A bill introduced by Representative Tom D. McKeown, Democrat from Ada, to appropriate $463,732 for the Shawnee Indians in settlement of claims arising under the Treaty of 1868, was passed on June 23, 1926. It was then sent to the Senate.

SHAWNEE TRIBE LOOKS FORWARD TO COLLECTION OF OLD CLAIMS

A bill introduced by Representative Tom D. McKeown, Democrat from Ada, to appropriate $463,732 for the Shawnee Indians in settlement of claims arising under the Treaty of 1868, was passed on June 23, 1926. It was then sent to the Senate.

The passage of the bill by the House marked the first successful effort of an Oklahoma representative to secure definite action towards payments of the claims. The claims were pronounced valid by the Interior Department, but bills for payment have failed to pass previously.

Should the bill pass the senate, approximately $330,000 would be distributed among Indians of Pottawatomie County. Three-fourths of the Shawnees who were heirs of the original claimants lived in the county.

The claims now on the rolls of the Indian agency office arose out of a treaty perfected between the Shawnee Tribe and the federal government in 1868. A.W. Leech, superintendent of the Indian agency, explained that the claims were made for losses sustained by the Indians during the Civil War.

Members of the Shawnee Tribe were in sympathy for the northern cause. Many of the tribe joined the northern army and were killed in battle. In the meantime, those left at homes were persecuted and their property destroyed. At the close of the war, the persecutions continued. It was then that the chiefs of the Shawnees met in conference with representatives of the government and perfected the Treaty of 1868.

Under the provisions of the treaty, the Indians agreed to leave their homes in Oklahoma and go to the Kansas reservations for a certain period. They were guaranteed protection. But shortly after their departure, both northern and southern sympathizers joined in stealing the possessions of the tribe and destroying their homes.

A few years afterwards, the claims were prepared and submitted to the government. They were recognized by the Interior Department, but all efforts to secure passage of the bill failed.

RENDEZVOUS OF THEFT GANG REVEALED BY AUTHORITIES

A rendezvous of which police believed to be that of a statewide organization of thieves was uncovered in Shawnee on June 29, 1926. In a garage at the rear of a residence on north Broadway, police found loot estimated to be worth $2,000. No arrests were made at the time.

Some of the valuables found by officers were identified as part of the loot taken in the $4,000 Robbins Brothers Service Station robbery on the night of June 3. Automobile accessories believed by authorities to have been taken in robberies in the eastern section of the state were found. Merchandise that might have been taken from hardware stores were included in the find. A man believed to be a member of the gang, fled from the garage as officers approached.

The discovery of the rendezvous followed several weeks of work on the part of Shawnee officers. It was made known several weeks earlier that the state was sending special operatives to Shawnee to aid local officers in efforts to break up thieving activities in the county. The garage served as a storage house for loot of the “motor marauders,” an organization that terrorized the southern part of the county for the past 18 months.

Chief of Police L.A. Brown and Deputy Sheriff Henry Brock discovered the garage. Several hours were spent in carrying the loot to the police station.

The garage had been sub-rented by J.F. Mayes. Mayes was exonerated by the police of having any connection with the case. The garage had been occupied as living quarters by an unknown man for several weeks. Officers found evidence that the place had been used as a meeting place.

Twenty-three casings were found and identified as belonging to the Robbins Brothers Service Station. The service station robbery was considered to have been done by the most daring pieces of crime ever committed in Shawnee. Taking advantage of a rain, a windstorm, and poor electrical service, the thieves virtually cleaned the establishment out.

The robbery followed several similar thefts in other sections of the county. The Hawk Auto Supply Company was one of the victims of the gang. The combined loot of the gang in the county alone had passed the $12,000 mark.

The discovery of the storage house was believed by authorities to be an important step towards the breaking up of the gang. The arrest of several persons relating to the discovery were expected.

GIRL ATTEMPTS SUICIDE IN CITY JAIL

Bobby Young, 20 years old, wife of Chief Young, convict in the state pen at McAlester, was in the Shawnee municipal hospital on July 7, in critical condition. This was following an attempt to end her life by taking poison in the city jail the day before. The girl was serving a 30-day sentence for drunkenness when the attempt at suicide was made. Although her condition was serious, hospital attendants said she would probably recover.

Attracted by the cries of the girl and her entreaties to secure a physician, officers sent the girl to the hospital that night. She expressed a desire to live the next day. She took Dichloride of Mercury tablets. A woman friend furnished her with the tablets, believing she wanted them for medicinal purposes.

Despondency caused by confinement in the jail and other worries were believed responsible for the girl’s act. Her husband was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for hijacking.

 (These stories and hundreds more appear in the first volume of Shawnee history, entitled: “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE EARLY YEARS, 1830-1929.” It can be purchased by calling Clyde Wooldridge at (918) 470-3728, or by visiting the Pottawatomie County Historical Society at the old Santa Fe Depot. The cost of purchase is $35. Volume two, “1930-1949,” is also available for $30. Volume three, “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE MIDDLE YEARS, 1950-1969,” is now available, at a cost of $35. All three volumes are more than 400 pages with hundreds of photos and illustrations. A combination of two or three can be purchased at $30 each. They are fully indexed, making it easy to look up individuals or places of business. Volume four 1970-1989, is scheduled for the fall of 2020; volume five 1990-2009, should be available in the fall of 2021; and volume six 2010-to the present, is scheduled for the fall of 2022. They are also available on thumb drive at the PCHS Museum.)

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.