Renowned Oklahoma cattleman Montford Thomas Johnson was born in November 1843 in Indian Territory near present-day Connerville, Oklahoma.
After the death of his mother, a Chickasaw, and the departure of his father, Montford grew up as an orphan. Montford became a capable farmer and worked with friends and family to build a successful cattle ranching business. He befriended the legendary trader and trailblazer Jesse Chisholm, who helped him make agreements with Native American tribes on the Chickasaw Nation’s Western frontier to allow him to ranch the land without threat of attack.
Montford’s cattle ranch spanned a huge part of central Oklahoma, including modern-day Oklahoma City. Montford was widely known as an honest man who made business decisions that were beneficial to all involved. He was also known for his charitable actions. Montford regularly gave food to starving Native Americans who had been neglected by the U.S. Government. He also took in many orphaned children, giving them a loving home in which they could grow.
Montford worked to improve the lives of fellow Native Americans who had been forced onto reservations by the U.S. government, making agreements that allowed them to take cattle from his herds whenever they needed food.
Montford died in Minco, Oklahoma, on February 17, 1896.