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Chittee Yoholo, Seminole
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Native American | No Comments
Chittee Yoholo, or The snake that makes a noise, is a Seminole of some note, although but twenty-eight years of age. He was born in Florida, in that region of inaccessible swamps, which our gallant troops have found to be any thing but a land of flowers. His complexion, which is of a darker hue than that of our other Indians, marks his descent; and there is an expression of fierceness in the countenance indicative of a race living in perpetual hostility. Such has been the history of the Seminoles, who are, as their name indicates, wanderers, or outcasts, from other tribes. A few restless individuals, who separated themselves from the southern nations, either from dislike against the modified habits introduced into those communities by their contact with the whites, or from impatience of the restraints even of savage life, strayed off to the wilds of Florida, and connected themselves with some feeble remnants of the ancient population, who lingered in that remote region. While that province remained in possession of the Spaniards, the jealousy of that government, as well as the peculiar character of the country, and the savage nature of the people, rendered it comparatively in accessible to American curiosity or enterprise; and we knew little of the savage tribes within its limits, except from their occasional depredations upon our frontier, and from the protection afforded by them to runaway slaves from the southern states. These evils be came enhanced during the late war with Great Britain, and one of the chief inducements to the purchase of Florida, by our government. was the hope of either taming or driving away such troublesome neighbors. We merely touch the subject in this place for the purpose of showing what we suppose to be the main cause of the ferocious and obstinate character of the hostilities that have recently rendered that region a scene of wide-spread desolation. In the history of wars of aggravated malevolence, it will generally be found that some ancient grudge, festering in the passions of the frontier population, gives a secret rancor to the dispute which it could scarcely have attained from the political differences that are alone apparent to the public eye.
The first occasion on which Chittee Yoholo was engaged, was when General Gaines was surrounded by the Seminoles; he was one of the hostile party, and declares that he fought hard, and tried his best to kill the white men. Soon after, he was engaged in another fight, in which he killed a white man, and taking the scalp, he carried it to the council-house of his tribe, and threw it at the feet of an aged warrior thus invoking the approbation of one who was experienced in the wiles and dangers of warfare. The men of the village assembled, danced all night, recounted their recent ad ventures, especially that which they were now celebrating, and, instead of honoring the lion of the occasion with a toast, and requiring a speech in return, as we should have done, they gave him a new name, Chewasti Emathla, Emathla meaning, next to the warrior, and Chewasti being a kind of surname, thrown in for euphony. After that, he killed and scalped another white man, carried in the bloody trophy, and again the warriors danced in honor of his success; and now they called him Olocta Tuscane Hadja, which means, The blue crazy warrior; and again, on bringing in another scalp, they danced round it all night, and called him Olocta Tustennugge, The Blue warrior. All these were stealthy feats performed in the night. The Indians regard such with peculiar gratification, from the high estimate which they place on achievements conducted with cunning, and won without exposure. He was constantly out, and usually without companions, stealing upon the sleeping inmates of the cabin, or waylaying the straggler in the forest; so that we may infer that the Snake that makes a noise, like the reptile whose name he bears, crouched in silence until the moment when he was about to spring upon his prey.
He was lying in the coverts around Fort Mellon, while Paddy Carr was there with the friendly Indians, of whom he counted one hundred and twenty, as he gazed at them from his lurking-place. After he had watched a whole night, he joined an assailing party of his people, who fired upon the fort in the morning, and of whom ten were killed; he received a spent ball in his hand, and being unable to manage his gun, retired. He was in a battle with the Tennessee volunteers, in which three Seminoles were killed, whose bodies were dragged to the nearest bushes and hidden, as there was not time to bury or to carry them off. He participated in the battle of Wahoo Swamp, where the Indians lost two warriors, and killed several of the whites. The next day the whites came again, and a skirmish ensued. Acee Yoholo was present in all these fights. On one occasion Chittee Yoholo drove off a hundred cattle from the settlements of the white people; and he tells of various other battles that he was engaged in, in addition to those we have mentioned.
Having stated that he had seen and recognized Jim Boy at the head of the Indians friendly to the whites, he was asked why he had not killed that chief, whose unusual height made him a conspicuous object. He replied that it was not the will of the Great Spirit; and added that he had been in many battles, and not having lost his life, he concluded he should die of sickness, and he supposed that Jim Boy would die in the same way. The allusion to the latter was made in consequence of his being present at this conversation.
After the adventures related, and many others, this chief listened to the overtures of the Creek Indians, who invited him to a council, and gave him, as he expresses it, a good talk. He accompanied them to St. Augustine, and gave himself up to the commanding officer, by whom he was kindly treated. He has a wife and two children in Arkansas.
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