After 1850 the question of whether the fugitive slave law of the United States was operative in the Indian Territory became of prime importance. Finally, United States Attorney General Caleb Cushing, "influenced apparently by Jefferson Davis," rendered the opinion that the law was operative.1 Nevertheless, the sparsely settled region afforded an attractive refuge for fugitive slaves, both local and from the states. Fugitives even had the opportunity to reside in settlements of free blacks. Therefore, slaveowners in the Cherokee Nation, as in the United States, experienced continual problems with their "troublesome property."
RANAWAY on the 21st September last from the subscriber, living on Grand river, near the mouth of Honey Creek, Cherokee Nation, a negro man named ALLEN, who is about 25 years old . . . very black; has very white eyes, rather a stoppage in his speech . . . also marks of the whip enflicted before he came into my possession. . . .
The Cherokees became apprehensive about the increased theft or kidU+0AD napping of slaves. Therefore, late in 1846, legislation against such activity was passed.
Be it enacted by the National Council, That any person or perU+0AD sons, who may be convicted of stealing a negro or negroes,