The only other surviving record of Sam Paul's career as a Chickasaw policeman concerns his investigation of a group of outlaws known as the Sturdivant - Cox gang during the year 1882. These outlaws had made threats against Ben Burney, a former Chickasaw Governor, and Sam Paul was instructed to form a posse to track down the gang. The posse first went to the home of two brothers, John and William Harkins, who were known to be friends of Sturdivant.
Early on the morning of April 22, 1882, Sam's posse surrounded the Hawkins' house. At sunrise they called out to John Harkins who took his rifle and went outside. After seeing that he and his brother were outnumbered, John invited the posse in. Sam asked the brothers to accompany them over to Birnie's place, a nearby farm, to see if they could identify a prisoner held there. The brothers were then disarmed, and forced to go with the posse, which soon split up into two groups, each taking one of the brothers.
The group which took John Harkins was led by Sam Paul, while William went with the other group, led by Galloway Frazier, Sam's old friend, and the sheriff of Pickens County. The plan was to scare the boys into revealing the outlaws' hiding place. Frazier's group threw a rope over the limb of a tree, and threatened to hang William if he didn't cooperate. Sam and the other posse members took John and rode down next to a small creek. There they got him down off his horse and forced him to remove his belt and his knife. Then, according to Sam, John grabbed a gun from Jim Ross, one of the posse members, and attempted to shoot him. Sam was faster though, and he shot and killed John Harkins.
After the shooting, John's brother William was taken to Tishomingo, the Chickasaw Capital, where he was turned over to the federal marshal, James Mershon, on a charge of whiskey peddling. William told Mershon about his brother being shot, and Mershon, remembering Sam's killing of Ferral and Smith, decided that Indian policemen were taking too many liberties in dealing with white suspects. Judge Parker evidently agreed, and so, in July of 1882, warrants were issued for the arrest of Sam Paul and for the other posse members involved in the shootings of Smith and Harkins.
Mershon arrested Sam Paul in Miller and Greens while he was buying a pair of gloves. Then he was put in chains, along with his half brother Tecumseh McClure, his nephew Fred Waite, and a half dozen other men, and marched the 200 miles to Ft. Smith, where they were thrown into Parker's rat infested jail. Within a couple of weeks the trial began for the murder of the horse thief, Smith. Tecumseh and the tracker, Frank Welch, were released before the trial began, because witnesses testified that they were two miles away at the time of the shooting. In the trial of Sam and Fred, the jury found them innocent of Smith's murder, since they were acting as police officers, and they were fired on first.
Fred Waite was then released, but Sam Paul and Jim Ross were held without bond until the second trial was scheduled, in January, 1883. During the next six months Sam became weak and malnourished in the filthy Ft. Smith jail. My great grandmother Sarah, took the children, Bill and Buck, to see their father. My grandfather Bill, who was six at the time, remembered his mother holding him up to the bars.
The second trial ended in a hung jury, so a third trial was scheduled, this time for April, so Sam Paul was forced to remain in the Ft. Smith jail for another four months. I don't know how he survived. When the trial resumed, the other defendant, Jim Ross, managed to turn the jury in his favor, and against Sam. Sam was found guilty of manslaughter, and was sentenced to ten years in the federal prison at Detroit, therefore escaping the gallows, which claimed many of his cell mates.
Still, facing another ten years in prison must have seemed like the end of the world to Sam, especially after languishing in the Judge Parker's jail for almost a year, but he had a surprise coming. The Chickasaw Nation fought for his freedom. On September 13, 1883, the Chickasaw legislature passed a resolution to apply for a presidential pardon for Sam Paul, and on March 7, 1884, almost a year after his conviction, the pardon was granted.
I'll quote a portion of it:
And whereas, the Chickasaw Council, and a large number of the officers and citizens of Indian Territory have petitioned for the defendant's pardon, representing that he committed the offence while endeavoring, as an officer of the United States and of the Territory, to enforce the law, and was excusable;
And whereas, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs are of opinion that the conviction in this case tends to impair the efficiency of the Indian Police, and that a pardon would be in the interest of law and order, and earnestly recommend it; and the defendant being also recommended to clemency by Senators Garland, Vest, Cockrell, Walker, Jackson, Harris and Maxey, and by the jury:
Now, therefore, be it known, that I Chester A. Arthur, President of the United States of America, in consideration of the promises and divers other good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, do hereby grant to the said Sam Paul, a full and unconditional pardon.
Sam Paul's pardon was an important milestone in the Chickasaws' fight for sovereignty. Sam had lost two years of his life and had suffered unimaginable hardships, but he hadn't lost his spirit. When he returned home a free man, he came determined to lead his tribe through the difficult times ahead.