Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in France at the end of the French Revolution in 1799 and he set out to conquer the world. He wanted to restore the French Empire in North America and persuaded Spain to give up Louisiana Spain to give up Louisiana. President Thomas Jefferson was alarmed to learn that France would control New Orleans. After a failed attempt to gain control of the Mississippi because of a yellow fever epidemic, Napoleon agreed to sell the territory and New Orleans for $15 million. The United States bought some 600 million acres for about 4 cents an acre. Congress first created two territories – Oklahoma was part of the District of Louisiana
In 1803, President Jefferson asked Congress to fund an expedition that would cross the Louisiana territory. Jefferson was very interested in learning about the geography of the West, the people, plants, animals, soil, rocks, and weather. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were in command of an expedition for which $2,500 was appropriated (set aside). The expedition, known as the Corpse of Discovery, traveled over 4,000 miles by water and land to reach the Pacific Ocean. They returned with an enormous amount of information. EXPLORING THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE
The Sparks Expedition – Jefferson wanted another expedition to firmly establish the boundary between Spain and the United States. Jefferson told the explorers to take detailed notes and to let the Native Americans know that there was a “Great Father” in Washington. Sparks was confronted by a large Spanish Army and forced to turn back.
The Pikes-Wilkinson Expedition - Zebulon M. Pike joined the army and became the protégé (young person who receives experienced guidance) of James Wilkinson. In 1805, Pike was ordered to explore the upper Mississippi River. Then, he was sent to explore the Arkansas and Red Rivers and make contact with the various tribes. Pike left St. Louis and went up the Mississippi River with 23 men plus 51 Osage he was escorting to their villages. At the Arkansas River, Wilkinson, 5 privates, and an Osage Guide left Pike to explore the river. Pike continued west toward the Rocky Mountains and arrived at the peak named for him. Pike and his men were arrested by a Spanish patrol and held until July 1807.
a.The Sibley Expedition – Salt, essential in diets and to preserve food and tan hides, was a valuable commodity (article of trade). Jefferson was intent on learning more about the rumored salt mountains on the Plains. In 1811, he sent Native American agent, George Champlin Sibley, to make friends and allies with the Natives and find the salt mountains. They came to an area that was “glistening like a brilliant field of snow in the summer sun”. Sibley called the 20 mile area of the “Great Saline” and described it as 2-6 inches of clean, pure salt.
The Long Expedition – Stephen H. Long traveled 26,000 miles in five expeditions, two of which ventured into Oklahoma. The War Department decided to establish a military post on the western boundary of the Arkansas territory to address the growing hostilities between the Osage and other tribes. Major Long had the job of finding a suitable site. He selected Belle Pointe, where the Arkansas and Red Rivers converge, for the post that became Fort Smith in 1817. He then explored parts of eastern Oklahoma.
The Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 Spain sold Florida for 5 million; border between Louisiana and Texas was established as the west bank of the Sabine River; Spain’s northern border was the south bank of the Red River; Spain gave up its claims to the Oregon Territory In 1819, Major William Bradford, from the Fort Smith post, had orders to expel people who were in eastern Oklahoma illegally; many of these were renegades (deserters) or fugitives. The noted botanist Thomas Nuttall joined. He studied plants and animals along the rivers and in the mountains of eastern Oklahoma. He wrote about his experiences in the area in the “Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory”
Americans continued moving west. Fort Smith was established in 1817; that same year, two Americans, Robert M. French and Samuel M. Rutherford, started a trading post on the Verdigris River a few miles north of present-day Muskogee. In the next few years, more and more American traders came into the area. Brothers Pierre and Auguste Chouteau had a large trading operation. Waterways were extremely important to early commerce, and trading posts were located near them. When water levels were high, rivers were the best way to travel. Indians used either rafts or dugout canoes (pirogues) made from trees found along the streams. Canoes carrying light loads were ideal for navigating through the narrowest waterways. Canoes helped move produce and deer, bear, otter, beaver, and buffalo skins to the Three Forks trading area and to the military posts Fort Gibson and Fort Smith. THE THREE FORKS AREA
The location just northeast of present-day Muskogee where three major rivers – the Arkansas, Verdigris, and Grand – joined (called the Three Forks area) soon became the hub of trading activity. Trappers and hunters used the trading posts in the area to stock up on supplies and sell furs. The Osage brought furs, fowl, wild honey, bear oil, and buffalo robes to trade for beads, blankets, knives, trinkets, and cloth. Nathaniel Pryor, a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, opened a small trading post in the area. Colonel A.P. Chouteau and partner Joseph Revoir established the Osage Outfit trading post just north of Saline Creek. When Revoir and his Osage wife were killed by a band of Cherokees in 1821; Chouteau moved from St. Louis to take over operations of the post. 1830s, game was becoming scarce and the fur trade was slowing in eastern Oklahoma. Contrary to earlier reports of Oklahoma being unfit for agriculture, products like salt lead, pecans, and grain shipped out of the Three Forks area were certainly agriculture related.
