4.

[92] , Communication of the Delegation of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States.

[93] ibid.

[94] Cherokee Nation, Reply of the Southern Cherokees to the memorial of certain delegates from the Cherokee Nation [microform] : together with the message of John Ross, ex-chief of the Cherokees, and proceedings of the Council of the "loyal Cherokees," relative to the alliance with the so-called Confederate States : to the President, Senate, and House of Representatives (Washington, D.C.: McGill & Whiterow, 1866), 3-10.

[95] Woodward, 301.

[96] Foreman, History of Oklahoma, 141; Abel, The American Indian in Reconstruction, 356.

[97] Foreman, History of Oklahoma, 141.

[98] Parins, John Rollin Ridge, 218.

[99] Abel, 360; McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 425; Littlefield, The Cherokee Freedmen, 25.

[100] Dale and Litton, Cherokee Cavaliers, 243-244; Moulton, 193.

[101] Abel, 359; McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 425.

[102] ibid.

[103] Abel, The American Indian in Reconstruction, 328.

[104] Debo, The Road to Disappearance, 173-174.

[105] Franks, 191.

[106] Joseph Thoburn, ed. “The Cherokee Question” Chronicles of Oklahoma 2, No. 2 (June, 1924): 172-180.

[107] “Treaty Concluded July 19, 1866” in Royce, 212- 218; Wardell, 204; Abel, 361-362; McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 226-227.

[108] Mankiller, 129; Wardell, 205.

[109] G.W. Nichols, “The Indian: What Should we do with Him” in Harpers Monthly 40 (April,1870): 733.

[110] William Penn Adair, quoted in Wardell, 205.

[111] “Treaty of 1866” in Starr, 175.

[112] “Treaty of 1866” in Starr, 172.

[113] “Treaty of 1866” in Starr, 176.

[114] “Treaty of 1866” in Starr, 170.

[115] “Treaty of 1866” in Starr, 177.

[116] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 427.

[117] Ross, quoted in Mankiller, 129.

[118] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 427.

[119] Wardell, 206.

[120] John Bartlett Meserve, “Chief Lewis Downing and Chief Charles Thompson,” Chronicles of Oklahoma 16, (September 1938): 318.

[121] Dale and Litton, Cherokee Cavaliers, 247.

[122] Daniel Littlefield, The Cherokee Freedmen: from Emancipation to American citizenship (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978), 25-29.

[123] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 229.

[124] Pierce Butler, in A.B.C.F.M., Annual Report (1842), 454.

[125] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 229; McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 427.

[126] History of Federal Lodge #1, quoted in Denslow, 183. William Potter Ross was raised to the Third Degree on April 25, 1848 in Federal Lodge #1 in Washington, D.C. [Denslow, 183].

[127] William R. Denslow, in his work Freemasonry and the American Indian, describes Ross's influence, “In later years, passions broke all bounds and some of the darkest pages of Cherokee history were written. In retrospect, the influence and principles of Freemasonry can be seen as the greatest healer of these old wounds within the Cherokee family. This fact is emphasized by the thought of Chief William P. Ross, presiding in the East over a Cherokee lodge, while the men around the altar would have thought it a patriotic duty to slay him only a short time before. The roster of the Cherokee lodge is a revelation to the student of the times, and, if it were not for its undisputed authority, it would hardly be believed in this generation.” [Denslow, 69]

[128] Dale and Litton, 144.

[129] Wardell, 206.

[130] Mrs. William Potter Ross, ed. The Life and Times of Honorable William Potter Ross of the Cherokee Nation,(Fort Smith, n.p., 1893), 2f.

[131] ibid.

[132] Because of this amendment, the Southern Cherokee referred to this treaty as “the Dark Treaty.” [Wardell, 206]

[133] Wardell, 206-207.

[134] Mrs. William Ross, 55-57.

[135] Wardell, 207.

[136] Littlefield, 28; Thornton, 102.

[137] The number following the war is to be compared with four thousand African American members of the Cherokee Nation at the beginning of the Civil War. [National Archives, Indian Division, Report Book, Dale to Smith, March 17, 1862, No. 12, 335].

[138] Cherokee Nation quoted in Roethler, 227. In mentioning “whites legally members of the Nation by adoption,” the provision specifically granted citizenship in the Cherokee Nation to Evan And John Jones, their families and their descendants. As whites who married into the Nation were granted membership according to the dictates of traditional culture, this law was not particularly referenced towards them. The Joneses were granted citizenship and voting privileges as members of the Cherokee Nation.

[139] Oklahoma Historical Society Archives, Indian and Pioneer Papers, Vol. CVII., 456.

[140] Roethler, 229.

[141] John Hanson Beadle, The Undeveloped West, or Five Years in the Territory (Philadelphia, n.p., 1873), 37.

[142] United States of America, Report of the Commissioner for Indian Affairs (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1866), 383-384.

[143] Oklahoma Historical Society Archives, Indian and Pioneer Papers, III, 283. Though African-Americans played a small role in the political affairs of the Cherokee Nation, they became powerful political brokers and influential members of the National Council of the Creek Nation. (Space has not allowed me to discuss the dispensation of the Creek Keetoowah following the Civil War and the struggles over reconstruction within that Nation. However, that story is equally fascinating and reflects the complementary contribution of the Keetoowah within that Nation. For a brief account see Angie Debo, The Road to Disappearance, 155 ff.)

[144] One of the most difficult issues to resolve was the status of Cherokee freedmen who arrived in the Nation following the six month deadline. The African-American Cherokee Diaspora following the outbreak of the Civil War had left them in the far-flung regions of Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, and even into Mexico. That many of the black Cherokee were unable to return to their home until after the deadline presented a significant problem for those who arrived too late to receive anything except a hard time. In addition, some black fled to the Nation seeking freedom and status never granted in other parts of the United States even though they had never been a resident in the Nation prior to the Civil War. Those who arrived late were considers “intruders.” This created a great deal of resentment among many Cherokee and was a continuing source of trouble for some forty years. [Littlefield, 29-30].Many later writers, including William McLoughlin and Katya May, project this hostility backwards in time as evidence of a more prevalent racism among the Cherokee Nation existing prior to the Civil War. It is more likely that racial animosity, especially between full-bloods and blacks, was a result of the struggle over the differentiation between “freedmen” and “intruders” instead of a precondition for. However, any effort to address the issue of racism with the “Nation” that does not reflect the complexity of and factionalism within said Nation will fail; similar efforts to address the situation between “jews and blacks” fail accordingly.

[145] Cherokee Nation, Records, October 31,1866, Oklahoma Historical Society Archives, Oklahoma City, OK.

[146] Without belaboring the issue, these are the locations of the two Freemasonic lodges within the Cherokee Nation.

[147] Littlefield,Cherokee Freedmen, 28.

[148] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 428.

[149] American Baptist Home Mission Board, The Macedonian 34 (October 1866): 39.

[150] Debo, The Road to Disappearance, 280-283; Janey Hendrix, Redbird Smith and the Nighthawk Keetoowahs (Park Hill, OK: Cross-Cultural Education Center, 1983), 25-28. Interestingly enough, in the Creek Nation, the Loyal League was actually closed associated and affiliated with the Keetoowah and the Pins were the mixed blood party. The Loyal League arose within the Illinois District near Fort Gibson and was deeply committed to the enfranchisement of African American Creeks. As in the Cherokee Nation, the Loyal League were full blood traditionalists. The Loyal League had a profound effect upon Redbird Smith, future leader of the Keetoowah Society. [Hendrix, 25]

[151] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 243.

[152]"Keetoowah Laws - April 29, 1859" in Howard Tyner, The Keetoowah Society in Cherokee History, (MA, University of Tulsa, 1949), Appendix A. In the long run, it would be the fact that the Keetoowah Society was able to come out of secret and become a public phenomenon that would lead to a split between the Baptists and the Keetoowah. The competition between the public services of the Baptists and the public services of the Keetoowah would create somewhat of a conflict between the traditionalists and the Christians. Emmet Starr described the split thus: “In all this period the Keetoowahs were either Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and a few Quakers, and a part of them worshipped according to the rituals of the ancient Keetoowah, but all got along harmoniously. Dissensions came only after the White Missionaries objected to and condemned what they termed “the Pagan Form of worship” of the ancient Keetoowahs, and designated it as “The work of the Devil.” A split occurred between the Christian Keetoowahs and the Ancient Keetoowahs. However, this scenario would not play out until the latter half of the nineteenth century following the death of Evan and John Jones. Today, this split is roughly between the Nighthawk Keetoowahs and the United Keetoowah Band. [Starr, 480]

[153] "Keetoowah Laws - April 29, 1859" in Howard Tyner, The Keetoowah Society in Cherokee History. (MA, University of Tulsa, 1949), Appendix A.

[154] John Smith quoted in Janey Hendrix, Redbird Smith and the Nighthawk Keetoowahs,(Park Hill, OK: Cross-Cultural Education Center, 1983), 11.

[155] Comes Flying quoted in Hendrix, 11.

[156] In all probability, he was right. Elias Boudinot was a lobbyist for the railroad company and James Bell and James Lynch were eager to promote denationalization and the establishment of a territorial government. [McLoughlin, 439]

[157] Wardell, 208-209.

[158] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 246.

[159] Mcloughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 440; Wardell, 209; Woodward, 308; Foreman, A History of Oklahoma, 150.

[160] Comes Flying, quoted in Hendrix, 11.

[161] John Humphreys to William Byers, January 18, 1867, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75, Reel M-234, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[162] Wardell, 210.

[163] John Bartlett Meserve, “Chief Lewis Downing and Chief Charles Thompson, Chronicles of Oklahoma 16 (September 1938): 320.

[164] S

[165] Tyner, 58.

[166] ibid.

[167] Wardell, 210; McLoughlin, The Cherokees and Christianity, 279. The next three elected Chiefs would be Keetoowah representatives of the Downing Party, followed by Joel Mayes (Cherokee Lodge #10). From the late 1880's until 1907, almost all of the Principal Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation came from the Downing Party. [Mankiller, 1993]

[168] Boudinot to Watie, in Dale and Litton, 249.

[169] Boudinot to Watie, quoted in Wardell, 211.

[170] Boudinot to Watie, in Dale and Litton, 250.

[171] Tyner, 58.

[172] John B. Jones, The Macedonian 25 (September, 1867): 38. In all probability, this person was Pig Smith, leader of ultraconservative Ancient Keetoowahs who by this time were beginning to splinter from the Christian Keetoowah over a variety of issues, the greatest being the influence of Christianity within the Keetoowah. William McLoughlin, in his last work The Cherokees and Christianity, describes this movement within the Keetoowah as a “Ghost Dance Movement” and relates to similar movements which swept the Cherokee Nation whenever it encountered great duress. McLoughlin cites as evidence of this movement a letter from W.L. Gordon Miller, Downing's executive secretary detailing “wild and visionary” speeches and insurrectionary activities by James Vann, Little Pig, and Lewis McNair. [McLoughlin, The Cherokees and Christianity, 285-305]. This “Ghost Dance Movement” could have been the product of the prophetic Keetoowah conventions in the Saline District in 1866 which ultimately led to the reorganization of the Keetoowah Society in 1876 along more traditionalist lines. [Hendrix, 11; Starr 480; Tyner, 80, 90-91.]

[173] Meserve, 320.

[174] William G. McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 443.

[175] Wardell, 211.

[176] Chuweska Fodder, quoted in Woodward, 309.

[177] McLoughlin, The Cherokees and Christianity, 279.

[178] Sarah Watie quoted in Perdue, 75.

[179] Saladin Watie to Stand Watie, in Dale and Litton, 254.

[180] "Keetoowah Laws - April 29, 1859" in Howard Tyner, The Keetoowah Society in Cherokee History. (MA, University of Tulsa, 1949), Appendix A.

[181] Lewis Downing, quoted in Meserve, 320.

[182] McLoughlin, The Cherokees and Christianity, 279.

[183] Rochelle Ward, in Baker and Baker, 445.

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Beneath the Underdog
Are You Kituwah’s Son?
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
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