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The Creek are known in their own language as the Muskogee or Muskogee and occupied originally the greater part of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Their traditions say that they emigrated from the Northwest until they reached Florida, when they fell back to the country between the headwaters of the Alabama and Savannah rivers. As this was full of small rivers and creeks it was called by the early settlers the creek country, hence the name of the Creek Indians, who, when first known to the whites, were living there. Those remaining in Florida were called the Seminoles or Isti-semole (wild men). The nation be came a confederacy of tribes speaking other languages, modifying somewhat the original Muskogee, but who, nevertheless, numbered seven-eighths of their whole number. Before a dominant power was established in the South they were courted by the Spanish, French, and English, and were about equally divided in their allegiance to these nations, but the final success of the English brought them entirely under their influence. “They took an active part in the war of the Revolution against the Americans, and continued their hostilities till the treaty concluded at Philadelphia in 1795. They then remained at peace eighteen years; but at the beginning of the last war with Great Britain a considerable portion of the nation, excited, it is said, by Tecumseh, and probably receiving encouragement from other sources, took arms without the slightest provocation, and at first committed great ravages in the vicinity of their western frontier. They received a severe chastisement, and the decisive victories of General Jackson at that time, and some years later over the Seminoles, who had renewed the war, have not only secured a permanent peace with the southern Indians, but, together with the progress of the settlements, have placed them all under the absolute control of the United States. The Creeks and Seminoles, after some struggles among themselves, have ceded the whole of their territory and accepted in exchange other lands beyond the Mississippi.” Gallatin.
Twenty-four thousand five hundred and ninety-four were removed west of the Mississippi, only 744 remaining on their old hunting-grounds. At the breaking out of the civil war the western Creeks numbered less that 15,000. The tribe divided and engaged in pitched battles against each other, the Unionists suffering badly, many fleeing to Kansas. They were brought together again after the war, and in 1872 numbered 13,000, on a reservation of over 3,000,000 acres in the Indian Territory.
By the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1876, they were numbered at 14,000, including 3,000 mixed-bloods, and all wearing citizens’ dress and living in good houses. They have 36 school buildings, with an attendance of about 750 pupils; over $24,000 was expended upon their education. There are 20 churches on the reserve, with a membership among the Creeks of over 3,UOO. They rank among the first of civilized tribes.
List of illustrations
97. Lo-Cha-Ha-Jo. The Drunken Terrapin.
Served as a first lieutenant in the Union Army during the rebellion, and was at that time and is now the leading spirit of the loyal Creeks. Is the treaty-making chief. Age, about 35.
98. Tal-Wa-Mi-Ko. Town King.
Commonly known as John McGilvry. Is a brother-in-law of Oporthleyoholo, a famous chief of the last generation, and stood by him during their struggles with and flight from the rebel Creeks. Is at the present time the second leading spirit of the loyal Creeks. Age, about 30.
99. Tam-Si-Pel-Man. Thompson Ferryman.
First organizer of the loyal Creeks that came north during the rebellion. Was a councilor of Oporthle yoholo, and a steadfast adherent to the treaties made with the Government. Age, about 40.
100. Ho-Tul-Ko-Mi-Ko.. Chief of the Whirlwind.
English name, Silas Jefferson 5 is of mixed African and Greek parentage; born in Alabama and raised among the Creaks in that State, removing with them to their present home in the Indian Territory. Is to all intents and purposes one of the tribe, taking a wife from among them, and sharing all their troubles. Was interpreter for the loyal Creeks during the war, and is now the official interpreter of the nation. Age, 45.
102. Group Of The Preceding Chiefs.
103. Kot-Co-Cu, or Tiger.
Served in the Union Army as a lieutenant. Was one of the council in framing the treaty of 1866. In 1871 was a candidate for chief, but was defeated, and died shortly after.
104. Ok-Ta-Ha-Sas-Hajo, or Sand.
The predecessor of Lo-cha-ha-jo as the treaty -making chief of the nation, and second chief under Oporthleyoholo. Was among the first to join the Union forces during the rebellion. Was chief of the council that framed the new constitution in 1866. Has not been educated, but has great natural ability, and is of an extremely sensitive and kindly disposition.
105-107. Family Of George Steadman. (Half-Bloods.)
108. A Creek Brave.