Topic: Chickasaw

Western Garrison Life

Grant Foreman describes the early life in a Western Garrison; providing insights on some of the traders in the region, the deaths of Seaton, Armstrong, Wheelock and Izard, all soldiers obviously familiar to him. But he also shares the story of the elopement of Miss Sarah Knox Taylor, daughter of General Taylor, to Lieutenant Jefferson Davis… yes, THAT Jefferson Davis.

An interesting section of the chapter are the references to the punishments inflicted upon the soldiers in the event of their disobedience.

Painted by Catlin in 1834, the picture attached is of Clermont, chief of the Osage Tribe. Clermont is painted in full length, wearing a fanciful dress, his leggings fringed with scalp-locks, and in his hand his favorite and valued war-club.

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History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians

I have sought, found and brought together an amount of information concerning a people that has never before been published; having been born of parents who were missionaries to the Choctaws in 1820, and having been reared among them and intimately acquainted with them during the vicissitudes of a life extending to nearly four score of years. I well know that the Indian race has oft been the subject of the pen, and still continues to be, but only in short details, thus leaving the reader in bewilderment, though historical truths were to be found in abundance among them...

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The Chickasaws

Conquest or Progress! It is the same, since it is with blood that the book of humanity is written. The pages here devoted to the narrative of the Chickasaw Indians is not an exception; theirs, too, is stained with the seemingly inevitable sanguinary horrors, but nowhere is the trace inexplicable. To some it may seem useless and even wrong to recall these pages of history so distant in the past, which began in wrong, continued in wrong and will end, so for as human observation can judge, in wrong, and then ask nothing better than to be forgotten. Alas, experience has shown that to change the mode of life of a primitive race is to condemn it to death; since always regarded as an inferior race by their conquerors, they have been swept away without justice or mercy a people who had existed in an unbroken line of descent from prehistoric ages unknown. East of the Mississippi River was also the Chickasaws hereditary domain, handed down through a long line of ancestry during ages unknown, and who, like the Choctaws, were first made known to the Eastern world by Hernando De Soto who invaded their country in the month of November, 1540; but beyond which, except through the tradition of the Choctaws and Chickasaws, as before related, the faintest glimmerings of vague tradition has afforded scarcely a ray of light to penetrate the darkness which envelops their history with...

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North America Indian Names of Places in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana

The Indians all over this continent had names, traditions, religions, ceremonies, feasts, prayers, songs, dances all, more or less, with symbolism and allegory, adapted to circumstances, just as all other races of mankind. But the world has become so familiar with the continued and ridiculous publications in regard to everything touching upon that race of people that a universal doubt has long since been created and established as to the possibility of refinement of thought and nobleness of action ever having existed among the North American Indian race, ancient or modern; and so little of truth has also been learned regarding the real and true inner life of that peculiar and seemingly isolated race of mankind, that today only here and there can one be found who, from a lifetime association and intimate acquaintance, is well versed in Indian thought, feeling and character, and able to unfold and record the solution of that imagined mystery known as “The Indian Problem,” since they learned it from the Indians themselves. From the Indians own lips they were taught its elucidation, and only as it could be taught and learned, but never again can be taught and learned. Even as various nations of antiquity of, the eastern continent have left the evidences of their former occupation by the geographical names that still exist, so to have the North American Indians left their...

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Mayhew, Brainard, Elliot, and Monroe Missions

From 1822, to the time they were dispossessed of every foot of their ancient domains, and driven away to a then wilderness, the schools increased in numbers, and the ordinances of religion were augmented, and a deeper interest manifested every where over their country never witnessed before; as they, previous to that time, had had intercourse with the debased of the White Race, by whom they had been taught in the school of vice, and nothing but vice: therefore the North American Indians have been accused, from first to last, of having no conception of an over-ruling providence the Creator of all things, and an effort has been made to sustain the charge in that they believed in the supernatural power of their rainmakers, their fair weather makers, and the incantations of their doctors. But the charge is utterly false. ‘Tis true, they relied on their rain-makers, fair weather makers and the conjuring of their doctors, through the belief that, by prayer and supplication, those person ages had been endowed with supernatural powers by the Great Spirit, (their God and ours), in whom all Indians believed, and with greater veneration than the whites, and I defy successful contradiction. They sought the aid of the rainmakers, doctors, &c, just as we do the prayers of our preachers in behalf of our sick, and for our rain, etc. Now, what more...

