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Biography of Hillis Hadjo

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Hillis Hadjo, Francis the Prophet – (hilis ‘medicine’, hadsho ‘crazy’, an official at the busk, q. v.). A noted Seminole leader in the early part of the 19th century, usually known among the whites as Francis the Prophet, and whose name is also recorded as Hidlis Hadjo, Hillishago, Hillishager, etc. He took an active part in the Seminole war, and is accused of having been one of the chief instigators of the second uprising. He seems to have come into public notice as early as 1814, as on Apr. 18 of that year Gen. Jackson wrote from his camp at the junction of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, Alabama, that “Hillishagee, their [the Seminole’s] great prophet, has absconded.” Led by some abandoned English traders to believe that the treaty of Ghent in 1814 provided for the restoration of the Seminole country, and in the hope of obtaining aid for his tribe against the Americans, he went to England, where he received much attention. An English journal thus mentions his arrival: “The sound of trumpets announced he approach of the patriot Francis, who fought so gloriously in our cause in America during the late war. Being dressed in a most splendid suit of red and gold, and wearing a tomahawk set with gold, gave him a highly imposing appearance.” His mission led to no practical result. Near the close of 1817 an American named McKrimmon, who had been captured by a Seminole party, was taken to Mikasuki, where dwelt Hillis Hadjo, who ordered him to be burned to death, but at the last moment his life was saved by the entreaties of Milly, the chief’s daughter, who, when her father wavered, showed her determination to perish with him. Francis shortly thereafter fell into the Bands of the Americans and was hanged. His wife and several daughters afterward surrendered to the Americans at St Marks, Florida, where Milly received much attention from the whites, but refused McKrimmon’s offer of marriage until assured that it was not because of his obligation to her for saving his life.


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