Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory During the Civil War: Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains

by Patricia Adkins-Rochette

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1853 Chickasaw Nation Letter to Bourland



Benjamin Holland Epperson complained about losing the Chickasaw Nation account.



1853 Red River Co TX, Clarksville, May 13.....Col. James Bourland, Sherman, Texas, Dear Sir:

Upon an examination of my papers, I find mentioned but not a copy of my contract with the Indians, upon which __ our surety, but I have a memorandum of its ? contents, and ? not having often seen ? it since it was executed, ? my distinct recollection of its substance. It is as I stated.

The Indians were to pay $20,000, in two payments of $10,000; however, depended __nging and if it was not found __s, then only $5,000 of the amount was to be paid, which made the contract a certainty of $15,000.00.

The contract further provided the entire $20,000 should be paid to me, and ascertain of them ? providing in Mississippi and be decided against them by that decision one million of dollars should be taken from their national fund. (torn page) __ was to refund to me $10,000 provided ? they had paid me the $20,000, which it had agreed to pay. And it was for the rest of this $10,000 that I get and that is the bond ? name is to __ (torn).

The Indians [in the] first place have not paid $_,000.00 [maybe $20,000] and the fund to the contract have __ upon me for the ?rest of the $10,000, but they paid only five. They have no right to this and if the case in Mississippi __ the whole matter __ their only claim __ for ? refunding a __ not taken from the __ fund a single allotment, you will realize they just claim upon me __ for a refunding of that money they paid designing person let them alone.

They are to blame for receiving $5,000 which I did. It was affirmed by agreement. I have, in particular, with a view _ your mind from any __ upon the subject of your __. If you hear anything further upon the subject. I will take it as a favour to hear from you.

I have heard nothing for about 6 months and at one time ? extended expenses that ? suit would instigate no fears as to the result __ but would hate very much sm__.

The first persons are on their way to join you: W.T. Montgomery, He[ad Quarters], Cairo Epperson, General, and John Wilkins.

I am y[our friend, &c],

B.H. Ep__ [Benjamin Holland Epperson], Clarksville. per BP-DM4406-3N-057.


Editor’s note: B. H. Epperson (1834-1878) was the son of General Cairo Epperson.  B. H.’s sister Sarah, m. 1856 Red River Co TX to Joseph J. Dickson, law partner of James Webb Throckmorton of Collin Co TX. J.J. Dickson was killed Apr 6, 1862 on the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, Hardin County, Tennessee. The executor of Dickson’s estate was B.H. Epperson, who later became a railroad executive of Jefferson, Marion Co TX (his home is now a bed-and-breakfast hotel).


W.T. Montgomery was the white man servant, with a wife and children, of B. H. Epperson in Red River Co TX. John T. Wilkins, a Choctaw, was in the construction business in the Choctaw Nation, I.T., then in Jul 1858, he lived adjacent to Fort Arbuckle.


B.H. Epperson represented the Chickasaw Indians in 1849 as a lawyer then he severed relations with the Chickasaws because of a disagreement with them over his professional fees. This 1853 letter may just be Epperson’s posting a complaint, but that does not explain why W.T. Montgomery, General Cairo Epperson, and John Wilkins were "on their way to join you." per East Texas Historical Journal (vol. 5) and the B.H. Epperson Papers at University of Texas.


In the mid 1850s, Albert Pike, a lawyer for the the Creeks (later a CSA general), won an $800,000 lawsuit that had been in the U.S Federal Courts for many years.  He then represented the other tribes of Indian Territory in analogous lawsuits, including the Chickasaws, and won their cases.   per W.L. Brown's A Life of Albert Pike, pp304ff.


Notice that in May 1853, Col. Bourland of Delaware Bend, had a mailing address of "Sherman, Texas," about 30 miles from Delaware, Cooke County, which pointed out the need for postal roads.


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Patricia Adkins-Rochette        07/17/2008               

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Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory During the Civil War: Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains