VICKSBURG FACTS: The first people in Warren County

Published 8:00 am Friday, January 20, 2023

Do you know who lived in the Vicksburg area before Warren County was established?

Mississippi was home to several Native American tribes during the settler era when the English, French and Spanish came to North America. Warren County was the home of several tribes, including the Tunica, the Yazoo, the Koroa, the Ofo and the Tioux, according to the Vicksburg Riverfront Murals website. All of these tribes lived close to the Yazoo River, in what is now present-day Redwood, according to The Historical Marker Database. 

The Koroa were a Native American tribe and were believed to be Tunican language speakers. They are also thought to have encountered Hernando De Soto as he traveled down the Mississippi River in 1541; however, the tribe was under a different name known as either the Coligua or Coligoa.

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In 1704, evidence shows that the Koroa settled along the river by the Yazoo tribe after they were defeated by the Quapaw tribe, as stated on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History website. The Koroa tribe fought alongside the Yazoo against the French settlers in 1729 at Fort St. Pierre. Then in 1731, they helped the Natchez tribe in attacking the Tunica. After the attack in 1731, they seem to disappear from records and are believed to have either merged with the Chickasaw or Choctaw tribes, according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. 

The Ofo or Ofogoula are said to be of Siouan linguistic stock. Their name means “dog people.” They were a small tribe that lived 12 miles from the mouth of the Yazoo River, according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. During the Natchez war, the Ofo tribe did not want to be a part of the war and moved closer to the Tunica tribe. They settled in a village that was on the west side of the Mississippi River in Louisiana in 1784. Slowly, their tribe began to decline and it was reported that the last survivor from the Ofo tribe died in 1915.

The Tioux tribe was very small and lived along the Yazoo River. After being defeated by the Chickasaw in 1682, many of the Tioux tribe moved to the Natchez area to become part of their tribe as said on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History website. They lived on the outskirts of Natchez until the Quapaw destroyed them in 1731. According to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History website, an early map referred to the Big Black River as the “River of the Tioux.” 

The Tunica tribe is a Tunican linguistic stock with their name meaning “the people.” It was once said that they congregated in the Northwestern part of Mississippi but by 1682 they were reported to be living by the Yazoo River according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History website. In 1706, they moved to the villages of the Houma, which is near the Red River, and later on, took over the area. They were French allies during the Natchez war. After the war, moved to Louisiana along the Red River. Some are still in Louisiana today and others have moved to Oklahoma according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

The Yazoo tribe was a small tribe of the Tunican linguistic stock. They were named after the river that they lived by and are closely related to the Koroa. During the Natchez war, they fought with the Koroa against the French at Fort St. Pierre in 1729. The Yazoo were defeated and were most likely absorbed by the Chickasaw and Choctaw.