Proud Members of the Choctaw Lighthorse

I just returned from three hectic days at the History Center in Oklahoma City. There’s never telling what you will find buried in their massive archives. I forget what originally led me to request a box from the “Historic Oklahoma Collection”, described as having “ephemera and publications” that don’t fit elsewhere. But I had several surprising finds.

For example, the collection had a copy of the letter written by Captain Jerry White of the National Lighthorse in October 26, 1876. He was asking for traveling funds for his men while they attended the Choctaw General Counsel meetings. Otherwise, he pointed out, his men did not have the money to cover “boarding expense” and meals expense.

The Fred S. Barde Collection has two wonderful photos of Choctaw Lighthorseman from the turn of the century.  Mr. Barde was a journalist for a Guthrie Newspaper and collected many articles and photographs during his career.  Read more about Mr. Barde HERE. Although Mr. Barde left no information about the photos of Capt. William McClure and Capt. Jim Turner, they speak for themselves of the courageous and hardworking Choctaw men that served as the Lighthorsemen.

Source: Frederick Samuel Barde Collection, Oklahoma Historical Society, Research Division

Another folder contained a Sunday supplement to a 1986 newspaper (I believe it was from the Talihina American, but it was hard to tell.)  Somewhere in the middle of the supplement was the briefest of mentions of Mr. WilliamWilliston (shown below).



This is present day Choctaw Lighthorseman Mr. William Williston. His great-grandfather also served as a Choctaw Lighthorseman.

Mr. Williston lives in McCurtain County where he works in law enforcement. He wears his Lighthorseman’s badge and uniform each time he appears at the Choctaw Tribal Court at Tuskahoma.


Even in the waning years of the Choctaw Nation, the national budget included monies for the Choctaw Lighthorse. In 1901 the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Green McCurtain, presented the “General Appropriations Bill” to the General Counsel which included $1400 for National Lighthorsemen. The Bill was approved by Chief Gilbert Dukes on November 6, 1901.

Choctaw Budget Bill 1901 short

***Much GRATITUDE for spending time on a Choctaw Journey with me.***

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