(Continued - page 2)
Before dismissing Shomo Takali, some reference
should be made to its
5. Qaka Loosa.—In correct Choctaw orthography this word is “Oka Lusa,” and signifies Black Water. There were several settlements on Black Water creek, the sites of some of which have not as yet been identified. On Danville’s map of 1732 there is a Black Water town, by him spelled “Oke Lousa,” on the south side of the creek, apparently, not many miles distant from its confluence with Petickfa. The “Oka Lusa” of Romans’ map is a perplexing problem, for it is not situated on Black Water at all, but on White’s Branch in Kemper county. This branch empties into Petickfa on its south side, in section 32, township 10, range 16, east. There are numerous evidences of a town site on the west side of White’s Branch, extending across Petickfa. This was evidently the Oka Lusa of Romans’ map. It may be possible that White’s Branch was also called “Oka Lusa,” Black Water, in Romans’ day. If so, it would solve the problem.
6. Haanka Ullah.—In correct Choctaw orthography this word is “Hankha aiola.” The name is often incorrectly translated Bawling Goose and Crying Goose. “Hankha ajola,” literally translated is Wild goose there cries. “Hankha,” wild goose; “ai,” the locative preposition prefixed to the verb, “ola,” to cry, to utter a note.
This town was situated on a long fiat-topped ridge between Petickfa and Black Water, in Kemper county. This ridge has an area of several hundred acres and its general trend is northwest and southeast. The town consisted of numerous hamlets, scattered over the ridge, with corn and vegetable patches and peach and plum orchards intervening. There were and still are numerous springs along the declivities of the ridge, which furnished an abundance of water to the people of the town. To be very accurate in giving the situation of Hankha aiola, it was mostly in section 2, township 9, range i6, east; but some portions of it lay along on the western borders of sections 1 and 12. The most populous part of the town was about the center of section 2.
About five hundred yards southwest of this center, near the head of a reed brake branch which runs into Black Water, there was in the old Indian times a pond of water, about seven acres in area, which was a famous resort of wild geese, ducks and other water fowls. From this pond the town received its name. The pond in some places was about twelve feet deep, and it was surrounded by oak woods. Men who saw this pond thus embosomed in the primeval forest, sixty years ago, describe the place as one of wild and romantic beauty. The pond, as the evidence at that day plainly showed, was formed as follows: A trail led from the town southward down the hill, across the valley, which is about fifty yards wide, and up the opposite hill. The rains washed the soil along this trail from the two hills and finally made a levee, which extended entirely across the valley and dammed the waters above it. The creation of this pond is an evidence of the great antiquity of Hankha aiola. It is self-evident that the town existed before the formation of the pond, and it doubtless required one or more centuries for the rains to wash down enough soil from the hills along the trail so as to form the levee.. In the aboriginal days, the washing of the soil in a trail was not so great and rapid as is the case at the present day, owing to the changes incident to the white man’s civilization. Whatever name this Indian town may have had before the making of the pond, it evidently received the name “Hankha aiola” after that time.
The writer is familiar with the similar case of a small pond near the head of a small branch in Neshoba county, which was formed by the washing of the soil down an Indian trail.
In 1852, Mr. Edward Burridge felled the forest, cut the levee, and drained the pond at Hankha aiola. Its wild beauty thus vanished forever before the axe and spade of the white man’s civilization.
About a quarter of a mile southeast of the site of the center of Hankha aiola can be seen the cemetery of its people.
At the time of the treaty of Dancing Rabbit, in 1830, Anumpulitubbee was the chief of Hankha aiola. His cabin stood upon a ridge, about a quarter of a mile east of the pond. A sad and singular event occurred in the life of this chief. Early one summer morning, some years prior to the treaty of 1830, an infant child of Anumpulitubbee was crawling in the yard, on the north side of the cabin, when all at once a large eagle swooped down upon him and bore him away in his talons. The mother heard the child scream, and ran to his rescue, but it was too late. The eagle soon bore the child far away out of sight, and nothing was ever seen or heard of him afterwards. This incident produced a great impression upon the Hankha aiola people. But according to their customs, in due season, they held their funeral obsequies over the lost child.
The people of Hankha aiola abandoned the place in the late ‘30’s, some of them emigrating west to their new nation, others joining other Choctaw communities in Mississippi.
Many interesting relics have been found on the site of Hanklia aiola, some of them belonging to the stone age, and others to modern times. Among the latter may be mentioned some silver coins of Charles III. of Spain, which are evidences of Choctaw traffic with the Spaniards at Natchez and at Pensacola. A silver medal was also found on the town site a number of years ago.
The old Jackson and Narkeeta road traverses the site of Hankha aiola. This road was originally an Indian trail, which passed through several Choctaw towns, three of which are recorded on Romans’ map, Hankha aiola, Shomo Takali and West Mokalusha. A large part of Hankha ajola is now embraced in the farm of Mr. George W. Merrell, to whom the writer is indebted for much information in regard to this ancient Indian town.
