Benjamin Franklin Smallwood, Chief to the Choctaw Nation

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Benjamin Franklin Smallwood, Chief to the Choctaw Nation

Also Known As: "Ben F. Smallwood"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Robinson Bayou Rd, Greenwood, MS, USA
Death: Died in Lehigh, Coal County, Oklahoma, United States
Place of Burial: Coal County, Oklahoma, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Elisha Smallwood and Mary Smallwood, I
Husband of Anna Smallwood; Siney Leflore and Mary Abigail James
Father of Lorinda James; Michael Smallwood; Mary Jane Griggs; Amelia McMurtrey; Elmira Cox and 1 other
Brother of John Smallwood and William Smallwood

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Benjamin Franklin Smallwood, Chief to the Choctaw Nation

Ben F. Smallwood succeeded Thomas McKinney, taking the oath of office in October of 1888 and serving until 1890. He was the son of William Smallwood. His grandfather was Elijah Smallwood, a white man from South Carolina, who went to Mississippi and married Mary LeFlore, a sister to Thomas LeFlore. Ben F. Smallwood’s father William Smallwood had studied at Choctaw Academy. He was a member of the Council in 1863. He married Annie Burney, a Chickasaw woman. He lived at Lehigh, Indian Territory and died there December 15, 1891 and is buried there.

http://www.choctawnation.com/history/people/chiefs/

Born on Robinson Road, MS, he was the son of Elisha Smallwood (1779-1831) and Mary LeFlore (1795-1936). He married Mary Abbigale "Abbie" James, Sinai LeFlore and Annie Burney in 1849. The chief served as a captain in the 2nd Choctaw regiment in the Confederate army in the Civil War. Chief Smallwood retired to his farm west of Lehigh in what is today Coal County, Oklahoma where he passed away on December 15, 1891 and where he is buried in a family burying ground. -(Chronicles of Oklahoma and Richard L. Smallwood)

In 1862 Ben Smallwood opened a mercantile business in Kiamichi county, but moved to Atoka in the following year, where he continues in the stock and farming business, being located about ten miles from Atoka and four miles from Lehigh. (A portrait of his picturesque residence will be found in this volume.) Since the age of eighteen years Ben has been holding office among his people, commencing as Ranger of Kiamichi County and graduating upward to Chief Executive. From 1847 until 1887, excepting the years of the war, he has held the office of representative, being four times speaker of the House. For many years he has figured as the leader of a strong party, but was defeated by small majorities until the year 1888, when he out-voted Wilson N. Jones and was inaugurated Principal Chief of his Nation. In 1890 the same contest took place; but Governor Smallwood had grown weary of official responsibilities and made no effort whatever to secure his re-election. The consequence was that his vote fell considerably below the previous term, while Wilson Jones, who had worked with energy throughout, polled a much larger vote than before. It is therefore assumed that the latter will take his seat, although this will not be rendered certain until the meeting of the Council in October next. Governor Smallwood was a captain during the war in the Second Choctaw regiment and experienced a good deal of service. He is a man of fine physical exterior; his face is handsome and indicates force of character, while his chest is broad and his limbs strongly built, and in height he is a little above the average. He is an excellent statesman and legislator, but prefers a quiet home life, with an occasional hunting trip in company with Governor Throckmorton, of Texas, to hunting votes for the coming election. No man, however, loves his people, or is more truly patriotic, than Mr. Smallwood. Such has ever been his reputation, and such it is likely to remain. His property consists of a farm of five hundred acres, beautifully located, and containing four mineral springs-one of iron, another carrying sulphur, and so on. These springs undoubtedly possess valuable curative properties. He has also a large herd of improved stock. He is a descendant of the Okla-falaya.


His home (only ruins are left) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located in Lehigh, Coal County, OK on section 17, T1S, R10E

1885 Census Atoka County, Choctaw Nation- Page 14-15 Benjamin Smallwood 55 MI, 60 acres under cultivation, 7 horses, 15 cattle, 200 hogs, 100 bushels of corn Abigail Smallwood 48 FI

Leaders and Leading Men of the Indian Territory, Volume II, 1891 by O'Beirne A picture of him is in this book and also a picture of his home. B. F.SMALLWOOD. [CHOCTAW.] PRINCIPAL CHIEF OF THE CHOCTAW NATION.

7 commenced cattle-raising and agriculture for himself. In 1840 he married Miss Annie Burney, a Chickasaw of the house of Ima-te-po, by whom he had seven children, two of whom are living — Amelia and Lorinda. In 1862 Ben Smallwood opened a mercantile business in Kiamichi county, but moved to Atoka in the following year, where he continues in the stock and farming business, being located about ten miles from Atoka and four miles from Lehigh. (A portrait of his picturesque residence will be found in this volume.) Since the age of eighteen years Ben has been holding office among his people, commencing as Ranger of Kiamichi county and graduating upward to Chief Executive. From 1847 until 1887, excepting the years of the war, he has held the office of representative, being four times speaker of the House. For many years he has figured as the leader of a strong party, but was defeated by small majorities until the year 1888, when he out-voted Wilson N. Jones and was inaugurated Principal Chief of his Nation. In 1890 the same contest took place; but Governor Smallwood had grown weary of official responsibilities and made no effort whatever to secure his re-election. The consequence was that his vote fell considerably below the previous term, while Wilson Jones, who had worked with energy throughout, polled a much larger vote than before. It is therefore assumed that the latter will take his seat, although this will not be rendered certain until the meeting of the Council in October next. Governor Smallwood was a captain during the war in the Second Choctaw regiment and experienced a good deal of service. He is a man of fine physical exterior; his face is handsome and indicates force of character, while his chest is broad and his limbs strongly built, and in height he is a little above the average. He is an excellent statesman and legislator, but prefers a quiet home life, with an occasional hunting trip in company with Governor Throckmorton, of Texas, to hunting votes for the coming election. No man, however, loves his people, or is more truly patriotic, than Mr. Smallwood. Such has ever been his reputation, and such it is likely to remain. His property consists of a farm of five hundred acres, beautifully located, and containing four mineral springs — one of iron, another carrying sulphur, and so on. These springs undoubtedly possess valuable curative properties. He has also a large herd of improved stock. He is a descendant of the Okla-falaya clan.

Articles found on genealogybank.com Langston City Herald 1/2/1892 has a small obit: Lehigh, I.T., Dec. 20, Ex-Gov. Smallwood, of the Choctaw nation, died at his home in this city, yesterday of pneumonia.

Also, Dallas Morning News 12/18/1891 has a small obit

Other claims as to parentage that I have found: Published Sep 1941 - Chronicles of Oklahoma - has his parents as William Smallwood and Mary LeFlore

Published 2/28/2007- Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, OK by By Donovin Arleigh Sprague has his parents as Elisha Smallwood and Mary LeFlore

8/27/2008- Findagrave memorial has his parents as William Smallwood and Mary LeFlore* Updated from RootsWeb's WorldConnect via daughter Mary Jane Smallwood by SmartCopy: Mar 3 2015, 2:58:40 UTC

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Benjamin Franklin Smallwood, Chief to the Choctaw Nation's Timeline

1
1
Coal County, Oklahoma, United States
1829
1829
Greenwood, MS, USA
1850
1850
Age 21
1852
December 24, 1852
Age 23
1856
1856
Age 27
Nelson, Indian Territory, Choctaw Nation, OK
1858
April 8, 1858
Age 29
1862
January 15, 1862
Age 33
October 1862
Age 33
Indian Territory