Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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William H. Harrison whharrison 1922 - 1929

William H. Harrison was born near Tamaha, Indian Territory in 1876. He was the son of Mitchell and Louisa Harrison. His early education was gained at Spencer Academy. Later he attended and graduated at Henry Kendall College in Muskogee, Oklahoma. His degree in law was earned at Centre College, Danville, Kentucky in 1902.

Immediately upon his return to Indian Territory he was appointed District Attorney for the Choctaw Nation. In 1907 he was admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court. Chief Harrison also had a private law practice in Poteau and served as Postmaster for a time. In 1908 William H. Harrison was united in marriage with Miss Minette Roberts, daughter of Dr. C. S. Roberts of Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

William Henry Harrison was appointed Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation in 1922 by President Warren G. Harding. Chief Harrison, o­ne half Choctaw, fought valiantly to protect the rights of his people. He was a loyal advocate of tribal traditions and he carefully safeguarded them. He vigorously opposed Congressional efforts to pass legislation to open the citizenship rolls of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. His personal lobbying to the Oklahoma delegation as well as to other members of Congress prevented passage of the bill. William H. Harrison died September 25, 1929 at his home in Poteau at the age of 53. His funeral was held in the Presbyterian Church at Poteau, was conducted by Rev. William Rolle, Rev. Harry Cox, and Rev. Harry Heincke.