Transcribed by G McCall from:


By Luther B. Hill, A. B., With the Assistance of Local Authorities, Volume II, Illustrated, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago / New York, 1909, Page 322, Illustration

SAMUEL BENTON CALLAHAN. The life of Samuel B. Callahan, one of the honored and leading pioneers of Muskogee, presents a record of varied and broad usefulness which could be equalled by few residents in this part of the state. The Creek and Seminole nations were especially indebted to him for their progress in education and other evidences of an advanced civilization. Born in Mobile, Alabama, January 26, 1833, Captain Callahan is a son of James Oliver and Amanda (Doyle) Callahan. Through the paternal and maternal branches of the family tree he enjoys the advantages of both Irish and Scotch ancestry and of both northern and southern blood. His father was a well known shipbuilder, and a native of Pennsylvania, while his mother represents an old Alabama family. She is a quarter-blood Creek and came here in an early day with the Creeks and Cherokees. She died at the age of eighty-seven years, and was noted for her benevolence, especially her goodness to the sick.

The early education of Samuel B. Callahan was obtained in the public schools of Sulphur Springs, Hopkins county, Texas, and McKenzie College of Cloutsville, Texas, and he early engaged in the newspaper business. After leaving school in 1856, for some time Mr. Callahan edited the Sulphur Springs Gazette and in 1858, half a century ago, came into the Indian country and settled on a cattle ranch during the stirring days of the open range. His headquarters were at Okmulgee but his operations extended over a wide territory. In 1861 he left the ranch for the front, enlisting in the First Creek Regiment of the Confederate army, nearly all of his comrades being full blooded Indians of that tribe. He had become so popular with them that he was commissioned first lieutenant of his company and was promoted during the first year to adjutant of his regiment. After the first year of the war he re-enlisted as a member of a volunteer regiment and in the second year assisted in the reorganization of the command and went to the front as captain of Company K, First Creek Regiment, the regiment retaining its identity to the last. After another year of active military service, in 1863, he left the army to represent the Creek and Seminole Indians in the Confederate congress. In that capacity he went to Richmond, Virginia, and there served as a Confederate congressman until two weeks before the surrender of Lee and his army.

Returning then to Texas and to his family, Mr. Callahan commenced civil life anew as a merchant. In 1865 he was again drawn to the Indian country and located in the vicinity of Muskogee, taking up land and there becoming a farmer and stock raiser. He was not long allowed to devote himself entirely to his private affairs for in 1868 he was chosen by his Indian friends as clerk of the territorial senate of the Creek legislature, continuing in that position for four years with his residence at Okmulgee, then the capitol of the nation. Later he was chosen clerk of the Creek supreme court and in 1896 as tribal delegate to Washington to confer with President Cleveland. In 1901 he was advanced to the highest position of honor which can be accorded to a one-eighth Creek Indian in the Creek nation--that of justice of the supreme court of the nation. In addition to these public honors he has also held the superintendency of the intermediate boarding schools of the Creek nation at Wealaka and also served as secretary to Samuel Checote and Isparheche, both chiefs of the Creek nation.

In 1857 Mr. Callahan wedded Miss Sarah Elizabeth Thornberg, of Sulphur Springs, Texas, and the following children were born to them: Josephine, now Mrs. H. B. Spaulding of Muskogee; Dr. James Owen, a practicing physician of that place; Jan Evylin, who became Mrs. R. W. Shaw of Wagner, Oklahoma; Samuel B., Jr., a merchant of Morse, Oklahoma; Sophia Alice, deceased; Emma Price, who married L. A. Adair, of Muskogee; Dr. Walter McKenzie Callahan, engaged in the practice of medicine in Owyhee, Nevada; and Edwin Thornberg Callahan, deceased.

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