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Medicine Man – North American Indians

But among the many things that are associated with the North American Indians as topics of conversation and subjects of the printer’s ink more talked about and less understood is the “Medicine Man.” On Nov. 14, 1605, the first French settlement was made in America, on the northeast coast of Nova Scotia, and they gave the name Arcadia to the country; and on July 3, 1808, Samuel Champlain laid the foundation of Quebec. The character “Medicine-Man” had its origin, according to tradition, among those early French colonists who corrupted the word “Meda” a word in the language of one...

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People and Buildings of the Choctaw Nation

The missionaries found the precepts of the Choctaw’s to be moral; and also that they respected old age, and kept fresh in memory the wise councils of their; fathers, whose lessons of wisdom the experience of the past, taught their youthful minds to look upward, and whose teachings they did not forget in their mature years. Their tenderness to and watchful care of the aged and infirm was truly remarkable; they looked upon home and regarded their country as sacred institutions, and in the defense of which they freely staked their lives; they also inculcated a high regard for parents, and were always courteous by instinct as well as by teaching; they held in high veneration the names of the wise, the good, and the brave of their ancestors, and from their sentiment toward the dead grew sweet flowers in the heart. They believed that integrity alone was worthy of station, and that promotion should rest on capacity and faithfulness; they also had swift and sure methods of dealing with the incorrigible, official or private; nor were they impatient of the slow processes of the years but knew how to wait in faith and contentment; and if they were not as progressive, as our opinion demands in its rush for gain and pompous show, they had at least conquered the secret of National and individual steadfastness. Today we are...

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Choctaws and their Beliefs about the Great Flood

The Choctaws, at the time of their earliest acquaintance with the European races, possessed, in conjunction with all their race of the North American Continent, a vague, but to a great extent, correct knowledge of the Oka Falama, “The returning waters,” as they termed it The Flood. The Rev. Cyrus Byington related a little incident, as one out of many interesting and pleasing ones that frequently occurred when traveling through their country from one point to another in the discharge of his ministerial duties, over seventy years ago. At one time he found night fast approaching without any visible prospect of finding a place of shelter for the night, safe from the denizens of the wilderness through which his devious path was leading him. Then and there roads were unknown and paths alone led the traveler from place to place. Soon, however, he discovered a humble cabin a few hundred yards distant, directly to which the little path was leading him, and which he readily recognized as the home of a Choctaw hunter. Several little children were engaged in their juvenile sports near the house, who upon seeing the white stranger approaching, made a precipitate retreat into the house. The mother hastened to the door to learn, the cause of the alarm saw, gazed a moment, and then as suddenly disappeared. As Mr. Byington rode up, he observed an Indian...

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Choctaw’s Endurance & Music

That the fore-fathers of the present Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees and Muscogees migrated ages ago from Mexico to their ancient abodes east of the Mississippi River there can be scarcely a doubt; and that they were a branch of the Aztecs there is much in their ancient traditions and legends upon which to predicate, at least, a reasonable sup position, if not a belief. The Aztecs are regarded by some as the first of the human race that came to the North American continent, and by others as one of the oldest races of the human family upon earth, whose records and traditions point back to those of the books of Genesis and Jo. Though the historical legends of the above named tribes do not divide the ages past of their race into four epochs as the Aztecs, as Gam Dom Yasco Da, the Portuguese mariner and discoverer of the maritime route to India near the close of the 14th century, asserts; and the first of which terminated in a destruction of the people of the world by famine, the second by wind, the third by fire, and the fourth by water, (very similar to the traditions and legends of the Hindoos), yet they do point back to many historical facts of the Christian’s Bible, which have been handed down by tradition through ages and point to great and important...

