Topic: Choctaw

Memoirs of Nathaniel Folsom

I will here present to the reader the memoirs of Nathaniel Folsom the oldest of the three brothers who cast their lot in their morning” of life among” the Choctaws, and became the fathers of the Folsom House in the Choctaw Nation, as related by himself to the missionary, Rev. Cyrus Byington, June, 1823, and furnished me by his grand-daughter Czarena Folsom, now Mrs. Rabb. “I was born in North Carolina, Rowan County, May 17th, 1756. My father was born in Massachusetts or Connecticut. My mother was born in New Jersey. My parents moved to Georgia, and there my father sent me to school about six months, during which time I learned to read and write. My mother taught me to read and spell at home. My father had a great desire to go to Mississippi to get money; they said money grew on bushes! We got off and came into the Choctaw Nation. The whole family came; we hired an Indian pilot who led us through the Nation to Pearl River, where we met three of our neighbors who were re turning on account of sickness. This alarmed my father, who then determined to return to North Carolina. We came back into the Nation to Mr. Welch’s, on Bok Tuklo (Two Creeks), the father of Mr. Nail. At this time I was about 19 years of age. At...

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Memoirs of the Durant and Crowder Families

Durant Louis Durant, a Canadian Frenchman, was the proprietor of the Durant family among the Choctaws, who came, as before stated, to the Choctaw Nation with the two brothers, Lewis and Michael LeFlore about the year 1770. He, as his friends and contemporaries, the two LeFore brothers, also selected a wife among the Choctaw forest flowers, but whose name has been lost amid the vicissitudes through which her people have passed. They had three sons, Pierre, Charles and Lewis; and two daughters, Margaret and Syllan. The father and three sons served under their renowned chief, Apushamatahah, as allies of the Americans in the Creek war of 1812. Pierre had seven sons, viz: Fisher, George, Jefferson, Sylvester, Isham, Ellis and Joseph. Ellis and Sylvester served in the Confederate army during the civil war of 1861, the former in the rank of major. Alexander Durant, one of the Supreme Judges of the Choctaw Nation, (with whom I am personally acquainted) is a son of George Durant. Fisher Durant had three sons, Bissant, Dixon and Jesse. Dixon is a minister of the Gospel. He is a poor man in a pecuniary sense, but rich in a spiritual sense. He seems to live alone for the cause of his Divine Master and the salvation of his fellow men. Ah! If the world’s Christians were all such Christians as Dixon Durant, the devils kingdom on earth would soon be overturned, and that of the World’s. Redeemer permanently...

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Memoirs of the Harkins Family

John Harkins, a white man, is the father of the Harkins family of Choctaws. His advent to the Choctaw nation was, as near as can be ascertained, about the year 1800 or soon afterwards. He was a man of high-toned principles, and contemporary with the Folsoms, Nails, Pitchlynns, LeFlores, Durants, Cravats, Crowders, and others of the long ago, who married among the Choctaws; all men, who, having cast their lot among that people made their interests their own, and sought, by every means in their power to elevate them in the scale of morality and virtue. John Harkins married a daughter of Major Lewis LeFlore, by whom he had four sons Willis, George, Richard and James. Willis married Salina Folsom, oldest daughter of Col. David Folsom. They had two sons, George W. and Crittendon, and one daughter, Salina. Col. George W. Harkins was a graduate of Danville College, Kentucky. He was a man of acknowledged abilities; a lawyer by profession, and a fine jurist and wise counselor. He for many years acted in the capacity of delegate to Washington in attending to the national affairs of the Chickasaw Nation, with which people, though a Choctaw by consanguinity, he cast his lot. He was a bold, vigorous and able defender of the rights of his people in the Congress of the United States; and by energetic and fervent perseverance, with solid learning, he...

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Choctaws views on God and Murder

Among every North American Indian tribe from their earliest known history down to the present, there was and is a universal belief in the existence of a God, and Supreme Being, universally known among all Indians as the Great Spirit; and with whose attributes were associated all the various manifestations of natural phenomena; and in point of due respect and true devotion to this Great Spirit their acknowledged God they as a whole today excel, and ever have excelled, the whites in their due respect and true devotion to their acknowledged God. Never was an Indian known to deny the existence of his God the Great Spirit and attribute the creation of all things, himself included, to chance. Never was a North American Indian known to deny the wisdom and power of the Great Spirit as manifested iii the creation of an intellectual and immortal being, yet found and acknowledged it in the monkey. Never was an Indian known to deny his immortality bestowed upon him by the Great Spirit. ” Immortality, that most sublime thought in all the annals of fallen humanity, has ever found a resting place immovably fixed in every Indian’s heart, not one excepted; and under its benign influence, their uncultivated minds have expanded and shadows of death been disarmed of terror; and though, through all the ages past has been heard the inquiry “Is...

