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Biography of Governor Ward Coachman

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The pleasant and popular ex-Governor Coachman was born in Wetumka, Alabama, in 1827, and went to the neighboring schools in Macon County, the same State, at an early age. He is the youngest son of Muslushobie (otherwise Coachman) by his wife Pollie Durant, a half-breed, and full niece of Alexander McGibery, once a prominent Creek leader, mentioned in Piggot’s history. She was also sister to Sophia McComb and Rachel Bosheers, of Scotch and French descent. The subject of this sketch lived with his uncle Loughlin Durant until twenty-two years of age, when he moved West to the Creek Nation on a prospecting expedition, finding the new country favorable, he returned to Alabama and entered into correspondence with the Indian Commissioner for the purpose of making arrangements for the removal of the remaining Creeks into the new country. Being successful in this enterprise he left Alabama in June 1849, with 65 Creeks, and arrived safely in the neighborhood of his present home. On his arrival he was made interpreter for the chiefs of the Upper Creeks (so called in those days). In 1851 young Coachman started out on a trading expedition among the wild tribes, but a party of Caddo Indians on their return from a big hunt, carried off his stock, and it was with difficulty that he got back to his home. After this he began selling goods for Mr. Fred Cummins, a licensed trader at Wewoka, and remained with him for five years, from thence he entered the business house of John W. Taylor, near Wetumka, where he stayed two years, until 1857 when he commenced improving land, and continued agriculture until 1861. At the outbreak of the war he joined the Confederate army under Col. C. McIntosh, and remained in the regiment until the close of the war, serving in the capacity of first lieutenant. While with the refugees as interpreter, Mr. Coachman was appointed to assist Gov. Throckmorton and Col. Regan in making a treaty with the Comanchee, Arappahoe, Cheyenne and Kiowa. On their return from this enterprise they were informed that the South had surrendered, and on thier arrival at the refugee camp on Red River, they learned that a meeting was appointed at Armstrong Academy by General Stand Watie, a Cherokee, for the purpose of deciding the wisest movement under the disadvantageous circumstances. At this juncture Col. E. C. Boudinot arrived from Richmond, Va., and in addressing the Indian people, recommended them to return to their homes peaceably, and go to work on their farms, and among their cattle. While the wild tribes he exhorted to go back quietly to their respective reservations and cease hostilities. He finished by calling upon the members of the Five Tribes to meet him at Fort Smith that same year, for the purpose of making a satisfactory treaty with the United States. It was during the war that Mr. Coachman was first elected lawmaker, and has ever since been a member of council. In 1874 he was elected second chief, but in one year he took the place of Locher Hargo, the first chief, who was impeached by his people. In 1878 he was re-elected by the majority, but was counted out. (as Gov. Coachman says himself,) by fraudulent practice. In the same year he was appointed a delegate to Washington, which office he held for several terms. After this he took his seat in the house of Kings and is now president of that influential body. Gov. Coachman was married in 1851 to Miss Lizzie Carr, a relative of Paddy Carr, of historic fame. By this marriage he has three children, Peter, born 1852; Visey, 1854 and Charles, 1856. His wife dying in 1864, he married Miss Lizzie Yohler by whom he has one child, named George. The governor is a man of fine, portly appearance, five feet ten inches high. He is well educated and intelligent far beyond the average, and is one of the most popular men in the nation.


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