National Archives Research 2010


Research at the National Archives, Washington D.C.

By Marybelle Chase

Research Report No. 3

Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association

P.O. Box 96

Park Hill, Oklahoma 74451-0096

December 2010


Purpose of Project

Research Trip July 5-10, 2010

Research Project Results

Suggestions for Future Research


Enclosure: 1 DVD


The Oklahoma Chapter research team has completed five research trips to the National Archives in Washington D.C. to research in the various Record Groups the removal and emigration records of the Cherokee Removal.

Our purpose is to locate and document any and all records relating to the Cherokee Removal of 1838-39. This would include the round-up of the Cherokees, the forts, the internment camps, the detachments, and the emigration to the west. The research team places all aspects of the removal process as being equally important in discovering the complete picture of the Indian removal.

With each research trip the team has discovered new information that we believe will assist researchers of all the state chapters of the Trail of Tears Association. Hopefully, this knowledge will extend to the historians, scholars, and authors whose interests include this momentous event in American history.

Our team continues to gather and accumulate significant data with each of the research trips that we have taken beginning in 2006 and ending with this 2010 trip. We discover additional valuable information with each research trip to the National Archives. The goal and intention during this process has been to accomplish as much as possible during the various research trips and we believe the research team has achieved that undertaking.

Of utmost importance to the Oklahoma Chapter research team is for others to benefit from our accomplishment.


The Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association research team consisting of Jack Baker, Curtis Rohr, Ed and Gwen Henshaw, and Marybelle Chase traveled to the National Archives in Washington D.C. July 5-10, 2010 to continue the research project that was begun in 2006. We were accompanied by Jerra Quinton, Executive Director of the Trail of Tears Association; and Denise Dowling, Natural Resource Manager at the Trail of Tears State Park at Jackson, Missouri.

The research team’s research project that has been ongoing was to research in Record Group 217, Settled Indian Accounts, United States Treasury records that were virtually an untapped resource for researching Cherokee removal and emigration to the west.

Record Group 217 has provided details of the round-up of the Cherokee people; information of providing subsistence in the forts and camps; particulars of the formation of the detachments to be removed; details concerning the detachments on the routes west; correspondence of Major General Winfield Scott to Nathaniel Smith, Superintendent of Cherokee Removal; and this would also comprise of correspondence to and from Principal Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation.

Also included is communication with various other officials in the United States government that were involved in the removal process. Among the correspondence are invoices, requisitions, and receipts documenting the complicated procedure and management of removing an entire nation of people from their homeland in the southeast to west of the Mississippi River. Our research team has provided evidence of these records with the photocopies that were prepared in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Curtis Rohr, President of the Oklahoma Chapter, was in contact with Jerry Clark, an archivist at the National Archives, prior to our departure for Washington D.C. on July 5, 2010. These telephone conversations with Mr. Clark were done in order to advise him that the research team would be there at the National Archives on July 6 prepared to research; and also to determine if Mr. Clark had any suggestions for the research team.

Jerry Clark, who is considered by many to be a specialist of Indian records at the National Archives, advised the research team to review the records in Record Group 217, Settled Indian Accounts, United States Treasury in order to locate documents that we may have missed during previous research trips. Mr. Clark also suggested that we examine the records up to and including the year 1845.

Mr. Clark explained that in most instances the bills for payments due various contractors and individuals were not settled for several years after the Cherokee removal years of 1838-39. Consequently, there could be information that would be a useful addition to the documents that we had previously researched.

The research team followed the advice of Mr. Clark and placed our concentration again on Record Group 217. Numerous documents were discovered during the four day research period.

We did not photocopy any of the documents. The cost of photocopying at the National Archives is twenty-five cents a page. This has previously been a costly and time consuming expense. Ed and Gwen Henshaw donated the use of their new equipment: a digital camera with software for the imaging of documents, tripod, and a laptop computer. Gwen did the imaging of each document and was assisted by Jerra Quinton and Denise Dowling who were responsible for the placement of each document. We returned with 2,513 images of documents that we estimate to be three times as many as we photocopied during one research trip. The research team is grateful to Ed and Gwen Henshaw not only for their generosity for using their equipment, but also for the ability to generate more copies of the records, and thus save time and money.

