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Memoirs of the LeFlore Family

The Cravat families of Choctaws are the descendants of John Cravat, a Frenchman, who came among the Choctaws at an early day, and was adopted among them by marriage. He had two daughters by his Choctaw wife, Nancy and Rebecca, both of whom became the wives of Louis LeFlore. His Choctaw wife dying he married a Chickasaw woman, by whom he had four sons, Thomas, Jefferson, William and Charles, and one daughter, Elsie, who married- a white man by the name of Daniel Harris, and who became the parents of Col. J. D. Harris, whose first wife was Catharine Nail, the fourth daughter of Joel H. Nail. The descendants of John Cravat are still among the Choctaws and Chickasaws, and known as prominent and useful citizens in the two nations. The LeFlore family of Choctaws is the descendants of Major Louis LeFlore, and his brother, Michael LeFlore, Canadian Frenchmen, who, after the expulsion of the French from the territories of Mississippi by the English, first settled in Mobile, Ala., then a small trading post. After remaining there a few years, Louis moved to the now state of Mississippi and settled on Pearl River, in the county of Nashoba (Wolf). Thence he moved to the Yazoo Valley, where he lived until he died. As before stated, he married the two daughters of John Cravat, Nancy and Rebecca. By the former he had four sons in the following order of their names: Greenwood, William (who was drowned in Bok Iski-tini), Benjamin and Basil; and five daughters, viz: Clarissa, Emilee the names of the others not remembered. After the death of Nancy he...

Prominent White Men among the Chickasaws

At an early day a few white men of culture and of good morals, fascinated with the wild and romantic freedom and simplicity of the Chickasaw life, cast their lot among that brave and patriotic nation of people. I read an article published in Mississippi a few years ago, which stated that a man by the name of McIntosh, commissioned by British authorities to visit the Chickasaw Nation and endeavor to keep up its ancient hostility to the French, was so delighted with the customs and manners of that brave, free and hospitable people that, after the accomplishment of his mission, he remained among them; then marrying a Chickasaw woman he became identified with the tribe; that he became an influential character among the Chickasaws; that he found the whole Nation living in one large village in the “Chickasaw Old Fields”; that he persuaded them to scatter, take possession of the most fertile and watered lands, and live where game was more plentiful; that he planted a colony at a place called Tokshish (corruption of Takshi-pro. Tark-shih, and sig. Bashful) several miles south of Pontotoc; that this colony became the favorite residence of the white renegades, etc. All of which is without even a shadow of truth. True, a man by the name of McIntosh once visited the Chickasaw Nation as stated; but after his diplomacy was accomplished, departed and returned no more. There never was a McIntosh identified in any way with the Chickasaws at that early day, nor has there been one from that day to this. The only white men adopted and identified with the Chickasaws at that early...

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...

Narrative of Mrs. Clendenin – Indian Captivities

Narrative of the Destruction of the Settlement of Green-Brier, Virginia, together with the capture and surprising conduct of Mrs. Clendenin, who was among those Who Escaped the Tomahawk of the Indians at that Massacre.1 After peace was confirmed between England and France in the year 1761, the Indians commenced hostilities in 1763,2 when all the inhabitants in Greenbrier were totally cut off by a party of Indians, headed by the chief warrior Cornstalk.3 The principal settlements were on Muddy Creek. These Indians, in number about sixty, introduced themselves into the people’s houses under the mask of friendship, where every civility was offered them by the people, providing them with victuals and other accommodations for their entertainment, when, on a sudden, they fall upon and kill the men, and make prisoners of the women and children. From thence they passed over into the Levels, where some families were collected at the house of Archibald Clendenin, where the Honorable Balard Smith now lives. There were between fifty and one hundred persons, men, women and children. There the Indians were entertained, as at Muddy Creek, in the most hospitable manner. Mr. Clendenin had just arrived from a hunt, with three fat elks, upon which they were feasted in a bountiful manner. In the mean time an old woman, with a sore leg, was showing her distress to an Indian, and inquiring if he could administer to her any relief. He said he thought he could, and drawing his tomahawk, instantly killed her, and all the men, almost, that were in the house. One, named Conrad Yolkom, only escaped. He, being at some distance from the...

