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Biography of General William Mcintosh

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William Mcintosh was a half-breed of the Muscogee or Creek Nation, and was born at Coweta. His father was Capt. William McIntosh, a Scotchman; his mother a native, Of unmixed blood. Of the early life of McIntosh very little is known. He was intelligent and brave. In person he was tall, finely formed, and of graceful and commanding manners.

The first notice we have of him is after his junction with the American forces in 1812. Gent Floyd speaks highly of him in his report Of the battle Of Autossee. Gen, Jackson speaks of him as Major McIntosh. He distinguished himself in the battle of the Horse Shoe. He also signalized himself in the Florida campaign by various acts of gallantry. His connection with the treaty at the Indian Springs is given in our article on the Creek difficulties, beginning on page 128.

We are indebted to Colonel Alfred J. Pickett, author of the History of Alabama and Georgia, for the following interesting particulars connected with the death of Gen. McIntosh

“Montgomery, Sept. 13th, 1853.

“Dear Sir,
In September, 1847, I arrived at the town of Dudleyville, in the county of Tallapoosa, State of Alabama. I found in that place an aged person named James Moore, whom the Creek Indians, among whom he had lived for the period of fifty years, familiarly called Jimmy Tawny, on account of his sallow complexion. I desired to consult him in relation to the killing of General William McIntosh, having heard that his son-in-law, James Hutton, had accompanied the Indians who committed the deed.

“The memory of James Moore was good, although he had reached the age of seventy-eight, and the following is the account he gave me, having a perfect knowledge of all the facts, for a portion of the Indians who killed McIntosh marched from the Indian village in which he was then living. He saw them when they started on the expedition, and on their return from it.

“He stated that the Ocfuskees[1] and the Tookabatchas[2] had become indignant in consequence of the sale of much of the Creek territory, which General William McIntosh had made with the Georgians, and they had determined to make him answer for his treachery by the forfeiture of his life At that time, the Big Warrior was the chief of the Great Muscogee Confederacy, and one of his chief counsellors was the gifted Ho-po-eth-le-yo-ho-lo. A secret council resulted in the selection of the bravest warriors of the nation to consummate the killing. Ho-po-eth-le-yo-ho-lo gave them minute instructions how they were to march, where they were to camp, and how they were to take the life of McIntosh. The party consisted of one hundred and seventy men, one half of whom were from the town of Ocfuskee, led by Manowa, an old fighter who had encountered Jackson at the battle of the Horse Shoe, and the other half from the town of Tookatacha, commanded by Tuskehadjo, with whom went Ho-po-eth-le-yo-ho-lo, ostensibly as a private. They marched on foot, one before the other, in the most cautious and noiseless manner. The route lay across the country from the Tallapoosa River to the Chattahoochee, and their destination was the residence of General McIntosh, situated upon the bank of the latter stream. Arriving within the neighbourhood of that place towards the close of the second day, the party observed, from a concealed position two persons, riding along a trail. One of these proved to be Genera: McIntosh, and the other his son-in-law, Hawkins. They could have been easily killed, but their lives were spared for the moment to pre serve a consistency so common in all the plans of the Indians. They had determined to kill McIntosh in his own yard, in the presence of his family, and to let his blood run upon the soil of that ` Reservation’ which the Georgians had secured to him in the treaty which he had made with them.

“Pursuing their way for a short distance, but still in view of the party, McIntosh bid Hawkins good evening, wheeled his horse round, and rode back on the trail towards his residence; and, although then alone, the Indians declined to kill him. Hawkins, who had been to pay his father-in-law a visit, continued to ride homeward. The unconscious and ill-fated McIntosh rode on to his own residence, and as he disappeared from the observation of his murderers, smiles and frowns alternately played upon their savage faces, knowing that they had him in their power. The first duty was to secure a supply of fat lightwood, which, being nicely split, and tied in bundles, was placed upon the backs of three stout warriors.

“The expedition remained in the woods until the hour of three o’clock in the morning, secreted within half a mile of the house. I have mentioned that James Hutton, the son-in-law of the person who gave me this account, was one of this expedition, and he was taken along as an interpreter to converse with any Americans who might be at McIntosh’s house. He was instructed to assure them that neither their persons nor property would be disturbed; a wise arrangement, for as this was a public house, it was usually filled with American travellers, who were exploring the new lands, or who roamed over the nation to gratify a curiosity not then uncommon. Travellers were usually lodged in an outhouse in the yard, and thither Hutton and two Indians repaired.