An inventory of the boxes and account numbers is enclosed with this report.


The Oklahoma Chapter research team is satisfied with the accomplishment of photographing 2,513 images of documents that are among the holdings of the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

We are confident that with careful study of these documents by researchers that it will be evident of their usefulness in the examination and investigation of the Cherokee removal of 1838-39.

Examples of some of the documents that were photographed include a collection of correspondence relating to the subsistence in the forts and camps; also, correspondence concerning subsistence to be given each of the thirteen detachments before their departure to the west. There is correspondence to John Bell, Secretary of War, from Major General Winfield Scott and others involved in the removal process, objecting to the number of Cherokees in the detachments claimed by Principal Chief John Ross, in comparison to lists and rolls of Captain John Page and Captain J. R. Stephenson who led various detachments. There were objections from Principal Chief John Ross relating to the United States government’s estimate of the cost of the water detachment. These documents consist of approximately two hundred images and are in Box Number 422.

Also, there are estimates for the expenses incurred in the removal of the Cherokees under an arrangement with Major General Winfield Scott for rations, forage, charges for wagon teams, etc. comprising of approximately fifty photographs that are in Box Number 422.

Included in the collection of documents are various depositions that were given by contractors, United States army, and government officials. This would also consist of expenses incurred by various government agents. There are abstracts for forage and provisions issued to the detachments of Cherokee emigrants prior to their departure for the west by Lewis Ross who took over the contracting job from Clements, Bryan & Company, contractors who supplied provisions in the camps and forts before removal. Roughly over two hundred images of this type of documents were photographed. These images are in Box Number 422.

There are rolls and lists of Cherokee individuals that were taken for various purposes prior to removal such as clothing allowances, provisions, and those who were destitute. Seventy five pages is the estimation for the various rolls and lists that are in Box Number 309.

One document that we photographed that requires further examination and research is an invoice of the United States to Jonah Giles for firewood and fifty-five coffins furnished a detachment of emigrating Cherokees between Lewisburg, Arkansas and Flint Settlement in the west. The coffins are $2.50 each and were received in Flint Settlement August 5, 1838. This is the only time that we have seen a document stating this information. We found many invoices for coffins that were made for deceased Cherokees in the forts and camps in the southeast in previous research trips to the National Archives, but none that would suggest that coffins would be provided for a detachment in anticipation of the deaths that would occur from Arkansas to the Cherokee lands in the west. More research is required into this subject. This document is one page and is in Box Number 355.

Other documents consist of the correspondence of Principal Chief John Ross to Major General Winfield Scott, and Scott’s orders for the removal of the Cherokee detachments. In one letter, Major General Scott wrote to Nathaniel Smith, Superintendent of Cherokee removal, that he regretted the broken families of the Cherokees, the loss of their pots and cooking utensils, and the loss of Cherokee property all due to the hastiness of the removal. Nearly one hundred pages were photographed of these particular documents and these images are located in Box Number 439.

In addition, of the 2,513 images that were photographed during this research trip, more than one third is comprised of the documents of the John Ross files that relate to Ross taking charge of the Cherokee removal and the involvement of his brother Lewis Ross as the contractor for Cherokee subsistence over the protest of the Treaty Party. Politics aside, the John Ross files, as well as the Cherokee Nation files, provides an insight to how involved and sometimes complicated, the removal of a whole nation of people can be accomplished. The John Ross and the Cherokee Nation files were the most productive of the documents that we photographed because of the vast amount of information contained in the correspondence of John Ross, Lewis Ross, General Winfield Scott and others that will assist researchers of the Indian Removal far into the future. The documents are in Box Number 422.


The Oklahoma Chapter Research Team looks forward to returning to the National Archives to research in the Cherokee removal records that are among the holdings of that facility. However, we recognize that the team may not be in a financial position to return in the summer of 2011.

