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The Natchez

On February 11th, 1700, De Iberville, Bienville, Perricaul and Tonti ascended the Mississippi River as far west as the present city of Natchez. They were kindly received (so states the journalist) by the great chief, or sun, as he was termed, surrounded by six hundred of his warriors, who, according to their own account, had formerly been a great nation. On the 13th the party left Natchez and visited the villages of the Taensas, the customs and habits of who were the same as the Natchez, being evidently a branch of the latter. During their stay the sacred temple of these Indians was struck by lightning and burned to ashes. To appease the Sun God, the poor, infatuated women threw themselves, and parents, their children, into the consuming flames of the burning temple. Perricaul, who was one of the witnesses of the fearful scene, thus wrote of it: “We left the Natchez and coasted along to the right, where the river is bordered with high, gravelly banks for a distance of twelve leagues. At the extremity of these bluffs is a place called Petit Gulf, on account of the whirlpool formed by the river for the distance of a quarter league. Eight leagues higher up we came to Grand Gulf, which we passed a short distance above, on the right hand side. We landed to visit a village four leagues in the interior. These Indians are called the Taensas. We were well received, but I never saw a more sad sight, frightful and revolting spectacle than that which happened the second day, 16th of April, after our arrival in...

The French In Alabama And Mississippi

After the Spanish invasion of De Soto, to which allusion has so often been made, our soil remained untrodden by European feet for nearly a century and a half. At the end of that long and dark period it became connected with the history of the distant dark period it became connected with the history of the distant French possessions of Canada, which were contemporaneous with the oldest English colonies in America. For more than fifty years the French fur traders of Canada, associated with the enterprising Jesuit Fathers, had continued to advance southwestward upon the great lakes, discovering new regions, different races of Indians, more abundant game, and wider and brighter waters. At length, from the tribes upon the southern shores of Lake Superior, Father Allouez heard some vague reports of a great western river. Subsequently, Father Marquette was dispatched from Quebec with Joliet, a trader of that place, five other Frenchmen, and a large number of Indian guides, to seek the Mississippi, and thus add new regions to the dominion of France, and new missions of the empire of the Jesuits. Ascending Fox River to the head of navigation, and crossing the portage to the banks of the Wisconsin, with birch bark canoes, the adventurers again launched their tiny boats and floated down to the Mississippi river. Descending it to the mouth of the Arkansas, and encountering decided evidences of a southern climate, Marquette finally found himself among the Chickasaws, whose reports that hostile tribes thronged the banks upon thence to the sea, served to arrest his progress. Reluctant commencing his return up the stiff and turbid...

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