Biography of Elias C. Boudinot

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The late distinguished lawyer and statesman, E. C. Boudinot, was born August, 1835, near Rome, Ga., and was the son of Kille-kee-nah, a Cherokee descended from a long line of chiefs. Elias was first educated for a civil engineer at Manchester, Vt., but finally concluded to adopt the law as a profession. He was admitted to the bar in 1856, and practiced in the State and Federal Courts. One of his first cases was the defense of Stand Watie, defendant in a murder case, in which it is recorded that young Boudinot made one of the most effective and polished orations ever made by such a youthful lawyer. Stand Watie was acquitted, and the counsel for the government to day pronounces it a righteous verdict.

Soon after this E. C. Boudinot became associate editor for The Arkansian, an ably edited weekly published at Fayetteville in the interest of democracy. In 1860, at twenty-five years of age, he became the chairman of the State Central Committee, and as one of the great leaders of democracy, assumed the editorship of The True Democrat, the leading organ of that party at the capital. In 1861 he was elected Secretary of the Secession Committee by acclamation, and soon afterwards embraced the cause of the South, repairing to the Cherokee Nation, where he and his relatives, Stand Watie, raised a regiment for the Confederate service. The latter was elected colonel, while Boudinot became major, afterwards succeeding to the office of lieutenant colonel.

At the conclusion of the war the subject of this sketch represented the Southern Cherokees at a meeting of various Indian tribes at Fort Smith, to determine the terms of a treaty then under consideration between the United States and the Indians of the Indian Territory. Boudinot, in representing the Southern Cherokees, made an able defense of the course pursued by them during the war. His exposure of the conduct of John Ross called forth the powerful and passionate oratorical genius of Boudinot. In 1867 the subject of our sketch opened a tobacco factory in his nation, an act of treaty having guaranteed the Cherokees exempted from all taxes. But the United States officers seized and confiscated the factory, and thus the most solemn of compacts was ignored. After the case was brought before the Supreme Court, Congress authorized the Court of Claims to make settlement for damages suffered by Boudinot, and the tribunal adjudged restitution after a lapse of fifteen years.

MLA Source Citation:

O'Beirne, Harry F. and Edward S. The Indian Territory: Its Chiefs, Legislators, and Leading Men. St. Louis. 1898. Web. 18 December 2014. - Last updated on Jul 28th, 2012


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