Perrymen's personal story;
Hensci estonko omvlkeyat? Grant Perryman cvhocefkvtos. I was born in California
in 1959 and currently live in the Bay Area. Growing up in the 60's in a predominantly African American
neighborhood, I was teased by my friends for not looking "Black" enough. I attended predominantly
European American schools and was shunned for being different. I can recount numerous occasions when strangers
would come up to me and say, "What are you?" This angered me inside and I would tell them to
guess. The answers were unbelievable. I was Arab, Jewish, Eastern Indian, Caribbean,
Filipino, Puerto Rican, and Polynesian. My parents did their best in teaching me to hold my head
high but it didn't answer my primary question of who am I.
When my paternal grandmother
came to visit she would spend the entire day in the kitchen
cooking and baking from scratch. I would volunteer to be her assistant
and probably got in her way more than help but she would never say so. During these culinary moments, I
would repeatedly ask her to tell me the stories about our family. I never grew tired of them even when
I could repeat every word myself. My grandmother's words gave me power. Grandmother's
stories gave me strength. Grandmother's wisdom gave me character. Grandmother answered
my question of who I am.
I am a citizen of Heaven through my faith in Jesus Christ, a
citizen of the United States of America through my birth and one day by faith will be a citizen of the Mvskoke Creek Nation.
I am a descendant of many Mvskoke Creek citizens. Some with Native blood, some with African blood
and some with European blood. I was formed and fashioned by Ohfvnkv (the One Above) and I am very proud
of ALL the blood that runs through my veins. The E-sau-ge-tuh E-mis-see (Master of Breath)
makes no mistakes.
Cow Tom is my great x 4 grandfather. He was an African slave
to Checartha Yargee, son of Tvsttenuggee Thlocco or Big Warrior of Tvckvbvtchee Tvlwv. Cat Yargee was a
full blood Mvskoke who refused to assimilate into American culture and spoke no English. However, he was
an astute businessman and took on the alien Mvskoke way of cattle herding. He depended on his African slaves
who were more familiar with the confusing ways of the Wachenas. Cow Tom earned his nickname for his prowess
in increasing his master's herd and for conducting Yargee's business deals with Americans. Upper Creeks
believed in paying their slaves for their labor and Cow Tom eventually purchased his freedom, his wife, Amy Cow Tom and their
children, Harry, Maggie and Melinda Cow Tom's freedom.
and 500 Loyal to American Mvskoke Creek warriors were sent to serve with the American General Thomas Jessup during the Second
Seminole War. Cow Tom was the general's personal interpreter.
and his family accompanied Checartha Yargee and family by land on the forced removal from Alabama to Indian Territory.
One of Yargee's sons died from the brutal cold winter nights. Some of Amy Cow Tom's relatives were
herded like cattle on board the steamship Mammouth. It was over crowded with Mvskoke citizens. It sailed
at night and was hit by another boat. It sank killing many including some of my relatives.
In Indian Territory, Cow Tom amassed a sizeable fortune as a cattle rancher and farmer. During
the outbreak of the Civil War he stood and fought to protect his cvkv. However, the Confederate forces
of Native Americans came too close and he finally had to abandon his ranch and fled to the safety of Fort Gibson.
There he saw a terrible sight. Mvskoke vculvke and hopuetake huddled together in
the cold; starving. They had no way of communicating their needs to the military commanders and the Americans
couldn't speak the Mvskoke Opvnakvn. Cow Tom went into action organizing and directing the military commanders
to bring relief aide to his people. For this, Oktars-sars-har-jo (Sands) Principal Chief of the Upper Creeks
during the Civil War, honored my grandfather by making him a chief. After the Civil War Cow Tom is listed in the Mvskoke Creek
Census of 1860 on page 6 #75 and the 1870 Loyal Creek Abstract page 2 #160. Note he is listed as Chief.
After the Civil War African slaves in the United States were made citizens of America by virtue of the 13th,
14th and 15th amendments. Slaves in the Five Tribes were made citizens of their perspective
Nations as well as their descendants by virtue of the 1866 Treaty. Citizenship is not about race or blood.
It is a legal binding contract. It’s that simple.
x 3 grandmother, Melinda Cow Tom married John Jefferson who served time in the Mvskoke Creek Government in the House of Warriors.
