EXPERT GENEALOGY Newsletter     By Jeannette Holland Austin
Issue No. 1             October 2002
Your family may have already been traced. Find out!

Creek Indians.... The Creeks lived in northern and southern Georgia, and were called the Upper and Lower Creeks. Small groups divided themselves from the waring factions located near the South Carolina, Alabama and Louisiana line, calling themselves "Uchees", etc.

While Oglethorpe was seeking a location to build a town, he met one of these smaller tribes whose mico was Tomichichi. Tomichichi was a kind, gentle and generous man, anxious to assist the Englishmen to establish villages, because trade with them would enrich his own tribe. He gave Oglethore Oglethorpe a stregetic site overlooking the Savannah River to build the town of Savannah. The site was adjacent to his own Indian village, Yamacraw Bluff. Also, he presented Oglethorpe with the Indian fields on St. Simon's Island where Frederica was to be constructed, and St. Catherine's, Sapelo and Cumberland Islands. Tomichichi died in 1739, however, through his friendly relations, Oglethorpe had the Creek warriors at his disposal during America's war with Spain.

Mary Musgrove, a Creek princess who had been educated in Pon Pon, South Carolina, but who, over the course of her years, married three times, to white traders, became Oglethorpe's intepreter. She ran an ambitious trading post at Yamacraw and frequently quarrelled with competitive white traders. After Oglethorpe disbanded the regiment in 1748 and left Georgia, she sought money and reparations from Great Britain for her assistance. The petitions lasted for years, well after 1752, when Georgia became an official colony. Her demands asked for the return of much of the lands which Tomichichi had granted, as well as St. Catherine's Island. During the long struggle, to make her point, she asked her cousin, Malatchee, to bully settlers. In the late 1750's, she was finally granted St. Catherine's Island, where she and her third husband, the Rev. Bosomworth spent their last days.

One of Oglethorpe's villages was Darien, first called New Inverness, located on the Altamaha River, settling Scottish Highlanders to guard the coast against the Spanish, between Savannah and Florida. Some Scottish settlers took squaws for wives. This resulted in half-breeds in the families of McDonald and McIntosh. John McIntosh became Chief and greatly influenced the Lower Creeks. In 1818, the chief, as well as other members of his tribe, went against dissidents and signed a Treaty which surrendered their lands in the southern province. This signing resulted in his being massacred.

The Lower Creeks Treaties of 1814 and 1818 ceded all the lands located south of the Altamaha and Ocmulgee Rivers, from the Wayne-Camden line west to the Chattahoochee River.

During Benjamin Hawkins' tenure as Indian Agent (1796-1806), there were 37 towns in the Creek Nation. Twelve of them were located on the waters of the Chattahoochee, viz... Coweta, Coweta Tallahassee, Cussetuh, Uchee, Ooseooche, Chehaw, Hitchiti, Palachocola, Oconee, Sauwoogelo, Sauwoogelooche and Eufaula. Twenty-five were on the waters of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, viz: Tallassee, Tookaubatche, Autossee, Hoithewaulee, Fushatchee, Cooloome, Econhutkee, Sawanogi, Mucclassee, Coosada, Hookchoie, Hookchoiecoche, Tuskegee, Ocheubofau, Wewocau, Pucantallahassee, Coosa, Aubecooche, Nauchee, Eufaulahatche, Woccoccoie, Hillaubee, Ocfuskee, Eufaufla and Kialijee.

The towns were described by the traveler, Bartram, as "....every habitation consists of four oblong square houses, of one story, of the same form and dimensions, and so situated as to form an exact square, encompassing an area or court yard of about a quarter of an acre of ground...."

Bartram described a Creek women as follows:

"the women are remarkably short of stature, but well-proportioned, their visage round, features regular and beautiful....the eye large, black, and languishing, expressive of modesty, diffidence, and bashfulness..."

His description of the men:

"The Creek men were tall, many above six fet, and their complexion was darker than that of the other tribes...."

Oglethorpe described the men as being decorated with red, blue, yellow and black paints, wearing a breech cloth.

In 1763 The Treaty of Augusta defined lines between the Creeks and the colony of Georgia by using trails and rivers. In

1773 Creek indebtedness to Georgians was assumed by the State as payment for land. This included a small portion of North Georgia.

1782-1783 Land to the south and west of the Tugaloo and Savannah Rivers were ceded by the Cherokees and Creeks. Both had laid claim to ownership.

In 1790 Alexander McGillivray, from a mixed breed of Upper Creeks, ceded land from the Altamaha to the Oconee River. In 1802, the United States took the western claims and promised to remove the Indians. These land cessions changed the headright system to one where any white man with $4.00 could enter a lottery and draw for land.

During 1818 and 1821, the Creeks ceded additional lands. When George Troup became governor in 1823 he aggressively moved to resolve the situation. The Creeks, who were a loose confederation of tribes, were the first to go. A small faction of the Lower Creek headed by William McIntosh, the son of a Scottish trader and a Creek woman, negotiated with the state although he did not represent the entire tribe. In 1825, he gave all remaining Creek land in Georgia to the State in the Treaty of Indian Springs. After ratification by the federal government, Governor Troup moved to swiftly survey and distribute the land. Realizing they were in danger of losing the last of the Georgia land, the Creek murdered McIntosh.

Since the Creeks were the first to leave Georgia to settle in Ocmulgee, Oklahoma one assumes that the Creeks were out of Georgia by 1833, however, in 1838 a small tribe of warriors were still terrorizing settlers in Muscogee County, near the Alabama border. A militia company from Gwinnett Co. was called out to quell the uprising, and a number of deaths occurred in the skirmish.

Sources of research means a trip to the National Archives, or one of its branches, to search Creek Census Rolls, National Tribal Records, 1860 Census of Oklahoma, 1860 and 1867 Census of Orphans, 1832 Orphans Payroll, Emigration Rolls and Bounty Lands, Enrollment Cases 1899-1907, and the Dawes Rolls (1899-1907). The Dawes Rolls have been extracted and the names listed alphabetically in a book The Dawes Rolls Plus which can be purchased here. Once you locate the name, you have to go to the National Archives and read their application. The Dawes Commission was formed in order to give title to those who could prove Indian blood. Therefore, these applications are essential to the researcher because they are filled with all kinds of family information. Over 90,000 applications were received, but only about 30,000 were recognized as legitimate claims. The reason is statements such as "I always heard that my mother was one quarter Indian". Efforts were made to search out names on the various Indian Rolls and Census records, to locate the ancestor of the claimant. If no link was found, the claim was denied. Nevertheless, the applications are helpful to the genealogist, providing many clues, bits and pieces of useful information. The Southwest National Archives branch in Ft. Worth, Texas has most of the original records of Indian affairs from Oklahoma, which includes enrollments, leases, finances, schools, probate, etc.

@Jeannette Holland Austin

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