1850 Indian Territory

A Vast region set apart by the United States as the permanent home of certain Indian tribes who have been removed thither, and natives of the soil, lies between 34 and 40 north latitude, and 9420' and 100 longitude west from Greenwich.  It is bounded north by the Northwestern Territory, east by Missouri and Arkansas, south by Texas and New Mexico, and west by Texas, New Mexico and Utah.  Its superficial area is about 200,00 square miles.

Physical Aspect--The Ozark range of mountains traverse the southwestern corner of this tract.  From this point eastward the country presents a series of slightly undulating plains, gradually ascending toward the Rocky mountains, where they have an elevation of 4,000 or 5,000 feet.  These mountains, forming the western boundary, rise to the elevation of 12,000 feet.  The Great American desert stretches along the eastern part of the Rocky mountains, from the Northwestern territory through the Indian territory into Texas, a length if nearly 600 miles.  Its width varied from 100 to 200 miles.  The soil of this land is arid, sterile, and almost destitute of trees, and even of shrubs.  There are occasional plains and prairies, which afford subsistence to herds of bison, wild horse and other animals.  A belt of about 200 miles wide, adjoining Arkansas and Missouri, is favorable to settlement.  Its soil id fertile, and it is watered by numerous rivers, none of which, however, are adapted to navigation.

Rivers--The principal rivers are, Red river, Canadian, Arkansas, Neosho, Kansas and Platte rivers, with their tributaries.  The largest of these rivers rise in the Rocky mountains, and flow east into the Missouri and Mississippi.  Red river and the Arkansas are navigable at certain seasons to within the Indian territory by steamboats, and the Kansas by boats.

Climate--The atmosphere is salubrious and in the southern portion the climate is so mild, that domestic animals find support through the winter without the care of their owners,

Resources--Iron, lead and coal are abundant.  The Indians have, in many instances, converted their settlements into well cultivated farms, and various grains, vegetables and other agricultural products of corresponding latitudes east of the Mississippi are raised in abundance.

Government--The Cherokees, Creeks and Choctaws are the most advanced toward civilization of any of the foregoing tribes.  They have good houses, well fenced and well tilled fields, and own horses and cattle to a considerable extent.  They have also native mechanics and merchants.  They have adopted an improved system of government.  The Choctaws and Creeks have a written constitution; and the former have introduced trial by jury.  The other transported tribes are said to have improved in their condition since their removal from the east.  But the indigenous tribes have not, as a general thing, improved in the same degree as their brethren from the east.  They still cling to their wild pleasures, and prefer the excitement of the hunt and of war, to the peaceful monotony of civilization.

Population--The inhabitants of the Indian territory consist of tribes indigenous to the country, and the tribes, transported thither under the authority of the United States.  The numbers belong to each class and tribe, in 1841 were as follows:

Indigenous Tribes

 
Pawnees 12,000
Osages 4,102
Kansas 1,700
Omahas 1,301
Otoes & Missouris 931
Puncahs 777
Quapaws 400
   

Immigrant Tribes

 
Cherokees 25,911
Creeks 24,594
Choctaws 12,410
Seminoles 3,136
Chippewas, Ottawas & etc 2,028
Chickasaws 4,111
Delawares 1,059
Kickapoos 505
Peorias & Kaskaskias 150
Piankeshaws 98
Senecas from Sandusky 125
Senecas & Shawnees 211
Shawnees 887
Stockbridges, Munsees & etc 278
Swan Creek & etc 62
Weas 176
Winnebagoes 2,182
Wyandots of Ohio 385
   
Total 96,020