Topic: Natchez

The Creek War – Indian Wars

In the spring of the year 1812, the southern Indian tribal were visited by the bold and enterprising Tecumseh. His stirring appeals to their patriotism and valor were heard with attention, and he succeeded in stimulating them to open hostility. It is to be regretted that no specimen of the orations of this great Indian have been preserved. Judging from their effects, they would be ranked among the highest models of true eloquence. Tecumseh particularly appealed to the powerful Creek nation. These Indians had long been on friendly terms with the whites, and a portion of them were, therefore,...

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Early Indian Wars in Florida

Previous to the permanent establishment of the English in North America, the French and Spaniards made many attempts to get possession of various parts of the country. The coasts were carefully explored, and colonies planted, but they were soon given up as expensive, and involving too much hardship and danger. The first expedition to the coast of Florida was made in 1512, by Juan Ponce de Leon, renowned for his courage and warlike abilities. Ponce de Leon, becoming governor of Porto Rico (Puerto Rico), and hearing from the Indians that there existed a beautiful and fertile country to the...

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Terrible Massacre At Natchez

The colony of Louisiana was now in a flourishing condition; its fields were cultivated by more than two thousand Negroes; cotton, indigo, tobacco and grain were produced; skins and furs of all descriptions were obtained in a traffic with the Indians; and lumber was extensively exported to the West India islands. The province was protected by eight hundred troops of the line; but the bloody massacre of the French population of Fort Rosalie, at the Natchez, arrested these rapid strides of prosperity, and shrouded all things in sadness and gloom. Our library contains many accounts of this horrible affair, which harmonize very well with each other; but in reference to the causes which led to it, more particularly, we propose to introduce the statement of Le Page Du Pratz, who was residing in Louisiana at the time.

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The Origin of the Natchez Indians

The Natchez have a tradition that they came from the sun, that the sun is a woman who has monthly discharges, and that one of these dropped upon the earth and turned into a man. They think that when they die the sun will expire, and that it shines only for them. This origin story is identical with the origin myth of the Yuchi and it would be of very great importance if we could be certain that the Yuchi were in no way responsible for it. It is in keeping with the solar worship of both Natchez and...

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Natchez Burial Customs

When referring to the burial customs of the Natchez, that most interesting of the many tribes of the lower Mississippi Valley, the early writers by whom the tribe was visited seldom alluded to the rites which attended the final disposition of the remains of the less important members of the nation, but devoted themselves to describing the varied and sanguinary ceremonies enacted at the time of the death and burial of a Sun. Swanton has already brought together the various accounts and descriptions of these most unusual acts, and consequently they need not be repeated at the present time. Nevertheless the first two will be quoted to serve as means of comparing the remarkable ceremonies followed by members of this tribe with the manners and customs of their neighbors. Of the two accounts given below, Swanton said ” The first was given to Gravier by the French youth whom Iberville left in 1700 to learn the Natchez language, and the second details the obsequies of a grand chieftainess of which the author Penicaut claims to have been a witness in 1704.” The Frenchman whom M. d’Iberville left there to learn the language told me that on the death of the last chief they put to death two women, three men, and three children. They strangled them with a bowstring, and this cruel ceremony was performed with great pomp, these...

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Taensa Indians

Taensa Tribe: Meaning unknown, but the name is evidently derived from that of one of the tribe’s constituent towns. Taensa Connections. They were one of the three known tribes of the Natchez division of the Muskhogean stock. Taensa Location. At the western end of Lake St. Joseph, in Tensas Parish. (See also Alabama.) Taensa Villages The only list of Taensa villages preserved was obtained by Iberville through the medium of the Mobilian trade language and it is uncertain how much of each name is a Mobilian translation. In four of them we recognize the Mobilian word for people, okla. These villages are: Chaoucoula Conchayon Couthaougoula Nyhougoulas Ohytoucoulas Taensas, Talaspa Gatschet has endeavored to interpret all but one of them: Chaoucoula from issi, “deer” or ha’tcbe, “river.” Conchayon from ko’nshak, “reed”; Couthaougoula from uk’ha’tax, “lake”; Ohytoucoulas from u’ti, “chestnut”; Taënsas by reference to tan’tci, “corn”; Talaspa from ta”lapi, “five” or ta’?lepa, “hundred”; Most of these seem in the highest degree doubtful. All of the towns were situated close together in the place above indicated. Taensa History It is altogether probable that the Spaniards under De Soto encountered the Taensa or bands afterward affiliated with them, and the probability is strengthened by the fact that La Salle in 1682 was shown some objects of Spanish origin by the chief of the Taensa. However, La Salle and his companions are the first...

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Avoyel Indians

Avoyel Tribe: The name signifies probably “people of the rocks,” referring to flint and very likely applied because they were middlemen in supplying the Gulf coast tribes with flint. Also called: Little Taensa, so-called from their relationship to the Taensa. Tassenocogoula, name in the Mobilian trade language, meaning “flint people.” Avoyel Connections. The testimony of early writers and circumstantial evidence render it almost certain that the Avoyel spoke a dialect of the Natchez group of the Muskhogean linguistic family. Avoyel Location. In the neighborhood of the present Marksville, La. Avoyel History. The Avoyel are mentioned first by Iberville in the account of his first expedition to Louisiana in 1699, where they appear under the Mobilian form of their name, Tassenocogoula. He did not meet any of the people, however, until the year following when he calls them “Little Taensas.” They were encountered by La Harpe in 1714, and Le Page du Pratz (1758) gives a short notice of them from which it appears that they acted as middlemen in disposing to the French of horses and cattle plundered from Spanish settlements. In 1764 they took part in an attack upon a British regiment ascending the Mississippi (see Ofo Indians), and they are mentioned by some later writers, but Sibley (1832) says they were extinct in 1805 except for two or three women “who did live among the French inhabitants...

