Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Davis, Alice Brown

DAVIS, ALICE BROWN (1852–1935).

An educator, a rancher, a postmistress, an interpreter, and the unofficial tribal spokesperson of her community, Alice Brown Davis served as the first woman chief of the Seminole from 1922 until her death in 1935 at the age of eighty-two. Her father, Dr. John F. Brown, an army surgeon, linguist, and graduate of the University of Edinburgh, met her mother, Lucy Redbeard (Graybeard, or ConoHaGe) of the Seminole Tiger clan, in 1837. Their union produced seven children, including her older brother, John Frippo Brown, future chief of the Seminoles, and Alice, born near Park Hill, Cherokee Nation, on September 10, 1852.

In 1867 Alice's parents died in a cholera epidemic, and Alice moved to Wewoka to live with John Frippo Brown. There she received schooling at the Seminole Mission. She married George Rollin Davis of Kansas on January 20, 1874; together they opened a trading post at Arbeka, Indian Territory. After 1885 she worked with Chief Brown, serving as an interpreter, liaison, and record keeper. Following her husband's death in 1899, Alice Davis managed not only a family of ten children but also the Davis business concerns as well, including the Bar X Bar Ranch. She later traveled as a delegate for the Baptist Church and the Seminole Tribe to the Florida Seminoles. A teacher earlier in her life, she also served as superintendent for Emahaka Female Academy. Her work led to her appointment by Pres. Warren G. Harding to serve as tribal chief following her brother's death in 1919. Most of her duties as chief involved questions of oil leases and Seminole allotments.

Alice Brown Davis's death in Wewoka on June 21, 1935, at the age of eighty-two was preceded and followed by tributes to a lifetime of achievement. In 1930 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. In 1950 Davis House, at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, was named for her. A bronze bust of Davis was unveiled in 1964 at the New York World's Fair and was later placed in the American Indian Hall of Fame in Anadarko.

Rechenda Davis Bates

See also: AMERICAN INDIANS, AMERICAN INDIANS AND EDUCATION, SEMINOLE

Bibliography

"Alice Brown Davis, First Seminole Chieftainess," Twin Territories Magazine [n.d.], Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Margaret Chaney, "A Tribal History of the Seminole Indians" (M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1928).

William Graham Davis, interview by Mary B. Roberts, 4 November 1977, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Aleece Locke (Mrs. Tom Garrard), "Tribute to Alice Brown Davis," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 43 (Spring 1965).

Maye Davis Locke, "Historical Notes of the Life of Alice Brown Davis," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 43 (Spring 1965).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photo Archives.


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Rechenda Davis Bates, "Davis, Alice Brown," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed April 28, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia