William Clyde Thompson

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Captain William Clyde Thompson was a Texas Choctaw leader who rallied against the Dawes Commission for Choctaw enrollment.[1] He was born in 1839 near Fort Towson in the Choctaw Nation.[2]

Background[edit]

William C. Thompson was born on February 6, 1839 at Fort Towson, Choctaw Nation. He was the son of William Thompson, who was one-fourth Choctaw and one-eighth Chickasaw, and Elizabeth Jones Mangum who was also one-eighth Choctaw, the great granddaughter of Nashoba.[3] His family were part of the Yowani Choctaws, originally from the village of Yowani Indians east of the Chickasawhay River near present day Shubuta, Clarke County, Mississippi. Many of the Yowani's moved west into Louisiana and Texas, taking on the customs of their neighbors, to the point that many scholars have included the Yowani Choctaws as a part of the Caddo Confederacy,[4] while others became part of the leadership of the Koasati or Coushatta a former part of the Creek Confederacy. It was this same Choctaw group that were listed as part of the Cherokees and Twelve Associated Tribes, in the Treaty of Bowles Village between the tribes and the Republic of Texas, concluded on February 23, 1836.[5]

William was descended paternally from Atahobia (c.1750-c.1824)a full blood Choctaw who was at one time the husband of Sally McCoy[3] a half blood Chickasaw[6] and later wife of Chickasaw leader Major James Colbert (1768–1842). Atahobia was one, if not the primary leader of the Yowani's who moved into Texas following their petition of the Mexican government for permission to settle in the province in 1824.[7] Prior to this, Atahobia was a signer of the Treaty of Doak's Stand in 1820, as one of the Chiefs and Headmen of the Choctaw.[8]

In Texas the villages prior to 1837 were located east of the Trinity River in what was then Nacogdoches County, west of the U.S. (Louisiana) Border.[7] After 1837 the villages were combined to form a single village on Attoyac Bayou in extreme southeastern Rusk County.[9] By 1844, following the Treaty of Birds Fort,[10] there were two villages, one near the Cherokees under the leadership of Chicken Trotter (Devireaux Jarrett Bell 1817-1866),[11] in what would become the Mt. Tabor/Bellview Indian Communities in Rusk County and the second under the leadership of Woody Jones (grandson of Nashoba), located in Houston County near the border with Trinity County. The southern village dwindled to only a few individuals until 1881, when John Martin Thompson (Cherokee, grandson of Cherokee Nation Chief Justice, John Martin)[3] opened mills in Trinity and Angelina counties near Woodlake and Diboll, thereby bringing a large number of Choctaws along with some Cherokees (Thompson's & Starr's) and Muscogee-Creeks (Berryhill's & Posey's) into the area.[12]

William C. Thompson's family moved between the Choctaw Nation and the Texas Choctaw villages until 1840, when vigilantes seeking retribution against Indians (possibly Chicken Trotters Cherokees) who had killed three whitemen near Nacogdoches, fell upon the unsuspecting Choctaw village. From this attack, eleven Choctaw men, women and children were murdered.[13] According to Dr. May and information from the Thompson-McCoy Choctaw Descendants Association, William's family was in the village at the time, forcing them to flee back to the Choctaw Nation. William's mother and infant sister died there on August 30, 1840, followed two days later by his father.[3] Family speculation has led some to tie these deaths to the attack by Texians against the Choctaws, but no collaborating evidence has yet to be found.

The death of his parents led William and his brother Arthur James Thompson (1837–1884) to be sent west to live with their paternal grandmother Margaret (McCoy) Thompson (c.1774-c.1868),[14] residing at a community known then as Virginia Hill near Fort Washita in the Chickasaw Nation.[14] It was there they remained until their maternal grandfather William Mangum arrived and took them back to Mississippi where they would stay until the American Civil War.[15] It should be noted that Margarets brother was Judge James A. McCoy, Supreme Judge of the Chickasaw Nation, thus Margaret's reason for living near Fort Washita. His daughter Lucy (1855–1891)later married Chickasaw Governor Robert Maxwell Harris (1850–1927).[16]

American Civil War[edit]

As the Civil War broke out, both William and his brother Arthur enlisted in the Simpson Fencibles as privates (Simpson County, Mississippi). His first experience in battle was at the battle of Shiloh, where he was wounded while charging Union fortifications. The injury wasn't serious enough to hamper him as he was back with his unit within two days. It was then that he was elected captain of his company.

