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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 9, No. 3
September, 1931
CHIEF PLEASANT PORTER

by John Bartlett Meserve.

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The initial years of adjustment by the Creek Indians in their new homes in the Indian Territory, were interrupted by difficulties with adjoining tribes and by domestic troubles. The cleavage between the Upper and Lower Creeks constituted a source of many painful experiences. Reckless leadership, at times, inflamed to animosity and passion, a people to whom war was a reasonable and logical affair.

As the years passed, the Creeks became reconciled to their new environments and wholeheartedly and under capable leadership began to work out their own destiny. Progress in social, educational and political affairs was very rapid. The leaders of the two factions, in 1860, united in the draft of the first written constitution under which a Principal Chief was elected by the members of the tribe. The Civil War again rent the tribe and little or no responsible government existed in the Creek Nation until the war was concluded. A new and more serviceable constitution was framed by the progressive leaders in 1867 and under this instrument, the political affairs of the reunited tribe were administered until the United States Government assumed active control of all functions of government. The Creek constituion of 1867 may be said to be the initial gesture by the tribe toward intelligent, responsible government. From that time forward, it became a matter of capable, honest and unselfish administration. Fortunate indeed was the nation to possess at this particular time, the leadership of honest, capable and intelligent men.

During this era of transition in the social and political life of the Creek Nation, no name stands out with finer luster than that of Pleasant Porter, Principal Chief of the nation from the year 1899 until his death in 1907. Safe, conservative and trusted in counsel, unremitting in fidelity to the best concerns of his tribe, dignified and courteous in association with men, he enjoyed the well merited supreme

Chief Pleasant Porter

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confidence of the members of his race and the public officials of the United States Government from the President down to its humblest official connected with the Indian service. His paternal forebears had entered the Creek tribe by adoption back in 1814, and shared with its members, the chastening phases of their enforced removal from Alabama to the west. The complete story of the life of Pleasant Porter and of his paternal ancestry is linked with the story of the Creek people from the days of the Creek War of 1813-14 down to their absorption into the political life of the State of Oklahoma. His own public service to the tribe reaches back to the early post bellum days and becomes more conspicuous with the years until death terminated his most useful career. The high qualities of his statesmanship were emphasied by the patriotic service which he rendered during the days when tribal relationship gradually lapsed and its membership became merged into the body politic of American Life.

1John Snodgrass Porter was a soldier of fortune—a son of Andrew Porter, an Irishman of Norristown, Pennsylvania, where he was born sometime during the concluding decades of the eighteenth century. The vast unmeasured west continually beckoned the restless settler and land surveying became the inviting profession for young men during those formative days of the republic. Young Porter became a surveyor which would indicate that he had received at least the rudiments of an education before departing from his home in Pennsylvania for the southwest. His Bohemian instincts led him across the Alleganies about 1810, into eastern Tennessee where he married and settled down among the rugged hills.

The fearful massacre of white settlers at Ft. Mimms, in Alabama, in the fall of 1813 by members of the Creek tribes, inspired the punitive expedition by Gen. Andrew Jackson and his Tennessee riflemen into the Indian country in the following spring. John Snodgrass Porter shouldered his rifle and marched away with Jackson to the south to fight the Creek Indians. He seems to have acquired the



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title of Captain during this campaign, which would suggest that he commanded a company of eastern Tennessee mountaineers in this expedition. The measures of retribution and punishment visited upon the recalcitrant Creeks by General Jackson were harsh and merciless. The Creek confederacy was well nigh exterminated by the bloody reprisals exacted by the troops and the settlers revengful of the terrible holocaust at Ft. Mimms. Captain Porter was in vigorous opposition to the merciless sacrifice of the subdued and unarmed savages undertook to mediate between the armed settlers and the Creek chiefs to accomplish a cessation of the horrors of the campaign. He contributed in a substantial manner in saving the remnants of the tribes. In grateful recognition of this service, the Creek tribe adopted Captain Porter into its membership and from thereforth he lived among the Creek Indians. He removed his family to the Creek Nation and settled near Ft. Mitchell in what is now Russell County, Alabama, near the Georgia line. In due time, information of the adoption of Captain Porter into the Creek tribe, reached his old home in Pennsylvania, causing much chagrin to the members of his father's family. They proceeded to forget him and deplore in silence the disgrace which they felt he had brought upon the family.

