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Biography of Gov. Charles S. Morehead

As a lawyer, legislator and Governor of the Commonwealth Mr. Morehead was alike popular. He was born in Nelson County (this State) July 7, 1802. His education was begun in the schools of his county, but completed at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, from which he graduated with honors. Upon the completion of his education, he located in Christian County, and commenced the practice of law in Hopkinsville. He was elected to the Legislature in 1828, and re-elected in 1829. In his first election, he received the almost unanimous support of the county, although his youth rendered him scarcely eligible to the office. When his second term expired, he removed to Frankfort, which he deemed a more ample field for the practice of his profession. He was appointed Attorney General of Kentucky in 1832, and held the office for five years. He was elected to the Legislature in 1838-39-40 in Franklin County, and at the last session was Speaker of the House. He was re-elected in 1841, and made Speaker, again in 1842 and in 1844, and for the third time elected Speaker. He was elected to Congress, serving from 1847 to 1851; was again sent to the Legislature, and in 1855 elected Governor of the State on the American or Know-Nothing ticket by a majority of 4,403 over his opponent, Beverly L. Clark. In 1859, at the expiration of his term as Governor, he removed to Louisville, and formed a law partnership with his nephew, C. M. Briggs, Esq. Such in brief is the record of Gov. Morehead. The foundation of his active life was laid, as it were,...

North America Indian Names of Places in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana

The Indians all over this continent had names, traditions, religions, ceremonies, feasts, prayers, songs, dances all, more or less, with symbolism and allegory, adapted to circumstances, just as all other races of mankind. But the world has become so familiar with the continued and ridiculous publications in regard to everything touching upon that race of people that a universal doubt has long since been created and established as to the possibility of refinement of thought and nobleness of action ever having existed among the North American Indian race, ancient or modern; and so little of truth has also been learned regarding the real and true inner life of that peculiar and seemingly isolated race of mankind, that today only here and there can one be found who, from a lifetime association and intimate acquaintance, is well versed in Indian thought, feeling and character, and able to unfold and record the solution of that imagined mystery known as “The Indian Problem,” since they learned it from the Indians themselves. From the Indians own lips they were taught its elucidation, and only as it could be taught and learned, but never again can be taught and learned. Even as various nations of antiquity of, the eastern continent have left the evidences of their former occupation by the geographical names that still exist, so to have the North American Indians left their evidences upon the western (in dependent of all written history) that they have likewise possessed this continent during unknown ages of the past. The artificial mounds, fortifications, lakes and ponds with their original names and those of rivers, creeks, mountains,...

Mayhew, Brainard, Elliot, and Monroe Missions

From 1822, to the time they were dispossessed of every foot of their ancient domains, and driven away to a then wilderness, the schools increased in numbers, and the ordinances of religion were augmented, and a deeper interest manifested every where over their country never witnessed before; as they, previous to that time, had had intercourse with the debased of the White Race, by whom they had been taught in the school of vice, and nothing but vice: therefore the North American Indians have been accused, from first to last, of having no conception of an over-ruling providence the Creator of all things, and an effort has been made to sustain the charge in that they believed in the supernatural power of their rainmakers, their fair weather makers, and the incantations of their doctors. But the charge is utterly false. ‘Tis true, they relied on their rain-makers, fair weather makers and the conjuring of their doctors, through the belief that, by prayer and supplication, those person ages had been endowed with supernatural powers by the Great Spirit, (their God and ours), in whom all Indians believed, and with greater veneration than the whites, and I defy successful contradiction. They sought the aid of the rainmakers, doctors, &c, just as we do the prayers of our preachers in behalf of our sick, and for our rain, etc. Now, what more did or do the Red Race than the White? Nothing. Yet the Indians must be called infidels; though there are today, and always have been, ten thousand white infidels’ to one Indian, and always will be. The Indians have also...