Narrative of the Captivity of of Mrs. Francis Scott – Indian Captivities

A True and Wonderful Narrative of the Surprising Captivity and remarkable deliverance of Mrs. Francis Scott, an inhabitant of Washington County, Virginia, who was taken by the Indians on the evening of the 29th of June, 1785. On Wednesday, the 29th day of June, 1785, late in the evening, a large company of armed men passed the house on their way to Kentucky, some part of whom encamped within two miles. Mr. Scott’s living on a frontier part generally made the family watchful; but on this calamitous day, after so large a body of men had passed; he lay down in his bed, and imprudently left one of the doors of his house open; the children were also in bed and asleep. Mrs. Scott was nearly undressed, when, to her unutterable astonishment and horror, she saw rushing in through the door, that was left open, painted savages, with their arms presented at the same time, raising a hideous shriek. Mr. Scott, being awake, instantly jumped from his bed, and was immediately fired at. He forced his way through the midst of the enemy, and got out of the house, but fell a few paces from the door. An Indian seized Mrs. Scott, and ordered her to a particular place, charging her not to move. Others stabbed and cut the throats of the three youngest children in their bed, and afterwards lifted them up, and dashed them on the floor near their mother. The eldest, a beautiful girl, eight years of age, awoke, and jumping out of bed, ran to her mother, and with the most plaintive accent? cried, “mamma!...

Ethnology of the Powhatan Tribes of Virginia

In the Ethnology of the Powhatan Tribes Frank Speck completed the third of a series of monographs dealing with the modern cultural life of communities of descendants tracing their origin from the tribes inhabiting the Chesapeake tidewater area. The future student of American folk-communities of Indian descent will find here new tribes with new trait-complexes to analyze and interpret. These contributions represent some culture aspects of the humble groups who were at the time of writing of this paper, at a climax and turning point in their history. Replete with over 100 photographs and maps, and at least that many surnames, this paper proves its value to both the historic researcher and the genealogist.

Powhatan Featherwork

We now come to what is perhaps the most interesting topic in the material life of the southern tribes, the woven feather technique. An art so ancient and so elaborate can hardly be expected to have persisted from colonial times down to the present day where the process of deculturation among the conquered tribes has gone so far. But surprising as it is, the Virginia Indians have not entirely forgotten, nor even lost, the art of weaving feathers into the foundation of textile fabrics. The antiquity of the woven-feather technique is attested by virtually all the authors of the old colonial descriptions of Indian life, while its beauty and high esthetic quality have made it the supreme textile achievement in a number of ethnic centers on the Pacific coast, in California, Mexico, and Ecuador, as well as in Polynesia. In the Gulf area the feather technique was also widely distributed. Fortunately we have a number of references to it and some details of description are recorded. After presenting the Pamunkey facts, I shall revert to the distribution of this art in the Southeast and upward along the Atlantic coast to southern New England, giving reasons for the inference that this admirable art was one of the complexes emanating from some center of dispersion in the south and drifting north along the coast. The feather art is reported in early times from most of the lower Mississippi and Gulf tribes and as far north as the Delawares of Pennsylvania and the Narragansett of Rhode Island. The facts pertaining to the Virginia survival of this much discussed art and technique are...

Powhatan Pottery

First let us look over the material from the Virginia tidewater area. Everywhere here from the southern boundary of Virginia by actual observation, north-ward even through the Delaware valley, the pot-sherds are almost identical in material, decoration and color. Holmes has appropriately called the ceramics of the tidewater “the Algonquian type.” On the Pamunkey, Mattaponi, Rappahannock, James, and Chickahominy rivers it is all the same, the rims, decorations, and ingredients being practically uniform within a certain range of variation.

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