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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents of the Records

Arrangement of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Papers, [17--]-1989 (bulk 1900-1980s),

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

James Ludwell Davis Sylestine:

An Inventory of Papers at the Texas State Archives, [17--]-1989 (bulk 1900-1980s)



Overview

Creator: Sylestine, James Ludwell Davis.
Title: Papers
Dates: [17--]-1989
Dates: (bulk 1900-1980s)
Abstract: These records are the research files and writings of James Sylestine. These records consist of published and unpublished reports (some written by Sylestine, others by various authors), theses; correspondence, primarily between Sylestine and various state and federal officials and agencies; bylaws and charter of the Alabama-Coushatta tribes; minutes of Council meetings; articles, clippings, brochures and other printed materials; transcripts of historical documents; biographical sketches of several individuals (most are non-Indian and are connected to the Indian Presbyterian Church) maps and sketches of the reservation; transcripts of deeds; Attorney General opinions; church records; census rolls; copies of legislation; and reel-to-reel tapes of songs recorded in 1932 and stories told in 1962 by tribal members. They cover a period from the 1700s to 1989, primarily from 1900 to the 1980s, and reflect historical and contemporary topics concerning the Alabama-Coushatta tribes and the reservation, including early interaction with white men, establishment of the reservation, tribal land claims, state and federal legislation affecting the tribes and/or reservation, state and federal trusteeship of the tribes, religion--including the work of the early missionaries and establishment of the Indian Presbyterian Church, folklore, education on the reservation and in off-reservation schools, alcohol and health problems of the tribes, housing, tribal politics, military service of tribal members, oil and gas revenue, increasing the self-sufficiency of the tribes, and current issues facing other Indian tribes.
Quantity: 2.47 cubic ft.
Language English.

Biographical Sketch

James Ludwell Davis Sylestine was born on the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation, near Livingston, Texas. He was a full-blooded Alabama Indian, the son of former Chief Bronson Cooper Sylestine and Mossane Sylestine. He entered the military in 1943, served 31 months and fought in several Pacific engagements, including the battle for Luzon. After the war he attended college (Austin College in Sherman and the University of Texas at Austin) then entered the Austin Presbyterian Seminary. He withdrew from the seminary after several years and re-entered the military, where he spent more than 20 years before retiring. He died on January 29, 1990, at the age of 65 and was buried at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

Because James married a non-Indian (Mildred), he was not able to live on the reservation after his retirement (bylaws of the tribe state that if marrying a non-Indian you could not live on the reservation but were maintained on the off-reservation rolls). He maintained close contact with the tribes, serving as the secretary or chairman at some council meetings. He was also very active with the Indian Presbyterian Church, serving as an elder of the church. He periodically wrote articles concerning the tribes or reservation which were published in local newspapers, and he frequently wrote Congressmen or pertinent officials concerning legislation which would affect the tribes. He was a life-long student of the history of his people and spent a number of years compiling information to write a history on the Alabama-Coushatta, but he did not complete it before his death.

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Scope and Contents of the Records

These records are the research files and writings of James Sylestine. They reflect historical and contemporary topics concerning the Alabama-Coushatta tribes and the reservation, including early interaction with white men, establishment of the reservation, tribal land claims, state and federal legislation affecting the tribes and/or reservation, state and federal trusteeship of the tribes, religion-including the work of early missionaries and establishment of the Indian Presbyterian Church, folklore, education on the reservation and in off-reservation schools, alcohol and health problems of the tribes, housing, tribal politics, military service of tribal members, oil and gas revenue, increasing the self-sufficiency of the tribes, and current issues facing other Indian tribes.

These records consist of published and unpublished reports (some written by Sylestine, others by various authors), theses; correspondence, primarily between Sylestine and various state and federal officials and agencies; bylaws and charter of the Alabama-Coushatta tribes; minutes of Council meetings; articles, clippings, brochures and other printed materials; transcripts of historical documents; biographical sketches of several individuals (most are non-Indian and are connected to the Indian Presbyterian Church) maps and sketches of the reservation; transcripts of deeds; Attorney General opinions; church records; census rolls; copies of legislation; and reel-to-reel tapes of songs recorded in 1932 and stories told in 1962 by tribal members.

The last item in the collection is a compiled volume of documents and reports, containing transcripts of letters concerning the Alabama and/or Coushatta Indians; transcripts of early incidents on the reservation; reminiscences of tribal members; excerpts of the histories and lives of the Indians by Sylestine and others--including the condition and needs of the reservation, progress made, the 1936 elections, etc.; and minutes of the tribal and general council meetings.

Throughout his files he refers to the tribes by both the current tribal names -- Alabama and Coushatta Indians -- and by the more historic or "Indian" names -- Albamo and Kossati Indians. These records date from the 1700s to 1989. Most files concern the period from 1900 to the mid 1980s.

To prepare this preliminary inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.

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Arrangement of the Records

The files are arranged alphabetically by title.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None.

Restrictions on Use

Under the Copyright Act of 1976 as amended in 1998, unpublished manuscripts are protected at a minimum through December 31, 2002 or 70 years after the author's death. Researchers are responsible for complying with the Copyright Law.

The Texas State Archives does not have playback equipment for the reel-to-reel tapes.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Subjects:
Alabama Indians.
Koasati Indians.
Alabama Indians--Legal status, laws, etc.
Alabama Indians--History.
Alabama Indians--Religion.
Alabama Indians--Government relations.
Koasati Indians--Legal status, laws, etc.
Koasati Indians--History.
Koasati Indians--Religion.
Koasati Indians--Government relations.
Places:
Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation.
Document Types:
Correspondence--Texas--Alabama and Koasati Indians--1800s-1989.
Reports--Texas--Alabama and Koasati Indians--1800s-1989.
Minutes--Texas--Alabama and Koasati Indians--1800s-1989.
Clippings--Texas--Alabama and Koasati Indians--1800s-1989.
Transcripts--Texas--Alabama and Koasati Indians--1800s-1989.
Maps--Texas--Alabama and Coushatta Indian Reservation--c. 1900-1989.
Audio tapes--Texas--Alabama and Koasati Indians--c. 1932-1962.

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Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Indian Commission, Records, 1957-1989, 49 cubic ft.
Records relating to Indian affairs, Alabama-Coushatta Indians, 1839-1880, 1918-1934, 1957, 0.1 cubic ft.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), James Ludwell Davis Sylestine Papers. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 1990/106

These papers were bequeathed to the Texas State Archives by James L.D. Sylestine and donated following his death by Max W. Schlotter, on March 8, 1990.

Processing Information

Laura K. Saegert, October 1990

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Detailed Description of the Records

 

Papers, [17--]-1989 (bulk 1900-1980s),
2.47 cubic ft.

