…..with thanks to National Park Service
Recently, a copy of a final report commissioned by the National Park Service was presented to the HCHS. It is titled “Choctaw Communities along the Gulf Coast: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama,” and written by Earth Search, Inc. of New Orleans.
From the outset, I offer my personal thanks to both organizations for including the society on its distribution list. It has been a personal disappointment to me that, while there are numerous archaeological examinations of our area which we welcome, we are seldom given the results and conclusions of those studies.
It is gratifying to see that the above-mentioned report makes use of information proffered by HCHS, particularly the study of the Indian School.
Also used was a table of Indian lands listed in Hancock County’s Tract Books. Dr. Marco Giardino and I had studied this table earlier and were able to identify the areas of the awards. We observed at that time that all lands had been assigned to white property owners, with no evidence of money changing hands, with one exception.
That exception is found in the case of Asa Russ, who paid fifty cents per acre for 159.69 acres in 1852 to a Choctaw named Hui-ke-ah-hock-tuh. Russ was a prominent real estate developer whose family figures in a number of studies made by Marco and myself, some of which appear on this web site.
In my research of Andrew Jackson, Jr.’s Sea Song Plantation, I found that the Russ parcel was immediately adjacent to the 16th section that mostly comprises the present Buccaneer Park. That piece is now owned by the park service.
Perhaps of interest to my family and others who have know Clermont Harbor and Buccaneer, some 480 acres of that area were owned by Mariah Herrin, after whom a street is named in Clermont. Her acquisitions came from Ah-he-chuk, Ah-be-chumk-tah,
and Kah-po-tubbe, also in 1852.
In summary, any reading of the Choctaws induces a feeling of regret in this writer. Very little attention has been paid to those settlers who came before the white man. Their story is indeed a tragic one, from the first of the many treaty violations to their expulsion to Oklahoma, literally “red people,” in Muskogean, the language of the Choctaw.
More will be written of what we know of these predecessors.