Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Leflore Family of Mississippi, Part 3

Greenwood Leflore was born June 3, 1800, the son of Louis LeFlore, a trader, and Rebecca Cravat, was a mixed blood Choctaw, who was educated for six years in Nashville, Tennessee. His education outside the state was apparently influenced and facilitated by his confidant, close personal friend, and mentor, Major Donley. The holder of mail contracts for the Natchez Trace area, including French Camp, Major Donley became acquainted with Louis Leflore and his young son, Greenwood. Apparently, Major Donley saw Greenwood Leflore's potential for leadership, and with the permission of his father, Greenwood traveled to Nashville to live with the Donley family and attend school there.

His early association with Major Donley would have a dramatic impact on the remainder of Leflore's life, beginning with his education and later with his choice of a marriage partner. When Greenwood completed his education in Nashville around age 22, he returned to Mississippi with Priscilla Donley, a daughter of Major Donley, as his wife.
In 1826, Greenwood Leflore became Chief of the Choctaw Nation, Western District, and was later elected Chief of the Choctaw Nation. After his conversion to Christianity in 1829, Greenwood Leflore, along with his followers, often challenged tribal traditionalists led by Mushalatubbee and Nitakechi over religious, economic, and political issues. Leflore advocated education of tribal members and supported the Choctaw Academy founded in Kentucky in 1825, and he opposed additional land cessions.

Most importantly, Greenwood Leflore advocated removal, a policy of Andrew Jackson, believing it would save the Choctaw Nation. It was this policy and Mississippi's state law threatening Choctaw sovereignty that ultimately caused the three district chiefs, including Lefore, to agree to removal as it was outlined in the Treaty of Dancing Greenwood Leflore was ultimately deposed as the last Great Chief of the Choctaws east of the Mississippi River.

Next: Greenwood Leflore, Mississippi Planter and Statesman

Reference Source:

Cushman, Horatio Bardwell, History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians, published by Headlight Printing House, 1899. Original from Harvard University Library, digitized August 15, 2006. Available via GoogleBooks, and accessed on February 26, 2009.

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