box folder
1990/106-1 1. 263 Acre Dispute
2. Alabama Indians, letter of William S. Wyman
3. "Alabama Indians of Texas," by William Looker
4. "The Alabama Indians of Texas," by Harriet Smither
5. "The Alabama Indians and Their Music," by Frances Densmore
6. "The Alabama-Coushattas," by Dorman Winfrey
7. "The Alabama and Coushatta in the Confederacy"
8-9. Alabama-Coushatta Indians
10. Alabama-Coushatta Indians, a report by Roy Nash
11. Alabama-Coushatta Indians, articles [contemporary]
12. Alabama-Coushatta Indians, agent's letter to [contemporary]
13. Alabama-Coushatta Indians, drafts of Sylestine's papers
14. Alabama-Coushatta Indians, history and present way of life
15. Alabama-Coushatta Indians, materials from Reverend and Mrs. C.W. Chambers scrapbook
(on file at Sam Houston State University)
16. "The Alabama-Coushatti Indians of Polk County," by James Sylestine
17. Alabama-Coushatta tribes suing the United States government
18. Alabama-Kossati tribes, members killed in World War II
19. The Albamos and the Runaway Scrape, and "Death of Chief Sunkee," both by James Sylestine
20. Albamo Indians, articles [contemporary]
21. Albamo Indians, remnants of tribe, U.S. House, Resolution 4453
22. Alcohol. Patterns of Alcohol Use on the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation, by Janet E. Maier, [thesis]
23. Alcohol, request for legalizing sale of on reservation
24-26. American Indians [contemporary]
27. Archaeological Research Lab Report, Coushatta Tribe
28. Biennial Report of State Board of Control [historic]
29. "Big Thicket Indians Know Secret of Corn," by Joseph M. Dawson
30. "The Bright Path Ahead," by James Sylestine
31. Broemer, Walt, superintendent of reservation, controversy concerning
32. Chambers, Caleb Wallace and wife, Emma [biographical data and sketches]
33. Chants [primarily for healing for prevention of something]
34. Charter of Alabama-Coushatta Indians
35. Christianity. "How Christianity Came to the Albamo and Kossati Tribe of Indians," by James Sylestine
36. Collateral of reservation
37. "Comments Concerning the Occupation of Alcatraz by 115 American Indians," by James Sylestine
38. "The Community Bell of the Albamo and Kosatti Indian Village," by James Sylestine
39. Community Cemetery on Reservation
40. Congress. House bills pertaining to the Alabama Indians [historic]
41. Constitution and Bylaws of the Alabama-Coushattas
Correspondence, James Sylestine:
42-43. James Sylestine [general files]
44. National Archives to James Sylestine
45-46. Letters re: Indian Presbyterian Church
47. Letter to Senator Morris Udall
48. Letters to editors
49. Letters to President
50. Council meetings, general and tribal, minutes
51. Criminal cases, Kossati (?) Indians
52. Criminal records of the Albamo-Kossati tribe
53. "Death of Chief Sunkee," by James Sylestine
54. Deeds, Alabama-Coushatta Reservation [transcripts]
55. "Democracy in America," by Alexis de Tocqueville
56. "Diet, Health, and Culture of Older Alabama-Coushatta Indians," by Joy Gianolio [thesis]
57. Donley, Linda, research on Alabama-Coushatta tribes
box folder
1990/106-2 1. Eastern Texas Presbytery, minutes [historical]
2. Education of Alabama-Coushatta Indians
3. Election of 1936 [of Chief Cooper Sylestine]
Federal trusteeship:
4. [bingo concerns]
5. Clippings
6. U.S. House, Resolution 1344
7. [Garlic clippings]
8. Gas and oil on the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation
9. Gibson, Tom [story concerning]
10. "Government Paternalism," by James Sylestine [papers, clippings, memos]
11. Grievances [handled by James Sylestine]
12. Hazardous waste incinerator
Houston, Sam:
13. letter to Joseph L. Ellis
14. letter to Texas Indians
15. Hunter, Kermit, letter from
Indian Presbyterian Church:
16. [primarily contemporary materials]
17. The Centennial Year of the Indian Presbyterian Church
18. [program for centennial celebration]
19. Family Church Record
20. Field notes for church membership
21. Writings of missionaries and pastors
22. Indian Voices, comments on the Formation and Declaration of Indian Purpose, 1963
23. "The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography," by Michael L. Tate
24. Inter-marriage list
25. Kossati tribe
26. Landry, Oscar Fitzallen [biographical data and letters]
27. A Legacy in Pieces, Texas Historical Commission, Office of the State Archaeologist
28. The Legend of the Rabbit [various tales, by James Sylestine]
29. Map. Alabama-Coushatta Reservation [shows residences and buildings]
30. Maps. [Ball Field, Property Intruding on A/C Reservation, First Family Settlements, Creeks and Streams, Cemeteries, Types of Soil, [historical migration of tribes], [routes of DeSoto and Moscoso], Homes and Buildings on A/C Reservation]
31. Marks and brands, Polk County
32. "The Mission Era: The End of the Spanish Regime, 1780-1810," vol. V, Carlos Castenada
33. Missionaries to Alabama-Coushatta Indians [historical]
34. Mutual Help Homeownership Program
35. Native American Right Fund
36. Oklahoma Albamos
37. Opinions of the Attorney General [primarily JM-17]
38. Opinion of the Attorney General, letters concerning, through Indian Presbyterian Church
39. Publications
40. Presbyterian concerns for the Indians
41. Presidential policies on American Indians [contemporary]
42. Price, Reverend Byron, contract with
43. "Rendezvous In The West Baffled," incomplete
44. Research articles, historical
45. Returning the Albamos and the Kossatis back to "Indianess"
46. Rowe, R.J., letter to Governor E.J. Davis
47. Sam Houston Memorial Museum [promotional materials]
48. Scrapbook
49. "Sex Life of the Albamo and Kossati Indians," by James Sylestine
50. Smith, William Albert [letter by former pastor of the Indian Presbyterian Church]
51. "The Suggested Program II," by James Sylestine
52. Swallow tale
53. Sylestine, Chief Bronson Cooper [biographical notes]
54. Sylestine, Clenson [election to tribal council]
box folder
1990/106-3 1. Tales of the Albamo tribe
2. Tales but not Tales of the Albamo
3. Tapes - songs sung by Chief Charles Martin Thompson
4. Tapes - stories by various individuals
5. Tax exemption for the tribe
6. Ten Boom, Corrie [biographical article]
7. Tenney, Samuel Fisher [biographical data and sketches]
8. Tenney, Samuel Fisher, negative
9. "Termination of Federal Supervision Over Certain Tribes of Indians," [Congress. Joint Hearings, S. 2744, H.R. 6282, H.R. 6547, contemporary]
10. The Texas Indian Commission and American Indians in Texas, Texas Indian Commission
11. Texas Indians, by Bennett [articles from Houston Post]
12. Trail of Tears
13. Tribal land claim
14. Compiled history volume

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