Biography of L. C. Perryman

The present chief of the Creek Nation was born at Sodom, Creek Nation, Indian Territory, March 1, 1838. His parents, Lewis Perryman, of Big Spring Town, and Ellen Perryman (nee Winslett), of Hechittee Town, emigrated to this nation from the old Creek Nation in Alabama, in the year 1828. Chief Perryman is the oldest of a large family of children. The Perrymans were a large, energetic and enterprising family at the breaking out of the Civil War in the United States; and the Winsletts were recognized as the brightest intellects of the country at that time, as is attested by their translations and original writings still extant in the Creek language. Chief Perryman entered school at Tallahassee Mission in 1849, under Rev. W. S. Robertson. The young student at an early age developed a marked aptitude for mathematics, which so enlarged his reasoning powers that to day he is recognized as a most logical and unerring reasoner among his people. It was while going to school that young Perryman first commenced translating the Biblical history for the Presbyterian schools of the Creek Nation. Later in life he translated the Creek laws from the English into the native language, as well as many of the popular hymns.

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1862 Mr. Perryman enlisted as a private in the Union army in Kansas First Regiment of the Indian Home Guards. He served till the close, and was mustered out as Sergeant Major in May 1865. After the war the subject of our sketch took an active part in the reconstruction of the Creek government and adoption of the present constitution. He was for six years Judge of the Coweta District, and on his resignation was elected member of the Lower House from Big Springs Town, which position he continuously held by re-election until nominated for Principal Chief in 188, and elected September 6th of the same year. He was the unquestioned leader of the House of Warriors during the whole of his long term of service, and was several times called upon to represent the nation at Washington, D. C., as National Delegate. The Oklahoma question was the all-absorbing subject before the nation at the time. The policy of the preceding administration was to let the Oklahoma question alone and allow the United States government to settle friendly Indians on the land and thus part with the said lands forever for the small sum of thirty cents per acre, which the land had been sold for in 1866. Mr. Perryman, during one of his trips to Washington, concluded it would be better and more statesman-like to enter into negotiations with the United States government for an increase of pay for those lands, with the understanding that, should the United States government allow the sum additional, then the Creeks would relinquish their rights and claims to the possession of said lands.

This idea was conceived and set on foot by Mr. Perryman, but when the idea became known to certain of his political opponents, they fairly made Rome howl with their mutterings of discontent and their opposition to his policy, and threatened to recall him in disgrace from Washington.

When he was elected chief, shortly afterward, his political opponents began to see that they had misunderstood the signs of the times. He has consummated that policy during the past four years, and now there is not a citizen in all that county who does not approve of the sale of Oklahoma.

Mr. Perryman is quite an extensive stockman, having about one thousand head of good cattle. He has also 950 acres of fine bottom land, his corn averaging about seventy-five bushels to the acre.

He has two sons, Andrew, aged twenty years, and Henry, fifteen years. These young men are very promising and are receiving education at a private school in Tulsa, Creek Nation, prior to a collegiate course.

Mr. Perryman is a member of the Presbyterian Church and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. As an executive officer he ahs few equals, and that his people fully realize this fact is proven by his re-election to the office of Principal Chief, October 1, 1891.


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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