Old West Catacombs

Barbarous Cherokee Death Sentence

December 8, 1894, Times, El Paso, Texas – Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory.  A story of atrocity, smacking of the usages of a barbarous country, comes from David, a small town in the interior of the Indian Territory. As stated Colonel A. J. Blackwell, well known in the west, was arrested for selling land, and according to the Cherokee laws, given a Cherokee death sentence for high treason.

Cherokee Death SentenceBlackwell when the territory first opened for settlement founded the town of David and started a new sect, pretending to be a prophet sent by God.  He ignored the will of a number of Cherokees who it is now said hatched up a conspiracy to put him out of the way.  At any rate two weeks, Blackwell was taken from the midst of his family by order of the Cherokee council and being brought to Claremont was placed in close confinement.  Since then he has not been allowed to communicate with the outside world and has lived on bread and water.

On Sunday, the story goes, Blackwell after being clean-shaven and stripped of his clothing, was taken before Chief Ohaha, who was then holding a sub council and asked to confess.

Blackwell answered that he had no confession to make, that he was the victim of a conspiracy, and asked to be released.  Instead, he was carried off bodily to the “Needles” a place of torture adjoining the prison where he was subjected to treatment horrible in the extreme.  Ten bucks, dancing around their victim and each wielding a steel used for the purpose jabbed the naked flesh of Blackwell.  Terrible cried of “Ki Yi” and torture was kept up till Blackwell, bleeding and faint from dozens of punctures in his flesh, sank to the ground.  In this condition, he was finally taken back to his former cell and still remains in irons, hand and feet, notwithstanding the fervent appeals of his relatives and friends.

What makes the case more complicates is the fact that Blackwell is a full-fledged American and has no Cherokee blood in his veins as has been stated.  His trial has not been set and what further indictments awaits him remains to be seen.

Editor’s Note:  During this time the Indian Territory was reservation land governed by Indians according to Indian law.  White people were not allowed within the territory, let alone settle there and sell the land. Chances are Colonel Blackwell ended up dying at the hands of the Indians