The Atasi Tribe
Atasi, in its later years, was on close terms of intimacy with Tukabahchee,
of which it was said to be a branch. While this may have been the case, its
independent history extends back to very early times. Spanish documents of the
last decade of the sixteenth century mention a town called Otaxe (Otashe), in
the northernmost parts of the province of Guale. On a few maps, representing
conditions before the Yamasee war, Atasi appears among the towns on Ocmulgee
River. It is perhaps the "Awhissie" of Lamhatty, laid down midway between the
Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers.1 Oh later maps it appears on the
Chattahoochee between the Kolomi and Tuskegee, but this position was probably
occupied for only a few years before a permanent retirement was effected to the
Tallapoosa. Another location is, however, given by Hawkins on the authority of
an old Kasihta chief, Tussikaia miko, as on a creek bearing its name, near the
village of Apatai.2 A French writer of the middle of the eighteenth
century declares that the Creeks on Tallapoosa River were formerly under
absolute monarchs who resided at Atasi "and bore the same name" as the town. He
adds: ''After the death of the last of these princes there was no particular
chief in this village, but the chief of war commands. They say that this chief
has gone into the sky to see his ancestors, and that he has assured them that he
will return."3 This perhaps marks nothing more than a shift of the
chieftainship from a peace to a war clan.
At least three successive places were
occupied by the Atasi on Tallapoosa River.
The first was some miles above the sharp
bend in the river at Tukabahchee, where
Bartram found them in 1777-78.4
The second was five miles below Tukabahchee
on the south side of the river,5
and the third a few miles higher on the
north side near the mouth of Calebee Creek.
The name appears in the census lists of
1738, 1750, 1760, and 1761.6 On
the last mentioned date James McQueen and T.
Ferryman were the officially recognized
Bartram in 1777-78 described the square
of this town at some length; his account
will be given when we come to consider the
social organization of the confederacy. The
name appears also in the lists of Hawkins
and on the census rolls of 1832, but is
omitted by Swan.7 In 1797 the
traders stationed there were Richard Bailey,
a native of England, and Josiah Fisher.8
The following is what Hawkins has to say of
Aut-tos-see, on the left
side of Tallapoosa, below and adjoining
Ca-le-be-hat-che. A poor, miserable looking
place, fenced with small poles; the first on
forks in a line and two others on stakes
hardly sufficient to keep out cattle. They
have some plum and peach trees; a swamp back
of the town and some good land back of that,
a flat of oak, hickory and pine. On the
right bank of the river, just below the
town, they have a fine rich cove of land
which was formerly a cane brake, and has
There is, [5 miles] below
the town, one good farm made by the late
Richard Bailey, and an orchard of peach
trees. Mrs. Bailey, the widow, is neat,
clean, and industrious, and very attentive
to the interests of her family; qualities
rarely to be met with in an Indian woman.9
Her example has no effect on the Indians,
even her own family, with the exception of
her own children. She has fifty bee-hives
and a great supply of honey every year; has
a fine stock of hogs, cattle and horses, and
they all do well. Her son, Richard Bailey,
was educated in Philadelphia by the
Government, and he has brought with him into
the nation so much contempt for the Indian
mode of life, that he has got himself into
discredit with them. His young brother is
under the direction of the Quakers in
Philadelphia. His three sisters promise to
do well, they are industrious and can spin.
Some of the Indians have cattle; but in
general, they are destitute of property.
In the year 1766 there
were forty-three gun men, and lately they
were estimated at eighty. This is a much
greater increase of population than is to be
met with in other towns; they appear to be
stationary generally, and in some towns are
on the decrease; the apparent difference
here, or increase, may be greater than the
real; as formerly men grown were rated as
gun men, and now boys of fifteen, who are
hunters, are rated as gun men; they have for
two years past been on the decline; are very
sickly, and have lost many of their
inhabitants; they are now rated at fifty gun
One outsettlement is mentioned by
Hawkins, on ''Caloebee" Creek, although at
the time he wrote (December 27, 1797)11
it was abandoned. It appears on the Purcell
map (pl. 7) as ''Callobe."
Atasi was the seat of a leading camp of
hostile Indians during the Creek War and the
site of one of its principal battles,
November 29, 1813. It suffered severely in
consequence, and, whether on account of that
struggle or for other causes, the number of
Atasi Indians has been reduced to a mere
- Amer. Anthrop., n. s. vol. X, p.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 70.
- MS., Ayer Lib.
- Bartram, Travels, p. 448 et seq.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, pp. 40,
46. " On the opposite bank [from Mr.
Bailey's house] formerly stood the old
town Ohassee [Ottassee], a beautiful
rich level plane surrounded with hills,
to the north, it was formerly a
canebrake, the river, makes a curve
round it to the south, so that a small
fence on the hill side across would
enclose it."- p. 40.
- MSS., Aver Lib.; Miss Prov. Arch.,
I, p. 95; Ga. Col. Does., VIII, p. 523.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 25;
Senate Doc. 512, 23d Cong., 1st sess.,
IV, pp. 252-254.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 168.
- She belonged to the Hotňlgalgi,
or Wind Clan.- Hawkins in Ga. Hist. Soc.
Colls., IX, p. 39. Misprinted "Otalla
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, pp.
- Ibid., IX, p. 49.
Notes About Book:
Source: Swanton, John R., Early
History of the Creek Indians and Their
Neighbors. Pub. Smithsonian
Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology,
Bulletin 73. Washington, 1922.
Notes about Online Publication: This manuscript has been ocr'd and heavily
edited. Many of the Native American words have been reproduced as clearly as
online publication will allow us, but not all are exactly the way they were in
the original work. The structure of this manuscript has been changed to allow
better online presentation.