President Houston approves supplies to pacify the CherokeeSamuel Houston Autograph Endorsement Signed as President of the Republic on verso of a manuscript list of goods and supplies purchased from the merchant W. M. Cook and delivered to (Capt.) James Rogers for use in dealing with the Cherokee Indians. Two pp. folio, 8" x 12.5", Houston, May 10 1838. Endorsement and signature on verso reads in full: "Let this be audited, Sam Houston, 10th May 1838".
Thomas Jefferson Wright (Jeff Wright) certifies $200 worth of items including fabrics, hats, bandanas, saddle, and $9.00 in cash that were delivered to "James Rogers as Interpreter of the Chiefs of the Cherokee Indians By order of the President." Wright was the Cherokee Indian Agent at the time. He dates the document "at the City of Houston this 10th day of May 1838".
The four conventions of Texas colonists (the Convention of 1832, Convention of 1833, Consultation, and Convention of 1836) all noted the two things necessary to successfully addressing the Indian question: peace with the nearby tribes and protection from those on the western frontier. The treaty with the Cherokees and their associate bands on February 23, 1836, sought to provide peace, and the establishment of a border ranger force was designed to provide protection.
The Cherokees and associated groups were restless because their land titles had not been ratified. This was further aggravated by the presence of Mexican agents, and the advance of white settlers into their territory. President Houston's Indian policy of peace, friendship, and commerce, plus adequate frontier protection, was clearly delineated in a law of December 5, 1836, in which Houston was given power to send agents among the Indians, to make treaties and distribute presents, to establish blockhouses, forts, and trading posts, to provide for a battalion of mounted riflemen to guard the frontier, and to call out the militia if necessary. The constant arrival of United States Indians, the influence of Mexican agents, and the continued growth of private land companies extending their surveys into Indian country all served to further antagonize relations between whites and Indians.
This document is dated shortly after the Choctaws from near Fort Towson in the Indian Territory clashed with white settlers south of the Red River in April 1838. It would prove a fruitless gesture; that summer the Cherokees and other East Texas Indians, allied with Mexican agents under Vicente Córdova and took part in the Córdova Rebellion. President Houston had initiated his policy of treaty making by concluding agreements with the Tonkawas at Bexar on November 22, 1837, with the Lipan Apaches at Live Oak Point on January 8, 1838, with the Tonkawas again on April 10, 1838 (at Houston). These efforts would continue with the Comanches at Houston on May 29, 1838, and with the Kichais, Tawakonis, Wacos, and Taovayas near the mouth of the Washita at Shawnee Village in what is now Fannin County on September 2, 1838. Document is evenly toned, with several holes resulting from ink burn, all well away from Houston's autograph endorsement and signature. Overall condition is near fine. From the collection of Darrel Brown.
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