CUSTOMS, ETC. (cont.)
“They laid the corpse in his tomb in
a sitting posture, with his face towards the east, his head anointed with
bear’s oil and his face painted red, but not streaked with black, because
that is a constant emblem of war and death; he was dressed in his finest
apparel, having his gun and pouch and trusty hickory bow, with a young
panther’s skin full of arrows, alongside of him, and every other useful
thing he had been possessed of, that when he rises again, they may serve
him in that tract of land which pleased him best before he went to take
his long sleep. His tomb was firm and clean inside. They covered it with
thick logs, so as to bear several tiers of cypress bark, and such a quantity
of clay, as would confine the putrid smell, and be on a level with the
rest of the floor. They often sleep over those tombs, which, with the loud
wailing of the women at the dusk of the evening and dawn of the day, on
benches close by the tombs, must awake the memory of their relations very
often; and if they were killed by an enemy, it helps to irritate and set
on such revengeful tempers to retaliate, blood for blood."
Charles C. Jones, Jr. in his Antiquities
of the Southern Indians, Particularly of the Georgia Tribes,
says, (referring to Bartram’s Travels and Romans’ Florida):
“The Muscogulgees buried their dead
in th. earth - a deep pit, about four feet square, being dug under the
cabin and couch occupied by the deceased. This grave was carefully lined
with cypress bark, and in it the corpse placed in a sifting posture. Such
articles of property as he valued most, were depositedwithhim. * * * *
* * * * *
The funeral customs of the Chickasaws
did not differ materially from those of the Muscogulges. They interred
the dead as soon as the breath left the body, and beneath the couch on
which the deceased expired." 26
Edwin G. Thomas, son of Elisha Thomas,
was born near Mt. Pleasant, Maury county, Tenn., July 31, 1810. He moved
to Alabama. In 1834 he made a trip through the Indian nation, going
first to Cotton Gin, across what was then Indian country. He says that
one day, while on this trip and while in the Indian country, “about sun-down
in a southeastern direction I heard a wailing noise.
“None of the crowd (those who accompanied
Thomas) knew what it was, but a negro told us it was the Indians mourning
for their dead. The Indians also came in the house and mourned. We were
told that they were buried in the house.27
VI. CHICKASAW LAWS.
Before the year 1834, the Chickasaws had
but few laws; one law was life for life. If a man or woman killed another,
North American Indians.
Jones’ Antiquity of the Southern Indians.
“Narrative of Edwin G. Thomas, May 10, 1880. Mr. Thomas moved to Fulton
in the fall of 1837. Fulton was first named Jacinto.