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W. P. A. History of Pontotoc County, Mississippi


Old Settlements

TOXISH, a thriving inland community of historic interest, is located about seven miles southeast of the town of Pontotoc (see Chapter 12, Religion). This community was the scene of many early religious, political, and social activities. It is especially known because it was the home of Major William Colbert, the most prominent of all Chickasaws. Major Colbert's father, Logan Colbert, was a Scotchman who came to the Indian country about 1729 and was adopted by an Indian family. He early began to show ability as a tradesman, and accumulated great wealth in land and slaves. He married three times, each time selecting an Indian maiden for his wife. Three of his sons, William, Levi, and James came to the Pontotoc vicinity and because of their unusual intelligence, became leaders of the Chickasaws. When the Chickasaws ceded their lands to the government, William was granted two sections of land at Toxish, where he had already built a home. Whether or not he gave his name to this place is uncertain, but Mr. Winston, an authority on Indian history, is convinced that he did. He says that the name comes from the Indian word Iahtokaka, "meaning :the place where greatness abode". The Reverend H. B. Cushman, a missionary among the Indians for fifty years beginning in 1832 believes a man named McIntosh gave the locality its name.

McIntosh was sent out by the British government to visit the Chickasaws (1750) and further incite them to hatred of the French. He was so pleased with these people that he married one of their number, settled among them, and did much toward civilizing the tribe. He came into their country and found them all living in one large village in the Chickasaw Old Fields; he encouraged them to scatter over the country and take possession of the most fertile lands. McIntosh planted a colony which he called Toxish, a corruption of Takshipro, meaning Bashful. (1)

(1) Rev. H. B. Cushman, missionary to Indians, 1832

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