Saturday, August 11, 2012

Who was George Colbert?

George Colbert

 It was in a rich and noble tradition of the Chickasaws that George Colbert was born to a full-blood Chickasaw mother and a full-blood Scots Irish father in 1744 in the Chickasaw Nation of northeastern Mississippi.  His father, James Logan Colbert, was Scots Irish and came to the Chickasaw country with traders of the British.  George was raised and lived all but two years of his life in the original eastern Chickasaw homelands.  For all intents and purposes, George Colbert was Chickasaw; he was reared in the lifestyles of the Chickasaws and became a great Chickasaw warrior, leader, and chief.  George served not only as the chief of the Chickasaws for 12 years, but he also served in the United States military in different campaigns under General Mad Anthony Wayne, General George Washington, and General Andrew Jackson; he attained the rank of colonel in the United States Army.

In December 1801, the United States Government agreed to build cabins for travelers, a store, stables, a large dwelling house, a new ferry boat, and other facilities for George Colbert to operate a ferry where the Natchez Trace crosses the Tennessee River in present-day Colbert County, Alabama.  George Colbert was known as “Tootemastubbe” or “The Ferryman” by his Indian friends and relatives.

Saleechie and Tuskiahooto were the wives of George Colbert; they were the daughters of Chickamauga Chief Doublehead.  George Colbert first married Saleechie before 1797 and his second marriage was to Tuskiahooto before 1807.  Tuskiahooto was considered one of the most beautiful women in the country; she was George’s principal wife and lived at Colbert’s Ferry on the Natchez Trace in Colbert County, Alabama until she died around 1817; she rests in an unmarked grave on a beautiful and serene hillside overlooking the south bank of the Tennessee River.  George seemed to never get over her loss and shortly after her burial, he moved to Tupelo, Mississippi, with Saleechie.

George and Saleechie (Standing Fern) had seven children who were one eighth German, three eighths Cherokee, one quarter Scots Irish, and one quarter Chickasaw.  Through George’s children, his siblings, and many relatives, a large number of people in northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama are related to the historic Colbert family.  They admirably speak of their Colbert ancestors in very favorable words and are proud of their association with George Colbert, a person considered by many to be the greatest Celtic Indian legend and hero of this area. 

George Colbert was the “Half Blood Prince” of his beloved Chickasaw people; he loved his Alabama and Mississippi homelands and did all in his power to remain in the land were his dead lay buried.  During his life, George conducted himself in a noble and honorable manner; he had a distinguished military career, rose to the rank of chief among the Chickasaws, and negotiated on behalf of his people with Presidents of the United States.  After only two years in Indian Territory, George Colbert died a long way from his place of birth in a new land that did not belong to his Chickasaw people. 

Read more about this famous half blood prince in my latest book "Chickasaw Chief George Colbert: His Family and His Country."  The book is now available at and presently lists for $15.95; order your copy today, shipping is free with orders over $25.00.  You can also get the book for $19.95 at Warrior Mountains Trading Post in Wren, Coldwater Books in Tuscumbia, and Rattlesnake Saloon in Colbert County off highway 247.

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