The team has discussed what possibilities and recourse we can follow in our research should we have another research trip in 2011. This would require making a study of the various record groups of the National Archives that we are interested in researching. As examples, we are interested in researching in some of the military records, and also the records of the War Department. Since military records are a massive collection of documents, this would necessitate narrowing the search to the time period in which we are interested, and determining what is relevant to our research. We recognize that many of the Indian-related records of the old War Department were transferred to the newly formed Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1824. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, usually known as the Office of Indian Affairs, was established as a separate agency within the War Department in 1824.

Our interest in the military records is obvious, as the United States removal of the Indians from the Southeast, was under the direction of army General Winfield Scott to round-up the Indians for removal to the west. Members of our Research Team are of the opinion that there could be to a great extent, a large amount of documents that we have not discovered or utilized in our research of the Cherokee removal that could be among the records in the Office of Indian Affairs.

The research team needs to study the hierarchy of the various record groups within the National Archives to ascertain the record groups that we should research to avoid spinning our wheels. This would apply to military records as well as the War Department or Office of Indian Affairs.

Some of the finding aids that we will be required to consult and study are American Indians A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications, Preliminary Inventories of the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 2 vols. compiled by Edward E. Hill, Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians compiled by Edward E. Hill, and Military Service Records A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. An additional guide that would be essential to our research is the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives. Our team does not have this guide in our personal libraries, although one could be purchased for our use.

A logical next step would be to contact a National Archives staff person who specializes in Indian-related records in the Military Archives. It would also be necessary for our team to use the National Archives website to assist in determining the usefulness of the various record groups and what the holdings are that each record group has within its collection.

We look forward to following-up on this research either in 2011 or thereafter.


Inventory of files examined – July 6-9, 2010

Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association

Prepared by Marybelle Chase

Record Group 217 – Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury.

Entry 465

Box number unknown—4 images (not sure of subject matter) Note: these records were selected by Denise Dowling, Natural Resource Manager, Missouri Department of Natural Resources Trail of Tears State Park specifically for that facility.

Entry 481

Box 5—12 images that are registers of the Second Auditor of the United States that relate to payments of spoliations to Cherokee Indians. Selected by Denise Dowling for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Trail of Tears State Park.

Entry 482

Box 1—3 images of Record of Payments to Cherokees under the Treaty of 1835 selected by Denise Dowling for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Trail of Tears State Park.

Entry 525 – Settled Indian Accounts, 1817-1922

Box 284 (1838) Files 1186-1201 (nothing found)

Box 285 (1838) Files 1202-1233 (nothing found)

Box 286 (1838) Files 1237-1249D (nothing found)

Box 287 (1838) Files 1251-1284 (nothing found)

Box 288 (1838) Files 1288A-1324A (nothing found)

Box 289 (1838) Files 1324B-1350A (nothing found)

Box 290 (1838) Files 1350B-1395A (nothing found)

Box 291 (1838) Files 1404-1431A (nothing found)

Box 292 (1838) Files 1431C-1469C (nothing found)

Box 293 (1838) Files 1469D-1477 (2 copies filmed)

Box 294 (1838) Files 1490-1499 (nothing found)

Box 295 (1838) Files 1500-1541B (nothing found)

Box 296 (1838) Files 1541C-1544A (nothing found)

Box 297 (1838) Files 1544B-1558 (nothing found)

Box 298 (1838) Files 1560-1577 (nothing found)

Box 299 (1838) Files 1584-1604 (nothing found)

Box 300 (1838) Files 1610-1637A (filmed letters from V. P. Van Antwerp)

Box 301 (1838) Files 1637-1687 (Muster Roll of Creeks 1836) (no copies)

Box 302 (1838) Files 1689-1701A (Creeks) (no copies)

Box 303 (1838) Files 1701B-1743 (nothing found)

Box 304 (1838) Files 1744-1756 (nothing found)

Box 305 (1838) Files 1756C-1786 (nothing found)

Box 306 (1838) Files 1797-1835 (nothing found)

Box 307 (1838) Files 1836A-1836E (nothing found)

Box 308 (1838) Files 1836D-1836H (nothing found)

