26 September 2019


Each community has its prominent people, and the legal community of Kootenai County, Idaho has the Hawkins. Join us for a mini-series of articles on the Hawkins family. The Hawkins’ story begins in Nebraska before James V. Hawkins travels west.
It was the Spring of 1874 in Dewitt, Nebraska. Dewitt had only been incorporated as a town just two years before. It is still a little farming community and today it only has a population of 513 people and in 1880 had a population of 305, so you can imagine how small it was in 1874. It was the 17th day of April 1874 when James Viator Hawkins was born to John P. Hawkins, an Irishman, and Hattie C. (Gray) Hawkins, a girl from Iowa. He was their second child. He had an older brother, John, just one-year-old and would later gain two more siblings, Mary and Raymond. 
In the 1885 Nebraska Census, it is recorded that John Hawkins was a druggist. It’s no wonder that his grandson and other descendants would go into the medical field, but James would follow a different path into law. 
James spent his childhood preparing for his future. It started at the age of ten when he raised a hog and the proceeds from that began his education fund. He worked hard and prepared for his future. By the time he went off to normal school in Chicago to begin his professional education, he had saved enough money mostly funding his own education. He then took a year and taught in the public schools before returning to Nebraska and entering law school. He was a boxer in college, which was contrary to his personality. His grandson Jimmy said he never liked confrontation or arguing. One must wonder why he chose the area of law if it was so contrary to his personality. Regardless, he did become an attorney.

07 September 2019

William Riddle Dawes Application Analysis

We are at a point in history where our whitewashing of both our country, family, and global history is coming back to bite us. For centuries stories have been passed down in families, groups, the schools have written books, and countries have proclaimed certain facts as history, and now that information is literally at our fingertips many of us are calling it all hogwash.

Here is just a small example of how a family has been so convinced for so many generations that their ancestor was wrongfully denied his Indian heritage and his right to land and how with the help of research and a detailed analysis I’ve been able to prove that in fact he was rightfully denied the inclusion to the Dawes Rolls because, well he wasn’t Native American at all. This article may infuriate some people, but I’ve never been one to sugar coat anything.

Below is a list of the questions and answers in the interview of William Riddle born about 1846 in Tennessee and the records that debunk his many false answers. Choctaw MCR 6027, William M. Riddle, Department of the Interior, Commission of the Five Civilized Tribes, July 9, 1902, In the Matter of the Application of William M. Riddle. Note the questions and answers below are not all that was asked of him. I’ve selected the ones that support who he was and the ones that were outright false. Many other questions were asked with mundane details, and to publish the entire thing would make this article too large.

  1. Q. How old are you? I’m about fifty eight - That would be about right. This would put his birth year at about 1847 which is supported by all records found on him putting his birth year at about 1846-1847.
  2. Q. How much Choctaw blood do you claim to have? A. about half - This would mean that one of his parents would have to have been full Native American. Later he is asked:
  3. Through which, one of your parents do you get your Choctaw blood? Mother - In looking at a photo that has been shared in the family that is supposed to be the photo of his mother Elizabeth Brown I find it hard to believe that she is a full-blooded Indian.
  1. Q. Where were you born? Chickasaw Nation - Q. How long did you live in the Chickasaw Nation? A. I don’t know maybe ten or twelve years - Q. Where did you move to? A. Mississippi - see below
    1. No, all records from 1850 to 1910 indicate he was born in Tennessee, and there isn’t a single record that indicates any other place.
  2. Q. How long did you stay in Mississippi? I don’t know how long but my mother she went back there and died and I tried to make my way back here to the nation.
    1. Not even close - All records of Elizabeth indicate she lived her entire life in Tennessee until 1880 when she moved to Tracy, Kentucky, then she died in Bonham, Texas and is buried in the same cemetery with three of her children; John, Thoms, and Catherin. Which would indicate that she went to Texas, likely to live with one of her children during her later years.
  3. Q. Did they ever live in Mississippi? Yes - When? Till the Indians came to this country and then come here. - Did they move out here when the Indians first moved out west? Yes. - Your mother came with them? Yes.
    1. A few things strike me about his answer. First, the fact that he states “till the Indians came to this country.” This is a statement made by a man that does not naturally belong to this group. He is not referring to his own people. If he had been referring to his own people he would have been more likely to call them, my family, my people, our tribe, etc. If he were telling the truth, a truthful statement would have included him in the group. Instead, he is subconsciously referring to a group of people that his subconscious knows he is not a part of.
    2. There is no record of him ever living in Mississippi. All records found indicate he lived in TN, IN, KY, TX, and OK.
    3. The Dancing Rabbit Creek treaty was signed in 1830. The Choctaw Nation was one of the first tribes to be removed and relocated to the Indian Territory between 1831 and 1833. This would have been before William was born, so if William were telling the truth then he would have been born in OK, and not TN. None of the children of Thomas and Elizabeth Riddle were born in OK. All were born between 1834 and 1859 in TN. Just more proof of his deceptive answers.
  4. Did any of your ancestors live in the old Choctaw Nation in Mississippi and Alabama in 1830 when this treaty was made? seventy-two years ago? No dont think so.
    1. This is the first truth he states that contradicts what he previously stated.
  5. Q. Your mother came out west with her father and mother in the year 1833? Yes
    1. Yet her family was always in the census records living in TN from 1820 to 1870. He states later in the interview that his grandfather was Joseph “Jodi” Brown and grandmother was Katie, which is true and with that information, I was able to find Elizabeth’s family, which just further confirms that she was not Native American.
Often you hear about how the commission was giving land to the white. I believe that did happen and I think this is how it happened. I think it was through the interviews and those who were smart enough to keep the stories straight and be able to back up enough of what they were saying probably successful obtained land in this very dirty and underhand method. But in this case, I believe that the commissioners saw that his story was not believable. He even contradicted himself within the interview, without all the research I’ve found I still would have had trouble believing him.

Original records are invaluable and it’s so important that if you are doing research that you go look at the original record. I can’t stress that enough! GO LOOK AT THE ORIGINAL! Because you don’t get the whole story until you do, and sometime you will even find more detail in the original that can either further your research or in some cases clue you into the fact that the record does not belong to the person you are research. Research requires that you look at ALL the details and not just create a family tree based on databases that are missing a lot of information.