Amanda Scales

Amanda Patience Morgan Fowler Scales was born June 20, 1838 and died after 1920. Amanda’s ancestors include Oconostota, George Lowery, and Tennessee Gov. John Sevier. Her father was Gideon Morgan, Jr., who had organized a Cherokee military unit during the War of 1812 (and who was a fast and loyal friend of Andrew Jackson, visiting the old man annually at The Hermitage). Amanda’s mother was Mary Margaret Sevier, granddaughter of Tennessee Governor Sevier. It was noted in a court suit regarding inheritance after Morgan’s death (Sept 1851) that his wife had separated from him before his death and “went West” (apparently meaning she removed to Indian Territory). Amanda, being the youngest daughter of six offspring, probably recalled little, if anything, about her father. It appears her two oldest siblings either remained in the East, or returned there. Her brother Rufus, only a year older than Amanda, returned East briefly to seek a fair share of the Morgan inheritance, and then returned to Indian Territory, where he died during the Civil War.

Amanda’s first marriage was to Frank Fowler with whom she had a son, Charles Clifford, b. 1856 (she would have been 18 at that birth), and a daughter, Florena (Florence), born in 1862 (Amanda would have been about 24 then).  Florena married James C. Buchanan and Amanda lived out her octogenarian days with their daughter Bertha who married Joe Sheffield and lived in Vann.

Amanda’s second marriage was to Maj. Joseph Absalom (Joab) Scales of Webbers Falls. His wife had died in 1862 (probably in childbirth), and it is probable that Amanda and Joab married as soon as possible (I haven’t yet determined when she became a widow). She would have managed two babies born in 1862 (one hers and the other Joab’s), plus her own son and Joab’s daughter. Then, she had a son with Joab (I don’t know the birthdate) who died at the age of four. The couple adopted an orphaned child, Callie Coon(catcher?) when the girl was about seven years old (b. October 1877, so adoption occurred about 1884), and Callie took the name Scales, then married Hiram Landers (who had filed for Cherokee status, but apparently was denied).

Joseph Absalom Scales (Digadundi) was born in Tennessee June 23, 1832. His grandparents (Joseph Coodey and Jane Ross, sister of Chief John Ross) invited the Rev. Nicholas Dalton Scales, a Methodist missionary, to set up a school on the Coodey property. The Coodey’s eldest daughter Mary married Rev. Scales. When John Ross suffered arrest in Georgia and subsequently moved to Tennessee, the Scales assumed ownership of the Georgia home. However, the political situation became untenable for the Scales family and they began preparations for removing West with Mary’s parents. However, Nicholas Scales suddenly died, and Mary died four months after her husband while she was en route to an evacuation boat on the Mississippi in 1834. Joab and his three siblings were thereafter cared for on the remainder of the trip by their grandparents, Joseph and Jane (Jenny), who continued the trip West with the children. Joe and Jenny also lost their youngest daughter during their emigration.

Joab’s uncle, William Shorey Coodey, an active diplomat for the Cherokee Nation, took over care of the young boy when Joab’s grandmother died in 1844 (Joab would have been about 12 years old). William was great friends with Daniel Webster and a DC newspaper reported that the two stately men made a handsome pair when walking in the city. When Joab was 18, his uncle suddenly died in Washington DC while working for the Nation (and subsequently was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC, along with his eldest and youngest daughters who died within a few weeks’ interval). Joab, engaged in law studies, took up residence with his older sister, Charlotte Gordon Scales, who had married Col. John Thompson Drew, the well-known Cherokee Civil War leader who was 30 years her elder. Another of Joab’s sisters, Eliza and her husband William Ratliff, became residents of William Shorey Coodey’s home at Frozen Rock, and tragically she was murdered there in 1855 by a hired hand.

As a member of the Ross family, it is not surprising that Joab rose to prominence. He gained a good education at the Cherokee Male Seminary and at the Ozark Institute in Fayetteville AR. He held every high office in the Nation, except for Principal Chief. He was sheriff of Canadian District, then senator from the district, and elected prosecuting attorney. When the Civil War intervened, Joab chose to serve as a member of the confederate Cherokee constitutional convention, and became a soldier during the Civil War as sergeant in Company F of Gen. Stand Watie’s troops. During the War, Amanda’s brother Rufus Montezuma Morgan, served in Watie’s regiment and was killed near Ft. Gibson. At War’s end, Joab was appointed to a delegation representing the Confederate Cherokees, in which they appealed to the Cherokee National Council for amnesty. He served as a member of a delegation to Washington DC representing the southern faction of Cherokee. Joab served as Secretary of the Grand Council, a meeting of various area Native leaders of Indian Territory in 1865.

Joab was one of the prosecutors of Ezekial Proctor in a murder trial and witnessed the unexpected and terrifying gunfire that occurred during the case at the Goingsnake Courthouse in 1872 in which eight US marshals and three Cherokee citizens were killed. In 1874, Joab was one of three people selected to amend and codify the existing Cherokee laws, and then was one of three solicitors who engaged in seeking Old Settler claims, traveling again to Washington DC.

In 1877, he suffered a severe stroke and his physician expected total and permanent paralysis. However, Scales went to Hot Springs for three months and benefited from treatment there. In 1881 he was granted the lease of Drew’s Saline, tax free, for five years. Scales was considered as a candidate for election of chief in 1891, but that honor eluded him. He served on the committee to settle the sale of the Cherokee Outlet and was in favor of using the proceeds to fund schools where Cherokee students would learn English, and white students would learn Cherokee. He was an active letter writer to family and friends, and an active correspondent to area newspapers regarding issues and rebuttals of published opinions.

In 1882, he was selected as Chief Justice of the Cherokee Supreme Court. In 1894, he attended the International Council of Native leaders, held in Checotah. He died in October 1901 and is buried in Scales Cemetery, south of Webbers Falls. Amanda lived another 20 years as his widow (I don’t know her exact death date). If any reader has more information on Amanda and Joab’s lives, or find discrepancies in this account, please contact me at the Heritage Center (918 456-6007).

References:
Foreman, Carolyn Thomas. The Coodey Family of Indian Territory, Chronicles of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Historical Society, Vol. 25, Winter, 1947-48.
Foreman, Carolyn Thomas. Joseph Absalom Scales, Chronicles of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Historical Society, Vol. 28, No. 4, 1950.
Monroe County, Tennessee, court record #552, May 10, 1875.
1920 Census of the United States.