Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Passports to Cross Cherokee, Creek and Spanish Land

1815 Cherokee and Creek Nation Map
Not Part of America
Perhaps you had stellar education and was taught this in school, but for most this bit of early American history was left out of the curriculum.In researching a family that settled in Georgia I came across a few spectacular sources validating the need of passports in order to enter (or cross through) Cherokee Nation, Creek Nation and Spanish Territories of the southeast.

Need Passport for Travel Inside USA?
What is now the southeastern states (those east of the Mississippi River to include Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, North and South Carolina) was under Spanish jurisdiction or designated Indian territory. These jurisdictions required travelers to possess Governor issued passports to enter the non-American owned territories. The passport papers included character references and identified the need to enter into Creek Confederacy of Georgia - Creek Nation (Muskogee), Cherokee territory or Spanish territory. Your ancestral migratory path may be verified with the aid of these papers.

Georgia Governor Passports
About 100 of these passports were recorded in Georgia and are held in the Georgia Secretary of State Archives Collection, File II, (Record Group 4-2-46). 
This statement is provided by the website:
From 1785 through 1820, individuals from Georgia or traveling through Georgia from other states who desired to travel to or through Indian Territory were required to obtain a passport from the Governor.
Although original passports were issued to the travelers, you may find the recorded copy in the Executive Department Minutes (Record Group 1-1-3).

Cherokee Treaty Passport Requirements
In 1791, the Cherokee Treaty, Article 9 prevented entry into the Cherokee Nation without a Governor generated passport.  Cherokee Nation required passports began as early as 1785-1820.

South Carolina Passport
State of So. Carolina (at auction) 
Passports to traverse or enter these territories were not limited to your Georgia ancestors.  The following is a three page set from South Carolina Governor declaring Captain John Hughbank worthy to enter the Creek Territory for settlement.  This multi-witnessed 1804 passport sold at auction for $177.75 (http://www.hcaauctions.com/LotDetail.aspx?lotid=26936).

Spanish Territory Passport Needs
All of us have heard of Louis and Clark. But did you know in 1803 the St. Louis Spanish commandant denied the explorers to enter the Louisiana Territory because they did not have a Spanish passport?

For More Information
Transcripts may be found in the following two sources:
Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com
Accurate, accessible answers

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