Mississippi History - Treaty of Pontotoc, 1832

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Treaty of Pontotoc, 1832

The general causes leading up to the enactment of this treaty have been set forth in the article dealing with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, 1830. The Chickasaw agents, Ben Reynolds and John L. Allen, and the trader, George S. Gaines, had labored to prepare the Chickasaws for this treaty and all its momentous consequences. The treat was made at the Council House on Pontotoc Creek, in the southeastern part of Pontotoc County, between the Chickasaw nation in general council assembled, and General John Coffee of Tennessee, U.S. Commissioner. It was signed October 20, 1832, the following persons being witnesses thereto: Ben Reynolds, Indians Agent; John L. Allen, subagent; Nathaniel Anderson, secretary fo the commissioner; Benjamin Love, U.S. interpreter; Robert Gordon, Miss.; George Wightman, Miss.; John Donley, Tenn.; D. S. Parrish, Tenn.; S. Daggett, Miss.; Wm. A. Clurm and G. W. Long.

The preamble to the treaty reads: "The Chickasaw Nation find themselves oppressed in their present situation by being made subject to the laws of the States in which they reside. Being ignorant of the language and laws of the white man, they cannot understand or obey them. Rather than submit to this great evil, they prefer to seek a home in the west, where they may live and be governed by their own laws. And believing that they can procure for themselves a home, in a country suited to their wants and condition, provided they had the means to contract and pay for the same, they have determined to sell their country and hunt a new home. The President has heard the complaints of the Chickasaws and like them believes they cannot be happy, and prosper as a nation, in their present situation and condition, and being desirous to relieve them from the great calamity that seems to await them, if they remain as they are - He has sent hisCommissionerr General JOhn Coffee, who has met the whole Chickasaw nation in Council, and after mature deliberation, they have entered into the following articles, etc."

By the terms of the treaty the Chickasaws agreed to cede the United States all their lands east of the Mississippi and, as soon as it may be in their power, to hunt out and procure a new home for themselves west of the Mississippi. In payment for the cession, the United States agreed to pay over to the nation all the money arising form the sale of the land, after deducting therefrom the cost of selling the same. The Government further agreed to cause the lands to be forthwith surveyed, and to make suitable allotments to each family of the nation out of the surveys made in case they had not become settled in the west prior to the first public sale of their country, said allotments to include their present improvements. Provision was made for the appointment of a surveyor-general, a register and a receiver for the land office to be established, together with the necessary assistants. No preemption rights were to be granted by the United States, and all lands were to be sold to the highest bidder. An agent was to be continued among the Chickasaws, and the expenses of their removal, and one year's provisions, after they reach their new homes, were to be furnished them out of the proceeds for sale of their lands. Provision was also made for the creation of a perpetual fund, for the use of the nation as a whole, from at least three-fourths of the net proceeds of the sale, the money to be invested by the Government in safe stocks, and all interest arising therefrom to be used for national purposes alone. After 50 years, if the nation was then sufficiently enlightened, it might take over the fund and use it as it deemed most for the interest of the whole nation. A method of fixing the true boundary line between the Chickasaws and Choctaws was determined upon, and it was stipulated that there should be no settlement in the Chickasaw country until the lands should be offered for sale, and then only on lands sold. Small annuities were made to Chief Tishomingo, and to Queen Pucaunla. By certain supplementary articles signed two days later it was provided that all tracts of land reserved for the residence of the Chickasaws pending the removal of the nation, shall be given up and sold for the benefit of the nation as soon as the Chickasaws shall have removed from their present country; no individual or family to retain any such tract longer than the nation may remain in their present country; the minimum price to be placed upon such reserved tracts to be $3.00 an acre, until the nation may determine to reduce the price. Colbert Moore and family were given permission to continue to reside within the nation, and a tract of land was reserved for him, also two mail routes through the nation were established - one from Tuscumbia Alabama via the Agency to Ranking, Miss., the other form Memphis, Tenn., by the offices of Cotton Gin, Miss., and the INdians requested that John Donley, the old mail carrier be given the contract for carrying the mails of the nation.

The total area embraced in the Chickasaw cession of 1832 was 6,283,804 acres. Since, under the terms of the treaty, the United States agreed to turn over all the net proceeds of the sale to the Indians, and no provision was made for the reservation of the 16th section in each township for use of the common schools, this whole region of country was deprived of the customary revenues derived from his source under the law of 1803. To remedy this defect, Congress, by Act of July 4, 1836, granted the State in lieu of such reservation, one thirty sixth part of the ceded lands, to be selected and held by the same tenure as the other common school lands of the State. The lands thus selected and set aside for school purposes amounted to 174,5000 acres, which became the basis of what was afterwards called the Chickasaw School Fund.

See also Treaty of Dancing Rabbit