The Importance of Acknowledging our History: the National Archives and Federal Records Center in Fort Worth, Texas

This post is part of our ongoing blog series that acknowledges the ancestral lands on which the National Archives’ buildings are situated across the country. This series of acknowledgements is a simple way to offer our recognition and respect to the people  who once lived on these lands. 

The National Archives at Fort Worth and Federal Records Center is located in Fort Worth, Texas, which is situated on lands that are rich in the history of numerous indigenous peoples. Nations with territories overlapping on the present-day address of the National Archives at Fort Worth, include the Comanche, Kickapoo, Jumano, Tawakoni, and Wichita peoples.

National Archives at Fort Worth, Burgess Building
The area where the current Fort Worth Archives building is located is near the Trinity River and its tributaries such as Village Creek. The building is located near the current boundary between the cities of Fort Worth and Arlington. The building is part of an industrial/manufacturing area that is serviced by multiple railroad lines.
Current Google map; Lake Arlington now exists in the area where the Battle of Village Creek occurred
(see article: Battle of Village Creek, Texas State Historical Association).
Current USGS map of Village Creek area. The National Archives building is located near tributaries of Village Creek.

Inhabitants of villages along Village Creek that became the city limits of Fort Worth and Arlington included Caddo, Cherokee, and Tonkawa peoples. This area was the site of the 1841 Battle of Village Creek, now Lake Arlington.

The National Archives at Fort Worth building is located in Tarrant County which was inhabited by the following tribes at different times: Tonkawa, Hasinai Caddo, Comanche, Kiowa, and Wichita.

“Little is known of the Indians who inhabited the area of present-day Tarrant County before the coming of European explorers in the sixteenth century. Groups thought to have been in the area were the Tonkawas and the Hasinai Caddos. By the late 1700s the Comanches, Kiowas, and Wichitas had also moved into the region. When White settlers came they clashed with the native population. The battle of Village Creek occurred in 1841. A seventy-man force, led by Gen. Edward H. Tarrant, seized and destroyed three Indian villages. Although this expedition and others like it cleared permanent Indian settlements from the area, trouble with the Comanches and Kiowas continued into the 1870s.”

From the Tarrant County Historical Association website.

Peoples who lived along the present Fort Worth/Arlington border included: Caddos, Hainais, Anadarkos, and fragmentary groups of Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Waco, and Kickapoo peoples.

Enter your address in this interactive map of Traditional Native Lands to see who once lived where you are now.

My thanks to Michael Wright, Director of Archival Operations, Melinda Johnson, Archives Specialist, and Stacey Wiens, Archives Specialist, National Archives at Fort Worth, who researched the information for this land acknowledgement. 

Additional Information: 

Maps

1836 Caddos in Trinity River area, from texashistory.unt.edu

1835-1854 Map showing tribe locations in the Ft Worth area around the time of the Bird’s Fort treaty.
From the Texas Beyond History website, with permission from the author.
Cadastral map of Tarrant County, 1856. Tarrant County is divided into land plots. Village Creek is labeled as Caddo Creek. From texashistory.unt.edu

1889 Topographic map that shows Village Creek, railroads, and the town Enon that no longer exists –all in the general area where the archives building is now. Zoom of  future location of National Archives at Fort Worth building. Village Creek is visible. From the University of Texas Libraries Map Collection
1889 Topographic map; zoomed out to show Trinity River and railroad tracks. From the University of Texas Libraries Map Collection

General Information: Tribes in Texas

Native American Relations in Texas, Texas State Library

Indigenous Peoples of Texas, FamilySearch

Tribe-Specific Information

Caddo

Caddo Nation, Southern Plains Tribal Health Board

Caddo Nation Website

Caddo, Texas State Historical Association

Caddo Fundamentals, Texas Beyond History

Caddo Voices, Texas Beyond History

Early Caddo History, National Park Service

Cherokee

Cherokee Nation website

Cherokee, Texas State Historical Association

Comanche

Comanche Nation website

Comanche, Texas State Historical Association

“Comanche” references in Border Land: The Struggle for Texas, 1820-1879. University of Texas Arlington

Creek

Creek, Texas State Historical Association

Jumano

Jumano Nation website

Jumano, Texas State Historical Association

Kickapoo

Kickapoo, Texas Tribe website

Kickapoo, Oklahoma Tribe website

Kickapoo, Kansas Tribe website

Kickapoo, Texas State Historical Association

“Kickapoo” references in: Border Land: The Struggle for Texas, 1820-1879, University of Texas Arlington

Seminole

Seminole, Texas State Historical Association

Tawakoni

Tawakoni Official website

Tawakoni, Texas State Historical Association

“Tawakoni” references in: Border Land: The Struggle for Texas, 1820-1879, University of Texas Arlington

Tawakoni, Oklahoma Historical Society

Tonkawa

Tonkawa Nation website

Tonkawa, Texas State Historical Association

Wichita

Wichita official website

Wichita Historical Resources, Wichita Tribes

Wichita, Texas State Historical Association

“Wichita” references in: Border Land: The Struggle for Texas, 1820-1879, University of Texas Arlington

Additional Resources:

Introduction to Archeology, Prehistory, and Historic Sites, Texas Historical Commission, Archeology

Texas Beyond History

Native American Relations, Texas State Library

Border Land: The Struggle for Texas, 1820-1879,University of Texas Arlington

Battle of Village Creek overview, Texas State Historical Association

Overview of Tarrant County history, Texas State Historical Association

National Archives Research Guides:

Guide to Native Communities Desert Southwest (see the Texas section), National Archives

Central Plains Native Communities Research Guide

National Archives Catalog:

Land and Railroads

As seen in the map above from 1889, railroads run very close to the present-day site of the National Archives at Fort Worth. As railroad companies sought expansion of the lines in the 1800s, questions arose as to whether the railways were passing through tribal land, legally or not, etc.

Letters Received, 1887, File No. 6811, Record Group 94: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1762 – 1984
In 1887, Cheyenne and Arapaho questioned the legality of railroads being built across their lands. These are internal War Department letters in response. Refer to Acts of Congress that permit railroad companies access to these lands. Includes Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad which is a line that connects to the railways running very near the present-day site of the National Archives at Fort Worth.

Schedule of Damages for Right of Way of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway Company for its Atoka Branch Through Tribal Lands of the Choctaw Nation, Series: Railroad Right of Way Maps, 1902 – 1930, Record Group 75: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1793 – 1999
The Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad runs very close to the present-day site of NA at FTW. 

Map of the Province of Texas
“This map was captured from the Ninth Division of the Imperial Mexican Army during the Mexican-American War.” [trails of tribes are marked]

Map of the states of Kansas and Texas and Indian Territory with Parts of the Territories of Colorado and New Mexico (1873)

Treaties

Treaty Between the United States and the Caddo Indians Signed at the Agency House, Caddo Nation, Louisiana

Ratified Indian Treaty 197: Caddo – Agency House, Caddo Nation, Louisiana, July 1, 1835

Printed Copy of the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Caddo Nation of Indians, Concluded July 1, 1835 – Ratified February 2, 1836 (Copy 1 of 2)
See also: 
Sha’chahdínnih (Timber Hill), Treaty and Abandonment, Texas Beyond History
Caddo Treaty, The University of Oklahoma College of Law Digital Commons

Treaty Between the United States and the Comanche, Aionai (Hainai), Anadarko, Caddo, Lipan, Longwha (Tonkawa), Keechy (Kichai), Tahwacarro (Tawakoni), Wichita and Waco Indians Signed at Council Springs, Robinson County, Texas near the Brazos River

Ratified Indian Treaty 246: Comanche, Aionai (Hainai), Anadarko, Caddo, Lipan, Longwha (Tonkawa), Keechy (Kichai), Tahwacarro (Tawakoni), Wichita and Waco – Council Springs, Robinson County, Texas near the Brazos River, May 15, 1846

Printed Copy of the Treaty Between the United States and the Comanche, Aionai (Hainai), Anadarko, Caddo, Lipan, Longwha (Tonkawa), Keechy (Kichai), Tahwacarro (Tawakoni), Wichita, and Waco Indians, Concluded May 15, 1846, and Ratified March 8, 1847 (Copy 1 of 8)

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