I am a writer, editor and farmer living in northwest Texas. I have two decades of experience as a editor and reporter for newspapers of all shapes and sizes and as a correspondent for a major international news service. I’m also a contributing correspondent for CBS Sports covering major sporting events including the NCAA basketball tourney and numerous NCAA bowl games.


5 Responses to About

  1. Duktooth says:

    Daniel, my ancestors were members of the Freedmen colony near Gooseneck and were allotted land in Coffeyville. I had not heard of the conflict with the Cherokees. I would like to learn more. What sources would you suggest I research to find out more about this struggle?
    Thank you in advance, Gerald Carson

    • walkereditor says:

      There isn’t a lot of material available but Daniel Littlefield, Jr’s book, The Cherokee Freedmen was a good resource; though as an academic work, its a little hard to read. There is a copy of it in either the genealogy or local history section of the Bartlesville Public Library; if you aren’t near it, you probably can get it on an interlibrary loan at your local library. I also used the old Coffeyville Journal newspapers for the time in question which are on microfilm at the Coffeyville Public Library. There is a collection of old articles relating to the Lenapah–and by extension Gooseneck–area for sale at the Lenapah History Museum; there is quite a bit of social info on Gooseneck as well as Lenapah. There is a little info available in the History of Nowata County book on sale at the Nowata County Museum, the library also has microfilm for the Nowata newspaper of the time. The best thing I did was just go to where the town was and talk to people who have memories of the area. Speaking of which I’d love to hear how your family came to Gooseneck and what happened to them in later years. Thanks,

  2. Duktooth says:

    Thanks Daniel, I’ll follow up with your suggestions. I have been researching my Cherokee Freedmen ancestors for some years. My great great grandfather, Robert Vann was one of over 100 slaves owned by the rich Cherokee planter, Joseph Vann. According to the Dawes Enrollments package, Robert and his wife, Flora escaped from their masters (she was owned by the Cherokee Melton family) four years before the Civil War and lived in a cave until the war was over. When they and their four children returned after the war, they settled on Snow Creek near the Verdigris River. They remained in that vicinity until the Dawes Commission began the work of dissolving the Five Civilized Tribes and allotting land to those entitled. I thought that period between the war and the turn of the century was relatively free of conflict. Our oral history relates economic hardships and struggles with the Cherokees over education for the children. Thanks, again, for the suggestions.

  3. walkereditor says:

    Gerald, Your family history is very interesting. Do you know the vicinity of the cave they stayed in. I ask this because there is some evidence to suggest that escaped slaves hid in the Blue Canyon, just north of what became the freedmen town of Sanders. It was within 10 miles of villages of the Cherokees traditional enemies, the Osage, which kept slavehunting parties away–plus it is almost impossible to get into with a large group or without alerting everyone within miles. There are many caves and overlooks in it, many with pictograph carvings dating to the mid to late 1800s. This canyon was also a hideout for outlaw gangs from the 1870s through the 1930s.

  4. Duktooth says:

    Daniel, when I wrote the National Archives for the Dawes Application Jacket of my Hopkins family, I received about 96 pages of testimony and affidavits related to their case. The Cherokee contested their enrollment for several reasons so both side called mant witnesses. The most interesting testimony came from Flora Murrell, my great great grandmother who escaped with her husband. It is a little long to post here. Some time ago I summarized her and others’ testimony to try to understand jsu what Robert Vann undured during this turbulent time in Indian Terrirory. I can send it to you via attachment to e-mail if you wish. The testimony indicates that the cave was along the Big Bend of the Arkansas River in Indian Territory.

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