The First Survey Through Hal's Lake Swamp
in 1809 Under the Treaty of Mt. Dexter
David A. Bagwell


        On November 16, 1805, on Mount Dexter, in Pooshapukanuk, in
the Choctaw counrty, two commissioners of the United States --
Silas Dinsmoore of Alabama and James Robertson of Tennessee --
Concluded the Treaty of Mt. Dexter with certain Great Medal Mingoes
(major chiefs) (including "Pooshuattaha"), chiefs and warriors of
the Choctaw nation.  Under the treaty, the Choctaw nation ceded
certain lands to the United States in what is now parts of
Mississippi and Alabama, the easternmost boundary of which was:

            the boundary between the Creeks and Chaktaws
            [sic] on the ridge dividing the waters running
            into the Alabama from those running into the
            Tombigbee, thence southwardly along the said
            ridge and boundary to the southern point of
            the Chaktaw claim. 1

        The Treaty of Mt. Dexter set out how that line (among others
 would be surveyed:

            The two contracting parties covenant and agree
             that the boundary as described in the . . .
            [first] article shall be ascertained and
            plainly marked, in such way and manner as the
            President of the United States may direct, in
            the presence of three persons to be appointed
            by the said nation, one from each of the medal
            districts, each of whom shall receive for this
            service two dollars per day during his actual
            attendance, and the Chactaws shall have due
            and seasonable notice of the place where, and
            at the time when, the operation shall commence.

        The treaty was ultimately approved by the U.S. Senate and
proclaimed on February 25, 1808.

        One year later, on Monday, February 20, 1809, the survey
began, in Mississippi.

        Fortunately, the principal surveyors kept a journal and field
notes, entitled on the first page:

        1The southern boundary was the "cut-off" between the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers.

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