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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 15, No. 2
June, 1937
THE PERRYMANS

By John Bartlett Meserve

Page 166

The assassination of Chief William McIntosh of the Lower Creeks at his plantation home on the Chattahoochee river near the present town of Carrollton, Carroll County, Georgia in April 1825 provoked the withdrawal, shortly thereafter, of many of his adherents from Georgia and Alabama to the old Indian Territory.1 Chilli McIntosh, the eldest son of the ill-fated Chieftain led an initial contingent of these people to the West arriving at Three Forks, a short distance north of the present city of Muskogee, in February 1828. Among this emigrating party were members of the Perryman, Winslett and Porter families who were to contribute to the eventful history of the Creeks in the West.

Benjamin Perryman (Steek-cha-ko-me-co) had been a tribal town chief of some prominence among the Creeks back in Alabama and was a pronounced adherent of the McIntosh faction in Creek tribal affairs. He is noted as a signer of the Treaty of February 24, 18332 at Ft. Gibson with the Government and, with Roley McIntosh, represented the Creeks at an intertribal conference with the western tribes which opened at Ft. Gibson on September 2, 1834 and in these proceedings took an engaging part.3

The celebrated painting of Benjamin Perryman was made at Ft. Gibson in 1836 by George Catlin, the noted painter of Indian pictures and of Benjamin and Samuel Perryman, the famous artist said, "These two men are * * * fair specimens of the tribe, who


1John Bartlett Meserve, "The McIntoshes," Chronicles of Oklahoma, X, 310. The writer acknowledges error in the statement in that article that Chief William McIntosh was slain at his Indian Springs home and that his home there was burned. He was, in fact, slain at his plantation home on the Chattahoochee river near the present town of Carrollton, Georgia, and it was his home there which was burned by his assailants.





Benjamin Perryman

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are mostly all clad in calicoes and other clothes of civilized manufacture, tasseled and fringed off by themselves in the most fantastic way and sometimes with much true and fantastic taste. They use a vast many beads and other trinkets to hang upon their necks and ornament their moccasins and beautiful belts." Through these descriptive words descendants of the emigrant Creeks of a century ago may glimpse an interesting portrayal of their semi-primitive ancestry.

Benjamin Perryman was accompanied by his six sons and two daughters to the West where they settled initially along the lower Verdigris and the north bank of the Arkansas and in an area to become known as Choska Bottoms in what is today Wagoner County, Oklahoma. The region was of broad expanse where the prairies dissolved in the shimmering distance to the west. Wild tribes had wandered along the Arkansas for many years ere the Creeks came. Drifting clouds threw evanescent figures across the undulating plains and the Indian raising his eyes above the earthen walls about him, found spiritual release above them in the reaches of the blue where, in his fancy, the Great Spirit walked. An indulgent nature met the emotional needs of his cloistered life. These primitive scenes are lost today in a maze of cultivated farms. The eight children of Benjamin Perryman left a lasting impress upon the Creeks.

(1) Samuel Perryman (Thenahta Tustenugga) served in the Creek War of 1813-14 under General Jackson and after his removal to the West joined Epley, and Chilli McIntosh in an address to President Jackson asking for relief against the depredations of the wild tribes which infested their border. He was the father of William and Noble Perryman and is reputed to have lived to an advanced age and died at Coweta in 1880. (2) Columbus Perryman (Yahola Harjo) died at Coweta in 1877. (3) Moses Perryman (Aktayahehe) was the father of Joseph Moses Perryman who became a chief of the Creek Nation. He died at Choska in 1866.

