The Chickasaw Village Sources
The Village Location Keys
Remaining Village Locations
The Decades and the Villages
Slide Show -
Current Village Locations
Following the massacre at Fort Rosalie, the French spent the year tracking the Natchez and trying to destroy them. The Natchez had cost the French more than a fort and its inhabitants; they had jeopardized the French reputation and honor, among the Indian Nations of Louisiana and Carolina.
Governor Perrier firmly fixed the blame for the Fort Rosalie massacre on the Chickasaw (MPA I 118). He concluded that their efforts were part of a grander plan to eliminate the French."It was the Chickasaw who conducted the whole intrigue", he wrote.
When in 1731 a large group of renegade Natchez arrived at the Chickasaw village of Falatchao (MPA IV 71), Perrier got his indictment of the Chickasaw. Moreover, the Natchez intended to stay with the Chickasaw, as the French soon reported that the Natchez had built a village among the Chickasaw (MPA IV 78). Adair (Adair 1775 353) does not find the Chickasaw relationship with the Natchez as unusual as the Natchez "always kept a friendly intercourse with the Chikkasah". The French soon detected a second group of Natchez moving into the Chickasaw (MPA IV 80). To retaliate, Perrier in November 1732 hatched a plan to destroy the Chickasaw (MPA I 163), but he would not carry out that plan.
In August 1733 Bienville replaced Perrier as Governor of Louisiana. He wrote the Ministry of the Colonies that the largest remnant of the Natchez had settled among the Chickasaw (MPA I 196), creating a situation of necessity to "reestablish our reputation among the nations of the continent . . ." (MPA I 198).
In 1733 the Baron de Crenay produced his map (Swanton BAE 73 Plate 5) of Louisiana naming and locating Indian villages, including the Chickasaw. His map, Figure 6, indicated nine distinct towns among the Chickasaw, see Table 1. Note that an interpretation of the De Crenay map is shown on Figure 7.
Bienville (MPA I 198) fixed the blame for a December 1732 raid on the Wabash River firmly on the Chickasaw. To settle this score, Bienville in 1733 encouraged the northern Indian Nations in Canada to attack the Chickasaw (MPA I 199, 206); he also invoked the Choctaw to take up arms against the Chickasaw (MPA I 212).
The Choctaw attacked and burned the corn of the Chickasaw in 1734 (MPA I 230) and later in 1734 conducted a successful campaign against the Chickasaw village Chatelaw (MPA I 245). Table 1 associates Chatelaw with Adair's 1720 Shatara (Tchichatala), see Figure 1. The campaign against Chatelaw was directed by Red Shoe, a Choctaw chief, and described by Diron D'Artaguette (MPA I 245) . . . "The band had gone to a village of the enemy named Chatelaw whose inhabitants it expected to take by surprize. It happened that the latter had left their huts and had retired into two forts that they have in the same village, fearing some attack either from the nations of the north or from the Choctaws themselves who harass them incessantly. This precaution protected them from surprise, and would have rendered fruitless the measures of our Choctaws if they had not thought of a stratagem quite new among them. They all lay in ambush except fifteen men who appeared in sight of the two forts, firing upon them to induce the enemy to come out and to pursue them. In fact the Chickasaws were ashamed to be defiled with impunity by this small number." This attack reportedly cost the Chickasaw forty-five dead. The Choctaw were encouraged by this action.
The northern nations also reported successes against the Chickasaw in 1733 and 1734 with 34 and 42 Chickasaw killed or captured (MPA III 666), respectively. Choctaw and northern nations' (Illinois, Iroquois and Piankashaws) wars against the Chickasaw continued (MPA I 265) in 1735.
Bienville hoped that the pressures of war would compel the Chickasaw to fall upon their Natchez guests, and he was supported in that hope by two Chickasaw envoys (MPA I 275) who sought peace. However, when English traders brought their trade goods into Choctaw villages, Bienville had enough of dealing with the Chickasaw. He set to planning a French led war against the Chickasaw. In 1736 he planned coordinated attacks on the Chickasaw villages using a northern French army under Pierre d'Artaguette who was in command at Fort Chartres which would attack overland from the Chickasaw bluffs and a southern army led by himself (MPA I 293-4) which would travel up the Tombigbee as far as possible and attack by land.
