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The Aborigines of Alabama and the Surrounding States

Chapter 02
Page 54

The Indians of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi were so similar in form, mode of living and general habits, in the time of De Soto and of others who succeeded him in penetrating these wilds, that they will all be treated, on the pages of this chapter, as one people. The color was like that of the Indians of our day. The males were admirably proportioned, athletic, active and graceful in their movements, and possessed open and manly countenances. The females, not inferior in form, were smaller, and many of them beautiful. No ugly or ill-formed Indians were seen, except at the town of Tula, west of the Mississippi. Corpulence was rare; nevertheless, it was excessive in a few instances. In the neighborhood of Apalache, in Florida, the Chief was so fat that he was compelled to move about his house upon his hands and knees.

The dress of the men consisted of a mantle of the size of a common blanket, made of the inner bark of trees, and a species of flax, interwoven. It was thrown over the shoulders,

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with the right arm exposed. One of these mantles encircled the body of the female, commencing below the breast and extending nearly to the knees, while another was gracefully thrown over the shoulders, also with the right arm exposed. Upon the St. John's river, the females, although equally advanced in civilization, appeared in a much greater state of nudity--often with no covering in summer, except a moss drapery suspended round the waist, and which hung down in graceful negligence. Both sexes there were, however, adorned with ornaments, consisting of pretty shells and shining pearls, while the better classes wore moccasins and buskins of dressed deer leather. In Georgia and Alabama the towns contained store-houses, filled with rich and comfortable clothing, such as mantles of hemp, and of feathers of every color, exquisitely arranged, forming admirable cloaks for winter; with a variety of dressed deer skin garments, and skins of the martin, bear and panther, nicely packed away in baskets.1 Fond of trinkets, the natives collected shells from the seaside, and pearls from the beds of the interior rivers. The latter they pierced with heated copper spindles, and strung them around their legs, necks and arms.2 The Queen upon the Savannah took from her neck a magnificent cordon of pearls, and twined it round the neck of the warlike but courteous De Soto.3 In the interior of the country, pearls were worn in the ears; but upon the coast, fish bladders

1. Portuguese Narrative, p. 711
2. Portuguese Narrative, p.701
3. Portuguese Narrative, p. 714

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inflated after they had been inserted, were greatly prefered1. The Chiefs and their wives, the Prophets and principal men, painted their breasts and the front part of their bodies with a variety of stripes and characters. Others, like sea-faring people, had their skins punctured with bone needles and indelible ink rubbed in, which gave them the appearance of being tattooed.1 1539: Jean Ortiz, so long a prisoner among the Floridians, when discovered by De Soto, was taken for an Indian, on account of his body being "razed" in this manner.2 It will be remembered that the Alabamas, upon the Yazoo, painted in stripes of white, yellow, black and red, and

1. Le Moyne, plate 38. Renaud de Laudouniere, an admiral of France, made a second voyage to Florida, and landed upon its shore in 1564. Attached to this expedition was a Frenchman, named Jacques Le Moyne, who was an admirable painter. Laudouniere left some soldiers at a Fort which he built upon the St. John's, and with them this accomplished artist. Le Moyne was frequently dispatched with small detachments along the coast, and at some distance in the interior, to make surveys of the rivers and to cultivate the friendship of the natives. During these excursions he made admirable drawings of the Indians, their houses, farms, games, amusements, manners, customs and religious ceremonies. Returning to France, he related his adventures to Charles IX., and exhibited to him his pictures. These, with his explanatory notes, were published by Theodore de Bry, in 1591, in the Latin language, at Frankfort. The copy in my possession, a most interesting book upon the ancient Indians of Florida and adjoining States, contains forty-two plates, a few specimens of which are introduced in this volume.
2. Le Moyne, plate 38.

Chiefs with their Ornaments and War Implements, upon their march against the Enemy
Drawn form life, by Jacob le Moyne, in 1564
3. Portuguese Narrative, p. 702.

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"seemed as though they were dressed in hose and doublets."1 Lofty plumes of the feathers of the eagle, and other noted birds, adorned the heads of the warriors. At the battle of Vitachuco, in Middle Florida, ten thousand warriors appeared in this magnificent native headdress. They also punished and deformed themselves in the display of their more peculiar ornaments. 1528: Upon an island in West Florida, they wore reeds thrust through their nipples and under lips.2 Indian grandees were often seen promenading, of an evening, enveloped in beautiful mantles of deer skins and of the martin, trailing behind them, and often held up by attendants. Among the prettiest ornaments were flat shells, of varied colors, which they suspended from girdles around their waists, and which hung down around their hips.

The bow, the most formidable weapon of the ancient Indians, was long, elastic, and exceedingly strong. The string was made of the sinews of the deer. The arrows of strong young cane, hardened before the fire, were often tipped with buck horn, and invariably pointed either with palm or other hard wood, flints, long and sharp like a dagger, fish bones shaped like a chisel, or diamond flints.3 The Spaniards soon ascertained that they pierced as deep as those which they themselves shot from the cross-bow, and were discharged

1. Portuguese Narrative, p. 727.
2. Expedition of Narvaez contained in Herrera's History of America, vol. 4, p. 33.
3. Garcellasso de la Vega, p. 266.

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more rapidly.1 The quiver which held them was made of fawn or some other spotted skin, and was cased at the lower end with thick hide of the bear or alligator. It was always suspended by a leather strap, passing round the neck, which permitted it to rest on the left hip, like a sword. It was capable of holding a great many arrows. Shields were universal appendages in war, and were made of either wood, split canes strongly interwoven, alligator hide, and sometimes that of buffalo. The latter was often the case west of the Mississippi. Of various sizes, but ordinarily large enough to cover the breast, these round shields were painted with rings and stripes, and suspended from the neck by a band. Sometimes a noted Chief protected his breast and a portion of his abdomen with three of them. These, with a piece of bark covering the left arm, to prevent the severe rebound of the bow-string, were all that shielded the natives in time of war. Wooden spears, of the usual length, pointed with excellent darts of fish-bone or flint, were, also, much used. And, strange to say, swords of a palm wood, of the proper shape, were often seen. A Chief, in Georgia, seized one of this description, which was borne by one of his servants, and began to cut and thrust with it to the admiration of De Soto and his officers. The war clubs were of two kinds -- one, small at the handle, gradually enlarging at the top in oval form; and the other, with two sharp edges at the end, usually employed in executions. Decoration with plumes, appears to have been more common in general costume

1. Portuguese Narrative, p. 102.

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and pleasant excursions, than in war. In enterprises of the latter character, the natives sought to appear as ferocious as possible. The skins of the eagle, of the wolf and the panther, with the heads of these animals attached, and well preserved, were worn by warriors, while the talons and claws were inserted as ear ornaments.1

When about to make war, a Chief dispatched a party, who approached near the town of the enemy, and by night stuck arrows into the cross-paths and public places, with long locks of human hair waving from them.2 After this declaration of war, he assembled his men, who, painted and decorated in the most fantastic and frightful manner, surrounded him on all sides. Excited with seeming anger, he rolled his eyes, spoke in guttural accents, and often sent forth tremendous war whoops. The warriors responded in chorus, and struck their weapons against their sides. With a wooden spear he turned himself reverentially towards the sun, and implored of that luminary victory over his enemies. Turning to his men, he took water from a vessel on his right and sprinkled it about, saying, " Thus may you do with the blood of your enemies and bring home their scalps."3 Having marched his army within the vicinity of the enemy, he bid his prophet to inform him of

1. Le Moyne, plates 11, 12, 13, 14.
2. Le Moyne, plate 33.
3. Le Moyne, plate 11.

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their number and position, and in what manner it was best to bring on the attack. The old man, usually a hundred years of age, advanced, and a large circle was immediately formed around him. He placed a shield upon the ground, drew a ring around it five feet in diameter, in which he inscribed various characters. Then kneeling on the shield, and sting on his feet, so as to touch the earth with no part of his body, he made the most horrible grimaces, uttered the most unnatural howls, and distorted his limbs until his very bones appeared to be flexible. In twenty minutes he ceased his infernal juggling, assumed his natural look, with apparently no fatigue, and gave the Chief the information which he desired.1 Some of our ancient natives marched in regular order, with the Chief in the centre, but it was their common habit to scatter in small parties, and take the enemy by surprise. But in the arrangement of their camp, which was always made at sunset, they were exceedingly particular. They then stationed detachments around the Chief, forming a compact and well-arranged defense.2

The women who had lost their husbands in battle, at a convenient time surrounded the Chief, stooped at his feet, covered their faces with their hands, wept, and implored him to be revenged for the death of their companions. They entreated him to grant them an allowance during their widowhood, and to permit them to marry again when the time appointed by law expired. They afterwards visited the graves of

1. Le Moyne, plate 12.
2. Le Moyne, plate 14.

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their husbands and deposited upon them the arms which they used in hunts and wars, and the shells out of which they were accustomed to drink. Having cut off their long hair, they sprinkled it also over their graves, and then returned home. They did not marry until it had attained its ordinary length.1

The natives drank a tea, which, in modern times, was called black drink. It was made by boiling the leaves of the cacina plant until a strong decoction was produced. The Chief took his seat, made of nine small poles, in the centre of a semi-circle of seats; but his was the most elevated of all. His principal officers approached by turns, one at a time, and placing their hands upon the top of their heads, sung ha, he, ya, ha, ha. the whole assembly responded, ha, ha. After which they seated themselves upon his right and left. The women, in the meantime, had prepared the black drink, which was served up in conch shells and handed to certain men, who distributed it around. The warriors drank large portions of it, and presently vomited it with great ease. It seemed to have been used at the early period of 1564, as it is at present, to purify the system, and to fulfill a kind of religious rite.2

The punishments of that day were summary and cruel. For a crime deserving death, the criminal was conducted to the square and made to kneel with his body inclined forward. The executioner placed his left foot upon his back, and with a murderous blow with the sharp-sided club, dashed out his

1. Le Moyne, plate 19.
2. Le Moyne's Florida, Plate 29.

The Aborigines of Alabama and the Surrounding States
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Jean Ortiz and his companions were stripped naked, and forced to run from corner to corner through the town while the exulting savages shot at them by turns with deadly arrows. Ortiz alone survived, and they next proceeded to roast him upon a wooden gridiron, when he was saved by the entreaties of a noble girl.2 Whenever they made prisoners of each other, those who were captured were often put to menial services. To prevent them from running away, it was customary to cut the nerves of their legs just above the instep.3

When a battle was fought, the victors seized upon the enemy and mutilated their bodies in the most brutal manner. With cane knives the arms and legs were cut around, and then severed from the body by blows upon the bones, from wooden cleavers. They thus amputated with great skill and rapidity. The head was also cut around with these knives, just above the ears, and the whole scalp jerked off. These were then rapidly smoked over a fire, kindled in a small round hole, and borne off in triumph toward home, together with the arms and legs, suspended upon spears.4 The joyous and excited inhabitants now assembled upon the square and formed a large area, in which these trophies were hung upon high poles. An old Prophet took a position on one side of the circle, held in his hand a small image of a child, and danced and muttered over it a thousand imprecations

1. Le Moyne's Florida, plate 32.
2. Garcellasso de la Vega.
3. Garcellasso de la Vega.
4. Le Moyne, plate 15.

The Aborigines of Alabama and the Surrounding States
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upon the enemy. On the other side, and opposite to him, three warriors fell upon their knees. One of them, who was in the middle, constantly brought down a club, with great force, on a smooth stone, placed before him, while the others, on either side of him, rattled gourds filled with shells and pebbles, all keeping time with the Prophet.1

The houses of the Chiefs, with but few exceptions, stood upon large and elevated artificial mounds. When the Indians of 1540 resolved to build a town, the site of which was usually selected upon low, rich land, by the side of a beautiful stream, they were accustomed, first, to turn their attention to the erection of a mound from twenty to fifty feet high, round on the sides, but flat on top. The top was capable of sustaining the houses of the Chief, and those of his family and attendants; making a little village by itself of from ten to twenty cabins, elevated high in the air. The earth to make this mound was brought to the spot. At the foot of this eminence a square was marked out, around which the principal men placed their houses. The inferior classes joined these with their wigwams. Some of these mounds had several stairways to ascend them, made by cutting out incline-planes fifteen to twenty feet wide, flanking the sides with posts, and laying poles horizontally across the earthen steps--thus forming a kind of wooden stairway. But, generally, the lofty residence of the Chief was approached by only one flight of steps. These mounds were perpendicular, and inaccessible, except by

1. Le Moyne, plate 16.

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the avenues already mentioned, which rendered the houses upon them secure from the attacks of an Indian enemy. Besides the motive for security, a disposition to place the Chief and his family in a commanding position, and to raise him above his subjects, caused the formation of these singular elevations.1
1540: Upon the coasts of Florida, the houses were built of timber, covered with palm leaves, and thatched with straw. Those of Toalli, between Apalache and the Savannah, and for some distance beyond, were covered with reeds in the manner of tiles, while the walls were extremely neat. In the colder regions of the territories of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, every family possessed a house daubed inside and out with clay, for a winter house, and another, open all around, for summer; while a crib and kitchen, also, stood near by. The houses of the Chiefs, much larger than the others, had piazzas in front, in the rear of which were cane benches of comfortable dimensions. They contained, also, lofts, in which were stored skins, mantles, and corn, the tribute of the subjects.2 Upon the head waters of the Coosa, it will be recollected, that De Soto found the house of a Chief standing upon a mound, with a piazza in front, "large enough for six men to promenade abreast."3 The town of Ochille, in middle Florida, contained fifty very substantial houses. The Chief's house was built in the form of a large pavilion, upwards of one hundred and twenty feet in length by forty in width, with

1. Garcellasso de la Vega, p. 136.
2. Portuguese Narrative, p. 701.
3. Garcellasso de la Vega, p. 294.

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a number of small buildings, connected like offices.1 Narvaez found a house large enough to contain three hundred men, in which were fishing nets and a tabor with gold bells.2

The Indian grandeur and spacious dimensions of the houses of Maubila, in Alabama, have already been described. In the province of Palisema, west of the Mississippi, the house of the Chief was covered with deer skins, which were painted with stripes of various colors, and with animals, while the walls were hung, and the floor carpeted, with the same materials.3 In the first town which De Soto discovered, at Tampa Bay, was found a large temple, on the top of which was a wooden bird with gilded eyes. 4 The Chief, Uceta, made Jean Ortiz keeper of the temple, situated in a lonely forest in the outskirts of the town. In this temple were deposited dead Indians, contained in wooden boxes, the lids of which, having no hinges, were kept down with weights. The bodies and bones were sometimes carried off by panthers and wolves. In this horrible place was poor Ortiz stationed to watch, day and night, and threatened with instant death if he allowed a single body to be taken away. At length, constant anxiety and fatigue overcame him, and one night he fell asleep. The heavy falling of a coffin-lid awoke him. In his terror he seized a bow, and running out, heard the crackling of bones amid a dark clump of bushes! He winged a powerful arrow in that direction. A scuffle ensued, and then

1. Garcellasso de la Vega, p. 101.
2. Herrera, vol. 4.
3. Portuguese Narrative.
4. Portuguese Narrative, p. 701.

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all was still! He moved towards the spot, and found an enormous panther, dead, by the side of the body of the child. He replaced the latter in its box, exultingly dragged the animal into the town, and was from that time respected by the Indians.1 Narvaez, upon first landing in Florida, found a temple in which were chests, each containing a dead body, covered with painted deer skins. 1528: The Commissary, John Xuarez, considering it to be idolatrous, ordered them to be burned.2 A remarkable temple was situated in the town of Talomeco, upon the Savannah river, three miles distant from Cutifachiqui, now Silver Bluff. It was more than one hundred feet in length, and forty in width. The walls were high in proportion, and the roof steep and covered with mats of split cane, interwoven so compactly that they resembled the rush carpeting of the Moors. (The inhabitants of this part of the country all covered their houses with this matting.) Shells of different sizes, arranged in an ingenious manner, were placed on the outside of the roof. On the inside, beautiful plumes, shells and pearls were suspended in the form of festoons, from one to the other, down to the floor. The temple was entered by three gates, at each of which were stationed gigantic wooden statues, presenting fierce and menacing attitudes. Some of them were armed with clubs, maces, canoe-paddles, and copper hatchets, and others with drawn bows and long pikes. All these implements were ornamented with

1. Garcellasso de la Vega, pp. 274-282.
2. Herrera, vol. 4, p. 30.

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rings of pearls and bands of copper. Below the ceiling, on four sides of the temple, arranged in niches, were two rows of wooden statues of the natural size--one of men, with pearls suspended from their hands, and the other of women. On the side of the walls were large benches on which sat boxes containing the deceased Chiefs and their families. Two feet below these were statues of the persons entombed, the space between them being filled with shields of various sizes, made of strong reeds, adorned with pearls, occupied the middle of the temple. Deer skins, of a variety of colors, were packed away in chests, together with a large amount of clothing made of the skins of the wild cat, martin, and other animals. The temple abounded in the most splendid of mantles of feathers. Adjoining was a store-house, divided into eight apartments, which contained long pikes of copper, around which rings of pearls were coiled, while clubs, maces, wooden swords, paddles, arrows, quivers, bows, round wooden shields, and those of reeds and buffalo hide, were adorned in like manner.1 Everywhere upon the route through Alabama and the neighboring States, De Soto found the temples full of human bones. They were held sacred, but sometimes were wantonly violated by tribes at war with each other. On the west bank of the Mississippi, De Soto, joined by the Indian forces of the Chief Casquin, sacked the town of Pacaha. The invading Indians entered the temple, threw down the wooden boxes containing the dead, trampled

1. Garcellasso de la Vega, pp. 274-282.

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upon the bodies and bones, and wreaked upon them every insult and indignity. A few days after the Chief of Pacaha and his people came back to the ruined town, and gathering up the scattered bones in mournful silence, kissed and returned them reverentially to their coffins.1

The productions of the country were abundant. Peas, beans, squashes, pumpkins and corn grew as if by magic. Persimons, formed into large cakes, were eaten in winter, together with walnut and bear's oil. A small pumpkin, when roasted in the embers, was delightful, and resembled, in taste, boiled chestnuts. Corn was pounded in mortars, but Narvaez [1528] saw stones for grinding it upon the Florida coast.2 The Indians prepared their fields by digging up the ground with hoes made of fish bone. 1564: When the earth was leveled in this manner, others followed with canes, with which they made holes, certain distances apart. The women next came with corn, in baskets, which they dropped in the holes. The virginity and richness of the soil produced the crop without further labor. The granaries were sometimes erected in the woods, near navigable streams, and were constructed with stone and dirt, and covered with cane mats. Here were deposited corn, fruits, and all kinds of cured meats, for subsistence during the winter hunts in that part of the country. The universal honesty of the people was a guarantee that the contents of these granaries would remain undisturbed, until consumed by the owners.

1. Portuguese Narrative, p. 701.
2. Herrera, vol. 4, p. 30

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Hunting and fishing occupied much of the time of the natives. The hunter threw over his body the skin of a deer, with the head, horns and legs admirably preserved. Round wooden hoops gave the body of the skin its proper shape, inside of which the Indian placed his body. Then, in a stooping position, so as to allow the feet to touch the ground, he moved along and peeped through the eyeholes of the deer's head, all the time having a drawn bow. When near enough to the deer, he let fly a fatal arrow. The deer, in that day, unaccustomed to the noise of firearms, were gentle and numerous, and easily killed by a stratagem like this.1
At certain periods the Indians were a social people, and indulged in large feasts. At other times, they resorted to bow shooting, ball-plays and dancing.2

The population was much greater when De Soto was in the country than it has been since. Large armies were frequently arrayed against him. In Patofa, Florida, he was even furnished with seven hundred burden bearers. In Ocute, Georgia, he was supplied with two hundred of these indispensable men. At Cafeque, in the same State, four thousand warriors escorted him, while four thousand more transported the effects of his army. It has been seen what a numerous population was found in the province of Coosa, and what forces opposed him at Maubila, Chickasa and Alibamo.

1. Le Moyne's Florida, plate 25. Bossu's Travels in Louisiana, vol. 1, p. 259.
2. Le Moyne, plate 28.

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The ingenuity of the natives, displayed in the construction of mounds, arms, houses and ornaments, was by no means inconsiderable. At Chaquate, west of the Mississippi, earthenware was manufactured equal to that of Estremos or Montremor.2 At Tulla, in Arkansas, salt was made from the deposits formed upon the shores of a lake; and again, at several saline springs. The salt was made into small cakes, and vended among other tribes for skins and mantles.3 1541: The walls which surrounded the towns, with mentioned in the preceding chapter. Entrenchments and ditches were also found over the country. The most remarkable of the latter was at Pacha, west of the Mississippi. Here a large ditch, "wide enough for two canoes to pass abreast without the paddles touching," surrounded a walled town. It was cut nine miles long, communicated with the Mississippi, supplied the natives with fish and afforded them the privileges of navigation.

The construction of canoes and barges, connected with the things which have already been enumerated affords abundant proof that our aborigines were superior, in some respects, to the tribes who afterwards occupied Alabama, but who were also ingenious in the manufacture of articles. 1540: The Queen of Savannah, borne out of her house in a sedan chair, supported upon the shoulders of four of her principal men, entered a

1. Portuguese Narrative and Garcellasso.
2. Portuguese Narrative and Garcellasso.

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handsome barge which had a tilted top at the stern--under which she took a seat upon soft cushions. Many principal Indians likewise entered similar barges, and accompanied her to the western side, in the style of a splendid water procession. When De Soto first discovered the Mississippi, a Chief approached from the other side with two hundred handsome canoes of great size, filled with painted and plumed warriors, who stood erect, with bows in their hands, to protect those who paddled. The boats of the Chiefs and principal men had tops--like that of the Georgia Queen-- decorated with waving flags and plumes, which floated on the breeze from poles to which they were attached. 1541: They are described by the journalists to have been equal to a beautiful army of gallies.1

The natives worshipped the sun, and entertained great veneration for the moon, and certain stars. Whether they also believed a Great Spirit is not stated. When the Indian ambassadors crossed the Savannah to meet De Soto, they made three profound bows towards the east, intended for the sun; three towards the west, for the moon; and three to the Governor.2 Upon the east bank of the Mississippi, all the Indians approached him without uttering a word, and went through precisely the same ceremony; making, however, to him three bows much less reverential than those made to the sun and moon. On the other side of that river, he was surrounded by the Chief and his subjects. Presently his Indian majesty sneezed in a loud manner. The subjects bowed their

1. Portuguese Narrative, p. 729.
2. Garcellasso de la Vega, p. 256.

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heads, opened and closed their arms, and saluted the Chief with these words,
"May the sun guard you" --
"May the sun be with you" --
" May the sun shine upon you" -- and
"May the sun prosper and defend you."1

About the first of March, annually, the natives selected the skin of the largest deer, with the head and legs attached. They filled it with a variety of fruit and grain, and sewed it up again. The horns were also hung with garlands of fruit. This skin, in all respects resembling a large buck, was carried by all the inhabitants to a plain. There it was placed upon a high post, and just at the rising of the sun, the Indians fell down on their knees around it, and implored that bright luminary to grant them, the ensuing season, an abundance of fruits and provisions, as good as those contained in the skin of the deer.2 This was the practice upon the coast of East Florida, and, doubtless, it was observed all over the country. It was certainly a very practical mode of asking favors of the sun.

When a Chief or Prophet died upon the St. John, he was placed in the ground, and a small mound, of conical form, was erected over him. The base of this mound was surrounded with arrows stuck in a regular order. Some sat, and others kneeled around it, and continued to weep and howl for the space of three nights. Chosen women next visited the mound for a long time, every morning at the break of day, at noon, and at night.3 Indeed, great respect appears to have been paid

1. Garcellasso de la Vega, pp. 439 440.
2. Le Moyne, plate 35.
3. Le Moyne, plate 40.

The Aborigines of Alabama and the Surrounding States
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to the Chief when alive, and to him a cruel sacrifice was accustomed to be made. The first born male child was always brought out before the Chief, who sat upon a bench on one side of a large circle. Before him was a block, two feet high, and near it stooped the young mother, weeping in great agony. The child was brought forward by a dancing woman, placed upon the block, and a Prophet dashed out its brains with a club; at the same time many females danced, and raised their voices in song.1

If a Chief desired to marry, he was accustomed to send his principal men to select, from the girls of nobility, one of the youngest and most beautiful. Painted with various colors and adorned with shells and pearls, the chosen one was then placed in a sedan chair, the top of which formed an arch of green boughs. When placed by his side, on an elevated seat, great pomp and ceremony, an array of ornaments of all kinds. and music and dancing, characterized the affair, while she and her lord were fanned with beautiful feathers.
The treatment of diseases in that day were few and simple. The doctor sometimes scarified the patient with shells and fishes teeth, and sucked out the blood with his mouth. This he spurted in a bowl, and it was drunk by nursing women who stood by, if the patient was an athletic young man, in order to give their children the same vigor. It was customary, also, to smoke the patient with tobacco, and other weeds, until perspiration ensued and re-action was produced.2

1. Le Moyne, plate 34.
2. Le Moyne, plate 20.

Part II, The Modern Indians of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi
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It has been seen that the Indians living in that part of Alabama through which De Soto passed, were the Coosas, inhabiting the territory embraced in the present counties of Benton, Talladega, Coosa, and a portion of Cherokee; the Tallases, living upon the Tallapoosa and its tributary streams; the Mobilians extending from near the present city of Montgomery to the commercial emporium which now bears their name; the Pafallayas or Choctaws, inhabiting the territory of the modern counties of Green, Marengo, Tuscaloosa, Sumpter and Pickens; and, in the present State of Mississippi, the Chickasaws, in the valley of the Yalobusha; and the Alabamas, upon the Yazoo. 1541 April: It will, also, be recollected, that this remarkable Spaniard overrun the rich province of Chiaha, the territory of the present northwestern Georgia, and that he there found the Chalaques, which all writers upon aboriginal history decide to be the original name of the Cherokees.

The invasion of De Soto resulted in the destruction of an immense Indian population, in all the territory through which he passed, except that of Georgia, where he fought no battles.

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The European diseases, which the natives inherited from the Spaniards, served, also, to thin their population. Again, the constant bloody wars in which they were engaged afterwards, among each other, still further reduced their numbers. And while the bloody Spaniards were wandering over this beautiful country, the Muscogees were living upon the Ohio.1 They heard of the desolation of Alabama, and after a long time came to occupy and re-people it. The remarkable migration of this powerful tribe, and that of the Alabamas, will now, for the first time, be related, and that, too, upon the authority of a reliable person, who must here be introduced to the reader.

Le Clerc Milfort, a young, handsome, and well educated Frenchman, left his native country, sailed across the Atlantic, made the tour of the New England States, and came, at length, to Savannah. A love of adventure led him to the Creek nation,

1. Alexander McGillivray, whose blood was Scotch, French, and Indian, who was made a Colonel in the British service, afterwards a Spanish Commissary with the rank and pay of Colonel, then a Brigadier General by Washington, with full pay -- a man of towering intellect and vast information, and who ruled Creek country for a quarter of a century -- obtained the information that the Creeks were living upon the Ohio when De Soto was here in 1540. He was informed, upon the best traditional authority, that the Creek Indians then heard of De Soto, and the strange people with him; and that, like those whom they had seen in Mexico, they had "hair over their bodies, and carried thunder and lightning in their hands."

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and in May 1776, he arrived at the great town of Coweta, situated on the Chattahoochee river, two miles below the present city of Columbus. There he became acquainted with Colonel McGillivray, the great Chieftain of the nation, and accompanied him to the Hickory Ground, upon the banks of the Coosa. Fascinated with the society of this great man, the hospitality of the Indians, and the wide field afforded for exciting enterprise, Milfort resolved to become a permanent inmate of McGillivray's house, then situated at Little Tallase, four miles above Wetumpka. He married his sister, was created Tustenuggee, or Grand Chief of War, and often led Indian expeditions against the Whig population of Georgia, during the American Revolution. May 1780: A fine writer, and much of an antiquarian, he employed some of his leisure hours in preparing a history of the Creeks. Remaining in the nation twenty years, he resolved to return to France. In 1796 he sailed from Philadelphia, and it was not long before he was among the gay people from whom he had so long been absent. Bonaparte, at length, heard of this adventurous man, and honored him with an audience. He desired to engage his services in forming alliances with the Alabama and Mississippi Indians, for the purpose of strengthening his Louisiana possessions. But, finally giving up these possessions, and turning his whole attention to the wars in which he was deeply engaged with the allied powers, he still retained Milfort, conferring upon him the pay and rank of General of Brigade, but without active employment. In the meantime, General

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Milfort had published his work upon the Creek Indians.1 In 1814 his home was attacked by a party of Russians, who had heard of his daring exploits in assisting to repel the allied invaders. He barricaded it, and defended himself with desperation. His French wife assisted him to load his guns. At length he was rescued by a troop of grenadiers. Shortly after this General Milfort closed, by death, a career which had been full of event in the savage as well as the civilized world. His wife, at an advanced age, was recently burned to death in her own house at Rheims.2

When Milfort arrived among the Creeks, the old men often spoke of their ancestors, and they exhibited to him strands of pearls which contained their history and constituted their archives. Upon their arrangement depended their signification, and only principal events were thus preserved. One of their chaplets sometimes related the history of thirty years. Each year was rapidly distinguished by those who understood them. The old men, therefore, with the assistance of these singular records and strong memories, were enabled to impart to Milfort a correct tradition, the substance of which we give.3

Hernando Cortez, with some Spanish troops, landed at Vera Cruz in 1519. He fought his way thence to the City

1. Memoire ou coup d'ceil rapide sur mes differens voyages et mon sejour dans la nation Crck, by Le Clerc Milfort, Tastanegry ou Grand Chef de Guerre de la nation Crck et General de Brigade ou service de la Republique Francaise. A Paris. 1802.
2. Extract from a Paris paper, published by Galignani
3. Milfort, p. 47.

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of Mexico. In the meantime, Montezuma had assembled his forces from all parts of his empire to exterminate the invaders. The Muscogees then formed a separate republic on the northwest of Mexico. Hitherto invincible in war, they now rallied to his aid, engaging in the defense of that greatest of aboriginal cities. At length Cortez was successful--Montezuma was killed, his government overthrown, and thousands of his subjects put to the sword. Having lost many of their own warriors, and unwilling to live in a country conquered by foreign assassins, the Muscogees determined to seek some other land. The whole tribe took up the line of march, and continued eastward until they struck the sources of the Red river. The route lay over vast prairies, abounding with wild animals and fruits, which afforded them all the means of subsistence. In journeying down the banks of the Red river, they discovered salt lakes and ponds, which were covered with fowl of every description. Consuming months upon the journey, they finally reached a large forest, in which they encamped. The young men, sent in advance to explore the country, returned in a month, and announced the discovery of a forest on the banks of the Red river, in which were beautiful subterranean habituations. Marching thither, they found these caves had been made by buffaloes and other animals, who came there to lick the earth, which was impregnated with salt. A town was here laid out, houses constructed, an extensive field enclosed, and corn, which they had brought with them, planted. Subsisting by the chase and the products of the earth, they passed here several years in health and tranquility.

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But even in this remote retreat they eventually found those who would molest them. The Alabamas, who seem also to have been wandering from the west, attacked a party of Muscogees, who were hunting, and killed several of them. Probably in 1527: The Muscogees abandoned their town, which they believed did not afford them sufficient protection from the buffalo and human foes. They resumed their march in the direction of the camps of the Alabamas, upon whom they had resolved to be avenged. Traversing immense plains, they reached a grove on the Missouri river, having shaped their course in a northern direction from their last settlement. Here they came upon the footprints of the Alabamas. The most aristocratic among the Muscogees, called the Family of the Wind, passed the muddy river first. They were followed by the Family of the Bear; then by that of the Tiger; and thus, till the humblest of the tribe had crossed over. Resuming the march, young warriors and the Chiefs formed the advance guard; the old men were placed in the rear, and those of an age less advanced on the flanks, while the women and children occupied the centre. Coming within the neighborhood of the enemy, the main party halted, while the Tustenuggee, or Grand Chief of War, at the head of the young warriors, advanced to the attack. The Alabamas, temporarily dwelling in subterranean habituations, were taken by surprise, and many of them slain. Forced to abandon this place, and retreat from the victors, they did not rally again until they had fled a great distance down on the eastern side of the Missouri. After a time they were overtaken, when several

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bloody engagements ensued. The Muscogees were triumphant, and the vanquished retreated in terror and dismay to the banks of the Mississippi. The enemy again coming upon them with invincible charges, precipitated many of them into the river. Thus, alternately fighting, constructed new towns, and again breaking up their last establishments, these two war like tribes gradually reached the Ohio river, and proceeded along its banks almost to the Wabash.1 Here, for along time, the Muscogees resided, and lost sight of the Alabamas, who had established themselves upon the Yazoo, and were there living when De Soto attacked their fortress.2 1520 to 1535: The Muscogees abandoned their home in the northwestern province of Mexico about the period of 1520, had consumed fifteen years in reaching the to Ohio, and were there residing when the Spanish invasion occurred. How long they occupied that country Milfort does not inform us; but he states that they finally crossed the Ohio and Tennessee, and settled upon the Yazoo -- thus continuing to pursue the unfortunate Alabamas. Delighted with the genial climate, the abundance of fruit and game with which it abounded, they established towns upon the Yazoo, constructed subterranean habituations, and for some years passed their time most agreeably. It is probable the Alabamas had fled before their arrival, for the Spaniards had so thinned the number of the latter that it was folly to resist the Muscogees, who had conquered them when they were much stronger.