After the treaty of January 24, 1826, and probably in February 1828, Captain Porter removed with the firs contingent of the Lower Creeks to the west and settled on lands near the north bank of the Arkansas River in the proximity of the present village of Clarksville and in what is now Wagoner County, Oklahoma. Here he built a log cabin, surveyed a plantation and engaged in farming and stock-raising. During these pioneer days he formed the acquaintance of Sam Houston.

Tales of adventure in Texas where Gen. Sam Houston was gallantly leading for independence, slowly crept into the Indian country and again the spirit of adventure seized upon the restless captain. Sometime about 1833 or 34, Captain Porter leaving his family of children and taking his wife, departed for the frontiers of Texas to join Sam Houston. The children, many of them of tender age, were raised by the Creek Indian neighbors. Whether or not the captain joined the military forces of Gen. Houston, is not preserved

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for us to know. That he engaged in land surveying in Texas is an acknowledged fact. About the time of the outbreak of the Mexican War, the captain, now bent with age and broken in health, returned from Texas to his cabin home on the Arkansas River to pass the closing years of his eventful life. He brought home with him as an evidence of his activities in Texas, numerous certificates for lands granted to him in the lone star Republic. These certificates were destroyed after his death by his daughter Betsey and the lands reverted through lack of recorded title. The postponement of the Captain's death was not delayed many months after his return from Texas and occurred about 1847, at the old home on the Arkansas. As he lay dying, the members of the household were gathered to his bedside to receive his final benediction. Bending near his couch was a dark eyed boy of six or seven summers with skin darker than the others, betraying more clearly, the Indian blood coursing through his veins. As the dying grandfather placed his hand upon the head of this lad, he solemnly said, "He will do more than any of you." No words were more prophetically spoken. Captain Porter was laid to his final rest in an old family burying ground upon the plantation near Clarksville.

Benjamin Edward Porter, son of Captain Porter, was born at the old home in the Creek Nation back in Alabama about 1818 and came as a child with his parents to the west. He lived until his death upon the old plantation and was a farmer and stockman. He married Phoebe, a daughter of Tah-lo-pee Tust-a-nuk-kee, a Creek Indian town chief. He died sometime shortly before the Civil War and was buried by the side of his father in the old burying ground near Clarksville. His wife died June 6, 1883, aged 63 years and is buried in the family burying ground at Wealaka, in the southeastern part of what is now Tulsa County, Oklahoma.

It is a sad commentary to note that the graves of both Captain Porter and Benjamin Porter are now unknown. The crude markings were removed years ago and time has wholly effaced the ancient burying ground where they rest. The old plantation was segregated into allotments and the plow has furrowed the soil where they sleep. Tall corn

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waves in the warm summer air above their forgotten graves—but in the thought of Victor Hugo, "God knows where to find the soul."

The years of childhood and of adolesence of Pleasant Porter, oldest child and son of Benjamin Edward and Phoebe Porter, were spent upon the old plantation near Clarksville, where he was born September 26, 1840. His life appears to have been eventful from its inception. When a small child, he and a little cousin poisoned themselves by eating wild stromonium, the cousin dying and young Pleasant's recovery being very long and precarious. Later, when swimming with other lads, he was bitten by a water moccasin snake. Scarcely had he recovered from this adventure with the snake when he was thrown from a wagon and his leg fractured in three places. In later years he was given up as hopelessly ill with fever; he was hunted by avengers of blood for a crime committed by another man; he was shot through the head during his service in the Civil War.