As it turned out, the attacks were not coordinated; Bienville did not meet the northern French force under Pierre d'Artaguette at the Chickasaw Bluffs due to the tardiness of his Mobile settler work force (MPA I 294) and his boat builders. Pierre d'Artaguette did not wait on Bienville, and his northern force attacked the village of Ougoula Tchetoka on Palm Sunday 1736. Bienville later described where this action (MPA I 312) occurred . . . "on the margin of the large prairie of the Chickasaws there was a village separated from the others where there were no more than thirty cabins". Ougoula Tchetoka was also spelled Ongoulastoga by De Crenay, see Table 1.
Earlier in February 1736 Bienville (MPA I 288) wrote of the Chickasaw villages . . . "the Chickasaw are situated in a rather large plain divided into seven villages of which five have each a stockade fort and all have several fortified cabins; that the Natchez are divided into two villages of which the smallest, which has no fort at all, is in the middle of the plain, and the other, which has a good fort, is at one extremity of the eastern side." Pierre d'Artaguette's force was all but wiped out.
Bienville segregated the Chickasaw villages into either the "large" or "small" prairies to distinguish the locations of the Chickasaw and Natchez villages. He explained the relationships of the large and small prairies (MPA I 304) while following his Choctaw guides on the eve of his belated 1736 battle . . . "Their guides after having made us march here and there in the woods as if to lead us to the large prairie where is the main part of the Chickasaw and Natchez villages led us at last to a prairie which is possibly a league in circumference in the middle of which we saw three small villages situated in a triangle on the crest of a hill at the foot of which an almost dry stream was flowing. This small prairie is only a league distant from the large one and is separated from it by a wood."
Bienville lost patience with Red Shoe and his Choctaw allies who preferred the French to attack the Chickasaw in the small prairie, as opposed to the Natchez in the large prairie. On the battle's eve Bienville found himself between the two prairies and relented to the Choctaw desires. The next morning he attacked the three villages (MPA I 307) of the small prairie on April 26, 1736. Bienville's force was estimated to have 600 French and Swiss and an equal or superior number of Choctaw (MPA I 316). Bienville fared slightly better than Pierre d'Artaquette in that he retreated from the Chickasaw with his life.
With two defeated French armies at the hands of the Chickasaw, Bienville (MPA I 313) wrote his minister in Paris of Louisiana's situation . . . "After the double defeat that we have just received at the Chickasaws one can not doubt that all the Indian nations are waiting to see the method that we shall adopt to obtain ample satisfaction . . .". In deciding what action to take against the Chickasaw Bienville writes in a letter to the Ministry of the Colonies (MPA I 321), "an honest war would be better than a bad peace". He prepared for another, larger French led campaign against the Chickasaw.
Bienville wanted the Choctaw to keep pressure on the Chickasaw and some did per Diron d'Artaguette (MPA I 340), the brother of the then deceased Pierre d'Artaguette. In May 1737 he reported about the Choctaw, "they go in little bands of five, ten, twelve, twenty men and there are at present about ten of them on the march who will not fail to bring us back scalps". But the Choctaw, especially Red Shoe, were again listening to the English traders' overtures among the Chickasaw (MPA I 371, 380). The introduction of the English traders caused a rift among the Choctaw, and, for a time, the French could not get the divided Choctaw in the field to fight the Chickasaw. What resulted was a shaky Chickasaw/Choctaw peace, much to the dissatisfaction of the French. The French were incensed and in a letter from King Louis XV (MPA I 376) to Bienville he wrote, "His Majesty is convinced . . . and does not doubt at all that Sieur de Bienville will succeed in accomplishing the destruction of the Chickasaw Indians".
