(Continued - page 5)
The name of the bayou which forms this island is Oaktark, which is a corruption of the Choctaw “Hohtak,” a beaver pond. There still exists a great beaver dam on this bayou, a few hundred yards below the Oktibbeha and Noxubee county line. This beaver dam must be the same as the one recorded on Romans’ map, and must have been known far and wide among the Choctaws. It was surely on Indian information that Romans recorded it on his map; for it was many miles out of his line of travel.
Hatche oose.—”Hachcha osi,” means Little River, and is applied by Romans to Noxubee river. “Osi” or “use” is a diminutive suffix. Archusa, the name of two streams in Mississippi, one in Smith and one in Clarke county, is a corruption of “Hachchusi,” Little River.
Above Bogue Hooma, the old Choctaw boundary line, there are seven creeks flowing into the Buckatunna on its east side, of which only two have as yet been identified with modem-named creeks.
Going north, the first creek in Phokitaicha, which is a corruption of “Fakit asha,” Turkeys are there, or Turkey Place. This is the modern Turkey creek in Wayne county.
The second creek is Sloopa Ullah, the Sloopa being a clerical slip for “Hoopa.” This name in correct Choctaw is “Opa aiola,” Owl there hoots.
The third creek is Talla Bogue, “Talla Bok,” Palmetto creek.
The fourth creek is Opcale Bogue.—Nothing can be done with the word Opcale.
The fifth creek is Oka Teewawby, which is the modern Brown’s creek.
The sixth creek is Oka Ullah, which is either “Oka ola,” Sounding water, or “Oka hullo,” Beloved water.
The seventh creek is Panchatiwa. Dr. Gatschet has placed an interrogation point after this name, indicating perhaps that it is not very legible on the original map. If so, can it be “Pancha lawa,” Water-flags plenty?
Oka Noxubee.—In correct Choctaw this word is “Oka Nak shobi.” Romans’ translation of the name, Strong smelling water is practically correct. There is no exact English equivalent for the Choctaw word, Nakshobi. It is applied to the strong offensive odor that arises from an overflowed river or creek in the summer time. Persons living near Noxubee are familiar with this odor during a summer freshet. The etymology given of Noxubee in Claiborne’s Mississippi as a Province, Territory and State, p. 485, is altogether out of the question; and the so-called legend is a bit of “buncombe,” for the throwing of the bodies of slain enemies into a river is something unheard of in Indian warfare.
“Oka Tapa.”—This name signifies Water cut off, and is an eastern
tributary of Oktibbeha in Lauderdale county, its modern name being Bales’
Pooscoc Paaha.—There is a creek in Choctaw county, Ala., called “Pusscuss creek,” a tributary of Okatuppa. On the government records this creek is called “Pushcushpear.” The writer feels sure that this is the same name as the “Pooscoo Paaha” on Romans’ map, the “s” at the end of the first word being doubtless inadvertently omitted by the copyist. The name restored to its correct Choctaw orthography is “Puskus Paya,” which means Calling Child, or Child Calling out. The last word, “paya,” first a nasal, is to be seen in the name of Copiah county, which correctly written is “Koi Paya,” Coiling Panther, or Crying Panther. Doubtless in both cases, we should insert the locative prefix, to paya, so often omitted in rapidity of speech. “Puskus apaya,” Child there calls, “Koi apaya,” Panther there coils.
As to the name on Romans’ map, there is no doubt that it was the name applied to the creek referred to above, now abbreviated into Pusscuss, and to the Choctaw town Puskus Paya, which was situated near Pusscuss creek, in sections 7 and 18, township 10, range, 4, west, about three and a half miles a little south of due east of Emory. This is the only Choctaw town of which the writer has any knowledge that stood in what is now Choctaw county. The memory of this town still exists in Choctaw tradition..
Nanna Chacaw.—This name is doubtless derived from “Nanih chaha,” High Hill.
Naniwaya Hatcha, “Nanih Waya Hachcha.”—This is the name of the creek in Winston county on which is situated the noted Choctaw sacred mound. “Hachcha,” means River.
Senti Ailee, “Sinti illi,” Dead Snake.
Senter Bogue, “Sinti Bok,” Snake creek.
Sucktafalaya, “Sakti falaya,” Long Bluff.
Sackta Loosa, “Sakti lusa,” Black Bluff.
Sookhanatcha, the best modern spelling of which is “Suckenatcha.” “Shukha in Hachcha,” translated literally means Hog its river.
Swamps of Beaver dam.—These are the swamps in the’ vicinity of the noted beaver pond, about which the Creeks and Choctaws had the great ball play and fight, of which a correct account is given in Claiborne’s Mississippi as a Province, Territory and State, pp. 496-7, with the exception of the petticoat incident, which is a bit of interpolated fiction. There is another matter in the same connection. The statement that the Creeks claimed this pond by priority of discovery should be taken “with many grains of salt.” The Choctaws, who were great hunters, must surely have been acquainted with the location of all the beaver ponds in their own country. It was customary for the Creeks and Choctaws, in their inter-tribal ball plays, to stake upon the issue of the game, certain small portions of their respective territories. According to an old tradition, the Creeks, once, in this manner, in a ball play with the Choctaws, won a strip of territory on the west side of the Tombigbee, a portion, if not all of it lying in Sumter county, Alabama. In the case of the beaver pond affair, it may be considered a safe conclusion that the Choctaws had simply staked upon the issue of the ball play, a strip of territory embracing these swamps of Beaver dam against an equivalent tract of territory in the Creek country.
Yagna Hoolah.—This name is derived from “Yakni Hullo,” and means Beloved Country.
Yagna Pilata.—”Yakni Pahlata” means Cleft land, or Sunken land. This is a tract of sunken land, several feet deep, nearly half a mile long and from one to two hundred yards wide, situated on the north side of James creek and west of Pusscuss creek, in the northwest quarter of section 5, township 10, range 4, west, Choctaw county, Alabama. It lies a few miles to the east of Romans’ line of travel, and he, no doubt, received his information from the Indians, who must have considered it a noted place, and who evidently exaggerated its size in describing it to Romans.
From Publications The
Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. VI,
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