A Building in or about Fort Coffee

Life Among the Choctaw Indians

A Building in or about Fort Coffee
A Building in or about Fort Coffee

Intervals of leisure are ordinarily rare and brief in the life of an itinerant minister in a new country; he seldom has an hour to devote to miscellaneous reading or literary effort, apart from his appropriate work. At the session of the California conference, held in Sacramento City, September, 1858, the writer was appointed to an extensive and laborious field of labor in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where it was not probable that he could have any time to devote to book-making. But during the prevalence of a winter storm of several days’ continuance and unusual violence, he found himself effectually housed. His meager library was fully read up, and he was at a loss to know how profitably to spend the stormy days and long evenings.

In searching among old papers and manuscripts, the notes and sketches which had been written in the south-west were overhauled. The scenes and events of the past were called up, and he lived over the years of his early ministry in the Indian country. The notes were very brief, but memory was astonishingly faithful in filling up every chasm of the meager outline. During the continuance of that and subsequent storms the following pages were hastily written.

If this little volume shall serve to contribute information, or rescue from oblivion items of interest for the future historian of the Church, or in any degree awaken new interest and zeal in behalf of Indian missions, the writer will feel himself amply compensated for the labor thus expended.

The Indian tribes of the southwest are the largest and most hopeful on the continent; and yet not a single volume has been written, setting forth their history, their state of advancement in religion and the arts of civilized life, or of their future prospects. Whatever may be the judgment pronounced upon this unpretending volume, the writer has the consolation of knowing that his purpose has been to write the truth, and to record such facts as, with Gods blessing, might edify and instruct the reader.


Benson, Henry C. Life Among the Choctaw Indians and Sketches of the South-West. L. Swormstedt & A. Poe. 1860.

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