Levi Colbert flatly turns down Commissioner William Clark

On October 17, 1826, a Council was held between Commissioners William Clark (of former Lewis & Clark fame) and two others and Chickasaw representatives. The U.S. statement read “We must have a dense and strong population from the mouth to the head of this father of rivers.” The commissioners were authorized to offer land and all expenses to remove the Chickasaws to the west. The U.S. officials were shocked when Levi Colbert flatly turned them down. However, longtime Colbert friend Thomas L. McKenney, first commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, travelled to Levi Colbert’s Cotton Gin Port bluff home in 1827 and convinced Colbert and other leaders of the inevitability of the tribe’s removal. McKenney, who had personally overseen Levi Colbert’s son Daugherty Colbert’s education in Washington, warned that future generations of Chickasaws would suffer abuses as they would be surrounded by land-hungry non-natives. Mississippi was admitted into the Union in 1817.