1st Edition

Townsite Settlement and Dispossession in the Cherokee Nation, 1866-1907

By Brad A. Bays Copyright 1998

    In response to the influx of white settlement after the Civil War, the Cherokee nation devised a regional development plan which allowed whites to establish farms and build towns while reinforcing Cherokee tribal sovereignty over the territory. The presence of sizeable towns and numerous villages presented a legal conundrum for Congress when it legislated away Cherokee sovereignty at the turn of the century. By 1898, tens of thousands of whites owned residential and commercial properties worth millions of dollars in Cherokee Nation towns, but every lot was owned by the Cherokee people. The federal government created a program to transfer legal ownership of town lots to white occupants, but poor implementation of the program allowed individuals to subvert the law for their own gain. The author explores the subject using primary documentation of such diverse sources as traveler's reports, land records, tribal and federal correspondence, and accounts of Cherokee and white settlers. Descriptive statistics and analytical mapping of historical data provide additional facets to the analysis. Also inlcludes 50 maps.
    (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1996; revised with new preface, introduction, afterword) Index. Bibliography.

    List of Tables, List of Illustrations, Preface, Acknowledgments, I Introduction, II Postbellum Land and Life, III Initial Cherokee Policy and Early Townsites, IV Economy, Population, Jurisdiction, and Town Building, 1875-1885, V Politics, Economy, and Cherokee Townsite Development, 1885-1895, VI Establishment of Federal Control, 1896-1902, VII Federal Policy and the Alienation of Cherokee Townsites, 1902-1907, VIII Conclusions, Selected Bibliography, Index


    Brad A. Bays

    "Detailed and informative,"Townsite Settlement and Dispossession in the Cherokee Nation, 1866-1907"(Garland Publishing, $60) examines how the U.S. government-"through persuasion, coercion, and outright imposition"-divided up commonly held reservation land and properties in hte last third of the 19th century.
    Brad A. Bay's astute focus is on the townsite settlement and disposesession of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma."