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TELLE, ALINTON (1859-1903)

Choctaw rancher and lawyer Alinton Telle was born on September 30, 1859 (some sources give 1858), at Lukfahta, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (present McCurtain County), to Ima-no-bubbi and Kate Wright. Orphaned at the age of eight, Telle moved to Boggy Depot and resided with his uncle, Allen Wright. Telle graduated from Southwestern Presbyterian University, Clarksville, Tennessee, and then attained a law degree from Union University in Albany, New York. In 1881 the federal court in Fort Smith, Arkansas, hired him as a Choctaw interpreter. In 1886 he was appointed national secretary for the Choctaw Nation and held the position until 1889. In 1890 he opened an Atoka law practice with G. A. Pate. Also in 1890 Telle married Emma Leary and they had two children, Alinton Russell and Nanima Louise. From 1897 until 1900 the elder Telle served as a member of the Choctaw Commission, which worked with the Dawes Commission to make the final Choctaw allotment rolls. In 1900 Telle partnered with J. H. Chambers and resumed a law practice.

In 1881 Telle located his ranch and farm six miles northeast of present Wapanucka. There, he imported from Missouri one of the area's first Hereford bulls. A successful and well-respected rancher, Telle was usually the area stockmen's choice as the annual spring roundup captain. In 1899 he had twelve hundred head of cattle and 250 acres of cultivated land. On March 8, 1903, Alinton Telle died in Atoka. A strong Atoka civic leader, he served on the city council, was a member of the Masonic Order and the Methodist church, and built the town's first two-story brick building.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Indian Journal (Eufaula, Indian Territory), 13 March 1903. H. F. O'Beirne, Leaders and Leading Men of the Indian Territory: With Interesting Biographical Sketches, Vol. 1 (Chicago: American Publishers' Association, 1891). William H. Underwood, "A History of Atoka County" (M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1931). J. B. Wright, "Ranching in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 37 (Fall 1959).

Larry O'Dell

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