My name is Dennis Boswell, I live in Folsom, CA and my interest relates to the fact that my great-great grandfather, Edmond Brister of Rocky Point, Attala County, and his son, Moses Andrew Brister also of Rocky Point, Attala County personally knew the Durants and left a few family notes on the Durant family, hence, the reason for my research interest in the Durants.
First, according to THE DURANT STORY, by Cornelia West, with some additions, as reprinted ifrom THE DURANT NEWS, 1901, the town of Durant in Holmes County was named for Louis Durant, who lived on a bluff, known as Durant’s Bluff, just across the Big Black River from where Durant is today.
Following are the notes I have on Pierre Durant,
According to the History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians by H.B. Cushman, published in 1899, Louis Durant, the progenitor of the Durant family among the Choctaws,, was a Canadian Frenchman who came to the Choctaw Nation in Mississippi about the year of 1770 with two brothers: Louis and Michael LeFlore.
Randle Durant wrote a book titled, “Foot Steps of the Durant Choctaws” which is kept in the Bryan County Heritage Association. It says, "Louis Durant is the progenitor of the Durant family among the Choctaws. He married a daughter of a Choctaw named Hanak. She was considered a rose among the forest flowers of the Choctaws. He settled among the Choctaws in the late 1770s per Martini.
Louis, like his two friends, married a full-blooded Choctaw Woman. They had 3 sons, Pierre, Charles and Louis and two daughters; Margaret and Cillen (Syllan or Sillen). Louis and his sons served under Pushamatah an ally of the Americans in the Creek War of 1812 with General Jackson.
The book, Durant 1872-1990, by James C. Miligan et al., says the surname is spelled either “Durant” or “Durand.” The name was transported to North America before 1700 from France where there were Durants as early as the 1200s. Guillaume Durand or Durant or Duranti or Durandus was born 1230 and was a papal aide, as Bishop of Mende in Languedoc, where he died in 1296. There was also a Will Durant in the 1200s. The book also describes the Durant Family Seal. It is denoted by four arrows representing Louis Durant and three sons – meaning Family, Strength and Unity. The Tepee represents Home, Love and Happiness. These signs were carved into the wagon sideboards for identification of Pierre’s eight wagons used on the “Trail of Tears.”
Another book, “A Story of Durant – Queen of Three Valleys” by Henry Mac Creary, The Democrat Printing Co., 1945 says, "the name ‘Durant’ is of French origin and it was originally spelled and written “DuRant.” Among the French colonists who settled along the St. Lawrence River Valley and the Great Lakes region during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries were many missionaries, explorers, trappers and adventurers. The Indians then living there told them aboaut a great river west and southwest of the lakes and that it flowed southward. The Indian name for the river sounded like ‘Mississippi,’ so the French people named it that.
Thinking that probably the river flowed into the Pacific Ocean, some of the trappers and adventurers built boats and rafts and, exploring it to its mouth, discovered that it flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.
Among the many different tribes of Indians living in the valley of the great river were the Choctaws and chickasaws on the east side and a few hundred miles norht of the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the French-Canadians ald also French emigrants to New Orleans and Louisiana Territory settled in that region and some married Indians of the various tribes, establishing homes, farms, colonies and towns. Names of a few Frenchmen who settled there and married Choctaws and Chickasaws are Battiest, Ferrante, Colbert (pronounced Cole-bear in French), LeFlore, Moncrief, Dearmour, DuFord, DuEr and DuRant.
In what was formerly the Choctaw country in Mississippi there is now the town of Durant, county-seat of Holmes County."
Randle Durant wrote a paper, “Footsteps of the Durant Choctaws” which is located in the Bryan County Heritage Association, Oklahoma. In it, he says, "Louis Durant was a French Canadian. He was a ‘Cour Du Bois’, that is a woodsman, trapper and trader. He came down the Mississippi River with two other Frenchmen, who were brothers. They were Louis and Michael LeFlore. Soon after their arrival in the Choctaw country, they settled in the Yazzo Valley of Mississippi. Each one of the Frenchmen married full blood Choctaw women.
