Greenwood LeFlore, Chief to the Choctaw Nation (1800 - 1865) MP

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Greenwood LeFlore, Chief to the Choctaw Nation's Geni Profile

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Birthplace: LeFleur's Bluffs, Mississippi, United States
Death: Died
Occupation: Chief planter and entrepreneur; Mississippi State Senate 1841-1844, Politician
Managed by: Eldon Clark (C)
Last Updated:

About Greenwood LeFlore, Chief to the Choctaw Nation

Greenwood LeFlore or Greenwood Le Fleur (June 3, 1800 – August 31, 1865) was a mixed-race leader of the Choctaws who was also elected state legislator and senator in Mississippi. A wealthy and regionally influential trader with many connections in state and federal government, in 1830 he was elected the first Principal Chief of the entire Choctaw Nation shortly before signing the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Before that the nation had was governed by a council of regional chiefs. After Indian Removal, he remained in Mississippi, and was elected to state government. During the American Civil War, he sided with the Union and lost most of his property. LeFlore was the son of Rebecca Cravatt, high-ranking Choctaw niece of the chief Pushmataha and Louis LeFleur, a French fur trader and explorer from French Canada. [1] When LeFlore was twelve, his father sent him to Nashville to become educated in European-American schools While LeFlore was not said to be popular among the full-blood tribal men, he became a powerful and influential man at an early age, in part because of his mother's and uncle's positions.[1] When Leflore was 22, he became chief of the western district of the Choctaw Nation when it was still in Mississippi. On March 15, 1830, he became the head chief of the entire nation. He is credited with abolishing the Choctaw "blood for blood" law, which dictated rounds of revenge for murders.

LeFlore supported the civilization program which U.S. President George Washington and Henry Knox developed during the Washington administration. He encouraged Choctaws to make permanent residence, cultivate the land in agriculture, convert to Christianity, and send their children to United States schools for education. “ wee [sic] are anxious to become sivillize [sic] Nation if our father lets us rest few years but wee [sic] have been pastered for land so much wee [sic] dont know what to do hartly, but I hope wee [sic] will rest now awhile. ”

—-Greenwood LeFlore, 1827

At age 17, LeFlore married Rosa Donley. After her death, he married again, to a woman named Priscilla. He had ten children: William, Benjamin, Basil, Clarissa, Forbis, Jackson, Emily, and three other daughters.

-------------------- Greenwood Leflore was the last Great Chief of the Choctaw Indians East of the Mississippi River. He Married:

(1) Rosa Donley (b. 1804 - d. 1829) on 12/04/1819;

(2) Elizabeth Coody (or Cody) (b. 1814 - d. 1833 in 1830 -- Elizabeth is apparently not buried at Malmaison);

and (3) Priscilla Donley (b. 1817 - d. 1910) on 06/09/1834 -- Priscilla was the sister to Greenwood's 1st wife Rosa Donley.

His father was a trader, Louis LeFleur, and his mother, Rebecca Cravat, was a mixed blood Choctaw. He emerged as Chief of the Western District in 1826, and, through his growing influence, he was elected head Chief in 1830. He was an advocate of removal.

Before he took an active role in Choctaw affairs, he was educated for 6 years in Nashville through the support of Major John Donley, the father of his first and third wives.

LeFlore was one of the main supporters of the Choctaw Academy founded in Kentucky in 1825. He opposed additional land cessions, explored the Indian Territory in 1828, and became a Christian in 1829.

He and some of his followers challenged the traditionalists led by Mushulatubbee and Nitakechi over economic, religious, and political differences. Due to Andrew Jackson's removal policy and Mississippi's extension of state law threatening Choctaw sovereignty, the three district chiefs agreed to removal by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830.

Greenwood LeFlore was deposed as chief because he embraced removal, believing it would save the Choctaw nation. Even though he did not relocate, he claimed the ruins of Fort Towson as a trading post before its reoccupation by the U.S. Army.

He remained in Mississippi, became a wealthy planter and slave owner, and served in the Mississippi Senate from 1841-44.

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Greenwood LeFlore, Chief to the Choctaw Nation's Timeline

June 3, 1800
LeFleur's Bluffs, Mississippi, United States
December 4, 1819
Age 19
December 15, 1824
Age 24
June 9, 1834
Age 34
- 1844
Age 40
August 31, 1865
Age 65

From The Coahomian (Friar’s Point, Miss.), Page unknown:

October 20, 1865– Colonel Greenwood Leflore died on the 31st of August, at his residence in Carroll County, aged sixty-five years.

He was in on[e] sense “the last of the Choctaws”. He claimed his lineage from Choctaw Indians, although not of full blood. Colonel Leflore was the last chief of the Choctaws.

He remained in this State while his tribe took up their melancholy march to the lands west of the Mississippi.