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Ft. Gibson Post

Vol III No 33

Thursday June 30, 1898 (Part 1)

Abstracted / Transcribed by Linda Haas Davenport

When the print is so faded that it cannot be read <.....> will be used . All transcription will be as found in the paper, misspellings and all

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Some Facts in Regard to the Selection of Our Municipal Officers.
To the Editor of The Post
Fort Gibson, I.T., 1898 -
     The time for the municipal election will arrive in a few days now, and, if you will allow me space enough in The Post (being one of the agents for the people in securing incorporation) I will tell the people, what, in my humble judgment, should govern in the selection of the officers they are about to vote for to make or kill the town. In the first place, I do not think one person out of every ten knows just what it is we are about to do: So a few facts first:
     1st. You will vote for one mayor, five alderman and one recorder or clerk. These seven will constitute the town council, any five of whom can pass ordinances and transact business within the authority given them by law.
     2nd. The jurisdiction of the court of the town will be concurrent with that of United States Commissioners within the corporate limits of the town. That is to say, the town court may try and fine for all misdemeanors under Arkansas laws, and may hear and bind over to the U. S. grand jury for all felonies committed within the town limits, including murder, arson, &c.; may try and determine civil suits in all matters where the amount is $300 or less. Appeals may be taken from the decisions of the town court to the United States court in both criminal and civil cases, the same as from United States Commissioner's court. In other words, within the limits of its authority, the town court will be the United States court for the Northern district of the Indian Territory. The Curtis bill, lately passed by Congress, makes the mayor a United States commission and authorizes him to collect and retain the same fees as are now collected by United States commissioners and accounted for to the United States. United States commissioners, under a former act of Congress 1889, had to be licensed attorneys, "learned in the law," and the Judge who had the appointing of a commission could not lawfully appoint a man to the position unless he was satisfied the applicant knew the law and how to apply it in both criminal and civil matters. No so under the present Curtis bill. The voters of the town of Fort Gibson, may, in their sovereign power, elect anybody, qualif-
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fied or not, to be a United States commissioner. I take it for granted that we will now lay aside all enviousness, jealousies and malice, and think seriously of the best good of the town where we expect to make our homes. There are a score of good men in this town who would make excellent mayors, but when it comes to being a United States judge, to administer justice, on fine points of criminal and civil law these same good men would be woefully lacking.
     It is a possibility, if not a probability, that the people here will elect a mayor who can exchange legal views with the best of the United States commission in the Territory, and whose ability as a judge will keep all civil cases in town instead of sending them to Wagoner or Vian, and build up the place as a court town. And, also, it is a probability, and a possibility, that the reverse will take place.
     Still there are men in the city who, although they have no special legal education, are men of sterling integrity and of wide awake business capacity, and who possess the most solid of all qualifications for a dispenser of justice - that is an inborn sense of right between man and man. We should now, at the beginning of the existence of the New Fort Gibson, do our best to place in office men whose official deeds may always hereafter be emulated by their successors with pride.
     The same remarks will apply, though in not so emphatic a degree, to the other officers to be elected.
     The election will be held according to Chapter 56 of the Mansfield's Digest so far as applicable. Any male person 21 years of age, a citizen of United States or Indian Territory, who has resided in the town of Fort Gibson six months previous to the election, will be a qualified voter. This is according to the Curtis Bill.
     Lets nominate and elect good men.
           F J Boudinot

In the dispatches telling of last Friday's fight between the Rough Riders and the Spaniards we see the word "chapparal" used frequently, the exact meaning of which some do not understand. This word is a familiar one on our Mexican boarder, and was pretty well known all over the United States during the Mexican war. It is a Spanish term meaning exactly what Americans call "brush". That is a dense, undergrowth of bushes and young trees. The word will probably become a very common one in news from the army in Cuba.

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     It Has Passed Both Houses and Been Approved.
           Townsite Provisions Restored With Amendments
           that Enables Whites and all to Own Town Lots.
Special Report to the Post - Washington, D. C., June 27 -
     As foretold in The Post last week, the Curtis bill is now a law, having been passed by both houses of Congress and approved by the President. With the exception of section 15 of the townsite provisions, which was restored and amended by the Senate, the bill has been published in The Post, and it is unnecessary to go over it fully again.
     The clause giving rejected claimants right to sell their improvements before January 1st next has been restored to the measure.
     The following is the townsite provision:
     That the inhabitants of any city or town in said Territory having two hundred or more residents therein may proceed, by petition to the United States court in the district in which such city or town is located, to have the same incorporated as provided in chapter twenty-nine of Mansfield's Digest of the Statutes of Arkansas, if not already incorporated thereunder; and the clerk of said court shall record all papers and perform all the acts required of the recorder of the county; or the clerk of the county court, or the secretary of state, necessary for the incorporation of any city or town, as provided in Mansfield's Digest, and such city or town government, when so authorized and organized, shall possess all the powers and exercise all the rights of similar municipalities in said State of Arkansas.
     (Then follows the qualifications for voters and provision for free schools and taxation as given in The Post last week.)
     Section 15, which was restored to the bill, is given in full below:
     "Sec. 15. That there shall be a commission in each town for each one of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee tribes, to consist of one member to be appointed by the executive of the tribe, who shall not be interested in town property, other than his home; one person to be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, and one member to be selected by the town. And if the executive of the tribe or town fail to select members as aforesaid, they may be selected and appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.
     "Said commissions shall cause to be surveyed and laid out townsites where towns with a present population of 200 or more are located, conforming to the existing survey so far as may be, with proper and necessary streets, alleys and public grounds, including parks and cemeteries, giving to each town such territory as may be required for its present needs and reasonable prospective growth; and shall prepare correct plats thereof, and file one with the clerk of the United States court, one with the authorities of the tribe and one with the town authorities. And all town lots shall be appraised by said commission at their true value, excluding improvements; and seperate appraisements shall be made of all improvements thereon; and no such appraisement shall be effective until approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and in case of disagreement by the members of such commission as to the value of any lot, said Secretary may fix the value thereof.
     "The owner of the improvements upon any town lot, other than fencing, tillage or temporary buildings, may deposit in the United States Treasury, St. Louis, Mo., one-half of such appraised value; 10 per cent within two months and 15 per cent more within six months after notice of appraisement, and the remainder in three equal annual installments thereafter, depositing with the Secretary of the Interior one receipt for
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each payment, and one with the authorities of the tribe, and such deposit shall be deemed a tender to the tribe of the purchase money for such lot.
     "If the owner of such improvements on any lot fails to make deposit of the purchase money as aforesaid, then such lot may be sold in the manner herein provided for the sale of unimproved lots; and when the purchaser thereof has complied with the requirements herein for the purchase of improved lots he may by petition, apply to the United states court within whose jurisdiction the town is located for condemnation and appraisement of such improvement, and petitioner shall, after judgment, deposit the value so fixed with the clerk of the court; and thereupon the defendant shall be required to accept same in full payment for his improvements or remove same from the lot within such time as may be fixed by the court.
     "All town lots not improved as aforesaid shall belong to the tribe, and shall be in like manner appraised, and after approval by the Secretary of the Interior, and due notice, sold to the highest bidder at public aution by said commission, but not for less than their appraised value, unless ordered by the Secretary of the Interior; and purchasers may in like manner make deposits of the purchase money with like effect, as in case of improved lots.
     "The inhabitants of any town may, within one year after the completion of the survey thereof, make such deposit of $10 per acre for parks, cemeteries and other public grounds laid out by said commission with like effect as for improved lots; and such parks and public grounds shall not be used for any purpose until such deposits are made.
     "The person authorized by the tribe or tribes may execute or deliver to any such purchaser, without expense to him, a deed conveying to him the title to such lands or town lots; and thereafter the purchase money shall become the property of the tribe; and all such moneys shall, when title to all the lots in the towns belonging to any tribe have been thus perfected, be paid per capita to the members of the tribe; Provided, however, That in those townsites designated and laid out under the provisions of this act where coal leases are now being operated and coal is being mined there shall be reserved from appraisement and sale all lots occupied by houses of miners actually engaged in mining, and only while they are so engaged, and in addition thereto a sufficient amount of land, to be determined by the appraisers, to furnish homes for the men actually engaged in working for the lessee operating said mines and a sufficient amount for all building and machinery for mining purposes; And provided further, That when the lessees shall cease to operate said mines, then, and in that event, the lots of land so reserved shall be disposed of as provided for in this act."

     The Dawes Commission is expected to be with us again soon. Already much of their baggage and paraphernalia has arrived at Muskogee, consisting of tents, tables, cots, chairs, etc. They are coming this time with the object of settling the Indian problem before they leave again. We understand that it is the intention of the Commission to travel all over the territory and to camp out at various places. This will make it convenient in taking the census of the various tribes. While this plan will not only make it more convenient for the citizens, it will also add some pleasures to the labors of the commission and afford them a change from the old routine.

     Judge Clayton of the central district last week decided that a man cannot marry an Indian girl for the sole purpose of obtaining a "right." He refused to allow George Perry the right of a citizen in the Chickasaw tribe because he married an Indian girl and deserted her one hour later.


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