Chickasaw Indian Tribe
Chickasaw. Meaning unknown, though the ending suggests that it might have
been a place name.
Ani'-Tsl'ksfl, Cherokee name.
Kasahd dnfl°, Yuchi name.
Tchfkasa, Creek name.
Tci'-ka-sa', Kansa name.
Tsi'-ka-c6, Osage name.
Linguistically the Chickasaw were
closely connected with the Choctaw and one of the principal tribes of the
In northern Mississippi,
principally in Pontotoc and Union Counties. (See
Aside from some incorporated
tribes such as the Napochi and Chakchiuma, no major subdivisions other than
towns are mentioned until late in Chickasaw history when we hear of three such
subdivisions: those of Tishomingo, Sealy, and McGilvery, named after their
chiefs. These, however, were probably superficial and temporary.
Alaoute, mentioned only by Iberville.
Apile faplimengo (Iberville).
Coüf loussa, (French Memoir of 1755).
Latcha Hoa, on Latcha Hoa Run, an affluent of Ahoola Ihalchubba, a western
tributary of Tombigbee River, northeastern Mississippi.
Ogoula-Tchetoka (Do Batz).
Onthaba atchosa (Iberville).
Ooe-asa, in Creek Nation near Sylacauga.
Outanquatle (French Memoir of 1755).
All of the above, with one or two exceptions noted, were close to one
in the general location given above.
Like most of the other Muskhogean
peoples, the Chickasaw believed they had come from the west. They thought that
they had settled for a time at a spot in northern Alabama on the north side of
the Tennessee River long known as Chickasaw Old Fields. There is little doubt
that Chickasaw had once lived at that place whether or not the whole tribe was
so located. The first Europeans to become acquainted with the tribe were the
Spaniards under De Soto, who spent the months of January, February, and March
1541, in the Chickasaw country, and in the latter month were attacked by the
tribe with such fury that they were nearly destroyed. Little is heard of the
Chickasaw from this time until French explorers and colonists arrived, at the
end of the seventeenth century. They found the tribe in approximately the
position in which De Soto had encountered them, and they found them as warlike
as before. Although the French tried to make peace with them, English traders
had effected establishments in their country even before the settlement of
Louisiana, and they remained consistent allies of England while England and
France were fighting for the possession of North America. In the south their
alliance meant much the same to the English as Iroquois friendship meant to them
in the north. As practically all of the surrounding peoples were devoted to the
French, and the Chickasaw were not numerous, they were obliged to maintain a
very unequal struggle until the final victory of England in 1763, and they
suffered severely in consequence. They supported the Natchez when they revolted
in 1729, and when French expeditions from the north and south were hurled upon
them simultaneously in 1736, they beat both off with heavy losses. In 1740 a
gigantic attempt was made to conquer them, but the greater part of the force
assembled dissolved without accomplishing anything. A small French expedition
under Celoron succeeded in obtaining a treaty of peace advantageous to the French
but this soon became a dead letter, and French communications up
and down the Mississippi River were constantly threatened and
French voyageurs constantly attacked in the period following. In
1752 and 1753 the French commanders Benoist and Reggio were
defeated by the Chickasaw. At an earlier period, shortly before
1715, they and the Cherokee together drove the Shawnee from their
settlements on the Cumberland, and in 1745 they expelled another
Shawnee band from the same region. In 1769 they utterly routed
the Cherokee on the site of the Chickasaw Old Fields. In 1793-95
war broke out with the Creeks, who invaded their territories with
1,000 men, but while they were attacking a small stockade, a band
of about 200 Chickasaw fell upon them, whereupon an unaccountable
terror took possession of the invaders, and they fled precipitately.
There was at one time a detached body of Chickasaw on the lower
Tennessee not far from its mouth. They also had a town among the
Upper Creeks for a brief period (Ooe-asa), and a settlement near
Augusta, Ga., from about 1723 to the opening of the American
Revolution. The Chickasaw maintained friendship with the American Government after its establishment, but, being pressed upon by
white settlers, parted with their lands by treaties made in 1805, 1816,
1818, and 1832. The actual migration to new homes in what is now
Oklahoma began in 1837 and extended to 1847. The Chickasaw and
Choctaw mingled rather indiscriminately at first but their lands were
separated in 1855 and the Chickasaw set up an independent government modeled on that of the United States which lasted until merged
in the new State of Oklahoma.
Mooney (1928) estimates that
there were about 8,000 in 1600. In 1702 Iberville estimated that there were
2,000 families of Chickasaw, but in 1715 a rather careful enumeration made by
the colony of South Carolina, gave 6 villages, 700 men, and a population of
1,900. In 1761, a North Carolina estimate gives about 400 men; in 1766, about
350. Most of the subsequent estimates of the number of warriors made during the
eighteenth century vary between 250 and 800. In 1817 Morse (1822) places the
total population at 3,625; in 1829 General Peter B. Porter estimates 3,600 (in
Schoolcraft, 1851-57, vol. 3); and a more accurate report in Schoolcraft gives
4,715 in 1833. The figures of the United States Indian Office between 1836 and
the present time vary from 4,500 for 1865 to 1870 to nearly 11,000 in 1923, but
this latter figure includes more than 5,000 freedmen and persons intermarried in
the tribe, and, when we allow for mixed bloods, we shall find that the Chickasaw
population proper has usually stood at between 4,500 and 5,500 during the entire
period. There has probably been a slow decline in the absolute amount of
Chickasaw blood owing to constant intermixture with other peoples. The 1910
census returned 4,204 Chickasaw and that of 1930, 4,745.
Connection in which they have become noted
The Chickasaw were noted:
as one of the most warlike tribes of the Gulf area,
(2) as the tribe of all those encountered by the Spaniards who
came nearest putting an end to De Soto's army,
(3) as the constant allies
of the English without whom the control of the Gulf region by the latter
would many times have been jeopardized. There are post villages of the
name in Mobile County, Ala., and Mercer County, Ohio, and Chickasha, a
variant form, is the name of the county seat of
Grady County, Okla.
Notes About the Book:
Source: The Indian Tribes of North America, by John R. Swanton, 1953, Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin 145, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC.
Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and then ocr'd. Minimal editing
has been done, and readers can and should expect some errors in the textual