Both the army and the maroons understood the arrangement in Texas as
temporary. A large portion of the Black Seminoles had expressed a desire to
emigrate back to the Oklahoma Indian Territory. The end of American slavery had
made the territory less foreboding. Maroons who once sought freedom in Mexico
now wanted to reunite with kinsmen and former Seminole Indian allies, who
likewise sought reunion.
Until a reunion could take place, however, the maroons agreed to serve the U.S.
In exchange they received money, rations, stock, agricultural equipment and,
problematically, promises of land or the use of it. The precise terms of the
agreement between Captain Perry and John Kibbetts have never been located. From
the 1870s on, generations of Black Seminoles understood “the treaty,” as they
called it, as an exchange of military services for a promise of land either in
Texas or the Indian Territory. Officers of the period corroborated that such a
promise existed, but documentation did not survive, and the issue remained a
sore point for the next century. It remains so to this day.*
Sources: Mulroy 112, Porter Black 117.
*On the contemporary recurrence of the 19th-century land
dispute, see David Steinberg's article from the Albuquerque Journal
of September 22, 2002, page F7: "'Our Land' tells story of
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