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(4) James Perryman (Pahos Harjo) for the last thirty years of his life was a Baptist minister.4 He attended school at the old Union Mission and between 1830 and 1835 was Creek interpreter for the Rev. John Fleming at which time he was a Presbyterian. He aided in translating two of the first books in the Creek language. In the latter years of his life, he assisted Mrs. A. E. W. Robertson in translating Ephesians, Titus, James and two-thirds of the Book of Acts, into the Creek tongue. In the old Creek hymn book, thirty-two of the hymns are his work either in composition or translation. He served in the Confederate army in the Civil War and died at Coweta about 1882. (5) Lewis Perryman (Kochukua Micco) was the father of Legus C. Perryman an erstwhile chieftain of the Creeks. (6) Henry Perryman (Efold Harjo) died at Choska in 1876. (7) Lydia Perryman married Tah-lo-pee Tust-a-nuk-kee, a town chief and became the mother of Phoebe. Phoebe married Benjamin Edward Porter and became the mother of Pleasant Porter,5 the last elected chieftain of the Creeks. Phoebe died at Wealaka, on June 6, 1883. (8) Mary Perryman married James McKellop, a Scotchman. Her daughter Nancy McKellop married Nathaniel Hodge and became the mother of David M. and Alvin T. Hodge both of whom became men of prominence among the Creeks. Susan, another daughter of Mary McKellop nee Perryman married John Denton, a Cherokee and became the mother of Lilah D. Lindsey, who is today (1937) one of the outstanding women in the State.

Moses Perryman, a son of Benjamin Perryman was the father of Joseph Moses Perryman6 who was born at Choska in 1833. This son attended school at Coweta Mission until 1853 after which he entered Tullahassee and began his studies for the Presbyterian







Joseph M. Perryman

Page 169

ministry. He pursued these studies for three years and was licensed to preach in 1860. He enlisted in the Confederate army on August 9, 1861 in Company H. First Creek Regiment of Mounted Volunteers of which company Capt. Washington Kennard was captain in the regiment of Col. D. N. McIntosh. He later served as major sergeant and as a first lieutenant of this company. His name last appears on the muster roll of his company on December 1, 1862 although he appears to have joined with other officers of the 1st and 2nd Creek regiments in a petition to President Jefferson Davis, from Camp Stonewall, on May 18, 1863. He remained at Stonewall until the conclusion of the war and was formerly ordained for the Presbyterian ministry at Wapanucka, Chickasaw Nation, shortly thereafter. It was at that time he formed the North Fork Presbyterian Church and also assumed charge of the mission school under the South Presbyterian Synod, which position he held for four years. About 1878, he changed his church affiliations and became a member of the Baptist church and was shortly thereafter ordained to the ministry of that denomination and remained a member of this denomination until his death.

The political career of Joseph M. Perryman began with his service as a member of the Creek House of Kings from 1868 to 1874 inclusive serving as its presiding officer during his tenure. He served as district clerk of the Eufaula district in 1878 and as clerk of the tribal supreme court in 1869. He was a member of the tribal supreme court in 1873. In 1883, he was dispatched as a delegate from the tribe to Washington and on December 5, 1879 qualified as Creek national treasurer in which position he served for four years, being succeeded by Sam Brown.

In the fall of 1883, Joseph M. Perryman became the candidate of the Muskogee party for Principal Chief, being opposed by Isparhecher of the Loyal party and Samuel Checote of the Pin party. The race settled down to a spirited contest between Perryman and Isparhecher although Checote gained enough votes to

