Collection: History of Alabama - Pickett

Natchez, Mobilians, Chatots, Thomez and Tensas

In 1718, the French West India Company sent, from Rochelle, eight hundred colonists to Louisiana. Among them was a Frenchman of intelligence and high standing, named Le Page Du Pratz, who was appointed superintendent of the public plantations. After a residence of sixteen years in this country, he returned to France, and published an interesting work upon Louisiana. 1721: Du Pratz was often at Mobile, and about the period found living, in that vicinity, a few small tribes of Indians, whom we will now describe. Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY INTL Start Now The Chatots were a very small tribe, who composed a town of forty huts, adjoining the bay and river of Mobile. They appear to have resided at or near the present city of Mobile. The Chatots were great friends of the French settlers, and most of them embraced the Catholic religion. North from Mobile, and upon the first bluffs on the same side of the river of that name, lived the Thomez, who were not more...

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An Account of the McGillivray Family, The Revolutionary War

War had now raged between the mother country and her colonies of North America for more than three years. It had become fierce and sanguinary along the Atlantic. But the people of West Florida, whose government was composed chiefly of military dependencies, had hitherto enjoyed peace. They were mostly loyal subjects of the King. But now, even in this remote region, the contest began to be felt. The Creek Indians were relied upon, mainly, by the British authorities, to harass the Whig inhabitants of Georgia and Carolina. They had stationed at Hickory Ground, the site of the lower suburbs of the modern Wetumpka, Colonel Tait, an English officer, of captivating address, for the purpose of influencing the Creeks in behalf of the King. There, he soon became acquainted with the most gifted and remarkable man that ever was born upon the soil of Alabama, the history of whose family will now be given. A Scotch boy, of sixteen years of age, who had read of the wonders to be seen in America, ran away from his wealthy and respectable parents, living in Dunmaglass, and entered a ship which was bound for South Carolina. He arrived, without accident, at the port of Charleston. Young Lachlan McGillivray there first set his foot upon American soil. He then had no property, except a shilling in his pocket, a suit of clothes upon...

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The Cherokee Nation

It has been seen that De Soto passed over a portion of the country of these Indians in the territory which embraces Northern Georgia. The name Cherokee is derived from Chera, fire; and the Prophets of this nation were called Cherataghe, men of divine fire. The first that we hear of the Cherokees, after the Spanish invasion, is their connection with the early British settlers of Virginia. A powerful and extensive nation, they even had settlements upon the Appomattox River, and were allied by blood with the Powhattan tribe. The Virginians drove them from that place, and they retreated to the head of the Holston River. Here, making temporary settlements, the Northern Indians compelled them to retire to the Little Tennessee River, where they established themselves permanently. About the same time, a large branch of the Cherokees came from the territory of South Carolina, near Charleston, and formed towns upon the main Tennessee, extending as far as the Muscle Shoals. They found all that region unoccupied, except upon the Cumberland, where resided a roving band of Shawnees. But the whole country bore evidence of once having sustained a large Indian population. Such is the origin of the first Cherokee settlements upon the main Tennessee, but the great body of the nation appears to have occupied Northern Georgia and Northwestern Carolina as far back as the earliest discoveries can trace them....

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The Choctaw Nation

It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that the Chickasaws were living in the upper part of Mississippi when De Soto invaded it, and that they fought him with great courage. Now, as to the Choctaws, according to tradition, came with them into this country, and were a portion of the same family; it is reasonable to suppose that the Pafallayas, the brave allies of Tuscaloosa, were the Choctaws— especially when taken in connection with the collateral evidence in our possession. Period unknown: The tradition of the migration of the Chickasaws and Choctaws from the Mexican empire has been preserved by the former alone: while the latter, with few exceptions, have lost it. On the road leading from St. Stephens, in Alabama, to the city of Jackson, Mississippi, was, some years ago, a large mound, embracing at the base about two acres, and rising about forty feet high in a conical form, and enclosed by a ditch encompassing twenty acres. On the top of it was a deep hole, ten feet in circumstances, out of which the ignorant portion of the Choctaws believed that their ancestors once sprung as thick as bees, peopling the whole of that part of the country. They had great regard for this artificial elevation, and called it Nannawyah, the signification of which is nanna, hill, and wyah, mother. When hunting near this mound they...

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The Creek Nation

The Creek woman was short in stature, but well formed. Her cheeks were rather high, but her features were generally regular and pretty. Her brow was high and arched, her eyes large, black and languishing, expressive of modesty and diffidence. Her feet and hands were small, and the latter exquisitely shaped. 1780: The warrior was larger than the ordinary race of Europeans, often above six feet in height, but was invariably well formed, erect in his carriage, and graceful in every movement. They were proud, haughty and arrogant; brave and valiant in war; ambitious of conquest; restless, and perpetually...

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The Migration of Alabama and Muscogee Indians East

It has been seen that the Indians living in that part of Alabama through which De Soto passed, were the Coosas, inhabiting the territory embraced in the present counties of Benton, Talladega, Coosa, and a portion of Cherokee; the Tallases, living upon the Tallapoosa and its tributary streams; the Mobilians extending from near the present city of Montgomery to the commercial emporium which now bears their name; the Pafallayas or Choctaws, inhabiting the territory of the modern counties of Green, Marengo, Tuscaloosa, Sumpter and Pickens; and, in the present State of Mississippi, the Chickasaws, in the valley of the...

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The Indians of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi

The Indians of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi were so similar in form, mode of living and general habits, in the time of De Soto and of others who succeeded him in penetrating these wilds, that they will all be treated, on the pages of this chapter, as one people. The color was like that of the Indians of our day. The males were admirably proportioned, athletic, active and graceful in their movements, and possessed open and manly countenances. The females, not inferior in form, were smaller, and many of them beautiful. No ugly or ill-formed Indians were seen,...

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De Soto in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi

The first discovery of Alabama was by Hernando De Soto, a native of Spain, and the son of a squire of Xerez of Badajos. When a youth he went to Peru, enlisted under Pizarro, and with no property but his sword, won distinguished military reputation. Returning to his native country, and making an imposing appearance at Court, he was made Governor of Cuba, and Adelantado of Florida. In the unknown regions of the latter, he resolved to embark his vast wealth in a splendid expedition, designed to conquer a people who, he believed to possess more gold than he had yet beheld in South America. Young men of the best blood in Spain and Portugal, sold their houses and their vineyards and flocked to his standard. Soon he was surrounded by an army of six hundred chosen men, with whom he put to sea, over the bar of San Lucar de Barremeda. Arriving at Cuba, he consumed a year in arranging the affairs of his government, and in preparation for the great enterprise before him. 1Portuguese Narrative, pp 695-700. Garcellasso de la Vega, pp. 59-60. At the end of that period, he left his wife, Dona Isabel de Bobadilla, and the Lieutenant Governor, in charge of the Island, and sailed for the coast of Florida, with a fleet of nine vessels–five large ships, together with caravels and brigantines. (1539...

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