436 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI that his delegation could not find suitable lands in the Indian Territory. Federal negotiators increased the pressure, threatening the withholding of annuities from the previous land cessions. Meeting at Pontotoc Creek in October 1832, with an ailing Levi Colbert unable to attend, a new treaty was signed. The Treaty of Pontotoc Creek opened up 6,422,400 acres to settlement. Levi Colbert did not witness the forced migration of his people, dying in the summer of 1834, years before the first 450 Chickasaw left for the West in June 1837. A census prior to the removal found a total of 6,070 members, with 1,229 of mixed ancestry and 1,156 African American slaves. Supervised by the United States Army, most of the Chickasaw were transported by river steamer from Memphis to Fort Coffee on the Arkansas River and then overland to eastern sections of the Indian Territory already settled by the rival Choctaw. By early 1838, most of the Chickasaw had left Mississippi. In April 1841, federal officials reported that only 500 Chickasaw remained, although a remnant lingered as late as 1850. Compared with the suffering of the Cherokee “Trail of Tears” and similar removals of the Creek and other tribes, the Chickasaw migration was tranquil and orderly. The Chickasaw were the last of the Southern tribes to sign away their lands. The Chickasaw settled small villages in what became Lafayette County, including a small settlement, Toccopola, on the southeastern border and others near Sarepta and College Hill. Local tradition speaks of “Toby Tubby,” a “mingo” or chief who lingered after the American takeover. Called the “last of the Chickasaw” and a friend of the white settlers, he operated a ferry across the Tallahatchie River on the trail from Pontotoc to the newly founded settlements at Oxford and College Hill on the way to Memphis. He spoke English and played the role of a mediator between his people and the white migrants. A prosperous landowner, Tubby claimed three homes, three wives, and a number of slaves. There are differing stories as to his tragic end. In one account, he was stabbed to death by an unknown drunken assailant after a trip to Holly Springs to purchase whiskey. Another account has the chief celebrating the sale of thousands of acres of land by drinking in a saloon in Wyatt and being knifed in a brawl. The federal government established a U.S. Land Office and Chickasaw Agency in Pontotoc. Government surveyors measured and divided the collectively owned four million acres of Chickasaw land into townships of thirty-six square miles with each square mile of 640 acres designated as a section. The land office put up quarter sections for public sale at auction early in 1836. Most of the best land located near waterways was quickly snapped up by land speculators, often organized into companies funded by Eastern capital. By early 1837, most of the former Chickasaw land had been purchased. The Mississippi legislature organized the cession into thirteen new counties on February 9, 1836. Lafayette County was named after the French hero of the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette. Marshall County honored chief justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall. “Panola” was said to be the Choctaw and Chickasaw word for cotton. DeSoto County was named for the Spanish conquistador who traveled through the region and first discovered the Mississippi River in 1541. The legislature appointed commissioners to organize elections for the new counties. The most important officials were the members of the county Board of Police (later often called the Board of Supervisors). Most government functions on the county level were concentrated in the boards. The board laid out and maintained roads, licensed taverns, assessed property taxes, and oversaw the construction of public buildings. Oxford and the University of Mississippi The future site of Oxford was sold in June 1836 by Hoka, a Chickasaw woman, to the land speculators John Chisolm, John Martin, and John Craig for $800. Below her mark, James and George Colbert, along with the U.S. agent, certified her as capable of conducting her own affairs. Like many land speculators, the purchasers donated a section of land to the state for a county seat, hoping to increase the value of their other holdings. The town of Oxford itself was named in the hope of attracting the proposed state university. In 1836, Thomas Dudley Isom suggested to the Lafayette Board of Supervisors that the county seat be named after Oxford, the venerable English university. Isom, only nineteen years old when he arrived from Tennessee to work in his uncle’s trading post among the Chickasaw, was perhaps the first white settler in the county and a founder of the town. Proposals for a state university had been debated for years before Representative James Alexander Ventress introduced a bill into the state legislature in early 1840 “to provide for the location of the State University.” The legislature created a committee to evaluate possible sites. The commission whittled down the contestants to seven communities. Oxford won the prize over the coastal town of The Chickasaw were able to delay removal for an additional seven years.