Choctaw Nation Elected Chiefs


Alfred Wade, 1857-1858

 Sworn in as the first Governor of the Choctaw Nation in October, 1857, at Boggy Depot, for a term of two years. Student of Choctaw Academy. Born in Mississippi and emigrated to LeFlore County. Son of John Wade. Brothers: Henry, Alex, Jerry, Ellis, Cunningham and Kennedy.


Tandy Walker, 1858-1859

Lived near Skullyville, now Spiro. He was a member of Choctaw Council in 1855 at Fort Towson. President of Senate in 1869, 1870, 1873-74. Served in Confederate Army. Led vote for new constitution.


Brazil LeFlore, 1859-1860

Served one year. Son of Louis LeFlore by his first wife, Nancy Cravatt. Three brothers, Greenwood, William, Ben; father of Campbell LeFlore of Oklahoma City; five sisters and two half-brothers, Forbis and Jackson LeFlore. Student at Choctaw Academy, emigrated to Indian Territory to near Fort Towson. Served as private secretary to his cousin Brazil Leflore when he was district chief. Treasurer of Choctaw Nation in 1866; auditor in 1876-1885. Moved to Goodland and died and buried in Choctaw County.  


Chairman of the Doaksville Convention in 1860 and was first to be called “principal chief.” Born in Mississippi in 1808 to a whiteman and a full blood Choctaw woman, “Widow Hudson”; educated at Mayhew Missionary School in Mississippi; emigrated in 1831 and arrived in spring 1832 where they settled on the west side of Mountain Fork River, McCurtain County. While he was chief, he treated with the Confederacy. He died in 1865 and is buried in an unmarked grave near Mountain Fork Bridge. His father was a white man. Brother James Hudson,  father of Peter J. Hudson.


 George Hudson,1860-1862  


Samuel Garland,1862-1864  


Born in Mississippi in 1803 , grandson of Maj. James Garland, a Scottsman, and a full blood Choctaw woman; the family emigrated to Choctaw Nation. Student of Choctaw Academy. Samuel was son of John Garland who signed Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Samuel Garland lived, died and is buried in Janis, McCurtain County, Oklahoma. Brothers: John, Silas and James. Sister: Nancy and Lucy. Silas’ children included Israel whose daughter married Mitchel Harrison and a white man named Hall. They were parents of Chief William Harrison of Poteau. Sam Garland married Mary Pitchlynn, sister of Peter P. Pitchlynn. They had one son, Crocket Garland. Louis Ledbetter of Wewoka married a daughter of Crocket Garland. Sam Garland was member of the Net Proceeds Claim delegation. He had 600 acres of red River bottom land and a palatial Southern home near Tom. He died in 1870 while a member of the Council and the Net Proceeds Claim delegation.  

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Peter Pitchlynn, 1864-1866  


Born in Mississippi in 1806 son of John Pitchlynn, a white man by his second wife, Rhoda Folsom, sister of Col. David Folsom. He emigrated during the time of removal and settled in Eagletown; owned a large farm on the east side of Mountain Fork River and about 30 slaves. Attended University of Nashville, Tenn., superintendent of Choctaw Academy, and a member of the Choctaw Council in 1849, 1850, and 1861. Headed Net Proceeds Claims delegation in 1853 until his death Jan. 17, 1881. Buried in Congressional Cemetery.

Peter married a daughter of David Folsom, named Rhoda, and their children were Lycurgus (Posh) Pitchlynn, Melvina, Loren, Peter Pitchlynn Jr. and Rhoda Pitchlynn. He then married Mrs. Carolin Lambert of Washington, D.C.; their children were Sophia and Lee Pitchlynn.

Peter P.’s sister, Rhoda, married a white man named Dr. Calvin Howell. Posh was grandfather of William F. Semple an attorney in Tulsa. Dr. Thomas Howell of Davis is a nephew of Peter P. Pitchlynn.

