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Choctaw Nation and the Greer County Dispute

The Dispute In The Right Of Ownership Of Greer County Between The United States And Texas. The petition of the Attorney General of the United States affirms that according to the treaty of Feb. 22, 1819 made by the United States and the King of Spain, which was ratified two years later, and so proclaimed by both the United States and Spain, and that by the third article of the treaty it was provided and agreed that the boundary line between the two countries west of the Mississippi River shall begin on the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Sabine River, in the sea, continuing north along the, western bank of that river to the thirty-second degree of latitude; thence by a line due north to the degree of latitude where it strikes the Rio Roxo of Natchitoches or Red River; then following” the course of the Rio Roxo westward to the degree of longitude 100 west from London and 23 from Washington; then crossing the said Red River and running thence by a line due north to the river Arkansas: thence following the course of the southern bank of the Arkansas to its source in latitude 42 north, and thence by that parallel of latitude to the South Sea. The whole being as laid down in Melish’s map of the United States, published at Philadelphia, improved to January 1, 1818. “The two high contracting parties agreeing to cede and renounce all their rights, claims and pretensions to the territories described by the said line. That is to say, the United States hereby cede to his Catholic...

Choctaw Indian Mounds

I read the following in the American Antiquarian over the signature of H. F. Buckner: “Mr. Maxwell, in a historical address, says: My conviction is that the high grade of military skill displayed by the Mound Builders at Carthage, Alabama, attests a know ledge of the necessities of attack and defense unknown to the mode of warfare practiced by the tribes found here by De Soto.” Mr. Maxwell does not state in what respect the high grade of military engineering skill displayed by the Mound Builders at Carthage, Alabama, attests a knowledge of the necessities of attack and defense unknown to the mode of warfare practiced by the tribes found here by De Soto. However, I will here state that the old Shakchih Humma fort, within the enclosure of which was established the missionary station among the Choctaws, called Hebron, of which I have already spoken, and where I spent many years of my life, displayed as “high grade of military engineering skill” and attested a “knowledge of the necessities of attack and defense” equal to our high grade of military engineering skill displayed in the military forts erected throughout the present Indian Territory, of which I have had an ocular demonstration. “Who the Mound Builders were it is impossible to determine,” continues Mr. Maxwell. “They were not built by the ancestors of the tribes found here by De Soto, as they pretended no knowledge of their construction, traditional or otherwise.” Truly, a poor basis upon which to predicate the above broad assertion; since De Soto expedition was made alone for the purpose of finding gold, while to learn...

Indian Mounds throughout North America

Charlevoix and Tantiboth speak of Indians who inhabited the region of country around Lake Michigan, who were well skilled in the art of erecting mounds and fortifications, Charlevoix also states that the Wyandots and the Six Nations disinterred their dead and took the bones from their graves where they had lain for several years and carried them to a large pit previously prepared, in which they deposited them, with the property of the deceased, filling up the pit with earth and erected a mound over it. A string of sleigh-bells much corroded, but still capable of tinkling, is said to have been found among the flint and bone implements in excavating a mound in Tennessee; while in Mississippi, at a point where De Soto is supposed to have camped, a Spanish coat-of-arms in silver, one blade of a pair of scissors, and other articles of European manufacture were found in a mound evidently which had been picked up-by some Indian after the Spaniards had gone, and buried with him at his death as being among his treasured possessions while living. Two copper plates were found in a Georgia mound, upon which were stamped figures resembling the sculptures-upon the Central American ruins, the workmanship of which is said to be far superior to that displayed in the articles of pottery, stone and bone found in the mound; though, aside from these plates nothing was found to indicate a connection between the mound builders and the Aztecs or the Pueblos. Still their origin is not inexplicable; since it is reason able to conclude that communications between the inhabitants of Central America, Mexico and the North American Indians, were...

Mission’s Among the Southern Indians

In the year 1819 the Synod of South Carolina resolved to establish a mission among the Southern Indians east of the Mississippi river. The Cherokees, Muskogee’s, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws then occupied Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Rev. David Humphries offered to take charge of the intended mission. He was directed to visit the Indians, obtain their consent and select a suitable location. Rev. T. C. Stewart, then a young licentiate, offered himself as a companion to Mr. Humphries. They first visited the Muskogee’s (Creeks), who, in a council of the Nation, declined their proposition. They then traveled through Alabama into Mississippi, and proposed to establish a mission among the Chickasaws. They found them on the eve of holding a council of the Nation to elect a king. In that council, held in 1820, permission was granted the missionaries to establish missions in their Nation, and a charter was signed by the newly chosen king. The two missionaries then returned to South Carolina. During the return Mr. Humphries concluded that he was not called to preach to the untaught North American Indians. But the Rev. T. C. Stewart, during the same journey, firmly resolved to undertake the self-denying work, and offered to take charge of the contemplated mission. The Synod gladly accepted, and he at once commenced making preparations to enter upon the life of a missionary to the Chickasaws. In January 1821, he reached the place chosen for a station, and named it Monroe Station, in honor of James Monroe, the then president of the United States. Mr. Stewart was the only missionary. Two men, however, accompanied him...

