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Pleasant Luther "Duke" Berryhill

© 2001-2002 Jennie Crable

Pleasant Luther "Duke" Berryhill
© 2001-Present Jennie Crable
Pleasant Luther "Duke" Berryhill was born in the Creek Nation in January 1850. He was the first child born to Jefferson and Nancy (Sizemore) Berryhill. When Pleasant was still small, his parents were divorced and Pleasant was raised by his father. Pleasant grew up around Fishertown and Hitchita in the Creek Nation. He was sent to Indian schools in the Creek Nation, then was sent to a school in Missouri. Pleasant Luther "Duke" Berryhill became very active in the Creek Nation Government. About this time he became known as Duke Berryhill. He married and had a child. The name of this wife is unknown to me. Family says that this wife and child died in a forest fire, during an encampment, while the men were away. Pleasant Luther "Duke" Berryhill had become a Methodist Minister. He preached t a mixed group of Indian and white people and used an interpreter to reach all the people. Duke was also Captain of the Creek Lighthorse, the Creek Nation Police Force.
Pleasant Luther "Duke" Berryhill was well known in Creek Nation history. His and Jeannetta's pictures hang in the Creek Nation Council House in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Duke Berryhill is most remembered in his day as Captain of the Creek Light Horsemen in the execution of Timmie Jack. Timmie Jack was a Euchee Indian living in the Creek Nation. At a New Year's Day celebration in 1886, Timmie Jack got drunk and stabbed James Brown, a Creek Indian. James Brown died and Timmie Jack was arrested and found guilty of murder by the Creek Nation court. He was sentenced to die by execution with a "riffle gun," which was the Creek Nation punishment for murder. An Indian sentenced to die was allowed to pick his executioner. Only one shot was allowed and if the convicted man didn't die of this one shot, he was allowed to go free. Timmy Jack chose his best friend, Duke Berryhill, to fire this shot. Timmie was placed against a tree in the Okmulgee Council House grounds, and a paper was placed over his heart. Duke didn't miss his mark, but Timmie lived for several hours. It is said that Duke Berryhill was a "crack shot" and that he had aimed somewhere between Timmie Jack's heart and lungs.

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