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JOHNSON, GRANT ( ? -1929)

Grant Johnson was one of the most noted peace officers in the history of the Indian Territory. Johnson's father was a Chickasaw freedman, and his mother was a Creek freedman. Born in north Texas during the Civil War, Johnson began his tenure as a deputy U.S. marshal in 1888 working out of the federal court at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Judge Isaac C. Parker mentioned him as one of the best deputies that worked for his court. Johnson's work, in tandem with Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, became legend in the Indian Territory. By 1898 Johnson transferred to the Northern District, which was headquartered at Muskogee. Johnson, the only deputy U.S. marshal for this area for many years, patrolled in and around Eufaula, Creek Nation. He developed one of the best arrest records of any of the deputies that worked the Northern District under Marshal Leo Bennett. In 1902 a group of disgruntled Creek full bloods and freedmen led by Chitto Harjo created a disturbance in the Creek Nation. Harjo felt old treaties were being broken by the activities of the Dawes Commission, which was allotting land to the Indians and Freedmen. Johnson and a posse arrested Chitto Harjo and a group of his followers and put them in the federal jail in Muskogee. Johnson became a policeman for Eufaula in 1906, primarily patrolling the African American section of town. He died in Eufaula on April 9, 1929.

SEE ALSO: AFRICAN AMERICANS, RUFUS CANNON, CRAZY SNAKE UPRISING, FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT FOR WESTERN ARKANSAS, ROBERT FORTUNE, FREEDMEN, INDIAN TERRITORY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, ZEKE MILLER, OUTLAWS, ISAAC PARKER, BASS REEVES.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Art T. Burton, Black, Red, and Deadly: Black and Indian Gunfighters of the Indian Territory, 1870-1907 (Austin, Tex.: Eakin Press, 1991).

Art T. Burton

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