Pleasant Porter was a member of the bird clan and early in life received the somewhat euphoneous Indian name of Talof Harjo a name which means Crazy Bear. The enrolling officers placed number 6220 opposite his name on the approved rolls of the Creek tribe. He spent five years in the Presbyterian Mission School at Tullahassee, receiving there a common school education which was to be the foundation upon which his own habit of home study built a finished structure of learning. After leaving school, he clerked in a store for a brief period and in 1860, together with Sam Brown, drove cattle in New Mexico During his absence in New Mexico, war between the states was brewing and, learning of impending hostilities, he hastened home and on August 19, at the Creek Agency, enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army in Company A of the First Creek regiment under command of Col. D. N. McIntosh. This regiment was attacked to the brigade commanded by Col. Douglas H. Cooper.

Colonel Cooper, having the Indian regiments with him, fought Opothleyahola on November 19, 1861 at Round Mountain near the mouth of the Cimarron and again on November 29th on Bird Creek, north of Tulsa and finally

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routed him and his forces at Chustenahleh on December 26th, driving him across the line into Kansas. Cooper had his Indian regiments with him again at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, on March 7-8, 1862, when the confederates were defeated. Cooper was again defeated at Honey Springs near Oktaha on July 17, 1863, after which the Indian regiments fled to the Red River country and finally surrendered on June 23, 1865. Records disclose that Pleasant Porter held the rank of Quartermaster Sergeant. He was wounded three times, once in the thigh which caused him ever to limp slightly, and twice in the head. His record as a soldier was one of unflinching courage. Upon the conclusion of his military service, Young Porter returned to the Clarksville plantation and resumed his farming operations. He was now without means, the plantation slaves had been freed, the ravages of war had denuded the farm of its stock and the improvements were devastated. He set bravely to work rebuilding the log cabin and splitting rails in the nearby forests with which to fence the farm which he plowed and tilled. Upon his young shoulders rested the responsibility of caring for his widowed mother and sisters and brother. His labors were interrupted in September 1865 when he accompanied the Creek Indian commissioners, as a guard, to Ft. Smith, Ark., when they went to meet the envoys of the United States to open negotiations for terms of peace. These initial parleys culminated in the peace treaty at Washington in the spring of 1866. The shadow years during and succeeding the Civil War had almost completely demoralized the schools in the Creek country. The farm life of young Porter was again stayed when he was called upon to assume charge as Superintendent of the school affair's of the nation. To this task, he gave his first public effort and the zealous, clearsighted service which he rendered, characterized his long life of public service to his people. He reorganized the schools of the nation in 1871, was reelected to the task in 1872 but declined the reelection.

In the fall of 1872, Pleasant Porter made his initial trip to Washington as a representative of his people. It was on this occasion that he married Mary Ellen Keys, at St. Louis, Mo., on November 25, 1872. She was a daughter of

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Judge Riley Keys, who for twenty-five years was chief justice of the courts of the Cherokee Nation. She was born in the Cherokee Nation on April 6, 1854 and died at Wealaka, Indian Territory of January 15, 1886. Three children were born of this union, William Adair, Pleasant and Annetta Mary, the latter two of whom are now deceased. The son William Adair Porter resides with his family at Tulsa, Oklahoma. On May 26, 1886, Pleasant Porter married Mattie Leonora Bertholf, a cousin of his first wife. She was born August 18, 1861, and died July 10, 1829, leaving a daughter, Leonora, now the wife of Ed. C. Bothwell of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Early in life Pleasant Porter exhibited a remarkable capacity for business and became prosperous. He ran a store at Hillabee for a brief time, afterward establishing a general store at Okmulgee which he sold out in 1869. He soon thereafter removed from Okmulgee to Wealaka where he built a home and where he continued to reside until 1889, when he again removed to Muskogee which remained his home until his death.