His next injury was much more serious, His skull was fractured by shrapnel in a fight at Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation in May 1863. From this injury he was hopitalized for some time before he could reume his command. Later seeing action in the Atlanta campaign. During this period at a place called Peach Tree Creek, his company (H of the Mississippi 20th Regiment) were being detailed in support of Cowman's battery, when they encountered a regiment of Union troops. Without hesitation they charged the federals with fixed bayonets, eventually capturing some forty-seven. During the Atlanta campaign, he saw action several times before he accompanied General Hood back to Tennessee. There, at the Battle of Franklin he was shot in the thigh and captured by the federals. From the field he was taken to a Union prison hospital in Nashville, where he would sit out the remaining years of the war.[17] During his incarceration he was promoted by the Confederate States government, to the rank of lieutenant colonel of a Mississippi regiment, which had formed following the consoldation of the 6th and 20th Mississippi regiments. Of further note, although he was promoted to lieutenant colonel, he never used that title, but continued to desire to be called "captain" to the day he died. His tombstone in the Marlow City Cemetery in Marlow, Oklahoma simply reads Capt. William C. Thompson.[18]

From Nashville, Colonel Thompson was sent to Camp Chase, Ohio, then on to Baltimore, and finally by boat to Richmond, Virginia, where he was paroled a short time before the close of the war. He reached Simpson County, Mississippi on June 1, 1865 and immediately began his preparations to return to his family in Texas.

He reached Dallas County, Texas in December 1865, later living in Cherokee County, south of present day Troup, Smith County, near present day Overton and later in Trinity County. While living in Smith County near many of his cousins, both Choctaws and Cherokees,[19] he became involved in the efforts to preserve the culture and lands that had been a part of the Treaty of Bowles Village in 1836.[5] His paternal uncle Archibald Thompson [3](1791–1857) had settled there in 1851 and had taken the role of leadership among the Texas Choctaws. Following Archibald's death in 1857, the role of leadership went to Jeremiah Jones (1814–1963)a cousin of William's through his mothers line.[3] William's intelligence and leadership experience was of great value to the Texas Choctaws, Cherokees and the neighboring McIntosh Party Creek Indians as well.[20] His reputation among local Indians and non-Indians was one of dependability and trust worthiness. However, due to such kindness his efforts at opening a mercantile, were often less than glorious as he just couldn't turn down credit to those in a bad way. Sometimes leaders, tribal or otherwise, must say no. William had a problem with that. Thus the overall community leadership of what was known initially as the Mount Tabor Indian Community and later as the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands, was clearly in the hands of Jack Bell[21] (John Adair Bell 1806-1860) who along with his brother Devireaux Jarrett Bell (known by his Indian name of Chicken Trotter)[11] and members`of the Starr, Harnage, Watie and other prominent Cherokee families. (Note: The Texas Cherokees Cherokees and Associate Bands were officially formed as a` political organization in 1871 by Colonel William Penn Adair and Clement Neely Vann, both Cherokees and both former Mount Tabor residents) After all it had always been a Cherokee community, but the Yowani connections to the Bell, Adair and Thompson Cherokee families, made it the safest place in Texas for Indians to live following the blood baths of the early 1840s. Additionally following the war and his return to Texas, William took another step that would change his life forever. On May 29, 1867, he married Miss Sarah S. Estes, the daughter of Thomas Coleman Estes (b. 1811) and the former Elizabeth Darby (c.1815-c.1853). From this union three children were born; Arthur M. (1869–1926), Mary M. (b. 1862) who married William McNeece and William Clyde Jr. (1875–1921). The Estes family was not of American Indian ancestry but predominately English.

