Oklahoma [Choctaw] okla homma, "red people"
freedman, n., pl. -men A man who has been freed from bondage; an emancipated slave.
freeman, n., pl. -men 1. A person not in slavery or serfdom. 2. One who possesses the rights or privileges of a citizen.
freeborn, adj. 1. Born as a free man. 2. Pertaining to or befitting a person born free.
From Africa to Oklahoma and all points in between and beyond.
We are here.
This website is dedicated to my forefathers -- the freedmen, the freemen and the freeborn.
About this Web Site
The STEVENSON's earliest known ancestor was of Indian and African descent. Our earliest ancestors traveled with the Chickasaw Indians (5 Civilized Tribes) from Mississippi to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) along the "trail of tears". Many of the early STEVENSON Family descendants settled on Wild Horse Creek near present day Henninpin, Oklahoma.
The STEVENSON Family history is tightly coupled to the COLBERT family and the COLBERT history is pivotal to the history of the Chickasaw Indians. The significance of the COLBERTs in Chickasaws History cannot be overestimated. Mixed-blood control of the Five Civilized Tribes by the early nineteenth century was fairly common, but only among the Chickasaw's did one family, the COLBERTs enjoy complete domination. The COLBERT dynasty, unflinching in its absolute reign over the Chickasaw people for seventy years, was one of the few to disintegrate voluntarily, ceasing only when family members chose to relinquish power to others.
(Major) James COLBERT (1768-1842) was the father of Lanie (Lana) COLBERT. The parents of Mobile STEVENSON are not known. Lanie COLBERT and Mobile STEVENSON were married in Mississippi. Lanie COLBERT and Mobile STEVENSON had 15 children: Elsie, Joe, Dick, Louisa, Gattis (Gaddis), Cornelius, Louis, Bankston, Dinah, Bill, Bob, Dudley, Elmira "Myra", Dave, Sarah and an infant who died in infancy.
In addition to the descendants of Lanie Colbert and Mobile Stevenson, this website also contains genealogy information on two other STEVENSON branches: Steven STEVENSON, and Mack STEVENSON. Together these branches form the STEVENSON Family Genealogy
This STEVENSON Family Website contains the history and genealogy of the STEVENSON Family.
The STEVENSON Family Tree contains over 3300 individuals.
Native American/Five Civilized Tribes Connection
The Native American Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes -- the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminoles -- were removed from lands west of the Mississippi to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) starting in the early 1830's.
Along with the Chickasaws were a large number of slaves. A Chickasaw census taken west lists 1,223 slaves held by 255 owners. Twenty of these 255 owners owned ten or more slaves. Of these twenty, the COLBERTs owned the most, but others who held large numbers were Tennessee (nee COLBERT) BYNUM, Rhoda GUNN, Richard HUMPRHRIES, James McGLOTHLIN, Jack KEMP, Tecumsch BROWN, and A. PITCHLYNN. The owners with the largest number of slaves were Pitman COLBERT, who held 150, and Rodi COLBERT, who held 95. Although there were a few with Indian names, most of the slaveholders were of mixed blood.
Much has been written about the Native American Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes and their lives before and after removal. Little has been written about the Freedmen -- the former slaves of the Native American Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes who made the journey along the "trail of tears" with the Indians. They lived among the Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes, as slaves and later as Freedmen.
The blacks contributions to the Indians were invaluable. The blacks acted as interpreters, since most were bilingual, and assisted in the acculturation process. They were important in the transition of the Chickasaws to an agricultural economy. As historian Arrell GIBSON has pointed out, by the time of removal there was the beginning of a mixed-blood aristocracy who consciously tried to adopt the ways of white planters in dress, homes, and life styles, and slavery was a part of their aristocratic pose. Slavery also provided the labor force to do the work the Indians would have been slow in doing, that is, clearing the lands and opening new fields.
My GGG Grandparents, Mobile STEVENSON and Lanie COLBERT, were among the slaves owned by the Chickasaws, specifically Susan COLBERT nee JAMES and James GUNN.
In 1814, when Laney was two years and nine months old, GUNN freed her (as a favor to her father) in writing and recorded the action with the Chickasaw Agency. At the time of the manumission, Laney since she was young continued living with her mother (who was still a slave of GUNN) until GUNN died in 1823. Therefore, all of Lanie's children were born free. (1847 Appellate Case). However, due the the Chickasaws insistence to deny people of African/Indian mixed ancestry their Chickasaw status, the descendants of Lanie had to record themselves as the "slaves" of an Indian in order to be placed on the "Freedmen" roll and receive some compensation as part of the removal.
