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
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
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
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
“Whose glossy locks to shame might bring The plumage of the raven’s
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
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