After leaving Smith County, William followed the work and money. Both were moving to Trinity County. John Martin Thompson (1829–1907)a distant cousin, the son of Benjamin Franklin Thompson(1803–1868) and his Cherokee wife Annie Martin (1810–1851), established new lumber mills in the county bringing a prosperity unknown in the "big thicket" before that time.

William, while living in Trinity County was elected the second probate clerk of the county, and later to the office of probate judge. In 1889 he left Texas for good, relocating first to Ardmore in the Chickasaw Nation and later moving to the new community of Marlow, where he would remain throughout the remainder of his life. Of his Thompson and Jones relatives, several would follow him north into the Chickasaw Nation. Among these were John Thurston Thompson (1864–1907), Martin Luther Thompson (1857–1946) and Robert E. Lee Thompson (1872–1959).[22] William and John were elected by family members that had relocated into the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations as their formal representatives. Martin Thompson and Robert Thompson both stayed for a short period, but later returned to Texas. For Martin it was a good move.[23] Oil was discovered on his land and at the time of his death, he was worth over $200.000. in 1946. Martin also would take the lead among the Choctaws in Texas, but keeping close to his Cherokee relatives.[24] The exception to this was the continuing feud between Martin and Texas Cherokee and Associate Bands attorney George Fields over inclusion of the Choctaws in any litigations over treaty rights undertaken by the TCAB. In the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the George Fields papers contain briefs to be submitted to the United States Supreme Court.[25] In those, the word Choctaw has been scratched off.[26]

For William, being in the Chickasaw Nation would keep him busy trying to get his family enrolled as citizens by blood in the Choctaw Nation.[27] The case went back and forth for years, with his name and that of all the Texas Choctaws stricken from the roll in March 1906.[28] In February 1909 some seventy Texas Choctaws were restored to citizenship[29] and included upon a re-instatement list.[30] For those that returned to Texas, there was nothing.

