Letters from Forgotten Ancestors
TNGenWeb Project

A Stipend for a Kingdom
or Let the Seller Beware ~ 1815
Copyright © 1997, George E. Webb, Jr., All Rights Reserved.

Manuscript postmark: Chickasaw Agency, 2nd Octr., and manuscript rate: 25½

Addressee: Major Genl Andrew Jackson, Nashville

Manuscript docket: Chickasaw Agency - Colo. Wm Cocke
letter of the 30th of Sept 1815 - advising of the distribution of the goods forwarded to the C. Nation ----

Chickasaw Agency 30th Septembr 1815
Last evening I returned from distributing the foods among the Indians at Colberts ferry the number of Indians that attended at the distribution was two thousand Six hundred and fifty four -- the accounts given in of those that Staid at home and ware absent was one thousand Seven hundred and forty Six Waryers [Warriors] that are fit for the field are about Six hundred and Eighty the whole number of including men and Women & Children appear to be four thousand four hundred, I have endeavored to fulfill the purpose of your Orders by giving to merits its due and have discrimonated the following persons to whom I have given the various sums annexed to & opposite their names which distribution I hope will meet the entire approbation of the Government of the UnStates and be well approved of by you as I believe it has by every Indian of the Chickasaw Nation, after giving to every Indian present as near as I conviniently could their Salable part of the goods and apportioning the residue for the benefit of those that tarred at their homes. I delivered them to the four principle Leaders for the use of the absentees which leaders ware Tessua Mingo, William McGilbery, Peason Tubba & Samuel Siley.
The sum I gave Genl William Colbert was $100
Colo George Colbert $75, Major James Colbert, $50. = $125
Levy Colbert $50, King Chennubbe $50. = $100
Tessua Mingo $50, Capt Wm McGilbery $25. = $75
Capts Poyahomo & Saml Siley $25 each. = $50
Capts James Brown & Tuskhopo $25 each. = $50
Capts Poyholotta & Poyohomo $25 each. = $50
Captn Nobbet, = $25
Capts Cohomotler & Mucklushopoy $25 each. =$50
Capts Tuscamba & Pasons Tubbe $25 each. =$50
Capts Wm Glover & Emithermuo $25 each. =$50
The old Horton & George Billy Grove $25 each. =$50
Simon Burney & Samuel McGee $12½ each. =$25

Total $800

The above sums have been given to the above persons The two last mentioned I distinguished on the recommendation of Colo John McHee under whose Command their gallant Conduct & Bravery was most conspicious at the Battle on the Black Waryer. If Sir at any time I have omited to do what my Government or any of its friends have thought my duty I have one comfort that none can deprive me of and that is I always have done & will continue to do what my best Judgment Shall instruct me to believe my duty.

Your friend & obdt Servt

Signed: Wm Cocke agent for UnS to Chickasaws

William Cocke (1747 ~ 1828). Autograph letter signed as United States Agent to the Chickasaw Nation. Chickasaw Agency House (near present Columbus Mississippi), 30 September 1815. 2½pp, 4to. To Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, who docketed the letter with a seven-line inscription on the verso. Integral address leaf present: "Chickasaw Agency/2nd Octr.//Major Genl Andrew Jackson/Nashville"/(manuscript 25½ rate).

Cocke, whose short lived appointment as agent to the Chickasaws by President Madison was likely due to Jackson's recommendation, reports on the size of the Chickasaw tribe, and accounts for the payment just made. Through a treaty in 1806, the US government agreed to pay cash in annual installments to the Indians in return for peaceful relations, and eventually their lands. Mentioned by name are the most of the important leaders of the Chickasaw Nation-William Colbert, James Colbert, Levy Colbert, Chinnubby ~ King of the Chickasaws, Teshaumingo, William McGivery, etc. These payments, referred to by some as "bribes", eventually lead to the Jackson Purchase, through which the US bought all the land in Tennessee and Kentucky between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers.

In his closing lines, Cocke reaffirms his commitment to his duties and to the instructions of Jackson.

Cocke, long-time resident of Hawkins County at his home known as Mulberry Grove (now inundated by a TVA lake), was one of the most important figures in Tennessee history in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.

Transcription and Notes by George E. Webb, Jr.

Editor's notes:
1. Colberts Ferry was located at the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama where the Natchez Trace crosses that river.
2. This historically significant letter would value in the four figure area.

From the Collection of George E. Webb, Jr.
Provenance: Walter R. Benjamin, Inc., 1986

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