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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

#WarriorWednesday-Bettie LIGON

Bettie LIGON
Empower Me to Know My History

My Warrior for this Wednesday is my great grandmother Bettie LIGON. The reason I’m highlighting her is because of a document I discovered in a file pertaining to her land allotment as a Choctaw Freedwoman.

Bettie LIGON© Terry LIGON 2017
For those who don’t know her story Bettie LIGON was the lead litigant in a lawsuit known as Equity Case 7071. The lawsuit sought to have approximately 1,500 people transferred from the Choctaw or Chickasaw Freedmen Roll to the Choctaw or Chickasaw by blood citizen Roll.

The document I found was dated December 14, 1907 and it was sent from the law firm of Ballinger, Lee and Sams. It was being sent to J. George Wright Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes located in Muskogee, Oklahoma. This was almost a month after Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory became the state of Oklahoma.

The letter states Bettie who was the “principal plaintiff in the case known as Ligon vs. Johnson (sic)” came into the law offices after opening a registered letter that had a Freedman land patent enclosed. The attorney went on to state once Bettie saw it was a Freedman land patent she did not open the other letters and “immediately came to our office…”

It seems there were previous attempts to deliver land patents to Bettie Ligon and she refused those as well with the express desire to return them to the Dawes Commission. In the line that reveals just how focused Bettie Ligon was; the attorney informed commissioner Wright that “it is useless” to mail the patents to Bettie because she would not accept a Freedman Land Patent “until after the courts have finally passed upon the case now pending, which case will determine whether or not she is entitled to participate in the tribal property as an Indian by blood or as Freedman.”

Now I don’t know how many people would hold fast to their principles like Bettie LIGON but I’m convinced her determination to have her day in court and rightfully be recognized and accepted as a Chickasaw Indian was evident in how she handled the issue of those freedman land patents; a true Warrior.

If you would like to nominate an Indian Territory Freedmen (descendant) send me an email or leave a comment on this blog site. If you would like to contribute a short story of your own, send it to me for review and possible publication…Include the phrase #WarriorWednesday in the subject line. My email address is: estelusti@aol.com

Applications for Allotment, Five Civilized Tribes 1899-1907 Bettie Ligon #2604



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