Cherokee Phoenix

From the Religious Narrator

Published April, 5, 1834

Page 2 Column 2b

From the Religious Narrator.


Choctaw Agency, Dec. 31, 1833

Mr. Editor:- I have taken up my pen to give you a description of a mournful fact, which occurred at this place a few months ago.

Las t summer, some of the Choctaws, who were intoxicated got into a quarrel, and one of them beat another pretty badly with a bottle. The Indian who had been beaten, was determined to have revenge for the injury he had sustained. Accordingly, he immediately perused the object of revenge, but not being able to overtake him, and his revengeful disposition being so thirsty for blood, he beat to death, in a most cruel manner, a friend, against whom he entertained not the smallest degree of ill will.

Immediately after this cruel act was committed, the perpetrator of the crime informed his friends and others of what he was guilty, and gave himself up to the friends of the deceased, to be put to death according to the Choctaw custom of putting murderers to death.- He said he had killed his friend, an innocent person, and deserved death; he wanted to die, nor was he afraid to die.

Soon after the murderer had made his surrender, his friends and relations, and the friends and relations of the deceased, collected together and made preparations for his execution. His grave was dug, and the executioner appointed, who was a friend to the murderer. The choice, I believe, was made by the unfortunate criminal.- Very frequently, when Indians are to be put to death, for murder, the murderer's own brother is chosen as the executioner. Whilst the grave was digging, and other preparations making for the solemn scene that was approaching, the Indian, whose minutes were numbered, danced around the place of execution, apparently without the least dread of his awful fate; and also, during this time, he would once in a while fire a gun, as did his brother, who continued to do so, till after the execution. Just before the fatal moment arrived, the Indian who was to die, seated himself upon a blanket near the side of his grave; and whilst in this situation, his friends and relations approached him, and taking hold of his hand, bade him farewell. One of the company that came up, was a little brother of the infatuated criminal. Whilst the little boy was taking leave of his brother, who was just about to be launched into the invisible world, no groans were heard, (for these were forbidden,) but tears, in perfect silence, rolled freely over his cheeks to the ground. After a final leave had been taken of the criminal, two of his friends caught hold of his hands, one on each side, and drew his arms into a horizontal position, and in a direction parallel to each other. In this position they were held till death paralyzed them. Now the awful moment had arrived; and whilst every countenance was clothed in sadness, and ever heart palpitating with fear and sympathy, the executioner advanced just before the criminal, and discharged the contents of his weapon of death into his naked bosom; and whilst the blood was gushing from his heart, he was eased back into the icy hands of death, and covered with his blankets. As soon as the report of the gun was heard, the relations of him who had just fallen a prey to death, rushed to the fatal spot, and kneeling around the dear body, they poured forth the fountain of grief, (which they now were allowed to do,) that was pent up in their aching bosoms. After the dead body of the unfortunate native had received its last respects, it was deposited in its long and silent home. Thus, in less than twelve hours, two immortal souls were hurried into eternity, unprepared. But what was the primary cause of this sudden work of death? Ardent Spirits. It is seldom that full-blooded Indians of the same tribe quarrel with one another, or kill one another, unless they are under the influence of ardent spirits.

Yours, respectfully,