But, as that of the Choctaw country, so it may equally and truly be said that a more beautiful and richer country could not be portrayed on the canvass of nature than was also that of the Chickasaws now forming the north half of the State of Mississippi. They, as the Choctaws, annually burned the grass of their forests throughout their entire country; and thus the landscape was unobscured by any wood undergrowth whatever, while the tall forest trees, standing so thick as to shade the entire ground, spread their giant arms over the thick carpet of grass beneath, variegated with innumerable flowers of all colors arraying the earth in wild beauty, and filling the air with fragrance; while the incessant and merry warbling of their untaught orchestra (nature s dowry) from the unwearied throats of innumerable and gaily plumaged birds, fascinated the scene and made the heart glad; and in the autumn season, the Indian summer of those days of seventy-five years ago, when the sun rose a coppered disk casting no shadow until risen several degrees above the horizon; then, as it declined toward the west, passing through all shades from a bright gold to blood red and becoming invisible an hour or two before it sank below the western sky; nature was still not without its attractive beauties, though the foliage had changed to bronze by the kiss of winter frosts; on every side grapes, Muscatine’s, plums, persimmons of excellent flavor, and other autumnal fruits in rich profusion greeted the eye and gratified the taste of the most fastidious, while the reproachful chattering and nimble gambols of the numberless squirrels that gaily sported among the extended branches of their native woods; and the herds of deer and flocks of turkeys that roamed over the uplands and amid the tangled cane-brakes on the water courses where the bear, panther, catamount, wolf and innumerable smaller animals made their homes, all invited the hunter to the enjoyment of an endless variety of wild and fascinating- amusement unsurpassed in. the annals of a hunter’s paradise. Truly, that is happiness, which breaks not the link between man and nature.
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For several years after the departure of the Chickasaws not a vestige of change was seen; no sound of the woodman’s ax, or even the distant crowing of the domestic cock announcing the approach of white civilization, broke the pro found silence of the vast forests, undisturbed by man, yet swarming with animal life. Travel where you would, though no sign indicating the presence of man was seen, yet you felt not alone; above you countless warblers rendered the air resonant with the wild but sweet music of natures harmony; before you the wild turkey flapped his broad wings carelessly and seemed only to change his position that he might the better observe the actions and ascertain the intentions of the new and white-faced intruders upon his ancient heritage; while here and there droves of deer crossed and re-crossed your path at different intervals, sometimes running with fleetest feet, at others quietly grazing, then gaily gamboling in the tall, waving grass which, to an imaginative mind, might have appeared as Naiads sporting upon the wind disturbed bosom of some enchanted lake; and, as evening let her curtains down and twilight shades appeared, the ancient bird of the goddess Minerva hooted his accustomed lays of wisdom, as a reminder that familiarity breeds contempt and sometimes worse; therefore, in commendable modesty, sought safety in prudential distance, leaving you alone to your reflections. Such-scenes and sounds greeted the eye and regaled the ear of the traveler as he plodded his way through the wilderness of Chickasaw and Choctaw forests as handed to the White Race seventy years ago by that noble race of people when banished to the West by arbitrary power, in 1832 and 36, and where their condition, for several years, was little better than that of the hapless sea men who had been put ashore by their comrades upon some desolate island far out in the ocean. Yet it was declared to be just and right, since the “progress of Christianity and white civilization demanded it.”
Who that beheld that lovely land and enjoyed its romantic scenes, but still delights to dwell in memory upon its former charms, as it then lay in all its primitive loveliness and glory, fitted up and bequeathed by the Great Spirit to his Chickasaw children for their abode; but out of which they were cruelly and shamefully defrauded by the United States in a treaty concluded October 20th, 1832 at the Council House on Pakitakalih Creek and ratified March 1st, 1833, by the United States Senate.
This treaty having the same designs against the Chickasaws, and as effectually accomplished as that against the Choctaws two years before on the banks of Bok Clukfi Luma Hihlah, September 27th, 1830, was made and entered into by John Eaton and John Coffee, on the part of the United States, and seventy-three members of the Council, on the part of the Chickasaw Nation.
There were four Chickasaw families at that day, as I was informed by Governor Cyrus Harris, who kept their houses so neatly, and their yards so free of all grass, weeds and rubbish of all kinds, that they were called by the whites, “The clean house Indians.” Three of the heads of the four families were brothers, and the other a brother-in-law the three. The chief or the headman of the four families was named Chikasah nana ubih (pro. Chik-a-sah nar-nar-ub-ih, and sig. A Chickasaw who kills anything), and his two brothers, the one Ishkitahah (pro. Ish-ke-tar-hah and sig. No mother or mother gone.) The other, Innihtowa (pro. In-nih-to-wah, sig. Warm the ball,) The brother-in-law was named Aiyuka ubih (pro. Ai-yu-kah ubih and sig. Each one Jail, or to kill each one).