Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review - "Texas Cherokees: 1820-1839"

Do you have Cherokee ancestry that resided in northeastern Texas in the early 19th century?  If so, then this book may be just what you've been looking for!

George W. Fields, Texas Cherokees: 1820-1839, A Document for Litigation (Oklahoma City, Okla., 1921, reprinted Baltimore, Md. : Genealogical Publishing Company, 2012), 118 pages + viii; $15.95 (soft cover).

The publicity for this book says:

Prior to the forced migration of Eastern Cherokee during the "Trail of Tears," several hundred tribesmen migrated to Texas in 1819. Following a brief stopover in Arkansas and then the future site of Dallas, Texas, the Cherokee ultimately established a settlement near present-day Nacogdoches. For the privilege to officially establish this settlement, the tribesmen first petitioned the Spanish government and then--following its war for independence--the leaders of Mexico, and, ultimately, the independent Republic of Texas. Despite negotiating in good faith with each regime--including the Treaty of February 23, 1836, negotiated with Texas president Sam Houston--the Cherokee were ultimately driven off their Texas land in 1839. Most of the Texas Cherokee, who had suffered hundreds of casualties, fled to the Indian [Oklahoma] Territory, once again falling victim to a white government attending to real-estate interests rather than honoring prior agreements with Native Americans.

The details of the Cherokee experience in east Texas are described in a legal document filed on behalf of the Cherokee’s descendants by attorney George W. Fields Jr. in 1921. The grandson of Texas Cherokee tribal co-leader Chief Richard Fields, the younger Fields compiled the document to support his--ultimately unsuccessful--suit in the U.S. Supreme Court. Fields was attempting to win compensation for the Texas Cherokee after they had been forced out of Texas.

Unpublished for over 80 years, the contents of Fields' account of the Texas Cherokee experience from 1820-1839 has now been transcribed for publication, complete with affidavits and facsimile illustrations, by Mr. Jeff Bowen. In addition to quoting sources documenting the agreements or understandings between the Texas Cherokee and governments in question, Fields' transcript includes a number of newspaper articles published in connection with the suit, illustrations of Chief Bowles and other personalities involved in this episode, correspondence, and a full name index to all the persons--both white and Cherokee--who figure in this forgotten episode in Cherokee history.

Disclosure: contacted me recently and asked me to provide a review of this book. They mailed me a review copy for my personal use as remuneration for this review. 

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