A series of eight postal cards sent by a Quaker missionary escort a group of Seminoles from the Indian Territory to St. Louis, Missouri. From “Bert” to Nelly D. Smith.
A series of eight postal cards sent by a Quaker missionary escort a group of Seminoles from the Indian Territory to St. Louis, Missouri.

A series of eight postal cards sent by a Quaker missionary escort a group of Seminoles from the Indian Territory to St. Louis, Missouri.

Various locations in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, Kansas, and Missouri to Doylestown, Pennsylvania: August-September, 1874. Postal/post cards. In August, 1874, a Quaker missionary named Bert wrote to his ‘sister’ in faith that he and another man, named Inigo, would soon begin a journey escorting a group of Seminoles from the Indian Territory to St. Louis. The Quakers had a robust missionary presence in the Indian Territory that was recognized as extremely effective as reported in the Congressional Record of 1874, p.3543, “now the Quakers took control of these wild tribes . . . in their wild condition and have succeeded admirably. . . . They are all now staying on their reservations. . . . the Quakers are among the very best people in the country for work like this.” It’s not specified why the Seminoles were traveling to St. Louis, however it was likey related to the then recent consolidation of the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Cherokee Indian Agencies into one entity (see the Kansas Historical Society’s pamphlet describing the National Archives’ Records of the Central Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1813-1878; Microfilm rolls MF 6903 - MF 7010; National Archives microfilm publication M856). Regardless, Bert’s record of his journey is enlightening and entertaining: “Aug 14, 1874 - Muskogee I.T. – Sister N. A man named Inigo will leave here tomorrow morning with a party of about 15 Seminoles for St. Louis, Mo I will go with them. We will travel on horse back. . . . I do not expect to go further than the latter place. From there will go to Kansas. Will drop thee a Postal Card at each office as I go. . . . 8/15/74 – Camp Tahlequah, I.T. –Supper of Bacon fried. Bread – that was twisted round a sapling & held over the fire to bake. Strong coffee. The water here is splendid. T is the finest town I have seen in the territory. We break camp pretty soon to go out on the prairie for grass. Have a long ride for tomorrow came 28 mi to-day. . . 8/17/74 – Camp Midway between Old amp & Maysville about 12 from Maysville – Scenery is grand & beautiful. We are surrounded by high hills . . . covered with white stones from the size of a hand to that of a fellows head At our last camp I found fossils. Here I find crystals Many a fine specimen. . . . Another clear stream with pebbly bottom & holes deep enough to swim in. . . . The boys went to work for leggings. I scared up a pair for a little red skin. But that Mule. I do beat the very d-l how he can walk 60 miles a day and come in fresh. No joke. Expect to reach Maysville this evening. . . . 8/20/74 – Neosho Mo. – We had a terrible ride . . . in Cow Stem bottom and there seemed to be no end to the width of it & it is heavily timbered. We wanted prairie. We camped in timber at last. We rode a few miles in morning and be at a farm house a few miles further and on Buffalo creek . . . clear pebbly stream It is full of snails the Hogs fatten on them. Boys are going to play a game at 11 o’clock. . . . 8/22/74 – Neosho Mo. – I am still at Neosho but will leave early the morning for Joplin Mo. A lead mining town of some importance. The Indians played a game of ball 5th day morning. . . . left town soon after noon going toward Granby. . . . Joplin is 20 miles from here. . . . 8/23/74 - Kansas on Military Road 45 m from Ft. Scott. Last Postal Card I have will fill it while pony eats some more. Have had a nap. . . . Joplin is a busy lead mining town. It probably has the population of D. It is 7 miles from R.R. The lead interest has built it & it sustains it. . . . 9/27/74 – Muskogee I.T. – Sister N. Came home last M-day evening. . . . Mrs A. Mrs L. & Miss L. came down last 6th day evening. Thy letter asking me to write more was here when I came. I had a pleasant time at . . .Kansas City Exposition. Spent 2 days in the City and on Exposition grounds. . . . I got joked a little about Indian show. Rincaid clerk for Patterson we hear is married. . . . Now that’s what I call doing the right thing. I think it would be justfully splendid to have a nice little wife.” A ninth postal card is included in this lot in which Bert (“J.B.”) reports he is on his “way home having made a journey of about 1300 miles in Texas. Expect to spend Sabbath at Fort Gibson. . . .. The weather is cold wet and disagreeable & the season backward. In Texas corn was about a foot high last week but now it is not up.” On an additional philatelic note, there are several scarce dead post office postmarks from the Indian Territory and the Cherokee Nation on these cards including Gibson Station and Fort Gibson. A fascinating account entwining Quaker missionaries, Seminoles, an overland journey by pony and mule, baseball, campfire cooking, dead post offices, territorial postmarks, and more. Unique. As of 2019 nothing remotely similar is for sale in the trade, there are no auction records for similar items, and nothing similar is held in institutional collections. Very good. Item #009333

A fascinating account entwining Quaker missionaries, Seminoles, an overland journey by pony and mule, baseball, campfire cooking, dead post offices, territorial postmarks, and more. Unique. As of 2019 nothing remotely similar is for sale in the trade, there are no auction records for similar items, and nothing similar is held in institutional collections.

Price: $950.00