Authors Note: I have tried to construct the stories about the Chickasaws’ told by Ma, Aunt Vina and my daddy so that I may create a written legacy to share the lives of my ancestors with my readers and the general public. Thank you for your support. EAJM
The Chickasaw – Part 6
Hawk Over-Town searched for work every day since their escape from the march West, Sipsee knew that she needed to change, learn the language; but Hawk refused and no one would hire an Indian that could not speak English. One morning in early summer he just up and left; it was eight weeks before he returned home; he entered their yard with a team of eight horses. He told Sipsee that he had found a wild herd and that he broke them before returning. Sipsee suspected someone farther south was missing eight horses
He did find work at a nearby logging camp after he returned, they had a logging mill shack, food and firewood for cooking and keeping warm; what more did they need. He quickly became one of the top loggers and with the finest horse team to pull logs out of the forest to the mill. It did not take long for another logger who was jealous to wage a bet with him; the bet…loser got the other loggers team of horses. Wes was a man that had killed many men, or he bragged about it, he wanted this Indian dead.
The day of the pulling race the mill yard was full of people. The logging skids were loaded, both skids were suppose to have the same amount of weight in logs. Unknown to Hawk deep within the logs on his skid were heavy iron bars that would almost double the weight on his team.
Sipsee and ten-year-old Jane found a place to stand at the starting line. Jane could feel her mother shaking, her hand sweaty, and knew that she was scared for Hawk. He begin to hitch his team to the skid, he and the other logger steadied themselves on the skid behind their horses. It was then that a large hawk circled his skid spreading his massive wings; the sounds the hawk was frantic. Hawk fleetingly thought about his quest and the large Red Tail Hawk his protector.
Hawk turned to look at Sipsee and Jane, he smiled; the starting shot from the pistol of the mill owner started the race. Hawk knew when his team lurched forward that his skid carried more weight than it was suppose too. However, within seconds the teams were side by side, Hawk pulled ahead and saw the bloody cuts on the backs of McCartee’ horses left by the brutal lashing of the whip. He wanted the whipping to end, Hawk urged his team on and they quickly went across the finish line.
It was then that some men in the crowd yelled in surprise, “That Injun won”. Hawk leaped from his skid and jumped upon McCartee skid jerking his whip from him; beating him until gashes like the horses covered his face. He walked back to his own team.
Gasp from spectators filled the air when they saw a pistol drawn. Sipsee pulled Jane closer to her covering her face with her dress as she screamed Hawks’ name. The pistol fired until the chamber was empty. Hawks back was covered with blood, he fell on one of his horses; the team he found in a pasture of a wealthy plantation owner deep in southern Alabama Territory.
Sipsee and Jane ran to his side, he was dead; they lay on top of him crying until several Indian women pulled them away. Hawks’ friends both white and Indian carried him home, but not before Sipsee unhooked the horses from the skid taking them with her. As she walked away the drunken voice of Wes McCartee rang threw the air.
“Well, guess we just rid ourselves from another dirty injun”. He laughed loudly.
Sipsee walked over to him saying softly, “No, you did not kill a dirty Indian, you murdered a Chickasaw Warrior.
To be continued…
Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton” 1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything, It was her body that was ready for death; she lay down for an afternoon nap and woke only to say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father.
Grandson – Roy C. Johnson
Granddaughter – Vina Evans-Quinn
Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree Great – Granddaughter
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