Biography of Joseph M. Perryman

This prominent citizen was born near Muskogee, Creek Nation, in 1833, the third son of Mayes Perryman, who held many high offices during his lifetime. The young man was sent to school at Coweta Mission until 1853, when he began his studies for the Presbyterian ministry, continuing the same for three years. Before the breaking out of the war he was licensed to preach the gospel, but when the tocsin of war was sounded he joined the Confederate service under Colonel D. N. McIntosh, and held rank in various capacities until the close. When the war ended he went to Wappanucka, Chickasaw Nation, and was there ordained for the Presbyterian ministry of the Creek Nation. It was then that Mr. Perryman organized what is known as the North Fork Presbyterian Church. At this period he took charge of the mission school under the South Presbyterian Synod, and held the position for four years. The state of the country, together with a train of circumstances, conspired to force Mr. Perryman to the front in the political arena, and he was elected member of the National Senate, which office he filled for eight years. In 1874 he became treasurer of the nation, and held the position until 1878 or 1879. It was during this period of office that a great change occurred in the religious convictions of Mr. Perryman, which led to his change of faith. Abandoning the Presbyterian, he became a staunch believer and member of the Baptist Church, and was soon afterwards ordained minister. But the political condition of the country demanded his services, and so forbid his taking an active part in missionary work, for in 1883 he was elected Governor of the Creek Nation, and held the office for four years. In 1890, although anxious to retire from politics, Mr. Perryman was again induced to accept preferment, being elected by the council to fill the responsible position of President of the Board of Education, which office he holds at present. Indeed, it appears as though he were destined to “walk in high places,” by far the greater portion of his life having been spent in fulfilling executive, legislative, and administrative duties. It must not be forgotten that Mr. Perryman has also had considerable experience on the bench, having occupied the honorable position of Judge of the Supreme Courts in or about the year 1873. He was also Superintendent of Public Schools about 1866. A member of the blue lodge of Masonry, our subject has filled the offices of secretary and junior warden in that order.

September 1, 1879, Mr. Perryman married Miss Ellen Marshall, daughter of Nicholas Marshall, who died during the wartime. By his first wife he had three children, now married, viz., Mrs. Ellen McIntosh, Mrs. F. Allen, and Robert Perryman. His present wife was educated for a teacher, having taught for two years before her marriage, and is at present giving public instruction in Eufaula, where she is universally admired and respected. Mr. and Mrs. Perryman have a beautiful home in Eufaula, furnished with everything that can add to the comfort and luxury of life. They are very popular among their people.


Indian Territory,

O'Beirne, Harry F. and Edward S. The Indian Territory: Its Chiefs, Legislators, and Leading Men. St. Louis. 1898.

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