John Jefferson was placed on the Dawes "Freedmen" Roll. His parents were listed as Jeff
Randle and Betsey Randall. His full brother, Manuel Jefferson, was placed on the Dawes "Blood"
Roll as 1/4 Mvskoke and his parents were listed as Jeff George and Betsey George. Their full brother, Silas
Jefferson, was placed on the Dawes "Blood" Roll and was listed as 1/2 Mvskoke and his parents were Jeff McNac and
Betsey McNac. Silas Jefferson was also known as Hotulko Mikko, roll #3694, cc#1141, and was a member of
the House of Kings & 2nd Chief. John Jefferson and his wife Melinda are also listed
on the 1860 Census on page 7 #78 and John is listed on the 1870 Loyal Creek Abstract on page 2 #130. Note
that although he is not listed as Creek, he is listed as a free "colored"
a copy of Silas Jefferson's Death and Heirship papers which lists John Jefferson as his full brother and even includes his
"Freedmen" Roll number which eliminates any doubt. Their mother Betsey was of Tvskigi Tvwlv and
of the Wind clan. She was the daughter of Samuel McNac (Totkes Hajou)
a relative of the famous Alexander McGillivray and Elizabeth Weatherford brother of the famous war Chief William Weatherford.
This lineage goes back to Holland, Dutch, Scottish, Mvskoke and possible Natchez origins.
I have a copy of John Jefferson's application for allotment. It reads as follows.
to the Five Civilized Tribes
Muskogee, I.T. July 3, 1901
Muskogee Land Office
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION of John Jefferson, to
take allotments of land for himself and his wife, Linda Jefferson, in the Creek Nation, accompanied by a proper description
of the lands applied for and a certificate showing that they have been listed for enrollment as citizens of the said Nation.
John Jefferson, being duly sworn by John G. Leiber, a notary public, testifies as follows:
Q: What is your name? A: John Jefferson
Q: Are you a citizen of the Muskogee Nation? A: Yes sir.
Q: What town do you belong to? A: Tuskegee.
Q: How long have you lived in the Creek Nation?
A: All my life.
Have you been outside of the territory in the last 4 years?
A: No sir.
Q: Are you married? A: Yes sir.
Q: Is your wife a citizen of the Muskogee Nation?
A: Yes sir.
town does she belong to? A: Canadian.
Q: How long has she lived in the Creek Nation? A: All her life.
Q: Has she been outside of the territory in the last 4 years?
A: No sire.
Are yours and your wife's names on the Dunn Roll? A: Yes sir.
John Jefferson's daughter,
Emmeline Jefferson, married Charles H. Davis (Tsalagi) from Virginia or Tennessee. He was a Union Army
soldier who was mustered out at Fort Gibson. He became a school teacher and taught within the Seminole
and Creek Nation. Emmeline was one of his students. Unfortunately, this is all I know
about my Cherokee heritage. Many years after the death of her first husband, Emmeline married Judge H.
C. Reed, Muskogee District Judge of the Creek Nation.
My surname ancestor goes back
to my great x 2 grandfather, Hector Perryman. Mose Perryman was among the largest slave owners in the Creek
Nation. Mose Perryman was the son of Steek‑cha‑ko‑me‑co or great king, Benjamin
Perryman, who was made famous by a George Catlin Portrait. They were Lower Creeks who greatly favored assimilation
into American society. They dressed, spoke and acted as Anglo-Americans. Benjamin Perryman
was part of the William McIntosh fraction that signed an illegal treaty with the US government succeeding millions of acres
in Georgia. Chief McIntosh was assassinated much like Elias Boudinot, Major Ridge and John Ridge of the
Cherokee. Slavery among the Lower Creeks more closely resembled that of their southern neighbors, including the habit of having
children by their female slaves. My oral tradition states that Hector was a child of Mose Perryman.
Furthermore family resemblance to Joseph M. Perryman and Legus C. Perryman, elected Chiefs of the Creek Nation is undeniable.
In fact my resemblance to Rancher George B. Perryman is uncanny. Legus C. Perryman was
even publically ridiculed for looking more "Negro than White" by the famous Creek poet, Alex Posey.
Hector had two brothers, Jacob Perryman and William McIntosh. Jacob
was also owned by Mose Perryman. William was owned by an Oona/Una/Yonah McIntosh (some say Daniel McIntosh).
Their mother is Winnie. William's father is listed as William McIntosh. Jacobs'
father is listed as York. All three ran away with Upper Creek Chief Opoethleyahola to Kansas during the
Civil War. All three brothers are listed on the 1870 Loyal Creek Abstract. Hector page
3 #92, Jacob page 3 #91 and William page 3 #99. As slaves they had amassed their own personal wealth as
indicated on the amounts they claimed and were awarded what they had lost during the Civil War.
before enrollment. One Indian Pioneer Interview states that Hector had a ranch and another states that
he operated a ferry on the Arkansas River. The Tulsa Annals list an abstract of his will. All
of Hector's children kept the Perryman surname
Census Card # 1077/Roll #4086. He served in the Civil
War as a Union Soldier in the 1st Indian Home Guards Regiment, Kansas Infantry Company C as a Private. All of Jacobs' children
(Census Card #’s 494,1056) changed their surname to Jacobs.
Census Card # 943/Roll#3668.
He served in the Civil War as a Union Soldier in the 2nd Kansas Colored 83rd USCT Company G. He
served as Town King of Arkansas Colored. He was a breeder of race horses.
