Nathaniel Folsom, Sr.

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About Nathaniel Folsom, Sr.

Nathaniel Folsom was born on 17 May 1756 in Rowan Co., NC. He died on 9 Oct 1833 in Mountain Fork, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory.

1775: Nathaniel came with his father and family to the Choctaw Nation in present Mississippi where he remained as a trader and married I-Ah-Ne-Cha and Ai-Ne-Chi-Hoyo, two Choctaw sisters, who were nieces of Chief Miko Puskush, Chief of the Northeastern district of the Choctaws. He had 24 or 25 children with his two wives.

"Nathaniel Folsom, like his brothers Ebenezer and Edmund, married into the Choctaw tribe. Following Choctaw custom, he married two sisters, nieces of the chief of the Northeastern district of the Choctaws. That is, this was the custom if the man could afford to have a large family. The Choctaws felt that by having two wives–sisters–there would be no jealousy and there would always be someone to look after the children. By his two wives, Nathaniel Folsom had a large number of children–twenty four according to some authorities and twenty-five by others.

"Ray Holder, in his biography of William Winans, one of the first bishops of the Methodist Church, who traveled and preached through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi in his early years, quotes Winans as saying: ‘A white man named folsom and his hefty wife refused any compensation for their courteous care. She and her husband owned a number of slaves, some of who appeared to be decidedly religions.' " (From CHOCTAW FOLSOMS, by McBride)

1791: When son David, who became the first Choctaw chief to be elected by ballot, was born, Nathaniel was living in the town of Bok Tuklo "which was situated in the confluence of the Sukenatcha and Running Tiger creeks in the present Kemper County, MS."

1803: "Folsom settled at Pigeon Roost on the Natchez Trace where he opened the first house of entertainment in the Choctaw Nation on that great thoroughfare."

1813: In his brother Ebenezer's will, dated 22 March: "...There is also _ miles square land in my brothers hands. He is now living at the Chickesa Bluff called American Trace, Pidgeon Roost."

1820: Nathaniel Folsom lived on a much traveled "Trace" between Nashville and the southern Mississippi Territory. He "entertained numerous travelers. He told Adam Hodgson who visited him in 1820, that there were scarcely 5 days in the year when he failed to have guests, and that 70 or 80 often stopped in 1 day." (Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic; Debo, Angie, Univ. of Okla. Press, 1934, 1961, pg 38).

1825: "Folsom moved from Pigeon roost to the Robinson Road and settled on a place on this road about three miles east of the Choctaw Agency. (After the advent of steamboats on the Mississippi, farmers and trappers no longer returned to their homes in Ohio, Kentucky, or Tennessee over the Natchez Trace after they had floated their products down the Mississippi to market. The Trace fell into disuse, and most of those operating ‘stands' moved to other locations. The Robinson Road was the ‘high-way' from Jackson, MS to Columbus, Ms.

(My fullest data on Nathaniel Folsom is from: HISTORY Of The Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez Indians, Cushman, H.B.; Headlight Printing House, Greenville, Texas; 1899... Bruce Evans)

"I will here present to the reader the memoirs of Nathaniel Folsom, the oldest of the three brothers who cast their lot in their morning of life among the Choctaws, and became the fathers of the Folsom House in the Choctaw nation, as related by himself to the missionary, Rev. Cyrus Byington, June, 1823, and furnished me by his granddaughter Czarena Folsom, now Mrs. Rabb.

"I was born in North Carolina, Rowan County, May 17, 1756. My father was born in Massachusetts or Connecticut. My mother was born in New Jersey. My parents moved to Georgia, and there my father sent me to school about six months, during which time I learned to read and write. My mother taught me to read and spell at home. My father had a great desire to go to Mississippi to get money; they said money grew on bushes! We got off and came into the Choctaw Nation. The whole family came; we hired an Indian pilot who led us through the Nation to Pearl River, where we met three of our neighbors who were returning on account of sickness. This alarmed my father, who then determined to return to North Carolina. We came back into the Nation to Mr. Welch's on Bok Tuklo (Two Creeks), the father of Mr. Nail.

At this time I was about 19 years of age. At that place we parted. My father knocked me down. I arose and told him I would quit him, and did so by walking straight off before his face. I do not remember what I did, but I always thought I was not in fault. My parents then moved into the Chickasaw Nation. I entered into partnership with Mr. Welch, and could do many things for him. In the Chickasaw Nation my brother Israel ran away from my father and came to me. He died at the age of 18 near where Mr. Juzon now lives. He was a good young man.

My parents moved again to Fort St. Stephens. My brother Ebenezer visited me several times; he also sent me word to come and move him up into the Nation. I did so. He lived with me two years. Still lie wanted to go to Mississippi, and wished I would raise a guard and send him there. I did so. Brother Edmond and two sisters went with him, and there my father died, on Cole's Creek, Mississippi. I really believe my mother was a pious woman.

I traded a long time in the Nation, sometimes taking up three or four thousand dollars' worth of goods. I followed trading about thirty years. I lived principally at Bok Tuklo, fifteen miles this side of Juzon's (i. e. north). There was a great town of about four hundred Indians. The French King lived there. I learned the Choctaw language very slow. I was never perfect in the language. But after ten years I could do any business with the Choctaws.

I bought a Bible of Robert Black about twelve years ago. This is the first Bible I ever owned. Before that I cared nothing about the Bible. I first heard a sermon by Mr. Bell at the Pigeon Roost about twelve years ago. I beard Lorenzo Dow pray once. About this time I began to have serious thoughts. Before this I had none. My mind was affected by what the missionaries said, who came from the North. Soon after my son Edmond died.

One Sabbath I had a great conflict in me. I beard a sermon at the Pigeon Roost. My friends thought I felt bad because my son died. But it was something else. At that time there was a great change in me, which has remained ever since. This was in August, 1824. 1 joined the church at Mayhew, October, 1827, in my 72nd year. I have been the father of twenty-four children, fourteen of whom are living. I have lived to see six of them join the church, and three others sit on the anxious seat."

According to an entry in the church record of Mountain Fork Church, Nathaniel Folsom died October 9, 1833, in his 78th year.

"Mr. Rufus Folsom, great grandson of Nathaniel Folsom, also kindly furnished me with a sketch of his great grand father, which was nearly the same as the above --- closing, however, with the following: "In September, 1830, the government of the United States made a treaty with the Choctaws for their lands east of the Mississippi River, and in October, 1832, our old great grandfather, afflicted with a palsy of the limbs for many years, started from the old Nation to come to this. He reached Mountain Fork, and there resided till the 9th of October, 1833, when he died, aged 77 years, four months, and twenty-seven days."

Signed, Rufus Folsom, Folsom Station, Indian Territory.

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Nathaniel Folsom, Sr.'s Timeline

1756
May 17, 1756
Rowan County, North Carolina
1775
1775
Age 18
Choctaw Nation, Mississippi Territory
1776
1776
Age 19
Nosholi-tubbi District, Choctaw Nation, Mississippi, USA
1784
1784
Age 27
Nosholi-tubbi District, Choctaw Nation, Mississippi, USA
1786
1786
Age 29
Choctaw Nation, Mississippi
1791
January 25, 1791
Age 34
Pigeon Roost, MS
1791
Age 34
Bok Tuklo
1794
1794
Age 37
Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, USA
1794
Age 37
Choctaw Nation, Mississippi
1795
1795
Age 38
Mississippi