The so-called "Sands Rebellion" occurred in 1871. Sentiments of bitterness between the Creek factions growing out of their division during the Civil War remained unabated and were provocative of this as well as of later disruptions in the political life of the Creek Nation. The Sands troubles culminated in October 1871, when Chief Checote attempted to convene the council at Okmulgee. Sands with some three hundred of his adherents marched upon the Creek capital and dissipated the meeting. Pleasant Porter was placed in command of the light horsemen and with the aid of Federal agents succeeded in quelling the insurrection without loss of life. The high esteem and respect accorded him by the Sands followers, enabled him to effect a peaceable solution of the difficulty and persuade them to lay down their arms and return to their homes.

In the fall of 1872, Pleasant Porter was dispatched to Washington as the official representative of the Creek Nation and thus came the inception of a long period of diplomatic service, so ably and faithfully rendered to his tribe

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and people. 2He spent much of his time from this time forward until his death, pressing the interests of his people on the attention of the authorities at the Nation's capital. In Washington, he became a well known and highly esteemed character. He enjoyed the confidence of senators, congressmen and of presidents. The late President McKinley when a member of the House, referred to Pleasant Porter as "the greatest living Indian." In the United States Senate, a distinguished member of that body spoke of him "as the peer of any man upon this floor." He became the personal friend and acquaintance of Theodore Roosevelt. The crude Indian boy from the cabin on the Arkansas River by dint of his own personal efforts drew to himself the admiration and appreciation of official Washington and rendered an unequalled diplomatic service to his people.

It was during the four year service of Pleasant Porter as a member of the Creek House of Warriors, that the Lachar Haijo insurrection engrossed the attention of the Creek leaders. Lachar Haijo had been elected principal chief of the Creek Nation in 1875 over Sam Checote who had held the position since 1867. The Checote adherents were in control of both houses of the legislative body and for some reason, political or otherwise, Lachar Haijo was impeached, removed from office and Ward Couchman of the Checote party appointed to serve the remainder of Haijo's term. As might be expected, Haijo went on the war path and the



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situation became tense. Pleasant Porter was again placed in command of the light horsemen, but succeeded in composing the situation without bloodshed. Both factions respected him and were willing to abide his judgment and the Haijo followers returned to their homes to await the call of the colorful Isperhecher seven years later. For eight years Pleasant Porter sat as a member of the Creek House of Kings, during the last four years of which he was its presiding officer.

In 1882, Isperhecher, a judge in the Okmulgee District, was charged with seditious utterances, impeached and removed from office.3 He immediately allied himself with the holdover factions of the Sands and Haijo troubles and established a military camp with some three hundred and fifty of his followers at Nuyaka, twelve miles west of Okmulgee. Here a pronouncement was made of the purpose to restore the Creek Indians to their primitive government and social status. A quasi government was set up and light horse companies formed and provided with arms and munitions. Pleasant Porter was absent in Washington at this time but was dispatched for, by Checote, who was again the Principal Chief. Porter returned and took the field in command of about seven hundred troops and began an offensive campaign.

Isparhecher was driven with his followers from Creek territory by Porter in February 1883, who marched into the Sac and Fox country. An asylum was sought by Isparchecher with his remnant among the Kiowas at Anadarko, but they were returned by the United States, troops to Ft. Gibson in the spring of 1883. There were perhaps seven or eight casualties during the "war," including the killing of a brother of Porter. The insurrectionists were disarmed, released and sent home by the Ft. Gibson military authorities in July 1883. The Creeks refer to this war as the Green Peach War. Porter was highly instrumental in promoting a final adjustment of this trouble and was largely the inspiration of the tolerant attitude assumed by the officers of the United States and the Creek Nation in making a final disposition of the belligerants. By this time Pleasant



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Porter had acquired the title of General, a title by which he became so well and affectionately known.

