Chief Tishomingo
Chief Tishomingo was one of the last full-blood Chickasaw Chiefs. Little is known of his life, although we know through treaties he signed and other writings, that he was the Chief of the Tishu Miko Districts of his nation in the waning days before the Chickasaws were forced to remove to Indian Territory.

There were three other District Chiefs - Samuel Sealy was Chief of the Sealy District; and William McGilvery of the McGilvery District. Of the District chiefs, Chief Tishu Miko (now written as Tishomingo) was the Chief officer under King Ishtehotopih and had great influence over the other Chiefs.

On the eve of European arrival, the Chickasaw population has been estimated to be about 4500 - small in comparison to their Choctaw neighbors of about 20,000. Their other neighbors were the Creek, Cherokee, and Natchez nations. The lands of the Chickasaw was bounded by the Ohio River (in present Kentucky), by the Mississippi River on the west, northeastern Alabama to the east, and the upper north Mississippi. It is said that their first settlement was near the Tennessee River in Madison County Alabama, and later relocated to the highlands of northeastern Mississippi near the headwaters of the Tombigbee River, where it remained until the first removal parties in 1837.

As author Arrell Gibson wrote, the intruders on their land, whiskey traders and pedlers, were injuring their nation. "Many ugly incidents occurred, but one will suffice to illustrate the precarious legal position of the Chickasaws. Two white men opened a store in the Chickasaw Nation in defiance of treaty proscriptions and federal law. Chief Tishomingo, principal full-blood leader in the tribe next to Ishtehotopa, the Chickasaw king, seized and sold the traders' goods. The traders brought charges under Mississippi law. Chief Tishomingo was thrown in jail, and a Mississippi court rendered a judgment against him for nearly $500."2

The inter-marriage of the nation citizens with Europeans had also taken its toll. In his lifetime, mixed-blood Chickasaw citizens had become educated by the Europeans, had started successful businesses and had become wealthy and powerful both in the Chickasaw Nation as well as the white nation. These mixed-blood citizens advised and were relied on more and more by the full-bloods, who in time became figure heads only. On many treaties, the names of these mixed-bloods will be found in addition to or instead of the full-blood Chief's; Colberts, Loves, and others.

Chief Tishomingo's memory lives on with two Counties bearing his name; Tishomingo County, Mississippi and Tishomingo County, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma County bearing his name is in the area of the old "Indian Territory" set aside for the remaining and removed Chickasaw peoples. It is not clear whether Tishomingo and his family ever reached their new nation in Indian Territory - accounts that he died enroute conflict with accounts which say he arrived in the new nation and died shortly afterward. It has been said that Tishomingo lived to a very old age - even at age 100, his mother, at age 120, was said to be living with him. According to Malcom McGee's remembrances, the version of the Chickasaw history gives the date of Tishomingo's death as 1841.

1 History of the Choctaw,Chickasaw and Natchez Indians, by H.B. Cushman edited by Angie Debo, 1999, University of Oklahoma Press
2 The Chickasaws, by Arrell M. Gibson, University of Oklahoma Press, 1971; p. 174-175
3 The Chickasaws, by Arrell M. Gibson, University of Oklahoma Press, 1971
Source: Historical and Genealogical Society of Tishomingo County (2005) Retrieved from