394 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI Thus, the Chickasaw solidified their control of the Northeast Corner of what would become the state of Mississippi. They dealt with both the English and the Spanish and gave refuge to Atlantic coast Tories fleeing from the new United States of America. When the victorious United States created the Mississippi Territory in 1798, the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations occupied most of the land in the territory’s western half. The degree of control by the new territorial government was negligible outside the Natchez district, and most of the area remained a sparsely-settled wilderness ruled by the chiefs of the Choctaw and the Chickasaw. Because the Chickasaw were a matrilineal society, the Englishmen who married Chickasaw women produced families considered to be full members of the tribes. This allowed a few families of mixed marriages to become leaders of the Chickasaw nation. These mixed-race leaders spearheaded Chickasaw adoption of American culture. In particular, the sons of James Logan Colbert came to dominate the nation’s political leadership. Under the Colberts, the Chickasaw turned their hunting grounds into pasture for large scale cattle herds and acquired African slaves to compete with white plantation agriculturists. The elite Chickasaws educated their children in both cultures and began moving toward the establishment of a new order with a modernized economic system. Andrew Jackson, as a fighter and later as president, could foresee the Chickasaw transitioning into a viable nation. The Chickasaw had given up their claims in what became the states of Kentucky and Tennessee to pay their debts to traders, but they stoutly refused to relinquish their hold on their heartland in north Mississippi. The United States soon adopted policies to open these lands to white settlement by pushing the Chickasaw nation west of the Mississippi. Levi Colbert deftly countered the ensuing pressure tactics, but when the state extended its sovereignty over the Native American lands, they ousted Colbert as leader of the Chickasaw. At that point, the Chickasaw grudgingly accepted removal as the only means of preserving their nation. With the Treaty of Pontotoc in 1832, the Chickasaw traded their homeland in Mississippi for land in what is now CORINTH CROSSROADS Once the site where the Memphis & Charleston and the Mobile & Ohio railroad lines crossed, the Crossroads made the town of Corinth a vital part of the South’s transportation system. Today, the Norfolk Southern and Kansas City railroad companies still send dozens of trains through the Corinth Crossroads. PHOTO BY GREG CAMPBELL