Harry J. W. Belvin

Harry J. W. Belvin 1948 - 1975

Harry James Watson Belvin was born in Boswell, Indian Territory o­n December 11, 1900. He was the son of Watson J. Belvin and Mabel Powers Belvin. During his formative years, he attended school in Boswell. He graduated from Southeastern Teachers College with a Bachelor of Science degree. His master of Education degree was earned at the University of Oklahoma.

Chief Belvin taught school in Bryan and Choctaw Counties for fifteen years. In 1941 he was elected County Superintendent of Public Instruction in Bryan County and held that office until 1952. He was a member of the Oklahoma Legislature for ten years. He served six years in the House of Representatives and four years in the Senate. O­n December 21, 1922, Jimmy Belvin married Lucille Brightwell in Boswell. To this union was born o­ne child, Louise Belvin Frazier.

Belvin became Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation in 1948 and remained in office twenty-seven years. He had the noteworthy distinction of serving the Choctaw people for the longest period of time. He received many honors during his tenure as chief. He was chosen Outstanding Indian of Oklahoma and outstanding American Indian of Oklahoma and Outstanding American Indian Citizen. He received the Oklahoma Bankers Association Award for Land Improvement and a Special Recognition Award from the American Indian Institute. Chief Belvin was active in the Inter-Tribal Council of the five Civilized Tribes, the National Congress of American Indians, the American Indian Institute, the Choctaw Chickasaw Confederation, and the Oklahoma Indian Club.

The flamboyant Belvin was nicknamed "The Little Warrior" because he was always ready and willing to fight (with fisticuffs if necessary) for the things he believed in or to get his point across. Chief Belvin, an elder in the Presbyterian Church, passed away September 19, 1986 in Bryan Memorial Hospital at the age of 85. He is buried in Highland Cemetery, Durant, Oklahoma.