My third blog will focus on early Cherokee land and agency records. These are extracted on various websites, published or in manscript form on microfilm. These are good sources for mixed-blood research.
There is no one resource on early Cherokee land records covering the entire nation prior to removal. One example of land records is David Keith Hampton’s Cherokee Reservees (1979), which provides details of land given to the Cherokees in Hamilton County, Tennessee. This book gives the names of the applicants who settled their claims with the U.S. Government in 1817.
Following the treaty of 1817, the U.S. Secretary of War deeded land to each of the Cherokee chiefs who had signed the treaty. Each tract was either in newly ceded lands or in older lands ceded through earlier treaties, and each chief was given 640 acres (one square mile) of land. Robert Armstrong was the surveyor of this land in Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee. The surveyor’s records for land in Georgia have not survived. Each survey and the accompanying plat have been published in James L. Douthat’s Robert Armstrong’s Survey Book of Cherokee Lands: Lands Granted from Treaty of 27 February 1819 (1993).
The Cherokee Agency in Tennessee was in operation until 1835. The agency records have been transcribed in Marybelle W. Chase’s Records of the Cherokee Agency in Tennessee, 1801-1835 (1990). The records contain much genealogical information, such as lists of widows and orphans. It also has an 1819 listing of those who had originally enrolled for emigration but misunderstood the treaty and wanted to remain.
When families, who had received their reserves, decided to move and sell their land, the transactions would be recorded in the local county land books. At that point they moved to Indian Territory or westward along with other Americans. This helped spread Cherokee rooted families across North America.