Edmund Pickens was born in 1789 in current-day Adams County, Mississippi. Following the death of his father, young Pickens and his mother, Mary, moved to Chickasaw territory during the 1790s. Pickens later went on to marry a Chickasaw woman named Euth-li-ke. He and his wife settled on lands near what is now Marshall County, Mississippi. However, his family was forced to relocate from the old Chickasaw Nation in 1837. Pickens’ name is recorded on the historic muster roll of 1837 with other members of the Chickasaw tribe preparing for their forced removal.
His family safely relocated to Chickasaw land in Oklahoma, settling on the Red River near present-day Love County. From there, Pickens went on to serve the Chickasaw people in numerous leadership positions. He was selected as the first chief of the Chickasaw District of the Choctaw Nation in 1841. He later became the second controlling Chief Financial Official and Treasurer. Pickens established a great rapport with the Chickasaw people and experienced significant popularity. He was elected Tribal Captain in 1847 and then went on to serve as one of the Chickasaw delegates who signed the Treaty of 1855 in Washington. Pickens was also one of the Chickasaw delegates who was present at the treaty of alliance with the Confederate states.
Edmund Pickens' extensive service and dedication to the Chickasaw tribe helped lead the Chickasaw people towards progress and independence. His efforts have had a profound affect on the Chickasaw Nation and many of his great contributions have positively influenced members of the tribe even to this day. He was instrumental in creating and organizing an independent Chickasaw government, and his foresight and perseverance have helped created a strong Chickasaw Nation. In honor of his dedication to the Chickasaw people, the district in which Pickens served and is laid to rest pays tribute to this visionary by bearing his name.