7. Last Yaso Skatane.—In correct Choctaw orthography this word is “Yashu Iskitini,” which means Little Yazoc. The “East” was prefixed to it by Romans to distinguish it from West Yazoo in Neshoba county, which was a much larger town.
There is a creek in Kemper county known as Yazoo creek, which empties into Fetickfa on its north side, in section 35, township 10, range 17, east. About a mile above its mouth, this creek forks, the western prong retaining the name of Yazoo creek, the eastern prong being known as Flat creek or Flat Branch. Yazoo creek is not laid down on Romans’ map, although he has indicated the Choctaw settlements on that stream and its prongs.
Little Yazoo Town lay on both sides of Yazoo creek, between its mouth and the fork which is about a mile above. It seems to have had but a scant population. After the treaty of 1830, a large portion of the town or settlement was included in the improvements of a noted Indian, named Nocky-ho-mah-hah-cho (Naki homma hacho), who resided on it until his death in 1844. His name signifies Mad Red Arrow. “Hacho” or “Hadjo” is a Creek word, meaning mad, crazy, and was adopted by the Choctaws as part of a man’s war-name.
The cemetery of the Yazoo people was on a high bluff on the left bank of Petickfa, about a mile above the town. The Choctaw burying grounds were always upon some elevated spot or hill, or if the town was in a valley, upon the highest knolls or bluffs.
A notice of Little Yazoo Town can be seen in Col. A. J. Pickett’s manuscript Historical Ingatherings, “second conversation with Col. G. S. Gaines,” page 5.
8. Ebita poocola skatane.—Romans,
as all the evidence shows, had but little knowledge of the Choctaw language,
and wrote many Choctaw names as they sounded to his ears. Restored
to its correct form, this settlement, which was on the western or main
prong of Yazoo creek, was “Ibetap okia iskitini.” “Ibetap” means the fountain-head
of a stream, and the head of this western prong was no doubt considered
the main fountain of Yazoo creek. Literally translated, the name of the
settlement is Fountain head’s Little People, the word Little, “iskitini,”
showing that it was a smaller settlement than “Ibetap okla chitto,” the
settlement numbered 19 on Romans’ map.
10. Cutha Aimethaw.—The writer can do nothing with this settlement. Romans here seems to have been bewildered in his topography, and has made a hopeless botch in the spelling of the name. The subject is reserved for future investigation.
11. Avanabi.—The creek on which this town was situated is not laid down on Romans’ map. The correct Choctaw form is “lyanabi,” or “Yanabi,” and means Ironwood. Yannubbee Town was situated on Yannubbee creek, a tributary of Petickfa, and was about eight miles southwest of De Kaib. It was situated mostly in sections 22, 26, and 27, township 10 range 15, east. For a sketch of this Choctaw town, generally spelled “Yannubbee,” the reader is cited to the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. III., pp. 368-369. And for the story of the military execution of the Yannubbee renegades, to the Transactions of the Alabama Historical Society, Vol. III., pp. 212-213. Yannubbee Town will thus be dismissed with the statement that there were Indians living in the place as late as 1842.
12. Oka Altakala.—If this is “Oka Alhtakala,” which means between the waters, from its position on the map, it must be the name of a small settlement immediately in the confluence of Petickfa and Yannubbee creeks.
13. Escooba.—In correct Choctaw this word is “Oskoba.” The town of this name was evidently a few miles east or northeast of Yannubbee Town, perhaps on or near Petickfa, but certainly, as is evidenced by its name, near some reed brake. Oskoba is worn down from “Oski holba,” “Oskolba,” “Oskoba.” “Oski,” cane; “holba,” like, similar, cane-like, that is reed, reed brake. The word is used synonymously with “Kushak.”
14. East Coongeeto.—This word is often spelled “Cooncheto.” According to the writer, it is a compound, worn down from “Kushak” (u nasal) and “chitto,” big, the name meaning Big Reed brake. For the present, all that can be said about its traditional location is that it was near Moscow. Future research may give us the precise location. East Cooncheto was destroyed in the Choctaw civil war of 1764.
15. Lukfa.—In correct Choctaw this word is “Lukfi,” and means earth, dirt. Apart from the fact that it seems to have been located on the head waters of some of the prongs of Sukenatcha, nothing further can be said about it.
16. Bogue Too cob chitto.—This word is correctly spelled “Bok Tuklo chitto.” It means Two Big Creeks, that is, the confluence of two big creeks. As is evidenced by the name itself, as well as by its direction from Olitassa, this town was situated at the confluence of Running Tiger and Sukenatcha, about four miles northwest of De Kaib. Running Tiger is a translation of the Choctaw name “Shakbatina Baleli ;“ “shakbatina,” the short-tailed wild cat, and “baleli,” to run. Reliable Choctaw tradition also confirms the location and name of this Indian town.
From Publications The
Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. VI,
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