Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

The Chickasaws

Conquest or Progress! It is the same, since it is with blood that the book of humanity is written. The pages here devoted to the narrative of the Chickasaw Indians is not an exception; theirs, too, is stained with the seemingly inevitable sanguinary horrors, but nowhere is the trace inexplicable. To some it may seem useless and even wrong to recall these pages of history so distant in the past, which began in wrong, continued in wrong and will end, so for as human observation can judge, in wrong, and then ask nothing better than to be forgotten. Alas, experience has shown that to change the mode of life of a primitive race is to condemn it to death; since always regarded as an inferior race by their conquerors, they have been swept away without justice or mercy a people who had existed in an unbroken line of descent from prehistoric ages unknown. East of the Mississippi River was also the Chickasaws hereditary domain, handed down through a long line of ancestry during ages unknown, and who, like the Choctaws, were first made known to the Eastern world by Hernando De Soto who invaded their country in the month of November, 1540; but beyond which, except through the tradition of the Choctaws and Chickasaws, as before related, the faintest glimmerings of vague tradition has afforded scarcely a ray of light to penetrate the darkness which envelops their history with its mantle of silence; yet has also opened a wide field to those dreamy speculations of which the imagination is so fond, and in which it so delights to indulge. Ah, would not there ancient history, if known, present as...

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,...

Important Men of the Choctaw Indians

The Choctaw Nation, from its earliest known history to the present time has, at different intervals, produced many great and good men; who, had they have had the advantages of education, would have lived upon the pages of history equally with those of earth’s illustrious great. The first of whom we have any historical account, is Tush-ka Lu-sa, (the heroic defender of Moma Bin-na, a Lodge for All corrupted first to Mobila, then to Mobile) who perished, with many thousands of his people, in that bloody tragedy of three and a half centuries ago, while de fending his ancient city against the Spaniards, nothing more however, has been handed down by which we can judge of his ability as a wise and judicious ruler, but the fact that De Soto found his Nation in a prosperous condition; his people dwelling in large and well fortified towns, comfortable houses, subsisting to a very large extent by the cultivation of the soil. But of the patriotism and undaunted bravery of Tush-ka Lusa, and his ability as a commander of his warriors, DeSoto had satisfactory proof at the battle of Momabinah. But so little of the history of those ancient Choctaws has escaped oblivion that in sketching a line of their history at such a distance of time we necessarily pass through un known fields so wide and diversified that it is like gliding lightly and swiftly over the numberless waves of the agitated ocean, and only touching here and there some of their highest tops; while, as we approach our own times, merely the outline of their history, if accurately drawn, would...

The Choctaw Life & Warrior

Many of the ancient Choctaws were a dept in the art of singing their native airs, of which they had many; but all effort to induce one of them to sing alone one of his favorite songs was fruitless. They invariably replied to the solicitation in broken English, “Him no good.” Then sing me a war song. “Him heap no good,” with an ominous shake of the head. Then sing me a hunting song. “No good; he no fit for pale face. “Well, sing me a love song. “Wah”! (an ancient. exclamation of surprise now obsolete) much love song, him bad, no good for pale face.” Though this was somewhat tantalizing yet it had to be endured. Like all their race, the Choctaws never forgot an act of kindness be it ever so trivial; and many a white man overtaken by misfortune when traveling over their country, and weak beneath the remorseless grasp of hunger, has felt that the truth of the eastern proverb has been brought home to him: Cast thy bread upon the waters, and thou shall find it after many days. More than once has it fallen to my lot to contribute to an Indian’s immediate necessities, in days of their individual want and weakness; and, in after days the incident by me long forgotten; they have returned the favor thirty fold; and for many favors have I become indebted to them, when I had nothing to return. Their great delicacy in conferring a favor was not the least admirable part of their conduct, often they would leave a large wild turkey upon the door sill, or place...

Mound Builders

The types of the human skulls taken from those ancient mounds said to have been erected by a prehistoric race, and now called “Mound Builders” a race claimed to be far superior to our Indians are characteristic, not only of the ancient Mexicans, Peruvians and other ancient tribes of South America, but also of the ancient Natchez, Muskogee’s, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Seminoles, Yamases and others of the North American continent. And it is a conceded fact that all Indians ever found in North and South America possess many common features. I have seen the native Indians of Mexico, Arizona and California, and recognized them at once to be of the North American Indian race. I have seen them singly and in groups; given special attention to their features, the expression of their eyes, their walk and manner of sitting, their manner of carrying their babes and heavy burdens, and found them all to be exactly the same as the southern Indians over seventy years ago. The Indians of North America, as well as those of South America, when first known to the whites down to the years they were banished to the then wilderness west of the Mississippi river, lived everywhere in villages and towns upon the sites of which stand today many of our towns and cities: Natchez, Mobile, New York and others. Carter, in 1535, visited an Indian village named Ho-che-la-ga; De Soto, 1540, and all the early explorers, La Salle and others down to Lewis and Clark, in 1804; thence to the missionaries, in 1815; and thence to their banishment west of the Mississippi river, found the Indians everywhere living...

