Benjamin Franklin Overton, Chief to the Chickasaw Nation

Is your surname Overton?

Research the Overton family

Benjamin Franklin Overton, Chief to the Chickasaw Nation's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Benjamin Franklin Overton, Chief to the Chickasaw Nation

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Mississippi, United States
Death: February 08, 1884 (47)
Willis, Marshall County, Oklahoma, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Overton and Tennessee Overton
Husband of Sarah Clementine Overton; Elizabeth Overton; Mattie Overton and Mary C. Overton
Father of Milton B. Overton and Ella Overton Colbert
Half brother of Lucinda Wall

Managed by: Erin Ishimoticha
Last Updated:

About Benjamin Franklin Overton, Chief to the Chickasaw Nation

Bill Hamm, op. cit., notes that "Benjamin came west at the age of three. By 1847 when the census was taken that winter, Benjamin is listed as 1/2 white, under 18 years, with two slaves. Benjamin became Governor of the Chickasaw Nation and his life and tenure are fully covered in the Chronicles.

Ella Brown, op. cit. quotes Marie Garland: Chickasaw Loves and Allied Families about Benjamin Franklin Overton- Chickasaw Governor:

"The disappearance of his father, to be followed soon thereafter by the death of his mother left him to be reared in the home of his great uncles Isaac Love and Robert Love. He was governor of the Chickasaw nation. " She adds his grandmother was Elizabeth Love who was a sister of Isaac Love (children of Thomas Love and Sally Colbert) and Elizabeth was also a 1/2 sister of Robert Howard Love (child of Thomas Love and his second wife) B. F. Overton was a mere child when he removed with his family from Mississippi to Indian Territory. Soon after his father had deserted his family there, his mother died. He was raised in the homes of his uncles, Isaac and Robert Love. When a young man he established his home on a farm on the Red River near the town of Willis, Pickens Co., Indian Territory.

She continues with this excerpt:

From The Journal of Chickasaw History, Volume 7, Number 3, Series 27: pg. 16-18


Benjamin Franklin Overton: Served as Governor for the Chickasaw Nation: 1874-1876, 1876-1878, 1880-1882 and 1882- 1884


"The Overton family held much prominence in the early history of Tennessee. The first family member to enter the state was John Overton, a native of Virginia who came to Kentucky after the close of the Revolution. An attorney by trade, John Overton eventually relocated to Tennessee where he met close friend and business associate Andrew Jackson. In 1794, John Overton purchased a tract of 5000 acres at Chickasaw Bluffs on the Mississippi and subsequently conveyed a one-half interest to General Jackson who later disposed of his interest. Among his many accomplishments, Overton sat on the Supreme Court bench of Tennessee in 1804 and in 1819 founded the city of Memphis. In 1823, he helped to finalize the treaty with the Chickasaw whereby they relinquished their last holdings in Tennessee. The fact that a county in Tennessee is named after the family evidences the prominence of the family in that state.


"It is believe that John Overton had a son also named John - born in the early 1800s near Nashville. He was a lumberman and later as a young man, drifted down to Mississippi where he married Tennessee Allen, a one-fourth blood Chickasaw and daughter of James Allen and Elizabeth Love.


"On November 2, 1836 John and Tennessee welcomed the birth of a son, Benjamin Franklin Overton. In the early 1840s the family removed with other Chickasaws to Indian Territory and settled near the present-day town of Colbert, in Bryan County, Oklahoma. Young Benjamin's father abandoned the family soon after their arrival in Indian Territory and returned to the state of Tennessee. Benjamin's mother died a short time later, leaving the child homeless. The young boy's Uncles, Isaac and Robert Love, took Benjamin into their homes and between the two households, raised him to adulthood.


"Aside from a brief six months at the Chickasaw Male Academy in Tishomingo, Benjamin Overton had no formal education. As a young man, he established a farm on the Red River near the town of Willis in Pickens County, I.T. (Marshall County, Oklahoma.) He erected a comfortable farmhouse and stayed on the property for the remainder of his life.


"Sarah Clementine Jones was his first wife. After her death in 1869, he married Mary C. Gains nee Burney who died on July 5, 1872. Following her death, Overton traveled to Kentucky and married Elizabeth Smith who died in 1876. His last marriage in 1878 was to fourteen year old Mattie Carter.