…Louis Durant was the first man to introduce cattle to the Choctaws. He bought a few heifers and a bull from the French at Mobile. He drove them to Pearl River in Nashoba County of present Mississippi in 1775.
The Choctaws were fascinated by these animals. A lot of stories were told of the Choctaws when they first laid eyes on cattle."
Randle Durant ends by saying, “Louis Durant was adopted into the Choctaw Tribe along with the LeFlores. Louis was adopted into the Hanaka Iska (Clan). He was highly respected by the Choctaws for his honest and helping fight for their survival in the encircling approach of white civilization.”
Louis Durant was a Captain in the War of 1812. His records in the National Archives, Washington, D.C. read:
Choctaw Indians – Louis Durant appears with the rank of Captain on a Muster Roll of Captain Louis Durant’s Detachment of the Choctaw tribe of Indians that served on a campaign to Pensacola commanded by Major Uriah Blue, War of 1812 in the year 1814.
Another document reads, Louis Durant, Captain, Capt. Louis Durant’s Detachment of Choctaw Indians – Black Warrior – War of 1812, commencement of service Dec 28, 1813; separation of service, Jan 11, 1814, period charged for 15 days; pay per month 40 dollars; Amount of pay 25 dollars, 35 cents. Signer’s name Louis Durant, Remarks: Rations here included at 2 per day. One Drawn in kind.
The next record reads Choctaw Indians – Louis Durant Capt. War of 1812 Appears on a Receipt Roll of John McKee, Paymaster, showing payment to men belonging to various organizations of Choctaw Indians; Commencement of service, 27 Feb 1814, Expiration of service, 29 May 1814, period charged for 3 months. Pay per month, 40 dollars. Amount of pay, 157 dollars, 06 cents. Signers name, Louis Durant his mark. Remarks:Rations here included at 2 per day. One being drawn.
The next document reads: Choctaw Indians – Louis Durant Capt, Captain Louis Durant’s Detachment of Choctaw Warriors – Passa Christina. – War of 1812. Appears on a Receipt Roll; Commencement of service, April 3 1815. Pay per month 40 dollars. Period charged for, 2 months, 6 days. Amount of pay, 113 dollars, 87 cents. Signers name Louis Durant. Remarks: Subsistence is here included at the rate of two rations per day, as one was drawn in kind. Subsistence is included $35.
The last record reads, Choctaw Indians – Lewis Durant Appears with the rank of Capt on a Muster Roll of a Company of Choctaws commanded by Capt. Louis Durant, – Alabama Heights, War of 1812, for Roll dated Doakes Dec 226, 1816.
Following the War of 1812, Louis Durant is referred to as Captain Durant.
The choctaw Roll made in 1832 of the LeFlore District in Mississippi, found on page 103 of American States Papers, Public Lands, Vol. VII, shows Capt. Durant with 11 in his family residing in Opookta. Correctly spelled as “Apookta” meaning double (creek) in Choctaw.
In the records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, national Archives, Washington, D.C. Record Group 75, Entry 272, Uncer “Vicey” page 196 Book 88. The remarks include the 1843 statement, “Affiants (Pierre Durant) Father received lands by special provision of the treaty on which he still lives…” The land recorded is Section 34, Township 14, Range 5 East reserved to Louis Durant. Louis Durant was one of many leading Choctaws who received land in Mississippi as part of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek.
Supplementary Articles to the Treaty reads, "Various Choctaw persons have been presented by the Chiefs of the Nation, with a desire that they might be provided for. Being particularly deserving, an earnestness has been manifested that provision might be made for them. It is therefore, by the undersigned commissioners here assented, with the understanding that they are to have no interest in the reservations which are directed and provided for in the general Treaty to which this is a supplement …Article II. and to each of the following persons there is allowed a reservation of a section and a half of land (to wit)…L. Durans (Durant).
