By Peter James Hudson
|P. P. Pitchlynn||294 votes|
|F(ranceway) Battice||284 votes|
|Jerry Wade||265 votes|
There was a full blood Choctaw named Chafvtaya which means "running and going," who assumed the name of John Pitchlynn, emigrated from Mississippi to Indian Territory, located near Lukfata for awhile and re-emigrated up to what was known as Wade Settlement at the source of Kiamichi River and lived near a church called Lennox where Simon Hobbs was a missionary. He named his children Peter, Thomas, Davis and Alex Pitchlynn. They lived near Albion and Talihina. Sometimes people are confused about these families, but there is no relationship with Peter P. Pitchlynn, he being a half breed and they being full bloods.
According to manuscript record No. 19435 in the tribal files now in the custody of the Oklahoma Historical Society, James Thompson, Chief Justice, and I. L. Garvin, Associate Justice, Choctaw Supreme Court, rendered an opinion dated October 1867 in case of John Wilkin v. Choctaw Nation, deciding that
during P. P. Pitchlynn's absence from the Nation that John Wilkin, being President of the Senate, was fully authorized to act as Principal Chief of the Nation until P. P. Pitchlynn's return, and that inasmuch as John Wilkin did act as Principal Chief during his absence he was entitled to remuneration for services rendered.
Under date of November 7, 1884, a resolution was passed by the Choctaw Council and approved by Ed McCurtain, Principal Chief, that $1268.00, the amount of the account against the estate of the late Col. P. P. Pitchlynn, be allowed, requiring the Principal Chief to issue a certificate in favor of the late Col. Pitchlynn, and requiring National Auditor to issue his warrant on the National Treasurer for the same. This was found in a bound Choctaw volume in vault of the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes.
According to the Journal of the House of Representatives of Choctaw Nation in the vault of the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes, the following parties were candidates for Principal Chief of Choctaw Nation in 1866, the votes each received being listed opposite their respective names
|Allen Wright||----------------------------------------||552 votes|
|Jerry Wade||----------------------------------------||367 votes|
|Peter Folsom||----------------------------------------||199 votes|
|J. P. Folsom||----------------------------------------|
|Wilson Jones||----------------------------------------||1 vote|
|David Harkins||1 vote|
|Samuel Garland||----------------------------------------||80 votes|
|Coleman Nelson||----------------------------------------||265 votes|
Allen Wright was elected Principal Chief of Choctaw Nation in 1866 and served until October 1870. He was born in Mississippi son of Ishtimahelvbbi, and emigrated to Indian Territory at the time of the removal, stopping at Lukfatah for awhile and then located west at Boggy Depot. Allen Wright was educated at Union College, Schenectedy, N. Y. He was a Presbyterian Minister and translator. He was Treasurer of Choctaw Nation from 1860 to 1861, or one term. He headed the delegation which made the Treaty of 1866 and was elected Principal Chief in 1866, serving until 1870. He also served as Superintendent of Public Schools of
Choctaw Nation. He was a Council member. He was active in public affairs and did much for the Choctaw people. He died and was buried at his home place at Boggy Depot, in now Atoka County, Oklahoma. He married a teacher from Ohio and their children were Dr. E. N., Frank, Mary, Annie, Clara, Kate, Allen, Jr., and James B. Wright.
According to the Journal of House of Representatives of Choctaw Nation in custody of Superintendent of Five Civilized Tribes, the following were candidates for Principal Chief in 1868, the votes each received being placed opposite their names,
|Allen Wright||----------------------------------------||1221 votes|
|F(ranceway) Battiest||----------------------------------------||501 votes|
William J. Bryant was elected Principal Chief in 1870, serving until 1874, two terms. I believe his father was a white man. He was a student of Choctaw Academy. He emigrated to this country about 1840 after the general removal. He was still in Mississippi in 1838. He first located in Red River County, Choctaw Nation, and from there went to Octavia and was elected chief while living at Octavia, in now McCurtain County, Okla. Then he emigrated to about where Wilburton is now and was postmaster there, the postoffice being Pleasant, now discontinued. Then he moved to Tushkahoma where he lived for several years. He died there and is buried about two miles east of Tushkahoma about 200 yards north of the Frisco Railroad and also the highway. His grave was covered with a marble slab with headstone bearing an inscription. It is all broken to pieces now. I do not know the date of his death. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge. I do not know whom he married and nothing about his children. He was a member of Choctaw Council in 1844; Supreme Judge of Second District in 1865; delegate to Creek Convention (at North Fork Town I believe) in 1861.
