Since 1906 Samuel H. Mayes has resided in Pryor and he is numbered among the representative business men of the community. As President of the Mayes Mercantile Company he takes an active part in commercial circles and he has built up an extensive and steady patronage. He was born in Indian Territory at what was then known as Flint district, Cherokee Nation and is now Evansville, Adair County, on the 11th of May, 1845. His parents were Samuel and Nancy (Adair) Mayes. The maternal grandfather was Black-Wat Adair, one-half Cherokee and the maternal grandmother was named Thompson, and was of Irish descent. The parents of Samuel H. Mayes were married before going to the Cherokee Nation in 1837, and they remained in that section of the country, where the father followed farming and stock raising until death.
In the acquirement of an education Samuel H. Mayes attended the schools of his native state and the common schools near Bellevue, to which place his parents moved upon the outbreak of the Civil war. At the close of that conflict he went from Texas to near the Red River line and there engaged in farming and stock raising. In 1867 he returned to the Cherokee Nation and engaged in the same business until 1906, when he came to Pryor and went into the mercantile business, under the name of the Mayes Mercantile Company, of which he is President. He has been one of the leading merchants of the town, his method of transacting business winning him a large trade, and he became interested in several other business organizations. For some time be figured in financial circles, having an interest in the First National and American State Bank. He is now, however, gradually retiring from active business life. In 1895 Mr. Mayes was elected third and last chief of the Cherokee Nation and served a term of four years.
In 1871, at Coowescoowee, occurred the marriage of Mr. Mayes to Miss Martha E. Vann, a daughter of David Vann of the Cherokee Nation, who was very prominent in early days in Cherokee politics. He was Treasurer of the nation and was many times a delegate to Washington, D. C. In 1907 Mrs. Mayes passed away, leaving three children : W. L., of Muskogee;. Dr. Joseph F., of St. Louis, Missouri; and M. Carrie, now the wife of C. E. Samuel of Pryor. One daughter died in infancy. On the 12th of February, 1913, Mr. Mayes was married to Mrs. Minnie Harrison. She was the widow of Owen Harrison and has one child by her former marriage, Owen, Jr. Fraternally Mr. Mayes is identified with the Masons, being a Knight Templar and Shriner and his religious faith is that of the Methodist Church, of which he is a trustee. He is fond of outdoor life and in his early days enjoyed fishing and hunting.