In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain. Traders to the north hoped this would open up trade with Santa Fe and other settlements. Glenn and Pryor set north into Kansas and followed the Arkansas River into southeastern Colorado. They found excellent trading in the Pueblo area and returned to St. Louis when they had more furs then they could carry. About the same time, William Becknell, a Missouri trader, left with a caravan headed for Santa Fe. The route Becknell took became known as the Santa Fe Trail; hundreds followed this route. OPENING TRADE ROUTES
A.President Jefferson wanted to tie the Indian nations to the United States with treaties, partly to help assure the security of the new country. Jefferson intended to gain land and trade and keep the Indian tribes as allies of the US and not any European country. He hoped the treaties would encourage the Native Americans to adopt the European way of life, shifting from hunting to farming. While others felt they were inferior, Jefferson believed they could “Americanize” TREATIES
When Louisiana became a state, the territory including Oklahoma was renamed the Missouri Territory. Missouri Compromise – Missouri was admitted as a slave state and Maine was admitted as a free state. Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dred Scott decision NEW STATES
For years, many Native Americans tribes had found the land of Oklahoma ideal for hunting and trading, despite some calling it “desert”. Tribes sometimes moved from one area to another to find better food sources or to escape enemy tribes. An average territory or roaming area for many Plains Indians was 500 to 800 miles. Early on Oklahoma was included in the roaming area of several tribes. The Wichita tribe had relocated from the northern part of Oklahoma to the southern Red River Valley partly to escape their hated enemy, the Osage. EARLY MIGRATIONS
Some Caddo were also living along the Red River in southeastern Oklahoma. The sociable, industrious tribe was known for its use of sign language, which had been developed to facilitate trade with other tribes. The Kiowa tribe drifted to the Central Plains where they fought the Comanche. In the late 1700s, the two tribes became allies. In 1833, Osage warriors attacked a Kiowa camp in southwestern Oklahoma killing some 150 Kiowa in what is now called the Cutthroat Massacre. The Osage lived between the Missouri River and the Arkansas River which includes northeastern Oklahoma. Some Shawnee migrated (moved from one place to another) into Oklahoma in the early 1800s
In an attempt to halt violence between tribes that discouraged other tribes from relocating to Oklahoma, the US Secretary of War ordered the establishment of Fort Smith. Originally known as Cantonment, Fort Gibson was established on the Grand River by Colonel Matthew Arbuckle to protect white people and Native Americans in the area. While work had been underway on Fort Gibson, Arbuckle had other troops at the joining of the Red and Kiamichi Rivers called Towson. Here, soldiers regulated the trade between Native Americans and white people and helped to keep the peace in the region. Later, this Fort would help to protect the relocated Cherokee. Federal funds were appropriated to build a road from Fort Smith to Fort Towson. EARLY FORTS
a.White settlers continued to press into Western Cherokee land in Arkansas. In 1828, the Western Cherokee agreed to exchange their Arkansas land for land in Indian Territory. The new Cherokee lands included 7 million acres in northeastern Oklahoma and a “perpetual outlet west”, which extended their land west in approximately 60 mile wide strip to the border of the U.S. territory (Oklahoma’s western border). This strip became known as the “Cherokee Outlet”. b.In addition, the treaty included $50,000 for the inconvenience of moving, $2,000 a year for three years for livestock, $2,000 a year for ten years for education, $1,000 for printing press and type, $500 to Sequoyah for the “great benefits he has conferred to the Cherokee people. This treaty laid the groundwork for relocating the eastern Cherokee to Indian Territory. CHEROKEE OUTLET
in 1817, President James Monroe declared that the security of the nation depended on quick settlement along the southern coast which meant moving the natives west. Like Monroe, Jackson believed in speedy removal of the Natives despite the fact that some had adopted “civilized” lifestyles. By 1824, Jackson had negotiated nine treaties that added large parcels of land to the southeastern states. In the 1820 treaty of Doak’s Stand, the Choctaw gave up their fertile southeastern lands for a large area in southern Oklahoma, southwest Arkansas, and part of New Mexico. REMOVAL
The five major tribes in the southeastern United States were the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Seminole. The U.S. government’s plan of “educating” Indians so they would conform to the way of white settlers had been underway for several years. Missionaries, primarily Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist, had worked among the tribes for some time to educate and Christianize them. A number of racial intermarriages had also taken place over the years between Indians and Europeans combining their cultures. THE 5 TRIBES
Because of their willingness to accept the new “civilized” ways, these tribes came to be known as the 5 Civilized Tribes. The lifestyles of many in the 5 Civilized Tribes changed from nomadic hunting and subsistence farming to raising livestock and operating large farms. Some with larger plantations bought black slaves and built large mansions. Tribal government became more centralized, and some tribes opened their own stores and trading posts.
