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Franklin, Jesse (1817-1882)

Jesse Franklin was an influential African Creek politician and minister who lived in the Creek Agency settlement in the years after the Civil War. Franklin was born about 1817 as a slave in the Creek Nation in Alabama. He emigrated to the Indian Territory in the 1830s as part of the Creek removal. Details of his early life are sketchy, but after the Civil War he emerged as a leader and minister in the African Creek community. He served several terms as a representative from Canadian Colored Town in the Creek House of Warriors during the early years of the Creek constitutional government (1867-1875). In 1874 he was appointed by the Creek Council to the Creek Supreme Court, the first African Creek appointed to the Court. Franklin was also active in African Creek Baptist Church and served as a delegate to the Freedmen’s Baptist Association for the Indian Territory.  Franklin died in 1882 and is buried at the Creek Agency cemetery outside of Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Sources:
Gary Zellar, African Creeks: Estelvste and the Creek Nation (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007); “Occupying the Middle Ground: African Creeks in the First Indian Home Guard Regiment, 1862-1865.” Chronicles of Oklahoma Vol. 76, No. 1 (Spring 1998), 48-71.

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University of Saskatchewan

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