Past Governors

Edmund Pickens

Edmund Pickens

1841

Although not a 'governor', Pickens was the first chief of the Chickasaw District of the Choctaw Nation in 1841- he was the second controlling CFO and Treasurer.

Cyrus Harris

Cyrus Harris

1856-58 |1860-62 | 1866-68 | 1868-70 | 1872-74

Harris was the first elected governor of the Chickasaw Nation (1856). He was re-elected during the opening days of the Civil War and approved resolutions of secession from the Union on May 25, 1861. Elected as governor five times, he continued to express concerns over the infiltration of non-Indian people on Chickasaw lands, the railroad and policies of the federal government advocating for allotment of Chickasaw lands held in common.

Burial Series: Chickasaw Governor Cyrus Harris grave found in rural Oklahoma plot

Daughtery Winchester Colbert

Daughtery Winchester Colbert

1858- 60 | 1862-64 | 1864 - 66

Colbert was the second elected governor of the Chickasaw Nation (1858). Although he spoke English, he preferred the Chickasaw language and enjoyed practicing many Chickasaw traditions such as polygamy. Later he would face charges for having three wives at the same time. Colbert, in fear for his safety, took his three families to Texas in the winter of 1864. Following the war he represented the Chickasaw interests at peace negotiations held in Ft. Smith.

Burial Series: Final resting place of former Chickasaw Gov. Winchester Colbert still a question

Benjamin Franklin Overton

Benjamin Franklin Overton

1874- 76 | 1876-78 | 1880 - 82 | 1882 - 84

Overton had a no nonsense reputation. When taxing stockmen who ran cattle drives through the Chickasaw Nation failed, he created a tribal militia and a great deal of the lawlessness ceased. Although he had no formal education, he advocated improvement of boarding schools and established the Chickasaw neighborhood school system. He always maintained his unwillingness to permit Chickasaws to be denationalized.

Burial Series: Chickasaw Nation Gov. Overton’s Grave moved for Lake Texoma construction

Benjamin Crooks Burney

Benjamin Crooks Burney

1878 - 80

It is widely believed that Burney took the office of governor in reserve for B.F. Overton until the former governor would be eligible to run for office again. (Overton was his brother-in-law) Burney received his name when he was born on board a steamboat traveling up the Red River during the removal. The captain's name was Benjamin Crooks.

Burial Series: Burial site of former Chickasaw Gov. Burney located in Marshall County, Okla.

Jonas Wolf

Jonas Wolf

1884 - 86 | 1892 - 94

Wolf was described as a man of rugged integrity, by those who knew him. He neither spoke nor understood the English language and was often accompanied by an interpreter. He was adverse to the allotment of tribal domain.

William Malcolm Guy

William Malcolm Guy

1886 - 88

At the age of 16 Guy entered the Confederate Army where he demonstrated a remarkable military career. He was in the Battle of Bull Run and Gettysburg where he was severely wounded in the head and left shoulder as well as taken prisoner. He participated in the Seven Day battles, the battles at Harpers Ferry, Antietum and the engagements at Fredericksburg. He was with the army of General Lee at the surrender at Appomattox. As governor at 41 years of age, he was considered progressive; as he opposed discriminating policies affecting tribal members regarding quantity of Indian blood.

William Leander Byrd

William Leander Byrd

1888 - 90 | 1890 - 92

A businessman in the mercantile industry after the Civil War, Byrd settled in Stonewall, Okla. He became active in the interests of the Chickasaw Nation and was soon representing the tribe as a delegate to Washington D.C. He served as a national agent until 1885. Through his inspiration the legislature enacted laws prohibiting white men from entering the Nation and engaging in the cattle business unless they were intermarried members. After the Frisco railroad was established and Ada became a city, he moved there and became the president of the Farmers State Bank of Ada.

Palmer Mosely

Palmer Mosely

1894 - 96 | 1902 - 04

Mosely served as the interpreter for Chickasaw Governor Jonas Wolf, who neither spoke nor understood the English language. Allotment was the issue surrounding his races for the governor's seat. In 1902 he won the election; favoring the allotment agreement, he changed the course of history for the Chickasaw Nation. On September 25th the electorate made the decision to ratify the Supplemental Agreement and allotment was accomplished.

Robert Maxwell Harris

Robert Maxwell Harris

1896 - 98

There are two notable memories linked to the governorship of Harris. The first of these is the Atoka Agreement; under his administration it was inserted in the Curtis Act of June 1898. This provided for the allotment of tribal domain, abolishment of the tribal courts and the dissolution of the Chickasaw government. The second, and more positive memory, is associated with the historical capitol at Tishomingo; as Harris authorized the construction of the new capitol building, and used the granite from his own quarry to build it.

Douglas Henry Johnston

Douglas Henry Johnston

1898 - 00 | 1900 - 02 | 1904 - 6 | 1906 - 39

Serving as governor for more than 40 years in all, Johnston saw and experienced a great deal of history for the Chickasaw Nation and the United States. A long term public servant, Johnston believed firmly in education for all tribal members in order to prepare them for the political, religious and social battles of life. He firmly believed that with a strong intellectual and moral training the Chickasaw Nation would thrive.

Peter Maytubby

Peter Maytubby

Elected in 1906, he never officially took office.

Floyd Maytubby

Floyd Maytubby

1939 - 63

Maytubby was appointed Governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1939; at a time when the United States was still in the grasp of the Great Depression as well into the throes of World War. He attempted to sell the last of the unallotted lands, but there was little, if any, interest in the coal and asphalt lands from the government or private sector. As a possible additional term approached, a grass roots group pushed for self rule with Congress throughout 1961. Maytubby died on February 24th, 1963, his gubernatorial papers were never found.

E.B. "Hugh" Maytubby

E.B.

1963 - 63

E.B. Hugh Maytubby was the uncle of Floyd Maytubby. He held the governors office from May until October, 1963. He was appointed to the position almost immediately after the funeral of Floyd Maytubby. A big push for tribes to elect their own leaders - demanding more sovereignty was catching the ear of the Kennedy Administration. Hugh Maytubby worked out the conclusion of Floyds term.

Overton James

Overton James

1963 - 87

In 1963 Overton James took the leadership of the Chickasaw Nation in hand by providing for the needs of the nation, both socially and economically through federal programs. In 1971, James was the first elected governor since 1906. Under James, a new constitution was adopted, based on the 1866 constitution and the U.S. Constitution that called for a separation of powers into three branches of government. Although several legal challenges followed, James pursued the obligations and promises of the federal government and a modified and ratified constitution was approved by the U. S. Government in 1983.

Last Updated: 12/10/2015