Missionaries Among the Choctaw

In 1832, at Hebron, the home of the missionary, Calvin Cushman and his family, was the place appointed for the assembling of all the Choctaws in that district preparatory to their exodus from their ancient domains to a place they knew not where; but toward the setting sun as arbitrary power had decreed. Sad and mournful indeed was their gathering together helpless and hopeless under the hand of a human power that knew no justice or mercy. I was an eyewitness to that scene of despairing woe and heard their sad refrain. I frequently visited their encampment and strolled from one part of it to another; while from every part of their wide extended camp, as I walked, gazed and wondered at the weird appearance of the scene, there came, borne upon the morn and evening breeze from every point of the vast encampment, faintly, yet distinctly, the plaintive sounds of weeping rising and falling in one strangely sad and melancholy chorus, then dying away in a last, long drawn wail. It was the Availing of the Choctaw women even as that of Rachel for her children. Around in different groups they sat with their children from whose quivering lips sobs and moans came in subdued unison; now, in wild concert united, their cries quivered and throbbed as they rose and fell on the night air, then dying away in a pathetic wail proclaiming, in language not to be misunderstood, the pressure of the anguish that was crushing their souls hidden from human eyes and told only to the night. Truly, their grief was so deep, so overpowering, that even...

Ball Play amongst the Choctaws

To the ancient Choctaw warrior and hunter, excitement of some kind was indispensable to relieve the tedium of the nothing-to-do in which a great part of his life was spent. Hence the intervals between war and hunting were filled up by various amusements, ball plays, dances, foot and horse races, trials of strength and activity in wrestling and jumping, all of which being regulated by rules and regulations of a complicated etiquette.

Choctaw Hunting Practices

Adair (p. 89) says; “the Choctaws, in an early day, practiced the custom of flattening the heads of their infants by compression, and were first known to the whites by the name of Flat Heads.” Be that as it may, the custom had long ceased to be practiced, when later known. Wherever they went, distant or otherwise, many or few, they always traveled in a straight line, one behind the other. (They needed no broad roads, nor had they any; hence, they dispensed with the necessity of that expense, road-working, so grudgingly bestowed by all white men. Paths alone, plain and straight, then led the Choctaws where now are broads roads and long high bridges, from village to neighborhood, and from neighborhood to village, though many miles apart; and so open and free of logs, bushes, and all fallen timber, was their country then, rendered thus by their annual burning off of the woods, it was an easy matter to travel in any direction and any distance, except through the vast cane-brakes that covered all the bottom lands, which alone could be passed by paths. On hunting excursions, when a party moved their camp to another point in the woods, whether far or near, they invariably left a broken bush with the top leaning in the direction they had gone, readily comprehended by the practiced eye of the Choctaw hunter. They kept a straight line to where a turn was made, and whatever angle there taken, they traveled it in a straight line, but left the broken bush at the turn indicating the direction they had taken. If a...

Choctaw Traditions – The Council Fire, The Nahullo

The faces of the Choctaw and Chickasaw men of sixty years ago were as smooth as a woman’s, in fact they had no beard. Sometimes there might be seen a few tine hairs (if hairs they might be called) here and there upon the face, but they were few and far between, and extracted with a pair of small tweezers whenever discovered. Oft have I seen a Choctaw warrior standing before a mirror seeking with untiring perseverance and unwearied eyes, as he turned his face at different angles to the glass, if by chance a hair could be found lurking there, which, if discovered, was instantly removed as an unwelcome intruder. Even today, a full blood Choctaw or Chickasaw with a heavy beard is never seen. I have seen a few, here and there, with a little patch of beard upon their chins, but it was thin and short, and with good reasons to suspect that white blood flowed in their veins. It is a truth but little known among the whites, that the North American Indians of untarnished blood have no hair upon any part of the body except the head. My knowledge of this peculiarity was confined, however, to the Choctaws and Chickasaws alone. But in conversation with an aged Choctaw friend upon this subject, and inquiring” if this peculiarity extended to all Indians, he replied; “To all, I believe. I have been among the Comanche’s, Kiowa’s and other western Indians, and have often seen them bathing, men and women, promiscuously together, in the rivers of their country, and found it was the same with them, their heads...

