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Push-ma-ta-ha, Choctaw Indian Chief

Push-ma-ta-ha – Pushmataha (Apushim-alhtaha, ‘the sapling is ready, or finished, for him.’ Halvert). A noted Choctaw, of unknown ancestry1, born on the east bank of Noxuba Creek in Noxubee County, Mississippi in 1764; died at Washington D.C., Dec 24, 1824.  before he was 20 years of age he distinguished himself in an expedition against the Osage, west of the Mississippi.  The boy disappeared early in a conflict that lasted all day, and on rejoining the Choctaw warriors was jeered at and accused of cowardice, whereon Push-ma-ta-ha replied “Let those laugh who can show more scalps than I can,” forthwith producing five scalps, which he threw upon the ground the result of a single-handed onslaught on the enemy’s rear. This incident gained for him the name “Eagle” and won for hint a chieftaincy; later he became mingo of the Oklahannali or Six Towns district of the Choctaw, and exercised much influence in promoting friendly relations with the whites. Although generally victorious, Push-ma-ta-ha’s war party on one occasion was attacked by a number of Cherokee and defeated. He is said to have moved into the present Texas, then Spanish territory, where he lived several years, adding to his reputation for prowess, on one occasion going alone at night to a Tonaqua (Tawakoni?) village, killing seven men with his own hand, and setting fire to several houses. During the next two years he made three more expeditions against the same people, adding eight scalps to his trophies. When Tecumseh visited the Choctaw in 1811 to persuade them to join in an uprising against the Americans, Push-ma-ta-ha strongly opposed the movement, and it was largely through...

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