In August 1872 William J. Bryant was opposed by Turner B. Turnbull, a student of Choctaw Academy, District Chief of Third District in 1863, Judge of Blue County in 1853. William J. Bryant won the race with a large majority.
Coleman Cole was elected Principal Chief of Choctaw Nation in 1874. He served for two terms until October 1878. A copy of
his last message to the Senate and House of Representatives in General Council assembled, October 1878 term, may be found in the manuscript tribal records now in the custody of the Oklahoma Historical Society, No. 19437. He was educated at Elliot Mission School in Mississippi. He was son of Robert Cole, who was District Chief of Western Division, Mississippi, in 1825. Coleman Cole was still in Mississippi in 1838 so I think they emigrated about 1840. He was a member of Council in 1850, 1855, and 1871-1873. If Robert Cole was correct in saying that Greenwood Leflore was his nephew then Coleman Cole's sister, name unknown, must have married a Frenchman named Louie Cravatt. Cravatt and his wife had two daughters, Nancy and Rebecca Cravatt. Louis Leflore, Frenchman, married Nancy Cravatt and they were parents of Greenwood Leflore and others. After Nancy's death he married Rebecca and they were the parents of Forbis Leflore and others. Robert Cole was a half-breed. It is not known who his father was but he was a white man with an Indian wife of the Shvkchi Homa Tribe. In 1938 when testimony was being taken in some claim of the Choctaws against the United States, Coleman Cole testified that a massacre of the Shvkchi Homa Tribe of Choctaw Indians by Chickasaws assisted by Choctaws, just before the Revolutionary War, all of said Tribe were killed except about 200 women and children, among them being a woman with a white husband who ran away and left her with several children. This woman was Coleman Cole's grandmother. Her name was Shumaka and she was still living in 1838, age 120, when this testimony was given. Coleman Cole is a descendant of the Shvkchi Homa Tribe and Choctaw Indians. He located in Cedar County, Choctaw Nation, east of Antlers, Okla., at the time of emigration. He died and is buried about three miles south of a postoffice called Standley, in Pushmataha County, Okla. The man who owns the farms knows where the grave is and does not disturb it. It is in a field and has a pile of rocks over it. Coleman Cole had a son, Logan, whose children are all dead, but whose granddaughter lives at Wichita, Kansas. Coleman Cole was a Choctaw Delegate to the Creek Convention at North Fork Town held on July 1, 1861, when a treaty was made with the Confederacy. Green
McCurtain often said that he was related to Coleman Cole. Green McCurtain's uncle Daniel having married Robert Cole's sister. Garrett E. Nelson, white man, married another sister. Green McCurtain said that when Coleman Cole got to be chief he built a two-story log house.
At the August 2, 1876, election, William Bryant, Coleman Cole and Allen Wright were candidates, Coleman Cole being elected.
In 1878 Isaac Garvin was elected Principal Chief of Choctaw Nation but he died in February 1880. His father was Henry Garvin, white man. I do not know where Isaac Garvin was educated. He was born in Mississippi and emigrated to Indian Territory, locating in Red River County, about a mile southwest of what is now the town of Garvin, Okla. The station, Garvin, was named for him. He was County Judge of Red River County for several years; Supreme Judge for several years. He was buried at his home place and a monument is standing to mark his grave. I do not know who his first wife was but his second wife was Melvina, daughter of Capt. Miashambi, and sister of Peter J. Hudson's mother. Peter J. Hudson tells about Isaac Garvin coming to his father's house when he was just a little child. The father and mother were both out when he arrived and as the children didn't know who he was and he looked so much like a white man, one of Mr. Hudson's sisters said in Choctaw "No count white man come to our country." They felt very much ashamed when they found he was a Choctaw and knew what had been said. By his second wife, Isaac Garvin had one daughter, Francis, who married a man by name of Dr. Shi. They emigrated to Chickasaw Nation with Isaac Garvin's widow and have all died out with exception of one son, Isaac Garvin Shi now living in Chickasaw Nation.