"Benjamin Overton was very slender in build, standing six feet and weighing 165 pounds. In his private life, he was a combination of mildness and austerity - was both friendly and severe. He loved his friends but was reputed to be unrelenting towards his foes.


"Early in his adulthood, Overton distinguished himself as a gifted and savy politician. He served in both the house and senate of the Chickasaw legislature and functioned as a delegate from the tribe to Washington on numerous occasions. In the fall of 1874, he became the candidate of the Pullback party for the governorship and opposed Governor Cyrus Harris who was running for re-election on the Progressive ticket. Benjamin Overton had the support of the full bloods - the faction of the tribe known as the non-progressives. Both political factions were strongly opposed to the federal government's initiative to create an allotment of tribal lands. Although both factions supported Overton's platform regarding allotment, they had vastly different reasons for that support. The full bloods were trying to preserve remnants of traditional Chickasaw beliefs through the old system of holding land in common. The non-progressives were influenced by white cattle ranches hoping to maintain open cattle ranges within the boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation. Harris drew support from the influence of the mixed bloods, intermarried and adopted factions, and a less significant number in full bloods. Overton won the election with the support of small farmers and was elected again in 1876.


"During his first term as governor, Benjamin Overton developed a reputation as an aggressive, no-nonsense head of the executive department. By a legislative enactment, stockmen driving cattle across Chickasaw Nation lands were required to purchase a permit for which a tax was exacted. Unfortunately, this requirement was largely ignored. In answer to the problem, Governor Overton created a tribal militia in 1876 and by the use of executive force, the revenue was promptly collected and the lawlessness so often associated with cattle drives through the Nation was curbed. Although originating from a humble education himself, Overton was interested in all matters of schooling. On October 9, 1876, he approved the establishment of the Chickasaw neighborhood school system and the extended improvement of the already existing boarding schools.


"Although Governor Overton yielded the governorship to his brother-in-law Benjamin C. Burney in the fall of 1878, it is largely believed that a gentlemen's agreement was struck between the two men. Due to constitutional restrictions, Overton was unable to run for a third consecutive term as governor. In addition, Cyrus Harris had thrown his hat into the political arena to run with the support of the Progressive Party once again. With the strong political support of Overton, the Pullback Party nominated Benjamin C. Burney as their man. Although contentious and controversial, the governorship went to Burney. Contrary to popular thought, Burney proved to be his own man and set about reversing the policies of his brother-in-law, B. F. Overton." Bill Hamm, op. cit., notes that "Benjamin came west at the age of three. By 1847 when the census was taken that winter, Benjamin is listed as 1/2 white, under 18 years, with two slaves. Benjamin became Governor of the Chickasaw Nation and his life and tenure are fully covered in the Chronicles.

Ella Brown, op. cit. quotes Marie Garland: Chickasaw Loves and Allied Families about Benjamin Franklin Overton- Chickasaw Governor:

"The disappearance of his father, to be followed soon thereafter by the death of his mother left him to be reared in the home of his great uncles Isaac Love and Robert Love. He was governor of the Chickasaw nation. " She adds his grandmother was Elizabeth Love who was a sister of Isaac Love (children of Thomas Love and Sally Colbert) and Elizabeth was also a 1/2 sister of Robert Howard Love (child of Thomas Love and his second wife) B. F. Overton was a mere child when he removed with his family from Mississippi to Indian Territory. Soon after his father had deserted his family there, his mother died. He was raised in the homes of his uncles, Isaac and Robert Love. When a young man he established his home on a farm on the Red River near the town of Willis, Pickens Co., Indian Territory.

She continues with this excerpt:

From The Journal of Chickasaw History, Volume 7, Number 3, Series 27: pg. 16-18


Benjamin Franklin Overton: Served as Governor for the Chickasaw Nation: 1874-1876, 1876-1878, 1880-1882 and 1882- 1884


"The Overton family held much prominence in the early history of Tennessee. The first family member to enter the state was John Overton, a native of Virginia who came to Kentucky after the close of the Revolution. An attorney by trade, John Overton eventually relocated to Tennessee where he met close friend and business associate Andrew Jackson. In 1794, John Overton purchased a tract of 5000 acres at Chickasaw Bluffs on the Mississippi and subsequently conveyed a one-half interest to General Jackson who later disposed of his interest. Among his many accomplishments, Overton sat on the Supreme Court bench of Tennessee in 1804 and in 1819 founded the city of Memphis. In 1823, he helped to finalize the treaty with the Chickasaw whereby they relinquished their last holdings in Tennessee. The fact that a county in Tennessee is named after the family evidences the prominence of the family in that state.


