Chief George Washington Harkins of the Choctaw Nation

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George Washington Harkins, Chief to the Choctaw Nation

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of John Harkins and Louisa LeFlore
Husband of Lily Folsom and Salina Harkins
Father of David Folsom Harkins; George W Harkins, Jr.; Henry Clay Harkins; Loring Harkins; Mary Jane Harkins and 2 others
Brother of Richard Harkins; Willis John Harkins; James W Harkins and Louisa Harkins

Managed by: Erin Spiceland
Last Updated:

About Chief George Washington Harkins of the Choctaw Nation


Chief George W. Harkins (1810-1861) was born at or near Frenchman's Camp on the Pearl river in the old Choctaw Nation, Mississippi.


His father John Harkins an Irish American. His mother Louisa Leflore, half sister to Chief Greenwood Leflore.


Cheif George was educated at the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky. Shortly after the signing of the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, Soon to be Chief George and his brother-in-law Robert Folsom departed with a party to explore the new country. In 1830 While on this journey George was elected by the Nation to replace his uncle Greenwoon Leflore as Chief. The US government simply refused to recognize the election and continued to deal only with the old chiefs.


Chief George lead a party of about 600 Choctaws along with Joel H. Nail and his party of 564 Choctaw on the steamships Talma and Cleopatra This is now known as the trail of Tears. When they reached Natchez, Miss. Chief George wrote the now famous Farewell letter to the American people denouncing the removel of the Choctaws.


They finally reached Fort Towson on Feb 11, 1832. Their journey covered about 600 miles taking about 13 weeks through one of the worst winters in the 19th century.


All of this took place before his 23 birthday. In 1850 after Thomas Leflore retired, George was again elected Chief of the Apuckshunnbbee Dristrict. He served two terms, 1850 and 1854.


When the Skullyville Constitution was adopted in 1856 , he argued there actions were basically unconstitutional, this challenge set the stage for a major crisis both within the Choctaw Nation and the U.S. government. This lead to the forming of what was called the Doaksville Constitution headed up by Harkins and was approved by the voters in 1860 .


He lived at Doaksville and it is presumed that he died there. Chief George dissapears from history in 1861 in a cloak of mystery. It is not known where, when or how he died. No Grave site has been found.


Chief George's 1st marriage was to Lily Folsom, daughter of Col David Folsom Chief to the Choctaw in Mississippi and Rhoda Nail. His 2nd marriage was to Salina Gardner. There were a total of 11 children between the two marriages.


It is also said he married Laris Narcissy Leflore and had two children. No evidence of this marriage has been found.

As to his birth date we have this information recorded in the Chronicles of Oklahoma.

The deposition of George W. Harkins, taken on May 16, 1854, stated : I am 44 years old and I reside 6 miles from Doaksville in Apuckshunubbi District of the Choctaw Nation. I am well acquainted with the parties to this suit. As I have been born and raised among the Choctaws, I think my opportunities have been pretty good to know what are the customs and laws of the Choctaws. I am at this time holding the office of Chief..

The Choctaws in Oklahoma from tribe to Nation ,1855-1970 chapter 4

Chronicles of OK vol 17 no.1 page 14

Susan M. Arkeketa Collection

May issue 2010 Bishinik ,Bill Saint

view all 13

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