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Establishment of Fort Gibson in 1824

By Act of Congress of March 2, 1819, Arkansas Territory was established July 4, embracing substantially all of what are now the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma; though the civil government of Arkansas Territory was limited to that section lying east of the Osage line, divided into counties, and embracing approximately the present state of Arkansas. That west of the Osage line was the Indian country, and in later years became known as Indian Territory. James Miller1 of New Hampshire was appointed the first Governor of Arkansas Territory, and among the duties of his office was that of supervision of the Indians within his jurisdiction. After the battle at Clermont’s Town an effort was made to induce the warring tribes to enter into a treaty of peace. This was accomplished in October 1818,2 in Saint Louis, in the presence of William Clark, the Governor of Missouri Territory. Directly after Governor Miller assumed his duties as executive, he was required to intervene between the Osage and Cherokee in an effort to prevent imminent hostilities growing out of the killing of a number of Cherokee hunters by a band of Osage under Mad Buffalo. In April 1820, Governor Miller departed from the seat of government at Arkansas Post, on his mission to the Cherokee and Osage. He was gone two months, and prevented temporarily at least – the threatened renewal of warfare by the Cherokee. He went first to the Cherokee settlements, where he sought to dissuade the members of that tribe from further hostilities by his promise that he would endeavor to secure from the Osage the murderers of their...

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,...

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.

Death of Cyrus Kingsbury

Early in the year 1820, an English traveler from Liverpool, named Adam Hodgson, who had heard of the Elliot mission when at home, visited the mission, though he had to turn from his main route of travel the distance of sixty miles. He, at one time on his sixty miles route, employed a Choctaw to conduct him ten or twelve miles on his new way, which he did, then received his pay and left him to finish his journey alone. Of this Choctaw guide Mr. Hodgson, as an example of noble benevolence and faithful trust, states: “After going about a mile, where we became confused in regard to the correct direction and were halting upon two opinions, my guide suddenly and unexpectedly appeared at my side, and pointed in the direction I should go, as he could not talk English. I thanked him and again we parted; but again becoming confused by a diverging path, half a mile distant, as suddenly and unexpectedly, appeared again my guide who had still been, silently and unobserved, watching my steps. Again he set me right, and made signs that my course lay directly toward the sun, and then disappeared;” and by carefully keeping the course as directed by the Choctaw, Mr. Hodgson safely reached the mission, where he was warmly received by the missionaries. Yet the Indian is still called a savage, who “cannot be educated out of his savagery.” God pity such ignorance, and forgive their duplicity in assuming to be enlightened Christians, and yet seek to hand down to the latest posterity a part of God’s created Intelligences the Red...

The Two Friends – The Red And The White

During my travels in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations in 1884, I arrived one evening the 19th of June, at the quiet and unostentatious village of Doaksville one among the first towns located in their present country when arriving from their ancient domains east of the Mississippi river, in the year 1832. It soon became a place of considerable trade; but ultimately proving to be very sickly it was nearly abandoned; and, at the time I visited it, was but a relic of the past with Ichabod as an appropriate epitaph having only one small dry goods store and eight or ten resident houses. My object in visiting it was to find a Choctaw friend, one among the few then living and known as friend in the broadest sense of the word, in days of the long ago. On entering the little place I found many Choctaws there of both sexes and of all ages, the store full within and its immediate environments covered with diversified groups of men, women and children sitting and standing. I asked a Choctaw man standing near, if he knew Henry Folsom, and if he was in the town? Looking around a moment he pointed to a group of men a short distance away and said: “Yum-mun-o (that one) chish-no (you) pisah (see) pil-lah (yonder). Dismounting I slowly walked towards the group with fixed eyes upon him, who, I had just been told, was the object of my search. As I approached, all eyes of the little group turned upon me with inquisitive gaze; but, by my steady look at him alone, he seemed...

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...

Memoirs of Nathaniel Folsom

I will here present to the reader the memoirs of Nathaniel Folsom the oldest of the three brothers who cast their lot in their morning” of life among” the Choctaws, and became the fathers of the Folsom House in the Choctaw Nation, as related by himself to the missionary, Rev. Cyrus Byington, June, 1823, and furnished me by his grand-daughter Czarena Folsom, now Mrs. Rabb. “I was born in North Carolina, Rowan County, May 17th, 1756. My father was born in Massachusetts or Connecticut. My mother was born in New Jersey. My parents moved to Georgia, and there my father sent me to school about six months, during which time I learned to read and write. My mother taught me to read and spell at home. My father had a great desire to go to Mississippi to get money; they said money grew on bushes! We got off and came into the Choctaw Nation. The whole family came; we hired an Indian pilot who led us through the Nation to Pearl River, where we met three of our neighbors who were re turning on account of sickness. This alarmed my father, who then determined to return to North Carolina. We came back into the Nation to Mr. Welch’s, on Bok Tuklo (Two Creeks), the father of Mr. Nail. At this time I was about 19 years of age. At that place we parted. My father knocked “me down”. I arose and told him I would quit him, and did so by walking straight off before his face. I do not remember what I did, but I always thought I...

Choctaws views on God and Murder

Among every North American Indian tribe from their earliest known history down to the present, there was and is a universal belief in the existence of a God, and Supreme Being, universally known among all Indians as the Great Spirit; and with whose attributes were associated all the various manifestations of natural phenomena; and in point of due respect and true devotion to this Great Spirit their acknowledged God they as a whole today excel, and ever have excelled, the whites in their due respect and true devotion to their acknowledged God. Never was an Indian known to deny the existence of his God the Great Spirit and attribute the creation of all things, himself included, to chance. Never was a North American Indian known to deny the wisdom and power of the Great Spirit as manifested iii the creation of an intellectual and immortal being, yet found and acknowledged it in the monkey. Never was an Indian known to deny his immortality bestowed upon him by the Great Spirit. ” Immortality, that most sublime thought in all the annals of fallen humanity, has ever found a resting place immovably fixed in every Indian’s heart, not one excepted; and under its benign influence, their uncultivated minds have expanded and shadows of death been disarmed of terror; and though, through all the ages past has been heard the inquiry “Is there a latent spark in the human breast that will kindle and glow after death?” and though earth’s learned of all time have pondered over it, and pronounced it the world s enigma, and affirmed and still affirm, death to...

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...

Choctaw War Against the Osage and other Legends

There were many traditions among all North American Indians, many of which bordered on the poetical and from which I will select one or two more, which shall suffice as examples of a few of the peculiarities of this peculiar yet interesting people. Thus says the tradition of “Ohoyo Osh Chisba,” (The Unknown Woman.) In the days of many moons ago, two Choctaw hunters were encamped for the night in the swamps of the bend of the Alabama River. But the scene was not without its romance. Dark, wild, and unlovely as a swamp is generally imagined to be, yet to the musing heart and contemplative spirit, it had its aspects of beauty, if not of brightness, which rose up before the mind as objects of serene delight, i speak from long personal experience. Its mysterious appearance; its little lakes and islands of repose: its silent and solemn solitudes; its green cane-breaks and lofty trees, all combined to present a picture of strange but harmonious combination to which a lover of nature in all its diversified phases could not be wholly insensible. The two hunters having been unsuccessful in the chase on that and the preceding day, found themselves without anything- on that night with which to satisfy the craving’s of hunger except a black hawk which they had shot with an arrow. Sad reflections filled their hearts as they thought of their sad disappointments and of their suffering families at home, while the gloomy future spread over them its dark pall of despondency, all serving to render them unhappy indeed. They cooked the hawk and sat down to...
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