"It is believe that John Overton had a son also named John - born in the early 1800s near Nashville. He was a lumberman and later as a young man, drifted down to Mississippi where he married Tennessee Allen, a one-fourth blood Chickasaw and daughter of James Allen and Elizabeth Love.


"On November 2, 1836 John and Tennessee welcomed the birth of a son, Benjamin Franklin Overton. In the early 1840s the family removed with other Chickasaws to Indian Territory and settled near the present-day town of Colbert, in Bryan County, Oklahoma. Young Benjamin's father abandoned the family soon after their arrival in Indian Territory and returned to the state of Tennessee. Benjamin's mother died a short time later, leaving the child homeless. The young boy's Uncles, Isaac and Robert Love, took Benjamin into their homes and between the two households, raised him to adulthood.


"Aside from a brief six months at the Chickasaw Male Academy in Tishomingo, Benjamin Overton had no formal education. As a young man, he established a farm on the Red River near the town of Willis in Pickens County, I.T. (Marshall County, Oklahoma.) He erected a comfortable farmhouse and stayed on the property for the remainder of his life.


"Sarah Clementine Jones was his first wife. After her death in 1869, he married Mary C. Gains nee Burney who died on July 5, 1872. Following her death, Overton traveled to Kentucky and married Elizabeth Smith who died in 1876. His last marriage in 1878 was to fourteen year old Mattie Carter.


"Benjamin Overton was very slender in build, standing six feet and weighing 165 pounds. In his private life, he was a combination of mildness and austerity - was both friendly and severe. He loved his friends but was reputed to be unrelenting towards his foes.


"Early in his adulthood, Overton distinguished himself as a gifted and savy politician. He served in both the house and senate of the Chickasaw legislature and functioned as a delegate from the tribe to Washington on numerous occasions. In the fall of 1874, he became the candidate of the Pullback party for the governorship and opposed Governor Cyrus Harris who was running for re-election on the Progressive ticket. Benjamin Overton had the support of the full bloods - the faction of the tribe known as the non-progressives. Both political factions were strongly opposed to the federal government's initiative to create an allotment of tribal lands. Although both factions supported Overton's platform regarding allotment, they had vastly different reasons for that support. The full bloods were trying to preserve remnants of traditional Chickasaw beliefs through the old system of holding land in common. The non-progressives were influenced by white cattle ranches hoping to maintain open cattle ranges within the boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation. Harris drew support from the influence of the mixed bloods, intermarried and adopted factions, and a less significant number in full bloods. Overton won the election with the support of small farmers and was elected again in 1876.


"During his first term as governor, Benjamin Overton developed a reputation as an aggressive, no-nonsense head of the executive department. By a legislative enactment, stockmen driving cattle across Chickasaw Nation lands were required to purchase a permit for which a tax was exacted. Unfortunately, this requirement was largely ignored. In answer to the problem, Governor Overton created a tribal militia in 1876 and by the use of executive force, the revenue was promptly collected and the lawlessness so often associated with cattle drives through the Nation was curbed. Although originating from a humble education himself, Overton was interested in all matters of schooling. On October 9, 1876, he approved the establishment of the Chickasaw neighborhood school system and the extended improvement of the already existing boarding schools.


"Although Governor Overton yielded the governorship to his brother-in-law Benjamin C. Burney in the fall of 1878, it is largely believed that a gentlemen's agreement was struck between the two men. Due to constitutional restrictions, Overton was unable to run for a third consecutive term as governor. In addition, Cyrus Harris had thrown his hat into the political arena to run with the support of the Progressive Party once again. With the strong political support of Overton, the Pullback Party nominated Benjamin C. Burney as their man. Although contentious and controversial, the governorship went to Burney. Contrary to popular thought, Burney proved to be his own man and set about reversing the policies of his brother-in-law, B. F. Overton."

view all

Benjamin Franklin Overton, Chief to the Chickasaw Nation's Timeline

1836
November 2, 1836
Mississippi, United States
1861
January 16, 1861
16 JAN 1861
1869
September 24, 1869
1884
February 8, 1884
Age 47
Willis, Marshall County, Oklahoma, United States