Peter Perkins Pitchlynn, Sr., Chief to the Choctaw Nation

Is your surname Pitchlynn?

Research the Pitchlynn family

Peter Perkins Pitchlynn, Sr., Chief to the Choctaw 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!


Peter Perkins Pitchlynn, Sr., Chief to the Choctaw Nation

Also Known As: "Hat-choo-tuck-nee ("The Snapping Turtle")"
Birthdate: (74)
Birthplace: Noxubee County or Hushukwa, Choctaw Nation, Lowndes, Mississippi, United States
Death: January 17, 1881 (74)
Washington D.C., DC, USA (pulmonary disease)
Place of Burial: Washington, DC, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Major John Pitchlynn, Sr. and Sophia Lk-lo-ha-wah Pitchlynn, Iksa Hachotukni
Husband of Rhoda Pitchlynn and Caroline Matilda Lombardi / Pitchlynn
Father of Lavina Harkins; NN Pitchlynn; Malvina Folsom; Lycurgus Pushmataha Pitchlynn; Capt Leonidas F. H, Pitchlynn and 10 others
Brother of Alice (Kate?) Pitchlynn; Charles Pitchlynn; Silas Denmore Pitchlynn; Mary Garland; Rhoda Push-humma Howell and 4 others
Half brother of James Pitchlynn; John "Jack" Pitchlynn, Jr.; Sophia Franklin and Joseph C. Pitchlynn

Occupation: Honorable; Chief of the Choctaw 1864-1866; Farmer; Choctaw Delegate, Captain of the Lighthorses, Colonel, Choctaw Chief
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Peter Perkins Pitchlynn, Sr., Chief to the Choctaw Nation

A prominent Choctaw leader during the removal period, Pitchlynn played a major role in building the national tribal government in the nineteenth century. He was the son of John Pitchlynn, a white trader, and Sophia Folsom, a mixed-blood Choctaw. Educated as a youth at local schools, he attended the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky and the University of Nashville in 1827-28. Contrary to popular belief, "Hachotukni" was not his Choctaw name, it was his mother's clan.

Pitchlynn thrived as a farmer, stock raiser, slave owner and member of a small landed elite. Active in tribal affairs, he allied with Moshulatubbe against the missionaries and Greenwood LeFlore. Despite his opposition to the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, he sold his land holdings, led an emigrant party west in 1831, and settled his family on the Mountain Fork River near Eagletown (in present McCurtain County) in 1834.

In the postremoval era, Pitchlynn emerged as an influential politician and diplomat. He helped reestablish the Choctaw Nation west of the Mississippi and establish a national school system. During frequent missions to Washington, D.C., he pushed Choctaw claims with the federal government and advocated settlement on behalf of Choctaws defrauded of their lands during removal. The Civil War forced him to return to his Mountain Fork home and sacrifice his pro-Union sympathies to protect his family and career. A compromise candidate, he was elected chief on October 6, 1864, and signed an armistice on June 19, 1865, at Doaksville. He also assisted with the peace treaty signed with the United States on April 28, 1866.

In 1867, Pitchlynn returned to Washington as the Choctaw delegate. While he pushed the Net Proceed Case for claims, he also espoused other issues that gained him support in the nation, especially among the full bloods. He vigorously and effectively opposed any threat to common ownership of tribal lands or Choctaw autonomy. He opposed the land allotment efforts of the federal government and the territorial bills advocated by the railroads and other land seekers. Pitchlynn died at his Washington home on January 17, 1881, and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery.

Peter Perkins Pitchlynn was born in 1806. He was born to a Choctaw mother and an English father. In 1774 Peter's grandfather Isaac Pitchlynn traveled over to Choctaw country and settled. When Isaac came, he was accompanied by his son John Pitchlynn. Isaac started a famous trading post that he named after the Choctaw. Since Peter was half white he was brought up with the white American culture. That gave him benefits. He could translate to the white men what the Indians were saying. He did a lot of translating when the Europeans came to the trading post. Since Peter had a good up bringing his father thought it would be a good idea for him to get into politics and public service. A lot of the Choctaw people depended on Peter to negotiate treaties with the United States. When Peter was only 20, he played an important role ion drafting the first written Choctaw Constitution. He made a himself a bigger help when he helped negotiate the 1830 treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek which removed the tribe move from their homeland in exchange for land to the west Indian Territory. After the treaty was signed, Peter Pitchlynn's popularity faded out was known as a traitor for trading Dancing Rabbit Creek for new land out west.

In the early 1830's when George Catlin painted Peter Pitchlynn, the future Choctaw chief had already become a figure of influence. Having eradicated polygamy in his tribe and stopped the liquor traffic, Pitchlynn had been rewarded in the 1820's with election to the Choctaw National Council. In that capacity, helped select new lands for his people when they were moved west of the Mississippi.