The Choctaw Claim

Ever since the dispute between Texas and the United States commenced concerning the title to Greer County, the Choctaw Nation had two of its ablest men in Washington over hauling the old treaties and watching the movements of both disputants. The United States by the Doak’s Stand Treaty in the autumn of 1820 ceded all its territory to the Choctaw’s south of the Canadian River to Red River along the western line of the Indian Territory. The Cherokees had been ceded all north of the Canadian. Texas claimed that the Red River mentioned in the treaty of 1819 between the United States and the King of Spain is the north fork of Red, The United States claimed that the south fork of river is the true Red River. This is where the dispute rose. Should a future survey be made to determine the questions of boundary lines, and the south fork of Red River be declared the true line, the Choctaw Indians would certainly be the legal owners. The map used by General Jackson in the treaty at Doak’s Stand was doubtless Melish’s of 1818. That map is doubtless on file in the Department of the Interior in Washington settle the controversy. General Jackson promised to make good the lines shown up the map when the speaking chief at the treaty questioned its accuracy. The survey, as to how far west the 10th meridian runs has never been made and forty years have passed without the boundary line being known. This is why the Choctaws have never presented their claims to Greer County. The United States conveyed to the Choctaws,...

Early Exploration and Native Americans

De Soto and his band gave to the Choctaws at Moma Binah and the Chickasaws at Chikasahha their first lesson in the white man’s modus operandi to civilize and Christianize North American Indians; so has the same lesson been continued to be given to that unfortunate people by his white successors from that day to this, all over this continent, but which to them, was as the tones of an alarm-bell at midnight. And one hundred and twenty-three years have passed since our forefathers declared all men of every nationality to be free and equal on the soil of the North American continent then under their jurisdiction, except the Africans whom they held in slavery, and the Native Americans against whom they decreed absolute extermination because they could not also enslave them; to prove which, they at once began to hold out flattering-inducements to the so-called oppressed people of all climes under the sun, to come to free America and assist them to oppress and kill off the Native Americans and in partnership take their lands and country, as this was more in accordance with their lust of wealth and speedy self-aggrandizement than the imagined slow process of educating, civilizing and Christianizing them, a work too con descending, too humiliating; and to demonstrate that it has been a grand and glorious success, we now point with vaunting pride and haughty satisfaction to our broad and far extended landed possessions as indisputable evidence of our just claims to the resolution passed by our pilgrim ancestors, “We are the children of the Lord”; and to the little remnant of hapless, helpless and...

The Discovery Of This Continent, it’s Results To The Natives

In the year 1470, there lived in Lisbon, a town in Portugal, a man by the name of Christopher Columbus, who there married Dona Felipa, the daughter of Bartolome Monis De Palestrello, an Italian (then deceased), who had arisen to great celebrity as a navigator. Dona Felipa was the idol of her doting father, and often accompanied him in his many voyages, in which she soon equally shared with him his love of adventure, and thus became to him a treasure indeed not only as a companion but as a helper; for she drew his maps and geographical charts, and also wrote, at his dictation, his journals concerning his voyages. Shortly after the marriage of Columbus and Felipa at Lisbon, they moved to the island of Porto Santo which her father had colonized and was governor at the time of his death, and settled on a large landed estate which belonged to Palestrello, and which he had bequeathed to Felipa together with all his journals and papers. In that home of retirement and peace the young husband and wife lived in connubial bliss for many years. How could it be otherwise, since each had found in the other a congenial spirit, full of adventurous explorations, but which all others regarded as visionary follies? They read together and talked over the journals and papers of Bartolomeo, during which Felipa also entertained Columbus with accounts of her own voyages with her father, together with his opinions and those of other navigators of that age his friends and companions of a possible country that might be discovered in the distant West, and the...

The Meeting in 1811 of Tecumseh and Apushamatahah

The meeting in 1811, of Tecumseh, the mighty Shawnee, with Apushamatahah, the intrepid Choctaw. I will here give a true narrative of an incident in the life of the great and noble Choctaw chief, Apushamatahah, as related by Colonel John Pitchlynn, a white man of sterling integrity, and who acted for many years as interpreter to the Choctaws for the United States Government, and who was an eye-witness to the thrilling scene, a similar one, never before nor afterwards befell the lot of a white man to witness, except that of Sam Dale, the great scout of General Andrew Jackson, who witnessed a similar one that of Tecumseh in council assembled with the Muskogee’s, shortly afterwards of which I will speak in the history of that once powerful and war-like race of people. Colonel John Pitchlynn was adopted in early manhood by the Choctaws, and marrying among them, he at once became as one of their people; and was named by them “Chahtah It-ti-ka-na,” The Choctaws Friend; and long and well he proved himself worthy the title Conferred upon, and the trust confided in him. He had five sons by his Choctaw wife, Peter, Silas, Thomas, Jack and James, all of who prove to be men of talent, and exerted a moral influence among their people, except Jack, who was ruined by the white man s whiskey and his demoralizing examples and influences. I was personally acquainted with Peter. Silas and Jack, the former held, during a long and useful life, the highest positions in the political history of his Nation, well deserving the title given him by the...

Narrative of the Escape of W. B. Thompson – Indian Captivities

John W. B. Thompson’s story of “captivity” is really a captive story about being attacked by Seminole Indians at the Cape Florida Lighthouse he manned with what appears to be his slave. Written by him to let his friends know that he was alive, though crippled, the letter to the editor of the Charleston (S. C.) Courier details the frightful event of 23 July 1836. The Seminole Indians who attacked him likely pillaged the premise for supplies as they were taking their families into the marsh around Cape Florida where they were attempting to hide from the forced migration of their tribe to Oklahoma.

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