Under the conditions and stipulations of the peace treatly of 1866, the Creeks had ceded to the United States the western portion of their domain. This land was to be used by the government for the location of "other Indians and freedmen." It was obviously the intent of the tribal representatives signatory to the treaty, that no portion of the ceded lands should be used for settlement by citizens of the United States. In January, 1889 a delegation headed by Gen. Porter went to Washington and while there offered to relinquish to the government, all Creek claims to that part of the ceded territory which was still unassigned to "other Indians and freedmen." An agreement was entered into on January 31, 1889, by which the Creeks for a consideration approximating two and a quarter millions of dollars, released the United States from all restrictions on the use of the entire Creek cession of 1866. Opinion was very much divided among the Creeks as to the wisdom of this agreement and sale and Gen. Porter, with others, came in for some considerable criticism for the part they played in the transaction.

Gen. Porter was before the electorate as a candidate for Principal Chief of the tribe at the election held September 3, 1895, but was defeated by Isparhecher his ancient foe of the days of the Green Peach War. Isparhecher died December 22, 1902.

The Creeks, at first were little disposed to look with favor upon any plan involving a change in their system of land tenure. It early became manifest, however, that further resistance to the allotment plans of the government was futile and inadvisable. A commission headed by Gen. Porter, on September 27, 1897, reached an agreement with the Dawes Commission, which agreement was embodied in Section Thirty of the Curtis Act of June 28, 1898. This compact was submitted to a vote of the members of the tribe and rejected by them at a general election held on November 1, 1898. However, under the provisions of the Curtis Act, the Dawes Commission began allotting the lands in so far as the surface was concerned, in 1899. This precipitate action by the Dawes Commission awoke the responsible

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officials of the Creek Nation to the necessity for immediate action.

Events had been moving rapidly toward the breaking up of the ancient tribal governments and the segregation of the tribal domain of the Creeks among its individual members. General Porter had seen it coming. He had sensed the attitude of the government officials many years before the contemplated change in policy had dawned upon the Creek people. General Porter became Principal Chief of the Creek Nation at the general election held on September 5, 1899, and at a time when the interests of the Creek people required strong, capable leadership. When he came to the executive chair, he faced a situation somewhat chaotic because of the rejection of the Creek treaty of September 27, 1897. The retiring chief, had given it scant support. The people were divided, although as individuals they were crowding the land office at Muskogee to make selections of land for themselves. Immediate action was required upon the part of the Creek authorities, if the interests of the tribal members were to be properly conserved. Chief Porter, at once summoned the Creek Council in session at Okmulgee and laid before them with dramatic emphasis, the entire situation and charged them with the duty of designating a new commission to treat with the Dawes Commission. The Creek Council meeting at the old Council House at Okmulgee on October 2, 1899 received the stirring message from its Chief. After a dignified delineation of conditions, the burden of immediate action was laid upon the hearts of the legislators in the language of a statesman. The concluding words of Chief Porter, from which quotation is made, will adorn the pages of Creek history "as long as the grass grows and rivers run."

"Having thus briefly called your attention to the conduct of affairs of the Nation from the time of my taking office, and other matters and things that have had a bearing upon the administration of those affairs, I now deem it incumbent upon me to offer such advisory suggestions as have in the meantime presented themselves to me. More especially do feel it my duty to do this when I appreciate the fact that I am not permitted to exercise the functions of an executive power except to assent and dissent from the

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methods proposed and pursued by the departments of the government of the United States in the administration of our affairs.

The effort to recuscitate and reestablish a government administered by ourselves thus far has proved futile, and the outlook is extremely unfavorable to success in ever again recovering even the most limited form of tribal government.

Assuming this to be true, it behooves us to cast about and find what is best for us to do. In determining this question it would be best for us to note the immediate conditions and environments and what is transpiring today. Government over us is administered by the United States; our lands patented to us as a tribe or nation are being allotted to the individual members of the tribe under the authority of a law of Congress. It is true and it is admitted that the title to the lands cannot be segregated without an agreement with us so to do. The lands of the tribe were patented to the nation in fulfillment of treaties mutally agreed upon by and between the United States and the Creek Nation and their partition cannot be lawfully made except by mutual agreement of the contracting parties; therefore a treaty or agreement in this usual manner will be seen to be of the highest importance.

Attention has been called to the fact that more than two-thirds of the Creek people have made selections of allotments of the use of the surface of the land, under the provisions of the Curtis Act and have received certificates from the Dawes Commission for such selections. This conclusively shows that the Creek people have assented to and accepted the allotment and partition of their lands and in so doing it cannot be doubted but that they were guided by the unfailing light of events in advance of any positive agreement—as it were by intuition, grasping the conclusion or end to be reached and acting upon it so far as it is possible for them so to do. And it now only remains for the proper authorities of the nation through the methods required by law, by agreement in the usual form, to arrange definitely the terms and conditions which shall be the rule in the division of our lands and other property.

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In the light of the facts above stated, it became your bounden duty to the people you represent to expedite the registering in the form of an agreement the spontaneous act of the people, accepting with supreme trust that which a majority of the people have determined upon and acted upon, with study deliberation, as the will of the people and recognize the principle that law, as a matter of fact, is only the changing will of the people.

The vitality of our race still persists. We have not lived for naught. We are the original discoverers of this continent and the conquerors of it from the animal kingdom and on it first taught the arts of peace and war and first planted the institutions of virtue, truth and liberty. The European Nations found us here and were made aware that it was possible for men to exist and subsist here. We have given to the European people on this continent, our thought forces. The best blood of our ancestors has been intermingled with the best statesmen and leading citizens. We have made ourselves an indestructable element in their national history. We have shown that what they believed to be arid and desert places were habitable and capable of sustaining millions of people. We have led the vanguard of civilization in our conflicts with them for tribal existence from ocean to ocean. The race that has rendered this service to the other races of mankind cannot perish utterly.

Though our tribal organization is fading away, we will be transformed as a potent factor, an element within the body of Christian civilization The philosophy of history of the future shall trace many principles of governments and institutions so dear to them, to those found among us.

Trusting that you will appreciate and fulfill the demands and obligations placed upon you by civilization and your people and that you will perform the duties now incumbent upon you as legislators and that harmony and goodwill will characterize your deliberations, let us commit ourselves unto Almighty God and implore His divine guidance and with unmovable faith and courage enter upon the work wherein Christian civilization warrants us the right of way."

With quick response to Chief Porter's insistence, a commission was appointed, with the Chief at its head and this

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commission gave to the Creeks the detailed plan as set forth in the Original Creek Treaty. 4This agreement was adopted by Congress on March 1, 1901 and ratified by vote of the Creek Nation on May 25, 1901. A supplemental treaty by Chief Porter and the members of a new commission was Embodied in an Act of Congress, of June 30, 1902,5 ratified by the Creek Nation on July 26, 1902 and proclaimed by the President on August 8, 1902. These two agreements constitute the scheme of allotment of the lands of the Creek Nation Bench and bar in Oklahoma today recognize in these agreements, many terms and conditions more elastic toward the rights of the Creek allottees, than those found in any of the agreements made with other tribes. The rights of allotment of the individual member of the tribe, were conserved against the recognized rules of limitation and estoppel of the white man. The unerring mind of General Porter guided the hand that indicted the language of the Creek allottment agreements. In those deciding moments, he stood like Saul among his people, towering above the multitude.

The fourth and last insurrection against the organized government of the Creeks occurred in the spring of 1901 and is known as the Crazy Snake Uprising. Chitto Harjo (Crazy Snake) was a typical representative of an expiring race of full blood Indians. In October, 1900, he and his full blood adherents instituted a government of their own with Hickory Ground as their capital. Little significance was attached to this action at its inception but as the movement gathered strength among a class of Indians who were opposing allotment, Chief Porter, on November 2, 1900, appealed to the United States Government for protection against the "snake" Indians. In response to this appeal, a troop of United States Cavalry arrived from Ft. Reno in January, 1901, and the leaders of the movement were placed under arrest. Several of them including Crazy Snake were indicted in the United States court for seditious conspiracy, to which, pleas of guilty were made. After an extended lecture from the judge, John R. Thomas, the pass-





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ing of sentence was deferred during good behavior and the culprits sent home.