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Choctaw Traditions – The Council Fire, The Nahullo

The faces of the Choctaw and Chickasaw men of sixty years ago were as smooth as a woman’s, in fact they had no beard. Sometimes there might be seen a few tine hairs (if hairs they might be called) here and there upon the face, but they were few and far between, and extracted with a pair of small tweezers whenever discovered. Oft have I seen a Choctaw warrior standing before a mirror seeking with untiring perseverance and unwearied eyes, as he turned his face at different angles to the glass, if by chance a hair could be found lurking there, which, if discovered, was instantly removed as an unwelcome intruder. Even today, a full blood Choctaw or Chickasaw with a heavy beard is never seen. I have seen a few, here and there, with a little patch of beard upon their chins, but it was thin and short, and with good reasons to suspect that white blood flowed in their veins. It is a truth but little known among the whites, that the North American Indians of untarnished blood have no hair upon any part of the body except the head. My knowledge of this peculiarity was confined, however, to the Choctaws and Chickasaws alone. But in conversation with an aged Choctaw friend upon this subject, and inquiring” if this peculiarity extended to all Indians, he replied; “To all,...

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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...

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The Natchez and the French

But alas for the poor Natchez! An evil day brought the pale-faces among them in the year 1716, who built the Fort Rosalie among them and in it garrisoned, as a matter of course, a body of soldiers as a protection in their intended aggressions upon and usurpations of the Indians rights; and from that day the sun of the Natchez’s happiness began to wane, but to speedily set forever in the oblivion of utter extermination. As an introduction, Cadillac, on his way up the Mississippi river to search for gold and silver, stopped at Natchez. As soon as the...

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Choctaw Traditions

It is stated of the Papagoes, 1known as the short-haired Indians of the Southwest that an ancient tradition of their tribe proclaims the coming of a Messiah by the name “Moctezuma.” They affirm that, in the ancient past, he lived in Casa Grande, the famous prehistoric temple on the Gila River; that his own people rebelled against him and threatened to kill him, and he fled to Mexico. But before leaving them he told them that they would experience great afflictions for many years, but eventually, at the time of their greatest need, he would return to them from the east with the rising sun; that he would then cause the rain to fall again upon their arid country, and make it bloom as a garden, and make his people to become the greatest on earth. Therefore, when Montezuma arrives, that he may see all the doors open and none closed against him, this humble people, with a pathetic faith, make the only entrance to their houses toward the east and leave the door always standing open that their Messiah may enter when he comes. During the years 1891, 1892 and 1893, a three years drought had destroyed their crops, dried up their water, cut off their supply of seeds, and killed great numbers of their cattle. Truly it was the time of their greatest suffering, and surely Montezuma...

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Important Men of the Choctaw Indians

The Choctaw Nation, from its earliest known history to the present time has, at different intervals, produced many great and good men; who, had they have had the advantages of education, would have lived upon the pages of history equally with those of earth’s illustrious great. The first of whom we have any historical account, is Tush-ka Lu-sa, (the heroic defender of Moma Bin-na, a Lodge for All corrupted first to Mobila, then to Mobile) who perished, with many thousands of his people, in that bloody tragedy of three and a half centuries ago, while de fending his ancient city against the Spaniards, nothing more however, has been handed down by which we can judge of his ability as a wise and judicious ruler, but the fact that De Soto found his Nation in a prosperous condition; his people dwelling in large and well fortified towns, comfortable houses, subsisting to a very large extent by the cultivation of the soil. But of the patriotism and undaunted bravery of Tush-ka Lusa, and his ability as a commander of his warriors, DeSoto had satisfactory proof at the battle of Momabinah. But so little of the history of those ancient Choctaws has escaped oblivion that in sketching a line of their history at such a distance of time we necessarily pass through un known fields so wide and diversified that it is like...

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The Two Friends – The Red And The White

During my travels in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations in 1884, I arrived one evening the 19th of June, at the quiet and unostentatious village of Doaksville one among the first towns located in their present country when arriving from their ancient domains east of the Mississippi river, in the year 1832. It soon became a place of considerable trade; but ultimately proving to be very sickly it was nearly abandoned; and, at the time I visited it, was but a relic of the past with Ichabod as an appropriate epitaph having only one small dry goods store and eight or ten resident houses. My object in visiting it was to find a Choctaw friend, one among the few then living and known as friend in the broadest sense of the word, in days of the long ago. On entering the little place I found many Choctaws there of both sexes and of all ages, the store full within and its immediate environments covered with diversified groups of men, women and children sitting and standing. I asked a Choctaw man standing near, if he knew Henry Folsom, and if he was in the town? Looking around a moment he pointed to a group of men a short distance away and said: “Yum-mun-o (that one) chish-no (you) pisah (see) pil-lah (yonder). Dismounting I slowly walked towards the group with fixed...

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