No matter how far Gaines got away from Demopolis or St. Stephens, he would always be called upon to serve in dealings with the Choctaw Indians. William Ward, the federal agent with the Choctaw Indian tribe contacted Gaines about another treaty conference that would be held in Macon, Mississippi. William Ward wanted Gaines and his partner Glover to set up camp near the treaty and supply the food and other supplies for the guest. The treaty conference lasted five days with the Choctaw tribe being divided over the surrender of their land and the removal process. The three head district chiefs and one hundred and sixty eight members of the tribe signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek on September 27, 1830. After the signing of the treaty, Gaines received another title, which was the superintendent for the removal and subsistence of Indians.
George Strother Gaines did not particularly want this job but felt it as his duty to the Choctaw tribe. Gaines started a Choctaw exploring party to travel the United States in search of new lands. Gaines and fellow leaders explored the Mexican territory along present day Texas and into the state of Arkansas. After traveling and searching through much of the southwest, Gaines and his party returned to Mobile and Demopolis. Honorable men of great stature respected Gaines and after the traveling parties returned home, he received yet another title which now was superintendent of the subsistence and removal of Indians. George Strother Gaines now completely had total dominance over the removal process.
Toward the end of 1831, the Choctaw Indians met at Vicksburg, Mississippi for the final journey and by the end of March in 1832, all the Choctaw tribe was located on their new land. In 1832, Gaines lost his position as head of the removal of the Indians for future reference due to the government considering the removal of the Choctaw tribe a complete failure. The government stated the reasons for his removal as a failure to minimize cost and effectiveness. Gaines personally thought of his removal as political connections between powerful government commissioners but took his exit in stride. He put forth his final accounts to the government as his title states but only received pay of exploring agent. He was highly upset and continued lobbying the government for money owed for his services.
Finally in 1843, John Tyler's administration settled his partial pay for his services. After the ordeal with the Choctaw removal, Gaines decided to move his family to Mobile and to purchase a home there. He obtained a new job as head of the State Bank of Alabama at Mobile. After obtaining his new position as President of the State Bank of Alabama at Mobile, the governor gave him the new appointment as the state's agent to sell bonds to raise money for the building of three new banks. He soon there after went on a trip to New York City in order to sell bonds to help out the state of Alabama. On the way to New York, Gaines stopped off at Washington City to obtain the rest of his partial payment on the money owed to him dealing with the Choctaw removal.
After visiting the elite society of Washington City, Gaines continuously traveled on his trip to New York City to sell bonds for the state of Alabama. Gaines was only able to sell $1.75 million dollars worth of bonds and then traveled back to Alabama and was deeply criticized for not selling the bonds at a higher price. The paper editors of Mobile defended Gaines because he was responsible for making Alabama's first multi-million dollar bond sell. After this fiasco occurred, Gaines returned to Mobile and regained his position as President of the State Bank of Alabama at Mobile. Gaines and the bank executives helped the bank to make large profits but according to the state bank commissioners stated that the bank had large looming liabilities.
George Strother Gaines again had to defend his work but kept going as all the times before. Gaines' knowledge of financial matters and his bank's success led to Mobile becoming the economic center of Alabama. Gaines was President of the State Bank of Alabama at Mobile for six years and constantly received criticism and disgrace for his liabilities that were incurred upon at the bank every year. Gaines was criticized tremendously but was proud of his role as an innovator in the financial world. In the year 1839, Gaines retired from the financial realm having lived through much turmoil and struggle.
After the retirement from financial endeavors, George Strother Gaines again was determined to settle his money dispute with the federal government. He traveled to Washington City in 1843 and made visits to different government offices to try to receive the money that was still owed to him. Finally after visiting with the commissioner of Indian affairs, Hartley Crawford and President John Tyler, he was allowed approximately two thousand dollars for his troubles. Due to no records being shown of the promises of Secretary of War Eaton, only two thousand dollars was allowed. Soon following his trip to Washington City, Gaines was appointed to the Board of Choctaw Commissioners for viewing and investigating of the land claims that the Choctaw tribe was promised during the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. After Congress reviewed the claims and solved the overall problems, Gaines and his fellow delegates signed a report to the President of the United States of America and decidedly adjourned never to meet again.
One of the last episodes in the long life of an Alabama and Mississippi statesman began in 1847 and 1848. This time Gaines became interested in the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Gaines used his political connections lobbied strong and hard for this railroad to occur. The Mobile and Ohio Railroad occurred due to the passing by Congress of Stephen Douglas' bill which approved the railroad. In 1861 the railroad was completed partly due to Gaines' influence and lobbying efforts. The final episode in the life of statesman, George Strother Gaines, occurs while living in Wayne County Mississippi at his home named Peachwood.
Gaines started a nursery business that would be his last financial venture. Before Gaines could become entangled in his business, he decided to run for the Mississippi House of Representatives and won a term for two years. The major importance of this term was his vote for the secession from the union of the state of Mississippi. After his term in office, Gaines went home to Peachwood and settled into the nursery business. Although returning home from the war was an exciting time for Gaines' business expansion, he went through another trial by losing his wife of fifty-six years. Gaines went through many trials and tribulations throughout his life and will always remembered as a true statesman for both the states of Alabama and Mississippi..
After reading this journey of a man who was born in North Carolina, raised in Tennessee, and became a statesman for both Mississippi and Alabama, I honestly believe I have learned a lot about a great and knowledgeable man. Before reading this book, I had no wisdom of this man nor his accomplishments. I had no previously knowledge of George Strother Gaines.