Douglas H. Johnston

Douglas H. Johnston

Douglas Hancock Cooper Johnston (13 October 1856 – 28 June 1939), also known as “Douglas Henry Johnston”, was Governor of the Chickasaw Nation from 1898 to 1902 and from 1904 to 1939.



Johnston, the son of Colonel John Johnston, Sr, (? – ?) and of Mary Ann Cheadle Walker (1818 – c.1863) was born in Skullyville, Oklahoma, at a time when it was the capital of the Choctaw Nation. Johnston's name is sometimes given as “Douglas Henry Johnston”,[1] but he was named for General Douglas Hancock Cooper.[2] He had two elder brothers, William Worth Johnston and Franklin Pierce Johnston, and one younger, Napoleon Bonapart [sic] Johnston.

Colonel Johnston, who acquired the title “Colonel” during the Seminole Wars, had been a land speculator and a lawyer in Mississippi. Johnston had migrated with the “Six Town” Choctaws from Mississippi, leaving a wife (Jane Bettis, from whom there is no record of divorce) and six children.

Mary Ann Cheadle (1818 – c.1863) was the daughter of Thomas Fleming Cheadle, a Caucasian, and of Betsy Kemp, of some Chickasaw ancestry. Mary's brother, James Stuart Cheadle was variously a Circuit Judge of the Chickasaw Nation, a County Judge of Tobocksy, Choctaw Nation, and an appointed commissioner on the part of the Choctaws to negotiate with the Chickasaws. Mary's first husband, Lewis Walker, was the brother of Choctaw Chief Tandy Walker. She was later married to Isaac Moncrief. There is no legal record of a marriage between Colonel Johnston and Mary Cheadle.

Douglas Johnston was educated in the Chickasaw Academy and in the Bloomfield Academy. Colonel Johnston and then Mary died before Douglas was 9 years old. He was thereafter raised by a half-brother, Tandy C. Walker.

Johnston worked as a farmer and stockman. In 1881 he married Nellie Bynum, a woman of Caucasian and Chickasaw descent, by whom he had two sons. Nellie died of tuberculosis in 1886; In 1889 Johnston married Lorena Elizabeth Harper, again a woman of Caucasian and Chickasaw descent,[3] by whom he had a daughter, Wahneta (sometimes given as “Juanita”) Elizabeth Johnston.

In 1884, Douglas was made Superintendent of the Bloomfield Seminary (renamed ”Carter Seminary” in 1934), a school for Chickasaw girls. Johnston held this position until 1897, the year before he was elected Governor.


In 1898 the Chickasaw National Party nominated Johnston as its candidate for governor.


  1. ^ Williams, Chad; “Johnston, Douglas Henry (1856-1939)”, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture (accessed on 22 April 2007).
  2. ^ Cornish, Melvin; “Douglas H. Johnston”, Chronicles of Oklahoma v18 (1940) #1 (March).
  3. ^ O’Beirne, Harry F., and E. S. O’Beirne; The Indian Territory, Its Chiefs, Legislators and Leading Men (1892).


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