Chief Edmund “Ok-chan-tubby” Pickens


Chief Edmund “Ok-chan-tubby” Pickens

Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi, USA
Death 1868 (aged 78–79)
Enville, Love County, Oklahoma, USA
Burial Love County, Oklahoma, USA
Memorial ID 21845067 View Source

Chief of the Chickasaw Nation

In 1789, Edmund Pickens was born at Natchez in what is now Adams County, Mississippi. His father was a white man named John Pickens who settled in Natchez and began a livestock partnership with a friend. There John married a Chickasaw woman named Mary Adams. John Pickens died January 18, 1789, before the birth of the couple's son, Edmund. Following her husband's death, Mary and her infant son moved to Chickasaw territory, for Mary believed it to be a safer place to raise her son. Sometime in the 1790s, Mary married a Scotsman named Bernard McLaughlin. This couple had several children, and lived near the Presbyterian Monroe Mission located near Pontotoc, Mississippi.

Edmund Pickens grew to manhood among his mother's people in the Chickasaw Nation. Records from the mission show the admission of the McLaughlin family to the Presbyterian mission. In 1826, Edmund Pickens married a Chickasaw woman named Euth-li-ke, also known as Liney. In 1830, Edmund and Liney joined the Monroe Mission by baptism. The couple's children, Johnson, David, Rachel and Mary joined the mission shortly afterward. Edmund and his family later settled on land located near Holly Springs in what is now Marshall County, Mississippi.

In 1837, Edmund Pickens and family began their forced removal from the old Chickasaw Nation. Edmund's name is recorded on the muster roll of 1837 with other Chickasaws preparing to leave their old homes in the East. The Pickens family arrived safely in the Choctaw/Chickasaw lands in Indian Territory. They settled on the Red River near the present-day town of Enville in Love County, Oklahoma.

Edmund Pickens served the Chickasaw Nation in numerous rolls. In 1845, he was appointed the second controlling chief. His duties included acting as a treasurer for the management of Chickasaw tribal funds. In 1846, he traveled to Washington, D.C. as chairman of a delegation sent by the tribe to transact negotiations. In 1847, Chickasaw Chief Ishtehotopa died without an heir to perpetuate the chiefdom. In 1848, in the absence of a hereditary chief, Edmund Pickens became the first elected Chickasaw chief and served eight years in that capacity. In 1855, Pickens signed a treaty officially separating the Chickasaws and Choctaws. He also proved instrumental in the creation of the Chickasaw Constitution of 1856. This document, ratified at Tishomingo, separated the Chickasaw government into three branches. The constitution replaced the traditional tribal chiefdom with a Chickasaw Governor to be elected by popular vote for a two-year term. Thus, Edmund Pickens was also the last chief of the Chickasaw Nation.

With the election of Cyrus Harris as Governor, Pickens served in the Chickasaw Senate from 1857 to 1861. Pickens, along with other Chickasaw leaders, supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. In 1861, Pickens served as one of the commissioners who signed the Treaty of Friendship and Alliance among the Chickasaws, Choctaws, and the Confederate States of America. During the war, Pickens served as captain of the Pickens Company of Mounted Choctaws. Following the defeat of the Confederacy, Pickens aided numerous Confederates in obtaining amnesty from the United States by signing written requests for amnesty. In 1866, he also signed the peace treaty between the Chickasaws and Choctaws and the United States. This treaty replaced all previous treaties between the Chickasaws and the federal government.

In 1868, Pickens died of an illness he contracted while serving in the Confederate forces. His family buried his body in the Pickens family burial ground located on a high bluff overlooking the Red River. The Chickasaw Nation honored Edmund Pickens by naming the largest Chickasaw district "Pickens County."

Gravesite Details

There is no grave marker for Edmund Pickens at this burial ground.

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