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Guale Tribe and Yamasee Tribe

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The coast of what is now the State of Georgia, from Savannah River as far as St. Andrews Sound, was anciently occupied by a tribe or related tribes which, whatever doubts may remain regarding the people just considered, undoubtedly belonged to the Muskhogean stock.1 This region was known to the Spaniards as “the province of Guale (pronounced Wallie),” but most of the Indians living there finally became merged with a tribe known as the Yamasee, and it will be well to consider the two together. From a letter of one of the Timucua missionaries we learn that the Guale province was called Ybaha by the Timucua Indians,2 and this is evidently the Yupaha of which De Soto was in search when he left the Apalachee. “Of the Indians taken in Napetuca, ” says Elvas, “the treasurer, Juan Gaytan, brought a youth with him, who stated that he did not belong to that country, but to one afar in the direction of the sun’s rising, from which he had been a long time absent visiting other lands; that its name was Yupaha, and was governed by a woman, the town she lived in being of astonishing size, and many neighboring lords her tributaries, some of whom gave her clothing, others gold in quantity.”3 As the description of the town and its queen corresponds somewhat with Cofitachequi, perhaps Ybaha or Yubaha was a general name for the Muskhogean peoples rather than a specific designation of Guale.

The towns of Guale lay almost entirely between St. Catherines and St. Andrews Sounds. An early Spanish document refers to “the 22 chiefs of Guale.” Menfindez says there were “40 villages of Indians” within 3 or 4 leagues. Between St. Catherines Sound and the Savannah, where the province of Crista or Escamacu, the later Cusabo, began, there appear to have been few permanent settlements. South of St. Andrews Sound began the Timucua province. When Governor Pedro de Ibarra visited the tribes of this coast he made three stops at or near the islands of St. Simons, Sapello, and St. Catherines, respectively, and at each place the chiefs assembled to hold councils with him. It may reasonably be assumed that the chiefs mentioned at each of these councils were those living nearer that particular point than either of the others. In this way we are able to make a rough division of the towns into three groups — northern, central, and southern. Other towns are sometimes referred to with reference to these, so that we may add them to one or the other.

Thus the following towns appear as belonging to the northern group, synonymous terms being placed in parentheses: Asopo (Ahopo); Chatufo, Couexis (Cansin); Culapala (Culopaba); Guale (Goale, Gale); Otapalas; Otaxe (Otax, Otafe) ; Posache; Tolomato (Tonomato); Uchilape; Uculegue (Oculeygue, Oculeya); Unallapa (Unalcapa); Yfusinique; Yoa (Yua).

Asopo, Culupala, Guale, Otapalas, Otaxe, Uculegue, Unallapa, and Yoa are given by Ibarra. Guale was the name of St. Catherines Island, but the town was “on an arm of a river which goes out of another which is on the north bank of the aforesaid port in Santa Elena in 32° N. lat.”4 Chatufo is mentioned in the narrative of a visit to the Florida missions by the Bishop of Cuba. Couexis is given in the French narratives; Menéndez changing it to Cansin.5) Posache is located “in the island of Guale.” Tolomato is described in one place as “2 leagues from Guale” and in another as on the mainland near the bar of Capala (Sapello), and it is said to have been a place from which one could go to the Tama Indians on the Altamaha River. Uchilape is located “near Tolomato.” Yfusinique was the name of the town to which the chief Juanillo of Tolomato retired after the massacre of the friars and where the other Indians besieged him. Yoa is said to have been 2 leagues by a river behind an arm of the sea back of the bars of Çapala and Cofonufo (Sapello and St. Catherines Sounds). Large vessels could come within 1 league of it and small vessels could reach the town.6 In the account of the massacre of the missionaries in 1597 Asopo (or Assopo) is described as “in the island of Guale.”7

Alaste (Alieste, Alueste, Aluete), Oya, Crista, Talapo (Talapuz or Ytalapo), Ufalague (also spelled Ufalegue), Aobi, and Sufalate must be classed as belonging properly to the Cusabo, the first five on the basis of the information quoted above from Ibarra, and the last from its association with Ufalague. Aobi may be intended, as already suggested, for Ahoyabi.8 Although mentioned in connection with the northern group of towns, they left the Cusabo country and settled in the southern group, where Talapo and Ufalague are frequently referred to.

The central towns were Aleguifa; Chucalagaite (Chucaletgate, Chucalate, Chucalae); Espogache (Aspoache); Espogue (Hespogue, Ospogue, Espo, Ospo, Espoque); Fosquiche (Fasque); Sapala (Çapala, Capala); Sotequa; Tapala; Tulufina (Tolufina, Tolofina); Tupiqui (Topiqui, Tuxiqui, Tupica); Utine (Atinehe).

