Edward Deas to George Gibson — December 19 1836
Little Rock, Arkansaw
19th December 1836
General George Gibson Commissary General Subsistence
I have the honour again to address you upon the subject of the Creek Emigration. I herewith enclose the copies of three letters, from which it will be perceived that the progress of the Party of Emigrants under my charge has been very much retarded. Some of the reasons for our detention upon the route are therein mentioned, but other causes have also tended to prevent the Party from progressing, and some of these were referred to in my last communication upon this subject—dated 22nd ultimo.
The larger portion of our Party reached the neighborhood of this place on the 27th of last month, but at that time there were large numbers of the Indians still behind, between Memphis and this place. I therefore directed that the Party should not proceed until these were brought up with the main body. My reasons for doing so are mentioned in one of the enclosed letters.
I also found between Memphis and this place many Indians that had originally belonged to other Parties, that preceded ours, who stated that they had been left upon the road. As these Indians were willing to proceed, I have taken care to see them provided for, agreeably to the Contract for the Removal.
The main body of the Party under my charge is at this time about 20 miles to the westward of this place, having left this neighborhood in consequence of the scarcity of Provisions I did not proceed with it, having returned towards Memphis, for the purpose of attending to bringing up some of the Indians that were still behind. The last detachment passed here this morning, & I believe that all of the Indians now being removed by contract, are to the west of this place. There may however, still be a few stragglers, but if so, they have willfully remained behind, as wagons & Agents were sent back, and all exertions used to bring up those that were willing to proceed.
As I understand that members of the “Emigrating Company” have doubted the propriety of detaining the larger portion of the party under my charge until the Indians belonging to it, had all come up; it may perhaps be well for me here to remark, that I was guided in doing so, (in addition to reasons ahead referred to,) by that article of the Contract, which required, that the company shall remain Parties of the Indians and not fragments of Parties.
The contract is also for the removal of the Indians, to the new Creek Country, west of the Mississippi, and not to the State of Arkansaw, for which reason I did not conceive it proper, to leave hundreds of these people encamped along the road from Memphis to Fort Gibson.
I am well convinced, that if Provision stands had been established upon the Emigrating route west of Memphis, as required by the Contract, and if a sufficient number of conductors had accompanied the Indians, very little delay would have occurred.
I shall proceed to overtake my Party to-day, and hope in a short-time to have the pleasure to report, that all of the Emigrating Indians are beyond the limits of this state.
I have the honour to be, General,
Your Obedt Servant
Lieut U.S. Army & Disbursing Agent in the Creek Emigration