Tohome Indians

Tohome Tribe: Said by Iberville to mean “little chief,” but this is evidently an error.

Tohome Connections. They belonged to the southern branch of the Muskhogean linguistic group, their closest relatives being the Mobile.

Tohome Location. About MacIntosh’s Bluff on the west bank of Tombigbee River, some miles above its junction with the Alabama.

Tohome Subdivisions. Anciently there were two main branches of this tribe, sometimes called the Big Tohome and Little Tohome, but the Little Tohome are known more often as Naniaba, “people dwelling on a hill,” or “people of the Forks;” the latter would be because they were where the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers unite.

Tohome Villages. No others are known than those which received their names from Tohome and its subdivisions.

Tohome History. Cartographical evidence suggests that the Tohome may once have lived on a creek formerly known as Oke Thome, now contracted into Catoma, which flows into Alabama River a short distance below Montgomery. When first discovered by the Whites, however, they were living at the point above indicated. In the De Luna narratives (1559-60) the Tombigbee River is called “River of the Tome.” Iberville learned of this tribe in April 1700, and sent messengers who reached the Tohome village and returned in May. In 1702 he went to see them himself but seems not to have gone beyond the Naniaba. From this time on Tohome history is identical with that of the Mobile and the two tribes appear usually to have been in alliance although a rupture between them was threatened upon one occasion on account of the murder of a Mobile woman by one of the Tohome. In 1715 a Tohome Indian killed an English trader named Hughes who had come overland from South Carolina, had been apprehended and taken to Mobile by the French and afterward liberated. A bare mention of the tribe occurs in 1763 and again in 1771-72. They and the Mobile probably united ultimately with the Choctaw.

Tohome Population. In 1700 Iberville estimated that the Tohome and Mobile each counted 300 warriors, but 2 years later he revised his figures so far that he gave 350 for the two together. In 1730 Regis de Rouillet estimated that there were 60 among the Tohome and 50 among the Naniaba. In 1758 Governor De Kerlerec estimated that the Mobile, Tohome, and Naniaba together had 100 warriors. (See Mobile.)

Muskogean, Tohome,

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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