1. Milfort, pp. 234-259.
2. Other Indian traditions in my possession.

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Milfort states that the Alabamas finally advanced to the river which now bears their name. Here, finding a region charming in climate, rich in soil, convenient in navigation, and remote from the country of their enemies, they made permanent establishments, from the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa some distance down the Alabama.

Remembering how often they had been surprised by the Muscogees, and how insecure from the attacks was even a distant retreat, the Alabamas sent forth young warriors westward, to see if their foes were still wandering upon their heels. It happened that a party of the latter were reconnoitering eastward. They met, fought, and some of the Muscogees were killed. In the meantime, the latter tribe had learned what a delightful country was occupied by the Alabamas, and this new outrage, coupled with a possession of the lands upon the Alabama, and also those upon the Coosa and Tallapoosa. Supposed to be in 1620: The Alabamas fled in all directions, seeking asylum among the Choctaws and other tribes.

Gaining a firm footing in the new region, enjoying good health, and increasing in population, the Muscogees advanced to the Ocmulgee, Oconee, and Ogechee, and even established a town where now reposes the beautiful city of Augusta. With the Indians of the present State of Georgia, they had combats, but overcame them. Pushing on their conquests, they reduced a warlike tribe called the Uchees, lower down upon the Savannah, and brought the prisoners in slavery to

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the Chattahoochie.1 In 1822, Big Warrior, who then ruled the Creek confederacy, confirmed this tradition, even going further back than Milfort, taking the Muscogees from Asia, bringing them over the Pacific, landing them near the Isthmus of Darien, and conducting them from thence to this country. "My ancestors were a mighty people. After they reached the waters of the Alabama and took possession of all this country, they went further -- conquered the tribes along the Chattahoochie, and upon all the rivers from thence to the Savannah -- yes, and even whipped the Indians then living in the territory of South Carolina, and wrestled much of their country from them." The Big Warrior concluded this sentence with great exultation, when Mr. Compere, to whom he was speaking, interposed an unfortunate question: -- "If this is the way your ancestors acquired all the territory now lying in Georgia, how can you blame the American population in that State for endeavoring to take it from you?" Never after that could the worthy missionary extract a solitary item from the Chieftain, in relation to the history of his people.2

1. Milfort, pp. 269-263. Bartram's Travels in Florida, pp. 53, 54, 464. Also traditional MSS. notes in my possession.
2. Rev. Lee Compere's MS. notes in my possession. This gentleman was born in England on Nov. 3, 1790. He came to South Carolina in 1817. The Baptist Missionary Board and that of the General Convention sent him as a missionary to the Creek nation in 1822. He and his wife, who was an English lady, resided at Tookabatcha (the capital) six years. Mr. Campere made but little progress towards the conversion of the Creeks, owing to the opposition of the Chiefs to the abolition of the primitive customs. He was a much learned man and a respectable writer. He furnished the Indian Bureau, at Washington, with a complete vocabulary of the Muscogee language and also the Lord's Prayer, all of which is published in the 11th vol. of "Translations of the American Antiquarian Society", Cambridge, 1836, pp. 381-422. In 1821, I often heard Mr. Campere and his wife sing beautiful hymns in the Creek tongue. He lives in the State of Mississippi.

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Sometimes after these conquests, the French established themselves at Mobile. The Alabamas, scattered as we have seen, and made to flee before superior numbers, became desirous to place themselves under their protection. Anxious to cultivate a good understanding with all the Indian tribes, and to heal old animosities existing among them, the French caused an interview between the Chiefs of the Alabamas and those of the Muscogees, at Mobile. 1702: In the presence of M. Bienville, the Commandant of that place, a peace was made, which has not since been violated. The Alabamas returned to their towns, upon the river of that name, which were called Cossawda, Econchate, Pauwocte, Towassau and Autauga, situated on both sides of the river, and embracing a country from the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, for forty miles down. They consented to become members of the Muscogee confederacy, and to observe their national laws, but stipulated to retain their ancient manners and customs.

Not long afterwards, the Tookabatchas, who had nearly been destroyed by the Iroquois and Hurons, wandered from the Ohio country, and obtained permission from the Muscogees to form a part of their nation. They were willingly received

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by the cunning Muscogees, who were anxious to gain all the strength they could, to prevent the encroachments of the English from South Carolina. Upon the ruins of the western Tallase, where De Soto encamped twenty days, the Tookabatchas built a town and gave it their name.1

The Tookabatchas brought with them to the Tallapoosa some curious brass plates, the origin and objects of which have much puzzled the Americans of our day, who have seen them. 1759 Such information respecting them as has fallen into our possession, will be given. On the 27th July 1759, at the Tookabatcha Square, William Balsolver, a British trader, made inquiries concerning their ancient relics, of an old Indian Chief, named Bracket, near a hundred years of age. There were two plates of brass and five of copper. The Indians esteemed them so much they were preserved in a private place, known only to a few Chiefs, to whom they were annually entrusted. They were never brought to light but once in a year, and that was upon the occasion of the Green Corn Celebration, when on the fourth day, they were introduced in, what was termed the "brass plate dance". Then one of the high Prophets carried one before him, under his arm, ahead of the dancers -- next to him the head warrior carried another, and then others followed with the remainder, bearing aloft, at the same time white canes, with the feathers of a swan at the tops.

1. Milfort, pp. 263-266.

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Formerly, the Tookabatcha tribe had many more of these relics, of different sizes and shapes, with letters and inscriptions upon them, which were given to their ancestors by the Great Spirit, who instructed them that they were only to be handled by particular men, who must at the moment be engaged in fasting, and that no unclean woman must be suffered to come near them or the place where they were deposited. July 27, 1759: Bracket further related, that several of these plates were then buried under the Micco's cabin in Tookabatcha, and had lain there ever since the first settlement of the town; that formerly it was the custom to place one or more of them in the grave by the side of a deceased Chief of pure Tookabatcha blood, and that no other Indians in the whole

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Creek nation had much sacred relics.1 Similar accounts of these plates were obtained from four other British traders, "at the most eminent trading house of all English America."2 The town of Tookabatcha became, in later times, the capital of the Creek nation; and many reliable citizens of Alabama have seen these mysterious pieces at the Green Corn Dances, upon which occasions they were used precisely as in the more ancient days.3 When the inhabitants of this town, in the autumn of 1836, took up the line of march for their present home in the Arkansas Territory, these plates were transported thence by six Indians, remarkable for their sobriety and moral character, at the head of whom was the Chief, Spoke-Oak, Micco. Medicine, made expressly for their safe transportation, was carried along by these warriors. Each one had a plate strapped behind his back, enveloped nicely in buckskin. They carried nothing else, but marched on, marched on, one before the other, the whole distance to Arkansas, neither communicating nor conversing with a soul but themselves, although several thousands were emigrating in company; and walking, with a solemn

1. Adair's "American Indians," pp. 178-179.
2. Adair's "American Indians" p. 179.
3. Conversations with Barent Dubois, Abraham Mordecai, James Moore, Capt. William Walker, Lacklan Durant, Mrs. Sophia McComb, and other persons who stated that these plates had Roman characters upon them, as well as they could determine from the rapid glances which they could occasionally bestow upon them, while they were being used in the "brass plate dance."

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religious air, one mile in advance of the others.1 How much their march resembled that of the ancient Trojans, bearing off their household gods! Another tradition is, that the Shawnees gave these plates to the Tookabatchas, as tokens of their friendship, with an injunction that they would annually introduce them in their religious observances of the new corn season. But the opinion of Opothleoholo, one of the most gifted Chiefs of the modern Creeks, went to corroborate the general tradition that they were gifts from the Great Spirit.2 It will be recollected that our aborigines, in the time of De Soto, undertook the use of copper, and that hatchets and ornaments were made of that metal. The ancient Indians may have made them, and engraved upon their faces hieroglyphics, which were supposed to be Roman characters. An intelligent New Englander, names Barent Dubois, who had long lived among the Tookabatchas, believed that these plates originally formed some portion of the armor or musical instruments of De Soto, and that the Indians stole them, as they did the shields, in the Talladega country, and hence he accounts for the Roman letters on them. We give an opinion, but leave the reader to determine for himself -- having discharged our duty by placing all the available evidence before him.

The reputation which the Muscogees had acquired for strength and a warlike spirit, induced other tribes who had become

1. Conversations with Barent Dubois.
2. Conversations with Opothleoholo in 1833.

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weak to seek an asylum among them. The Tuskegees wandered down into East Alabama, were received with open arms, and permitted to occupy the territory immediately in the fork of the Coosa and Tallapoosa. Upon the east bank of the former a town was erected and called after the name of the tribe. Some time after this the French fort, Toulouse, was built here; and, one hundred years afterwards, Fort Jackson was placed upon the same foundation by the Americans.

A tribe of the Ozeailles came at the same time, and were located eighteen miles above, on a beautiful plain, through which meandered a fine creek.1 1700: A large tribe of Uchees, made prisoners and brought to Cusseta, upon the Chattahoochie, not long afterwards, were liberated and assigned residences upon the Creeks, which bear their name, flowing through the eastern portion of the county of Russell. Or, upon the authority of Col. Hawkins, the Uchees, formerly living upon the Savannah in small villages at Ponpon, Saltketchers and Silver Bluff, and also upon the Ogeechee, were continually at war with the Creeks, Cherokees and Cataubas; but in 1729 an old Chief of Cusseta, called Captain Ellick, married three Uchee women and brought them to Cusseta, which greatly displeased his friends. Their opposition determined him to move from Cusseta. With three of his brothers, two of whom also had Uchee wives, he settled upon the Uchee creek. Afterwards he collected all that tribe, and with them formed there a discreet community, which, however,

1. Milfort, p 267
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became amenable, nationally, to the government of the Muscogees.1

In 1729, the Natchez massacred the French at Fort Rosalie, now the site of the city of Natchez, and were in turn overpowered, and many of them made slaves, while others escaped to the Coosa. In the Talladega country they built two towns, one called Natche and the other Abecouche. Thus a branch of the Natchez also became members of the Muscogee confederacy. 1783: At the close of the Revolutionary War, a party of Savannahs came from that river in company with some Shawnees, from Florida, and formed a town on the east side of the Tallapoosa, called Souvanogee; upon the ruins of which the Americans, in 1819, established the village of Augusta--no remains of which now exist. Souvanogee was laid out in conformity with their usages and habits, which they retained; but they willingly came under the national government of the confederacy.2

Thus did the Muscogee confederacy gain strength, from time to time, by the migration of broken tribes. When the English began to explore their country, and to transport goods into all parts of it, they gave all the inhabitants, collectively,

1. Sketch of the Creek Country in 1798-99," by Benjamin Hawkins, pp. 61, 62, 63. Also, manuscript traditional notes in my possession, taken from the lips of aged Indian countrymen.
2. Milfort, pp. 282-283. "Sketch of the Creek Country," by Hawkins, p. 34. Also Conversations with Indian countrymen.

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the name of the "Creeks," on account of the many beautiful rivers and streams which flowed through their extensive domain.1 By that name they will, in the future pages of this history, be called.

The Creek woman was short in stature, but well formed. Her cheeks were rather high, but her features were generally regular and pretty. Her brow was high and arched, her eyes large, black and languishing, expressive of modesty and diffidence. Her feet and hands were small, and the latter exquisitely shaped. 1780: The warrior was larger than the ordinary race of Europeans, often above six feet in height, but was invariably well formed, erect in his carriage, and graceful in every movement. They were proud, haughty and arrogant; brave and valiant in war; ambitious of conquest; restless, and perpetually exercising their arms, yet magnanimous and merciful to a vanquished Indian enemy who afterwards sought their friendship and protection.2 Encountering fatigue with ease, they were great travellers, and sometimes went three or four hundred leagues on a hunting expedition." Formerly they were cruel, but at the present day they are brave, yet peaceable, when not forced to abandon their character."3

Like all other Indians, they were fond of ornaments, which consisted of stones, beads, wampum, porcupine quills, eagles' feathers, beautiful plumes, and earrings of various descriptions. The higher classes were often fantastic in their

1. Hawkins, p 19.
2. Bartram's Travels, pp 482, 500, 506.
3. Milfort, pp 216-217.

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wearing apparel. Sometimes a warrior put on a ruffled shirt of fine linen, and went out with no other garment except a flap of blue broadcloth, with buskins made of the same. The stillapica or moccasin, embroidered with beads, adorned the feet of the better classes. Mantles of good broadcloth, of a blue or scarlet color, decorated with fringe and lace, and hung with round silver or brass buttons, were worn by those who could afford them. When they desired to be particularly gay, vermillion was freely applied to the face, neck and arms. Again, the skin was often inscribed with hieroglyphics and representations of the sun, moon, stars and various animals.1 This was performed by puncturing the parts with gar's tooth, and rubbing in a dye made of the drippings of rich pine roots. These characters were inscribed during youth, and frequently in manhood, every time that a warrior distinguished himself in slaying the enemy. Hence when he was unfortunately taken prisoner, he was severely punished in proportion to the marks upon his skin, by which he was known to have shed the blood of many of the kindred of those into whose hands he had fallen.2 The Creeks wore many ornaments of silver. Crescents or gorgets, very massive, suspended around the neck by ribbons, reposed upon the breast, while the arms, fingers, hats, and even sometimes the necks, had silver bands around them.

The females wore a petticoat which reached to the middle

1. Bartram's Travels, pp. 482-506.
2. Adair's American Indians, p. 389

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of the leg. The waistcoat, or wrapper, made of calico, printed linen, or fine cloth, ornamented with lace and beads, enveloped the upper part of the body. They never wore boots or stockings, but their buskins reached to the middle of the leg. Their hair, black, long and rather coarse, was plaited in wreaths, and ordinarily turned up and fastened in a crown with a silver band. This description of dress and ornaments were worn only by the better classes. The others were more upon the primitive Indian order. They were fond of music, both vocal and instrumental; but the instruments they used were of an inferior kind, such as the tambour, rattle-gourd, and a kind of flute, made of the joint of a cane or the tibia of the deer's leg. Dancing was practiced to a great extent, and they employed an endless variety of steps.1

Their most manly and important game was the "ball play." It was the most exciting and interesting game imaginable, and was the admiration of all the curious and learned travellers who witnessed it. The warriors of one town challenged those of another, and they agreed to meet at one town, or the other, as may have been decided. For several days previous to the time, those who intended to engage in the amusement took medicine, as though they were going to war. The night immediately preceding was spent in dancing and other ceremonious preparations. On the morning of the play, they painted and decorated themselves. In the meantime, the news had spread abroad in the neighboring towns, which

1. Bartram's Travels, pp. 482-506.

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had collected, at the place designated, an immense concourse of men, women, and children -- the young and the gay -- the old and the grave -- together with hundreds of ponies, Indian merchandise, extra wearing apparel, and various articles brought there to stake upon the result.

The players were all nearly naked, wearing only a piece of cloth called "flap." They advanced towards the immense plain upon which they were presently to exhibit astonishing feats of strength and agility. From eighty to a hundred men were usually on a side. They now approached each other, and were first seen at the distance of a quarter of a mile apart, but their war songs and yells had previously been heard. Intense excitement and anxiety were depicted upon the countenance of the immense throng of spectators. Presently the parties appeared in full trot, as if about to encounter fiercely in fight. They met and soon became intermingled together, dancing and stamping, while a dreadful artillery of noise and shouts went up and rent the air. An awful silence then succeeded. The players retired from each other, and fell back one hundred and fifty yards from the centre. Thus they were three hundred yards apart. In the centre were erected two poles, between which the ball must pass to count one. Every warrior was provided with two rackets or hurls, of singular construction, resembling a ladle or hoop-net with handles nearly three feet long. The handle was of wood, and the netting of the thongs of raw hide or the tendons of an animal. The play was commenced by a ball, covered with buckskin, being thrown in the air. The players rushed together with a

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mighty shock, and he who caught the ball between his two rackets, ran off with it and hurled it again in the air, endeavoring to throw it between the poles in the direction of the town to which he belonged. They seized hold of each other's limbs and hair, tumbled each other over, first trampled upon those that were down, and did everything to obtain the ball, and afterwards to make him who had it, drop it before he could make a successful throw. The game was usually from twelve to twenty. It was kept up for hours, and during the time the players used the greatest exertions, exhibited the most infatuated devotion to their side, were often severely hurt, and sometimes killed, in the rough and unfeeling scramble which prevailed. It sometimes happened that the inhabitants of a town gamed away all their ponies, jewelry and wearing apparel, even stripping themselves upon the issue of the ball play. In the meantime, the women were constantly on the alert with vessels and gourds filled with water, watching every opportunity to supply the players.1

If a Creek warrior wished to marry, he sent his sister, mother, or some female relation, to the female relations of the girl whom he loved. Her female relations then consulted the uncles, and if none the brothers, on the maternal side, who decided upon the case. If it was an agreeable alliance, the bridegroom was informed of it, and he sent, soon after, a blanket and articles of clothing to the female part of the family of

1. The "Narrative of a Mission to the Creek Nation," by Col. Marinus Willett, pp. 108-110. Bartram's Travels, pp. 482-506.

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the bride. If they received these presents, the match was made, and the man was at liberty to go to the house of his wife as soon as he deemed it proper. When he had built a residence, produced a crop, gathered it in, made a hunt and brought home the game, and tendered a general delivery of all to the girl, then they were considered man and wife.
Divorce was at the choice of either party. The man, however, had the advantage, for he could again marry another woman if he wished; but the woman was obliged to lead a life of celibacy until the Boosketuh, or Green Corn Dance, was over. Marriage gave no right to the husband over the property of the wife, or the control or management of the children which he might have by her.

Adultery was punished by the family of the husband, who collected together, consulted and agreed on the course to pursue. One-half of them then went to the house of the woman, and the other half to the residence of the guilty warrior. They apprehended, stripped, and beat them with long poles, until they were insensible. Then they cropped off their ears, and sometimes their noses, with knives, the edges of which they made rough and saw-like. The hair of the woman was carried in triumph to the square. Strange to say, they generally recovered from this inhuman treatment. If one of the offenders escaped, satisfaction was taken by similar punishment inflicted upon the nearest relative. If both of the parties fled unpunished, and the party aggrieved returned home and laid down the poles, the offense was considered satisfied. But one family in the Creek nation had authority to

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take up the poles the second time, and that was the Ho-tul-gee, or family of the Wind. The parties might absent themselves until the Boosketuh was over, and then they were free from punishment for this and all other offenses, except murder, which had to be atoned for by death upon the guilty one or his nearest relative.1

The Creeks buried their dead in the earth, in a square pit, under the bed where the deceased lay in his house. The grave was lined on the sides with cypress bark, like the curbing of a well. The corpse, before it became cold, was drawn up with cords, and made to assume a squatting position; and in this manner it was placed in the grave and covered with earth. The gun, tomahawk, pipe, and other articles of the deceased, were buried with him.2

In 1777, Bartram found, in the Creek nation, fifty towns, with a population of eleven thousand, which lay upon the rivers Coosa, Tallapoosa, Alabama, Chattahoochie and Flint, and the prominent Creeks which flowed into them. The Muscogee was the national language, although in some of these towns, the Uchee or Savannah, Alabama, Natchez and Shawnee tongues prevailed. But the Muscogee was called, by the traders, the "mother tongue," while the others mentioned were termed the "stinkard lingo."3

The general council of the nation was always held in the principal town, in the centre of which was a large public

1. Hawkins' "Sketch of the Creek Country," pp. 73-74.
2. Bartram, pp. 513-514.
3. Bartram's Travels, pp. 461-462.

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square, with three cabins of different sizes in each angle, making twelve in all. Four avenues led into the square. The cabins, capable of containing sixty persons each, were so situated that from one of them a person might see into the others. One belonging to the Grand Chief fronted the rising sun, to remind him that he should watch the interests of his people. Near it was the grand cabin, where the councils were held. In the opposite angle, three others belonged to the old men, and faced the setting sun, to remind them that they were growing feeble, and should not go to war. In the two remaining corners were the cabins of the different Chiefs of the nation, the dimensions of which were in proportion to the rank and services of those Chiefs. The whole number in the square was painted red, except those facing the west, which were white, symbolical of virtue and old age. The former, during war, were decorated with wooden pieces sustaining a chain of rings of wood. This was a sign of grief, and told the warriors they should hold themselves in readiness, for their country needed their services. These chains were replaced by garlands of ivy leaves during peace.

In the month of May, annually, the Chiefs and principal Indians assembled in the large square formed by these houses, to deliberate upon all subjects of general interest. When they were organized they remained in the square until the council broke up. Here they legislated, eat and slept. During the session, no person, except the principal Chiefs, could approach within less than twenty feet of the grand cabin. The women prepared the food, and deposited it at a prescribed distance,

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when it was borne to the grand cabin by the subordinate Chiefs. In the center of the square was a fire constantly burning. At sunset the council adjourned for the day, and then the young people of both sexes danced around this fire until a certain hour. As soon as the sun appeared above the horizon, a drumbeat called the Chiefs to the duties of the day.1

Besides this National Legislature, each principal town in the nation had its separate public buildings, as do the States of this American Union; and like them, regulated their own local affairs. The public square at Auttose, upon the Tallapoosa, in 1777, consisted of four square buildings, of the same dimensions and uniform in shape, so situated as to form a tetragon, enclosing an area of an half acre. Four passages, of equal width at the corners, admitted persons into it. The frames of these buildings were of wood, but a mud plaster, inside and out, was employed to form neat walls; except two feet all around under the eaves, left open to admit light and air. One of them was the council house, where the Micco (King), Chiefs and Warriors, with the white citizens, who had business, daily assembled to hear and decide upon all grievances, adopt measures for the better government of the people, and the improvement of the town, and to receive ambassadors from other towns. This building was enclosed on three sides, while a partition, from end to end, divided it into two apartments, the back one of which was totally dark, having only three arched holes large enough for a person

1. Milfort, pp. 206-208.

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to crawl into. It was a sanctuary of priest craft, in which were deposited physic-pots, rattles, chaplets of deer's hoofs, the great pipe of peace, the imperial eagle-tail standard, displayed like an open fan, attached to which a staff as white and clean as it could be scoured. The front part of the building was open like a piazza, divided into three apartments -- breast high -- each containing three rows of seats, rising one above the other, for the legislators. The other three buildings fronting the square were similar to the one just described, except that they had no sanctuary, and served to accommodate the spectators; they were also used for banqueting houses.

The pillars and walls of the houses of the square abounded with sculptures and caricature paintings, representing men in different ludicrous attitudes; some with the human shape, having the heads of the duck, turkey, bear, fox, wolf and deer. Again, these animals were represented with the human head. These designs were not ill executed, and the outlines were bold and well proportioned. The pillars of the council house were ingeniously formed in the likeness of vast speckled snakes ascending--the Auttoses being of the Snake family.1

Rude paintings were quite common among the Creeks, and they often conveyed ideas by drawings. No people could present a more comprehensive view of the topography of a country, with which they were acquainted, than the Creeks

1. Bartram's Travels, pp. 448-454

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could, in a few moments, by drawing upon the ground. Barnard Roman, a Captain in the British Army, saw at Hoopa Ulla, a Choctaw town, not far from Mobile, the following drawing, executed by the Creeks, which had fallen into the possession of the Choctaws.

This represents that ten Creek warriors, of the family of the Deer, went into the Choctaw country in three canoes; that six of them landed, and in marching along a path, met two Choctaw men, two women and a dog; that the Creeks killed and scalped them. The scalp, in the deer's foot, implies the horror of the action to the whole Deer family.1

The great council house at Auttose, was appropriated to much the same purpose as the square, but was more private. It was a vast conical building, capable of accommodating many hundred people. Those appointed to take care of it, daily

1. Barnard Roman's Florida, p. 102.

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swept clean, and provided canes for fuel and to give lights. Besides using this rotunda for political purposes, of a private nature, the inhabitants of Auttose were accustomed to take their "black drink" in it. The officer who had charge of this ceremony ordered the cacina tea to be prepared under an open shed opposite the door of the council house; he directed bundles of dry cane to be brought in, which were previously split in pieces of two feet long. "They were now placed obliquely across upon one another on the floor, forming a spiral line round about the great centre pillar, eighteen inches in thickness. This spiral line, spreading as it proceeded round and round, often repeated from right to left, every revolution increased its diameter, and at length extended to the distance of ten or twelve feet from the centre, according to the time the assembly was to continue." By the time these preparations were completed, it was night, and the assembly had taken their seats. The outer end of the spiral line was fired. It gradually crept round the entire pillar, with the course of the sun, feeding on the cane, and affording a bright and cheerful light. The aged Chiefs above the other, sat upon their cane sofas, which were elevated one above the other, and fixed against the back side of the house, opposite the door. The white people and Indians of confederate towns sat, in like order, on the left -- a transverse range of pillars, supporting a thin clay wall, breast high, separating them. The King's seat was in front; back of it were the seats of the head warriors, and those of a subordinate condition. Two middle-aged men now entered at the door, bearing large conch shells full of black

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drink. They advanced with slow, uniform and steady steps, with eyes elevated, and singing in a low tone. Coming within a few feet of the King, they stopped, and rested their shells on little tables. Presently they took them up again, crossed each other, and advanced obsequiously. One presented his shell to the King, and the other to the principal man among the white audience. As soon as they raised them to their mouths the attendants uttered two notes -- hoo-ojah! and a-lu-yah! -- which they spun out as long as they could hold their breath. As long as the notes continued, so long did the person drink or hold the shell to his mouth. In this manner all the assembly were served with the "black drink." But when the drinking begun, tobacco, contained in pouches made of the skins of the wild cat, otter, bear and rattlesnake, was distributed among the assembly, together with pipes, and a general smoking commenced. The King began first, with a few whiffs from the great pipe, blowing it ceremoniously, first toward the sun, next toward the four cardinal points, and then toward the white audience. Then the attendants passed this pipe to others of distinction. In this manner, these dignified and singular people occupied some hours in the night, until the spiral line of canes was consumed, which was a signal for retiring. 1

1. Bartram's Travels, pp. 448-454. The site of Auttose is now embraced in Macon county, and is a cotton plantation, the property of the Hon. George Goldthwaite, Judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. On the morning of the 29th of November 1813, a battle was fought here between the Creeks and the Georgians--the latter commanded by Gen. John Floyd.

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Twenty-one years after the visit of Bartram to the Creek nation, Col. Benjamin Hawkins, to whom Washington had confided important trusts in relation to the tribes south of the Ohio, penetrated these wilds. He found the public buildings, at that period similar to those already described, with, however, some exceptions, which may have been the result of a slight change of ancient customs.

Every town had a separate government, and public buildings for business and pleasure, with a presiding officer, who was called a King, by the traders, and a Micco, by the Indians. This functionary received all public characters, heard their talks, laid them before his people, and, in return, delivered the talk of his own town. He was always chosen from some noted family. The Micco of Tookabatcha was of the Eagle tribe (Lum-ul-gee.) When they were put into office, they held their stations for life, and when dead, were succeeded by their nephews. The Micco could select an assistant when he became infirm, or for other causes, subject to the approval of the principal men of the town. They generally bore the name of the town which they governed, as Cusseta Micco, Tookabatcha Micco, etc.

"Choo-co-thluc-co, (big house) the town house or public square, consists of four buildings of one story, facing each other, forty by sixteen feet, eight feet pitch; the entrance at each corner. Each building is a wooden frame supported on posts set in the ground, covered with slabs, open in front like a piazza, divided into three rooms, the back and ends clayed up to the plates. Each division is divided lengthwise into

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two seats. The front, two feet high, extending back half way, covered with reed mats or slabs; then a rise of one foot and it extends back, covered in like manner, to the side of the building. On these seats they lie or sit at pleasure.


"1st. Mic-ul-gee in-too-pau, the Micco's cabin. This fronts the east, and is occupied by those of the highest rank. The center of the building is always occupied by the Micco of the town, by the Agent for Indian affairs, when he pays a visit to a town, by the Miccos of other towns, and by respectable white people.

"The division to the right is occupied by the Mic-ug-gee (Miccos, there being several so called in every town, from custom, the origin of which is unknown), and the councilors. These two classes give their advice in relation to war, and are, in fact, the principal councilors.

"The division to the left is occupied by the E-ne-hau-ulgee (people second in command, the head of whom is called by the traders second man.) These have the direction of the public works appertaining to the town, such as the public buildings, building houses in town for new settlers, or working in the fields. They are particularly charged with the ceremony of the -ce, (a decoction of the cassine yupon, called by the traders black drink), under the direction of the Micco.

"2d. Tus-tun-nug-ul-gee in-too-pau, the warriors' cabin. This fronts the south. The head warrior sits at the end of the cabin, and in his division the great warriors sit beside each other. The next in rank sit in the center division, and

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the young warriors in the third. The rise is regular by merit from the third to the first division. The Great Warrior, for this is the title of the head warrior, is appointed by the Micco and councilors from among the greatest war characters.

"When a young man is trained up and appears well qualified for the fatigues and hardships of war, and is promising, the Micco appoints him a governor, or, as the name imports, a leader (Is-te-puc-cau-chau), and if he distinguishes himself they elevate him to the center cabin. A man who distinguishes himself repeatedly in warlike enterprises, arrives to the rank of the Great Leader (Is-te-puc-cau-chau-thlucco) This title, though greatly coveted, is seldom attained, as it requires a long course of years, and great and numerous successes in war.

"The second class of warriors is the Tusse-ki-ul-gee. All who go to war, and are in company when a scalp is taken, get a war-name. The leader reports their conduct and they receive a name accordingly. This is the Tus-se-o-chif-co or war-name. The term leader, as used by the Indians, is a proper one. The war parties all march in Indian file, with the leader in front, until coming on hostile ground. He is then in the rear.

"3d. Is-te-chaguc-ul-gee in-too-pau, the cabin of the beloved men. This fronts the north. There are a great many men who have been war leaders and who, although of various ranks, have become estimable in long course of public service. They sit themselves on the right division of the cabin of the Micco, and are his councilors. The family of the Micco,

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and great men who have distinguished themselves occupy this cabin of the Beloved Men.
"4th. Hut-te-mau-hug-gee, the cabin of the young people and their associates. This fronts the west.

"The Micco, councilors and warriors meet every day in the public square, sit and drink of the black tea, talk of the news, the public and domestic concerns, smoke their pipes, and play Thla-chal-litch-cau (roll the bullet). Here all complaints are introduced, attended to and redressed.

"5th. Chooc-ofau-thluc-co, the rotundo or assembly room, called by the traders "hot house." This is near the square, and is constructed after the following manner: Eight posts are driven into the ground, forming an octagon of thirty feet in diameter. They are twelve feet high, and large enough to support the roof. On these, five or six logs are placed, of a side, drawn in as they rise. On these, long poles or rafters, to suit the height of the building, are laid, the upper ends forming a point, and the lower-ends, projecting out siz feet from the octagon, and resting on the posts, five feet high, placed in a circle round the octagon, with plates on them, to which the rafters are tied with splits. The rafters are near together and fastened with splits. These are covered with clay, and that of pine bark. The wall, six feet from the octagon, is clayed up. They have a small door, with a small portico curved round for five or six feet, then into the house.

"The space between the octagon and wall is one entire sofa, where the visitors lie or sit at pleasure. It is covered with reed, mat or splits.

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"In the centre of the room, on a small rise, the fire is made of dry cane, or dry old pine slabs, split fine, and laid in a spiral line. This is the assembly room for all people, old and young. They assemble every night and amuse themselves with dancing, singing or conversation. And here, sometimes, in very cold weather, the old and naked sleep.

"In all transactions which require secrecy, the rulers meet here, make their fire, deliberate and decide."1

A very interesting festival, common not only to the Creeks, but to many other tribes, will now be described. As Col. Hawkins was, in all respects, one of the most conscientious and reliable men that ever lived, his account, like the preceding, will be copied in his own style. Of the many descriptions of the Green Corn Dance, in our possession, that by the honest and indefatigable Creek Agent is the most minute and most readily understood.

"The Creeks celebrate this festival in the months of July and August. The precise time is fixed by the Micco and councilors, and is sooner or later, as the state of affairs of the town or the early or lateness of their corn will suit. In Cussetuh this ceremony lasts for eight days. In some towns of less note it is but four days.


"In the morning the warriors clear the yard of the square,

1. Sketch of the Creek Country in 1798-1799, by Benjamin Hawkins, pp. 68-72.

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and sprinkle white sand, when the black drink is made. The fire-maker makes the fire as early in the morning as he can, by friction. The warriors cut and bring into the square four logs, each as long as a man can cover by extending his two arms. These are placed in the center of the square, end to end, forming a cross, the outer ends pointed to the cardinal points; in the center of the cross the new fire is made. During the first four days they burn out these first four logs.

"The Pin-e-bun-gau (turkey dance) is danced by the women of the Turkey tribe, and while they are dancing the possau is brewed. This is a powerful emetic. It is drank from twelve o'clock to the middle of the afternoon. After this, Toc-co-yula-gau (tad-pole) is danced by four women and four men. In the evening the men dance E-ne-hou-bun-gau (the dance of the people second in command). This they dance till daylight.


"About ten o'clock the women dance Its-ho-bun-gau (gun dance). After twelve o'clock the men go to the new fire, take some of the ashes, rub them on the chin, neck and abdomen, and jump head foremost into the river, and then return into the square. The women having prepared the new corn for the feast, the men take some of it and rub it between their hands, then on their faces and breasts, and then they feast.


"The men sit in the square.


"The women go early in the morning and get the new

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fire, clean out their hearths, sprinkle them with sand, and make their fires. The men finish burning out the first four logs, and they take ashes, rub them on their chin, neck and abdomen, and they go into the water. This day they eat salt, and they dance Obungauchapco (the long dance).


" They get four new logs, and place them as on the first day, and they drink the black drink.


"They remain in the square.


"They get two large pots, and their physic plants, the names of which are:
Chu-lis-sau (the roots),

These plants are put in pots and beat up with water. The chemists, E-lic-chul-gee, called by the traders physic-makers, blow into it through a small reed, and then it is drank by the men and rubbed over their joints till the afternoon.

"They collect old corn cobs and pine burs, put them into a pot and burn them to ashes. Four very young virgins bring ashes from their houses and stir them up. The men take white clay and mix it with water in two pans. One pan

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of clay and one of the ashes are carried to the cabin of the Micco, and the other two to that of the warriors. They then rub themselves with the clay and ashes. Two men, appointed to that office, bring some flowers of tobacco of a small kind, Itch-au-chee-le-pue-pug-gee, or as the name imports, the old man's tobacco, which was prepared on the first day and put in a pan in the cabin of the Micco, and they gave a little of it to every one present.

"The Micco and councilors then go four times around the fire, and every time they face the east they throw some of the flowers into the fire. They then go, and stand to the west. The warriors then repeat the same ceremony.

"A cane is stuck up at the cabin of the Micco, with two white feathers at the end of it. One of the fish tribe (Thlot-logulgee) takes it, just as the sun goes down, and goes off to the river, followed by all. When he gets half way down the river he gives the death whoop, which he repeats four times between the square and the water's edge. Here they all place themselves as thick as they can stand near the edge of the water. He sticks up the cane at the water's edge, and they all put a grain of the old man's tobacco on their heads and in each ear. Then, at a signal given four different times, they throw some into the river; and every man, at a signal, plunges into the river and picks up four stones from the bottom. With these they cross themselves on their breasts four times, each time throwing a stone into the river and giving the death whoop. They then wash themselves, take up the cane and feathers, return and stick it up in the square,

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and visit through the town. At night they dance O-bun-gau-hadjo (mad dance), and this finishes the ceremony.

"This happy institution of the Boos-ke-tau restores man to himself, to his family, and to his nation. It is a general amnesty, which not only absolves the Indians from all crimes, murder alone excepted, but seems to bring guilt itself into oblivion."1

With some slight variations, the Green Corn Dance was thus celebrated throughout the Creek confederacy. At the town of Tookabatcha, however, it will be recollected, that on the fourth day, the Indians introduced the "brass plates." At Coosawda, the principal town of the Alabamas, they celebrated a Boosketau of four days each, of mulberries and beans, when these fruits respectively ripened. 2

James Adair, a man of learning and enterprise, lived more than thirty years among the Chickasaws, and had frequent intercourse with the nations of the Muscogees, Cherokees and Choctaws, commencing in 1735. He was an Englishman, and was connected with the extensive commerce carried on at an early period with these tribes. While among the Chickasaws, with whom he first began to reside in 1744, he wrote a large work on aboriginal history. When he returned to his mother country, he published this work, "American Indians," a ponderous volume of near five hundred the pages, at London, in 1775. Well acquainted with the Hebrew language, and

1. Hawkins' Sketch of the Creek Country, pp. 75-78.
2. Adair's American Indians, p. 97.

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having, in his long residence with the Indians, acquired an accurate knowledge of their tongue, he devoted the larger portion of his work to prove that the latter were originally Hebrews, and were a portion of the lost tribes of Israel. He asserts, that at the Boosketaus of the Creeks and other tribes within the limits of Alabama, the warriors danced around the holy fire, during which the elder priest invoked the Great Spirit, while the others responded Halelu! Halelu! then Haleluiah! Haleluyah! He is ingenious in his arguments, and introduces many strange things to prove, to his own satisfaction, that the Indians were descendants of the Jews -- seeking, throughout two hundred pages, to assimilate their language, manners and customs. He formed his beliefs that they were originally the same people, upon their division into tribes, worship of Jehovah, notions of theocracy, belief in the ministration of angels, language and dialects, manner of computing time, their Prophets and High Priests, festivals, fasts and religious rites, daily sacrifices, ablutions and anointing, laws of uncleanliness, abstinence from unclean things, marriages, divorces, and punishments for adultery, other punishments, their towns of refuge, purification and ceremony preparatory to war, their ornaments, manner of curing the sick, burial of the dead, mourning for the dead, raising seed to a deceased brother, choice of names adapted to their circumstances and times, their own traditions, and the accounts of our English writers, and the testimony which the Spanish and other authors have given concerning the primitive inhabitants of Peru and Mexico.

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He insists that in nothing do they differ from the Jews except that rite of circumcision, which he contends, their ancestors dispensed with, after they became lost from the other tribes, on account of the danger and inconvenience of the execution of that rite, to those engaged in a hunting and roving life. That when the Israelites were forty years in the wilderness, even then they attempted to dispense with circumcision, but Joshua, by his stern authority, enforced its observance. The difference in food, mode of living and climate are relied upon by Adair, to account for the difference in the color, between the Jew and Indian, and also why the one has hair upon the body and the other has not.1

Adair is by no means alone in his opinion of the descent of the American Indians. Other writers, who have lived among these people, have arrived at the same conclusion. Many of the old Indian countrymen with whom we have conversed believe in theor Jewish origin, while others are of a different opinion. Abram Mordecai, an intelligent Jew, who dwelt fifty years in the Creek nation, confidently believed that the Indians were originally of his people, and he asserted that in their Green Corn Dances he had heard them often utter in grateful tones the word yavoyaha! yavoyaha! He was always informed by the Indians that this meant Jehovah, or the Great Spirit, and that they were then returning thanks for the abundant harvest with which they were blessed.2

1. Adair's American Indians, pp. 15-220.
2. Conversations with Abram Mordecai a man of ninety-two years of age, whom I found in Dudleyville, Tallapoosa County, in the fall of 1847. His mind was fresh in the recollection of early incidents. Of him I shall have occasion to speak in another portion of the work.

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Colonel Hawkins concludes his account of the religious and war ceremonies of the Creek Indians as follows:

"At the age of from fifteen to seventeen, the ceremony of initiating youth to manhood is performed. It is called the Boosketau, in like manner as the annual Boosketau of the nation. A youth of the proper age gathers two handfuls of the Sou-watch-cau, a very bitter root, which he eats a whole day. Then he steeps the leaves in water and drinks it. In the dusk of evening he eats two or three spoonfuls of boiled grits. This is repeated for four days, and during this time he remains in a house. The Sou-watch-cau has the effect of intoxicating and maddening. The fourth day he goes out, but must put on a pair of new moccasins (stillapicas). For twelve moons he abstains from eating bucks, except old ones, and from turkey cocks, fowls, peas and salt. During this period he must not pick his ears or scratch his head with his fingers, but use a small stick. For four moons he must have a fire to himself to cook his food, and a little girl, a virgin, may cook for him. His food is boiled grits. The fifth moon any person may cook for him, but he must serve himself first, and use one pan and spoon. Every new moon he drinks for four days the possau (button snakeroot), an emetic, and abstains for three days from all food, except in the evening a little boiled grits (humpetuh hutke). The twelfth moon he performs, for four days, what he commenced

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with on the first. The fifth day he comes out of his house, gathers corncobs, burns them to ashes, and with these rubs his body all over. At the end of this moon he sweats under blankets, then goes into water, and thus ends the ceremony. This ceremony is sometimes extended to four, six or eight moons, or even to twelve days only, but the course is the same.

"During the whole of this ceremony the physic is administered by the Is-te-puc-cau-chau-thlucco (Great Leader), who, in speaking of the youth under initiation says,
"I am physicing him"--Boo-se-ji-jite saut li-to mise-cha). Or 'I am teaching him all that it is proper for him to know'--(nauk o-mul-gau e-muc-e-thli-jite saut litomise cha).
The youth during this initiation does not touch any one except young persons, who are under a like course with himself. And if he dreams, he drinks the possau."1

Whenever Creeks were forced to take up arms, the Tustenuggee caused to be displayed in the public places a club, part of which was painted red. He sent it to each subordinate Chief, accompanied with a number of pieces of wood, equal to the number of days that it would take that Chief to present himself at the rendezvous. The War Chief alone had the power of appointing that day. When this club had arrived, each Chief caused a drum to be beat before the grand cabin where he resided. All the inhabitants immediately presented themselves. He informed them of the day and place where he

1. Hawkins', pp. 78-79.

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intended to kindle his fire. He repaired to that place before the appointed day, and rubbed two sticks together, which produced fire. He kindled it in the midst of a square, formed by posts, sufficiently extended to contain the number of warriors he desired to assemble. As soon as the day dawned, the Chief placed himself between the two posts which fronted the east, and held in his hand a package of small sticks. When a warrior entered the enclosure, which was open only on one side, he threw down a stick and continued until they were all gone, the number of sticks being equal to the number of warriors he required. Those who presented themselves afterwards could not be admitted, and they returned home to hunt, indicating the place where they could be found if there services were needed. Those who thus tardily presented themselves were badly received at home, and were reproached for the slight desire they had testified to defend their country.

The warriors who were in the enclosure remained there, and for three days took the medicine of war. Their wives brought them their arms, and all things requisite for the campaign, and deposited them three hundred yards in front of the square, together with a little bag of parched cornmeal, an ounce of which would make a pint of broth.2 It was only necessary to mix it with water, and in five minutes it became as thick as soup cooked by a fire. Two ounces would sustain a man twenty-four hours. It was indispensable, for, during a war expedition, the party could not kill game.

1. Called by the modern Creek traders "coal flour."

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The three days of medicine having expired, the Chief departed with his warriors to the rendezvous appointed by the Grand Chief. Independently of this medicine, which was taken by all, each subordinate Chief had his particular talisman, which he carefully carried about his person. It consisted of a small bag, in which were a few stones and some pieces of cloth which had been taken from the garments of the Grand Chief, in the return from some former war. If the subordinate Chief forgot his bag he was deprived of his rank, and remained a common soldier during the whole expedition. 1778: The Grand Chief presented himself at the rendezvous on the appointed day, and he was sure to find there the assembled warriors. He then placed himself at the head of the army, making all necessary arrangements, without being obliged to rendezvous on account of any one. Being certain that his discipline and orders would be punctually enforced, he marched with confidence against the enemy. When they were ready to march, each subordinate Chief was compelled to be provided with the liquor which they called the medicine of war; and the Creeks placed it in such a degree of confidence that it was difficult for a War Chief to collect his army if they were deprived of it. He would be exposed to great danger if he should be forced to do battle without having satisfied this necessity. If he should suffer defeat, which would certainly be the case, beacuse the warriors would have no confidence in themselves, but be overcome by their own superstitious fears, he would be responsible for all misfortunes.

There were two medicines, the great and the little, and it

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remained for the Chief to designate which of these should be used. The warrior, when he had partaken of the great medicine, believed himself invulnerable. The little medicine served, in his eyes, to diminish danger. Full of confidence in the statements of his Chief, the latter easily persuaded him that he gave him only the little medicine it was because the circumstances did not require the other. These medicines being purgative in their nature, the warrior found himself less endangered by the wounds which he might receive. The Creeks had still another means of diminishing the danger of their wounds, which consisted in fighting almost naked, for it is well known that the particles of cloth remaining in wounds render them more difficult to heal. 1778: They observed during war the most rigorous discipline, for they neither eat nor drink without an order from the Chief. They dispensed with drinking even while passing along the bank of a river, because circumstances had obliged their Chief to forbid it, under pain of depriving them of their medicine of war, or, rather, of the influence of their talisman. When an enemy compelled them to take up arms they never returned home without giving him battle, and at least taking a few scalps. These may be compared to the colors among civilized troops, for when a warrior had killed an enemy he took his scalp, which was an honorable trophy for him to return to his nation. They removed them from the head of an enemy with great skill and dexterity. They were not at all the same values, but were classed, and it was for the Chiefs, who were the judges of all achievements, to decide the value of each. It was in proportion to the number

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and value of these scalps that a Creek advanced in civil as well as militry rank. It was necessary, in order to occupy a station of any importance, to taken at least seven of them. If a young Creek, having been at war, returned without a single scalp, he contimued to bear the name of his mother and could not marry, but if he returned with a scalp, the principle men assembled at the grand cabin to give him a name, that he might abandon that of his mother. They judged of the value of the scalp by the dangers experienced in capturing it, and the greater these dangers, the more considerable were the title and advancement derived from it, by its owner.

In time of battle, the Great Chief commonly placed himself in the centre of the army, and sent reinforcements wherever danger appeared most pressing. When he perceived that his forces were repulsed and feared that they would yield entirely to the efforts of the enemy, he advanced in person, and combated hand to hand. A cry, repeated on all sides, informed the warriors of the danger to which a Chief was exposed. Immediately the corps de reserve came together, and advanced to the spot where the Grand Chief was, in order to force the enemy to abandon him. Should he be dead, they would all die rather than abandon his body to the enemy, without first securing his scalp. They attached such value to this relic, and so much disgrace to the loss of it, that when the danger was very great, and they were not able to prevent his body from falling into the hands of the enemy, the warrior who was nearest to the dead Chief, took his scalp and fled, at

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the same time raising a cry, known only among the savages. He then went to the spot which the deceased Chief had indicated, as the place of rendezvous, should his army be beaten. All the subordinate Chiefs, being made aware of his death by this cry, made dispositions to retreat; and this being effected, they proceeded to the election of his successor, before taking any other measures. The Creeks were very warlike, and were not rebuffed by defeat. On the morrow, after an unfortunate battle, they advanced with renewed intrepidity, to encounter their enemy anew.

When they advanced towards an enemy, they marched one after another, the Chief of the party being at the head. They arranged themselves in such a manner as to place the foot of every one in the track made by the first. The last one concealed even that track with grass. By this means they kept from the enemy any knowledge of their number. When they made a halt, for the purpose of encamping, they formed a circle, leaving a passage only large enough to admit a single man. They sat cross-legged, and each one had his gun by his side. The Chief faced the entrance of the circle, and no warrior could go out without his permission. At the time of sleeping he gave a signal and after that no person could stir. Rising was performed at the same signal. It was ordinarily the Grand Chief who marked out positions, and placed sentinels to watch for the security of the army. He always had a great number of runners, both before and behind, so that an army was rarely surprised. They, on the contrary, conducted wars against the Europeans entirely by

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sudden attacks, and they were very dangerous to those who were not aware of them.1

When the Creeks returned from war with captives, they marched into their town with shouts and the firing of guns. They stripped them naked and put on their feet bear-skins moccasins, with the hair exposed. The punishment was always left to the women, who examined their bodies for the their war-marks. Sometimes the young warriors who had none of these honorable inscriptions were released and used as slaves. But the warrior of middle age, even those of advanced years, suffered death by fire. The victim's arms were pinioned, and one end of a strong grape vine tied around his neck, while the other was fastened to the top of a war-pole, so as to allow him to track around a circle of fifteen yards. To secure his scalp against fire, tough clay was placed upon his head. The immense throng of spectators were now filled with delight, and eager to witness the inhuman spectacle. The suffering warrior was not dismayed, but, with a manly and insulting voice, sang the war-song. The women then made a furious onset with flaming torches, dripping with hot black pitch, and applied them to his back, and all parts of his body. Suffering excruciating pain, he rushed from the pole with the fury of a wild beast, kicking, biting and trampling his cruel assailants under foot. But fresh numbers came on, and after a long time, and when he was nearly burned to his vitals, they ceased and poured water upon him to relieve him -- only to prolong

1. Sejour dans la nation Crck, par Le Clerc Milfort, pp. 240, 252, 21&, 219.

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their sport. They renewed their tortures, when with champing teeth and sparkling eye-balls, he once more broke through the demon throng to the extent of his rope, and acted every part that the deepest desperation could prompt. Then he died. His head was scalped, his body quartered, and the limbs carried over the town in triumph.1

An enumeration of the towns found in the Creek nation by Col. Hawkins, in 1798, will conclude the notice of the manners and customs of these remarkable people, though, hereafter, they will often be mentioned, in reference to their commerce and wars with the Americans.


Tal-e-se, derived from Tal-o-fau, a town, and e-se, taken-- situated in the fork of the Eufaube, upon the left bank of the Tallapoosa.

Took-a-batcha, opposite Tallese.

Auttose, on the left side of Tallapoosa, a few miles below the latter.

Ho-ith-le-waule--from h-ith-le, war, and waule, divide--right bank of the Tallapoosa, five miles below Auttose.

Foosce-hat-che-fooso-wau, a bird, and hat-che, tail two miles below the latter, on the right bank.

Coo-loo-me was below and adjoining the latter.

E-cun-hut-ke-e-cun-nau, earth, and hut-ke, white--below Coo-loo-me, on the same side of the Tallapoosa.

Sou-van-no-gee, left bank of the river.

1. Adair, pp. 390-391.

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Mook-lau-sau, a mile below the latter, same side.

Coo-sau-dee, three miles below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, on the west bank of the Alabama.

E-cun-chate-e-cun-na, earth, chate, red--(now a part of the city of Montgomery). (1798)

Too-was-sau, three miles below, same side of the Alabama.

Pau-woe-te, two miles below the latter, on the same side.

Au-tau-gee, right side of the Alabama, near the mouth of the creek of the same name.

Tus-ke-gee--in the fork of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, on the east bank of the former--the old site of forts Toulouse and Jackson.

Hoochoice and Hookchoie-ooche, towns just above the latter.

O-che-a-po-fau-o-che-ub, hickory tree, and po-fau, in or among--east bank of the Coosa, on the plain just below the city of Wetumpka.

We-wo-cau-we-wau, water, wo-cau, barking or roaring--on a creek of that name, fifteen miles above the latter.

Puc-cun-tal-lau-has-see-epuc-cun-nau, may-apple, tal-lauhas-see, old town--in the fork of a creek of that name.

Coo-sau, on the left bank of that river, between the mouths of Eufaule and Nauche (creeks now called Talladega and Kiamulgee).

Au-be-cho-che, on Nauche creek, five miles from the Coosa.

Nau-che, on same creek, five miles above the latter.

Eu-fau-lau-hat-che, fifteen miles still higher up on the same creek.

Woc-co-coie-woc-co, blow horn, coie, a nest--on Tote-paufcau creek.

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Hill-au-bee, on col-luffa-creek, which joins Hillaubee creek on the right side, one mile below the town

Thla-noo-che-au-bau-lau-thlen-ne, mountain, ooche, little, au-bau-lau, over--on a branch of the Hillaubee.

Au-net-te-chap-co-au-net-te, swamp, chap-co, long--on a branch of the Hillaubee.

E-chuse-is-li-gau, where a young thing was found (a child was found here)--left side of Hillaubee creek.

Oak-tau-hau-zau-see-oak-tau-hau, sand, zau-see, great dea --on a creek of that name, a branch of the Hillaubee. (1778)

Oc-fus-kee-oc, in, fus-kee, a point, right bank of the Tallapoosa.

New-yau-cau, named after New York, when Gen. McGillivray returned from there in 1790, twenty miles above the latter, on the left side of the Tallapoosa.

Took-au-batche-tal-lau-has-se, four miles above the latter, right side of the river.

Im-mook-fau, a gorget made of a conch, on the creek of that name.

Too-to-cau-gee-too-to, corn-house, cau-gee, standing--twenty miles above New-yau-cau, right bank of the Tallapoosa.

Au-che-nau-ul-gau-auche-nau, cedar, ul-gau, all forty miles above New-yau-cau, on a creek. It is the farthest north of all the Creek settlements

E-pe-sau-gee, on a large creek of that name.

Sooc-he-ah-sooc-cau, hog, he-ah, her--right bank of the Tallapoosa, twelve miles above Oc-fus-kee. (1798 )

Eu-fau-lau, five miles above Oc-fus-kee, right bank of the river.

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Ki-a-li-jee, on the creek of that name, which joins the Tallapoosa on the right side.

Au-che-nau-hat-che-au-che, cedar, hat-che, creek.

Hat-che-chub-bau-hat-che, creek, chub-bau, middle or half way.

Sou-go-hat-chc sou-go, cymbal (musical instrument), hatche, creek--joins the Tallapoosa on the left side.

Thlot-lo-gul-gau-thlot-lo, fish, gul-gau, all--called by traders "Fish Ponds," on a creek, a branch of the Ul-hau-hat-che.

O-pil-thluc-co-o-pil-lo-wau, swamp, thlucco, big--twenty miles from the Coosa, a creek of that name.

Pin-e-hoo-te-pin-e-wau, turkey, choo-te, house--a branch of the E-pee-sau-gee.

Po-chuse-hat-che po-chu-so-wau, hatchet, hat-che, creek-- (in Coosa county).

Oc-fus-coo-che, little ocfuskee, four miles above New-yaucaw.


Chat-to-ho-che-chat-to, a stone, ho-che, marked or flowered. Such rocks are found in the bed of that river above Ho-ith-le-tegau. This is the origin and meaning of the name of that beautiful river.

Cow-e-tough, on the right bank of the Chat-to-ho-che, three miles below the falls.

O-cow-ocuh-hat-che, falls creek, on the right side of the river at the termination of the falls.

Hatche-canane, crooked creek.

Woc-coo-che, calf creek.

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O-sun-nup-pau, moss creek.

Hat-che-thlucco, big creek.

Cow-e-tuh Tal-hau-has-se--Cowetuh Tal-lo-fau, a town, hasse, old --three miles 1798 below Cowetuh, on the right bank of the Chattahoochie.

We-tum-cau--we-wau, water, tum-cau, rumbling--a main branch of the Uchee creek.
Cus-se-tuh, five miles below Cow-e-tuh, on the left bank of the Chattahoochie.

Au-put-tau-e, a village of Cussetuh, on Hat-che-thluc-co, twenty miles from the river.

U-chee, on the right bank of the Chat-to-ho-che, ten miles below Cowetuh Tallauhassee, and just below the mouth of the Uchee creek.

In-tuch-cul-gau--in-tuch-ke, dam across water--ul-gau, all; a Uchee village, on Opil-thlacco, twenty-eight miles from its junction with the Flint river.

Pad-gee-li-gau--pad-jee, a pigeon li-gau, sit, pigeon roost --on the right bank of Flint river (a Uchee village).

Toc-co-qul-egau, tadpole, on Kit-cho-foone creek (a Uchee village).

Oose-oo-chee, two miles below Uchee, on the right bank of the Chattahoochie.

Che-au-hau, below and adjoining the latter.

Au-muc-cul-le, pour upon me, on a creek of that name, which joins on the right side of the Flint.

O-tel-who-yau-nau, hurricane town, on the right bank of the Flint.

Hit-che-tee, on the left bank of the Chattahoochie, one mile below Che-au-hau.

Che-au-hoo-chee, Little Cheauhaw, one mile and a half west from Hit-che-tee.

Hit-che-too-che, Little Hitchetee, on both sides of the Flint. Tut-tal-lo-see, fowl, on a creek of that name.

Pala-chooc-le, on the right bank of the Chattahoochie.

O-co-nee, six miles below the latter, on the left bank of the Chattahoochie.

Sou-woo-ge-lo, six miles below Oconee, on the right bank.

Sou-woog-e-loo-che, four miles below Oconee, on the left bank of the Chattahoochie.

Eu-fau-la, fifteen miles below the latter, on the left bank of the same river. From this town settlements extended occasionally to the mouth of the Flint.1

1. Hawkins' "Sketch of the Creek Country in 1798-99," pp. 26-66. In addition to the published copy of this interesting pamphlet, sent to me by I. K. Teffit, Esq., of Savannah, the Hon. F. W. Pickens, of South Carolina, loaned me a manuscript copy of the same work, written by Col. Hawkins for his Grandfather, Gen. Andrew Pickens who was an intimate friend of Hawkins and was associated with him in several important Indian treaties, and whose name will often be mentioned hereafter.

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In 1718, the French West India Company sent, from Rochelle, eight hundred colonists to Louisiana. Among them was a Frenchman of intelligence and high standing, named Le Page Du Pratz, who was appointed superintendent of the public plantations. After a residence of sixteen years in this country, he returned to France, and published an interesting work upon Louisiana. 1721: Du Pratz was often at Mobile, and about the period of found living, in that vicinity, a few small tribes of Indians, whom we will now describe.

The Chatots were a very small tribe, who composed a town of forty huts, adjoining the bay and river of Mobile. They appear to have resided at or near the present city of Mobile. The Chatots were great friends of the French settlers, and most of them embraced the Catholic religion. North from Mobile, and upon the first bluffs on the same side of the river of that name, lived the Thomez, who were not more numerous than the Chatots, and who, also had been taught to worship the true God. Opposite to them, upon the Tensas River, lived a tribe of Tensas whose settlement consisted of one hundred huts. They were a branch of the

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Natchez, and like them, kept a perpetual fire burning in their temple.
Further north, and near the confluence of the Tombigby and Alabama, and above there, the Mobilians still existed. It was from these people, a remnant of whom survived the invasion of De Soto, that the city, river and bay derive their names.1 They, also, kept a fire in their temple, which was never suffered for a moment to expire. Indeed, they had some pre-eminence in this particular--for, formerly, the natives obtained this holy light from their temples.2 These small tribes were all living in peace with each other, upon the discovery of their country by the French, and continued so. 1721: Gradually, however, they became merged in the larger nations of the Choctaws and Chickasaws. They were all, sometimes, called the Mobile Indians, by the early French settlers.

The Natchez once inhabited the southwestern portion of the Mexican empire, but on account of the wars with which they were continually harassed by neighboring Indians, they began to wander northeast. Finally they settled upon the banks of the Mississippi, chiefly on the bluff where now stands the beautiful city which bears their name.3 They retained, until they were broken up by the French, many of the religious rites and customs of the Mexicans. Their form of government

1. Du Pratz's Louisiana, pp. 308-309.
2. Charlevoix's "Voyage to North America," vol. 2, p. 273.
3. Du Pratz's Louisiana

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was distinguished from that of other tribes in Alabama and Mississippi, by its ultra despotism, and by the grandeur and haughtiness of its Chiefs. The Grand Chief of the Natchez bore the name of the Sun. Every morning, as soon as that bright luminary appeared, he stood at the door his cabin, turned his face toward the east, and bowed three times, at the same time prostrating himself on the ground. A pipe, which was never used but upon this occasion was then handed him, from which he puffed smoke, first toward the Sun, and then toward the other three quarters of the world. He pretended that he derived his origin from the Sun, acknowledged no other master, and held absolute power over the lives and goods of his subjects. When he or his nearest female relation died, his body-guard was obliged to follow to the land of the spirits. The death of a Chief sometimes resulted in that of an hundred persons, who considered it a great honor to be sacrificed upon his death. Indeed few Natchez of note died without being attended to the other world by some of their relatives, friends or servants. So eager were persons to sacrifice themselves in this way, that sometimes it was ten years before their turn came, and those who obtained the favor, spun the cord with which they were to be strangled.1

The cabins of the Natchez were in the shape of pavilions, low, without windows, and covered with corn-stalls, leaves

1. Charlevoix's "Voyage to North America," pp. 26O-261.

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and cane matting. That of the Great Chief, which stood upon an artificial mound, and fronted a large square, was handsomely roughcast with clay, both inside and out. The temple was at the side of his cabin, facing the east, and at the extremity of the square. It was in an oblong form, forty feet in length and twenty in breadth. Within it were the bones of the deceased Chiefs, contained in boxes and baskets. Three logs of wood joined at the ends and placed in a triangle, occupied the middle part of the floor, and burned slowly away, night and day. Keepers attended and constantly removed them.1
1721: The Great Sun informed Du Pratz, who had, in 1720, taken up his abode among them, that their nation was once very formidable, extending over vast regions and governed by numerous Suns and nobility; that one of the keepers of the temple once left it on some business, and while he was absent his associate keepers fell asleep; that the fire went out, and that, in the terror and dismay into which they were thrown, they substituted profane fire, with the hope that their shameful neglect would escape unnoticed. But a dreadful calamity was the consequence of this negligence. A horrible malady raged for years, during which many of the Suns, and an infinite number of people, died.2 This fire was kept constantly burning in honor of the Sun, which they seemed to worship and adore above everything else. In the spring of 1700 Iberville,

1. Charlevoix's Voyage to North America, p. 256.
2. Du Pratz' Louisiana, p. 333.

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in company with a few of his colonial people, visited the Natchez. While there, one of the temples was consumed by lightning. The Priests implored the women to cast their children into the flames to appease the anger of their divinity. Before the French, by prayers and entreaties, could arrest this horrible proceeding, some of the innocent babes were already roasting in the flames.1 At this time the Natchez, reduced by war and the death of the nobility, upon whose decease the existence of many others terminated, did not exceed a population of twelve hundred.

Fort Rosalie, erected by the French in 1716, upon the bluff which sustains the city of Natchez, had a garrison of soldiers and numerous citizens. On the morning of the 28th November, 1729, the Great Sun and his warriors suddenly fell upon them, and before noon the whole male population were in the sleep of death. The women, children and slaves were reserved as prisoners of war. The consternation was great throughout the colony when this horrible massacre became known. Jan 1733: The French and Choctaws united, and drove the Natchez upon the lower Washita, just below the mouth of the Little River. here they erected mounds and embankments for defense, which covered an area of four hundred acres. In the meantime, having obtained assistance from France, the colonists marched against this stronghold, and, in January, 1733, made a successful attack. They captured

1. Gayarre's History of Louisiana, vol. 1, p. 73.

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the Great Sun, several of the War Chiefs and four hundred and twenty-seven of the tribe, who were sent from New Orleans to St. Domingo as slaves. The remainder of the tribe made their escape. Some of them sought asylum among the Chickasaws and Creeks, while others scattered in the far West.1

1. The Natchez have been mentioned at length by a number of French authors, who were eye witnesses of their bloody rites and ceremonies. See Bossu's Travels in Louisiana, vol. 1, pp. 32-67. Dumont's Louisiana, vol. 1, pp. 118 132. Charlevoix's Voyage to North America, vol. 2, pp. 252-274. Du Pratz's Louisiana, pp. 79-95-291-316. Les Natchez par M. Le Vicompte de Chateaubriand---of this work 400 pages are taken up with the Natchez. Jesuits in America--a recent publication. Many other works in my possession allude briefly to that tribe.

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Period unknown: The Choctaws and Chickasaws descended from a people called the Chickemicaws, who were among the first inhabitants of the Mexican empire. At an ancient period they began to wander towards the east, in company with the Choccomaws. After a time they reached the Mississippi river and crossed it, arriving in this country with an aggregate force of ten thousand warriors. The Choccomaws established themselves upon the headwaters of the Yazoo, the Chickasaws upon the northwestern sources of the Tombigeby, and the Choctaws upon the territory that now embraced in southern Mississippi and southwestern Alabama. They thus gradually became three distinct tribes; but the Chickasaws and Choccomaws were generally known by the name of the former, while the Choctaws spoke the same language, with the exception of a difference produced by the intonation of the voice.1

Upon the first settlement of Mobile by the French, they found that the Choctaws and the remnant of the Mobilians employed the same language. Indeed, we have seen that the

1. Adair's American Indians, pp. 5, 66, 352.

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Great Mobilian Chief, in 1540, had a name which was derived from two well-known Choctaw words--Tusca, warrior, and lusa, black. The Indians who fought De Soto at Cabusto, upon the Warrior, and who extended their lines six miles up and down its western banks to oppose his crossing, were the Pafallayas. They are believed to have been no other people than the Choctaws. There is a word in the language of the latter called fallaya, long.1

It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that the Chickasaws were living in the upper part of Mississippi when De Soto invaded it, and that they fought him with great courage. Now, as to the Choctaws, according to tradition, came with them into this country, and were a portion of the same family; it is reasonable to suppose that the Pafallayas, the brave allies of Tuscaloosa, were the Choctaws-- especially when taken in connection with the collateral evidence in our possession. Period unknown: The tradition of the migration of the Chickasaws and Choctaws from the Mexican empire has been preserved by the former alone: while the latter, with few exceptions, have lost it. On the road leading from St. Stephens, in Alabama, to the city of Jackson, Mississippi, was, some years ago, a large mound, embracing at the base about two acres, and rising about forty feet high in a conical form, and enclosed by a ditch encompassing twenty acres. On the top of it was a deep hole, ten feet in circumstances, out of which the ignorant portion of the Choctaws believed that their ancestors once

1. Transactions of the American Antiquarian Society, vol. 2, p. 105. (A paper read before the society by Albert Gallatin.)

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sprung as thick as bees, peopling the whole of that part of the country. They had great regard for this artificial elevation, and called it Nannawyah, the signification of which is nanna, hill, and wyah, mother. When hunting near this mound they were accustomed to throw into the hole the leg of a deer, thus feeding their mother. One day, in 1810, Mr. Geo. S. Gaines, the United States Choctaw Factor in going to the Agency, rode up on this mound, which lay near the road. Presently a good many warriors passed by, and, after he had satisfied his curiosity, he rode on and over took them. The Chief, who was no less a personage than the celebrated Pushmatahaw, with a smile full of meaning and mischief, said: "Well, Mr. 'Gainis,' I suppose you have been to pay our mother a visit; and what did she say?" "Your mother," said the Factor, "observed that her children were poor, had become too numerous to inhabit the country they were then occupying, and desired very much that they would sell their lands to the United States, and move west of the Mississippi, to better and more extensive hunting grounds."1 The old Chief laughed immoderately, vociferating, "Holauba! holauba! feenah. (It's a lie, it's a lie, it's a real lie.) Our good mother never could have made such remarks." On the journey he conversed much with Mr. Gaines upon the Indian traditions,

1. It was the policy of all the Indian Agents to encourage the emigration of the Indians further west and they never let an opportunity slip of alluding to it.