Jack McCurtain, being President of the Senate at the time of Isaac Garvin's death, filled out his unexpired term, and was elected Principal Chief and sworn in on October 1880, serving for two terms, until October 1884. A printed copy of his Message to the Senate and House of Representatives of Choctaw Nation,
dated October 7, 1881, at Chahta Tamaha, may be found in the records of the Oklahoma Historical Society Archives, being No. 19438. He was a son of Cornelius McCurtain, and brother of Green and Edmond McCurtain, both of whom later became Principal Chief of the Nation. He was born in the State of Mississippi March 4, 1830, moved with his parents to Indian Territory in 1833, attended school at Old Spencer Academy, 9 miles north of Doaksville when about fourteen years of age but remained there only about two years. The other McCurtain boys attended Fort Coffee School so it may be that Jackson did also. He died on November 14, 1885, and is buried a half mile east of the Choctaw capitol near Tuskahoma, Okla. The following is inscribed upon his monument:
"In memory of Jackson F. McCurtain Ex. Gov. of the Choctaw Nation. Born in the State of Miss., March 4, 1830. Moved to Ind. Ty., Choctaw Nation 1833. Died Nov. 14, 1885. Age 55 years, 8 months and 10 days.
"He was placed in the old Spencer Academy when about fourteen years of age but unfortunately remained in school only about a little more than 2 years.—In 1850 he was elected Representative to the Choctaw Council of the Choctaw Nation and continued member until July 1861 when he was elected Captain of the first Choctaw regiment under Commanding General D. H. Cooper—1862.—He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Choctaw Battalion and was a faithful efficient officer knowing no fear in all his command. Was surrendered to the Federal authority in 1866. He was elected Senator by a unanimous vote of the County and continued in that capacity until the death of Gov. I. L. Garvin Feby. 1880, when in consequence of his being President of the Senate he became Governor of the Choctaw Nation. He became his successor in Oct. 1880 having been elected by an overwhelming majority.
"He became his own successor again in Oct. 1882. Consequently he served as Governor two full terms and a part of the term and what he did while exercising the duties of the Office of Governor will hold him in grateful remembrance by the Choctaw people who love their country. His heart always went out for orphans and such a man deserves well the approval of his fellow man and the smiles of Heaven.
"An honest man here lies at rest—As ere God with His image blest. The friend of man, the friend of truth, the friend of age and a guide for youth.
"Few hearts like his with virtue warmed.
"Few hearts with knowledge so informed.
"If there is another world he lives in bliss.
"If there is none he made the best of this."
His first wife was Marie Riley, sister of Judge James Riley of First District. His home for many years was at Red Oak, in now Latimer County, Oklahoma, where he lived at the time he was made Principal Chief. While still serving as Chief he moved north of Hugo about ten miles and south of Antlers, where he lived for about two years, moving later to Tuskahoma about 1883. It was during Jackson McCurtain's administration that the Council House was built at Tuskahoma, council having been held at Chahta Tamaha or Armstrong Academy from 1863 to 1884. While he was living at Red Oak, many intruders had gone into the Choctaw Nation from Arkansas, and when he became Chief he asked the United States for troops to assist the Choctaw militia to remove the intruders from the northeastern part of Choctaw Nation. They did furnish troops and the intruders were removed but it was not long until they returned and it is said that they threatened Jackson McCurtain's life and that is when he moved to Hugo.
His first wife died leaving two daughters, one of whom died young, and the other, Sophie, married Lewis Garvin. She died, leaving one son, Simpson Garvin, now living at Talihina.
His second wife was Jane Austin. Their children, numbering about ten, have all died with the exception of Lizzie, now Mrs. Aikman. One of their daughters married Lyman Moore of Spiro. She died leaving a daughter and son.
Jane Austin McCurtain was said to have been Jackson MeCurtain's private secretary and adviser during his administration. She died in August 1924 at the age of 82 years.
Edmond McCurtain, brother of Jackson, succeeded him as Chief, taking office in October 1884 and serving until October 1886. His opponent was J. P. Folsom. He was a son of Cornelius McCurtain. He lived at Sans Bois, Choctaw Nation, died at Skullyville and is buried there. The following is inscribed upon his monument:
"In memory of Edmond McCurtain, born March 4, 1842, died
Nov. 11, 1890, at Skullyville. He filled every office of honor or trust in the gift of the people, from representative to Principal Chief. He was also a delegate to Washington for four years. One half of his life was spent in the service of his country and during all this time his actions were governed by pure patriotism as the Choctaws will ever know. While Superintendent of schools he sowed the seeds of education among his people that will blossom and bear fruit as long as this nation stands. He deserves above all others to be called the friend of his people. He was kind and generous as the brave only be. When the years have come and gone and the Choctaws be few, this stone shall mark the place of one purest, bravest and most patriotic sons of that nation. If there be a place where the kind, the noble and the honest can rest, when life is ended, he will enjoy its happiness because he made so many happy on this earth."
Tandy Walker was also buried in this grave yard; also Edmond McCurtain's brothers, David and Robert.
Henderson Walker, brother of Tandy Walker, murdered Robert McCurtain, after which the other McCurtain brothers went to Henderson's house and killed him. This almost started a feud between the Walkers and McCurtains but somehow it was patched up. David McCurtain was killed by a negro who was later killed by Green McCurtain, David's brother.
Edmond McCurtain was married three times. He was Superintendent of Public Schools of Choctaw Nation. In 1879 he took Peter J. Hudson to Springfield, Mo., when he entered Drury College.
Thompson McKinney succeeded Edmond McCurtain, taking office in October 1886 and serving until October 1888. He was a full blood Choctaw. I do not know where he received his education. The name Thompson McKinney of Smithville, Okla., may have been acquired from Thompson McKinney of Skullyville. He was a son of Judge Mitanvbbi which means "to kill while he is coming." Mitanvbbi lived on Eagle Fork about three miles west of the town of Smithville, Okla., where he died. Thompson McKinney was his oldest child and William McKinney who died just recently his youngest son. Thompson McKinney was a member of Council in 1877; National Secretary for several years, and chief from 1886 to 1888. He died in 1889 and is buried two or three miles west of Wilburton, Okla.
Thompson McKinney's grave is located on the tract of land near Wilburton, which is still tribal property, on which houses are being built, it being intended to colonize the Choctaws there in case it is necessary. I have heard that they are trying to fix up Thompson McKinney's grave. At one time his grave was pointed out to me and it is covered with logs.
At the time of his death he left two children. Jackson James was appointed guardian for these children and placed them in the Murrow Orphan Home at Atoka, Okla.
Many people confuse Thompson McKinney, Principal Chief with a Thompson McKinney of Skullyville. Thompson McKinney of Skullyville died in 1859 and is buried at Skullyville Burying Ground, while the Thompson McKinney who was Principal Chief lived, died and is buried near Wilburton. Thompson McKinney of Skullyville was the grandfather of Major Victor M. Locke. He was a student at Choctaw Academy, a lawyer by profession and did as much as any one toward building up the Choctaw schools but never was Chief. At one time, however, he opposed Alfred Wade for the office of Governor of Choctaw Nation, but was defeated.
Ben Smallwood succeeded Thompson McKinney, taking the oath of office in October 1888 and serving until 1890. His opponent was Wilson N. Jones. It is not known what school he attended. He was a son of William Smallwood. His grandfather was Elijah Smallwood, a white man, from South Carolina, who went to Mississippi and married Mary Leflore, sister of Thomas Leflore. Ben Smallwood's father, William Smallwood, was a student at Choctaw Academy. He was a member of Council in 1863. He married Annie Burney, a Chickasaw woman. He lived and died Dec. 15, 1891 at Lehigh and is buried there. Mrs. Lizzie Nash of Antlers is a descendent of Ben Smallwood.
Wilson N. Jones succeeded Ben Smallwood as Principal Chief. He was sworn in in October 1890 and served until October 1894, two terms. He was uneducated but was a good business man. He got rich in spite of the fact that he could hardly write his name. He talked broken English. He was Treasurer, District
Trustee and finally Principal Chief. During his administration two boarding schools were added to the four boarding schools already in existence. One of these schools was for boys and was called Jones Academy in honor of Governor Jones, while the other, for girls, was called Tuskahoma Female Institute. P. J. Hudson was the first Superintendent of Tuskahoma Female Institute.
During the election of 1892 in the race between Wilson N. Jones and Jacob Jackson for Principal Chief, a great deal of confusion was created. It was at this time that trouble started at McAlester which terminated at Antlers and became known as the Antlers or Locke War. A man by name of Joe Haklotvbbi was killed at Hartshorne by political enemies and it was this killing which started this trouble, leaders of both factions gathering at McAlester immediately after the killing to fight it out, but a fight was averted by the appearance of a man on a white horse, waving a United States flag. He called for a parley and notified the heads of each party not to fire a shot for if they did he had authority from the United States Government to abolish the tribal governments. That man was Leo Bennett, U. S. Indian Agent. The trouble later sprung up at Antlers, however. This trouble was caused by the election campaign of Wilson N. Jones and Jacob Jackson for Principal Chief.
Wilson N. Jones was a son of Nathaniel Jones of Mississippi. His mother's name is unknown but she was from the Battiest family which makes him of French descent. His first wife was Luisa Leflore and they were parents of Annie Bell and Willie Jones. Willie Jones was killed leaving one son, Nat Jones, who committed suicide at Oklahoma City by jumping from the top of a ten story building. Wilson N. Jones had a sister named Lizzie who married a white man named Thomas Griggs. They were parents of Thomas Griggs, Jr., who was father of Mrs. Lizzie Nash of Antlers, Okla., making Wilson N. Jones, Mrs. Nash's great uncle.
Wilson N. Jones' second wife was a white woman but I know nothing about her. They had no children.
During the latter part of his life he lived at Sherman, Texas. He died about 1900 but I do not know where, or where he was buried.
His home in Choctaw Nation was north of Bokchita, in now Bryan County, Oklahoma.
Jefferson Gardner succeeded Wilson N. Jones as Principal Chief, taking office in October 1894 and serving until October 1896. His opponent was J. B. Jackson. He was born near Wheelock, Choctaw Nation, son of Noel Gardner who was a student of Choctaw Academy. His brothers were James and Jerry. Jerry was father of Edmond Gardner of Valliant, who is quite a historian. Jefferson Gardner was Treasurer of Choctaw Nation, acted as Circuit Judge of Second Judicial District, and finally elected Principal Chief of Choctaw Nation. He was postmaster of Eagletown from about 1874 for many years. He ran a general store at Eagletown, another at Sulphur Springs or Alikchi, Choctaw Nation, and still another at Bon-ton, Choctaw Nation, on Red River. When he was postmaster Mr. Peter J. Hudson acted as his clerk at Eagletown and knew him very well. He was a man about 5' 6", bald headed, half-breed, a man of few words but very kind. His first wife died at Wheelock. I don't know who she was. She left one daughter named Alzira, now Mrs. Lambert. I do not know where she lives. When Jefferson Gardner moved to Eagletown he had no family, his daughter attended school at New Hope Seminary. While at Eagletown he married Lucy Christy, daughter of Joe Christy. At the death of Lucy he married her sister, Judy. He had quite a family by these wives but they are all dead with exception of Emma, now Mrs. Mills, living at Valliant, and Alzira, now Mrs. Lambert. He died about 1905 and is buried at the Joe Christy Burying Ground three miles southeast of Eagletown.
Green McCurtain succeeded Jefferson Gardner as Principal Chief, taking office in October 1896 and serving until October 1900, two terms. His opponents were Jefferson Gardner, J. B. Jackson and G. W. Dukes. He was a son of Cornelius
McCurtain and brother of Edmond and Jackson McCurtain, both former chiefs of the Choctaw Nation. He was born at Skullyville and died December 28, 1910, at his home at Kinta, Oklahoma, and was buried at his old home at Sans Bois, Oklahoma, Haskell County, about 5 miles east of Kinta. He married for his first wife a white woman, mother of D. C. McCurtain, living at Poteau. She later married Tom. Ainsworth. Green McCurtain married as his second wife, Kate Spring, daughter of John Spring of now Tuskahoma, Oklahoma. Their children were Alice who married George Scott now living at Stigler and former Treasurer of Choctaw Nation, Lena who married Herbert Moore now of Muskogee, Bertha and Cora who married brothers, the Pebworth boys. Cora is now dead but Bertha is living. Mrs. Green McCurtain is still living at Stigler with her daughter, Mrs. George Scott. He was elected Principal Chief on the program of the Tuskahoma Party of which he was the head and which advocated negotiation with the Dawes Commission for the settlement of Choctaw Affairs.
