A direct consequence of non-Indian encroachment into Chickasaw territory

Massive encroachment plagued Chickasaw communities during the 1830s. American settlers tried to take over Chickasaw people’s fields, livestock and even homes. The times were becoming violent for Chickasaws as settlers blatantly disregarded tribal sovereignty or treaty stipulations. Tishominko began to take matters into his own hands to protect his Chickasaw people.

Tishominko discovered two white peddlers illegally selling whiskey and merchandise within Chickasaw territory. He seized their goods and turned them over to an Indian agent. The peddlers filed a suit against Tishominko. Disregarding the Chickasaw’s sovereign rights and the binding force of Chickasaw treaties, Tishominko and U.S. Subagent John Allen were arrested under state law and detained in the Monroe County (Mississippi) jail.

At his trial in November 1832, Tishominko claimed the peddlers were prohibited by treaty from doing business within Chickasaw territory. Not surprisingly, the all-white jury found Tishominko guilty of violating state law and fined him and John Allen almost $500. The state of Mississippi asserted its authority over federal law, just after the tribe had signed the Treaty of Pontitock Creek.

The case was appealed. John Allen secured his bond and George and James Colbert acted as sponsors. When the appeal was heard in Jackson, MS. in January 1837, the guilty verdict was upheld.