It should be noted that there were numerous people who had mixed ancestry, mainly White/Indian, that had less Indian blood than most of the people of African/Indian ancestry who were accepted by the Chickasaw Indians and allowed to be placed on the "by blood" roll.
It should be remembered that although mixing of the races was frowned upon and banned by law, miscegenation did occur and was common and widespread. Dr. LITTLEFIELD in his book, The Chickasaw Freedmen - A People Without a Country, states that "there were notable instances of intermixing, that even the casual observer could not ignore."
This web site contains the STEVENSON Family genealogy. It chronicles my ancestors attempts, as well as other Freedmen, to get their names transferred from the "Freedmen" roll to the "by blood roll". It contains indexes and other resources for locating your Freedmen and Indian ancestors and provides a look at the types of documents available to researchers. Included also, is anecdotal information -- narratives and testimonies which provide a glimpse into the lives of the people residing in Indian Territory.
Significance of Logo
The STEVENSON Family logo was designed in the early 1970's by family member Donald Brown. The logo is made up of three symbols: the continent of Africa, the state of Oklahoma, and a Wild Horse.
The STEVENSON's earliest common known ancestor was of Indian and African descent. This ancestor traveled with the Chickasaw Indians from Mississippi to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) along the "trail of tears". After emancipation, many of the early STEVENSON Family descendants settled on Wild Horse Creek near present day Henninpin, Oklahoma.
Our family motto is "From Africa to Oklahoma and all points in between and beyond. We are here."
About the Research/Research(er)
I have been attending STEVENSON Family reunions since the 1960's. I am very proud of the STEVENSON family heritage, and have been entertained and enlightened by stories told to me, by my Great Uncle Adam "Joe" STEVENSON, about our Indian heritage, and our contributions to early Oklahoma.
After the birth of my son and with the upcoming 1998 STEVENSON Family reunion, I started re-reading the first STEVENSON Family histories (published in 1985 and 1990) which were researched and compiled by Carla HALL, and was inspired to start researching my STEVENSON branch -- Dudley.
In July 1998, when I started researching, the STEVENSON Family tree contained 4 branches -- Joe, Dudley, Bankston and Dave.
Most of the early STEVENSON Family members were listed/recorded as ex-slaves (or Freedmen) of the Chickasaw or Choctaw Indians. I started my research by using records relating to the Five Civilized Tribes. Subsequently, I have found 11 additional branches, for a total of 15 branches, and our common link - Mobile STEVENSON and Lanie COLBERT.
The records also generated another STEVENSON branch, the descendants of a Steve(n) STEVENSON. I have not been able to connect this line - Steve(n) STEVENSON to the Mobile and Lanie STEVENSON line. Oral history has it that there were two (related/unrelated ???) branches of the STEVENSONs. Each branch resided on one side or the other of Arbuckle mountain.
I have included the descendants of Steve(n) Stevenson as well as other Major Branches (Mack JAMES STEVENSON and Ceasar STEVENSON) in the Stevenson Family tree genealogy database.
The STEVENSONs are also part of the COLBERT family. Lanie COLBERTs father was (Major) James COLBERT, son of (Trader) James Logan COLBERT. Don MARTINI, in the Chickasaw Empire: The Story of the COLBERT Family 1721-1907 describes the COLBERT family: "The significance of the COLBERTs in Chickasaw history cannot be overestimated. Mixed-blood control of the Five Civilized Tribes by the early nineteenth century was fairly common, but only among the Chickasaws did one family, the COLBERTs, enjoy complete domination".
Contained on this web site is a composite of the information I have either compiled, researched or collected: family tree database, anecdotal information, testimonies by my ancestors and others and other information pertaining to the Freedmen and Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes. Also, contained within are genealogical resources that I used to locate documents and information about the Freedmen and Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes.
Contact the Author
I would love to correspond with you. Please feel free to provide feedback, report a broken link, slow loading pages or if something doesn't look like you think it should. And of course, if you are a family member, or think that you might be, please contact me. You may contact me via e-mail at Angel@OurSharedFamilyHistory.com.
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