1820 - 1839
A Document For Litigation, 1921
Submitted by George W. Fields,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Compiled and Transcribed by
Even though the Trail of Tears was approximately seventeen years away, the Eastern Cherokee were feeling the pressure of white settlers and an American government wanting them out of their way in the east. A large following of Cherokee led by Chief Richard Fields and Chief Bowles migrated to Texas in 1819 after a short stopover in Arkansas.
The Cherokee eventually established a settlement near present-day Nacogdoches, Texas. The Cherokee first petitioned the Spanish government for permanent residence and then following their war for independence the newly minted Mexican government. Similarly they’d eventually make the same request with the independent Republic of Texas and then again with the State of Texas.
Even though following the same agreement in good faith with each separate entity not one of them followed through with their promises. This also included the Treaty of February 23, 1836, negotiated with then Texas president Sam Houston and still the Cherokee were driven off their Texas land in 1839.
The Texas Cherokee, who had suffered overwhelming losses, fled to the Oklahoma Territory, only to fall victim once again to a white government underhandedly negotiating real estate deals while dishonoring prior agreements with the Native Peoples.
The trials of these early Cherokee wishing to just find peace and a home for their people in East Texas are described in a legal document filed with the Supreme Court on their descendant’s behalf by attorney George W. Fields, Jr., in 1921. The author of this legal document for the defense, to be decided upon by the highest court in the land, was also the grandson of Texas Cherokee tribal co-leader Chief Richard Fields.
Fields legal attempt to win compensation for the Texas Cherokee after being forced out of Texas would go unpublished for over 80 years. For all those years, this, “Document for Litigation”, sat collecting dust as just a matter of record in the legal system.
The complete contents of Fields' account of the Texas Cherokee history from 1820-1839 was brought to light and transcribed for publication, complete with affidavits and illustrations, by Mr. Jeff Bowen.
In addition to quoting sources, documenting the agreements or understandings between the Texas Cherokee and succeeding governments in question, this compilation includes a number of newspaper articles published in connection with the suit. Containing illustrations of Chief Bowles and other personalities involved in this history. In addition, you can also find the Fields' Cherokee genealogy through actual documentation connecting the Lawyer and the Chief who loved his people.
There is also a full name index with all the persons mentioned both white and Cherokee which reads like a forgotten saga of a people just looking for a place to call home.
134 pages, Hardback
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