Sons Pierre and Louis along with son-in-law registered in July of 1831 to remain in Mississippi after the ratification of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek that February. These families lived along the Big Black River in what was Yazoo County. In 1833, Holmes County was created from Yazoo where Durant, Mississippi is located in 1999. Details about their registration is found on the Register of Choctaw names as entered by the agent previous to the 24th of August 1831, who wish to become citizens according to a provision of the late treaty in 1830 found in publications of the Mississippi Historical Society.
Family Trails, Vol 8, written in 1985 and found in the library in Lexington, Mississippi describes the history of Durant, Mississippi. It says, “The surveyors in the party stayed at the Lockhart home and around the dinner table one day the discussion of a name for the town arose. It was at last decided that it should be called Durant in honor of an old Indian chief, Louis durant, who lived at the east end of the Durant bridge and turnpike road. Durant’s home was on top of the big hill…” “Indians of Attala County, Mississippi” compiled by Joyce W. Sanders, April 1987, Kosciusko, Mississippi says that Louis’ land lay in Section 19, Township 14, Range 5. It was situated near Pleasant Ridge Church.
According to the deposition of Pierre Durant, January 24, 1843, page 1070 in the Court of Claims No. 12742, Louis Durant, at the date of treaty, lived on Bogue Pha le ah, now in Attala County, and about fourteen miles from Kosciusko, and about three and a half miles from Big Black. The land records in Kosciusko burned in a fire so we don’t have access to the records of Louis’ land sales.
Randle Durant wrote a family history, “Foot Steps of the Durant Choctaws” in which he said, "Pierre’s married sons and their wives and children also signed up for land, and the total Durant holdings exceeded 7,000 acres. The only requirement was to live on the land for five years and pay a filing fee at the end of the fifth year.
This did not set very well with the white settlers that were moving in and taking over the land and homes of the Indians who had left for Oklahoma. This caused the Durants to stay pretty much to themselves to avoid trouble with the white settlers. There were seven thousand other Choctaws living around the Durant family that had also refused to leave their lands. The white settlers clamored for the removal of all the Choctaws. Harassment and strife became a way of life for the remaining Choctaws.
The white settlers still pushed for the removal of all of the Choctaws. In the spring of 1843, the U.S. Government sent (negotiators to) the old Chief Nitakechi of the Pushmatahas District, to try and convince the remaining Indians to move to Oklahoma. He told them of how good the land in Oklahoma was and of hunting without the influence of the white men."
On the 30th of December 1844, the Durants left Mississippi following the Trail of Tears to Indian Territory. Their journey is documented in the notes of Pierre Durant as recorded for history by his descendant Randle Durant. It is a personal Durant family history; a struggle to try and remain in their homeland; mistreatment by the government; a painful and sad journey. Captain Durant was then an elder. The immigration rolls list him arriving with the Pierre Durant party in Indian Territory and ending their long journey March 20, 1845.
Per Martini in “Who Was Who Among the Southern Indians,” "In HISTORY OF BRYAN COUNTY, OKLAHOMA, 263-264; Cushman, 349; Alma Mason to Author, January 5, 1987, When he died is unknown. Louis was paid for his assistance at the treaty negotiations of 1826 (Choctaw Emigration, OIA, roll 185, frame 6), and Louis Durant Sr. claimed the E 1/2 S 27 and S34 T14 R5E in 1831 (Choctaw Reserves, OIA, roll 189, frame 465)
Following are a few of the notes I have on Pierre Durant,
The 1840 Attala County, Mississippi census says that Pierre was given an Indian reservation in 1835 and this was recognized by a letter on 6 May 1849. The land was in Section 26, Township 15, Range 5 East. This lay just north of Apookta Creek on the Big Black River about halfway between Durant and West, Mississippi. He lost this land for non-payment of taxes.
The National Archives, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C. Group Record 75, Entry 526, Reserve Book C, Dec 1909 by Mrs. M.G. Waring says: “Under 19th Art Choctaw Treaty 1830, Durant, Pierre, 160 Acres, script awarded on 1st Oct 1846, location – 14 Article; Remark: see letter from the Gen’l L office May 25, 1848 enclosing patent for section 26, 15,5E which was sent to Agent Rutherford Oct 4, 1848.”
Group Record 75, Entry 277, Judgements 1843-45, page 146 reads:
“On examination of the evidence and papers filed in the Case of Pierre Durant No. 82, It appearing to the Board that said Claimant complied or offered to comply with all the requisites of the 14th Article of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek and it appearing further that the section of land emb— the improvement of said Claimant at the date of said Treaty. To wit section twenty — in Township fifteen of Range five East is still vacant and that the lands of his children can be located adjoining.
In Persuance of and in conformity to the act of Congress of the 23rd of August 1842, I adjudge and allow to said Claimant said section twenty-six in Township fifteen Range five east, to his child George Durant over ten years of age the east half of section thirty five same township and range, to his child Tina Durant over ten years of age the west half of section thirty five same township and range, to his child Silvester Durant over ten years of age the South half of section lthirty six same township and range, to his child Jefferson Durant over ten years of age, the south half of section thirty four same township and range, to his child Isham Durant under ten years of age the northwest quarter of section thirty six in same township and range, and to the heirs of his child Sophia Durant deceased under ten years of age the northeast quarter of section thirty-four in same Township and range. — John F.H. Claiborne, Ralph Graves."
Note, Randal Durant’s book, “Foot Steps of the Durant Choctaw” contains a graphic account of Pierre’s 1845 journey with his family overland from Bogue Chitto, Neshoba County to Chickasaw Bluffs, on the Yazoo River just north of Vicksburg, where they boarded the Steamboat “Erin” for the five day trip up the Mississippi to Arkansas Post, hence up the Arkansas River to Fort Coffee near present day Fort Smith, then to Sculleyville (about 5 miles from Fort Coffee). Some of his sons settled near Sculleyville in the present day city of Poteau, Oklahoma, Pierre and the rest of the family headed for Horse Prairie (2 miles northeast of present Hugo, Oklahoma) via the Army’s road thatwent through Horse Prairie, 25 miles further east to Doaksville (near present day Fort Towson). At Horse Prairie, there was located a large settlement of over two hundred log cabins and shacks built close together. There was also a trading post and a clearinghouse (a store that dealt in farm commodities similar to a farmer’s co-op.
Pierre settled with Sophia and his two daughters about 1.5 miles northeast of present day Bennington, Oklahoma. George and Sylvester built their homes and farmed about a mile north of Pierre. Fisher took his family and settled about 25 miles further west. in “Carriage Point” (2 miles south of present Durant, Oklahoma. This was the beginning of Durant, Oklahoma.
He signed the 1820 treaty and in 1831 lived in LeFlore’s District. His family then consisted of nine persons, including three males over 16 and three children under 16. He claimed the S 1/2 S23 and S24, 25 and 26 T15 R5E as a reserve (per Choctaw REserves, OIA, roll 189, frame 470).
Records show that he was issued scrip in lieu of S26, T15N R5E in 1848 (per Ibid., roll 193, frame 938; roll 195, frame 92; General Land Office Automated REcords, CD Rom Series.)
He lived in Attala county, Mississippi, in 1838-1845 and moved west the latter year with his family of eight (per Choctaw Emigration, OIA, roll 185, frame 1250).
From Ancestry.com file, “Fought in war of 1812. !WAR: Crowder Dates; 1619-1900; Crowder File; Bryant Co. OK Heritage Library; copy owned by William J. Black.”
