Chatot Indians

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Chatot Tribe. Meaning unknown, but the forms of this word greatly resemble the synonyms of the name Choctaw.

Chatot Connections. The language spoken by this tribe belonged, undoubtedly, to the southern division of the Muskhogean stock.

Chatot Location. West of Apalachicola River, perhaps near the middle course of the Chipola. (See also Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana).

Chatot Villages. From the names of two Spanish missions among them it would appear that there were at least two towns in early times, one called Chacato, after the name of the tribe, and the other Tolentino.

Chatot History. The Chatot are first mentioned in a Spanish document of 1639 in which the governor of Florida congratulates himself on having consummated peace between the Chatot, Apalachicola, and Yamasee on one side and the Apalachee on the other. This, he says, “is an extraordinary thing, because the aforesaid Chacatos never maintained peace with anybody.” In 1674 the two missions noted above were established among these people, but the following year the natives rebelled. The disturbance was soon ended by the Spanish officer Florencia, and the Chatot presently settled near the Apalachee town of San Luis, mission work among them being resumed. In 1695, or shortly before, Lower Creek Indians attacked this mission, plundered the church, and carried away 42 Christianized natives. In 1706 or 1707, following on the destruction of the Apalachee towns, the Chatot and several other small tribes living near it were attacked and scattered or carried off captive, and the Chatot fled to Mobile, where they were well received by Bienville and located on the site of the present city of Mobile. When Bienville afterward moved the seat of his government to this place he assigned to them land on Dog River by way of compensation. After Mobile was ceded to the English in 1763 the Chatot, along with a number of other small tribes near that city, moved to Louisiana. They appear to have settled first on Bayou Boeuf and later on Sabine River. Nothing is heard of them afterward though in 1924 some old Choctaw remembered their former presence on the Sabine. The remnant may have found their way to Oklahoma.

Chatot Population. I would estimate a population of 1,200-1,500 for the Chatot when they were first missionized (1674). When they were settled on the site of Mobile, Bienville (1932, vol. 3, p. 536) says that they could muster 250 men, which would indicate a population of near 900, but in 1725-26 there were but 40 men and perhaps a total population of 140. In 1805 they are said to have had 30 men or about 100 people. In 1817 a total of 240 is returned by Morse (1822), but this figure is probably twice too large.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Chatot are noted because at one time they occupied the site of Mobile, Ala., and because Bayou Chattique, Choctaw Point, and Choctaw Swamp close by that city probably preserve their name. The Choctawhatchee, which is near their former home, was probably named for them.

MLA Source Citation:

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953. Web. 21 January 2015. - Last updated on Apr 28th, 2012

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