Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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Wilson Jones wjones 1890 - 1894

Wilson N. Jones was born about 1827 in old Choctaw Nation, Mississippi Territory. He was the youngest child of Nathaniel Jones of Mississippi. His mother’s first name is unknown, but she was from the Battiest family, which makes him of French descent.

Jones’ first wife was a daughter of Col. Pickens, a well-known Chickasaw leader. Two children were born of this marriage, but both died young. His second wife was Louisa LeFlore and they were the parents of Annie Bell and Willie Jones. Willie was killed, leaving o­ne son, Nat Jones. Nat committed suicide by jumping from the top of a ten story building in Oklahoma City. Wilson Jones had a sister named Lizzie, who married a white man, Thomas Griggs, Jr. Jones’ third wife was Martha L. Risener, the daughter of George and Mary Rebecca (Bonner) Risener from Tennessee. His fourth wife was Mrs. Bell Curtis, widowed daughter of Col. Heaston of Arkansas. Two children of this marriage died in infancy.

Wilson Jones served as Chief from 1890 to 1894. He achieved the highest office of his people, was the richest man in the territory and endowed a hospital that bears his name and is still o­ne of the major hospitals in the region. He died January 11, 1901 at the age of 74. He is buried near his home place in Cade Community, Bryan County. Although Wilson Jones had little formal education, his administration is remembered for the strides made in education during his tenure. Many Choctaws had been educated in schools outside the Nation. Chief Jones was insistent that Choctaw schools be run by Choctaw educators. Three new schools were established during his administration. A boarding school for boys was established near Hartshorne and was named Jones Academy. A school for girls was founded near the Capitol and was called Tushka Homma Academy and a school for Freedmen was established and given the name Tuscaloosa Institute. Two older schools, Armstrong Academy and Wheelock Seminary, were set-aside as Orphans’ homes and schools for boy and girls, respectively.