Dennis Bushyhead

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Chief Bushyhead, 1882.

Dennis Bushyhead (born March 18, 1826, died 1898) was the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. He served from 1879 to 1887.


Bushyhead was born in the state of Tennessee, the oldest son of Rev. Jesse Bushyhead and Miss Eliza Wilkinson, who was from Georgian and of partial Cherokee ancestry. He went to school in 1833 at Candy Creek mission School, Tennessee, under the charge of Rev. Holland. In 1835 he went to the Mission School at valley river in North Carolina and remained there for one year. In 1838 his father Rev. Jesse Bushyhead conducted a detachment of Cherokee, numbering 1000 people from the old nation to Beattie's prairie in the Delaware District (Indian Territory), and Dennis was among the party. In the following year, he attended Mission School at Park Hill, Cherokee Nation, under the charge of Rev. Samuel A. Worcester. He remained there for one year, after which, in 1841 he was sent to college in New Jersey.

In March 1841 he joined Chief Ross' delegation to Washington to attend the inauguration of General Harrison as President of The United States. Bushyhead remained in New Jersey for three years, completing his education in August 1844. In November 1871 he was elected treasurer of the Cherokee nation and held the position for four years, and was reelected to the post in 1875.


The Indian Territory, Its Chiefs, Legislators and Leading Men

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Preceded by
Charles Thompson
Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation
Succeeded by
Joel B. Mayes