1867 Choctaw Census Summary
SourceAncestry.com. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Marriage, Citizenship and Census Records,
1841-1927 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Indian Marriage and Other Records, 1850–1920. Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
A document digitized by Ancestry reflects probably one of the earliest census records from the Choctaw Nation. In 1867 an assessment was made of the various counties of the Nation, and the data is interesting to study. The counties in the nation that are reflected in this census are: San Bois, Skullyville, Sugar Loaf, Gaines, Tobucksy, Wade, Nashoba, Eagle, Boktuklo, Red River, Towson, Cedar, Jacks Fork, Atoka, Kiamichi, and Blue counties.
Looking more closely at the document the populations studied are the numbers of Indian males and females, the numbers of Choctaw Freedmen, the numbers of Freedmen from other States and Nations, and the numbers of whites. Data on acres of land being cultivated and the crops are also noted. Interesting however that Choctaw Freedmen are referred to as "Free Persons of Color" on the document. In addition the numbers of freed people of color from other states were also counted in the population.
To access this census: on Ancestry:Oklahoma and Indian Territory
The census was conducted in December 1867, and it reflected all of the counties of the Choctaw Nation at that time. The counties reflected were: San Bois, Skullyville, Sugar Loaf, Gaines, Tobucksy, Wade, Nashoba, Eagle, Boktuklo, Red River, Towson, Cedar, Jacks Fork, Atoka, Kiamichi, and Blue.
(Source: same as above)
I decided to examine the 1867 census closely to see if I could find my own Choctaw Freedmen reflected anywhere. The item being examined is found in the Ancestry collection called: Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Marriage, Citizenship and Census. The microfilm selected was CTN 04 which can be accessed on Ancestry. The image number is 112.
The oldest documented ancestor that I have among my Choctaw Freedman ancestors is Kitty Perry. She was once enslaved by the Perry family, and was now freed and reflected in the record. Kitty was the grandmother to my great grandmother Sallie Walton. Among the communities captured in those early post-civil war enumerations was the Skullyville community (written as Scullyville). Surely enough, 12 pages into that particular reel of microfilm there was my ancestor Kitty. And Kitty, my third great grandmother as identified as a "Free person of color" aka Choctaw Freedman, on that document.
Across from her name were some numbers reflecting the gender of people living in the household with her. There were two males and three females at that time. My research has already revealed the three females, Sallie, her mother Amanda, and an aunt Indiana Perry. Only one male is known from family research and that is Jackson Perry (later known as Jackson Crow). The other male is unknown so far.
Although there is not much more known about Kitty, and her life right after the war, seeing her name particularly so early after the war is encouraging. She was a survivor, and seeing her name on this early document places her back on the soil where she had lived for decades.
Understanding the trauma of war, and the uncertainty of living in such a trying time, under trying circumstances, and then seeing the family reflected in those uncertain times, is empowering. Kitty had a family to still feed and protect, and nurture. Her name on that record reflects her own determination to continue with life. Her early years are unknown, though she is believed to have arrived in the Skullyville Sugar Loaf area with the Perry's in 1831 from Yalobusha Mississippi.
Seeing that small entry on a document from 1867, inspires me to keep moving ahead. The legacy of those enumerated in those critical years after the Civil War continues. And for me, when I study that first post Civil War document, and new path began, and I can say that from that one record, Kitty's legacy continues.