Topic: Muskogee

The Natural Environment of Ocmulgee Bottoms

Beginning in the late 1500s and continuing through the late 1600s, European maps showed a large lake in central Georgia that received both the Ocmulgee and Oconee River. Its outlet was the Altamaha River, which the French called the May River. The memoirs of the commander of Fort Caroline, René de Laudonnière, wrote in his memoir that several expeditions which he dispatched in a northwestward direction from the fort, encountered a large shallow lake at the headwaters of the May. These expeditions continued northward across the lake in their canoes and then traveled up the Oconee River to the Kingdom of Apalache and then the Appalachian Mountains. No mention is made of the Ocmulgee River by Laudonnière, but it also appeared on later maps of the region, flowing into Lake Tama. Apparently someone, either French or Spanish did canoe northwestward across the shallow lake and travel up the Ocmulgee.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Mound Builders

The types of the human skulls taken from those ancient mounds said to have been erected by a prehistoric race, and now called “Mound Builders” a race claimed to be far superior to our Indians are characteristic, not only of the ancient Mexicans, Peruvians and other ancient tribes of South America, but also of the ancient Natchez, Muskogee’s, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Seminoles, Yamases and others of the North American continent. And it is a conceded fact that all Indians ever found in North and South America possess many common features. I have seen the native Indians of Mexico, Arizona...

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Choctaw Culture

The Choctaws, like all of their race, had no written laws, and their government rested alone on custom and usage, growing out of their possessions and their wants; yet was conducted so harmoniously by the influence of their native genius and experience, that one would hardly believe that human society could be maintained with so little artifice. As they had no money, their traffic consisted alone in mutual exchange of all commodities; as there was no employment of others for hire, there were no contracts, hence judges and lawyers, sheriffs and jails were unknown among them. There were no beg...

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Chickasaw Religion

The ancient Chickasaws, unlike their kindred, the Choctaws, entertained no superstitious views in regard to the eclipse of the sun or moon; regarding it as a phenomenon inexplicable, and to be the height of folly to be alarmed and worried over that which they had no control a sensible conclusion indeed. They called an eclipse, either of sun or moon, hushi luma (sun hidden). Sometimes a total eclipse of the sun was termed hushi illi (dead sun), and sometimes hushi kunia (lost sun). They called the moon hushi ninak aya (the sun of the night). The traditions of the...

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Mission’s Among the Southern Indians

In the year 1819 the Synod of South Carolina resolved to establish a mission among the Southern Indians east of the Mississippi river. The Cherokees, Muskogee’s, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws then occupied Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Rev. David Humphries offered to take charge of the intended mission. He was directed to visit the Indians, obtain their consent and select a suitable location. Rev. T. C. Stewart, then a young licentiate, offered himself as a companion to Mr. Humphries. They first visited the Muskogee’s (Creeks), who, in a council of the Nation, declined their proposition. They then traveled through...

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Early Exploration and Native Americans

De Soto and his band gave to the Choctaws at Moma Binah and the Chickasaws at Chikasahha their first lesson in the white man’s modus operandi to civilize and Christianize North American Indians; so has the same lesson been continued to be given to that unfortunate people by his white successors from that day to this, all over this continent, but which to them, was as the tones of an alarm-bell at midnight. And one hundred and twenty-three years have passed since our forefathers declared all men of every nationality to be free and equal on the soil of the North American continent then under their jurisdiction, except the Africans whom they held in slavery, and the Native Americans against whom they decreed absolute extermination because they could not also enslave them; to prove which, they at once began to hold out flattering-inducements to the so-called oppressed people of all climes under the sun, to come to free America and assist them to oppress and kill off the Native Americans and in partnership take their lands and country, as this was more in accordance with their lust of wealth and speedy self-aggrandizement than the imagined slow process of educating, civilizing and Christianizing them, a work too con descending, too humiliating; and to demonstrate that it has been a grand and glorious success, we now point with vaunting pride and haughty...

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The Meeting in 1811 of Tecumseh and Apushamatahah

The meeting in 1811, of Tecumseh, the mighty Shawnee, with Apushamatahah, the intrepid Choctaw. I will here give a true narrative of an incident in the life of the great and noble Choctaw chief, Apushamatahah, as related by Colonel John Pitchlynn, a white man of sterling integrity, and who acted for many years as interpreter to the Choctaws for the United States Government, and who was an eye-witness to the thrilling scene, a similar one, never before nor afterwards befell the lot of a white man to witness, except that of Sam Dale, the great scout of General Andrew...

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