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Choctaws Views on the Dead

In the disposition of their dead, the ancient Choctaws practiced a strange method different from any other Nation of people, perhaps, that ever existed. After the death of a Choctaw, the corpse wrapped in a bear skin or rough kind of covering of their own manufacture, was laid out at full length upon a high scaffold erected near the house of the deceased, that it might be protected from the wild beasts of the woods and the scavengers of the air. After the body had remained upon the scaffold a sufficient time for the flesh to have nearly or entirely decayed, the Hattak fullih nipi foni. (Bone Picker) the principal official in their funeral ceremonies and especially appointed for that duty appeared and informed the relatives of the deceased that he had now come to perform the last sacred duties of his office to their departed friend. Then, with the relatives and friends, he marched with great solemnity of countenance to the scaffold and. ascending which, began his awful duty of picking off the flesh that still adhered to the bones, with loud groans and fearful grimaces, to which the friends below responded in cries and wailings. The Bone-Picker never trimmed the nails of his thumbs, index and middle fingers which accordingly grew to an astonishing length sharp and almost as hard as flint and well adapted to the...

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The Choctaw Ya-Yahs

There was a peculiar custom among the ancient Choctaws, prior to 1818, which, according to tradition, was as follows: For many years after the marriage of her daughter, the mother-in-law was forbidden to look upon her son-in-law. Though they might converse together, they must be hidden the one from the other by some kind of a screen, and when nothing else offered, by covering her eyes. Thus the mother-in-law was put to infinite trouble and vexation least she should make an infraction upon the strange custom; since, when traveling or in camp often without tents, they were necessarily afraid to raise their heads, or open their eyes through fear of seeing the interdicted object. Another peculiarity, which, however they possessed in common with other tribes, was, the Choctaw wife never called her husband by name. But addressed him as “my son or daughter’s father;” or more commonly using the child s name, when if Shah-bi-chih, (meaning, to make empty, the real name of a Choctaw whom I know) for instance, she calls her husband “Shah-bi-chih’s father.” Another oddity in regard to names was, the ancient Choctaw warriors seemed to have a strange aversion to telling their own names, and it was impossible to get it unless he had an acquaintance present, whom he requested to tell it for him. The Choctaw Ya-Yahs; Cries Over The Dead Their manifested sorrow and...

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Views on the Choctaw and Fables – North American Indians

The territories of the Choctaws in 1723, in which year the seat of the French government in Louisiana, then under Bienville, was definitely transferred from Natchez to New Orleans, then containing about one hundred houses and three thousand inhabitants, extended from the Mississippi River to the Black Warrior, east: and from Lake Pontchartrain to the territories of the Natchez, west, and Chickasaws, north. They possessed upwards of sixty principal towns, and could muster, as was estimated, twenty-five thousand warriors. The Choctaws called all fables Shukha Anump (hog talk) as a mark of derision and contempt. Some of their fables, handed down by tradition through unknown generations, were similar in the morals taught by those of the famous Esop. One of these Shukha Anumpas was that of the turkey and the terrapin: A haughty turkey gobbler, with long flowing beard and glossy feathers, meeting a terrapin one bright and beautiful spring morning, thus accosted him with an expression of great contempt; “What are you good for?” To which the terrapin humbly replied “many things.” “Name one,” continued the turkey. “I can beat you running,” said the terrapin. “What nonsense!” “I thought you were a fool, now I know it,” continued the turkey. “I repeat it, I can beat you running, distance half a mile” continued the terrapin. “To prove you are a fool in believing such an absurdity, I’ll run...

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Aboha Kullo Humma

Aboha Kullo Humma, (pro. Ar-bo-hah ) (House; Kullo (strong) Humma (red) or, in our phraseology (Strong red house but in the Choctaw, Red Fort) was the chief of Okla Hunnali. The clans of the Choctaws were all perpetuated in the female line. When a man married, he was adopted into the family of his wife, and her brothers had more authority over her children than her husband; therefore, when a lover wished to marry a girl, he consulted her uncles, and if they consent to the marriage, the father and mother approved. Those of the same clan were never allowed to intermarry. A Choctaw regarded marrying a girl of his own clan with the same horror as the white man did to marry his own sister; and equally so did the Choctaw girl. Aboha Kullo Humma was highly elated at the proposition of Mr. Kingsbury to establish a school among his clans, or people; and earnestly importuned Mr. Kingsbury to establish two in his district; and such were his pleadings that Mr. Kingsbury finally agreed to write a letter to the; Prudential Committee, to solicit more teachers, and Aboha Kullo Humma also wrote a letter, and sent it with Mr. Kingsbury’s, a true copy of which I here insert: Six Towns, Choctaw Nation, October 18th, 1822. Brothers: “The first law I have made is, that when my warriors go over the line among the white people, and buy...

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Memoirs of John Pitchlynn

John Pitchlynn, the name of another white man who at an early day cast his lot among the Choctaws, not to be a curse but a true benefactor. He was contemporaneous with the three Folsom’s, Nathaniel, Ebenezer and Edmond; the three Nails, Henry, Adam and Edwin; the two Le Flores Lewis and Mitchel, and Lewis Durant. John Pitchlynn, as the others, married a Choctaw girl and thus become a bona-fide citizen of the Choctaw Nation. He was commissioned by Washington, as United States Interpreter for the Choctaws in 1786, in which capacity he served them long and faithfully. Whether...

