- On June 1, 1900, in Township 1, Creek Nation, Indian Territory, at the US Jail in Muscogee, Oklahoma (yes, in jail)
- Between June 16 and June 21, 1900, in Township 16, Creek Nation, Indian Territory, at home with his wife and children
Here's Frederick listed in the US Census on June 1, 1900. He is enumerated as a "boarder" with many other men (and one woman "boarder"!) in the facility. Ages ranged from a 14-year-old boy to the 60-year-old Indian woman.
|Listed on June 1, 1900, in Twp 1, Creek Nation, U.S. Jail Muscogee, Indian Territory|
Here he is listed on or after June 16, 1900 (the enumerator neglected to include the date on several pages, but the page before notes June 16, and several pages after start at June 21).
|Listed on or after June 16, 1900, in Twp 16, Creek Nation, with his wife, Mary J. and kids|
(You can click on the images to see a larger view)
There are two main questions (and some follow-ups!) that pop into my head regarding Frederick:
- How, why and when did Frederick (aka Frank or Fred) ended up in jail? Was it for a violent crime? Or, perhaps, was he a debtor? He was a farmer, so it couldn't have been for a "white collar" crime.
- Why was he listed twice in the census? Was he released from prison after June 1, and therefore counted at home a couple of weeks later because he was now settled back in with his family? Or, did Mary Jane or one of the kids mistakenly tell the enumerator he was home because they thought he wouldn't be counted in jail? OR, could someone have told the enumerator that he was at home because they were ashamed that their husband/father was in jail?
|Frederick Harmon Brittain (front, center) with his and Mary Jane's children|
You might have noticed that Frederick is listed, in both instances, as residing in "Indian Territory." This is because Oklahoma still was not a state in the Union until 1907. The Curtis Act, adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1898, abolished the Native American tribal court system and set up a federal judicial system in Indian Territory with three separate districts. A U.S. jail was built in Muskogee and served the Cherokee, Creek and Seminole nations, including anyone who lived within this district. I don't know exactly when Frederick and his family moved to Creek Nation in Indian Territory, but I'm guessing it was sometime during the Oklahoma Land Grabs that happened between 1889 and 1895.
I'm told that a major issue with finding out how Frederick landed in the pokey is because his incarceration was in 1900 (although, I have no idea when it started), but Oklahoma wasn't a state until 1907. Finding documented information in Oklahoma before it became a state can be problematic. I've been told by people from various agencies that many official records from before statehood either didn't exist or were destroyed.
I'm not giving up on solving this mystery, but I am having to rethink it. I'm hoping that someone at the Oklahoma Genealogical Society might be able to offer some help. Perhaps, I might take a vacation day soon and visit the Family Search Library here in San Francisco to see if they can help point me in some good directions. Who knows, at some point I may need to make a visit to Oklahoma!
Here's some more vital information about Frederick Brittain and his family. Anyone else have some good ideas for helping me solve this puzzle?
Frederick Harmon Brittain
b. Jan 20, 1859, in Keokuk County, Iowa
d. Feb 6, 1921, in Van Buren County, Arkansas
Milton Price Brittain (1822-1898) and Nancy Garriott (1828-1912)
m. Mary Jane Rooks (1st wife) on Sep 14, 1879, in Lowery City, Missouri
b. Mar 3, 1862, in Grundy County, Missouri
d. Mar 28, 1904, in Lincoln County, Oklahoma
m. Sarah Frances Young (2nd wife) in 1906 in Stroud, Creek Nation, Indian Territory
b. Jun 8, 1866, in Benton County, Arkansas
d. 1960 in Yakima, Washington
Children with Mary Jane Rooks:
- Infant Brittain 1880-1880
- Nellie E Brittain 1881-1882
- Mary Olive Brittain 1883-1917
- Melton Park Brittain 1885-1967
- Sarah Serina Brittain 1886-1981
- Andrew Lee Brittain 1888-1954 (my great grandfather)
- Fredrick Harmon Brittain 1889-1943
- Robert Ellis Brittain 1891-1965
- Ruben Franklin Brittain 1893-1967
- Allouise L Brittain 1895-1974
- James M. Brittain 1896-1899
- Alice Blanch Brittain 1901-1977
Children with Sarah Frances Young: