Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationFlorida, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9779
Approve DateApril 29, 2019
Project TitleCobb, Charles (Florida, U. of) "Contesting Assimilation at the Charity Hall Mission to the Chickasaws"
CHARLES R. COBB, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, was awarded a grant in April 2019 to aid research on “Contesting Assimilation at the Charity Hall Mission to the Chickasaws.” Researchers from the Florida Museum of Natural History conducted archaeological investigations at the site of Charity Hall, a Presbyterian mission and boarding school for Chickasaw children in Mississippi. Charity Hall, in operation from 1820 to 1830, was the first of five missions to the Chickasaws built by the Presbyterian denomination in the 1820s. The central objective of the project has been to address attempts by 19th-century missionaries to impose “civilizing” practices on Native American peoples in the southeastern United States, as well as Indigenous responses to those efforts. Four weeks of field work carried out in July and August 2020, focused on the subsurface remains of the schoolroom and the kitchen/dining room buildings. These investigations identified linear soil features related to the building foundations and recovered over 4,000 artifacts, including pottery fragments (mainly English industrial slipwares), cut nails and glass shards, personal objects such as buttons and clothing buckles, slate tablet fragments, and an abundance of brick and burned clay fragments from chimneys. Preliminary analyses of the artifacts and layout of the mission complex, combined with ethnohistoric research, suggest that the missionaries attempted to immerse Chickasaw children in a Western ideology of standardized work practices and daily living routines.