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Mobile Tribe

Mobile Indians (meaning doubtful). A Muskhogean tribe whose early home was probably Mauvila, or Mavilla, supposed to have been at or near Choctaw Bluff on Alabama river, Clark County, Alabama, where DeSoto, in 1540, met with fierce opposition on the part of the natives and engaged in the most obstinate contest of the expedition. The town was then under the control of Tascalusa  probably an Alibamu chief. If, as is probable, the Mobile tribe took part in this contest, they must later have moved farther south, as they are found on Mobile bay when the French began to plant a colony at that point about the year 1700. Wishing protection from their enemies, they obtained permission from the French, about 1708, to settle near Fort Louis, where space was allotted them and the Tohome for this purpose.

Little is known of the history the tribe. In 1708 a large body of Alibamu, Cherokee, Abihka, and Catawba warriors descended Mobile river for to purpose of attacking the French and the Indian allies, but for some unknown reason contented themselves with destroying a few huts of the Mobilians. The latter, who were always friendly to to French, appear to have been Christianized soon after the French settled there. In 1741 Coxe wrote that the chief city of the once great province of Tascaluza, “Mouvilla, which the English call Maubela, and the French Mobile, is yet being, tho’ far short of its former grandeur.” At this date the Mobilians d Tohome together numbered 350 families. Mention is made in the Mobile church registers of individual members the tribe as late as 1761, after which are lost to history as a tribe. For subsistence they relied almost wholly on agriculture. Clay images of men and women and also of animals, supposed to be objects of worship by this people, were found by the French.

The so-called Mobilian trade language a corrupted Choctaw jargon used for purposes of intertribal communication among all the tribes from Florida to Louisiana, extending northward on the Mississippi to about the junction of the Ohio. It was also known as the Chickasaw trade language.

MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. Web. 14 February 2016.
- Last updated on Jan 21st, 2012

This page is part of a larger collection. Access the full collection at Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico.

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