Long before Civil War soldiers fought at this site in 1864, this land was part of the Chickasaw Nation. Tishomingo, whose name derived from the Chickasaw title tishu minko meaning "speaker for the chief" or "assistant chief" in the Chickasaw language, lived near here and was a prominent leader of the Chickasaws in this district.
Tishomingo was born as early as the 1730s, probably at Chickasaw Old Town in what is now northwest Tupelo. Tishomingo was a warrior and a staunch defender of Chickasaw lands and sovereignty. Chickasaws fought alongside American troops in numerous conflicts after the American Revolution, notably in the Northwest Indian Confederacy War in the 1790s and in the War of 1812. Tishomingo fought with distinction against the Creeks in the Red Stick War portion of the latter conflict in 1813-1814. Despite this service, the Chickasaws were forced to sell their lands in Mississippi to the U.S. government because of the influx of white settlers.
In the 1830s, all of the Southeastern tribes were relocated to Indian Territory in present day Oklahoma. Despite the removal of the Chickasaw Indians from this area, their legacy lives on.
Chief Tishomingo's name is still attached to this creek, a town, and a Mississippi county which originally extended from the Tennessee River to within a few miles of here. The tribal capital in the west was also named for him and persists today as Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Chief Tishomingo died in present-day Arkansas about 1840 while assisting tribal members on the Trail of Tears. The location of his grave is unknown.
Bottom Quote: "Although but little is known beyond the limits of his nation, yet he was a man that had seen wars and fought battles - stood high among his own people as a brave and good man." - Tishomingo's obituary, 1841
Upper Right Corner Map: The lands of the Chickasaw Nation encompassed much of northern Mississippi. - "Map of the States of Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Arkansas Territory," 1832, An Atlas of the United States of North America, David Rumsey Map Collection.
Center Drawing: The only known portrait of Chief Tishomingo of the Chickasaw Indians. Research Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Right Side Map: Chief Tishomingo's homesite is just a little south of here, near the bank of what is now Tishomingo Creek. A monument marks the location.