Gilbert W. Dukes succeeded Green McCurtain and took office in October 1900 serving until October 1902. He was born around Wheelock. He was a son of Joseph Dukes who was interpreter and translator for early missionaries. He was with Cyrus Byington at Mayhew Mission School in Mississippi for a long time and then emigrated to Indian Territory and stayed with Alfred Wright at Wheelock Seminary for many years as translator of the New Testament. Gilbert W. Dukes' mother was Nancy Collins. When but a young man Gilbert W. Dukes moved from Wheelock to what is known as Wade Settlement about 6 miles east of Talihina, Oklahoma. He was a student of old Spencer Academy. He married Angeline Wade, daughter of Governor Alfred Wade. They had two children, Henry, now of Bokhoma, McCurtain County, Oklahoma, and the other, Joseph Dukes, Assistant Field Clerk at Talihina, Oklahoma. After the death of his first wife he married Isabel, daughter of Horace Woods, white man, father of a large family.
At their death they left, Edwin, D. Hopaiishvbbi, Josephine, Minerva and Leatta Dukes, all of whom are living around Talihina. The first office ever held by Gilbert W. Dukes was as Sheriff of Wade County, Choctaw Nation. He joined. the Confederate Army when very young. He was Supreme Judge for four years, Circuit Judge for seven years, Auditor of Choctaw Nation, and Chief from 1900 to 1902. He was a delegate to Washington in 1911. He died about 1915 or 1916 and was buried at Post Oak Presbyterian Church on the south side of Kiamichi River about twelve miles southeast of Talihina, just barely inside of Pushmataha County. He was a very large man, about six feet tall and very liberal. He always had many people at his house. He was a great friend of D. Thomas, a merchant at Talihina. He was a Republican.
In October 1902 Green McCurtain again took office as Principal Chief, serving until his death December 28, 1910. In the election of 1902, Tom Hunter of Hugo, Oklahoma, was Green McCurtain's opponent. In October 1902 before the votes were canvassed the United States Government had to send soldiers to Tuskahoma to keep peace. Gilbert W. Dukes was a friend of Tom Hunter and the morning on which the votes were to be canvassed he walked into the capitol with Tom Hunter and turned everything over to him as his successor. Major Hackett, U. S. Marshal, who was a friend of Gilbert W. Dukes and Tom Hunter, took possession of the capitol and grounds, with Tom Hunter as chief, and proceeded to organize a council, the followers of McCurtain being barred from the building. Indian Agent Shoenfelt was on the ground and attempted to settle the difficulty but it was impossible because the U. S. Marshal representing the Judicial Department was in charge. Therefore, Agent Shoenfelt sent a message to the War Department at Washington for troops. The order went to Fort Sill for soldiers to go to Tuskahoma. Saturday about noon which was the last day provided by Constitution to canvass the votes the U. S. soldiers composed of 200 negroes with white officers, came in, marched to the capitol, and after the
commander consulted for one hour with U. S. Marshal and U. S. Agent, he took charge of the building, disarming all occupants of the building and instructing them to tend to any business necessary. The members of the two factions then entered into fist fights in which the command took no side, while the votes were being canvassed. It was dark when the canvassing was completed and Green McCurtain was declared elected Principal Chief of Choctaw Nation. Peter J. Hudson was an interpreter for Green McCurtain's faction and witnessed and took part in the trouble.
In 1904 another election was held with Green McCurtain and Thomas Hunter as candidates and Green McCurtain was re-elected. He served until October 1906.
In August 1906 Wesley Anderson of Tuskahoma was elected Principal Chief but was not confirmed from the fact that the tribal government was supposed to have expired March 4, 1906. He had no opponent. So Green McCurtain was the last elected chief and continued to serve until his death on December 28, 1910.1