By a Government treaty with the Indians, $10,000 had come to uncle Forsythe and $3,000 to each of his two sisters... my aunt Kercheval got money several times in this way.
Eunice Tripler, niece of treaty signer Robert Forsyth Some Notes of Her Personal Recollections, 1910
Men who signed treaties on behalf of the US were related to one another by blood and marriage to a surprising extent. Among the signers of many treaties were siblings, fathers and sons, cousins and in-laws. Extensive kinship groups in some cases include nearly 50 closely related treaty signers.
These family ties were significant because they shaped US Indian policy and directed the flow of corporate profits. A single large kinship group might include land speculators, fur traders, mine owners, and the politicians who legislated Indian policy and handed out trading and mining licences.
From among the many families that connect treaty signers to one another, five of the larger or more prominent kinship groups are featured here. These five families alone include 122 treaty signers who account for 515 signatures on treaties. They were present at 45% of all treaties,
from the first land cession in the east to the final treaties in the west. In addition to these large families, 25 smaller family trees are available below.
The Creoles of St. Louis (Paul Beckwith, 1893) is a book-length family tree of the Chouteaus, who ran the fur trade east of the Mississippi. Scores of treaty signers are family members. Read the book here.
Detail: Seal of the Commenwealth of Kentucky
SEE THE FAMILY TREES OF SOME OF THE MOST PROLIFIC SIGNERS