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John Tyler

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Rare land document in which Tyler approves the transfer of land from a member of the Creek Indian tribe

John Tyler, 17901862.  10th President of the United States, 18411845.  Partially printed Document Signed, John Tyler, Washington, [D.C.], September 21, 1841.

This is a rare document in which President Tyler grants title to land in Alabama pursuant to a sale of the land by a member of the Creek Indian tribe.  Although by 1841 secretaries routinely signed general land grants for the presidents, it appears that Tylerʼs own signature was required by the Treaty of March 24, 1832, by which the Creek tribe ceded all of its land east of the Mississippi River to the United States.  Article II of the treaty provided that each of 90 principal Creek chiefs could select one section of land and that every other head of a Creek family could select one-half section of land.  Article III then provided that those tracts could be "conveyed by the persons selecting the same, to any other persons for a fair consideration, in such manner as the President may direct.  The contract shall be certified by some person appointed for that purpose by the President, but shall not be valid ʼtill the President approves the same.  A title shall be given by the United States on completion of the payment."

Our research has disclosed only four other documents like this signed genuinely by Tyler that have been sold at auction in the last 41 years.  We have also seen two that were secretarially signed for Tyler despite what we believe the statute required.  Overall, the rarity of these documents suggests that possibly few tribal members sold their land, despite the clear intention of the treaty that the Creeks move westward. 

This is a clean, bright vellum document that measures 12" x 17".  It has wrinkling that is typical of old vellum documents and both horizontal and vertical folds, likely from mailing.  There are also a few small holes, but they are not obtrusive and do not affect Tyler's signature.  The handwritten engrossment and Tylerʼs signature are a bit light, but they are still quite readable.

This document is an outstanding piece of memorabilia from the days of the Creek tribe in Alabama and the federal governmentʼs early dealings with the Native American tribes.  It belongs in any presidential or Native American collection.

Unframed.  Please click here for information about custom framing this piece.

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The watermark does not appear on the original item.




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