William's never say die attitude made him a very good leader, not only among the Texas Choctaws but among non-Indians as well being elected Mayor of Marlow, Chickasaw Nation, I. T. (now Oklahoma) in 1901. Many of his descendants and the descendants of those whom he helped re-establish themselves in the western Chickasaw Nation still have him to thank for their current prosperity, from, car dealers, to farmers and doctors, William Thompson just would not give up.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff Writer. "Famous Native Americans in History". NativeAmericans.com. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  2. ^ Charles Thompson. "William C. Thompson et al. vs. Choctaw Nation". Thompson-Choctaw Indian Descendants Association. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Some East Texas Native Families: Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands Genealogy Project: Rootsweb Global Search: Familyties http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=familyties
  4. ^ The Handbook of Texas Online: Yowani Indians, Margery H. Krieger, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/YY/bmy12.html
  5. ^ a b Republic of Texas Treaties; Treaty of Bowles Village February 23, 1836, Texas State Historical Society, Austin, Texas
  6. ^ 1818 Partial Chickasaw annuity roll, listing Sally McCoy #22; K.M. Armstrong
  7. ^ a b Texas by Terán By Manuel de Mier y Teran, Jack Jackson, John Wheat, Scooter Cheatham, Lynn Marshall
  8. ^ United States-Choctaw Treaties: Treaty of Doaks Stand October 18, 1820, National Archives, Fort Worth, Texas
  9. ^ Texas Indian Papers 1835-1845, Texas State Archives, Austin, Texas
  10. ^ Treaty of Birds Fort September 29, 1843, Texas State Historical Society, Austin, Texas
  11. ^ a b Cecil Lee Pinkston-Vinson interviews (verification of Chicken Trotter as the Indian name of Devireaux Jarett Bell) with Daisy Starr, Kilgore, Texas, August 22, 1967, Mack Starr September 14, 1967 and George M. Bell Sr. September 17, 1967. Summer of 1963 survey of memorial markers of Mount Tabor Indian Cemetery (Rusk County, Texas) by Roy and Cecil Vinson. Headstone of Jarrett Bell showed the name "Chief Chicken Trotter" at the bottom of stone. Note: stone was gone in 1967 survey and is noted as gone by George Morrison Bell Sr. in 1969 in his book Genealogy of Old and New Cherokee Families
  12. ^ Handbook of Texas Online, John Martin Thompson http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/fth43.html (accessed September 3, 2008)
  13. ^ Handbook of Texas Online: Indians; Republics of Texas and Mexico, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/II/bzi4.html (accessed September 3, 2008)
  14. ^ a b William C. Thompson and the Choctaw-Chickasaw Paper Chase by Dr. Douglas Hale, Oklahoma State University
  15. ^ D.C. Gideon, Indian Territory.. .1901, pg. 534
  16. ^ D.C. Gideon, Indian Territory.. .1901
  17. ^ A History of the State of Oklahoma 1908 by Luther Hill, pgs 239-241 http://www.usgennet.org/usa/topic/historical/1908ok_2_25.htm
  18. ^ Records of the Marlow City Cemetery, Marlow, Stephens County, Oklahoma
  19. ^ The Old Mount Tabor Community, Genealogy of Old and New Cherokee Families, by George Morrison Bell Sr.
  20. ^ North Georgia Creek History, Culture and society of the Creek Indians, Information related to the McIntosh Party of the Creek Nation by Larry Worthy http://ngeorgia.com/history/creekhistory.html
  21. ^ Cherokee Cavaliers: Forty Years of Cherokee History As Told in the Correspondence of the Ridge-Watie-Boudinot Family, 1939 By Edward Everett Dale and Gaston Litton, University of Oklahoma Press; ISBN 0-8061-2721-X, 13:978-0806127217
  22. ^ 1896 Choctaw Census; Choctaws Residing in the Chickasaw Nation, Pickens County, IT
  23. ^ Dallas Morning News, Sunday, March 8, 1940
  24. ^ Cecil Lee Pinkston-Vinson interview with her grandfather Martin L. Thompson on March 14, 1934
  25. ^ Chief Bowles and Texas Cherokees, Chapter XI, Cherokee Claims to Land, By Mary Whatley Clarke, University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 978-0806134369
  26. ^ 1921 US Supreme Court Brief-Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands vs State of Texas, Claude Muskrat,TCAB Chairman
  27. ^ United States Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior-Choctaw Citizenship Cases, #4 William C. Thompson et al., pgs 151-157
  28. ^ Letter of April 4, 1905 from Thomas Ryan, First Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs to Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes, Muskogee, Indian Territory, re: Willian C. Thompson et al. MCR 341, MCR 7124, MCR 581 and MCR 458
  29. ^ Choctaw Re-instatement list, correspondence from the Department of the Interior to the Commissioner of the Five Civilized Tribes, February 20, 1909
  30. ^ Oklahoma Historical Society, Records of the Department of the Interior, Laws, Decisions and Regulations Affecting the work of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes 1893-1906 pgs 130-138

Sources[edit]

  • William C. Thompson, et al. vs. Choctaw Nation, MCR File 341, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Muskogee, Oklahoma
  • United States Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior-Choctaw Citizenship Cases, #4 William C. Thompson et al., pgs 151-157
  • D.C. Gideon, Indian Territory...1901, pg. 534
  • William C. Thompson and the Choctaw-Chickasaw Paper Chase by Dr. Douglas Hale, Oklahoma State University
  • 1896 Choctaw Census; Choctaws Residing in the Chickasaw Nation, Pickens County, IT
  • Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs correspondence between A.C. Tonner, Acting Commissioner for the Dawes Commission, and the Secretary of the Interior, April 29, 1904; ref. Land 25846-1904-Oklahoma Historical Society
  • Choctaw Re-instatement list, correspondence from the Department of the Interior to the Commissioner of the Five Civilized Tribes, February 20, 1909
  • John S. Spring et al. vs. Choctaw Nation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Muskogee, Oklahoma
  • A History of the State of Oklahoma 1908 by Luther Hill, pgs 239-241 http://www.usgennet.org/usa/topic/historical/1908ok_2_25.htm
  • 1818 Partial Chickasaw annuity roll, listing Sally McCoy #22; K.M. Armstrong
  • The Beech Island Historical Society, 144 Old Jackson Highway, P. O Box 158, Beech Island, SC 29842
  • Cecil Lee Pinkston-Vinson interview with her grandfather Martin L. Thompson on March 14, 1934
  • J.N. Waton to L. Draper, 25 JUN 1882
  • Cherokee Cavaliers: Forty Years of Cherokee History As Told in the Correspondence of the Ridge-Watie-Boudinot Family, 1939 By Edward Everett Dale and Gaston Litton, University of Oklahoma Press; ISBN 0-8061-2721-X, 13:978-0806127217
  • Republic of Texas Treaties; Treaty of Bowles Village February 23, 1836, Texas State Historical Society, Austin, Texas
  • Treaty of Birds Fort September 29, 1843, Texas State Historical Society, Austin, Texas
  • United States-Choctaw Treaties: Treaty of Doaks Stand October 18, 1820, National Archives, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Starr's History of the Cherokee Indians, By Dr. Emmet Starr
  • The 1840 Census of the Republic of Texas, 1966 Pemberton Press, Austin, Texas, Edited by Gifford White, Nacogdoches County
  • Texas Indian Papers 1835-1845, Texas State Archives, Austin, Texas
  • Cecil Lee Pinkston-Vinson interviews (verification of Chicken Trotter as the Indian name of Devireaux Jarett Bell) with Daisy Starr, Kilgore, Texas, August 22, 1967, Mack Starr September 14, 1967 and George M. Bell Sr. September 17, 1967. Summer of 1963 survey of memorial markers of Mount Tabor Indian Cemetery (Rusk County, Texas) by Roy and Cecil Vinson. Headstone of Jarrett Bell showed the name "Chief Chicken Trotter" at the bottom of stone. Note: stone was gone in 1967 survey and is noted as gone by George Morrison Bell Sr. in 1969 in his book Genealogy of Old and New Cherokee Families
  • Debts due the United States from the Choctaw Trading House October 1, 1822
  • Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910, rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959)
  • A History of the Caddo Indians by William B. Glover, The Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 4. October, 1935
  • The Old Mount Tabor Community, Genealogy of Old and New Cherokee Families, by George Morrison Bell Sr.
  • George Fields Collection, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Papers of W.W. Keeler relating to the Texas Cherokees, Cherokee National Historical Society, Tahlequah, Oklahoma
  • Some East Texas Native Families: Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands Genealogy Project: Rootsweb Global Search: Familyties http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=familyties
  • Texas by Terán By Manuel de Mier y Teran, Jack Jackson, John Wheat, Scooter Cheatham, Lynn Marshall
  • Handbook of Texas Online: John Martin Thompson http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/fth43.html (accessed September 3, 2008)
  • Handbook of Texas Online: Indians; Republics of Texas and Mexico, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/II/bzi4.html (accessed September 3, 2008)
  • Oklahoma Historical Society, Records of the Department of the Interior, Laws, Decisions and Regulations Affecting the work of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes 1893-1906 pgs 130-138
  • North Georgia Creek History, Culture and society of the Creek Indians, Information related to the McIntosh Party of the Creek Nation by Larry Worthy http://ngeorgia.com/history/creekhistory.html
  • Letter of April 4, 1905 from Thomas Ryan, First Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs to Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes, Muskogee, Indian Territory, re: Willian C. Thompson et al. MCR 341, MCR 7124, MCR 581 and MCR 458.
  • The Dawes Commission and the Allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1914 By Kent Carter, Ancestry Publishing 1999, ISBN 0-916489-85-X, 13:978-0916489854
  • Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico By Frederick Webb Hodge, Smithsonian Institution American Ethnology, Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1907, pgs 1001-1002, ISBN 0-313-21281-3; 13:978-0313212819
  • Chief Bowles and Texas Cherokees, Chapter XI, Cherokee Claims to Land, By Mary Whatley Clarke, University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 978-0806134369

External links[edit]