Guide to Federal Records

Records of the United States Court of Claims


(Record Group 123)
1835-1966

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 123.1 Administrative History
  • 123.2 Case Files for General Jurisdiction Cases 1855-1966
  • 123.3 District of Columbia Case Records 1880-87
  • 123.4 Departmental Jurisdiction Case Records 1883-1949
  • 123.5 Congressional Jurisdiction Case Records 1884-1952
  • 123.6 French Spoliation Case Records 1885-1908
  • 123.7 Indian Depredation Case Records 1891-1918
  • 123.8 Records of the Guion Miller Enrollment Of Eastern Cherokees
  • 123.9 Cartographic Records (General)

123.1 Administrative History

Established: By an act of February 24, 1855 (10 Stat. 612).

Functions: Heard claims against the United States brought directly by claimants under general provisions of law or on referral from Congress or Executive departments, including temporary jurisdiction in District of Columbia cases, French spoliation cases, and Indian depredation cases.

Abolished: Effective October 1, 1982, by the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982 (96 Stat. 25), April 2, 1982, establishing the United States Claims Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Successor Agencies: United States Claims Court (trial jurisdiction); United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (appellate jurisdiction).

Finding Aids: Gaiselle Kerner, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Court of Claims, PI 58 (1953).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the U.S. Court of Claims in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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123.2 Case Files for General Jurisdiction Cases
1855-1966

Textual Records: Case files for suits by claimants under general provisions of law, chiefly involving government contracts, war service, war property damage, losses incurred by disbursing officers, and the use and infringement of patent rights, 1855-1966.

Maps: Used by both claimant and defendant as exhibits in case No. 45585, Confederated Bands of the Ute Indians v. The United States, consisting of annotated aerial mosaics (photomaps), topographic quadrangle maps, and other maps concerning the Ute tribal lands, annotated base maps prepared by the Department of the Interior showing types of grazing, and negative photostats of "Range Survey Computation Summaries," ca. 1940-47 (194 items).

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123.3 District of Columbia Case Records
1880-87

Textual Records: Case files for claims entered pursuant to an act of June 16, 1880 (21 Stat. 284), giving the court jurisdiction over claims against the District of Columbia in areas of public works, property damage, and welfare services, 1880-87.

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123.4 Departmental Jurisdiction Case Records
1883-1949

Textual Records: Case files for cases referred to the court by Executive agencies of the government in accordance with the Bowman and Tucker Acts of March 3, 1883, and March 3, 1887 (22 Stat. 485 and 24 Stat. 505), consisting of case files for general cases, 1883-1949, and for naval bounty cases, 1899-1903.

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123.5 Congressional Jurisdiction Case Records
1884-1952

Textual Records: Case files, 1884-1952, for Civil War and other claims cases referred by the Congress under the Bowman and Tucker Acts and by authority of section 151 of the Judicial Code of March 3, 1911.

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123.6 French Spoliation Case Records
1885-1908

Textual Records: Case files, 1885-1908, for claims cases entered pursuant to an act of January 20, 1885 (23 Stat. 283), authorizing payment for losses resulting from depredations committed by French warships and privateers upon American commerce, chiefly 1793-1801, including ship records and other supporting documents dated as early as 1783.

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123.7 Indian Depredation Case Records
1891-1918

Textual Records: Case files, 1891-1918, for claims cases entered pursuant to acts of March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. 851) and January 11, 1915 (38 Stat. 791), authorizing payment for property taken or destroyed by Indians, including documents dated as early as 1812.

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123.8 Records of the Guion Miller Enrollment Of Eastern Cherokees
1835-1920

History: United States Court of Claims acquired jurisdiction, pursuant to an act of July 1, 1902 (32 Stat. 726), over claims arising under treaty stipulations with the Cherokee tribe. Three suits were brought against the United States under the Treaty of New Echota (May 23, 1836) and the Treaty of Washington (Aug. 6, 1846): The Cherokee Nation v. The United States (general jurisdiction case 23199), The Eastern and Emigrant Cherokees v. The United States (general jurisdiction case 23212), and The Eastern Cherokees v. The United States (general jurisdiction case 23214). The court ruled in favor of the Eastern Cherokees, May 18, 1905, and directed the Secretary of the Interior to identify those persons eligible to share a special Congressional claims compensation appropriation of June 30, 1906. Guion Miller, first as a special agent of the Department of the Interior, and after April 29, 1907, as a special commissioner of the Court of Claims, compiled a roll of eligible persons, which he submitted with a report to the court on May 28, 1909. Miller submitted a supplemental roll and report, January 5, 1910, containing additional names. The rolls were approved by the court and payment authorized, March 15, 1910.

In compiling his lists, Miller utilized earlier rolls, including those prepared by Interior Department special agents Alfred Chapman, Eastern Cherokees, 1851; John Drennan, Western Cherokees, 1851; and Joseph G. Hester, Eastern Cherokees, 1884.

Textual Records: Case files, 1906-11. Eastern Cherokee applications, 1906-9, with index, n.d. Correspondence, 1906-11. Transcripts of testimony, 1908-9. Receipts for Treasury warrants, 1910-11. Guion Miller reports, 1909 and 1920. Roll of Eastern Cherokee (Miller), 1909. Supplemental roll (Miller), 1910. Hester roll, 1884, with index. Chapman and Drennan rolls, 1851, with consolidated index. Old Settler (Western Cherokee) roll, 1851. Index to census enrollment of Eastern Cherokees ("Eastern Cherokee Roll"), 1835.

Microfilm Publications: M1104.

Related Records: Cherokee treaty cases included among the case files described under 123.2.

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123.9 Cartographic Records (General)

See Maps under 123.2.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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