John Pitchlynn, Peter’s father, first married Sophie Folsom, daughter of Ebenezer Folsom by his Choctaw wife. Their children were James, John Jr. and Kate. By his second wife, Rhoda, were children Peter P., William B., Silas, Mary (Mrs. Sam Garland) and Eliza who married Alonzo Harris, and Elizabeth who married William H. Harris, brother of Alonzo.

For more, Pitchlynn  




Born in Mississippi, son of Ishtimahelubbi, emigrated to I.T. during removal and settling west of Boggy Depot. Educated at Union college, Schenectedy, N.Y.; a Presbyterian minister and translator, he served as treasurer of the Choctaw Nation in 1860-61. Headed the delegation that made the treaty of 1866. Also served as superintendent of public schools, council member and was active in public affairs. Died and was buried at his home place at Boggy Depot, now in Atoka County. He married a teacher from Ohio and their children were Dr. E.N., Frank, Mary, Annie, Clara, Kate, Allen Jr. and James B. Wright.  

Allen Wright, 1866-1870  


William Bryant, 1870-1874  


Believed to be a half-blood, he attended Choctaw Academy and emigrated to I.T. about 1840, locating in Octavia in now McCurtain County. He then moved to Pleasant near Wilburton where he was postmaster. He moved to and died at Tushkahoma. Buried two miles east of there. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Choctaw Council, Supreme Judge of Second District and a delegate to the Creek Convention in 1861.  




Son of Sallie and Robert Cole, a district chief in Mississippi,  educated at Elliot Mission School in Mississippi and a signer of the removal treaty. Emigrated about 1840 and settled near Moyer in Pushmataha County. Robert Cole was son of Shumaka, of the Shukchi oma tribe and a white man, Roscoe Cole. She lived to be at least 120 years old and had five children. A daughter of Sho-ma-ka, married Capt. Daniel McCurtain and another married Garrett E. Nelson who had a daughter Mahayia who married Cornelius McCurtain. Coleman Cole located in Cedar County, east of Antlers and died in 1886 and is buried in Pushmataha County near Standley. Coleman married Abbie and had a son, Logan. He levied taxes on intruders and passed a fee for marriage licenses.  


Coleman Cole, 1874-1878  

Isaac Garvin, 1878-1880



Son of Henry Garvin a white man, he was born in Mississippi and emigrated to I.T., settling in red River near what is now Garvin. Served as County and Supreme Judge. Second wife was Melvina, daughter of Capt. Miashambi and sister of Peter J. Hudson’s mother. Their children were Francis, who married Dr. Shi and had a son Isaac Garvin Shi. Isaac Garvin died while in the office of chief.  


Jackson McCurtain, 1880-1884  


Serving two terms, he was son of Cornelius McCurtain and brother of Green and Edmond, both of whom later became principal chiefs. Born March 4, 1830 in Mississippi; moved to I.T. and attended school at Spencer Academy near Doaksville. He served in the Choctaw Regiment in the Civil War.

His first wife was Marie Riley, sister of Judge James Riley. She died leaving two daughters; one, Sophie, married Lewis Garvin. They had a son Simpson Garvin, Talihina.

 His second wife was Jane Austin, they had 10 children, including Lizzie Aikman. Another married Lyman Moore of Spiro. Died on Nov. 14, 1885 and is buried near the Choctaw capitol near Tuskahoma.



Son of Cornelius and brother of Jackson McCurtain, he lived in San Bois and also served as delegate to Washington and superintendent of schools.

He married three times. His two other brothers were David and Robert, who were both murdered in separate incidents. Edmund died Nov. 11, 1890 at Skullyville and is buried there.  


Edmund McCurtain, 1884-1886  


Thompson McKinney, 1886-1888  


Oldest child of Judge Mitanubbi, of Smithville and brother of William McKinney. A full blood, he was a member of Council, national secretary and chief. He was grandfather of Major Victor M. Locke who was a student at Choctaw Acadmy and a lawyer. Thompson McKinney died in 1889 and is buried west of Wilburton.  