Bienville listened to his King. The peace did not last. Bienville wrote that Sieur Delery returned to the Chickasaw villages in late October 1737 with a force of more than 900 Choctaw (MPA III 703-4) and"discovered that the villages of the small prairie had been abandoned a few days before. He found there the remains of four forts that the enemies had burnt when they retired." Bienville further recorded that Delery with his Choctaw force left the small prairie and . . . "went together to this prairie (large) where those of the abandoned villages took refuge." Additionally Bienville sums up that Sieur Delery forces "had killed two men and a woman at Chatelaw, one of the villages of this large prairie of the Chickasaws". This notes that the small prairie villages were abandoned and had moved to the large prairie, an important notation as we shall see below. And Chatelaw had moved to the large prairie.
De Batz map "Plan and Situation of the Chickasaw Villages" (MPA IV 155), see Figure 8, of September 1737 proved timely for Bienville's planning of the Chickasaw destruction. The map detailed the location of the Chickasaw and Natchez villages and their relative positions and sizes. Bienville's plan included 550 troops to be sent from France (MPA I 381) and artillery, cannon and mortars (MPA I 385). The force also included French regular and colonial troops from the colony. This force was to assemble in New Orleans and meet a Northern French force under Captain Celoron's command at the Chickasaw Bluffs on the Mississippi River in the fall of 1739. These French armies would also enlist Indian allies, Arkansas, Missouris and Iroquois as well as Canadian Voyageurs. All told the French forces exceeded two thousand in number. Bienville did not include the Choctaw in his planning as he did not trust them; also the Choctaw had again permitted English traders into some of their villages. Bienville just before setting out for the Chickasaw Bluffs noted that the Choctaw had broken their peace with the Chickasaw (MPA I 399).
Bienville (MPA I 393-394) was determined to define the situation of the Chickasaw villages in 1739 prior to implementing his attack . . . "If I admit that I do not know exactly the situation of the forts of the enemies, it is not because I have neglected anything in order to be informed of it but I have found so much contradiction in the report of the Choctaws . . . All that I have been able to comprehend from these different reports is that the prairie of the Chickasaws is possibly about two leagues in circumference; that the seven villages that compose this nation are situated in the middle of this prairie on little eminences by which it is broken; that each of theses villages is defended by a fort of piles and by several fortified cabins also of piles covered over with a very thick and very hard mud wall; that these cabins are arranged in such a way that they defend each other mutually; and that all these villages appear to be only one which occupies nearly one third of the prairie; finally, that this prairie is broken by two little streams which pass through most of the villages and which in the times of drought are scarcely enough for their needs. " Bienville found all of the villages in the large prairie, and he found them heavily defended.
Bienville's grand force did not destroy the Chickasaw as weather, poor roads, lack of food and nagging logistics prevented him from reaching their villages with his main force. His campaign ended in early 1740. The French managed one raid against the Chickasaw led by Captain Celoron (MPA I 441), and it was ineffective. Bienville concluded the campaign by graciously granting a peace between the French and Chickasaw. Putting this failure in a good light, he smugly noted in a letter (MPA I 461) to the Ministry of the Colonies, "These Chickasaw . . . are not in a position to cause by themselves uneasiness to the Colony". Once again, the Chickasaw would prove Bienville wrong.
In this decade initially because of the Natchez among the Chickasaw, the French were concerned about the location and situation of the Chickasaw villages. There were numerous French and allied Indians attacking the Chickasaw villages who provided glimpses of the village(s). In addition there were two significant French maps, De Crenay and De Batz. Bienville in his letters to France made several notations about the villages.
Note the 1733 De Crenay, Figure 6, and 1737 De Batz, Figure 8, maps. The De Crenay map is regional and the scale of the Chickasaw villages small. De Crenay did not visit the Chickasaw villages prior to his map and would have relied on another description of them. Nevertheless, the maps demonstrate a good deal of accuracy. The De Batz map was drawn from a deerskin map of the Chickasaw drawn by Captain of Pacana, an Alabama chief (MPA IV I55) who had just visited the Chickasaw. There are several discrepancies between the maps despite the slight difference in time. The De Batz map will be relied upon to adjudicate the discrepancies.
Bienville used the terms "small" and "large" prairies to describe the locale of the 1736 Chickasaw villages. These prairies are contained within the old fields and prairies of the Chickasaw cession survey notes, Figure 2. In fact, Bienville's "large" prairie was the ‘present settlements’ area noted by Adair, Figure 1. As we shall see later, this area was also called Old Town by the Chickasaw, a more favorable name compared to large prairie. Bienville's "small" prairie was the northern end of Adair's 1720 Chookka Phaarah, Figure 1.
Before we discuss these areas, let us digress to indicate how the villages came to move there. Sometime after 1723 and before 1733 Adair's 1720 Coonewah villages of Chookheereso and Tuskawillao, Figure 1, moved to Old Town. The exact location of these villages on Coonewah is unknown, but their locations may be determined in the "Chickasaw Villages Defined by Bead Dating" paper. If these villages were located south of Adair's Tchichatala, Figure 1, with Yaneka gone, the pressure to move immediately after 1722/3 would have been compelling. These villages would have been unprotected from the south. While the dates of these movements from Coonewah Creek to Old Town are unknown, they probably occurred soon after the Choctaw attack of 1722/3 as the Choctaw war continued.
Adair's Hykehah occupied a remote area away from Coonewah Creek and relatively stood by itself. We have noted that Hykehah moved to the northern end of the range of Chookka Phaarah at least before 1733. Note that De Crenay Aekeia is the same village as Adair's Hykehah, Table 1. The De Crenay, Figure 6, map established Aekeia in the small prairie by 1733.
Adair's Phalacheho, Figure 1, moved from Coonewah Creek to the large prairie by 1733. Phalacheho is identified on De Crenay's map as Falatchao, see Table 1 and the De Crenay interpretive map Figure 7. Falatchao also was noted in the decade history above as the village that received the Natchez in 1731. Given that the Natchez likely entered the Chickasaw villages from the southwest, it is logical that Falatchao which straddled the path that became the Natchez Road, see Figure 3, would have been the village that the Natchez entered. The Natchez would have exceeded Falatchao's resources and immediately extended its defenses. Falatchao and the Natchez moved into Old Town or the "large" prairie sometime between 1731 and 1733. Falatchao moved into Old Town south of Kings Creek. On De Batz map, Figures 7 and 8, it is located south west of Tchitchatala.
The last of Adair's villages to move from Coonewah was Shatara (Tchichatala), see Figure 1. Note that Shatara is the phonetic equivalent of De Crenay's Tchichatala and De Batz's Tchitchatala, Table 1. Tchitchatala moved from Coonewah Creek after 1733, see Figures 6 and 7, and before 1737, see Figures 8 and 9, into Old Town. It is noted by De Batz south of Kings Creek on its east side (Cook 18), the Chickasaw Village, on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Tchitchatala moved because of the losses incurred in the 1734 attack described in the historical overview above. Note the village attacked was called Chatelaw, a phonetic equivalent of Tchichatala, and that two forts were used by occupants. These two forts are shown on either side of Coonewah Creek on Figures 1 and 7. Note that after Shatara (Phalachecho) moved, Tchichatala remained on Coonewah Creek alone, with no other village nearby to protect it. There may be a good explanation for this. In all probability Tchichatala had lead men who remained faithful to or at least cooperative with the French. It may have been confidence in that relationship that kept Tchichatala isolated. After it moved to Old Town, Bienville (MPA III 733) wrote of a large Choctaw attack led by Red Shoe. Perhaps it was one of the leaders of Tchichatala who was reported to have said,"If you wish to fight your enemies, fight those two villages, pointing . . . to Falatchaho and Tchoukafala, Destroy them, if you can; we shall not be sorry because of it. It is they who have always worked to perpetuate the war that is destroying us."
The village of Ougoula Tchetoka that Pierre d'Artaguette attacked on Palm Sunday 1736 was described as a village of the large prairie and separated from the others. This village is identified as Ongoulastoga by De Crenay and Ougoula-Tchetoka by De Batz, see Figures 6 and 8 and Table 1 . Note that the village was attacked on the northwest side of the large prairie at Old Town. The village as described was outside the immediate protection of the other large prairie villages, see Figure 7. This village was located at present day Belden. After the attack Ougoula Tchetoka moved about a mile to the southeast within gunshot protection of the other Old Town villages, see Figure 9.