The Natchez

On February 11th, 1700, De Iberville, Bienville, Perricaul and Tonti ascended the Mississippi River as far west as the present city of Natchez. They were kindly received (so states the journalist) by the great chief, or sun, as he was termed, surrounded by six hundred of his warriors, who, according to their own account, had formerly been a great nation. On the 13th the party left Natchez and visited the villages of the Taensas, the customs and habits of who were the same as the Natchez, being evidently a branch of the latter. During their stay the sacred temple of these Indians was struck by lightning and burned to ashes. To appease the Sun God, the poor, infatuated women threw themselves, and parents, their children, into the consuming flames of the burning temple. Perricaul, who was one of the witnesses of the fearful scene, thus wrote of it: “We left the Natchez and coasted along to the right, where the river is bordered with high, gravelly banks for a distance of twelve leagues. At the extremity of these bluffs is a place called Petit Gulf, on account of the whirlpool formed by the river for the distance of a quarter league. Eight leagues higher up we came to Grand Gulf, which we passed a short distance above, on the right hand side. We landed to visit a village four leagues in the interior. These Indians are called the Taensas. We were well received, but I never saw a more sad sight, frightful and revolting spectacle than that which happened the second day, 16th of April, after our arrival in...

Choctaw Traditions

It is stated of the Papagoes,1 that an ancient tradition of their tribe proclaims the coming of a Messiah by the name “Moctezuma.” They affirm that, in the ancient past, he lived in Casa Grande, the famous prehistoric temple on the Gila River; that his own people rebelled against him and threatened to kill him, and he fled to Mexico. But before leaving them he told them that they would experience great afflictions for many years, but eventually, at the time of their greatest need, he would return to them from the east with the rising sun; that he would then cause the rain to fall again upon their arid country, and make it bloom as a garden, and make his people to become the greatest on earth. Therefore, when Montezuma arrives, that he may see all the doors open and none closed against him, this humble people, with a pathetic faith, make the only entrance to their houses toward the east and leave the door always standing open that their Messiah may enter when he comes. During the years 1891, 1892 and 1893, a three years drought had destroyed their crops, dried up their water, cut off their supply of seeds, and killed great numbers of their cattle. Truly it was the time of their greatest suffering, and surely Montezuma would now come to their rescue; and it was enough to move the heart of the most obdurate infidel, to see the people ascending just before sunrise to the top of the surrounding hills and look anxiously toward the rising sun for Montezuma, until disappointment usurped the place...

The Meeting of Folsom and Nittakachih

When the council, convened for the adjustment and final distribution of the annuity, adjourned in such confusion, together with the animosity manifested and openly expressed by both contending parties the one toward the other, (a similar scene never before witnessed in a Choctaw council) I feared the consequences that I was apprehensive would follow; but hoped that the conflicting opinions then agitating my people would be harmonized upon calm reflection and the adoption of wise and judicious measures. But when I ascertained that Nittakachih and Amosholihubih were truly assembling their warriors, I began to view the matter in its true and proper light. I knew those two chiefs too well to longer doubt the full interpretations of their designs as set forth in their actions; for they both were men who indulged not in meaningless parade, or delighted in empty display. Inevitable war kindred against kindred and brother against brother with all its horrors and irreparable consequences now seemed to stare me in the face, with no alternative but to speedily prepare to meet it; therefore Le Flore and myself, after due deliberation, resolved, if we must fight, to confine the fighting as much as possible within Amosholihubih’s and Nittakachih’s own districts. We at once took up our line of march south toward Demopolis, which was in the district of Amosholihubih, and where they had assembled their warriors. At the termination of our second days march, we ascertained through our scouts, that Amosholihubih and Nittakachih were also advancing with their warriors to meet us. In vain I still sought for some pacific measures that might be advanced to stop...
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