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Grigra Tribe

Grigra Indians, Grigras. A French nickname and the only known name of a small tribe all ready incorporated with the Natchez confederacy in 1720; it was applied because of the frequent occurrences of grigra in their language and ethnic relations, but unless affiliated with the Tonica, the tribe was evidently distinct from every other, since, as indicated by the sound grigra, their language possessed an...

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Fort Toulouse, the Chitimachas and the Natchez Wars

Another war between England and France began in 1718 – the War of the Quadruple Alliance. The French had succeeded in surrounding the British colonies in North America, except for the boundary with Florida.  France seemed poised to have most of the Southeastern Indians as allies.  These advanced Native American provinces represented the densest indigenous population north of Mexico.  However, the British Navy had destroyed French coastal forts and shipping almost at will.  France might control the coastline, but the British controlled the seas. Fort Toulouse – 1717 Anticipating more wars with Great Britain and desiring closer trade relations with the Muskogeans provinces, the French established Fort Toulouse on the Alabama River, at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers.  It was named after Alexandre de Bourbon, Comte de Toulouse. The nearby Alabama Indians called it Franka Choka Chula, which means “French pinewood house.” The combined fortification and trading post was more commonly called Fort des Alibamons by French colonists. Prior to 1763 the Alabama’s occupied most of southern Alabama. The original post commander was Captain Jean Baptiste Louis DeCourtel Marchand.  In 1720 he married Sehoy.  She was the widowed daughter of the mikko of the Taskeke town of Otciapofa and a member of the Wind Clan.  When she was born in 1702, French maps show the Taskeke still living on the Little Tennessee River in the Smoky...

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Natchez Tribe

Natchez Indians. A well-known tribe that formerly lived on and about St. Catherine’s Creek, east and south of the present city of Natchez, Mississippi. The name, belongings to a single town, was extended to the tribe and entire group of towns, which included also peoples of alien blood who had been conquered by the Natchez or had taken refuge with them. Iberville, on his ascent of the Mississippi in 1699, names, in the Choctaw language, the following 8 towns, exclusive of Natchez proper: Achougoulas, Cogoucoula, Ousagoncoula, Pochougoula, Thoucoue, Tougoulas, Yatanocas, and Ymacachas. Of these, Tougoulas and perhaps Thoucoue are the Tioux towns. It is probably safe to infer that the 9 towns, including Natchez, represented the entire group, and that the Corn, Gray, Jenezenaque, White Apple, and White Earth villages are only other names for some of the above, with which it is now impossible to identify them. The Tioux and Grigras were two nations under the protection of the Natchez; both were of alien blood. Du Pratz alludes to a tradition that the Taensa and Chitimacha were formerly united with the Natchez, but left them, though the latter had always recognized them as brothers. The Taensa were, indeed, probably an offshoot of the Natchez, but the Chitimacha were of a distinct linguistic family. It is difficult to form an estimate of the numerical strength of this tribe, as...

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Taensa Tribe

Taensa Indians. A tribe related in language and customs to the Natchez, from whom they must have separated shortly before the beginning of the historic period. There is reason to think that part of the Taensa were encountered by De Soto in 1540, but the first mention of them under their proper name is by La Salle and his companions, who visited them in 1682 on their way to the mouth of the Mississippi. They were then living on Lake St Joseph, an ox-bow cut-off of the Mississippi in the present Tensas Parish, Louisiana. Tonti stopped at their villages in 1686 and 1690, and in 1698 they were visited by Davion, La Source, and De Montigny, the last of whom settled among them as missionary the following year. In 1700 Iberville found him there, and the two returned together to the Natchez, De Montigny having decided to devote his attention to that tribe. St Cosine, who soon succeeded De Montigny among the Natchez, considered the Taensa too much reduced for a separate mission, and endeavored, without success, to draw them to the Natchez. In 1706 the fear of an attack from the Yazoo and Chickasaw induced the Taensa to abandon their settlements and take refuge with the Bayogoula, whom they soon after attacked treacherously and almost destroyed. After they had occupied several different positions along the Mississippi southward of...

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Natchez Indian Tribe

The Natchez having been made the subject of a special study by the writer, 1Indian Tribes of the Lower Miss. Valley and Adj. Coast of the Gulf of Mex., Bull. 43, Bur. Amer. Ethn., pp. 45-257. no extended notice need be given here. Their earliest known home was on St. Catharines Creek, Mississippi, close to the present city which bears their name. After Louisiana was colonized by the French the latter established a post among them, which was in a very flourishing condition when, in the year 1729, it was suddenly cut off by a native uprising. Subsequently the French attacked these Indians, killed many, captured some, whom they sent to Santo Domingo as slaves, and forced the rest to abandon their old country and settle among the Chickasaw. When the French turned their attacks against the Chickasaw the Natchez found it necessary to move again, and some went to the Cherokee, some to the Catawba, and some to the Creeks. Those who went to the Cherokee and Creeks subsequently followed their fortunes, and the latter band was taken in by the Abihka. They seem to have conformed in most particulars to the usages of their neighbors. Taitt thus describes his visit to them on March 27, 1772: I went this morning to black drink to the Square, where I was very kindley received by the head men of the town who told...

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