Box 309 (1838) Files 1837-1857 (filmed ration list New Echota—Col. William Lindsey) (46 images)

Box 310 (1838) Files 1865-1895A (nothing found)

Box 311 (1838) Files 1895B-1946 (nothing found)

Box 312 (1838) Files 1948-1980B (nothing found)

Box 313 (1838) Files 1980C-1980J (nothing found)

Box 314 (1838) Files 1980K-1999B (nothing found)

-- 2 boxes missing off cart --

Box 317 (1838) Files 2036-2061B (nothing found)

Box 318 (1838) Files 2061C-2083 (nothing found)

Box 319 (1838) Files 2084-2104B (nothing found)

Box 320 (1838) Files 2111-2138 (nothing found)

Box 321 (1838) Files 2140-2179 (nothing found)

Box 322 (1838) Files 2179-2180A(1) (filmed numerous receipts)

Box 323 (1838) Files 2180A(3)-2195 (nothing found)

Box 324 (1838) Files 2198-2272 (nothing found)

Box 325 (1838) Files 2274-2366 (nothing found)

Box 326 (1838) box was out to another researcher not connected with our research team.

Box 327 (1839) Files 2447-2481C (nothing found)

Box 328 (1839) Files 2481D-2520B (nothing found)

Box 329 (1839) Files 2520C-2589G (nothing found)

Box 330 (1839) Files 2589H-2589U (services rendered—entire box Joel Crittenden—copied files during previous research trips)

Box 331 (1839) Files 2589V-2651 (one file Joel Crittenden copied previously)

Box 332 (1839) Files 2563-2741 (nothing found)

Box 333 (1839) Files 2743A-2769 (nothing found)

Box 334 (1839) Files 2771-2780D (nothing found)

Box 336 (1839) Files 2856-2876-O—From File 2873—Baptist Powles, Menoi Smith, and John Anthony—5 images; From File 2876-C—Baptist Powles, Menoi Smith, and Capt. John Page—14 images; From File 2876-D—Baptist Powels, Menoi Smith, and Capt. John Page—55 images

Box 353 (1839) Files 3386E-3386L (nothing found)

  1. 354 (1839) Files 3386K-3476 (nothing found)

Box 355 (1839) Files 3478-3522 (filmed File 3486A—R. M. K. Whitely—83 images

Box 356 (1839) Files 3537-3594A (filmed three documents of Lt. Edward Deas)

Box 357 (1839) Files 3594B-3599 (filmed one document—wagons hired) From Unknown file—4 images

Box 414 (1841) File 5989 (large folder on Samuel Mackey who contracted to provide all provisions for two years to the Creeks who were removed) (no copies)

Box 422 (1841) Files 6185-6289H (filmed Lewis Ross file, Cherokee Nation files, John Ross accounts, government audit and investigation)

Box 423 (1841) File 6314 (filmed Gen. Winfield Scott’s claim of per diem) – (not copied)

Box 424 (1841) Files 6317A-6317I (nothing found)

Box 425 (1841) Files 6317-I-6317O (nothing found)

Box 426 (1841) Files 6317P-6317H (nothing found)

Box 427 (1841) Files 6317W-6317DD (nothing found)

Box 428 (1841) Files 6317EE-6317KK (nothing found)

Box 429 (1841) Files 6317KK-6326E (nothing found)

Box 430 (1841) Files 6326E-6326O (nothing found)

Box 439 (1841-1842) Files 6601-6771C (Clements, Bryan & Co., contractors) (filmed letters of Gen. Winfield Scott, letters of Nathaniel Smith, David Taylor, John Page) – From 3 files, all from Clements, Bryan, and Co.; File 6771-A, 9 images; File 6771-B, 11 images; and File 6771-C, 1 image

Box 440 (1842) Files 6771D-6939 (filmed Wm. Clark, attorney’s decision, number of Cherokees in each detachment, total detachment cost and time of departure from the east and days traveled, contract with Clements, Bryan & Co., deposition of Capt. John Page, letters of Gen. Scott) – From 2 files—both Clements, Bryan, and Co.; File 6771-D, 18 images; and File 6771-E, 13 images

