Following One Man's Path to Fortune and Fame
(Reworked from episode broadcast on
September 26, 2001)
September 25, 2002
Following one man's path to fortune and fame this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.
Hello, I'm Steven Knoche Kite.
This week on the Almanac we profile the life of Frederick Tecumseh Waite.
Sometimes called the "outlaw statesman," Fred Waite entered the world and grew up near Fort
Arbuckle, at that time the western most fort in Indian Territory. Waite, a Chickasaw, was the son of wealthy
parents who made sure that their children received the proper training and education. Once graduated from
what would become The University of Illinois, Waite opted for the life of all things, an outlaw. He journeyed
to New Mexico involving himself in the Lincoln County Range Wars. Waite returned to the Chickasaw nation
in 1879 helping on the family farm and in the family owned general store.
A turning point for Waite occurred in 1886 when he was asked by the governor of the Chickasaw Nation,
William Guy, to serve as a delegate on an intertribal council. The council met to discuss various methods
of dealing with the federal government, and the topic infected Waite for the rest of his life. After his
term of service on the council Waite's involvement in Chickasaw politics increased until in 1893 he was
elected as the Attorney General for the Chickasaw nation. Serving his country became Waite's life, and
he became known as one of the Chickasaw nation's most able and vocal spokesmen, a real "powerhouse" for
the tribe. Waite worked tirelessly to secure for the tribe just compensation for the timber and ore extracted
from the land as well as full and complete timber and mineral rights for the future.
When the Dawes Commission began their work dissolving the Indian nations and breaking up the land into
allotments, it was Waite who made sure that the affair was handled as fairly as could be expected and
delayed the dissolution of tribal lands for as long as possible, to insure better bargaining positions
for his constituents. Waite was known throughout the nation as an honest man who stood by his word regardless
of the cost. Waite suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis, and by the young age of forty found it difficult
to continue active service. In late September Waite, hoping it would help his illness, moved to his mother's
house in Ardmore.
Fred Tecumseh Waite the outlaw statesman, the Chickasaw Powerhouse, passed away on September 24th of
I'm Steven Knoche Kite.
The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of the Oklahoma State University
Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.