Chiefs called Fuel, Tafecauca, Tumaque, and Tunague are also mentioned, the last two distinct persons in spite of the close resemblance between their names. All of these towns and chiefs, except Espogache, Tulufina, Aleguifa, and Chucalagaite, are given by Ibarra. Fasquiche and Espogache were evidently not far from Espogue. The last mentioned was on the mainland not more than 6 leagues from Talaxe.9 Fasquiche is given in the account of a visit to the Florida missions by the Bishop of Cuba. Tulufina appears to have been a place or tribe of importance intimately connected with the interior Indians; the other two are placed “near Tuhifina.”

An inland people known as Salchiches were represented at the council which Ibarra held in this country. They appear to have been Muskhogeans and seem to have had numerous relatives in the province of Guale. In one place mention is made of “a chief of the Salchiches in Tulufina.” In another we are told that the Timucua chief of San Pedro laid the blame for the uprising of 1597 on the people of Tulufina and the Salchiches. An Indian prisoner stated that “the Indians of Cosahue (Cusabo) and the Salchiches, and those of Tulufina and of Santa Elena had said that they would kill them (the friars) and that each chief should kill his own friar.” Elsewhere the chief of Chucalagaite and the chief of the Salchiches are mentioned, together with the statement that they were not Christians. It is said that the heir of Tolomato joined with “the other Salchiches” to kill Fray de Corpa. In another place Tulufina and the Salchiches are both referred to as if they were provinces of Tama. The Tama were, as we have seen, an inland people who probably spoke Hitchiti.10

The southern group of towns consisted of Aluque (Alaje); Asao (Assaho); Cascangue (Oscangue, Lascangue); Falquiche (Falque); Fuloplata (possibly a man’s name); Hinafasque; Hocaesle; Talaxe (Talax, Talaje); Tufulo; Tuque (or Suque); Yfulo (Fulo, Yfielo, Ofulo).

All of these names except Tuque are from Ibarra’s letter. Cascangue presents a puzzling problem, for it is referred to several times as a Guale province, but identified by the Franciscan missionaries with the province of Icafi, which was certainly Timucua. Until further light is thrown upon the matter I prefer to consider the two as distinct. The name has a Muskhogean rather than a Timucua aspect. Tuque is given in an account of a visit which the Bishop of Cuba made to Florida in 1606 to confirm the Indians.

In addition to the towns which can be classified in this manner, albeit a rough one, several towns and town chiefs are mentioned which are known to belong to the Guale province, but can not be located more accurately. They are the following:

  1. Ahongate, an Indian of Tupiqui. Ahongate “count!” might be an appropriate Creek personal name.
  2. Alpatopo.
  3. Aytochuco, Ytoçuço.
  4. Ayula
  5. Lonoche (or Donoche), an Indian of Ospo. Lonoche, “Little Lone,” is still used as a Creek name.
  6. Olatachahane (perhaps a chief’s name).
  7. Olatapotoque, Olata Potoque (given as a town, but perhaps a chief’s name). It was near Aytochuco.
  8. Olataylitaba (or two towns, Olata and Litabi).
  9. Olocalpa.
  10. Sulopacaques.
  11. Tamufa.
  12. Ymunapa.

The chief of each Guale town bore the title of mico, a circumstance which, as has been shown, has important bearings in classifying the people in the Muskhogean linguistic group. It appears also that there was a head mico or “mico mayor” for the whole Guale province. In 1596 a chief whom the Spaniards called Don Juan laid claim to the title of head mico of Guale. There is some confusion regarding him, for the text seems to identify him with a Timucua chief. However, this claim elicited from the Spanish Crown a request for an explanation of the term, to which Governor Mendez de Canço replied:

In regard to your majesty’s instructions to report about the pretension of the cacique Don Juan to become head mico, and to explain what that title or dignity is, he informed me himself that the title of head mico means a kind of king of the land, recognized and respected as such by all the caciques in their towns, and whenever he visits one of them, they all turn out to receive him and feast him, and every year they pay him a certain tribute of pearls and other articles made of shells according to the land.

