The Chickasaw in Mississippi and Oklahoma
A TNGenWeb History Presentation

From "The Chickasaw and Their Cessions,"
Compiled by Frederick Smoot, ©1996

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Author's Note

This paper could easily end here, for the Chickasaw cease to be an active part of Tennessee's story. Yet, the Chickasaws' story certainly did not end with the Great Chickasaw Cession; it just continued in Mississippi.

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Chickasaws in Mississippi

Most of the traditional homeland of the Chickasaw remained in their possession, but they had ceded all of their Kentucky and Tennessee hunting lands. Afterward, the bounds of Chickasaw land ran from the Mississippi River, eastward to just inside Alabama, and northward from approximately the 34th to 35th parallels of latitude. Again, the eyes of the Anglo-American settlers turned toward Chickasaw land. The new State of Mississippi certainly did not favor the Chickasaw.

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"Old Hickory," a.k.a. "Sharp Knife"
By the time Andrew Jackson became a candidate for president in 1828, the subject of Indian removal had become a national issue. Jackson's attitude as a strong partisan of the states that desired removal was well known . . . he became the outstanding exponent of the white man's relentless contest for lands of the Indian. Logically one of the first important measures to be urged by Jackson after his election was what became known as the Indian Removal Bill . . . After one of the bitterest debates in the history of Congress, this bill was enacted into law on May 28, 1830.

This bill did not require the removal of the Indians, but it "announced a federal policy favorable to Indian removal " and, thus, gave Jackson the means to accomplish those ends.

"President Jackson lost no time in taking steps to carry the new law into effect." In Franklin, Tennessee, at the home of Gen. John H. Eaton, Jackson's Secretary of War, President Jackson, Eaton and John Coffee, in August, 1830, met with a Chickasaw delegation. (29)

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An Un-Ratified Treaty with the Chickasaw, 1830

On 31 August 1830, at Franklin, Tennessee, the Chickasaw Nation ceded

to the United States all the land owned and possessed by them on the East side of the Mississippi River, where they at present reside, and which lie north of the following boundary, vis: beginning at the mouth of the Oacktibbyhaw (or Tibee) creek; thence, up the same, to a point, being a marked tree, on the old Natchez road, about one mile Southwardly from Wall's old place; thence, with the Choctaw boundary, and along it, Westwardly, through the Tunicha old fields, to a point on the Mississippi river, about twenty-eight miles, by water, below where the St. Francis river enters said stream, on the West side. All the land North, and North-East of said boundary, to latitude thirty-five North the South boundary of the State of Tennessee, being owned by the Chickasaws, are hereby ceded to the United States.

One or more commissioners and not more than twelve Chickasaw were then to look for an appropriate new home land, west of Arkansas.

If, after proper examination, a country suitable to their wants and condition can not be found; then, it is stipulated and agreed, that this treaty, and all its provisions, shall be considered null and void.(30)

The suitable country was NOT found. And . . .

While the Chickasaw treaty of 1830 was never ratified by the Senate, it served as an entering wedge for the white people who began pressing into the Chickasaw country of Alabama and Mississippi.(31)
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Treaty of Pontotoc
20 October 1832,
at the Council House on Pontotoc Creek.
. . . the Chickasaw nation do hereby cede, to the United States , all land which they own on the east side of the Mississippi River, including all the country where they at present live and occupy.

The United States agreed to survey and sell Chickasaw land and pay to the Chickasaw all monies from the sales, minus surveying and selling costs. The Chickasaw agreed to procure land west of the Mississippi River. In time, the Chickasaw were able to obtain land in Indian Country from their old neighbors, the Choctaw.

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Indian Country -- Indian Territory

>From 1833 to 1840, the Chickasaw removed from Mississippi and relocated in Indian Country. It would seem that their removal was not as difficult as the Cherokee removal. Yet, there was disease, death, and a large loss of livestock and other property. (33)

In 1834, the U. S. Congress created a large reserve, which was denominated "Indian Country." (34) This reserve was in the western and northwestern parts of the old Louisiana Purchase. The Chickasaw settled in that southern part of Indian Country, or what became, in 1907, the Oklahoma counties of Carter, Grady, Jefferson, Johnston, Love, McClain, Marshall, Murray, Pontotoc, and Stevens. (35) The Chickasaw story continues in Oklahoma.

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This page was last updated 05 August 1998.