From his Memoirs:
I was born in North Carolina, Rowan County, May 17, 1756. My father was born in Massachusetts or Connecticut. My mother was born in New Jersey. My parents moved to Georgia, and there my father sent me to school about six months, during which time I learned to read and write. My mother taught me to read and spell at home. My father had a great desire to go to Mississippi to get money; they said money grew on bushes!
We got off and came into the Choctaw Nation. The whole family came; we hired an Indian pilot who led us through the Nation to Pearl River, where we met three of our neighbors who were returning on account of sickness. This alarmed my father, who then determined to return to North Carolina. We came back into the Nation to Mr. Welch’s on Bok Tuklo (Two Creeks), the father of Mr. Nail.
At this time I was about 19 years of age. At that place we parted. My father knocked me down. I arose and told him I would quit him, and did so by walking straight off before his face. I do not remember what I did, but I always thought I was not in fault. My parents then moved into the Chickasaw Nation. I entered into partnership with Mr. Welch, and could do many things for him. In the Chickasaw Nation my brother Israel ran away from my father and came to me. He died at the age of 18 near where Mr. Juzon now lives. He was a good young man.
My parents moved again to Fort St. Stephens. My brother Ebenezer visited me several times; he also sent me word to come and move him up into the Nation. I did so. He lived with me two years. Still he wanted to go to Mississippi, and wished I would raise a guard and send him there. I did so. Brother Edmond and two sisters went with him, and there my father died, on Cole’s Creek, Mississippi. I really believe my mother was a pious woman.
I traded a long time in the Nation, sometimes taking up three or four thousand dollars’ worth of goods. I followed trading about thirty years. I lived principally at Bok Tuklo, fifteen miles this side of Juzon’s (i. e. north). There was a great town of about four hundred Indians. The French King lived there. I learned the Choctaw language very slow. I was never perfect in the language. But after ten years I could do any business with the Choctaws.
I bought a Bible of Robert Black about twelve years ago. This is the first Bible I ever owned. Before that I cared nothing about the Bible. I first heard a sermon by Mr. Bell at the Pigeon Roost about twelve years ago. I beard Lorenzo Dow pray once. About this time I began to have serious thoughts. Before this I had none. My mind was affected by what the missionaries said, who came from the North. Soon after my son Edmond died.
One Sabbath I had a great conflict in me. I heard a sermon at the Pigeon Roost. My friends thought I felt bad because my son died. But it was something else. At that time there was a great change in me, which has remained ever since. This was in August, 1824. 1 joined the church at Mayhew, October, 1827, in my 72nd year. I have been the father of twenty-four children, fourteen of whom are living. I have lived to see six of them join the church, and three others sit on the anxious seat.