Guale was thus a kind of confederacy with a head chief, more closely centralized in that particular than the Creek confederacy. It does not appear from the Spanish records whether the position of head mico was hereditary or elective, but the latter is indicated. When the Spaniards first came to Guale the head mico seems to have lived in Tolomato, and mention is made of one Don Juanillo, “whose turn it was to be head mico of that province.”11 The friars are said to have brought on the massacre of 1597 by depriving him of this office, but they appear to have conferred it upon one of the same town.12 There were, however, three or four chiefs of particular estimation, which are spoken of sometimes as lords of different parts of the country, and when the Spaniards organized a native army to punish those who had killed the friars, it was placed in charge of the chief of Asao, who was head of the southern group of towns. In the narrative which tells of a visit made to the missions in 1606 by the Bishop of Cuba, Don Diego, chief of Talaxe and Asao, is represented as overlord or “head mico” of the entire province.

Gualdape may perhaps be a form of Guale and the information obtained regarding the people there by the Ayllon colonists applicable rather to the Guale Indians than the Cusabo.13 In the narratives of the French Huguenot colony of 1562, as we have seen, Guale appears as Ouadé and a neighboring town or tribe is mentioned called Couexis.14 All that the French have to tell us about these two I have given and I have recorded Menéndez’s visit to Guale and the settlement of Jesuit missionaries there and at St. Helena. In his letter to Menéndez) quoted above, Rogel says:

Brother Domingo Augustin was in Guale more than a year, and he learned that language so well that he even wrote a grammar, and he died; and Father Sedeño was there 14 months, and the father vice provincial 6, Brother Francisco 10, and Father Alamo 4; and all of them have not accomplished anything.15

Had the grammar of Augustin been preserved we would not today consider the labors of these early missionaries by any means fruitless; and it may yet come to light.

In 1573 a Spanish officer named Aguilar and fourteen or fifteen soldiers were killed in the province of Guale. In 1578 Captain Otalona and other officials were killed in the Guale town of Ospogue or Espogue.16

After this field had been abandoned by the Society of Jesus it was entered by the Franciscans. According to Barcia, missions were opened in Guale by them in 1594, but unpublished documents seem to set a still earlier date. One of these would place the beginning of the work as far back as 1587. In 1597 there were five missionaries in this province and the work seemed to be of the utmost promise, when a rebellion broke out against the innovators, the mission stations were burned, and all but one of the friars killed. The following account contained in Barcia’s Florida is from clerical sources:

The friars of San Francisco busied themselves for two years in preaching to the Indians of Florida, separated into various provinces. In the town of Tolemaro or Tolemato lived the friar Pedro de Corpa, a notable preacher, and deputy of that doctrina, against whom rose the elder son and heir of the chief of the island of Guale, who was exceedingly vexed at the reproaches which Father Corpa made to him, because although a Christian, he lived worse than a Gentile, and he fled from the town because he was not able to endure them. He returned to it within a few days, at the end of September [1597], bringing many Indian warriors, with bows and arrows, their heads ornamented with great plumes, and entering in the night, in profound silence, they went to the house where the father lived; they broke down the feeble doors, found him on his knees, and killed him with an axe. This unheard-of atrocity was proclaimed in the town; and although some showed signs of regret, most, who were as little disturbed, apparently, as the son of the chief, joined him, and he said to them the day following: “Although the friar is dead he would not have been if he had not prevented us from living as before we were Christians: let us return to our ancient customs, and let us prepare to defend ourselves against the punishment which the governor of Florida will attempt to inflict upon us, and if this happens it will be as rigorous for this friar alone as if we had finished all; because he will pursue us in the same manner on account of the friar whom we have killed as for all.”

Those who followed him in the newly executed deed approved; and they said that it could not be doubted that he would want to take vengeance for one as he would take it for all. Then the barbarian continued: “Since the punishment on account of one is not going to be greater than for all, let us restore the liberty of which these friars have robbed us, with promises of benefits which we have not seen, in hope of which they wish that those of us who call ourselves Christians experience at once the losses and discomforts: they take from us women, leaving us only one and that in perpetuity, prohibiting us from changing her; they obstruct our dances, banquets, feasts, celebrations, fires, and wars, so that by failing to use them we lose the ancient valor and dexterity inherited from our ancestors; they persecute our old people calling them witches; even our labor disturbs them, since they want to command us to avoid it on some days, and be prepared to execute all that they say, although they are not satisfied; they always reprimand us, injure us, oppress us, preach to us, call us bad Christians, and deprive us of all happiness, which our ancestors enjoyed, with the hope that they will give us heaven. These are deceptions in order to subject us, in holding us disposed after their manner; already what can we expect, except to be slaves? If now we kill all of them, we will remove such a heavy yoke immediately, and our valor will make the governor treat us well, if it happens that he does not come out badly.” The multitude was convinced by his speech; and as a sign of their victory, they cut off Father Corpa’s head, and they put it in the port17 on a lance, as a trophy of their victory, and the body they threw into a forest, where it was never found.

