This roll is often spoken of when one mentions the Rolls of the Dawes Commission. To get to this stage, the families and persons listed below had to go through a series of interviews that involved being sworn under oath, questioning by the Commission that operated from 1898 - 1914. This Freedmen Roll, shown below, reflects those who underwent the close scrutiny. Often the Freedmen applicants had to "prove" that they were indeed citizens of the nation---the proof often being the word of one of the citizens, "by blood". (This is ironic since many of the Freedmen themselves had Indian blood. However, the Dawes Commission sought to prevent further enrollment of descendants of Freedmen, by refusing to note their "blood quantum" a measurement of no scientific merit but was used to exclude people from the rolls.) (Inclusion on the rolls did however, eventually grant land allotment to freedmen. The Choctaw Freedmen received typically 40 acres although Choctaws by blood received more than 100 acres..)
These are the primary documents needed to research the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes. Included on these cards are the name, age, name of Slave Owner of the enrollee, and on the reverse image appears the names of the father, mother, and slave owner of the enrollee. In addition, the father of Sallie Walton was an Indian by blood and is indicated on the sample card.
These files contain the actual testimonies and interviews conducted by the Dawes Commission between 1898 - 1914. There are several thousand of these interviews that will of greatest value to the genealogist.
There is constant discussion about the possibility of Freedmen being “mere slaver” to the point that even members of the nations themselves believe that there were no free people among them, and no inter-tribal affiliations. The Creek Nation, in particular has documents reflecting that free people lived among them, and that many had family members from other tribes. Creeks had strong ties with Seminoles, as well as members of other tribes as well.
Conducted in the 1880's this Roll, compiled by Indian Agent John Wallace was eventually rejected by the Cherokee Nation. However the list is useful nevertheless, to find ancestors on a roll, prior to Oklahoma statehood. The roll contains the names, ages, and Cherokee Nation district of each enrollee.
An earlier roll of Cherokee Freedmen. This roll is often referred to in later rolls such as the Wallace Rolls and the Dawes Rolls. All persons listed are Cherokee Freedmen.
Indian Territory Freedmen received acres of land that varied from 40 acres in the case of Choctaw Freedmen and Chickasaw Freedmen, to over 100 acres for Creek and Cherokee Freedmen. Many records found in court houses, in Eastern Oklahoma will often show the exact location of where lands were given to Freedmen.