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The history of the Yowanne Indians is interesting of itself and has the piquancy of being something of an archaeological problem as well. Their habitat was on the Chickasahay river a mile or two south of the thriving modern town of Shubuta. The river in this vicinity runs through rich prairie lands and is banked by high limestone cliffs on each side. The Indian language is full of figures of speech, dwelling largely on natural objects and sights, and, although they are not generally credited with being much impressed with scenery, it would be difficult even for savages to avoid the charm of their surroundings. The settlement was a large one, for no other part of the State offers in equal limits a greater number of mounds, as yet almost unexplored.

Of history, as the European understands this term, they had little. No great battle between the explorers and the aborigines occurred near there,, none between the different Indian nations themselves, and no conflict of colonial times desecrated their fields or forests. From a very early date they pursued their uninterrupted development as the frontier town towards the southeast, a development, which, as well as savage conditions illustrates the saying that happy is the people who have no history. No great man, as we count greatness, came from their wigwams. Almost the only notable site in the vicinity is the large post oak at what is now the extreme northeast corner of Wayne county, on the State line. Tradition says that there Geo. S. Gaines and Pushmataha held one or more conferences. And yet the Yowanne Indians are a favorable specimen of the Choctaws. While they hunted, they also planted and developed considerable trading ability. Possibly the principal feature of their story consists in the trading paths which stretched out north, east, south and west from their town. Bernard Romans says that they and their neighbors at Chickasahay were the only Choctaws who could swim; but, while that tribe was not famous for love of water, either externally or internally, no one now thinks so hardly of the other Choctaws as to believe that slander.

The name itself is an interesting study. As to what it means all are at sea. Gatschet2 would seem to endorse the story which they told Romans that the name had something to do with the caterpillar or worm which eats the corn in wet weather. We all

2 Creek Migration Legend, p. 109.


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