Following are a few of the notes I have on Joseph, Pierre’s son:
Child of Pierre Durant and Rachel per “Whose Who Among the Southern Indians, a Genealogical Notebook, 1698-1907” by Don Martini ©, Don Martini, Falkner, MS ; on page 208 references HISTORY OF BRYAN COUNTY, OKLAHOMA 263-264. Martini, on page 206, also claims Joseph’s middle name is “Zorare” and that Joseph was a resident of Blue County in 1855, voted there and was elected judge in 1872. He was still there in 1878
As far as Joseph’s children are concerned, I have little information on them, but do show them to be:
Albert Pike Durant
Morgan Durant (b. 1872)
Joseph “Joe” Durant
Sorry, I have nothing other than their names. I hope this information is helpful to you.
Charles P. Phillips (View posts)
Posted: 4 May 2001 12:00PM GMT
Dennis: thank you so very much for sharing this great information, not only on the Durant family, but on the community of Durant, Holmes Co. Ms., where my mother was born and raised. Mother is a descendant of Chief Moshulatubbee, last chief of the Mississippi Choctaws (whose children adopted the surname KING), so I could very easily relate to your information concerning the Durant family.
Re: Pierre and Joseph Durant
Jim Kealhofer (View posts)
Posted: 7 Sep 2001 10:56PM GMT
My wife and I grew up in Durant, Ms and can relate to the information you have in your posting. We are now living in Alabama. We’re also looking for information about Rebecca (Morning Star) King. We believe her to have been 1/2 blood Indian, not sure which tribe. Sorry, I don’t have information about Sylvester Durant. I’m also looking for Charles Phillips, who may have information on the Kings. Rebecca’s parents were Jacob and Elizabeth ?? King.
Re: Pierre and Joseph Durant
nairington (View posts)
Posted: 22 Sep 2002 3:45AM GMT
Edited: 5 Oct 2002 6:40PM GMT
I live in Oklahoma.My interest in the Durants is this:My husband desends from Louis Durant’s daughter Cillen and William Taylor thur their daughter Elizabeth taylor Airington.My ancestors are through the Leflore’s.My sister -in-law’s grandmother was Minnie Alice Durant,she married a Rothell.Right now this is what I’m looking for,no one can find anything on Minnie Alice Durant.Do you know anything on her.Thanks.Nelda Airington
Re: Minnie Alice Durant Query
Dennis Boswell (View posts)
Posted: 22 Sep 2002 4:35PM GMT
Nelda, I am sorry, but I am unable to help you with Minnie Alice Durant. Following is the partial text from an email I received from Carl Phillips in early 2001.In this text, Carl is referring to the research of another when he says,
“…there was no mention of the two other daughters of Syllan other that to alluding to one of them. They were Nancy and Liza. My gr-grandmother Emeline was the daughter of Liza.
Elizabeth, who accompanied her, with her two children, was a widow..She married the second time to Drew Arrington. Her daughter Mary Ann married John Pebworth. I don’t know who William married."
Carl’s current email address is <email@example.com>. Carl descends from Syllan and may be able to help you.
Re: Pierre and Joseph Durant
RobinBunch86 (View posts)
Posted: 30 May 2003 6:53AM GMT
Edited: 17 Jul 2006 3:16AM GMT
Surnames: Pierre and Isham Durant
My husband is Pierre Durants gggg grandson. I am looking for information about Pierre’s wife, mother, and grandparents. All of whom were Choctaw Indian. Also for information on Isham Durants wife (Margaret Barefield) also Choctaw indian we believe. Isham was one of Pierre’s sons.
Please, if you have any information contact me.
Re: Pierre and Joseph Durant
Dennis Boswell (View posts)
Posted: 30 May 2003 7:49AM GMT
Robin, about everything I have on Pierre, I posted on the post you found. In that post, I included references to about five or six books on the Durants. I suggest you consult those references through inter-library loan or, perhaps, used book stores. Good luck in your search.
