1780 - 1838
John McLish was born in 1780 to a white interpreter for the Chickasaw Nation and a Chickasaw mother.
He was born in the Chickasaw homelands and died in 1838 in the Chickasaw District of the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory. He was in charge of the distribution of Chickasaw annuities prior to removal.
McLish served as an adviser to Levi Colbert and, in 1826, became secretary of the Chickasaw Nation, a position he held until his death. His meticulous records were used as proof of fraud against some of the agents who moved the Chickasaws to Indian Territory.
McLish had a professional relationship with U.S. President Andrew Jackson during his life. Jackson used his relationship with McLish to convince Chickasaws to give up their lands in a peaceful manner, and eventually reside in Oklahoma. His written responses to the U.S. Government appear in several historical references in Oklahoma and Tennessee and numerous historical books written about the Chickasaw.
He was one of the Chickasaws who visited present day Oklahoma to survey the Indian lands offered to the tribe in exchange for the homelands. John was one of the five commissioners appointed and authorized to make an agreement with the Choctaw Nation for the Chickasaw people to settle in the western half of the Choctaw lands in Indian Territory.