FEBRUARY 4, 1898


Born near present Cleveland in Bradley County, Tennessee, on March 18, 1826, his father, Reverend Jesse Bushyhead, was a Baptist minister and member of the Chief John Ross faction.  Dennis was educated at the Candy Creek Mission in Tennessee and later went to Princeton College for two years before moving to the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, in 1839.  Bushyhead left for California and gold in 1849.  Returning in 1868, he was treasurer of the Cherokee Nation from 1871-79.  In 1879, he was elected principal chief and served in that office until 1887.  His time in office involved issues such as railroad rights-of-way, land allotment, education, white intruders, tribal citizenship, and grazing rights.  In 1897, Bushyhead was on the Cherokee commission that protested the Federal efforts extinguish “our national title to the lands of the Cherokee Nation.”  Bushyhead was buried in Tahlequah.

Source:  “Bushyhead, Dennis Wolfe (1826-1898), Oklahoma Historical Society.  Retrieved 6/29/2020, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=BU015
Photo:  Randolph & Pernot, photographers, 1882.  Source: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper April 22, 1882. Public Domain.

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