Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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Jackson F. McCurtain jmccurtain 1880 - 1884

Chief J. F. McCurtain was born in Mississippi o­n March 4, 1830. he came to Indian Territory with his parents, Cornelius and Mahayia McCurtain, when he was three years of age. His schooling was limited to two years at Spencer Academy when he was about 14 years old.

He began his public career at the time the Choctaws were adopting a new constitution. He was elected as representative from Sugar Loaf County to the National Council in October 1859. o­ne June 22, 1861 he enlisted in the First Regiment of Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles. He was commissioned Captain of Company G under the command of Colonel Douglas H. Cooper of the Confederate Army. In 1862 he became a Lieutenant Colonel of the First Choctaw Battalion. At the Close of the War Between the States he returned to his home near Red Oak.

In August of 1866 he was elected Senator from Sugar Loaf County. Chief Garvin died in October 1878 before his term of office was up. Jackson F. McCurtain, being President Pro Tem of the Senate, automatically succeeded Garvin as tribal chief. At the close of Garvin’s term McCurtain was elected Chief in his own right. In August 1882 Jackson F. McCurtain was reelected Principal Chief of the Choctaws. Jackson was married twice. His first wife was Marie Riley, a sister of Judge James Riley. After her death he married Jane Frances Austin o­n November 28, 1865.

In 1883 Jackson F. McCurtain established a home near Tushka Homma, the new Capitol. He died o­n November 14, 1885 and was buried in the old cemetery east of the Capitol building in a marked grave.