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

Chapter I:  Formation

Historical Background

                    Pontotoc County was originally comprised in the domain of Chickasaw Indians.  By four successive treaties, the Chickasaws had ceded their hunting grounds, prior to the Treaty of Pontotoc Creek in 1832.

                    The United States appointed General John Coffee, of Florence Alabama, as emissary to hold a pow-wow with the Chickasaws.  The place selected was the house of To-pul-kah (lodging place of the host of council), southeast of the present town of Pontotoc.  Here the Natchez Trace, Cotton Gin Port, and Memphis roads crossed, and here was the site of Chuckafalaiyia, ancient Chickasaw Capital. (1)

                    After five treaties had been drawn, Major Levi Colbert, educated leader of the Indians, stated to his white friends that he was still not satisfied , so the deed was finally taken to Washington in March, 1833, to be corrected and ratified by the President and United States Senate.

                    Pontotoc was proclaimed a county by the state legislature on February 9, 1836.  The Mississippi legislature appointed John Bell, Samuel Watts, Robert Tenning, Robert Gordon and John Bradford commissioners to organize the county, which was approved February 14, 1836.  (2)  It may be noted here that in 1839 Pontotoc had fifty percent of the state's representation in the National Congress.  Thomas H. Williams was in the Senate and Thomas J. Word in the House of Representatives.  The immortal Sargent S. Prentiss served in the same Congress.  Senator Williams, Representative Word, and Mr. Prentiss served the latter half of the session only.

(1)  Byington, liberal translation.

(2)  Laws of Mississippi, 1836.

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