Re: Pierre and Joseph Durant
Dennis Boswell (View posts)
Posted: 30 May 2003 7:53AM GMT
Robin, one last thing I failed to mention – do a web search on the Durants. You will find literally 100s of web sites with additional information, leads, books and further referrals
Re: Pierre and Joseph Durant
jhock51 (View posts)
Posted: 1 Dec 2009 11:11PM GMT
Surnames: Lefleur, LeFlore, Durant, Durand, Duke of Rand, Louis XIV, Juzan, Krebs, Hamilton, Cushman, Claiborne, La Salle, Jolliet,
“According to the History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians by H.B. Cushman, published in 1899, Louis Durant, the progenitor of the Durant family among the Choctaws,, was a Canadian Frenchman who came to the Choctaw Nation in Mississippi about the year of 1770 with two brothers: Louis and Michael LeFlore.”
Here is a great example H. B. Cushman giving insights into the LeFleur as being in error. Louis LeFleur was born June 28, 1762 Michael LeFleur was born October 13, 1767. If these two brothers came with Lewis Durant (who was not Canadian either) Louis LeFleur would have been eight years old and Michael would have been three years old. Pretty good for a couple of very young children to make such a trip.
The Durant family came from France to Mobile. Their ancestor was the Duke of Rand who was a leader in the Court of Louis XIV (1638-1715), sometimes called The Sun King (Roi du soleil), who was the king of France from 1643 to 1715. His reign, the longest in French history, was superficially splendid but basically disastrous for France because of expensive foreign wars.
Louis XIV increased the French culture by gaining international recognition of French arts, literature, and science, drastically transformed medieval France and introduced a more refined, sophisticated style of life. The third monarch of the Bourbon family, Louis ruled France for 72 years, the longest reign in European history, and dominated European cultural and political affairs. During his reign, Louis typified the absolute monarchy of the Neoclassical age, established a sumptuous court at Versailles, and fought most of Europe in four wars. Louis XIV dominated French Mobile."
The Duke of Rand was given land grants in New France, Mobile, and his heirs came into Mobile as part of the bourgeois families. Others in this class of more affluent families were the Juzan and H. E. Krebs. These three families purchased many of the lots in Mobile. Many of these transactions are reported by Peter J. Hamilton in his work “Colonial Mobile.”
The most accurate researcher I have encountered in 40 years is the work by Peter J. Hamilton in his book “Colonial Mobile.” Three times he refers to the Durand family, three times, as owing a great deal of land in Mobile and Hollinger Island. Mary J. Krebs also owned land on Hollinger Island. Most of the island was owned by the Rochon family. Hamilton then refers to this family as the Durant family one time. The Duke of Rand, the Durand and on to the family name of Durant. This appears to be the manner in which the family name of Durant came to be today.
The works by H. B. Cushman and William Charles Cole Claiborne are widely accepted as basic classics dealing with the history of the Choctaws and their indivdual leaders. While these are primary sources for serious researchers, like many I have discovered critical flaws in their works. Flaws which mislead those who are seeing the authentic events in human history, I do accept most of their reporting. These men were not perfect. They were however perfectly human. I am so grateful for their works. Study their works with a critical mind.
I read with a crirical mind. I do not mean an angry mind. I am speaking of the critique of these works, as all works, we study. Before we make a judgement as to the reliability of what they have written. I also invite you to do the same with me. If I am wrong, please report to me that I am. I will be more than happy to make the adjustments needed to improve my own personal work. I will listen to you and/or read your work with an open and objective mind.
Anoher great family name in the history of the Choctaws in Mississippi and Oklahoma is the Colbert family. Jean Baptiste Colbert was directed by Louis XIV to be the overseer all of New France. Jean Baptiste Colbert then directed all of the explorations of New France for his King.
In 1682, under the directions of Jean Baptiste Colbert, Robert Cavalier Sieur de La Salle and a larger party of explorers followed much the same route as Marquette and Jolliet. But La Salle’s journey brought him all the way to the Gulf of Mexico; where he named the land of for his King and named it in his honor, Louisiana. In honor of Jean Baptiste Colbert he named the great river, in French, La rivière de Colbert. This name was later changed and became known as the Mississippi River.