Box 441 (1842) Files 6941-7055A (nothing found)

Box 442 (1842) Files 7055B-7176A (nothing found)

Box 443 (1842) Files 7176B-7261A (nothing found)

Box 444 (1842) Files 7261B-7261K (nothing found)

Box 445 (1842) Files 7261L-7328 (nothing found)

Box 446 (1842) Files 7329-7374 – From File 7361—George W. Paschal—40 images

Box 447 (1842) Files 7376-7434E (nothing found)

Box 448 (1842) (nothing found)

Box 449 (1842) Files 7434P-7434U (filmed payment receipts and administrators notices) – From File 7434-P—J. Brown—40 images

Box 450 (1842) Files 7434-7567 (filmed payment receipts and administrators notices) – From File 7434-V—J. Brown—109 images

Box 451 (1842) Files 7568-7656G (nothing found)

Box 452 (1842) Files 7660-7750C (nothing found)

Box 453 (1842) Files 7750D-7819 (nothing found)

Box 454 (1842) Files 7832-7909G (nothing found)

Box 455 (1842) Files 7909H-7960C (nothing found)

Box 456 (1842-1843) Files 7961A-7974C (nothing found)

Box 457 (1842-1843) Files 7989A-8021 (nothing found)

Box 458 (1842-1843) Files 8022-8035 (nothing found)

Box 459 (1843) Files 8036-8053 (nothing found)

Box 460 (1843) Files 8055A-8108 (nothing found)

Box 461 (1843) Files 8113-8139 (nothing found)

Box 462 (1843) (nothing found)

Box 463 (1843) (nothing found)

Box 464 (1843) (nothing found)

Box 467 (1843) From Account No. 4—Gideon Morris—29 images; from Account No. 13—Elizabeth Welsh—25 images

Box 475 (1843) Files 208F-212—Filmed payment receipts and correspondence—From File 210—Henry Smith—194 images; From File 209-E—P. M. Butler—10 images

Box 481 (1843) Files 361-419—From File 364—J. K. Rogers—5 images—From File 365—J. K. Rogers—8 images

Box 483 (1843-1844) Files 427B-485A (filmed two documents) From File 477—John Cocke and G. L. Davidson—3 images

Box 484 (1843-1844) Files 485B-496B (nothing found)

Box 485 (1844) Files 497A-497E (nothing found) Two boxes left off cart

Box 488 (1844) Files 637-696H (nothing found)

Box 489 (1844) Files 696I-737 (nothing found)

Box 490 (1844) Files 738-871 (filmed Joel Crittenden file) From File 784—28 images

Box 491 (1844) Files 874-889G (nothing found)

Box 492 (1844) Files 889H-941 (nothing found)

Box 493 (1844) Files 942-975 (nothing found)

Box 494 (1844) Files 979-1008D (nothing found)

Box 495 (1844) Files 1008E-1040H (nothing found)

Box 496 (1844) Files 1040I-1094B (filmed Cherokee agent in the west P. M. Butler file) From File 1094-B—38 images

Box 497 (1844) Files 1094C-1118—From File 1094-C—P. M. Butler—3 images

Box 498 (1844) Files 1130C-1162 (nothing found)

Box 499 (1844) Files 1168-1214 (nothing found)

Box 500 (1844) Files 1216-1239 (nothing found)

Box 501 (1844) Files 1240-1262E (nothing found)

Box 502 (1844) Files 1262F-1319A—From File 1273—George Fields—8 images; From File 1305—Heirs of Silas and Isabella Chote—8 images

Box 503 (1844) Files 1319B-1393B—From File 1397—William H. Thomas,Te-Yolt-La, and Isaas Davis—24 images.

