Lighthorsemen of Indian Territory

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 1819 to 1907
Location: Indian Territory, United Statesmap
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The Lighthorsemen
In Indian territory, the Five Civilized Tribes had a body of men, the lighthorsemen, who served as a mounted police force. The lighthorsemen helped the United States Army to keep peace in Indian Territory and to drive out white intruders. Considerable latitude was given to the lighthorsemen in enforcing the judgments of the courts.

Cherokee Lighthorsemen
In 1797, the Cherokees created organizations called "regulating companies" to deal with horse theft and other property crimes. The regulating companies were a mounted tribal police force, empowered to enforce tribal laws. They began to be called "Lighthorsemen" in the 1820s. One author asserted that the Cherokees took the force's name from General Henry "Lighthorse Harry" Lee, who got the nickname because his cavalry moved so quickly.

Chickasaw Lighthorsemen
Historic details are needed.

Choctaw Lighthorsemen
The Treaty of Doak's Stand in 1820, appropriated US$600 ($150,000 in 2021) per year to the Choctaw Nation to organize and maintain the Choctaw Lighthorsemen. These men were given the authority to arrest, try and punish those who broke tribal laws. The first corps became operational in 1824. Peter Perkins Pitchlynn (1806-1881) became the head of this force in 1825. After the Choctaws removed to Indian Territory, the lighthorsemen reported to the tribal chief. Light horsemen rode their own horses and used their own weapons.

Muskogee (Creek) Lighthorsemen
At the outbreak of the Civil War, the Confederate States of America (CSA) made a treaty with the Creek Nation. Among many other provisions, the CSA promised to provide CS$600 per year for the support of lighthorsemen.

Seminole Lighthorsemen
The Seminoles were the last of the Five Civilized Tribes to establish their own police force. They had no funds for that, and during the American Civil War, the Seminole Government was dysfunctional. It was 1876 before Governor Brown hired A. Q. Teague, a young cattle drover from Texas, as the first lighthorseman.


... was a Lighthorsemen in the Choctaw Nation.

Use this Occupation Sticker (free form sticker) {{Occupation |image= Ligthhorsemen_of_Indian_Territory-1.png |text= was a Lighthorsemen in the (add tribe here) Nation. }} on profiles that can be documented as a Lighthorsemen. An example for a Choctaw Lighthorsemen appears to the right.

The sticker should be posted below the == Biography == line.

Also add one of the following corresponding categories:

  • [[Category:Cherokee Lighthorsemen]]
  • [[Category:Chickasaw Lighthorsemen]]
  • [[Category:Choctaw Lighthorsemen]]
  • [[Category:Muskogee Lighthorsemen]]
  • [[Category:Seminole Lighthorsemen]]

General Resources:

Tribe Specific Resources:

  • Cherokee
  • Muskogee (Creek)



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