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provoke an embarrassing situation. The Green Peach War, inspired and led by Isparhecher, had ended but a few months before the election, but lingered as an issue in the campaign. The result of the election held on September 3, 1883 was very close and remained long in doubt. A declaration of the canvass involved the determination of two rather delicate constitutional questions. The election being held upon a date slightly different than that provided by the Creek constitution, provoked much dispute but faded in its significance as efforts were made to adjust the situation to another requirement of the Creek constitution. This basic document provided in Article II, Section I, that "the Principal Chief of the Muskogee Nation shall be elected for a term of four years, by a majority of the votes * * *." Three active candidates had sought preference in the campaign and as a result none of the three aspirants received a majority of the votes cast. Perryman had a plurality over his opponents but lacked a majority over the combined votes of both of them. An effort was made to placate Isparhecher by sending him to Washington as a delegate, in January 1884 but from that city on February 26, 1884, he wrote Perryman, urging that no choice had been made and suggesting that a new election be called and their candidacies be resubmitted to the electorate of the Nation. Perryman was sworn in as chief and the entire dispute was referred to Secretary of the Interior Teller, who on February 27, 1884, in writing, expressed himself "that the words 'majority' and 'plurality' are synonymous ones as understood and used by the Muskogee people." He directed the Indian agent to recognize Perryman as chief of the tribe. Joseph M. Perryman served his people most faithfully as their chief for the four years' term and became a rather inactive candidate for reelection in 1887 but was defeated by his cousin, Legus C. Perryman. Isparhecher was again a candidate but made a meager showing.

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The concluding years of the chief were devoted to his religious endeavors and to education. He was president of the Creek National Board of Education in 1894 and in the years 1894-5-6 was superintendent of the Eufaula High School. He passed away at Eufaula on December 18, 1896 and rests in the cemetery at that place.

Shortly after the Civil War, he married a lady of the tribe who died some years later. He later, and on September 1, 1876, at St. Louis, married Ellen Marshall, a daughter of Nicholas and Eliza Marshall. She was born at Lenna, Indian Territory on November 4, 1860 and is today (1937) Mrs. W. A. Hammer and lives at Eufaula, Oklahoma.

The chief was an active member of the Masonic fraternity, serving as secretary of the Eufaula Lodge at the time of his demise. He was a man of deep religious convictions, trod the straight path during his political career and enjoyed the love and esteem of his people.

In the adventurous party with Chilli McIntosh was an intermarried white man by the name of Winslett who was accompanied by Hattie Ward of Old Hitiche town, his Creek Indian wife and their young daughters Befeeny and Ellen Winslett. About 1830 their son David Winslett was born at Choska.7 This son entered Coweta Mission in, 1845 where he studied under Rev. R. M. Loughridge,8 later entered Tullahassee Mission and in 1851 was chosen a ruling elder of that school. He became an interpreter for Rev. Mr. Loughridge and assisted him in Bible translations. On September 6, 1858, he was ordained for the Presbyterian ministry and assumed charge of the Coweta Mission and church. He entered the Confederate service in the Civil War but became ill through exposure, returned home on a furlough and died at Coweta in 1862. He





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married Mahala, a daughter of Lewis Perryman. The father seems to have faded from the immediate picture shortly after the birth of David. Whether he passed away, or as was not unusual rejoined his white kinsmen elsewhere, is unknown.

We are invited to a more intimate acquaintance with Lewis Perryman, a son of Benjamin Perryman. He was born near Ft. Mitchell, Alabama in 1787, came to the Indian Territory in February, 1828 and established himself upon lands near the falls of the Verdigris river. He was accompanied to the West by his wife and three children Andrew, Mahala and Nancy. About 1833, he married Hattie Winslett nee Ward and in 1838 established his home at Big Springtown on Adams Creek some seven or eight miles northeast of the present town of Broken Arrow. In about 1837 he added her daughters Befeeny and Ellen to his domestic household. There was nothing unorthodox about this romantic status in his domestic affairs because plural marriages9 were not uncommon and were recognized among the Creek Indians at that time. His wives each bore him children. Hattie was the mother of Sanford W., Thomas W., John W., Kizzie and Phoebe. Befeeny was the mother of Alexander, David, Hattie, Ellen and Lewis and Ellen was the mother of Legus C., Josiah C., China, Henry W., George B. and Lydia.

The succeeding years in the life of Lewis Perryman were very commonplace. In fact it was a slow and stagnant period during which little progress was registered among the Creeks. He lived at Big Springtown on Adams Creek and after 1848 in the proximity of Tulsa where he ran a trading store. The removal to Tulsa was occasioned by an epidemic of cholera at Big Springtown.

Washington Irving, on October 11, 1832, passed through this area which was to become the arena of the early activities of the Perrymans and leaves for us his contemporary impressions. "For



Josiah Perryman

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some miles the country was sprinkled with Creek villages and farm houses, the inhabitants of which appeared to have adopted, with considerable facility, the rudiments of civilization and to have thriven to consequence. Their farms were well stocked and their houses had a look of comfort and abundance. * * * They were a well made race, muscular and closely knit, with well formed thighs and legs. They have a gypsy fondness for brilliant colors and gay decorations and are bright and fanciful objects when seen at a distance on the prairies."10

Fortune kept her engagements with Lewis Perryman and ere the Civil War came he was living in comfortable environs to which his patient efforts had contributed. He was engaged extensively in the cattle business along the Arkansas River valley below Tulsa. The years of the Civil war were gruesome for the Creek Indians, as the sectional issue permeated the Indian country. With the withdrawal of the Union forces from the Territory in the early days of the conflict, the affair became disproportionate and many of the Union Creeks fled to Kansas under the leadership of Opothleyahola.11 Lewis Perryman saw no military service but his sons entered the Confederate Army by enlistment on August 9, 1861.12 The brief occupancy of Tahlequah by the Union forces after July 14, 1862, influenced his sons to abdicate their enlistment and abandon the Confederate service. When the Confederate troops reoccupied Tahlequah on October 28, 1862, Lewis Perryman taking his wives, Hattie and Befeeny and his children abandoned his accumulations in the Territory and joined the Creek refugees near Burlington, Coffee County, Kansas where he passed away early in December 1862, and where he rests in an unknown grave. His sons enlisted in the Union army on December 7, 1862 and served until the conclusion of the war. His wives returned to the Territory.







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Hattie died at Choska in 1866 and Befeeny passed away in 1877 and both are buried at Coweta. Ellen died at Tulsa in 1854 and was buried in an erstwhile family burying ground between East 11th and East 13th streets and west of South Norfolk Ave. in Tulsa. The crude markings have long since disappeared and a residential section of the city now occupies the spot.

Sanford Ward Perryman,13 eldest son of Lewis Perryman and Hattie, his wife, was born at Sodom, in 1834. He attended school at Coweta Mission and later at Tullahassee. He was a proficient interpreter and assisted Rev. W. S. Robertson and Rev. David Winslett, his half brother, in their Bible translations. After leaving school, he married Jane Garrison a teacher of the Tullahassee Mission, from Greenfield, Missouri. He enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army in the Civil War on August 9, 1861 in Company H of the First Creek Mounted Volunteers. He later and on December 7, 1862 enlisted in the Union army at Burlington, Kansas in Company I, First Regiment of Indian Home Guards, Kansas Infantry and was honorably discharged on May 31, 1865. Sanford was a character of much ability and served as a member of the Creek House of Warriors from 1868 to 1875, being speaker of that body from 1868 to 1870. He was a trustee of the Tullahassee Mission in 1867 and an elder of the Presbyterian church. He died at Coweta in the summer of 1876 and is buried in the old Coweta Mission cemetery.

Thomas Ward Perryman,14 a son of Lewis Perryman and Hattie, his wife, was born at Big Springtown on the Verdigris, on July 24, 1839. He entered Tullahassee Mission upon its initial opening on March 1, 1850 where he remained until 1858 after which he assisted his father in the stock business. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate army on August 9, 1861 as a private in Company H of the First Mounted





