(continued - page 5)

Cumberland Mission

     About the time that the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia were agitating the subject of sending missionaries to the Chickasaws, the Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian church in Tennessee determined to send missionaries to that nation. Rev. Robert Bell then resided in Monroe county, Miss., not far from the Indian border. He was induced to assume charge of the Cumberland mission. He made a visit to James Colbert soon after Messrs. Humphreys and Stuart had left to go back home. Colbert showed Bell the written agreement between the Chickasaws and the missionaries. Bell got a copy of this agreement, and, with the necessary alterations, a similar one was adopted by the Chickasaw council with reference to the Cumberland missionaries. 

     So that, in the year, 1820, the Chickasaws granted two charters in nearly the same language for two different missions. Bell, having gotten this grant, went home and at once moved to Cotton Gin and took hold of his missionary work. When Mr. Stuart got to Monroe Station in January, 1821, he received intelligence that the Cumberland Presbyterians were already at work. The South Carolina brethren were the first to get permission to come, but the Tennessee brethren were nearer the Chickasaws and were the first in the field. “Mr. Bell established a school and preached to the Indians.” 

     The Cotton Gin and Monroe Station missions continued till the Chickasaws were removed to the West in 1837.  In 1834 Mr. Bell settled near Pontotoc, Miss., where he lived the remainder of his days.  He taught an Indian school, two and a half miles northeast of Cotton Gin Port. John Bell was his son and a nephew of United States Senator Bell, of Tennessee.

     In the French and Indian War most of the Nortwestern Indians took sides with France against England. Braddock’s defeat and the bloody barbarities along the western frontier of the English colonies was a result of the French-Indian coalition. At this period, a white man, known to the Indians as Major McIntosh was sent by the British to visit the Chickasaws for the purpose of keeping alive their old hostility to the French. Not much is known of McIntosh’s diplomacy, but the Chickasaws remained in amicable relations with the English. 

     When the war was ended, McIntosh stayed with the Chickasaws. He married a native and became a person of importance among the simple people of the forest. He found the whole Chickasaw nation residing in one big village. He persuaded them to scatter out more. He planted a colony south of Pontotoc at a place called “Tocshish,” put down on old maps as “Mclntoshville.” We are told that “this colony became the favorite residence of the renegade white men and half-breeds.”

     There was a higher civilization, more wealth and intelligence in the Tocshish settlement than in any other part of the Nation. McIntosh established a stock farm at Toccopola, where, for some years, his crop was destroyed by “bands of Buffalo.”  He visited Hot Springs, Ark., about 1816 to recover his health.  He died at a very advanced age, and was buried there.
     After the Revolutionary War many Loyalists took refuge with the Indian tribes; some became citizens among the Chickasaws. The early white settlers were familiar with the names of Allen, Love, and Pickens.

     Little is known of Allen. He succeeded Major McIntosh in the possession of the old farm at Tocopola.  Thomas Love was the father of Ben, Henry, Isaac, and Slone Love, Chickasaw chiefs.
Pickens was a distant relative of the Patriot of the same family name, who did such good work for the colonies in South Carolina. As his relatives were all Whigs, and he was a Tory, he left the country after the Revolution, and his nearest relatives did not know what became of him. 

     A younger brother went to Monroe Station with Rev. Thomas C. Stuart, and took charge of the Mission farm at that place. He found his brother’s grave, after some time, near old Monroe Station.  The refugee Loyalist had married an Indian woman, and raised a respectable offspring.  Some of his descendants were prominent among the Chickasaws, as late as 1876.  He married a second time, and the history of his second wife is connected with that of Bernard McLaughlin, a native-born Irishman, who, in his youth was a good classical scholar and who had been educated for a high position in life. He came to America, landing at New Orleans. He became, for a time a resident of Natchez, Miss. After the close of the War of 1812, he determined to hunt for a new home in Kentucky. He was journeying along the old Natchez Trace with this intention, when he heard that the Creeks had made a raid on the Chickasaws, and that it was dangerous for him to go farther. He sought shelter under the Pickens’ roof, fell in love with the young widow and married her. This settled him among the red men for life. 

     When the Indians moved to the West, McLaughlin went with them. His early training prepared him for a sphere of usefulness in some cultured community, but he became to all intents and purposes a naturalized Indian, and his descendants, by blood as well as manners, were Indian.

     One of the most interesting refugee Loyalists was James G. Gunn. He, too, found an asylum and a Chickasaw wife after the Revolution, his new home being among the Chickasaws in what was afterwards Lee county, Miss. He was a native of Virginia, but fought for George III. A town in Lee county bears his name, “Guntown.” He first settled in what was afterwards Pontotoc county, near Tocshish. He became wealthy and owned many negro slaves, but allowed no idleness or fun on his premises on the 4th of July. To the end of his long life he celebrated the birthday of George III.  He died in 1826. For a number of years some of his descendants lived near Guntown, and it may be, many of them still [in 1904] live in that part of the State. The beautiful Rhoda Gunn, 

“the belle of the Chickasaws, and the fairest rose that bloomed in the wilderness,”
“Whose glossy locks to shame might bring The plumage of the raven’s wing.”

     She was a daughter of the loyal Gunn, and passed her childhood years in Lee county.  She married Samuel Colbert of mixed blood, but they separated.  She had one child by Colbert,—a girl, who grew up, married and left the county.  Rhoda, after her separation from Colbert, married Joseph Potts, a white man, by whom she had two sons :—Taylor and Joseph. Molly Gunn, Rhoda’s mother, previous to her marriage to James Gunn, was married to Oxberry, a Cherokee. A daughter of Molly and Oxberry became the mother of Cyrus Harris. Mrs. Potts died in 1879.

To Page 6
Return to Menu

Copyright 2001 - All Rights Reserved
Ellen Pack