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and said that the true account was that his ancestors came from the west.1

In 1771, the population of the Choctaw nation was considerable. Two thousand three hundred warriors were upon the superintendent's books at Mobile, while two thousand more were scattered over the country, engaged in hunting. At that period Capt. Roman passed through seventy of their towns.2 The eastern district of the nation was known as Oy-pat-oo-coo-la, or the small nation. The western was called Oo-coo-la, Falaya. Oo-coola, Hanete and Chickasaha.

These people were more slender in their forms than other tribes. The men were raw-boned and astonishingly active. None could excel them in the ball play, or run as fast upon level ground.3 Both sexes were well made, and the features of the females were lively and agreeable. They had the habit of inscribing their faces and bodies with a blue indelible ink, which appears to have been the practice of all the tribes to which it has been our province to allude. The Choctaws formed the heads of the infants into different shapes by compression, but it was chiefly applied to the forehead, and hence they were called by traders "flat heads." The infant was placed in a cradle, with his feet elevated twelve inches above a horizontal position, while his head was bent back and rested in a hole made for the purpose. A small bag of sand was

1. Conversations with Mr. George S. Gaines. See, also, Barnard Roman's Florida, pp. 71-90.
2. Roman, pp. 70-90.
3. Adair.

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fixed upon the forehead, and as the little fellow could not move, the shape required was soon attained, for at that age the skull is capable of receiving any impression.1

The dress of the male Choctaw was similar to that of the Creeks, and was influenced in its style by his wealth or poverty. But they all wore the buck-she-ah-ma, flap, made of woolen cloth or buckskin. The female had usually only a petticoat reaching from the waist to the knees, while some of the richer classes wore a covering also upon the neck and shoulder, and little bells fastened to a buckskin garter, which clasped the leg just below the knee. They wore ornaments in their ears, noses and around the fingers, like the Creeks. 1759: They were not cleanly in their persons like the Creeks, who were eternally engaged in bathing; but, strange to relate of Indians, very few of the Choctaws could swim, a fact recorded by all early travellers among them. As they seldom bathed, the smoke of their lightwood fires made their bodies assume a soot color.2
1780: Peculiarly fond of the taste of horse flesh, they preferred it to beef, even if the animal had died a natural death; and it was not uncommon for them to devour snakes when hard pressed for food.3 Yet, notwithstanding, they were, upon the whole, very agreeable Indians, being invariably cheerful, witty and cunning. The men, too, unlike the proud Chiefs of other nations, helped the women to work, and did not consider it a degradation to hire themselves for that purpose

1. Adair, pp. 8-9.
2. Bossu's Travels, p. 298.
3. Milfort, p. 290; Adair, p. 133.

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to their constant friends, the French, and afterwards to the English.1

No Indians, moreover, excelled them in hospitality, which they exhibited particularly in their hunting camps, where all travelers and visitors were received and entertained with a hearty welcome. In regard to their habits in the chase, it may here be observed, that they excelled in killing bears, wildcats and panthers, pursuing them through the immense cane swamps with which their country abounded; but that the Creeks and Chickasaws were superior to them in overcoming the fleet deer. While hunting, the liver of the game was divided into as many pieces as there were campfires, and was carried around by a boy, who threw a piece into each fire, intended, it would seem, as a kind of sacrifice.

The Choctaws were superior orators. They spoke with good sense, and used the most beautiful metaphors. They had the power of changing the same words into different significations, and even their common speech was full of these changes. Their orations were concise, strong and full of fire.2 Excessive debauchery, and a constant practice of begging, constituted their most glaring faults; and it was amusing to witness the many ingenious devices and shifts to which they resorted to obtain presents.

Timid in war against an enemy abroad, they fought like desperate veterans when attacked at home. On account of their repugnance to invading the country of an enemy, in which they were unlike the Creeks and Chickasaws, they

1. Roman, pp. 71-90.
2. Adair, p. 11.

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were often taunted by these latter nations with cowardice. Frequently, exasperated by these aspersions, they would boldly challenge the calumniators to mortal combat upon an open field. But the latter, feigning to believe that true Indian courage consisted in slyness and stratagem, rarely accepted the banter. However, in 1765, an opportunity offered in all the streets of Mobile, where Hoopa, at the head of forty Choctaws, fell upon three hundred Creeks, and routed and drove them across the river, into the marsh. Hooma alone killed fifteen of them, and was then dispatched himself, by a retreating Creek. They were pursued no further, because the Choctaws could not swim.

They did not torture a prisoner, in a protracted manner, like other tribes. He was brought home, dispatched with a bullet or hatchet, and cut up, and the parts burned. The scalp was suspended from the hothouse, around which the women danced until they were tired. They were more to be relied upon as allies than most other American Indians. The Creeks were their greatest enemies. In August 1765, a war began between them, and raged severely for six years.1 Artful in deceiving an enemy, they attached the paws or trotters of panthers, bears and buffaloes to their own feet and hands, and wound about the woods, imitating the circlings of those animals. Sometimes a large bush was carried by the front warrior, concealing himself and those behind him, while the one in the extreme rear defaced all the tracks with grass. Most excellent

1. Roman, pp. 70-91.

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trackers themselves, they well understood how to deceive the enemy, which they, also, effected by astonishing powers in imitating every fowl and quadruped. Their leader could never directly assume the command, but had, rather, to conduct his operations by persuasion.1

Gambling was a common vice, and even boys engaged in it by shooting at marks for a wager. In addition to the great ball play, which was conducted like that of the Creeks, already described, they had an exciting game called CHUNKE, or, by some of the traders, "running hard labor." An alley was made, two hundred feet long, with a hard clay surface, which was kept swept clean. Two men entered upon it to play. They stood six yards from the upper end, each with a pole twelve feet long, smooth, and tapering at the end, each with the points flat. One of them took a stone in the shape of a grindstone, which was two spans round, and two inches thick on the edges. He gave it a powerful hurl down the alley, when both set off after it, and running a few yards, the one who did not roll, cast his pole, which anointed with bear's oil, with a true aim at the stone in its flight. The other player, to defeat his object, immediately darted his pole, aiming to hit the pole of his antagonist. If the first one hit the stone he counted one, and if the other, by the dexterity of his cast, hit his pole and knocked it from its proper direction, he also counted one. If both of the players missed, the throw was renewed. Eleven was the game, and the winner had the privilege of casting the stone.

1. Adair, p. 309--Bossu, p. 297.

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In this manner the greater part of the day was passed, at half speed; the players and bystanders staking their ornaments, wearing apparel, skins, pipes and arms upon the result. Sometimes, after a fellow had lost all, he went home, borrowed a gun, and shot himself. The women, also, had a game with sticks and balls, something like the game of battledoor.1

The funeral ceremonies of the Choctaws were singular, and, indeed, horrible, but like those of nearly all the aborigines at the time of the invasion of De Soto. As soon as the breath departed from the body of a Choctaw, a high scaffold was erected, thirty-six feet from the dwelling where the deceased died. It consisted of four forks set in the ground, across which poles were laid, and then a floor made of boards or cypress bark. It was stockaded with poles, to prevent the admission of beasts of prey. The posts of the scaffold were painted with a mixture of vermillion and bear's oil, if the deceased was an Indian of note. The body, enveloped in a large bearskin, was hauled up on the scaffold by ropes or vines, and laid out at length. The relations assembled, and wept and howled with mournful voices, asking strange questions of the corpse, according to the sex to which it belonged.
"Why did you leave us?"
"Did your wife not serve you well?"
"Were you not contented with your children?"
"Did you not have corn enough? "
"Did not your land produce? "
"Were you afraid of your enemies?"

To increase the solemnity and importance of a noted Indian, persons were

1. Roman, pp. 70-91. Adair, p. 402. Bossu, p. 306.

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hired to cry, the males having their heads hung with black moss, and the females suffering their hair to flow loosely to the winds. These women came at all hours, for several weeks, to mourn around the scaffold; and, on account of the horrid stench, frequently fainted and had to be borne away. When the body had thus lain for three or four months, the Bone-Picker made his appearance. In 1772 there were five of these hideous undertakers in the Choctaw nation, who traveled about in search of scaffolds and the horrible work which will be described. The Bone-Picker apprised the relatives of the deceased that the time had arrived when dissection should take place. Upon the day which he had appointed, the relatives, friends, and others hired to assist in the mourning, surrounded the scaffold. The Bone-Picker mounted upon it, with horrid grimaces and groans, took off the skin, and commenced his disgusting work. He had very long and hard nails growing on the thumb, fore and middle fingers of each hand. He tore off the flesh with his nails, and tied it up in a bundle. He cleaned the bones, and also tied up the scrapings. Leaving the latter on a scaffold, he descended with the bones upon his head. All this time the assembly moaned and howled most artfully. They then painted the head with vermilion, which, together with the bones was placed in a nice box with a loose lid. If the bones were those of a Chief, the coffin also was painted red. Next, fire was applied to the scaffold, around which the assembly danced and frightfully whooped until it was consumed by the flames. Then a long procession was formed and the bones were carried, amid weeping and

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moaning to the bone-house, of which every town of importance had several. Theses houses were made by four pitch pine posts being placed in the ground, upon the top of the scaffold floor. On this a steep roof was erected, like that of some modern houses, with the gables left open. There the box was deposited with other boxes containing bones. In the meantime a great feast had been prepared, and sometimes three horses were cooked up, if the deceased was wealthy. But the infernal Bone-Picker still was master of ceremonies, and having only wiped his filthy, bloody hands with grass, served out the food to the whole assembly.1

When the bone-house was full of chests, a general interment took place. The people assembled, bore off the chests in procession to a plain, with weeping, howling and ejaculations of Allelujah! Allelujah! The chests containing the bones were arranged upon the ground in order, forming a pyramid. Then they covered all with earth, which raised a conical mound. Then returning home, the day was concluded with a feast.2

The Choctaws entertained a great veneration for their medicine men or doctors, who practiced upon them constant frauds. Their fees were exorbitant, and required to be satisfied in advance. When a doctor had attended a patient a long time, and the latter had nothing more to give as payment, he usually assembled the relations in private, informed

1. Adair, pp. 138-188. Roman, pp. 71-90. Milfort, pp. 293-298.
2. Bartram, pp. 514-515.

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them that he had done all in his power, and had exhausted his skill in endeavoring to restore their friend; that he would surely die, and it was best to terminate his sufferings. Reposing the blindest confidence in this inhuman declaration, two of them then jumped upon the poor fellow and strangled him. In 1782, one of these doctors thus began to consult with the relations upon the case of a poor fellow. While they were out of the house, he suspected their intentions, and making an unnatural effort, crawled to the woods which fortunately were near the house. It was night, and he succeeded in getting beyond their reach. The doctor persuaded them that he was certainly dead, and they erected a scaffold as though he were upon it and wept around it. Fortunately, laying his hands upon an opossum, the poor fellow eat of it from time to time, and gained strength, now that he had escaped the clutches of the doctor, who had nearly smoked and bled him into another world. At length, after much suffering, compassion of Colonel McGillivray, who had him restored to health by proper attention. Again going back to his nation, at the expiration of three months, he arrived at the house from which he had escaped, at the very time that the people were celebrating his funeral by burning the scaffold and dancing around it. His sudden appearance filled them with horror and dismay. Some fled to the woods, others fell upon the ground. Alarmed himself, he retreated to the house of a neighbor, who instantly fell on his face, saying, "Why have you left the land of spirits if you were happy

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There! Why do you return among us? Is it to assist in the last feast which your family and your friends make for you? Go, return to the land of the dead for fear of renewing the sorrow which they have felt at your loss!"

Shunned by all his people, the poor Choctaw went back to the Creek nation, married a Tuskegee woman, and lived in that town the balance of his life. Before his door lay the four French cannon of old Fort Toulouse. When the Choctaws had become satisfied that he did not die, and was really alive, they killed the doctor who had deceived them. They often entreated the fellow to return home, but he preferred to remain among a people who would not strangle him when he was sick.1

The Choctaws had no other religion than that which attached to their funeral rites. The French, to whom they were warmly attached, sought in vain to convert them to Christianity. At Chickasaha, they erected a chapel and gave the control of it to a Jesuit missionary. When the English took possession of this country, the Chocktaws of that place would, for the amusement of their new friends, enter the old chapel, and go through the Catholic ceremonies, mimicking the priest with surprising powers. In 1771, Capt. Roman saw the lightwood cross still standing, but the chapel had been destroyed.

The Chickasaws, although at the period of a small nation, were once numerous, and their language was spoken by many tribes in the Western States. They were the fiercest,

1. Milfort, pp. 298-304.

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most insolent, haughty and cruel people among the Southern Indians. They had proved their bravery and intrepidity in constant wars. In 1541, they attacked the camp of De Soto in a most furious midnight assault, threw his army into dismay, killed some of his soldiers, destroyed all his baggage, and burnt up the town in which he was quartered. In 1736, they whipped the French under Bienville, who had invaded their country, and forced them to retreat to Mobile. In 1753, MM. Bevist and Regio encountered defeat at their hands. They continually attacked the boats of the French voyagers upon the Mississippi and Tennessee. They were constantly at war with the Kickapoos and other tribes upon the Ohio, but were defeated in most of these engagements. But, with the English as their allies, they were eminently successful against the Choctaws and Creeks, with whom they were often at variance.

The Chickasaws were great robbers, and, like the Creeks, often invaded a country, killing the inhabitants and carrying off slaves and plunder. The men considered the cultivation of the earth beneath them; and, when not engaged in hunting or warfare, slept away their time or played upon flutes, while their women were at work. They were athletic, well formed and graceful. The women were cleanly, industrious, and generally good-looking.

In 1771, they lived in the centre of a large and gently rolling prairie, three miles square. They obtained their water from holes, which dried up in summer. In this prairie was an assemblage of houses one mile and a half long, very narrow,

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and irregular, which was divided into seven towns, as follows:
Mellattau--hat and feather.
Chatelau--copper town.
Chuckafalaya--long town.
Hickihaw--stand still.
Chucalissa--great town.
Tuckahaw--a certain weed.
Ash-wick-boo-ma--red grass.

The last was once well fortified with palisades, and there they defeated D'Artaguette. The nearest running water was two miles distant; the next was four miles off, to which point canoes could ascend from the Tombigby in high tide. The ford, which often proved difficult of crossing, was called Nahoola Inalchubba--the white man's hard labor. Horses and cattle increased rapidly in this country. The breed of the former descended from importations from Arabia to Spain, from Spain to Mexico, and from thence to the Chickasaw nation. Here they ran wild in immense droves, galloping over the beautiful prairies, the sun glittering upon their various colors. They were owned by the Indians and traders.

The Chickasaws were very imperious in their carriage towards females, and extremely jealous of their wives. Like the Creeks, they punished adultery by beating with poles until the sufferer was senseless, and then concluded by cropping the ears, and, for the second offence, the nose or a piece of the upper lip. Notwithstanding they resided so far from large streams, they were all excellent swimmers, and their children

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were taught that art in clay holes and pools, which remained filled with water unless the summer was remarkably dry.

Of all the Indians in America, they were the most expert in tracking. They would follow their flying enemy on a long gallop over any kind of ground without mistaking, where perhaps only a blade of grass bent down told the footprint. Again, when they were leisurely hunting over the woods, and came upon an indistinct trail recently made by Indians, they knew at once of what nation they were by the footprints, the hatchet chops upon the trees, their camp-fires, and other distinguishing marks. They were also esteemed to be admirable hunters, and their extensive plains and unbroken forests afforded them the widest field for the display of their skill. In 1771 their grounds extended from Middle Mississippi to the mouth of the Ohio, and some distance into the territory of the present State of Tennessee. But this extreme northern ground they visited with caution, and only in the winter, when their northern enemies were close at home. They were often surprised on the sources of the Yazoo, but below there, and as far east as the branches of the Tombigby to Oaktibbehaw they hunted undisturbed. This last point they regarded as the boundary between them and the Choctaws. With the latter they had no jealousies in regard to the chase, and they sported upon each others' grounds when not at war. Although the country of the Chickasaws abounded with that valuable animal, the beaver, they left them for the traders to capture, saying, "Anybody can kill a beaver." They pursued the more noble and difficult

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sport of overcoming the fleet deer, and the equally swift and more formidable elk.
The summer habitations of the Chickasaws were cabins of an oblong shape, near which were corn-houses. In the yard stood also a winter house of a circular form. Having no chimneys, the smoke found its way out of this "hot-house" wherever it could. These they entered and slept all night, stifled with smoke, and, no matter how cold the morning, they came forth naked and sweating as soon as the day dawned. These houses were used by the sick also, who, remaining in them until perspiration ensued, jumped suddenly into holes of cold water.

They dried and pounded their corn before it came to maturity, which they called Boota-capassa--coal flour. A small quantity of this thrown into water swelled immediately, and made a fine beverage. They used hickory nut and bear's oil, and the traders learned them to make the hams of the bear into bacon. In 1771 the whole number of gunmen in the Chickasaw nation only amounted to about two hundred and fifty. It is astonishing what a handful of warriors had so long kept neighboring nations of great strength from destroying them. They buried their dead the moment vitality ceased, in the very spot where the bed stood upon which the deceased lay, and the nearest relatives mourned over it with woeful lamentations. This mourning continued for twelve moons, the women practicing it openly and vociferously, and the men silently.1

1. Barnard Roman's Florida, pp. 59-71.

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The modern reader may form some idea of the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, as they once existed, by briefly tracing the route of Captain Roman through their country. He began his tour at Mobile, encamped at Spring Hill, passed the head waters of Dog river, and again encamped at Bouge Hooma--red creek--the boundary between the English and the Choctaws. Pursuing his journey, the camp was pitched at Hoopa Ulla--noisy owl--where he saw the Creek painting described upon page 100. Then passing Okee Ulla--noisy water-- and the towns of Coosa, Haanka Ulla--howling goose--he crossed a branch of the Sookhan-Hatcha River. He reached a deserted town called Etuck Chukke--blue wood--passed through Abecka, an inhabited town, and there crossed another branch of the Sookhan-Hatcha, and arrived at Ebeetap Oocoola, where the Choctaws had erected a large stockade fort. A southwestern direction was now assumed, and Captain Roman passed through the following towns: Chooka, Hoola, Oka Hoola, Hoola Taffa, Ebeetap Ocoola Cho, Oka Attakkala, and crossing Bouge Fooka and Bouge Chitto, which runs into Bouge Aithe Tanne, arrived at the house of Benjamin James, at Chickasaha.

He set out from this place for the Chickasaw nation, and crossed only two streams of importance--Nashooba and Oktibbehaw. Without accident he arrived at the Chickasaw towns [already] enumerated, and lying within a few miles of Pontitoc. He proceeded east-by-south five miles and crossed Nahoola-Inal-chubba--town creek--and then assumed a southeast direction, and arrived at the Twenty-mile creek, a

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large branch of the Tombigby. At the mouth of Nahoola-Inalchubba, Captain Roman found a large canoe, in which he and his companions embarked and proceeded down the Tombigby. One mile below, on the west bank, they passed a bluff on which the French formerly had a fortified trading post. Captain Roman next saw the mouth of the Oktibbehaw, the dividing line between the two nations, and passed the mouth of the Nasheba, on the east. Floating with rapidity down the river, he next came to the Noxshubby, on the west side, and then to the mouth a creek called Etomba-Igaby--box maker's creek--where the French had a fort.1 From this creek, the name of which has been corrupted by the French to "Tombeckbe," and by the Americans to "Tombigby," the river takes its name. Upon it lived an Indian who made chests to hold the bones of the Choctaws.

Roman came to the confluence of the Tombigby and Warrior, and, a little below, passed some steep chalky bluffs, which the traders called the Chickasaw Gallery, because from this point they were accustomed to shoot at the French boats. On the top of this bluff was a vast plain, with some remains of huts standing upon it.2 Three miles below the mouth of the Soukan-Hatcha, Roman came upon the old towns of the Coosawdas and Oahchois, commencing at Sactaloosa--black bluff--and extending from thence down the river for some distance.3

1. Now Jones' Bluff.
2. Now the site of Demopolis
3. Some of the Alabamas living at the town of that name below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, and some Creeks of the town of Oakchoy, to be nearer the French, who were their friends, moved upon the main Tombigby, and the deserted towns which Romans mentions were those in which they had formerly lived

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Next, passing a high bluff called Nanna Fallaya, he reached Batcha Chooka, a bluff on the east side, where he encountered a desperate band of thieves, belonging to the town of Okaloosa, of the Choctaws. He then came to some bluffs called Nanna Chahaws, where a gray fiat rock, called Teeakhaily Ekutapa, rises out of the water. Jan. 20 1772: Here the people of Chickasaha once had a settlement. Lower down, the party saw a bluff upon the east side, called Yagna Hoolah--beloved ground--and encamped at the mouth of Sintabouge--snake creek--three miles below which was the English line separating them from the Choctaws. Having entered the British settlements, Captain Roman continued his voyage until he reached Mobile.1

1. Roman's Florida

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It has been seen that De Soto passed over a portion of the country of these Indians in the territory which embraces Northern Georgia. The name Cherokee is derived from Chera, fire; and the Prophets of this nation were called Cherataghe, men of divine fire.

The first that we hear of the Cherokees, after the Spanish invasion, is their connection with the early British settlers of Virginia. A powerful and extensive nation, they even had settlements upon the Appomattox River, and were allied by blood with the Powhattan tribe. The Virginians drove them from that place, and they retreated to the head of the Holston River. Here, making temporary settlements, the Northern Indians compelled them to retire to the Little Tennessee River, where they established themselves permanently. About the same time, a large branch of the Cherokees came from the territory of South Carolina, near Charleston, and formed towns upon the main Tennessee, extending as far as the Muscle Shoals. They found all that region unoccupied, except upon the Cumberland, where resided a roving band of Shawnees. But the whole country bore evidence of once having sustained a large Indian population.

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Such is the origin of the first Cherokee settlements upon the main Tennessee, but the great body of the nation appears to have occupied Northern Georgia and Northwestern Carolina as far back as the earliest discoveries can trace them.

But very little was known of these natives until the English formed colonies in the two Carolinas. They are first mentioned when some of their Chiefs complained that the Savannas and Congerees attacked their extreme eastern settlements, captured their people and sold them as slaves in the town of Charleston. Two years afterwards, Governor Archdale, of Carolina, arrested this practice, which induced the Cherokees to become friends of the English. They joined the latter in a war against the Tuscaroras. But three years afterwards they became allies of the Northern Indians and once more fought their European friends. At length Governor Nicholson concluded a peace with them, which was confirmed by Alexander Cummings, the British General Superintendent of Indian Affairs. The Cherokees assisted the English in the capture of Fort Duquesne. When returning home, however, they committed some depredations upon the settlers of Virginia, which were resented. This, together with the influence of French emissaries, had the effect again to array them against the people of Georgia and the Carolinas. Various expeditions marched against them, and their country was finally invaded with success, by Colonel Grant. Having sued for peace, articles of amity and alliance were signed at Long Island, upon the Holston. According to the traditions preserved by Judge Haywood, who wrote the History of

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Tennessee, the Cherokees originally came from the territory now embraced by the Eastern States of the Union, in which they differ from the other tribes of whom it has been our province to speak, all of whom came from the west.

When they began to be visited by the Carolina traders, their nation was powerful and warlike, and was divided into two parts. The Upper Cherokees lived upon the rivers Tellico, Great and Little Tennessee, the Holston and French Broad. The Lower Cherokees inhabited the country watered by the sources of the Oconee, the Ockmulgee and the Savannah. The great Unaka or Smoky Mountain lay between and divided the two sections.1 Their whole country was the most beautiful and romantic in the known world. Their springs of delicious water gushed out of every hill and mountainside. Their lovely rivers meandered, now smoothly and gently, through the most fertile valleys, and then, with the precipitancy and fleetness of the winds, rushed over cataracts and through mountain gaps The forests were full of game, the rivers abounded with fish, the vales teemed with their various productions, and the mountains with fruit, while the pure atmosphere consummated the happiness of the blest Cherokees.

About the period of 1700, the Cherokee nation consisted of sixty-four towns. But the inhabitants of those situated in the upper district, were continually engaged in wars with the

1. Haywood's Aboriginal History of Tennessee, pp. 233-234. Transactions of the American Antiquarian Society, vol. 2, pp. 89-90. Adair's American Indians.

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Northern Indians, while those below were harassed by the Creeks. Then again, the Cherokees had to encounter, first, the French, and then the English. From these causes, (added to which was the terrible scourge of the small pox, introduced into Charleston by a slave ship, and thence carried into their country,) the population had greatly decreased--so that, in 1740, the number of warriors were estimated at only five thousand. That year fully one thousand of these were destroyed by that disease.1

The Cherokees were so similar to the Creeks in their form, color, general habits and pursuits, that the reader is requested to refresh his recollection in relation to our description of the latter, and will not be required, tediously, to retrace the same ground. Their ball plays, green corn dances, constant habit of indulging in the purifying black drink, their manner of conducting wars and of punishing prisoners, their council-houses, their common apparel, and also their appearance during war, were all precisely like those of the Creeks. 1735: And, in addition, they played Chunke, like the Choctaws. However, a careful examination of several authorities, has unfolded a few peculiarities, which will now be introduced.

Unlike other Indian nations, who once trod our soil, the Cherokees had no laws against adultery. Both sexes were unrestrained in this particular, and marriage was usually of short duration.

On account of the pure air which they breathed, the exercise

1. Historical Collections of Georgia, vol. 2, p. 72.

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of the chase, the abundance of natural productions which the country afforded, and the delicious water which was always near, the Cherokees lived to an age much more advanced than the other tribes which have been noticed in this chapter.1

They observed some singular rules in relation to the burial of the dead. When a person was past recovery, (to prevent pollution,) they dug a grave, prepared a tomb, anointed the hair of the patient and painted his face; and when death ensued, internment was immediately performed. After the third day, the attendants at the funeral appeared at the council-house and engaged in their ordinary pursuits, but the relatives lived in retirement and moaned for some time.2 Such ceremonies practiced upon the poor fellow in his last moments, and while in his senses, was certainly a cooler and more cruel method than that of the Choctaws, who, as we have seen, suddenly jumped down upon the patient and strangled him to death, after the doctor had pronounced his recovery impossible.

It was formerly the habit of the Cherokees to shoot all the stock belonging to the deceased, and they continued to bury, with the dead, their guns, bows and household utensils. If one died upon a journey, hunt, or war expedition, his companions erected a stage, upon which was a notched log pen, in which the body was placed to secure it from wild beasts. When it was supposed that sufficient time had elapsed, so that nothing remained but the bones, they returned to the spot, collected these, carried them home and buried them with

1. Adair, pp. 226-228
2. Adair, p 126.

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great ceremony. Sometimes heaps of stones were raised as monuments to the dead, whose bones they had not been able to "gather to their fathers," and every one who passed by added a stone to the pile.1

Henry Timberlake, a lieutenant in the British service, was dispatched with a small command from Long Island, upon the Holston, to the Cherokee towns upon the Tellico and 1761 the Little Tennessee rivers. His object was to cultivate a good understanding with these people, who had, indeed, invited him to their country. He descended the Holston in canoes to the mouth of the Little Tennessee, and thence passed up that stream to their towns. Spending some weeks here, he returned to Charleston with three Cherokee Chiefs, and sailed for England. Three years afterwards he published a book, from which we have been enabled to gain some information respecting the Cherokees.2

The Cherokees were of middle stature, and of an olive color, but were generally painted, while their skins were stained with indelible ink, representing a variety of pretty figures. According to Bartram, the males were larger and more robust than any others of our natives, while the women were tall, slender, erect, and of delicate frame, with features of perfect symmetry. With cheerful countenances, they moved about with becoming grace and dignity. Their feet and hands were small and exquisitely shaped. The hair of the male

1. Adair -- Bartram.
2. Memoirs of Lieutenant Henry Timberlake, London: 1765.

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was shaved, except a patch on the back part of the head, which was ornamented with beads and feathers, or with a colored deer's tail. Their ears were slit and stretched to an enormous size, causing the persons who had the cutting performed to undergo incredible pain. They slit but one ear at a time, because the patient had to lay on one side forty days for it to heal. As soon as he could bear the operation, wire was wound around them to expand them, and when they were entirely well they were adorned with silver pendants and rings.

Many of them had genius, and spoke well, which paved the way to power in council. Their language was pleasant. It was very aspirited, and the accents so many and various that one would often imagine them singing in their common discourse.

They had a particular method of relieving the poor, which ought to be ranked among the most laudable of their religious ceremonies. The headmen issued orders for a war dance, at which all the fighting men of the town assembled. But here, contrary to all their other dances, only one danced at a time, who, with a tomahawk in his hand, hopped and capered for a minute, and then gave a whoop. The music thus stopped till he related the manner of his taking his first scalp. He concluded his narration, and cast a string of wampum, wire, plate, paint, lead, or anything he could spare upon a large bearskin spread for the purpose. Then the music again began, and he continued in the same manner through all his warlike actions. Then another succeeded him, and the ceremony lasted until all the warriors had related their exploits and thrown presents upon the skin. The stock thus

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raised, after paying the musicians, was divided among the poor. The same ceremony was used to recompense any extraordinary merit.

The Cherokees engaged oftener in dancing than any other Indian population; and when reposing in their towns, almost every night was spent in this agreeable amusement. They were likewise very dexterous at pantomimes. In one of these, two men dressed themselves in bearskins, and came among the assembly, winding and pawing about with all the motions of that animal. Two hunters next entered, who, in dumb show, acted in all respects as if they had been in the woods. After many attempts to shoot the bears, the hunters fired, and one of them was killed and the other wounded. They attempted to cut the throat of the latter. A tremendous scuffle ensued between the wounded bruin and the hunters, affording the whole company a great deal of diversion. 1761: They also had other amusing pantomimic entertainments, among which was "taking the pigeons at roost."
They were extremely proud, despising the lower class of Europeans. Yet they were gentle and amiable to those whom they thought their friends. Implacable in their enmity, their revenge was only completed in the entire destruction of the enemy. They were hardy, and endured heat, cold and hunger in a surprising manner. But when in their power to indulge, no people on earth, except the Choctaws, carried debauchery to greater excess.1

1 Timberlake's Memoirs, pp. 49-80; Bartram, pp. 368-369.

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William Bartram, who penetrated the Cherokee nation, mentions the following towns. We use his orthography:

On the Little Tennessee River, east of the Smoky Mountains.

Echoe; Nucasse; Whataga; Cowe.

On the branches of that river

Ticaloosa; Jore; Conisca; Nowe.

On the Little Tennessee, north of the Smoky Mountains

Tomothle; Noewe; Tellico; Clennuse; Ocunnolufte; Chewe; Quanuse; Tellowe.

Inland towns on the branches of that river, and others north of the Smoky Mountains

Tellico; Chatuga; Hiwassee; Chewase; Nuanha.

Overhill towns on the Tennessee or Cherokee rivers

Tallasse; Chelowe; Sette; Chote-great; Ioco; Tahasse; Tamohle; Tuskege; Big Island; Nilaque; Niowe.

Lower towns, east of the mountains.

Sinica; Keowe; Kulsage; Tugilo; Estotowe; Qualatche; Chote; Estotowe, great; Allagae; Iore; Nacooche.1

Gov. Blount, of the Tennessee Territory, made a report to the Indian Department of the Federal Government, in which he described the other towns of the Cherokee nation. It appears that a portion of the Cherokees established themselves upon Chicamauga Creek, one hundred miles below the mouth of the Holston, being averse to any terms of friendship with the English. 1782: But believing these new settlements to be infested with witches, they abandoned them, moved forty miles lower

1. Bartram, 371-372

Part IV, The Cherokee
Page 163

down the Tennessee, and there laid out the foundation of the "five towns" which they inhabited for many years afterwards, and until their final removal to Arkansas. These towns were:

Running Water--on the south bank of the main Tennessee, three miles above Nickajack, containing one hundred huts, the inhabitants of which were a mixed population of Cherokees and Shawnees.

Nickajack--on the south bank of the Tennessee, containing forty houses.

Long Island Town--on the south side of the Tennessee, on an island of that name, containing several houses.

Crow Town--on the north side of the Tennessee, half a mile from the river, up Crow creek. This was the largest of the towns.

Lookout Mountain Town--between two mountains, on Lookout Mountain creek, fifteen miles from its confluence with the Tennessee.

The first four of these towns were considerable Indian thoroughfares for a long period, being the crossing places of the Southern and Northern Indians during their wars with the Cumberland American settlements. Of these five towns, the sites of Nickajack and Long Island only are in Alabama, situated in the northeast part of De Kalb County. But still lower down, in the present State of Alabama, were Will's Town and Turkey Town--important Cherokee establishments. The former was named for a half-breed called Redheaded Will. At these towns lived the British Superintendent, (the celebrated Col. Campbell,) before and during the Revolutionary War.1

1. Indian Affairs, vol. 1, pp. 264-289.

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