PRE-REMOVAL AND REMOVAL
These claims were filed by individuals attempting to recover some of their losses suffered when white people invaded their country and drove them westward. Georgia enacted laws allowing white citizens to commit criminal acts upon the Indians without fear of prosecution. The white hoard rushed in and stole homes and property, murdering the Cherokee if necessary, and receiving help from the Georgia Guard in many cases when the Cherokee family refused to leave their farms.
In some cases the claims were filed for losses caused by the United States Troops. When the troops passed through an area they simply took what they wanted. Sometimes they gave the Cherokee a slip of paper stating that General Scott would reimburse them for losses suffered. The Cherokee quickly learned that this was yet more deceit as these papers mentioned nothing of their losses and were worthless. Sadly, the troops despised the Indians so much that they were known to kill Cherokee livestock not only for food, but for sport and their own amusement.
Some of the 1842 Claims shown here are courtesy of Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The earlier claims are courtesy Mike Wren. Mr. Wren is a superb historian and researcher and is active with the Alabama Trail of Tears Association. Cousin Matt Scraper also deserves credit as it was he who put me touch with Mr. Wren. Mr. Wren not only supplied the early claims, but also made me aware of the claims at Gilcrease. Cousin Matt has become active in researching our family history in recent years and his hard work and enthusiasm make him a welcome addition to our team of researchers.
Despite the sadness of reading of how badly our people were mistreated, these claims are worthwhile in that they give good information as to where and how the people lived. Besides mentioning acreage and type of crops, and various livestock, we learn about size and type of houses, who had carpentry or blacksmith tools, musical instruments, looms and spinning wheels, cooking utensils, farming equipment, etc.
Except where otherwise noted these claims were transcribed by Joe Scraper Jr. in late 2007 and early 2008.