Rev. Thomas Perryman

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Volunteers. When the Union forces entered the Territory in 1862, he reversed his allegiance, accompanied his father in his flight to Kansas and on December 7, 1862, at Burlington, Kansas, enlisted in the Union army in Company 1, First Regiment Indian Home Guards, Kansas Infantry, served through the war and was honorably discharged from service on May 31, 1865. During the war, he married a young woman of the tribe who died a few years later. After the war and in partnership with his brothers, he opened a trading store at Choska which was conducted for a couple of years. He taught school at Broken Arrow, in 1868, after which he clerked for a period at Ft. Gibson. After the death of his wife, historic Tullahassee Mission of which he was a trustee in 1881, again challenged his interest and about 1872, he began a three years course in theology under Rev. W. S. Robertson in that institution. During this period and in later years he aided Mrs. A. E. W. Robertson in her New Testament translations. Thomas W. Perryman enriched the spiritual lives of his people by giving to them his translations of Genesis and the Book of Psalms. On May 15, 1874, he married Miss Eva L. Brown, a teacher at Tullahassee. She was a daughter of Robert Brown, was born at Kittanning, Pennsylvania on May 17, 1855 and died at Tulsa on March 26, 1922. She was an active aid to him in his labors at the Nuyaka Mission and in his field of spiritual endeavor among the Creeks. He was licensed as a minister by the Presbytery at Neosha, Kansas in the fall of 1875 and in the succeeding year was ordained by the Kansas Presbytery at a special meeting held at Wealaka and given charge of the western district of the Creek Nation. From henceforth his life was devoted to the spiritual welfare to his people and particularly the full bloods. His labors were amid environs not altogether sympathetic. As a delegate from the Creeks he attended the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church at New York City in 1889.

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The political life of Thomas W. Perryman ran contemporaneously with his religious activities. He served as a member of the Creek House of Warriors in 1868 from Big Springtown district and again in 1883 and became a strong factor in composing the tribal dissension provoked by Isparhecher in the Green Peach War.15 He was reelected to the same position in 1887 and 1889 and served as chaplain of that body during his tenure. In 1871, he was chosen district attorney for six years and upon his reelection, resigned the position. He became a member of the House of Kings in 1891 and was again chosen in 1896 being the presiding officer of that body during both terms. He suffered defeat in his race for Principal Chief in 1895 at the hands of Isparhecher. Thomas W. Perryman with clear sighted vision favored the allotment of the tribal lands in severalty and subsequently was enrolled opposite roll number 6749 as evidenced by Creek census card number 2199. He represented the Creek Nation as a delegate to Washington in 1900, 1901 and 1902, was a negotiator and signer of the Creek Supplemental Agreement of June 30, 1902 and actively urged its ratification by the Creeks. He gave to the Creeks an untarnished service.

Thomas W. Perryman was a man of the highest integrity and purest purposes. He was sympathetic toward the delinquencies of his people as he sought to lift the standard of their vision. He was a most devout Christian and in a purposeful way practiced his professions. The nights were never too stormy nor the prairie trails too devious to deter him from answering the summons of the distressed among his people. Of him, the late Federal Judge John R. Thomas said, "He was one of the best men I ever knew. His word was as good as his bond and I never heard him speak evil of any one." He passed away at Kansas City, on February 11, 1903 and rests in the Oaklawn cemetery at Tulsa. Among the sons of men there have been many of larger vision, many whose



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range of activities, has been less circumscribed and many whose influence has been more potent in the affairs of this earth, but there has been none with finer soul, if consecration to duty, love of humanity and veneration of God are to be marks of the perfect man.

Extending to the south and west of the Verdigris Falls is a triangular area having an apex at the forks of the Verdigris and Arkansas rivers and extending northwestward along the north bank of the Arkansas toward the old Tullahassee Mission. In the very early days this region was called Sodom and it was in this section that Lewis Perryman established his home and where he lived until about 1838. Leguest Chouteau Perryman,16 eldest son of Lewis Perryman and Ellen Winslett, his wife, was born at Sodom on March 1, 1838. He was named for Leguest Chouteau who was, at that time, an Osage sub-agent and ran a trading post on the Verdigris river near the Perryman settlement. He entered Tullahassee Mission on March 1, 1850 with Thomas W. Perryman, his half brother where he early evidenced a marked aptitude for mathematics. During his school years he did much translating of Bible history for the Presbyterian schools of the Creek Nation. In later years he compiled and translated the laws of the Creek Nation.

