Rare separately issued pocket map of the lands in Mississippi ceded by the Chickasaw Indians to the United States pursuant to Treaties entered in 1832 and 1834.
The map depicts roughly the northern half of Mississippi and immediately adjacent portions of Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas. Superimposed on the topography is a grid of 6-mile townships and 1-mile sections imposed by the General Land Office, the agency responsible for surveying Federal lands in preparation for sale and eventual settlement. The Chickasaw-Choctaw boundary, established in 1830 by the treaty between the Chickasaw and the United States, is shown running from the Mississippi River southeast to Noosacheah Creek. Below the title are the printed signatures of John Bell, the GLO surveyor in charge of the ceded lands, and Chickasaw agent Benjamin Reynolds. Numerous penciled additions demarcate county lines and name ten counties established in 1836-1838.
The region's many river systems are depicted with care, as are the relatively few Chickasaw and white settlements, roads, and trails. In fact, in his monograph on the history of the Chickasaw, James Henry Moore includes an extended discussion of the Lusher map and its importance as the first map to accurately depict the early Chickasaw trails in the region. Of these, the most significant was the "long trail," which extended from modern-day Mobile north through Pontotoc and the Chickasaw Council House and on to Chickasaw Bluffs near present-day Memphis (The Council House itself appears to be shown on the map, just west of the word "Pontotoc.") The famed "Natchez Trace" also appears on the map, not named but shown extending from northwest Alabama and across Mississippi as far as the Yazoo.
The focal point of the map is the lands in Mississippi ceded by the Chickasaws to the United States in 1832 and 1834. Prepared by Henry M. Lusher, whose primary responsibility seems to have been the platting of the lands surveyed under Bell's direction. Working from the Pontotoc office of the United States General Land Office, in conjunction with the marketing and sale of these lands, Henry M. Lusher, as draftsman in the General Land Office, made and sold copies of his map of the Chickasaw Cession (the present map) (Young 1961:140), which were likely intended for dissemination to prospective purchasers of the portion of the lands intended for sale to the general public.
The map was prepared following a chapter of the continuing struggle for power and land between the Chickasaws and the United States Government. The Chickasaw leaders sought to acquire the best terms possible after Mississippi's extension of state laws over Indians in February 1829 and after the 1830 passage of the Indian Removal Act by the U.S. government. In the summer of 1830, the Chickasaw sent representatives to meet with U.S. delegates, including President Andrew Jackson, at Franklin, Tennessee, and a treaty was signed August 31, 1830. The Chickasaws agreed to cede their lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for an equal amount of land in the west, but this treaty became void when a suitable area could not be found. New negotiations for removal were undertaken in 1832 in Chickasaw territory at Pontotoc Creek. On October 20, 1832 a treaty was signed that ceded Chickasaw lands in Mississippi to the U.S. government. The lands were to be surveyed and sold immediately with each adult Chickasaw receiving a temporary allotment that would also be sold and all monies placed in a fund to cover the costs of removal.
The Land Office appointed John Bell as Surveyor and the Survey was well underway by 1833, at which time Henry M. Lusher of South Carolina, one of the earliest settlers in Pontonoc County, came to the area as part of the Land Office Survey to work under Bell. It was Lusher's job to plat the Chickasaw lands surveyed by Bell. Lusher's map of the region would become the standard reference for North Mississippi.
The remainder of the Chickasaw Cession which was not committed to the Chickasaws by Indian scrip was to be offered at public sale through the Pontotoc U.S. Government Land Office. President Jackson, backed by his many Southern supporters who had forced through the dispossession of the Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw, appointed Col. James Drake receiver of sales, Capt. A.J. Edmondson, registrar and receiver of public monies, the aforementioned John Bell and D.B. Anderson, surveyors, and Patrick H. Fontaine and his son Edward Fontaine, draftsmen and recorders for the sale of the Chickasaw Cession. Potential buyers could examine plats and descriptive notes of the newly surveyed lands, which were offered at $1.25 an acre.
Settlers quickly occupied the Chickasaw lands beginning in 1832, despite a provision of the treaty promising that the U.S. government would prevent new settlement until the Chickasaws had actually left Mississippi.
Much of the land ceded by the Chickasaws was purchase by Bell himself working in partnership with southern investors, as well as by the Boston and Mississippi Cotton Land Company and other joint-stock companies based in New England and New York. This New England connection provides a likely explanation for the otherwise puzzling fact of the map's production by Pendleton's Lithography of Boston. The map was likely published with the intention of marketing the Chickasaw lands to these northern syndicates .
Drake was the receiver for the 21 years the Pontotoc Land Office was in existence After the enactment of the Specie Circular, which required federal land purchases to be made only in specie (gold and silver coin), Drake carried a wagonload of this money to the United States Bank in Nashville every few months.
A suitable new homeland in the west was not found until January, 1837 when the Chickasaws and Choctaws met at Doaksville, Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory, and the Choctaws sold the western part of their new territory to the Chickasaws. Although this agreement between the two tribes was not a treaty with the United States, President Jackson submitted it to the Senate for approval anyway, which was accomplished in February 1837.
The map is quite rare, with only a few surviving copies located in institutional collections.