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Antiquities of Newton County (cont.)

This inference is drawn from the writings of the early explorers, who have des scribed the habits, customs, and buildings of the early Indians.

     A seventh place (number 4) given by Romans was “Tallaw.” This is “Tala Town,” one of the sub-divisions of the Six Towns Choctaws. “Tala” signifies Palmetto. The name still exists in “Tarlow creek.” Tala Town embraced all the territory lying between Tarlow creek and Bogue Felammie, both creeks are tributaries of Pottoc Chitto. Tala Town was a thickly settled community and nearly all its people emigrated in the second and third emigrations in 1832 and 1833.

     This closes Romans’ list of Choctaw towns in Newton county. There were unquestionably many other towns in the county, but those given above seem to have been the only ones given to Romans by his Indian informants. According to the view of the writer, Romans’ line of travel led through no part of Newton county.

     As a supplement to Romans’ list of places, two other Choctaw towns that once existed in Newton county will now be given. The first is “Oka Hullo,” Beloved water, which was a large scattering town, standing partly in Newton and partly in Neshoba county.  The part in Neshoba was in section 33, township 9, range 12, east. The part in Newton was in section 3, township 8, range 12, east.  There was a trail that led from this town easterly to Mokalusha Town in Neshoba county, and westerly to a town in Newton county called “Okhata Talaia,” Spreading pond, which was situated in the southwest quarter of section 11 township 7, range 10, east. This town is now [1902] embraced in Mr. J. A. Thomas’ farm. In the center of this town, which stood for the most part upon a high table land, was a pond of water, several acres in area, which was a great resort for wild water fowl.  From this pond the town received its name. The pond was drained in the early ‘40’s. The last chief of Okhata Talaja, before it passed out of Choctaw possession, was named “Hankha,” which means Wild goose.  Some of his descendants still live in the vicinity.

     The trail that led from Okha Hullo to Okhata Talaia continued its course somewhat southwesterly, running through some Indian settlements in Scott county and thence to the Choctaw town of “Chisha foka,” among the post oaks, which stood upon the site of the present city of Jackson.  From Jackson, tradition says, the trail ran to the present site of Vicksburg on the Mississippi river. The Jackson road from DeKaib to Jackson was based upon this old Indian trail.

     The Choctaws of Oka Hullo were very much averse to emigrating west and wished to avail themselves of the privileges of the fourteenth article of the treaty of Dancing Rabbit, but failed to secure these privileges in consequence of the fraudulent actions of Col. Ward, the Choctaw agent. There was so much dissatisfaction among them at one time during Governor Runnel’s administration, that the white settlers in the vicinity became quite uneasy
—their uneasiness, no doubt, being utterly groundless. To allay their apprehensions, the settlers sent a messenger to Governor Runnels at Jackson, informing him of the situation. The Governor came to the place, and on his arrival a council was held in the town. The Governor made a very conciliatory talk to the Indians, the noted Little Leader, it is said, acting as his interpreter. In consequence of the Governor’s talk, a better feeling began at once to prevail among the Indians, .and there was no further complaint on the part of the whites.

     Having given all the information at present available in regard to the Choctaw towns of Newton county, the writer will attempt to give an account of the water courses on Romans’ map in so far as they relate to the same section of the county.

     It may be stated that Romans’ name for the entire course of the Chickasahay does not correspond with the modern designation. As understood at present, Talasha and Chunky creeks unite to form Chunky river; Chunky river and Oktibbeha unite near Enterprise in Clarke county to form Chickasahay; and this stream in turn unites with Leaf river to form the Pascagoula. Captain Romans gives the name “Chickasahay” to Talasha creek. After the confluence of Chunky creek with Talasha the name Chickasahay still adheres to the united waters until they come to the influx of “Gon Bogue,” which creek is certainly Okahatta creek of Newton county. Below the mouth of Okahatta he calls Chunky river “Taka Ocooloo river,” which name is a philological puzzle. “Ocooloo” may however be “OkIa,” People. How far down this name extends is not known. But below the Haiowanni towns in Wayne county, Captain Romans calls Chickasahay river “Pascagoula river.” (The modern spelling is here used.)

     The creek given on Romans’ map as “Chunka bogue” is Chunky creek. It is incorrectly placed too far north, and according to Dr. Gatschet’s lines is in Neshoba county, but nearly all the creek is really in Newton county. “Oon Bogue,” as has been already stated, is “Okahatta creek.” “Oka hata” means White water. “Phiket Lapali,” in correct Choctaw spelling, “Fakit Lapali,” Turkeys stick there, is the modern Turkey creek. On Romans’ map this creek is laid down as emptying into Chunky river. It empties into Pottoc Chitto, and is still known by its Indian name, “Fakit Lapali,” among Choctaws of Newton county. Romans’ map is very confusing in its information with reference to Patac Chitto creek. It gives two creeks of this name, whereas there is only one. He has both the northern “Patoc Chito” and the Phiket Lapali emptying into Chunky river. The southern Patac chito, which is the true and only Patac chito, he has correctly represented. The best informed Choctaws state that “Pottok Chitto” (the usual modern spelling), is worn down from “Patafa Chitto,” which means Big cleft, evidently referring to some deep valley-like gorge through which the creek flows.

     Having finished that part of Bernard Romans’ map of 1772 which relates to Newton county, the writer will give some account of the first American impress upon this county by a notice of the military road of 1816 This road from Carlandville in Jasper county struck Newton county about the center of the southern line of section 32, township 5, range 12, east. From this point it continued its northeast course and in section 1 of the same township and range it crossed Pottok Chitto creek, ran thence to the site of the present town of Hickory, and thence to the Choctaw town of Chunky, crossing Chunky river in the northwest corner of section 8, township 6, range 12, east. From this point it still continued its northeast course until it struck the southwest corner of section 1 township 7, range 13, east. From this point it ran due north a little over three miles, parallel with Talahatta creek. These three miles still exist as a part of the Chunkyville road. The military road crossed Talahatta creek in about the center of section 24, township 8, range 13, east, and extended thence still northeasterly until it passed out of Newton county.
There was an Indian trail that led from Chunky Town northeast to the town of Kunsha Bolutka in the southwestern pail of Kemper county. Kunsha Bolukta was a very ancient Choctaw town, being recorded on Danville’s map of 1732. The trail connecting Chunky Town and Kunsha, Bolukta must have been very ancient, antedating, no doubt, the Columbian discovery by hundreds, perhaps by thousands of years. This trail, whose genesis is lost in the depths of antiquity, after long ages was made to subserve the purposes of civilization by being enlarged and broadened into the white man’s road,—that part of the military road between Kunsha Bolukta and Chunky Town.
This closes a brief account of some of the antiquities of Newton county. The study of the relics of its aborigines, their implements of war and domestic life, the exploration of mounds, all of which would throw light upon the prehistoric age in Newton county, will be left to more learned investigators.