Rebellion March - June 1848     
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View of Fort Smith, Indian Territory, 1853
View of Fort Smith, Arkansas, circa 1853, seat of the court house and legal authority for the Indian Territory. Artist unknown. Fort Smith National Historic Site.
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Frontier Justice

Justice for the black pioneers was hard to find on the western frontier. In March 1848, for example, the Army exposed a Cherokee kidnapping ring. The female gang leader was brought to trial, but the judge dismissed all charges. John Horse appealed directly to General Jesup:

"[B]ut the other day three of our people were stolen and more than a month has passed & have not yet been recovered. One of the principals in this theft has been placed before the law, and from some Cause or other she has been let go -- Some say there is no law against stealing Negroes."

In a letter to Jesup dated June 10, 1848, probably dictated to a soldier at Fort Gibson, John Horse continued his lament:

"We have great many enemies, great many who think only of doing us injuries -- many who fabricate false claims and who for a few goods or a little whisky make false titles to our great annoyance. [We] are much annoyed, our people carried away, and our horses an object for many bad persons so that we are now reduced to great poverty."

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Sources: Porter Black 123, Mulroy 44.
Part 3, Exile: Outline  l Images
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 + Early Years: 1812-1832
 + War: 1832-1838
 - Exile: 1838-1850
+ Shifting Alliances
+ American Justice
spacer spacer Appeals for Help
"The Hero"
Federal Allies
Southern Enemies
Marcellus Duval
Frontier Justice
American Justice
+ A New Frontier
 + Freedom: 1850-1882
 + Legacy & Conclusion