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Treaty with the Choctaws, 1801

The Treaty of Fort Adams was the second treaty, and it was signed to December 17, 1801. At this point large bites of land began to be taken from the Choctaw Nation; all of the southwestern corner of their territory 2,641,920 acres, was ceded for $2,000 plus blacksmith tools, whose later delivery to the Choctaw the U.S. guaranteed.1 The Choctaw agreed to sign this treaty chiefly because of the regional famine that had occurred that year. The drought had resulted in a lack of food among the Choctaw. As part of the treaty, the United States secured the right to construct a road through Choctaw country from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. The chiefs said to the U.S. Commissioners: "We [the Council] came here sober. We wish to go away so; we, therefore, request that the strong drink, which we understand our brothers have brought here, may not be disturbed."2


A treaty of friendship, limits and accommodation between the United States of America and the Chactaw nation of Indians.

THOMAS JEFFERSON , President of the United States of America, by James Wilkinson, of the state of Maryland, Brigadier-General in the army of the United States, Benjamin Hawkins, of North Carolina, and Andrew Pickens, of South Carolina, commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States on the one part, and the Minogs, principal men and warriors of the Chactaw nation, representing the said nation in council assembled, on the other part, have entered into the following articles and conditions, viz:

ARTICLE I. Whereas the United States in Congress assembled, did by their commissioners Plenipotentiary, Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, and Joseph Martin, at a treaty held with the chiefs and head men of the Chactaw nation at Hopewell, on the Keowe, the third day of January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, give peace to the said nation, and receive it into the favor and protection of the United States of America; it is agreed by the parties to these presents respectively, that the Chactaw nation, or such part of it as may reside within the limits of the United States, shall be and continue under the care and protection of the said States; and that the mutual confidence and friendship which are hereby acknowledged to subsist between the contracting parties shall be maintained and perpetuated.

ART. II. The Mingos principal men and warriors of the Chactaw nation of Indians, do hereby give their free consent, that a convenient and durable wagon way may be explored, marked, opened and made under the orders and instructions of the President of the United States, through their lands to commence at the northern extremity of the settlements of the Mississippi Territory, and to be extended from thence, by such route as may be elected and surveyed under the authority of the President of the United States, until it shall strike the lands claimed by the Chickasaw nation; and the same shall be and continue for ever, a high-way for the citizens of the United States and the Chactaws; and the said Chactaws shall nominate two discreet men from their nation, who may be employed as assistants, guides or pilots, during the time of laying out and opening the said high-way, or so long as may be deemed expedient, under the direction of the officer charged with this duty, who shall receive a reasonable compensation for their services.

ART. III. The two contracting parties covenant and agree that the old line of demarcation heretofore established by and between the officers of his Britannic Majesty and the Chactaw nation, which runs in a parallel direction with the Mississippi river and eastward thereof, shall be retraced and plainly marked, in such way and manner as the President may direct, in the presence of two persons to be appointed by said nation; and that the said line shall be the boundary between the settlements of the Mississippi Territory and the Chactaw nation. And the said nation does by these presents relinquish to the United States and quit claim for ever, all their right, title and pretension to the land lying between the said line and the Mississippi river, bounded south by the thirty-first degree of north latitude, and north by the Yazoo river, where the said line shall strike the same; and on the part of the commissioners it is agreed, that all persons who may be settled beyond this line, shall be removed within it, on the side towards the Mississippi, together with their slaves, household furniture, tools, materials and stock, and that the cabins or houses erected by such persons shall be demolished.

ART. IV. The President of the United States may, at his discretion, proceed to execute the second article of this treaty; and the third article shall be carried into effect as soon as may be convenient to the government of the United States, and without unnecessary delay on the one part or the other, of which the President shall be the judge; the Chactaws to be seasonably advised, by order of the President of the United States, of the time when, and the place where, the re-survey and re-marking of the old line referred to in the preceding article, will be commenced.

ART. V. The commissioners of the United States, for and in consideration of the foregoing concessions on the part of the Chactaw nation, and in full satisfaction for the same, do give and deliver to the Mingos, chiefs and warriors of the said nation, at the signing of these presents, the value of two thousand dollars in goods and merchandise, net cost of Philadelphia, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged; and they further engage to give three sets of blacksmith's tools to the said nation.

ART. VI. This treaty shall take effect and be obligatory on the contracting parties, so soon as the same shall be ratified by the President of the United States of America, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof.