The Yalobusha settlement was controlled by Chief Isaac Perry, whose mother was Choctaw
and whose father, Hardy Perry, was one of the first white traders among the Choctaws.
"The missionaries were most hospitably received," Halbert writes, "... and
Captain Perry offered them a house in his yard until they could put up buildings of their
"A suitable place was finally selected for the mission station. It was a
slight plateau covered with lofty trees and dotted here and there with ancient mounds,
showing that it had once been the habitation of prehistoric men." The
station was name "Eliot" in honor of John Eliot, an English
Puritan born in 1604 who had emigrated to America to educate the Indians of Massachusetts.
The little station grew with the arrival of more missionaries and the building of
homes, a church and a school. A doctor, a carpenter and blacksmith also arrived and
"a blacksmith shop, granary and other buildings were erected, and soon furniture,
wagons and all kinds of agricultural implements were made at the mission."
For more than 20 years, Eliot Mission was a center for Choctaw education. But in 1830,
the infamous Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek began the removal of the
Choctaws from their eastern lands, and by 1833 the mission had closed. Only a few
Choctaws, including Isaac Perry, managed to retain a foothold in their homeland, but geographical names recall their era.
Isaac Perry was granted as a "reservation" Section 22,
Township 22 north, Range 3 east in what is now Grenada County. Seventy years
later, the town of Holcomb was established on part of that section.
and Pioneer of Old Eliot," Henry Watterson Heggie, Tuscahoma Press, Grenada,
"Introduction of Christianity and
Education into the Choctaw Nation," Henry Sale Halbert, Alabama Department
of Archives and History, 624 Washington Ave., Montgomery, Ala., 36130
"A History of Grenada County,"
J.C. Hathorn, 1967, Grenada County Library
A new era
In a historic 1997 Thanksgiving week ceremony, Mississippi signed a historic pact
recognizing "the sovereignty of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians." The
agreement pledges a new spirit of respect and cooperation between the state and tribal
governments. The agreement makes the state the third (after New Mexico and Oregon) to sign
such an agreement with an Indian tribe.