Sequoyah’s invention of a written Cherokee syllabary (alphabet) greatly assisted the teachers and his tribes. By 1828, the first Cherokee newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, was published. Using the Syllabary, Samuel Worchester translated the Bible into Cherokee. The Cherokee developed a written constitution modeled after the U.S. constitution and established a capital at New Echota, Georgia. The capital included a council house, supreme court building, a building for a printing press, and a public square. Even though they were “civilizing”, white settlers continued to demand more and more of their land. The Cherokee attempted to use the U.S. legal system to protect their land.
In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. Pushed by President Jackson, the bill caused an uproar in Congress. Some were strongly against the forced removal of the natives. However, some agreed with Senator Wilson who urged Congress to, “build a fire under them. When it gets hot enough, they’ll move.” INDIAN REMOVAL ACT
The intention of the bill was to negotiate treaties with Indian tribes by which the tribes would exchange the land they were living on for other land west of the Mississippi River. Those who wished to remain where they were would become citizens of the state. The relocation was supposed to be peaceful and voluntary, and for the few who resettled quickly, it was. The War Department attempted to protect the Indians who stayed in their homes but settlers did not give up their pursuit of land. The far-reaching legislation affected not only the 5 Civilized Tribes in the southeast but also many tribes in the North and those who already called Indian Territory home.
The Choctaw tribe was first encouraged to relocate to Indian Territory after the 1820 Treaty of Doak’s Stand, which included an exchange of lands; funds for education, police, and moving; and a government agent. In 1825, the Choctaw Boundary Treaty helped rid the area of settlers and established an eastern boundary of what was to become Oklahoma. Reluctantly, Choctaw leaders saw removal as the only way to survive. Choctaw chiefs Greenwood Leflore, Moshulatubbe, and Nitakechi met with the Secretary of War John Eaton and General John Coffee at the Dancing Rabbit Creek council ground; the 1830, Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the Choctaw Nation ceded all its lands east of the Mississippi River and agreed to move to the Indian Territory for 3 years. The US agreed to pay the tribe education and relocation funds, as well as to provide plows, axes, hoes, blankets, spinning wheels, looms, rifles, bullet molds, and ammunition. Choctaw who stayed were allotted a set amount of land, and they were subject to the laws of the state. George Gaines, supervisor of the Choctaw removal, set a timetable of moving 1/3 of the people each year from 1831 to 1833. Removal was difficult – food shortages, poorly clothed, and epidemic diseases CHOCTAW REMOVAL
The Muscogee (Creek) was a confederacy of several tribes in the Georgia-Alabama area who were referred to as the Upper Creek or Lower Creek. Chief William McIntosh ceded all Lower Creek land in the Treaty of Indian Springs in 1825. Angered by the treaty, tribal members killed McIntosh and other leaders they believed had betrayed them. By 1830 some 3,000 Creek were living on their new land. A few wealthy Creek built comfortable log homes, but most suffered from hunger and disease and a delay in government-promised supplies. They also faced raids by Delaware and Osage who resented newcomers. In 1832, the Creek signed another treaty – it opened a large portion of their Alabama land to settlers. Land speculators cheated many Creek out of their land and the destitute Creek began stealing livestock and crops from settlers. In 1836, troops were sent to end the “Creek War”. Defeated, hungry, miserable, almost 15,000 Creek were forcibly removed and escorted overland to the Indian Territory. CREEK REMOVAL
The Chickasaw of northern Mississippi were also targeted for removal. The Chickasaw, like other tribes, were encouraged to purchase trade goods beyond their ability to pay for them. Many would cede their land to pay for the debt. In the 1832, Treaty of Pontotoc Creek, the Chickasaw agreed to sell their lands east of the Mississippi River. Each family could stay on an allotment (portion of land) until suitable homes in the West were found. By 1836, the Chickasaw agreed to relocate to a district within the Choctaw Nation for $530,000. The Chickasaw removal, aided by location and good tribal management, was probably the smoothest of the 5 Tribes. But, they too faced hardships – cholera, spoiled rations. CHICKASAW REMOVAL