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Choctaw Doctors & Diseases

Among the ancient Choctaws, a mare and colt, cow and calf, and a sow and pigs were given to each child at its birth, if the parents were able so to do, and all, with few exceptions, were able; this stock, with its increase under no circumstances whatever, could be disposed of in any way; and when he or she, as the case might be, became grown, the whole amount was formally conveyed over to him or her. Thus when a young couple started out in life they had a plenty of stock, if nothing more. Diseases, they believed, originated in part from natural causes, therefore their doctors sought in nature for the remedies. Graver maladies, to them, were inexplicable, and for their cures they resorted to their religious superstitions and incantations. They were very skillful in their treatment of wounds, snake bites, etc., Their knowledge of the medicinal qualities of their various plants and herbs, in which their forests so bountifully abounded, was very great. Tis true they were powerless against the attacks of many diseases importations of the White Race, such as small-pox, measles, whooping cough, etc; yet, they did not exhibit any greater ignorance in regard to those new diseases, to them unknown before, than do the doctors of the White Race, who have had the experience of ages which has been handed down to them...

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Missionaries among the Native Americans

According to traditional authority, the morning star of the Choctaws religious era, (if such it may be termed) first lit up their eastern horizon, upon the advent of the two great Wesley’s into the now State of Georgia in the year 1733, as the worthy and congenial companions of the noble Oglethorpe; but also, it flashed but a moment before their eyes as a beautiful meteor, then as quickly went out upon the return to England of those champions of the Cross, leaving them only to fruitless conjecture as to its import; nor was seen again during the revolutions of eighty-five long and weary years. Though tradition affirms, there were several missionaries (Roman Catholic) among the Choctaws in 1735; and that the Reverend Father Baudouin, the actual superior general of the mission resided eighteen years among the Choctaws. With these two above named exceptions, I have seen no record of the White Race ever manifesting any interest in the southern Indians welfare either of a temporal or spiritual nature, from the earliest trading posts established among them in 1670 by the Virginia and Carolina traders, down through slowly revolving years to that of 1815; at which time may be dated the establishment of the first Protestant mission among the southern Indians. This mission, which was named Brainard, was established among the Cherokees by Rev. Cyrus Kingsbury, under the jurisdiction of...

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The Choctaw Life & Warrior

Many of the ancient Choctaws were a dept in the art of singing their native airs, of which they had many; but all effort to induce one of them to sing alone one of his favorite songs was fruitless. They invariably replied to the solicitation in broken English, “Him no good.” Then sing me a war song. “Him heap no good,” with an ominous shake of the head. Then sing me a hunting song. “No good; he no fit for pale face. “Well, sing me a love song. “Wah”! (an ancient. exclamation of surprise now obsolete) much love song, him bad, no good for pale face.” Though this was somewhat tantalizing yet it had to be endured. Like all their race, the Choctaws never forgot an act of kindness be it ever so trivial; and many a white man overtaken by misfortune when traveling over their country, and weak beneath the remorseless grasp of hunger, has felt that the truth of the eastern proverb has been brought home to him: Cast thy bread upon the waters, and thou shall find it after many days. More than once has it fallen to my lot to contribute to an Indian’s immediate necessities, in days of their individual want and weakness; and, in after days the incident by me long forgotten; they have returned the favor thirty fold; and for many favors have I...

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Choctaw Nation and the Greer County Dispute

The Dispute In The Right Of Ownership Of Greer County Between The United States And Texas. The petition of the Attorney General of the United States affirms that according to the treaty of Feb. 22, 1819 made by the United States and the King of Spain, which was ratified two years later, and so proclaimed by both the United States and Spain, and that by the third article of the treaty it was provided and agreed that the boundary line between the two countries west of the Mississippi River shall begin on the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth...

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Indian Wampums

The Indians, having no written language, preserved and handed down their history to future generations through tradition, much of which could have been obtained a century and a half ago, and even a century ago, which was authentic and would have added much to the interest of the history of the continent of which we boast as our inheritance, though obtained by the extermination of a race of people whose wonderful history, had it been obtained as it once could have been, would have been very interesting and beneficial to future generations, throwing its light back over ages unknown,...

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Choctaw Migration and Government

The name Choctaw, or Chahtah is, derived from a prophet warrior who flourished at a time too remote for fixing any date, as it is only handed down by tradition from one generation to another. “Headed by him, tradition informs us, the people in one grand division migrated to the East from a country far toward the setting sun, following the Cherokees and Muscogees, who had moved on, four years previous, in search of a suitable spot for a permanent location. He is said to have been possessed of all the characteristics essential to the carrying out of such an enterprise to a successful termination. His benevolence and many other virtues are still cherished and held in sacred remembrance by his people. The country whence they migrated, or the causes, which induced them to seek another place of habitation, is wrapped in mysterious oblivion, as their tradition begins abruptly with the epoch of migration. In moving from place to place, Chahtah is said to have carried a high staff or pole, which, on encamping, was immediately placed in front of his wigwam, where it remained until they broke up encampment. His wigwam is represented to have been placed in the van of all the tribe. When the pole inclined forward a power, which it was believed to possess the people prepared to march. This is somewhat analogous to the...

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