Of mixed white and Indian ancestry, Pitchlynn was well educated in both traditions and served as an effective liaison with the federal government. Impressive in his bearing--"as stately and complete a gentleman of nature's making as ever I beheld," wrote Charles Dickens--he became principal chief in 1860 and served as representative of his tribe in Washington after the Civil War. A gifted orator, Pitchlynn addressed the President and several congressional committees in defense of Choctaw claims. He died in Washington, D.C., in 1881 and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery, where the Choctaw nation placed a monument in recognition of his service and allegiance to his people.

Peter P. Pitchlynn, son of John and Sophia Folsom Pitchlynn, born January 30, 1806, was one of the prominent men of the Choctaw Nation. He was well educated and took a deep interest in the education of the youth of his people. He was, for a short time superintendent of the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky, a member of the National Council and represented the Choctaw Indians in Washington from 1865 until his death in 1881. His wife was Rhoda Folsom whom he had married in Mississippi after his return from the University of Nashville.

Born in Mississippi in 1806 son of John Pitchlynn, a white man by his second wife, Rhoda Folsom, sister of Col. David Folsom. He emigrated during the time of removal and settled in Eagletown; owned a large farm on the east side of Mountain Fork River and about 30 slaves. Attended University of Nashville, Tenn., superintendent of Choctaw Academy, and a member of the Choctaw Council in 1849, 1850, and 1861. Headed Net Proceeds Claims delegation in 1853 until his death Jan. 17, 1881. Buried in Congressional Cemetery.

Peter married a daughter of David Folsom, named Rhoda, and their children were Lycurgus (Posh) Pitchlynn, Melvina, Loren, Peter Pitchlynn Jr. and Rhoda Pitchlynn. He then married Mrs. Carolin Lambert of Washington, D.C.; their children were Sophia and Lee Pitchlynn.

Peter P.’s sister, Rhoda, married a white man named Dr. Calvin Howell. Posh was grandfather of William F. Semple an attorney in Tulsa. Dr. Thomas Howell of Davis is a nephew of Peter P. Pitchlynn.

John Pitchlynn, Peter’s father, first married Sophie Folsom, daughter of Ebenezer Folsom by his Choctaw wife. Their children were James, John Jr. and Kate. By his second wife, Rhoda, were children Peter P., William B., Silas, Mary (Mrs. Sam Garland) and Eliza who married Alonzo Harris, and Elizabeth who married William H. Harris, brother of Alonzo.

"The Calhoun of the Choctaws"

Information Retrieved on 1-7-2009 from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma--Chiefs Section of the website (

Peter Pitchlynn

1864 - 1866

Peter P. Pitchlynn was born in Noxubee County, Mississippi, January 30, 1806. His parents were Colonel John Pitchlynn, a white man, and Sophia Folsom, a Choctaw. He began his education by attending a Tennessee boarding school located about 200 miles from his home in Mississippi. Later he attended an Academy in Columbia, Tennessee. To complete his education he became a graduate of the University of Nashville. After he obtained his degree he returned to his home in Mississippi and became a farmer.

His first act was to erect a comfortable log cabin so he could marry Rhonda Folsom, his first cousin. Reverend Cyrus Kings bury, a missionary, performed the ceremony. After his first wife’s death, Peter married a widow, Mrs. Caroline Lombardy. Pitchlynn was instrumental in closing all the shops selling liquor to the Indians in Mississippi.

As a Council member he proposed the establishment of a school for Choctaw Children to be located in Kentucky. Because of his efforts the Choctaw Academy became a reality. He was also the forerunner of the removal of the Indian tribes to Indian Territory. The Choctaws looked upon him as their philosopher and friend. He represented them in Washington for many years.

Peter P. Pitchlynn was elected Principal Chief of the Choctaws in 1864 and served until 1866. After his tenure he retired in Washington, D. C. and devoted his attention to pressing the Choctaw claims for lands sold to the United States in 1830. In addition to being a regular attendant of the Lutheran Church, he was also a prominent member of the Masonic Order.

He passed away January 17, 1881 in Washington, D. C. He is buried in the Congressional Cemetery where an impressive marker was erected over his grave by a grateful Choctaw Nation.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, P.0. Drawer 1210, Durant, OK 74702-1210, 1-800-522-6170

Please contact our webmaster for questions or comments about website design.

This site designed with the assistance of Work Web Design

, a 100% Native American Indian owned and operated business.

Copyright 1997-2008 Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma All Rights Reserved

view all 25

Peter Perkins Pitchlynn, Sr., Chief to the Choctaw Nation's Timeline

January 30, 1806
Lowndes, Mississippi, United States
December 21, 1824
Age 18
Choctaw Nation, Mississippi
February 21, 1826
Age 20
Choctaw Nation, Mississippi
April 7, 1828
Age 22
Choctaw Nation, Mississippi
July 18, 1830
Age 24
Lowndes, Mississippi, United States
October 4, 1833
Age 27
Choctaw Nation, Mississippi
January 19, 1836
Age 29
August 27, 1838
Age 32
Choctaw Nation, Mississippi
November 28, 1840
Age 34
Choctaw Nation, Mississippi