Box 504 (1844) (nothing found)

Box 505 (1844) (filmed file 1464-Elijah Hicks and file 1466-S. C. Stambaugh) –

Box 506 (1844) Files 1515C-1572—From File 1522A—John Hill Edwards—26 images; From File 1537—Samuel C. Stambaugh—4 images; From File 1538—Samuel C. Stambaugh—21 images

Box 507 (1845) Files 1567-1683—Computer File labeled “Box 503” contains Items from File 1593—Gov. M. Stokes—4 images; Computer File labeled “Box 507” contains items from File 1609—unknown agent—30 images and from File 1609—Lewis G. DeRussey—4 images

Box 508 (1845) From File 1760—Jesse Bushyhead—24 images

Box 509 (1845) (nothing found)

Box 510 (1845) (nothing found)

Box 511 (1845) (nothing found)

Box 512 (1845) (nothing found)

Box 513 (1845) Files 1873-1916 (nothing found)

Box 514 (1845) Files 1929-1942E (nothing found)

Box 515 (1845) Files 1951-1996 (nothing found)

Box 516 (1845) Files 1997B-2006 (nothing found)

Box 517 (1845) Files 2008-2057A (nothing found)

Box 518 (1845) Files 2057B-2109B (nothing found)

Box 519 (1845) Files 2109C-2160A (nothing found)

Box 520 (1845) Files 2161-2168 (filmed Richard Fields file)

Box 521 (1845) Files 2171-2207 (photocopied Clement Vann document) – From File 2183—Drew & Fields—7 images

Box 522 (1845) Files 2208-2268A (filmed file 2264-John Gould file-Cherokees who stayed in the east) 4 images

Box 523 (1845) Files 2268B-2268H (nothing found)

Box 524 (1845) Files 2268I-2292E (nothing found)

Box 525 (1845) Files 2297F-2347 (filmed Acct. 2347-George C. Washington and John T. Mason documents) 8 images

Box 526 (1845) Files 2347A-2391A (nothing found)

Box 527 (1845) Files 2391B-2412 (nothing found)

Box 528 (1845) Box left off cart

Box 529 (1845) Files 2564E-2598 (nothing found)

Box 530 (1845) Files 2602-2614B (nothing found)

Box 531 (1845) Files 2620A-2636 (nothing found)

Box 532 (1845) Files 2637-2662E (nothing found)

Box 533 (1845) Files 2662F-2668B (P.M. Butler files—nothing filmed)

Box 534 (1845) Files 2669-2688 (nothing found)

Box 537 (1845-1846) Files 2923-2986 (nothing found)

Box 538 (1846) Files 2995-3187 (nothing found)

Box 539 (1846) Files 3188A-3222B (nothing found)

Box 540 (1846) Files 3261A-3314C (nothing found)

Box 541 (1846) Files 3314D-3321A (nothing found)

Box 542 (1846) Files 3321B-3439 (nothing found)

Box 543 (1846) Files 3442-3542 (nothing found)

Box 544 (1846) Files 3543A-3605A (nothing found)

Box 545 (1846) Files 3605B-3653 (nothing found)

Box 546 (1846) Files 3654-3681B (nothing found)

Box 547 (1846) Files 3684-3710A (nothing found)

Box 548 (1846) Files 3710B-3773 (nothing found)

Box 549 (1846) Files 3782-3800C (nothing found)

Box 550 (1846) Files 3801-3840 (nothing found)

Box 551 (1846) Files 3841-3900B (nothing found)

Box 552 (1846) Files 3901-4020 (nothing found)

Box 553 (1846) Files 4042-4144 (nothing found)

Box 554 (1846) Files 4145-4419 (nothing found)

Box 555 (1847) Files 4424-4706 (nothing found)

Box 556 (1847) Files 4776A-4738B (nothing found)

  1. 557 (1847) Files 4738C-4757 (nothing found)

Box 560 (1847) Files 4897-4986—From File 4959—Elias Boudinot—6 images; From File 4976—Sarah Pascal—28 images

Box 563 (1847) Files 5089-5134—From File 5113—Elijah Hicks—49 images

Record Group 217 – Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury.

Entry 660 – Digest of Decisions Relating to Indian Matters

Box 1 (1 Volume) (nothing found regarding Cherokee removal)

Last updated: February 13, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

National Trails Intermountain Region
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
PO Box 728

Santa Fe, NM 87504


(505) 988-6098

Contact Us