Choctaw Indian Mounds

I read the following in the American Antiquarian over the signature of H. F. Buckner: “Mr. Maxwell, in a historical address, says: My conviction is that the high grade of military skill displayed by the Mound Builders at Carthage, Alabama, attests a know ledge of the necessities of attack and defense unknown to the mode of warfare practiced by the tribes found here by De Soto.” Mr. Maxwell does not state in what respect the high grade of military engineering skill displayed by the Mound Builders at Carthage, Alabama, attests a knowledge of the necessities of attack and defense unknown to the mode of warfare practiced by the tribes found here by De Soto. However, I will here state that the old Shakchih Humma fort, within the enclosure of which was established the missionary station among the Choctaws, called Hebron, of which I have already spoken, and where I spent many years of my life, displayed as “high grade of military engineering skill” and attested a “knowledge of the necessities of attack and defense” equal to our high grade of military engineering skill displayed in the military forts erected throughout the present Indian Territory, of which I have had an ocular demonstration. “Who the Mound Builders were it is impossible to determine,” continues Mr. Maxwell. “They were not built by the ancestors of the tribes found here by De Soto, as they pretended no knowledge of their construction, traditional or otherwise.” Truly, a poor basis upon which to predicate the above broad assertion; since De Soto expedition was made alone for the purpose of finding gold, while to learn...

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...

The Creation of an Indian Mound

Garcellasso de la Vega, says, in laying off the ground for a town, the first thing that the Indians did, was the erection of a mound, upon the top of which the houses of the chief and his family and attendants were built; and at the base a large square was laid off, around which the principal warriors built their houses, while the common people placed theirs on the opposite side of the mound from the square. All the early explorers repeatedly state that they saw the mounds in all parts of the country through which they passed. Here then we learn of Mound Builders (Indians) nearly three and a half centuries ago. They were also thrown up as a means of defense. When the French under Bienville defeated the Natchez Indians in 1730, and drove them from their; country, where the city of Natchez, Mississippi, now stands, and for whom the city was named, they established themselves upon the Lower Washita, Louisiana. Two years after they were again attacked and defeated by the French, yet they had in those two years-constructed mounds and embankments covering an area of 400 acres, which they used as means of defense against the French in their second attack upon them. This is attested by several authors, some of whom were eye witnesses. This was done nearly 200 years after De Soto’s invasion. Some of these mounds were very large, and were still to be seen 40 years ago; and no doubt still stand as monuments of the thrilling scenes which once were enacted there, during which a once proud, prosperous, and happy...

Choctaw Culture

The Choctaws, like all of their race, had no written laws, and their government rested alone on custom and usage, growing out of their possessions and their wants; yet was conducted so harmoniously by the influence of their native genius and experience, that one would hardly believe that human society could be maintained with so little artifice. As they had no money, their traffic consisted alone in mutual exchange of all commodities; as there was no employment of others for hire, there were no contracts, hence judges and lawyers, sheriffs and jails were unknown among them. There were no beg gars, no wandering tramps, no orphan children unprovided for in their country, and deformity was almost unknown, proving that nature in the wild forest of the wilderness is true to her type. Their chief had no crown, no sceptre, no bodyguards, no outward symbols of authority, nor power to give validity to their commands, but sustained their authority alone upon the good opinion of their tribe. No Choctaw ever worshiped his fellow man, or submitted his will to the humiliating subordinations of another, but with that sentiment of devotion that passed beyond the region of humanity, and brought him in direct contact with nature and the imaginary beings by whom it was controlled, which he divined but could not fathom; to these, and these alone, he paid his homage, invoking their protection in war and their aid in the chase. The ancient Choctaws believed, and those of the present day believe, and I was informed by Governor Basil LeFlore, in 1884, (since deceased) that there is an appointed time for...

The Biloxi and Pascagoulas

The French in making their voyages of discovery along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in 1712, under the command of Iberville, anchored one evening near an island (now known as Ship Island) which they discovered to be intersected with lagoons and inhabited by a strange and peculiar animal seemingly to hold the medium between the fox and cat, and they give it the name Cat Island, by which it is still known; thence they passed over the main land, where they discovered a tribe of Indians called Biloxi, among whom they afterwards located a town and gave it the name Biloxi now the oldest town in the State of Mississippi. This tribe of Indians proved to be a clan of the Choctaws, and the name Biloxi, a corruption of the Choctaw word Ba-luh-chi, signifying hickory bark. Thence going eastward they discovered another tribe which they called the Pascagoula’s, which also proved to be a clan of the Choctaws, and the name Pascagoula, a corruption of the two Choctaw words Puska (bread) and Okla (people), i. e: Bread People, or people having bread; but which has been erroneously interpreted to mean “Bread Eaters.” A remnant of the Ba-luh-chis still exist among the Choctaws, while the Puskaoklas have been long lost by uniting with other Choctaw clans. There was an ancient tradition among the Puskaoklas, which stated that, in the years long past, a small tribe of Indians of a lighter complexion than themselves, and also different in manners and customs, inhabited the country near the mouth of the Pascagoula river whose ancestors, according to the tradition, originally emerged from the sea, where they were born; that they were a kind, peaceful and...
Page 1 of 212

Pin It on Pinterest