1869 Cherokee Nation West Census

Did you know that there was a census taken in 1869 and it included the people who lived in the Indian Territory, now Oklahoma?  This was Indian land, where the Native people had been removed to during the Trail of Tears.  After the Civil War, by treaty, the Cherokee agreed to free their slaves and allow them to join the tribe as full members.  Any person who had left the area and would otherwise qualify had 6 months to return to claim Cherokee citizenship.  These were the Freedman.  Many were also related by blood.

This census had a total of 4307 individuals listed in 9 districts.  The census itself recorded Name 1 (typically a first name or a single word Indian name) and Name 2 (a last name if the individual had one), number of females, number of male children, number of female children, and then a notes category.  It’s the notes category that is the most interesting, and of course, there is no standardization between districts.  These notes include categorization of individuals as follows:

  • White Citizens by Adoption
  • Adopted Citizens followed directly in the same district by…
  • White Citizens of the US
  • White Intruders
  • Colored Intruders
  • Disputed Indians
  • Whites with Cherokee Families
  • Whites Who are Citizens
  • Whites who are Entitled to Citizenship
  • Whites Not Entitled to Citizenship
  • Colored Persons Entitled to Citizenship
  • Colored Persons Not Entitled to Citizenship
  • Colored Persons
  • Colored Citizens
  • Colored Persons Disbarred by Limitation
  • Cherokees who are Not Citizenized – NC
  • Mexican Indians
  • Delaware Citizens of the Cherokee Nation
  • Creeks Not Citizens

Most of these categories are pretty straightforward.  The intruders weren’t supposed to be living there.  The whites were married to Native people.  There is no designation for mixed, but many people were and perhaps most, according to other sources.  However, the “White Citizens of the US” category throws me.  The other districts have categories for white citizens of the Cherokee Nation, but does the “of the US” mean that they are NOT members of the Cherokee Nation and are instead citizens of the US?  Or does it simply mean like in every other district, these are the white citizens of the Cherokee Nation?  Of course, there is really no way to tell without looking further on subsequent rolls to search for the status of the individuals involved. 

As for me, I’m not going to try to decide, because I might be wrong.  Even if these people are 100% white, and not admixed, they were living among the Cherokee (or affiliated Indians) and it stands to reason that their children or grandchildren would or could be admixed.  So they are going on the Names list with the rest of the people in this census and the person searching for their roots in the future can figure out the specifics.

You can take a look at the transcribed data in several posting at this link if you are interested. 

1869 Cherokee Nation West Census http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/MD-AfricaAmer/2002-04/1018152204

Hat tip to Jill for copying these names from the posting and sending me the document!  Thanks a million, well, actually 4307 Indians to be exact:)


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Cherokee, Creek, Delaware. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 1869 Cherokee Nation West Census

  1. Retha Mitchell says:

    i have found letters from the department of interior, commissioner to the five civilized tribes,to my great grand father they were returned unopened.
    How, can a person find out what was in them?

  2. Rick Scott says:

    I noticed where you mentioned that the 1869 Census wasn’t online, If that is the case how did you access them?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.