Location: Le Flore County OK

Journey to the Indian Country

It had been arranged that I should remain on my circuit till the middle of May, and then take the coach for St. Louis, and thence ascend the Missouri river to Fort Leavenworth; from that place I should visit the Indian Manual-Labor School in the Shawnee tribe, in order to become acquainted with their plans of operation, and best methods of imparting instruction to children who did not yet understand our language. My instructions directed me to travel by land from the Shawnee tribe, through the Indian country, to Fort Coffee, a distance of three hundred miles. As my duty

Border Indians

The policy of the United States Government, for many years, has been to colonize the Indian tribes in a separate territory upon the western frontier. By consulting the maps published fifteen or twenty years since, a region of country, west of the states, will be seen, with its metes and bounds distinctly defined, designated, the INDIAN TERRITORY. It was bounded on the east by Arkansas and Missouri; on the north by Platte river; on the south by Red river, and on the west by the wild tribes, known as the “Prairie Indians.” Within the Indian, territory, not including the wild

The Fort Coffee Mission

At the preceding session of the Arkansas conference, which had been held at Helena, Rev. John M. Steele had been appointed to labor in the Choctaw nation, within the limits of the Moshulatubbee district. There were no societies or Churches at the time, and probably not one in the district who enjoyed the comforts of religion or that had ever been a member of There had been occasional preaching years before by Baptist ministers, but with so little encouragement that the efforts had been discontinued and the district abandoned. In all that region of country, it is believed, there was

Choctaw Government

A number of the larger tribes had adopted republican forms of government, modeled after ours in their leading features. On the first day of July, 1839, the wise men of the Cherokee nation assembled in convention, or council, to frame an organic law, or constitution, for the government of the nation. After patient and mature deliberation, they adopted a constitution essentially republican, which has now been in force for a score of years. Their government consists of the executive, legislative, and judicial departments. The executive power is lodged in a chief, an assistant-chief, and a council of five, all of

The Choctaw Character

The Choctaws were quiet and peaceable among themselves, and no less so in their bearing and inter-course with neighboring tribes. They were ordinarily temperate in their habits, yet on “pay-day ” and other public occasions, they would, if it were possible, procure oko-ho-ma–whisky–and indulge in a “big drunk.” The United States agent and the officers of the tribe were indefatigable in their efforts to prevent the introduction and traffic of intoxicating liquors among them. The contraband article was, however, sometimes smuggled into the country, when its effects were soon visible. We rarely saw one intoxicated during our sojourn in the

Choctaw Education

There were many scores of men and women who were earnest, devoted, and consistent disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. The labors of the faithful missionaries had prepared them for the adoption of a general system of education a system adapted to their necessities. At the time the General Government purchased their lands in Mississippi a school fund was created, and provision was made for a number of schools, to be located at the most eligible points, and to be free to all who should be willing to patronize them. Immediately after their removal to their present homes the schools

Choctaw Social Habits

The border Indians, so far as we could learn, all lived in families, recognizing the marriage relation, with its duties and obligations. Polygamy was tolerated in most, perhaps all the tribes, yet it did not exist to much extent. The Cherokees had enacted laws to prohibit it, but they had not been very rigorously enforced. The Choctaws tolerated the practice, yet under such restrictions as were well calculated to discourage and finally to suppress it. If a man should separate from, or abandon his wife, his property was liable to be seized by the light-horsemen and appropriated to the benefit

Choctaw Ball Games

The border Indians are all fond of games; many of them have learned to play cards and to gamble with considerable skill; but with the most of the tribes, and especially the Choctaws, ball-playing is the favorite amusement. They have an irresistible passion for such sports and pastimes. Their game was quite similar to that known among our lads as “Bandy.” They did not hurl the ball with the naked hand, but each had a cudgel, about three feet long, at the end of which there was a net-work or basket made to resemble the shape of a man’s hand;

The Indian Territory Country

The Choctaws were removed to their present homes in the year 1837, or about that period. The boundaries of their territory have been given already. Their country was one hundred and twenty miles in extent from north to south, and about fifty in width from east to west; the western boundary, however, was not definitely fixed. Their lands were amply sufficient for their wants present and prospective. The soil was not generally very fertile or productive, except the bottoms, which were not extensive, and liable to inundations so late in the summer as to injure and frequently destroy the growing

Condition of the Choctaws on their Removal

The agents employed by the Government to carry the Indians to the territory, were also required to furnish supplies of provisions for them, for one year after their arrival at their new homes. The journey was long, tedious, and fatiguing. Travel-worn and discouraged, they finally reached the lands designated far them. They had but few educated men, and scarcely any who were wealthy; and having mingled but little with the whites in Mississippi, there were but few half-breeds in the tribe. Intermarriages with our people had been discouraged, and but little sympathy had been cherished for the institutions of Christianity: