Allen Wright

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Contents

Allen Wright
Allen wright.jpg
BornKilihote [1]
November 1826 [1]
Attala County, Mississippi [1]
Died December 2, 1885 [1]
Boggy Depot, Indian Territory [1]
Nationality Choctaw [1]
Occupation Presbyterian minister, Choctaw politician
Years active 1855-1870
Known for Coined the name "Oklahoma." [1] Served as Principal Chief of Choctaw Nation, 1866-1870 [1]

Allen Wright (1826–1885) was Principal chief of the Choctaw from late 1866 to 1870. He also became a Presbyterian minister after graduating from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He was very active in the Choctaw government, holding several elected positions, and has been credited with the name Oklahoma (Choctaw word meaning "Home of the Red Man" in English) for the land that would become the state. [1]

Choctaw Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States

The Choctaw are a Native American people originally occupying what is now the Southeastern United States. Their Choctaw language belongs to the Muskogean language family group. Hopewell and Mississippian cultures, who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries. About 1,700 years ago, the Hopewell people built Nanih Waiya, a great earthwork mound located in what is central present-day Mississippi. It is still considered sacred by the Choctaw. The early Spanish explorers of the mid-16th century in the Southeast encountered Mississippian-culture villages and chiefs. The anthropologist John R. Swanton suggested that the Choctaw derived their name from an early leader. Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that their name is derived from the Choctaw phrase Hacha hatak.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

After serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, Wright was elected as Principal Chief from 1866 to 1870. He then became superintendent of schools for the Choctaw Nation from 1880 to 1884. [1]

Early life

Allen Wright was born in Attala County, Mississippi in November 1826. [1] A member of the Choctaw Nation, his birth name was Kilihote. His father was named Ishtemahilvbi and his mother a full-blood Choctaw, who died in June 1832. The father and surviving members of the family left Mississippi in October 1833 and arrived in what is now McCurtain County, Oklahoma in March 1834. According to a biography published by the Chronicles of Oklahoma, his father died in 1839. [1] He went to live with Reverend Cyrus Kingsbury near Doaksville, went to a mission school at Pine Ridge. After four years, he entered Spencer Academy, the main Choctaw tribal school. where he studied from 1844 to 1848. [2] He was given the name Allen Wright. The surname honored Reverend Alfred Wright, a noted Presbyterian missionary to the Choctaws. [3]

Attala County, Mississippi County in the United States

Attala County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,564. Its county seat is Kosciusko. Attala County is named for Atala, a fictional Native American heroine from an early-19th-century novel of the same name by François-René de Chateaubriand.

McCurtain County, Oklahoma County in the United States

McCurtain County is located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,151. Its county seat is Idabel. It was formed at statehood from part of the earlier Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory. The name honors an influential Choctaw family that lived in the area. Green McCurtain was the last chief when the Choctaw Nation was dissolved before Oklahoma became a state in 1907.

Cyrus Kingsbury was a Christian missionary active among the American Indians in the nineteenth century. He first worked with the Cherokee and founded Brainerd Mission near Chickamauga, Tennessee, later he served the Choctaw of Mississippi. He was known as "the Father of the Missions" in Indian Territory.

After four years at Spencer, he was one of four students chosen by the Choctaw Council to attend college in an eastern state of the United States. Wright attended Delaware College in Newark, Delaware from 1848 to 1850, when the school closed. then enrolled at Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in July 1852 and joined a fraternity. In September 1852 he entered Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he received a Master of Arts degree in Theology in May 1855. He was the first Native American student from Indian Territory to earn this degree. [1] After graduation from the seminary he was ordained as a minister by the Presbyterian Church. He returned to the Choctaw Nation and became the principal instructor at Armstrong Academy during the 1855–1856 school term. [2]

Newark, Delaware City in Delaware, United States

Newark is a city in New Castle County, Delaware, United States. It is located 12 miles (19 km) west-southwest of Wilmington. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 31,454. Newark is home to the University of Delaware.

Union College college located in Schenectady, New York, United States

Union College is a private, non-denominational liberal arts college located in Schenectady, New York. Founded in 1795, it was the first institution of higher learning chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. In the 19th century, it became the "Mother of Fraternities", as three of the earliest such organizations were established there. After 175 years as a traditional all-male institution, Union College began enrolling women in 1970.

Schenectady, New York City in New York, United States

Schenectady is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 66,135. The name "Schenectady" is derived from a Mohawk word, skahnéhtati, meaning "beyond the pines". Schenectady was founded on the south side of the Mohawk River by Dutch colonists in the 17th century, many from the Albany area. They were prohibited from the fur trade by the Albany monopoly, which kept its control after the English takeover in 1664. Residents of the new village developed farms on strip plots along the river.

Early in his life, Allen was not knowledgeable about Christianity. Exposure to missionaries, especially Presbyterians, caused him to learn more about the subject. Initially, he was skeptical, but in April 1846, he joined the Presbyterian Church. He began later to consider a career in the ministry and ultimately went to seminary. [1]

Marriage and family

He married Harriet Newell Mitchell of Ohio on February 11, 1857. She was born December 16, 1844 in Dayton, Ohio. The Presbyterian Board of Missions sent her to the Choctaw Nation in 1855. There she met and married Allen Wright. They had eight children together. [1] [2] One son was Eliphalet Nott Wright (1858–1932), who became a medical doctor and also served as president of the Choctaw Oil Company. [4] Muriel Hazel Wright, noted Oklahoma author and historian, was a granddaughter of Allen and Harriet.

Political career and service during the Civil War

Wright became a member of the Choctaw Council in 1856. He was elected treasurer of the Choctaw Nation in 1859, and a member of the Choctaw Council in 1861. [2] According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, he was elected to two terms in the Choctaw House of Representatives and to three terms as treasurer of the Choctaw Nation. Wright signed the 1861 treaty that allied the Choctaw Nation with the Confederate States of America. Subsequently, he joined the Confederate Army. [3]

On July 25, 1862, Wright joined Captain Wilkin's Company of Choctaw infantry on July 25, 1862. He was transferred to Company F of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles on June 13, 1863. When the war ended, Choctaw Chief Peter Pitchlynn sent him as a delegate to the Fort Smith conference where an armistice was signed. [1]

Post Civil War

Wright was elected Principal Chief of the Choctaw Tribe in 1866, and served until 1870. Some of his major accomplishments included: [2]

Wright represented the Choctaw Nation at the Fort Smith Council and signed the Reconstruction Treaty of 1866. When the Federal commissioners proposed to consolidate all of Indian Territories tribes under an intertribal council, he suggested the term Oklahoma as the name for the Territory. [3]

In 1885, he also served as editor and translator of the Indian Champion and was a charter member of the first Masonic lodge in Oklahoma. [2] He was also a member of the Royal Arch Masons in Maryland, which he had joined in 1866. [1]

Wright was superintendent of schools for the Choctaw Nation from 1880 to 1884. [1]

Wright died in Boggy Depot, Indian Territory on December 2, 1885. He was buried in the Boggy Depot cemetery. [3] His widow died December 25, 1894 in the town of Atoka. She was also buried in Boggy Depot. [1]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Meserve, John Bartlett. Chronicles of Oklahoma vol. 19, no. 4, December,1941. Retrieved December 17, 2012. Chronicles of Oklahoma Archived May 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine .
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma: History". Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 May, John D. "Wright, Allen," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society, Accessed July 1, 2015.
  4. Wright, Muriel H. "A Brief Review of the Life of Doctor Eliphalet Nott Wright (1858–1932)." Chronicles of Oklahoma. Vol. 10, No. 2, June 1932. Accessed August 19, 2016.