Into the West

After their relocation to the Indian Territory, the Seminole were initially confined to the lands and government of the Creek Nation. The United States allowed them to have only limited self-governance, and only if they adhered to the general laws of the Creeks. Frustrations with these terms and the general conditions in the region led two bands of Seminole under Wild Cat and John Horse to migrate to Mexico in 1849.

In 1856, after nearly twenty years living under Creek rule, a treaty was made with the Creeks and the Federal government establishing a Seminole Nation in Oklahoma.

Map of the Seminole Nation in Indian Territory, 1856-1866

This nation, recognized as an independent nation within the United States and under its protection, consisted of the land between the South Canadian River and North Canadian River bounded on the East by a line where the present city of Tecumseh, OK now exists, and on the west by the western boundary of the United States (in 1856), which was the 100th meridian.

The Seminoles, under the leadership of Chief John Jumper, moved to their new nation and established a community known as the Green Head Prairie.  A council house was located about two miles north and two miles west of the agency. After this settlement was made and the homes were well established, the Civil War erupted and the Seminoles as well as other members of the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Muscogee (Creek), took up arms and fought one against the other.

Under the agreement made with the Federal Government, the Seminoles were to be protected from outside invasion, but with the rumors of war, and before any battles were fought, the Government withdrew all of its forces, leaving the Indian Nations unprotected from invasion from the South.

About one-third of the Tribe, under the leadership of Big John Chupco, voted to remain loyal to the Union and proceeded to move to Kansas. The first skirmishes of the war took place when these Seminoles, along with other tribal members, who favored the North, fought three engagements to reach help in Kansas.

The remainder of the Seminoles under John Jumper joined forces with the Confederacy. The soldiers, with Colonel Jumper as their leader, fought under the command of General Stan Watie.

The war devastated Indian Territory and when it came to an end the Five Civilized Tribes were forced to give up their claim to all their land in the western half of what is now Oklahoma.

Map of the Seminole Nation in Indian Territory, 1906In 1866, the Seminoles were required to sign a new treaty. This treaty made certain provisions that included the sale of all the Seminole Nation to the United States at the rate of 15 cents per acre; to free their slaves and give them tribal rights; to give rights of way to the railroads; to make peace among themselves and with other tribes; to help organize a state made up of the Indians in Oklahoma; and the Seminoles were allowed to buy land sold by the Muscogee (Creeks) for a price of 50 cents per acre. This new land was the Second Seminole Nation and existed from 1866 to 1907. This consisted of present day Seminole County with the addition of 175,000 acres that the Seminoles later bought from the Muscogee (Creeks).

With the signing of the Treaty in 1866, the Government commissioned Elijah Brown to bring the Northern Seminoles back to their new nation and set up a new capital city. They chose as their capital the town of Wewoka. Seventeen years earlier, in January of 1849, the Seminole Freedman leader John Horse had made a temporary settlement on the north bank of the Wewoka Creek. They had given the name Wewoka, "Barking Water", to the settlement because of the noise made by the small falls located just east of the settlement.