Many Cherokee had embraced the white lifestyle, and they were prospering. Their capital, New Echota, was a bustling town; written constitution in 1827; many young people went to eastern colleges. In 1828, Georgia claimed all of the land within its borders. Cherokee appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court but lost. Also, Samuel Worchester and other missionaries were indicted for working with the Cherokee without a state license which was an attempt to stop them from helping the Cherokee resist removal. The case of Worchester v Georgia was appealed to the Supreme Court in 1832, and the Georgia law was declared invalid. However, President Jackson ignored the Court’s ruling and said that Chief Justice John Marshall, “had rendered his decision, now let him enforce it”. CHEROKEE REMOVAL
Then, the discovery of gold in Georgia fueled the frenzy for land. The state militia destroyed the Cherokee Phoenix printing press, and many Cherokee began to view removal as the best way to survive. The Cherokee received $5 million for their eastern lands and were relocated to the Western Cherokee lands within two years. Some refused to recognize the treaty – in 1838, some 7,000 U.S. troops were ordered to round up the remaining Cherokee and place them in stockades. Groups of about 1,000 traveled on foot along various routes to Indian Territory, enduring bad roads, storms, blizzards, sickness, and sorrow. An estimated 4,000 Cherokee died before reaching the new land in early springs. In June 1839, the Western Cherokee and Eastern Cherokee had separate council meetings. Three days after this meeting, Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot were assassinated. In July, the Eastern and Western Cherokee adopted an “Act of Union” and became one body as the Cherokee Nation. They adopted a constitution in September, and it was approved in June 1840.
The Seminole were the last of the 5 Tribes to be forced into Indian Territory. Freedom-seeking slaves often found protection and refuge in the Seminole land, which greatly angered slave owners. From 1817 to 1818, General Andrew Jackson waged war against the tribe in the First Seminole War. One result of that war was that Spain ceded East Florida to the US. The 1823 Treaty of Moultrie Creek provided that the tribe move to swampland in central Florida. The 1832 Treaty of Payne’s Landing called for the Seminole to move to Indian Territory when “suitable” land was found for them within three years. Some Seminole peacefully left Florida beginning in 1836, but a group led by Osceola fiercely resisted. From 1835 to 1842, U.S. troops fought, tracked down, and captured 3,000 Indians in the Second Seminole War, another 500 eluded capture. The war cost more than $20 million, and 1,500 U.S. Soldiers were killed. Those caught were forced onto steamboats that carried them to New Orleans and then up the Mississippi. They were sent overland to Fort Gibson and to the Creek lands. SEMINOLE REMOVAL
Some sort of commission was needed to help Indians adjust and work out problems. President Jackson appointed Montfort Stokes of North Carolina to chair the Federal Indian Commission in 1832. Although in his seventies, Stokes proved to be a tireless warrior for the Indians. Conflicting boundaries were resolved, and western and eastern tribes were harmoniously brought together. He argued against, and won, moving troops from Fort Gibson to Fort Smith. STOKES COMMISSION
Forts - a flurry of military posts, both temporary and more permanent ones, were set up in the first half of the 1800s. The posts helped maintain a variety of people in the territory, as some cultures adapted to the changes and others did not. NEW LAND, NEW BEGINNINGS
The Osage’s Cutthroat Gap Massacre of the Kiowa Indians was one of the many attacks by Plains Indians on other Indians, white traders, and hunters. In 1834, General Henry Leavenworth led an expedition form Fort Gibson that was designed to impress the Wichita, Kiowa, and Comanche with the U.S. military power, in hopes of securing peace. The eight companies of 500 dragoons (armed cavalry men) wore striking uniforms with gold adornments, plumed caps, shiny black boots with yellow spurs, white gloves, steel sabers, and orange silk sashes. In 1835, a treaty was signed that provided that travelers and traders would not be harmed and that all tribes would keep peace with each other. NEGOTIATING PEACE
Fort Coffee was built in 1834 near Swallow Rock on the Arkansas River in what is now LeFlore County as an entry post for relocated Osage. Troops also attempted to prevent illegal whiskey from coming into the territory. Fort Wayne, in Delaware County, was built in 1838 in the Cherokee Nation. Fort Washita was founded in 1842 near Durant to protect the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes. Fort Arbuckle was set up near present-day Davis in 1851 to prevent harm to the southeastern tribes. NEW FORTS