“They found a pedler in one bed, and Chilly McIntosh, the son of the General, in another. The latter instantly sprang to his feet, jumped out at a window, and, as he ran off, several guns were discharged at him without effect. He made his way to the river, in which he plunged, and, gaining the opposite side, effected his escape. The pedler, who was operated upon by the double fear of losing his life and his wares, was a most wretched man, until assured by Hutton that neither would be disturbed. His goods were removed into the yard, and the house in which he had slept was soon in flames. In the meantime, the principal body of the assailants had surrounded the main building, and the lightwood being immediately kindled, torches were applied to the sides, and under it. The flames threw a bright light over the yard, and exhibited to the astonished family of McIntosh the approaching conflagration of the houses, and the hideous forms of those who were to murder him. They frequently shouted with much exultation, `McIntosh, we have come, we have come. We told you, if you sold the land to the Georgians, we would come.’

“McIntosh, upon the first discovery of the assailants, had barricaded his front door, and stood near it when it was forced. He fired on them, and, at that moment, one of his steadfast friends, Toma Tustinugee, fell lifeless upon the threshold. His body was riddled with balls. McIntoshthen retreated to the second story, with four guns in his hand, which he continued to discharge from a window. He fought with great courage, and, aware that his end was near, determined to sell his life as dear as possible. He was at this time the only occupant of the burning house, for his two wives, Peggy and Susannah, who had been dragged into the yard, were heard imploring the savages not to burn him up, but to get him out of the house, and shoot him, as he was a brave man, and an Indian like themselves. McIntosh now came down to the first story, and was received with salutes of the rifle, until, being pierced with many balls, he fell to the floor, was seized by the legs, and dragged down the steps to the ground. While lying in the yard, and while the blood was gushing from his wounds, he raised himself on one arm, and surveyed his murderers with looks of defiance. At that moment, an Ocfuskee Indian plunged a long knife, to the hilt, in the direction of his heart. He brought a long breath, and expired. The party, after this, plundered the houses, killed the stock, and committed other depredations, as described in the public papers of that day.

“On the evening when McIntosh took leave of Hawkins upon the trail, the latter continued to his residence, as related. He was followed by chosen warriors, who were instructed to make him a prisoner that night. His house was on one of the branches of the Tallapoosa, which the Indians surrounded just before the break of day. They ordered him to come out. He refused; but, after defending himself to no purpose, was secured with ropes, and kept alive until the fate of McIntosh became known; then he was killed, and his body thrown into the river. The Indians marched back to the Tallapoosa with the scalps of these men.

“That of McIntosh, which was suspended upon a pole in the public square of Ocfuskee, was the spectacle for old and young, who danced around it, with shouts of joy.

“In the second volume of the History of Alabama, a chapter of which has been devoted to incidents in the lives of the McIntosh family, I have stated, that General William Mcintosh was the son of `Old Rory’ McIntosh. When 1 wrote the chapter, I had some doubts upon that point, and corresponded with Governor Troup, who is a cousin of the Indian McIntosh, to know if I was correct. His reply, unfortunately, reached me not in time to make the correction, and the book was published with the error. Governor Troup had an uncle, Captain William McIntosh, a British officer, who, before the Revolutionary War, was frequently upon the Chattahoochee. This gentleman was the father of General William McIntosh.[3] Having been thrown into the society of the more polished of our people, and having been the associate of our officers in the war of our Southern borders, he had acquired all the manners, and much of the polish, of a gentleman. At his death, he was perhaps over forty years of age.

“Very respectfully,
“A. J. PICKETT.”

Footnotes

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  1. Ocfuskee, a Creek town on the Tallapoosa River.
  2. Tookabatcha, the capital of the Creek Confederacy, also situated on the Tallapoosa River.
  3. See History of the Indian Tribes of North America, by Thomas L. M’Kenney, late of the Indian Department, Washington, and James Hall, of Cincinnati, from which many of the facts related in our Indian sketches have been derived.

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