Son of William Smallwood and grandson of Elijah, a white man from South Carolina who went to Mississippi and married Mary LeFlore, sister of Thomas LeFlore. William was a student at Choctaw Academy. The family settled in Kiamichi County. Ben, born 1829, attended Spencer Academy married Annie Burney, a Chickasaw Indian. He later married Abbie James. He was a merchant and cattleman. Member of the Choctaw Council, served in the Civil War, and a delegate to Washington. He retired to a farm and died Dec. 15, 1891 at Lehigh.


Ben Smallwood, 1888-1890  


Wilson N. Jones, 1890-1894  


Youngest son of Capt. Nathaniel Jones and a Battiest descendant, who lived on the Pearl River in Mississippi. He was a merchant, farmer and cattleman and reputed to be one of the wealthiest men in the I.T. His second wife was Louisa LeFlore; children: Annie Bell and Willie, who married Emelia McCauley and was killed leaving Nat Jones. Wilson had a sister named Lizzie who married Thomas Griggs, a white man. They were parents of Thomas Griggs Jr. . Wilson Jones was uneducated but two boarding schools, Jones Academy and Tuskahoma Female Institute were built during his administration. He also served as national treasurer and school trustee. He later married Mrs. Isabelle Curtis.

In Oklahoma he lived north of Bokchito in Bryan County but spent the latter part of his life in Sherman, Texas. He died June 11, 1901 and is buried in the family plot west of Cade. His estate funded the Wilson N. Jones Hospital in Sherman.

For more Jones  



Born near Wheelock, son of Noel Gardner who was student of Choctaw Academy and Hannah, both mixed-bloods. Brothers James and Jerry. Jefferson Gardner was Treasurer of Choctaw Nation, circuit judge, and postmaster of Eagletown from 1874 for many years. He ran general stores in three towns. He married Lucy James and had a daughter, who became Alzira Lambert who attended New Hope Seminary. Jefferson Gardner then married Lucy Christy, daughter of Joe Christy. When she died he married her sister, Judy. They had a daughter Emma Mills, who lived at Valliant. Jefferson Gardner was a farmer and cattleman at Eagletown where he was postrmaster. Treasurer of the Choctaw Nation, circuit judge, he was vigorously opposed to allotments. He died about 1905 and is buried in the Joe Christy cemetery near near Eagletown.

For more on Gardners  


Jefferson Gardner, 1894-1896  


Green McCurtain, 1896-1900  


Son of Cornelius McCurtain and brother of Edmond and Jackson, both chiefs. He was born at Skullyville and married a white woman. They had a son, D.C. McCurtain, who lived at Poteau. She later married Tom Ainsworth. Green McCurtain’s second wife was Kate Spring, daughter of John Spring, Tuskahoma; children: Alice, who married George Scott, Stigler and former treasurer of Choctaw Nation; and Lena, who married Herbert Moore, Muskogee; Bertha and Cora married Pebworth brothers. Green McCurtain died Dec. 28, 1910 at his home in Kinta and was buried at his old home in San Bois, Haskell County. He served again as chief from 1902-1910.  



Born near Wheelock, son of Joseph Dukes an interpreter and translator for early missionaries. Mother was Nancy Collins. Gilbert was student at Spencer Academy. He married Angeline Wade, daughter of Gov. Alfred Wade. Children: Henry, Bokoma, McCurtain County; Joseph, Talihina.  After Angeline died, he married Isabella, daughter of Horace Woods, a white man. Their children were Edwin, D. Hopaiishubbi, Josephine, Minerva and Leatta Dukes, all of Talihina. Gilbert W. Dukes was former sheriff of Wade County; served in the Confederate Army; served as supreme judge, circuit judge, auditor and delegate to Washington and the Atoka Convention. The Atoka Agreement was ratified during his term. He had a 500-acre estate near Talihina and was instrumental in the development of the hospital there. He died 1916 and was buried at Post Oak Presbyterian Church south of Talihina in an unmarked grave.  

Gilbert Dukes, 1900-1902  

 Extracted from Chronicles of Oklahoma, vol. XVII, no. 2, June 1939; vol XIV, no. 4, Dec. 1936; Vol XIX, no. 3, September 1941; XVIII, no. 1, March 1940; and vol XIV, no. 1, March 1936.

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