Not all Indians fought the new influx of European people. The Chickasaw people had good relations with the new white people. In 1670 the Chickasaw traded with the British. The British traded guns for captured Choctaw Indian slaves. When the French supplied guns to the Choctaw the slave raids stopped. The Chickasaw fought with Britain against the French but had not fought against the Americans.
When the Revolutionary War broke out, the Chickasaw allied with the Americans. In 1791, they fought hostile tribes in Ohio for the colonists. In 1794, their chief, Piomingo, was invited to visit George Washington in his home. Washington thanked the tribe for their loyalty by giving gifts. A peace pipe was smoked between Washington and the chiefs present. Also a document was written showing the boundaries of the Chickasaw territory, which included the western half of Tennessee, parts of Mississippi, and Alabama. It provided protection for the Chickasaw people against white abuse. Washington also assured the tribe that they would never lose their land. Unfortunately, the following presidents did not honor Washington’s pledge.
The Chickasaw Nation was viewed as one of the five civilized tribes. They had integrated with white people and many were mixed race. Originally from the southeastern part of the United States, they were forced to sell their land and move to the Indian territory of Oklahoma in 1832. This happened as part of the Indian Removal of the 1830s. The Chickasaw people were part of the terrible Trail Of Tears. Unlike the other tribes, the Chickasaw negotiated with the government to sell the land for three million dollars. The government did pay the amount but it took thirty years for the payment to arrive.
During the Civil War, the Chickasaw joined with the confederacy. Owning black slaves, resentment of lost land and suggestion by confederacy of making a Indian state lead to this partnership.
The Chickasaw today are a proud and prosperous tribe. I am proud to say my husband is a member of the Chickasaw tribe.
Traditional paint. Tattoos were given for bravery.
Appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free. Gen Joseph Warren 1775.
In 1775, this flag was used during revolutionary times. The flag was ordered by George Washington and designed by his secretary Colonel Joseph Reed. It was first used by a squadron of six schooners commissioned by George Washington, who reportedly paid for the schooners out of pocket. These ships were skilled at capturing British schooners.
In 1776, the fleet of twenty-five naval vessels sailing out of Massachusetts adopted the flag.
The pine tree was a symbol in New England, dating back as far as 1686. During Revolutionary times it became a symbol of colonial outrage and resistance.
The white pine in New England grew to heights topping 150 feet. They were sought after for sailing masts. The English king, knowing the value of the trees, placed a mark on the larger trees claiming them for the crown. Colonist could not harvest these trees. They also had to get a surveyor and a license to cut the trees not marked. Not surprising, the colonists did not like being told what they could and could not do with their own trees. In 1775, this anger led to the Pine Tree Riot in New Hampshire.
This was not the only flag, at the time, with a pine tree. The flag that flew over Bunker Hill was red with a green pine tree in the top, left corner.
The words, “An Appeal To Heaven”, was a common phrase in those days. It was used several times in historical documents, including Second Treatise on Civil Government by John Locke in 1690 and by Patrick Henry in his famous, Give me liberty or give me death speech.
In 1968, a United States stamp was issued commemorating Washington’s flag.
I grew up in Connecticut and visiting my sister in Mansfield, we had to cross the Frog Bridge of Willimantic. Now, you may think having 11 foot bronze frogs on the four corners of the bridge ridiculous but to the people of Willimantic it’s a badge of honor.
In 1754, having done battle with the French and the Indians, the militia were on the alert. One night in June, they were awaken by a cacophony of noise. Some were sure it was the French, others just as sure it was Indians. The noise was so terrifying some were convinced it was the Day of Judgment and fell to their knees.
Many brave militia men grabbed their muskets and ran to the battle. Though they searched and even fired rounds toward the noise, they did not come in contact with the enemy.
In the morning an investigation began. It was soon discovered that the horrendous noise had not come from the French, Indians or even God. The town people had been in a drought for some time and most ponds had dried up. There was one pond left in the area and masses of frogs had converged and fought a huge battle over territory. Hundreds of frogs lay dead and dying at the pond.
News spread of the silly Willimantic residents being terrified by a bunch of frogs. They were shamed for a couple of decades. Then someone pointed out that they could have been being attacked and they had been armed and ready. The frog fight lost it’s shame and became a symbol of honor.
So, in Connecticut, we look at the Frog Bridge with pride for the New England spirit of readiness it symbolizes. And we secretly smile because nothing is better to a New Englander than a good joke on ourselves.
ps The frogs sit on thimbles of thread because Willimantic was a thread mill center at one time.
The first time I heard of powder monkeys, we lived north of Boston. We were on one of our historical trips into the city. That day we visited the USS Constitution.
The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) is the oldest commissioned warship. It was first launched in 1797. Active Naval personal still sail this ship for special occasions. The rest of the time it is available to board. The sailors we talked to said they were very privileged to receive USS Constitution duty. This picture is from americanheritage.com
In their talks, the sailors shared concerning the powder monkeys. Powder monkeys were the boys who were part of the crew. These boys were teen and preteen boys some as young as ten. Their job during battle was to run gunpowder and supplies from the powder magazine (storage) to the guns. Young boys were sought because of their agility and small stature. Being shorter helped them stay below the gunwale. Powder monkeys were a target for sharp shooters. If a shooter could kill or immobilize the powder monkeys, it would greatly hinder the gunner.
This is a powder monkey from the civil war. When the powder monkeys were not in war, they worked in the galley, for the captain or doing odd jobs for the crew. This life was extremely hard for these boys and many were abused. This picture comes from americanchildhoodhist.com
How did Paul Revere get all the credit? Sure he was a prominent businessman and all, but what Sybil Ludington did was much more amazing. She was the oldest of twelve children, her father was a colonel in the colonial army. One night a soldier stumbled into their home telling of the British invading. As the soldier was exhausted and the father had to prepare for battle, the daughter, just sixteen, was sent to rally the troops.
She mounted her horse, Star, and took off in the rain around 9:00 pm. During this grueling ride, she was attacked by a highwayman, who she fought off with the stick she was using to prod her horse. She rode by herself, all night, covering forty miles. Paul Revere traveled less than half that amount in about two hours.
She arrived home at dawn with the troops all preparing for battle. After the battle was over, George Washington came to her home to thank her.
In 1975 a stamp was issued to honor her.
Other reading on this subject:
Sybil Ludington: The Call To Arms by Vincent Dacquino
Ride For Freedom: The Story Of Sybil Ludington by Judy Hominick & Jeanne Spreier