When the Civil War came, Legus C. Perryman and his brothers enlisted in the Confederate army on August 9, 1861, in Company H. of the First Creek Mounted Volunteers. He subsequently renounced this enlistment, fled with his father and the family to Kansas late in 1862 and on December 7, 1862 at Burlington, Kansas enlisted with his brothers in the Union army in Company I, First Regiment, Indian Home Guards, Kansas Infantry, served throughout the war and was honorably discharged on May 31, 1865 as a major sergeant. Col. Stephen H. Wattles was colonel of the regiment in the brigade commanded by Col. Wm. A. Phillips. He and his brothers were with the Union army in the fight at Web-



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ber's Falls on April 24, 1863 and later at Honey Springs on July 17, 1863.17 Other members of the Perryman family fought with the Confederates in both of these engagements. It is of interest to know that Samuel,18 William, Noble, Joseph M., Tecumseh, Riley, Daniel, David, Havey, James, John, Louis and Possoner Perryman as well as Legus C. Perryman and his brothers, Sanford W., Thomas W., Josiah C. and Henry W. each enlisted in the same company and regiment in the Confederate army at the old Creek Agency, on the same day. Legus C. and his brothers later reversed their allegiance. The other enlisted members of the Perryman family remained in the Confederate service until the conclusion of the war. The inspiration upon the part of many of them was probably one of adventure.

There was not much semblance of order or program among the Creeks after the hostilities were over but a new Creek Nation succeeded the Civil War when the constitution of 1867 was adopted by a reunited tribe. Legus C. Perryman, who then lived near Coweta took an active part in the work of reconstruction. He served as judge of the Coweta district from 1868 to 1874 and in 1875 served briefly as prosecuting attorney for that district. From 1876 to 1882 he was a member of the House of Warriors. Having taken up his abode at Big Springtown, he represented that district in the House of Warriors from 1883 to 1887. He was admitted to practice law before the Creek Nation courts on October 22, 1878 and in 1882 and in 1885 was sent as a delegate to Washington during which period he became active in composing the troubles created by Isparhecher. In 1887, he served as a trustee of Tullahassee Mission at the same time being chairman of the board of trustees of the Wealaka Mission.

On September 6, 1887, Legus C. Perryman was elected Principal Chief of the Creek Nation, defeating his cousin, Chief Joseph





Legus Perryman

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M. Perryman who was a candidate for reelection. He was easily reelected in 1891. His tenure as chief was rather uneventful save as the Government began to evidence its purpose to close up the political life of the Five Tribes in the Territory. A newly created United States Court convened at Muskogee in 1889 and the Dawes Commission made its initial visit to the Territory in 1893. After an investigation made by the Secretary of the Interior, it became manifest to the authorities at Washington that an improvident employment of tribal monies was being made.19 Cash in the tribal treasuries of the Five Tribes, whether derived from the Government through payment of treaty obligations or by some modest form of taxation, provoked a vulnerable spot and, to careless tribal officials, became a veritable Achilles heel. Funds in the Creek National treasury presented a constant temptation and officials had been derelict in conserving the cash reserves of the tribe. Perryman, being chief at the time of the investigation, the onus of all past as well as present delinquencies fell upon him. An irresponsibility in the financial affairs of the tribe seemed to feature the concluding months of his administration. Charges of the issuance of duplicate and unauthorized treasury warrants were hurled at the old chieftain and his personal safety was threatened by armed members of the tribe who gathered at the capitol at Okmulgee in the early summer of 1895. The chief may have been innocent of any wrongful conversion of the monies from the tribal treasury but he evidenced a marked weakness in the hands of designing persons who made use of him for ulterior purposes. He was led into treacherous environments by men whom he had every reason to trust. The Creek National Council, after a hearing, impeached and removed the chief and the national treasurer from office on June 8, 1895 and Edward Bullette became the acting chief for the remainder of his term. The whole affair carried with it a heavy smudge of detail in which others became involved, some of whom were sent