H. Davis' daughter, my great grandmother, Mattie Davis, married William Nicholas Perryman. He was a teacher
at the Coal Creek Colored School (circa 1894) and the Superintendent of a Colored Orphans Home (circa 1900).
In 1979 the Mvskoke Creek Nation changed their constitution and only allowed descendants of those found on the Dawes
Blood Rolls to enroll as citizens. My ancestors were at one time full fledged Mvskoke Creek Citizens and
were listed on several rolls predating the Dawes Roll. They were interpreters, government officials, preachers,
teachers, ranchers, farmers, judges and ordinary men and women. They spoke Mvskoke Opvnakvn.
They dressed as Mvskoke. They ate Mvskoke food and followed Mvskoke traditions. They
Brother has kicked out brother. Racism has replaced tradition.
Injustice has wiped out justice. Immorality has won over morality. Our ancient
stories spoke of our sacred duty to be in balance with the world around us. Today the Nene Mvskoke has
been distorted by our leaders. They have brought chaos and betrayal. We have been abandoned
and nullified. All we want is our rightful citizenship back. It's time for the United
States Congress to intervene on behalf of the people whose citizenship has been illegally striped away. Human rights are not
revocable. It's time that our federal tax dollars stop supporting the racist regimes of the current administrations. This
is taxation without representation. It has been said let the sovereign rights of the Indian national courts
handle the situation. I respectfully ask, are tribal court’s decision higher than Congressional treaties?
Jim Crow has reared its ugly head and it must be stopped. It's time for Congress to acknowledge,
honor, defend and uphold the laws of the land.
Our Mvskoke elders once believed that the totkv-etkv
(sacred fire) became polluted with the sins of the people. The Posketv ceremony extinguished the old corrupt
fire and a new purify fire was lit in the ceremony square. The Green Corn celebration was a sacred time
of forgiveness, thanksgiving, purification and renewal. It’s time for the old flame of racism to die and the new fire
of harmony to begin. It’s time to for us to become the unified, strong, powerful, mighty nation that
we once were. The question remains: are we people of a polluted corrupt fire or one people of a purified
Nettv heren ocvs.
My name is Mary Ann (Wells) Cunningham. I am a descendant of both Creek
Freedman and Creek by blood. I was always told of my ancestry, admittedly mostly oral history.
This is no longer
accepted as valid by the Creek Nation unlike the olden years when basically oral history was all we had for both the Creek
freedman and by blood.
I lived in the state of Oklahoma, McIntosh County. Born and reared.
7 years ago, I decided to make application for citizenship in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. I was told by the Creek citizenship
office the enrollment was only for descendants of the by blood Creeks.
It did not matter that all my ancestors both freedmen
and blood were natives of Indian Territory and citizens of Creek Nation. Legally enrolled and admitted as citizens.
earliest documents I have of my fore parents are from the 1800's.
I have old documents stating that two of grandmothers
were enslaved by the Creek Grayson family when in reality they were their relatives. On one census it shows that they were
owned by Watt Grayson. One of my grandmothers, who was owned by the Grayson family, married into their family. Thus, my grandmother
Judy carried the Grayson name.
Judy Grayson had a daughter named Louisa who married
a full blood Creek (Haynes) and they produced five children. One of her daughters was my great grandmother Delilah Haynes
In books by Claudio Saunt and the GW Grayson Bio, they only stated that one of Robert Grierson’s
sons married one of his Negro slaves, using no name. But only the names Delilah and one of Delilah’s grandsons is mentioned
by name. Various accounts have been written about my family, but never written using first names. These writers and researchers
knew the given names yet deliberately chose not to use them. Strangely, always nouns and never proper nouns.
has been a weary journey and a tedious task. It is a path littered with distorted history, destroyed documents, racial prejudice
and injustice and misspelled words.
If it is to stripe a person of their citizenship for
no justifiable reason, the Creek Nation should not be allowed or permitted to do so. Knowing the history of the Creeks, their
hardships, misuse, abuse and all the other horrors they endured, to think that the Nation now have become exact copies of
the people who inflicted their pain, tore their families apart, and taken their promised land.
show that many of my ancestors were citizens long before the Dawes enrollment.
The community, in which I live, Huttonville, was settled by my family and others before the Dawes enrollment or any of the
other roll or Oklahoma statehood.
My Freedmen family was very much a part of the Creek Nation, not just
a part in. They were Creek Nation citizens in every sense of the word.
These are the surnames of my family: Grayson, Haynes,
Huttons, Greirsons, Berryhills, Bruner, Ross, McNac, Sears, Hope, Holt, Spencer/Wolfe, Perryman, all Creek family names.
Mary Ann Cunningham
ps. The people on the picture are my siblings and I enjoying a Oklahoma day.