Friday, August 24, 2007

Meet John Malcontent

Well, here is just one of the sources of my current irritation, my current Discontent, as it were.
This is the photo of my Great-great-grandfather, John, born in Mississippi in 1822. As the legend goes, when the Choctaw were removed to Oklahoma (Indian Territory) in 1830-32, little John was taken by Presbyterian missionaries instead to Kentucky for schoolin'.
At 8 years of age, this little boy was an orphan, but there is something fishy about all that: Choctaw tradition usually has either other family or friends taking up the duty of raising an orphan child. At the 'Choctaw School' in Louisville, KY, John studied the basics, then Law and Theology at the University of Louisville. And then he became a Methodist minister, preaching on the circuit throughout the Choctaw Nation.
There is a tremendous history concerning this handsome dude (By the Way, I have his eyes, cheekbones, forehead and nose): He served on the Choctaw Supreme Court in 1862-63, was an Indian Territory Commissioner and signatory to the Treaty of 1866, representing both the Choctaw and the Chickasaw tribes, which reconciled the two Indian Nations with the United States after the Civil War. He served as the Choctaw language interpreter for Judge Issac Parker, and founded two eastern Oklahoma towns.
Which brings me to the BEARD.... WTH? What's Up with That?
Cannot be anything but fake, but for the life of me, I cannot find documentation supporting the claim that some Indians back then donned fake beards to appear more influential, more dignified, more like the White Father.
Anyway-- I understand from a distant cousin in California that there is at least one other photo of John Localmalcontent in existence. Maybe in that photo, he shaved.

1 comment:

Oneida said...

People should read this.