Biography of Wilson N. Jones

W. N. Jones, the present chief of the Choctaws, was born in Mississippi in 1831, and is the youngest son of Nathaniel Jones, who emigrated to the Choctaw Nation in 1833. Nathaniel Jones was annuity captain, and served later as a member of the legislature at the early councils. The subject of our sketch belongs to the Ok-la-fa-lay-a clan. In 1849 he commenced farming without any capital whatever. The results were very limited for the first few years, but he soon accumulated enough to secure a fair start. He succeeded so far as to be in a position to open a mercantile establishment on a capital of five hundred dollars. In 1866, or 1867, he took a Kansas man named Jim Myers as partner, who contributed three or four hundred dollars to the stock. After four years of hard labor they succeeded in accumulating money enough to purchase a thousand head of cattle. Myers drove the cattle to market and disposed of them in Kansas, probably at Fort Scott, but forgot to return and divide the proceeds with his partner. The consequences was that Wilson Jones lost his labor of four years, amounting to at least $5,000. But Mr. Wilson went bravely to work again, and collecting what debts were due to the house and $300 worth of cattle, turned in by Mr. W. W. Hampton, satisfied his creditors and saved his business, enabling him to purchase a fresh stock of goods. There being little money among the Choctaws at the time, Mr. Jones was obliged to take stock in payment for his sales; but he had a fine range and permitted his cattle to accumulate year by year. When the railroad was located he opened a store at Shawnee, fifteen miles from Caddo, where he continued in business thirteen or fourteen years with great success, increasing his stock until, at the present time, he is the largest cattle owner in the Indian Territory. Of late Mr. Jones has devoted his whole attention to stock rising. In 1884 Wilson Jones was elected district trustee, and in 1887 treasurer, which office he held until 1890, when he was elected principal chief of the Choctaw Nation. He was first married to Col. Pickins’ daughter, by whom he had two children, both of whom are dead. In 1855 he married Louisa La Flore, by whom he has had four children, all of whom are dead. William, the last surviving member of his family, was waylaid and shot in 1889. His mother died a long time before. In 1876 Mr. Jones married Isabel Heaston, daughter of Col. Heaston, of Bennett County, Ark., by whom he had two children, both of whom are dead. Mr. Jones has about 17,600 acres of land, 550 of which are under cultivation, the rest in pasture. He also owns 5000 head of cattle, 3000 of which are beef stock. Besides this he has 75 head of horses. His brand is W. J. He has also an interest in coal claims, a cotton gin and half ownership in a large mercantile establishment with W. H. Ainsworth, of Caddo. Without education, Governor Jones is a man of extraordinary intelligence, unflagging energy and tenacity of purpose. He is a wonderful financier, when we consider that he is wholly destitute of book learning. Had he had the opportunities of education now offered to his people, there is no knowing what he might have achieved. He is a man of great popularity, and will undoubtedly give full satisfaction to his supporters in the discharge of his responsible duties.

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