Bowlegs, Oklahoma


Chief Billy Bowlegs

The town was named to honor the famous Seminole Chief, Billy Bolek.  He was later nicknamed “Bow Legs”.  Most accounts of the chief refute any rumors that he was bowlegged.  After signing a treaty in 1832, Bowlegs and his 200 warriors were peaceful until his fellow Seminole Chief Osceola was wrongfully imprisoned.  Chief Bowlegs and his warriors led many successful raids against the U.S. military.  Finally in 1858, the government convinced Chief Bowlegs to relocate to the new Indian Territory in Oklahoma.  He was given $10,000 dollars and each of his followers received $1,000.  Here he became a prominent chief to his people and was once again peaceful.  During the Civil War, he became a captain in the Union Army and was instrumental to the success in this region against the Confederacy.  In 1864, the famous chief died of smallpox.

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