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2008 Catalog > 18. Gast & Co., State of Sequoyah

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The Rarest of American Constitutions
with the only obtainable map of the unrecognized

18. Constitutional Convention of the State of Sequoyah. Constitution of the State of Sequoyah. (Muskogee, I. T.: Phoenix Printing Company [1905]). First edition, second issue without page number on final page. End page: “Done in Open Convention at the City of Muskogee, in the Indian Territory, this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and five. We hereby certify that the foregoing is a true, correct and complete copy of the Constitution adopted by the Constitutional Convention of the State of Sequoyah (Indian Territory). In testimony whereof we hereto set our hands this 14th day of October, 1905. P. Porter, Chairman. Attest: Alex Posey, Secretary . . .” 4to bound in later light brown cloth with stamped gilt title, front and spine, 9-3/4 x 6 3/4." 68 pages. Library stamp, p. 3 top margin: University of Tulsa; split joint, p. 3, repaired; accretions [p. 68]; original staple marks at binding edge; light wear to cover. Map, originally bound between pp. 48 and 49: “State of Sequoyah” with the Great Seal of the State of Sequoyah, dated 1905, with a portrait of the Cherokee statesman, Sequoyah, and a five-pointed star containing symbols of the Five Civilized Tribes. Note: “Map compiled; from United States Geological Survey Map of Indian Territory, edition of July 1902, revised to date, and County divisions made under direction of Sequoyah Statehood Convention . . . by D. W. Bolish, Civil Engineer . . .” (St. Louis: Aug. Gast Bank Note & Litho. Company, 1905). Lithograph in full color. 16 1/8 x 14 3/4" at neat line. Sheet: 17 3/8 x 15 1/2." Issued folding. A pristine example with exceptionally bright color; close margin, l. Very good condition for the volume, excellent for the map.


“This was an attempt by the Five Civilized Tribes and some white inhabitants of Indian Territory to forestall the creation of one state out of Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory. The Convention met at Muskogee, 21 August 1905, and the constitution worked out by a committee of fifty was adopted 8 September. It was submitted to popular vote in the 7 November 1905 election, and carried by an overwhelming vote. All this was to no avail, for the act creating the present state of Oklahoma became law 16 June 1906. This is one of the cases in our history, at the moment I can think of no other, where a separate region seeking statehood and adopting a constitution was finally denied statehood by Congress.” — T.W. Streeter

The proposed State of Sequoyah comprised the eastern half of present-day Oklahoma and was the remnant of what had previously been Indian Territory. The western half of Indian Territory was designated Oklahoma Territory in 1890, and its officers included many experienced politicians who were likely to dominate government should the two territories be combined to form a state. Leaders of the Indian nations recognized this possibility and moved to apply for statehood independently.

“In a convention at Eufaula in 1902, representatives of the Five Civilized Tribes started a drive towards statehood for the Indian Territory. In 1903, the delegates met again to organize a constitutional convention. The Constitutional Convention met at Muskogee on August 21, 1905, presided over by General Pleasant Porter, Principal Chief of the Creek Nation. Vice-presidents were the high representatives of each of the five ?civilized tribes?: William C. Rogers (Cherokee), William H. Murray (Chickasaw), Green McCurtain (Choctaw), John Brown (Seminole) and Charles N. Haskell (Creek). . . The convention drafted a constitution, drew up a plan of organization for the government, put together a map showing the counties to be established, and elected delegates to go to the United States Congress to petition for statehood. . . The Sequoyah delegation received a cool reception in Washington. Eastern politicians, fearing the admission of two more Western states, with a relative increase in political power, put pressure on the U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt. He ruled that the Indian and Oklahoma territories would be granted statehood only as a combined state.” (rootsweb.ancestry.com)

The proposed state of Sequoyah received its name from the great Cherokee statesman and inventor of a written form for the Cherokee language. Sequoyah worked to create a united government among Cherokee tribal factions upon their relocation to Indian Territory in 1839. The central feature of the Great Seal of the State of Sequoyah is a five-pointed star containing symbols of the Five Civilized Tribes: (clockwise) a sheaf of wheat and a plow for the Creek Nation, a village beside a lake with an Indian paddling a canoe for the Seminole Nation, a standing Indian Warrior for the Chickasaw Nation, a tomahawk, bow, and three crossed arrows for the Choctaw Nation, and a seven-pointed star within a wreath of oak leaves for the Cherokee Nation. Above the main star is a portrait of Sequoyah holding a tablet, inscribed ?We are brethren,? in Cherokee. The surrounding forty-six smaller stars represent the forty-five states of the Union, with an additional star for the State of Sequoyah.

Oklahoma entered the Union officially in 1907 and, as the Indians feared, it absorbed the remains of Indian Territory in the process. At that time, Oklahoma retained the names of 20 of the 48 counties from the State of Sequoyah, including the county of Sequoyah on the eastern border. “Ironically, although the state of Sequoyah never materialized, much of the structure and many of the ideas laid out in their proposed constitution found their way into the newly formed charter of the state of Oklahoma.” (Wilkins)

Refs.: Foreman, Oklahoma Imprints, p. 50; Gilcrease-Hargrett, Catalogue of Imprints, p. 351; Graff 3730; Hargrett, p. 110; Howes S295; Morris et al., Historical Atlas of Oklahoma, no. 56; Rader 2011; Streeter, Americana, 605; McKnight, Documents of Native American Political Development: 1500s to 1933.

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