Without a formal survey (making a detailed map of an area), there was confusion and overlapping boundaries. In 1831, Reverend Isaac McCoy was commissioned to survey the boundaries of the 7 million-acre Cherokee Nation as set out in the treaty in 1828. It was not until 1866 that all of the Indian Territory, except the Panhandle, was surveyed. SURVEYING
There were no established towns and little shelter; broken promises from the U.S. government were frequent; food – if it arrived – was spoiled; traders took advantage and sometimes sold supplies intended for the tribes; other trades got tribes members drunk and left them penniless ADAPTING TO INDIAN TERRITORY
Food, clothing, and shelter were the first order of business for the new arrivals. Once their basic needs were met, they turned their attention to reestablishing life. THE FIVE TRIBES
In 1834, the Choctaw adopted a new constitution that gave the lawmaking authority to 27 elected council members and an extensive bill of rights protects human rights. In 1843, a house of representatives was added. By 1860, Choctaw government included 3 branches – leg, jud, and exec. Missionaries encouraged the Choctaw to formally educate their children if they were to co-exist; the first Choctaw school was started in 1821, before relocation. CHOCTAW
One of the first schools in the territory was Wheelock Academy, founded in 1833 by Alfred and Harriet Wright. In 1842, the Choctaw took control of Wheelock Academy and turned it into a girls’ school with an academy for boys built nearby. By 1837, the Choctaw were improving and prospering in their new homes. Extra corn was being sold to troops at Fort Towson and two cotton gins were built near the Red River. Sheep, cattle, hogs, and horses were raised. Three of the five stores in Doaksville were owned by Choctaw Indians. African American slaves helped make the cotton industry in the territory and helped build the large plantation homes of their owners. A newspaper, the Choctaw Telegraph, was published in Doaksville in 1848; the Choctaw Ingelligencer newspaper began publication in 1850 in Choctaw and English.
Lower Creek – settled on farms and plantations along the Arkansas and Verdigris; Upper Creek – reestablished towns along the Canadian River and its branches. Creeks used logs to build their houses; cooking was done inside the fireplace and outside over an open fire. In 1839, the Upper Creek and Lower Creek joined as a single government at the National Council at High Springs. Ball games, dances, races, feasts, and camp meetings provided entertainment. The Creek owned a large number of slaves who helped them produce crops of corn, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, melons, peaches, cotton, and rice. The Creek were suspicious of white people and many resented missionaries for trying to make them give up their tribal customs. CREEK
The industrious Chickasaw raised cotton, wheat, oats, rye, and corn. White emigrants on their way to Texas made up a market for their goods. Hostile Indians frequently raided the Chickasaw and desperados (bold outlaws) fleeing Texas law took refuge in unpoliced areas. In 1844, the first written Chickasaw law was printed and in 1848, the tribe adopted its first constitution. CHICKASAW
In 1840, Tahlequah was selected as the tribal capital. Several missionaries – in 1829, the Dwight Mission was established in Indian Territory. Samuel Worchester was named superintendent of Park Hill Mission which included a printing press, grist mills, shops, stables, farms, book binderies, and dormitories. In 1841, the Cherokee planned 11 public schools, with the superintendent and teachers being paid $30 a month. In 1844, the Cherokee published their first newspaper in Indian Territory, The Cherokee Advocate, in Tahlequah which was printed in both Cherokee and English. CHEROKEE
Battle weary, the exhausted Seminole arrived cold and hungry in a land that was vastly different form their Florida home. They were expected to live on the Muscogee Lands and become part of the Creek nation but they refused to live under the Creek government. In 1845, the Creek agreed to let the Seminole settle as a group or as they pleased in the Creek Nation and make their own regulations, subject to the Creek Council. Seminole did not adapt to the moves as quickly as the other tribes. In 1856, a treaty separated the Seminole and Creek and provided additional funds to other Seminole to relocate from Florida. SEMINOLE
Many historians refer to the time between removal and the Civil War as the “Golden Years”.