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to prison. This impeachment carried with it his denial of all future political rights but these were restored by action of the council on December 21, 1898. The political irregularities in the Creek Nation at this time were somewhat contemporaneous with political escapades among the other tribes in the old Territory. The Government at Washington was about persuaded that self-government by the Five Tribes was just another synthetic rainbow. Conditions developed which influenced the Government to abdicate its vacillating policy and hasten its efforts to close up the political autonomy of these tribes.

The ensuing Creek tribal election held in the fall of 1895 was bitterly contested. The allotment of the tribal domain and the winding up of the political life of the tribe became controversial. The political influence of Chief Legus C. Perryman had lapsed. Thomas W. Perryman, his half brother, whose ideas comported with the Federal Government, was defeated by the turbulent Isparhecher who was able to marshal to his support the full blood Indians and certain organized predatory interests which were opposing allotment. The election of Isparhecher was a concluding gesture of opposition to the purposes of the Government and the old Chieftain was unwittingly to become a silent pallbearer of the political life of the Creek Nation which was then in the throes of final dissolution.

Among the Creek refugees at Ft. Gibson with the Union army in 1864 were Sathanake and her two young daughters, Arparye and Eshoya. Enfalota or Miller, the father of Arparye, was killed at the battle of Chusto-Talaseh or Caving Bank northeast of Tulsa on December 9, 1861 where he served in the Confederate army. Legus C. Perryman and his brothers also were engaged in this battle as Confederate soldiers. He married Arparye, also known as Jennie, at Ft. Gibson in 1864. She was born in the Canadian River country in 1848 and died at Tulsa on January 7, 1904. After his discharge from the Union army he removed to Coweta and

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early in 1871 added Eshoya, the half sister of Arparye to his domestic life. She was born in 1856 and died at Coweta in 1877. After the death of Eshoya, he removed with his family to a farm south of Tulsa.

Upon his retirement from office the Chief became rather inactive in political affairs, although he did make a gesture as a candidate for Principal Chief in 1899 when Pleasant Porter was elected. On the Creek tribal rolls his name appears opposite Roll No. 2493 as shown by Census Card No. 910.

The chief was an interesting character, far above the average of his people in intelligence and self-training. He kept abreast of current events by constant reading. The Creeks had no kinder soul, his greatest difficulty being to distinguish real from mercenary friends. In the years after Statehood, he became, more or less, a "lone wolf." He traveled memory trails now as his life interest shifted to a past which had disappeared in the twilight of yesterday. His abdication to strong drink in his later years well nigh accomplished his moral bankruptcy. Broken in spirit, body and purse, he passed on to an untroubled sleep at Tulsa on February 5, 1922. He rests in the old Perryman family burying ground below 31st street in Tulsa, where tall weeds wave in the summer air above his unmarked and neglected resting place. But, with Alex Posey,

"All had to die at las';
     I live long time, but now my days was few;
"Fore long poke-weeds an' grass
     Be growin' all aroun' my grave-house, too."

Josiah Chouteau Perryman, a son of Lewis Perryman and Ellen Winslett, his wife, was born at Big Springtown, on April 25, 1840. He entered Tullahassee Mission on March 1, 1850 and after eight years joined his brothers at Choska. He enlisted in the Confederate army in the company with his brother Legus C. Perryman

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in 1861 and later joined him in the enlistment in the Union army at Burlington, Kansas on December 7, 1862. After the war, he married Martha Maupin, a white lady and lived at Tulsa. He was a member of the Presbyterian church being an elder of that faith in the early days of the Tulsa church. He lived on what is today 41st street in Tulsa where the first post office was established at Tulsa on March 25, 1879 and Josiah C. Perryman was named the first postmaster. The mails were relayed by pony riders from Coffeyville, Kansas. When the Frisco railroad came to Tulsa in 1882, he removed the postoffice down to the settlement near the station, resigned shortly thereafter and J. M. Hall was appointed to succeed him. He engaged in the mercantile business in Tulsa for a time and died on March 3, 1889 and is buried in the old Perryman burying ground at Tulsa. Josiah C. Perryman was one of the most highly respected citizens of the Creek Nation.

George Beecher Perryman,20 a son of Lewis Perryman and Ellen Winslett, his wife, was born at Big Springtown on April 17, 1847. He was briefly educated at Tullahassee Mission but at eighteen began farming and stock raising, which business he continued during his life. He never engaged in politics nor did he render any military service in the Civil War. He married Rachel Alexander in 1868. She was a daughter of ——— Alexander and Hannah, his wife, was born in 1852 and died at Tulsa on February 6, 1933.

George B. Perryman was an astute business man and lived and maintained the base of his operations at Tulsa where he enjoyed a most ornate and comfortable home. Like the cattle men of the Territory at that time, he ran a store which was in fact a trading post because he exchanged his merchandise for cattle. Money was a rare commodity among the Indians during those years and calves became the medium of exchange at the store of George B. Perryman. As a consequence, his herds assumed proportions and during the grazing season, occupied his vast range along the Ark-



George B. Perryman

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ansas valley south and east of Tulsa. He became the Indian cattle king of the Creek Nation. In addition to his grazing lands, he had, at that time, 1000 acres of farm land under cultivation upon which corn was raised to provision his winter stock.

The cattle industry provoked an era of perilous times in the Southwest.21 The tragic death of Goob Childers, a Creek Indian, mirrors the abnormal conditions and at the same time reflects the sterling qualities of George B. Perryman. One Bill Jones, a white man having in the background a record of having slain a negro in Texas, was foreman on the Perryman ranch. Threats made by Childers of his purpose to kill Perryman were conveyed to the latter and as Childers, heavily armed, approached the Perryman home, he was greeted by a rifle shot and died with his boots on. Such tragedies were not isolated. Perryman assumed full responsibility for the killing although, in fact, the shot was fired by Bill Jones, the ranch foreman. Had the onus of the killing fallen upon Jones, he would have been summoned before the court of Judge Parker at Ft. Smith, Arkansas, with unpredictable results. Perryman was answerable alone to the Creek tribal courts and no action was taken. Childers left several children and these Perryman took into his home and reared and cared for. The finality of this incident is reflective of the generous and charitable character of George B. Perryman. His home was ever an asylum for the orphan needy of his race. He died at Tulsa on April 21, 1899 and is buried in the old Perryman burying ground at that place.

In the story of the Perrymans, we glimpse a rather complete cross section of Creek Indian life in the old Territory during the concluding fifty years of their tribal existence. Through various members of the family, influential positions were occupied in the spiritual, political and economic life of these people. In their religious' inspirations, we may discern the patient, self-sacrificing la-



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bors of Rev. W. S. Robertson and his most estimable wife, and through them, the influence of the great Cherokee Messenger, Dr. Samuel Austin Worcester may be observed. That influence, having its inception at the old Tullahassee Presbyterian Mission in the decade before the Civil War, still abides through living members of the family. The old Mission is today a ghost town and lingers only through its yesterdays.22 The church was the great social center during that period as it also was in the recoupment days from the spiritual wreckage following the Civil War.23 Members of the family were potent in their influence upon the tortuous political life of the Creek Nation during its concluding decades. The Creeks responded rather slowly to the newer forms of human organization but it is of no avail to pyramid their eccentricities. In the economic affairs of the Creeks, the Perrymans occupied a high and engaging influence. The world to which they belonged has gone or is slipping away but the thoughtful student, having a proper regard for the sources of history, may not disregard the Perryman family when an approach is made to a history of the Creek Indians in the West.





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