Academic journal article The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture

The Alfred Victor Story: A Choctaw-Chickasaw Family History

Academic journal article The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture

The Alfred Victor Story: A Choctaw-Chickasaw Family History

Article excerpt

Near the end of the French Revolution, as social turmoil in the nation deepened and threats upon the lives of those in certain quarters of French society loomed, one family with the surname of Victor decided to send three young brothers to a safer haven across the Atlantic to New Orleans, Louisiana. These brothers were John, Sylvester, and Sebastian Victor. They settled in an area known as Old Frenchtown, Louisiana.1 Not long after settling in Old Frenchtown, the three brothers formed a trading business partnership. Their focus was the Indian trade, which caused the Victor brothers to relocate their enterprise closer to more powerful tribes deeper in the interior of North America. They eventually settled in current-day Mississippi, in what was known as the Apuckshunnubbee district of the Choctaw. The oldest brother, John Victor, would marry a Choctaw woman named Ellen (Foster) Pusely of the "Oka-la-fa-lay-a clan." According to family oral traditions, John's two brothers, Sylvester and Sebastian, also married Choctaw women. Until the 1830s, life for John Victor's family among the Choctaw seemed uneventful.

Life, however, took a drastic turn for John and his family when the United States government began the forced removal of Southeastern tribes to the Indian Territory. John and his family were among the first groups of Choctaws forced to go to Indian Territory. The removal was even worse because many Choctaws made the trek during the bitter winter of 1831 - 1832. Many Choctaws perished along the way from exposure, lack of food, and disease. The final group to set out for Indian Territory in 1832 arrived in the bitter cold of December.2 After the Choctaws arrived and settled in their new western home, the first infant baby in Indian Territory born to John Victor was his son Alfred Wade Victor, born December 25, 1834, near Skullyville, Indian Territory. Alfred Victor would eventually have fourteen siblings: Lucinda, Wilson, Pension, William S., John, Robert, Amanda, Missy Melissa, Salinda Salina, Louise, Lucy, Peter, Cordelia, and Martha Ann Margaret.

Alfred Victor grew up in the Indian Territory, not far from the Fort Towson area. Not much is know about his youth, but living near Fort Towson, John likely witnessed the bustle surrounding the frontier outpost and the concerns of frontier life with Plains tribes to the west and Mexico to the South. In 1854 he married Mary LeFlore, who was Choctaw and the daughter of Captain Thomas LeFlore and Shakupahon "Sookie" Pusley.3 Alfred and Mary had two children, one named Julius, born about 1855, the other Napoleon, born about 1857. After the Civil War began, Alfred, along with many Choctaws and Chickasaws, felt a duty to protect their land and sovereignty, and chose to serve the Confederacy. In October of 1861, at age eighteen (according to military rosters), Alfred took his wife and son to stay with her parents, then he rode on to Millican, Brazos County, Texas, and enlisted in the Confederacy. He would first be assigned to the Texas 10th Infantry (Texas Volunteer Infantry), Company F, as a private. The 10th was soon assigned to guard the White River in Arkansas and keep Union gunboats from penetrating that corner of the Confederacy. Those months were hard on the men of the 10th. Boredom constantly plagued the force. More severe, however, was that during those months stationed in the river bottoms of the White River, Alfred and much of the 10th suffered countless hardships. Many men in the 10th detested their assignment on the White River. In letters to family, the men were openly bitter and expressed their frustration about the lack of food, hard conditions, lack of pay, but worst of all, they mentioned the horrific conditions disease created. In addition to the typical problems of dysentery in the camps, many camped along the White River suffered from a measles outbreak that ripped through the ranks. Many men died in Arkansas waiting for action and their disbursements from the paymaster. …

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