In 1903, General Porter was reelected Principal Chief. The powers of his office had been almost entirely shorn by the substitution therefor, of the laws of Congress. Government was now administered by officials imported from the states. A situation was rapidly forming which was calculated to stimulate the demands for state government for the Indian tribes in the territory. General Porter now became a strong advocate of statehood for his people. The movement crystalized in the meeting of a constitutional convention called by the chiefs of the various Indian tribes which met at Muskogee on August 21, 1905. Delegates were in attendance from each of the tribes and among the names of the participants may be recognized the names of men who in later years fashioned the constitution of the State of Oklahoma and who guided its destinies in its inceptive days. The Muskogee convention did not lack leadership. With unerring judgment, General Porter was chosen permanent chairman of the convention and presided with dignity. The convention framed a constitution for the State of Sequoyah which was to embrace the old Indian Territory. This constitution when submitted to a vote of the people was adopted by a large vote, only to be rejected by Congress. The Sequoyah movement was most heartily supported by General Porter, who, during the latter days of his life, urged forward the sentiments of statehood for his people.

The duties of the Chief were now perfunctory and with clerical exactness General Porter attached his signature to the thousands of allotment deeds which evidenced to the individual member, his distributive share of the public domain of the tribe.

The declining years of the life of General Porter were spent in the management of his personal affairs. The autumn of life found him in comfortable circumstances and in the full enjoyment of the confidence, esteem and respect of all men and of all races. He was charitable to the degree of recklessness toward the unfortunate members of the old tribe and expended largely to relieve the distressed Indian who appealed to him.

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General Porter was a man of commanding presence, standing six feet and weighing perhaps 225 pounds. He was polished in dress and clean in thought and habit. His spiritual affiliations were with the Presbyterian Church. He was a member of the Masonic fraternities, including the 33rd degree. A gracious personality enriched his life with the charm of a wide circle of personal friendships. He was a fluent speaker in both the Creek and English languages. He was well read in the classics, was familiar with the standard philosophical writers, kept abreast of the development of thought, progress and literature and modestly with a soft pleasing voice and excellent diction, could discourse entertainingly by the hour on a wide range of subjects.

Pleasant Porter was a natural born leader of men. This leadership was of the tolerant and generous type. He dealt sympathetically with the misguided conservative members of the tribe and reverenced their every conscientious difference of thought. The full blood Indian of that period was disposed to face the past. The stage of his aboriginal life of simplicity, was narrow. He dramatized every situation in which he found himself. General Porter was patient toward the warlike excesses of these people and employed few measures of coercion. Dignity and firmness characterized his posture toward them. He permitted no infraction to weigh against his higher obligation to serve his people and sought to inspire them with the thought that human relationships rest upon faith and confidence. The numerous uprisings among the emotional full blood members of the tribe, were quelled by unrepressive measures. It was by moral suasion, that he influenced them to abandon the paths of internecive strife. To him, it would seem, fate had committed the task of leading a race from archaic rites and primitive violence forth into the clear sunlight of Christian civilization. He easily ranks as one of the most distingushed and influential Indian leaders of all time.

It was his ambition that his people might assume their place as full participants in the glory of United States citizenship. His last efforts were directed toward seeing them invested with the high privileges of statehood and self gov-

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ernment. His dream in that behalf was approaching realization. When death closed the eventful service of General Pleasant Porter at Vinita, on September 3, 1907, statehood for his people stood at the threshold.6 He rests in the old family burying ground at Wealaka.



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