About Apuckshunnubbe The great Medal Chief, Senior Chief to the Choctaw Nation
“Miko (chief) Apuckshunnubbe, we are informed, was the senior Chief to the Choctaw Nation, and upwards of eighty years of age, and was much respected for his virtues.” (Col. Robert Cole was the son of a Captive white man. Robert Cole and a nephew of Apuckshunnubbe, supposedly a son of the Chief’s sister, Shumake).
Notes on Apuckshunnubbe’s Personal Background: According to tribal records, Apuckshunnubbe was born around the year 1740. He and his family occupied a log cabin. He was known to have fathered four children, one of which was a daughter, Tioka. He was a tribal Chieftain as early as 1801, and was one of the signers of the treaties of 1805-1816, and the Doak’s Stand Treaty of 1820. His judgment and wisdom was honored by all that knew him. These descriptive testimonies were given by men of his time who knew him best: “A celebrated chief, he was a famous warrior and orator. In his lifetime his influence was supreme over the entire Nation, even beyond the boundaries of his immediate domain.” Another described him in this manner. “Apuckshunnubbe was a large man, tall and bony, with a down look, and was of the superstitious and religious cast of mind. He was by his people called a good man, and it is said that he was a man of deep thought and that he was quite an intellectual.” Other accounts gave testimony to his interest in the education of this people.
Apuckshunnubbe’s death in Kentucky in 1824 Submitted by Earl White
How often have you wondered when reading an article of history, what really brought about the described event? Have you wondered why the subject was at that particular place at that particular time? So it was with me as I scanned old newspaper clippings at our local archives and found the story of Apuckshunnubbe’s accident and death here in Kentucky in 1824.
Fortunately, with the assistance of Jane Proctor Smith of Tulsa, I have been able to reconstruct the events leading up to the fatal accident in our town. Mrs. Smith is a direct descendant of Apuckshunnubbe. She also supplied me with enough material to describe the remainder of the trip by the others in the company of the old Chieftain and to bring closure to my curiosity.
Following is this account: In the early autumn months of 1824 three chiefs of the Choctaw Nation came together in the Mississippi Territory to plan a journey to Washington City to protest violations of the Treaty of Doak’s Stand. These Chiefs were Apuckshunnubbe, Pushmataha and Moshulatubbee and they represented the entire Choctaw population. The Doak’s Stand Treaty was formulated to swap a designated area in Mississippi for a much larger tract of land farther west. The Treaty had already been violated by white settlers in the western lands and this was to be the subject of talks with President Monroe in Washington.
The proposed route to Washington was to travel the Natchez trace to Nashville, then to Lexington, Kentucky, onward to Maysville, Kentucky, across the Ohio River (called the Spaylaywitheepi by the Shawnee) northward to Chillicothe, Ohio, (former principal town of the Shawnee), then finally east over the “National Highway” to Washington City.
Soon afterward, the small delegation took to the Natchez Trace, beginning the arduous trip to the eastern seat of government. The group consisted of Apuckshunnubbe, Pushmataha, Moshulatubbee, Talking Warrior, Red Fort, Nittahkachee, Col. Robert Cole and David Folsom, both half breed Indians, Captain Daniel McCurtain, and Major John Pitchlynn, the U.S. Interpreter.
Late in the day of October 18th, 1824, a large part of the deputation arrived in Maysville, Kentucky, by stagecoach. They were directed to the establishment of Captain Langhorne for food and lodging. (The present day location of where the establishment stood is the corner of Front and Market Streets).
According to the report in the Maysville Eagle, “Apuckshunnubbe, the great Medal Chief, after supping at Captain Langhorne’s on Wednesday last, in the evening attempted to go to the river, missed his way, and was precipitated over the abutment of the road and received so severe contusions to his head and other injuries, as to render his recovery hopeless. He lingered until Friday night, in a perfectly senseless condition, when his soul winged to the presence of the Great Spirit.
“Every attention that could possibly be paid to a fellow mortal was rendered the deceased by Capt. Langhorne and his family, and the physicians and other inhabitants of the town. on Saturday his remains were accompanied to the Methodist Meeting House by the Maysville light infantry, under Capt. Lee, united by a part of Capt. Nicholson’s troop of horsemen, dismounted, together with the largest coinsures of citizens and strangers to ever assemble in this place for a funeral occasion.
“A appropriate sermon was preached by the Reverend Corwine after which Miko’s (chief’s) remains were conveyed to the narrow house of the grave, and interred with full military honors.” “After the close of the divine service in the church, an interesting address was given, in his native tongue, by Col. Robert Cole, the successor of Apuckshunnubbe, in which in a most feeling and dignified manner he returned thanks for the honor and friendly feelings shown to the surviving members of the delegation. His interpreter, Mr. Folsom, a half-breed Choctaw, is a man of information and intelligence.