The small prairie villages which at the time of Bienville's attack were crowded into the northern end of Adair's Chookka Phaarah, see Figure 1, as noted in 1980 (Cook 9, 10). Bienville in the historical overview above noted, "we saw three small villages situated in a triangle on the crest of a hill." These three villages were very close together. These forts were located on the hill north of present day Eisenhower Drive in Lee Acres including the areas bulldozed for Pierce Street and the former Tupelo High Schools. Bienville saw the forts of these villages from the north, between the prairies. These forts were witnessed and described by Sieur Delery in October 1737, see the historical overview above. These villages moved to Old Town sometime after the De Batz map of September 1737. Note that in the historical overview above, Sieur Delery noted that his Choctaw allies dug up recent Chickasaw dead for their scalps (MPA III 704). This note indicates that the abandonment of these forts and towns had been recent. These villages also moved into Old Town, see below for a suspected order of Old Town village occupancy. Bienville in 1739 confirms their movement with his description of the seven villages in the historical overview above.
Note that De Batz indicated three villages of the large prairie south of a large stream or present day Kings Creek; see De Batz map, Figures 8 and 9. De Batz indicates three Old Town villages which are situated south of that creek. There was no natural barrier or swamp to protect them, Figure 4. These villages would not have been able to protect themselves from attack. They would not have stayed in this situation very long and would have been forced to move again, north across Kings Creek.
The Natchez village was situated on the east side of Old Town see De Batz map, Figure 8. Note that Bienville in the historical overview above noted in February 1736 its eastern location. The name of the Natchez village was likely Tchikoulechasto which appears on De Crenay map Figures 6 and 7 but named Natchez by De Batz, Table 1. The Natchez in 1736 Bienville reported had 150 warriors among the Chickasaw (MPA I 315) . In that same reference he indicated that there were 60 Shawnee living among the Chickasaw. It is interesting to speculate what the Shawnee village name was, if it were named by De Batz. Perhaps De Batz's Etoukouma could be a candidate as this village name appears once, Table 1, and it occupies a marginal Old Town location, south of Kings Creek. These Confederate Indians living among the Chickasaw would have not been rewarded the most defensible positions within Old Town. In fact, the Natchez and Shawnee would have been placed to protect the Chickasaw. Edmond Atkin (TAIF 67), in 1755, noted that the Chickasaw Villages (still at Old Town in 1755 but all north of Kings Creek) were "accessible only on one side, being almost surrounded by Swamps in a circular manner". Figure 4 provides an 1832/4 snapshot of the swamps and their relationship to Old Town. Old Town was accessible only from the east, and that is where the Natchez were placed, for protection. This vulnerable area was attacked by a combined French and Choctaw force on September 6, 1752 as recorded English trader John Buckles (SCIAD 1750-1754 382) who noted "The said Army of French and Choctaws fell upon the northeast Side of this Nation about nine o'Clock in the Morning, and had with them two Standards of French Cullers flying."
This brings into question how Old Town was settled in the 1720/1730s. Given the descriptions, we may assume that the first villages that moved into Old Town settled on the highest ground, north of Kings Creek. The ridge settlement was preferred by the Chickasaw as Nairne wrote, "on the Top of these knowlls live the Chicasaws" (Nairne 57). From De Batz map Figure 9, Ogoula-tchetoka, Achoukouma and Amalata would have taken this ground with Taskaouilo following. South of Kings Creek and on the ridge above it were positioned the villages of Etoukouma, Falatchao and Tchitchatala from west to east. The Natchez were placed in the most vulnerable area of Old Town, the eastern side. What of De Batz's small prairie villages, how did they occupy Old Town? We have no maps but we may assume that they leapt over those villages south of Kings Creek and settled immediately north of Kings Creek, just above the swamp on rising ground.
The Chickasaw villages had survived the French army but their confined positions in Old Town meant they had to survive their enemies and confinement. The compact situation of their villages, their defenses, their confederate Indian allies and time would extend their resources.