They passed to the town of Topiqui, where lived Fr. Blàs Rodriguez (Torquemada gives him the appelation of de Montes), they went in suddenly, telling him they came to kill him. Fr. Blàs asked them to let him say mass first, and they suspended their ferocity for that brief time; but as soon as he had finished saying it, they gave him so many blows, that they finished him, and they threw his body outside, so that the birds and beasts might eat it, but none came to it except a dog, which ventured to touch it, and fell dead. An old Christian Indian took it up and gave it burial in the woods.

From there they went to the town of Assopo, in the island of Guale, where were Fr. Miguél de Auñon, and Fr. Antonio Badajoz; they knew beforehand of their coming, and seeing that flight was impossible, Fr. Miguél began to say mass, and administered the sacrament to Fr. Antonio, and both began to pray. Four hours afterward the Indians entered, killed friar Antonio instantly with a club (macana); and afterward gave friar Miguel two blows with it, and, leaving the bodies in the same place, some Christian Indians buried them at the foot of a very high cross, which the same friar Miguel had set up in the country.

The Indians, continuing their cruelty, set out with great speed for the town of Asao where lived friar Francisco de Velascola, native of Castro-Urdiales, a very poor and humble monk, but with such forcefulness that he caused the Indians great fear: he was at that time in the city of St. Agustine. Great was the disappointment of the Indians, because it appeared to them that they had done nothing if they left the friar Francisco alive. They learned in the town the day when he would return to it, went to the place where he was to disembark, and some awaited him hidden in a clump of rushes, near the bank. Friar Francisco arrived in a canoe, and, dissimulating, they surrounded him and took him by the shoulders, giving him many blows, with clubs (macanas) and axes, until his soul was restored to God.

They passed to the town of Ospo, where lived friar Franciso Davila,18 who as soon as he heard the noise at the doors was able under cover of night to go out into the country; the Indians followed him, and although he had hidden himself in some rushes, by the light of the moon they pierced his shoulders with three arrows; and wishing to continue until they had finished him, an Indian interposed, in order to possess himself of his poor clothing, which he had to do in order that they might leave him, who took him bare and well bound, and he was carried to a town of infidel Indians to serve as a slave. These cruelties did not fail to receive the punishment of God; for many of those who were concerned in these martyrdoms hung themselves with their bow-strings, and others died wretchedly; and upon that province God sent a great famine of which many perished, as will be related.

The good success of these Indians caused others to unite with them, and they undertook to attack the island of San Pedro with more than 40 canoes, in order to put an end to the monks who were there, and destroy the chief, who was their enemy. They embarked, provided with bows, arrows, and clubs; and, considering the victory theirs, they discovered, near the island, a brigantine, which was in the harbor where they were to disembark, and they assumed that it had many people and began to debate about returning. The brigantine had arrived within sight of the island 30 days before with succor of bread and other things, which the monks needed; but they had not been able to reach the port, although those who came in it tried it many times, nor to pass beyond, on account of a bar (caño) which formed itself from the mainland (?) a thing which had never happened before in that sea. It carried only one soldier, and the other people were sailors, and even less than the number needed for navigation.

Finding the Indian rebels in this confusion the chief of the island went out to defend himself with a great number of canoes.19 He attacked them with great resolution; and although they tried to defend themselves, their attempt was in vain, they fled, and those who were unable to jumped ashore; and the chief, collecting some of his enemies’ canoes, returned triumphantly to his island, and the friars gave him many presents, with which he remained as satisfied as with his victory.

Of the others who had sprung to land none escaped, because they had no canoes in which they might return; some hung themselves with their bowstrings, and others died of hunger in the woods.

Nor were those exempt who escaped, because the governor of Florida, learning of the atrocities of the Indians, went forth to punish the evildoers; but he was only able to burn the cornfields, because the aggressors retired to the marshes, and the highlands prevented him from punishing them, except with the famine which followed immediately the burning of the harvests, of which many Indians died. . . .

The Indians kept the friar Francisco de Avila in strict confinement, ill-treating him much; afterwards they left him more liberty in order to bring water and wood, and watch the fields. They turned him over to the boys so that they might shoot arrows at him; and although the wounds were small, they drained him of blood, because he was not able to stop the blood; this apostolic man suffering these outrages with great patience and serenity. . . .

Wearied of the sufferings of Father Avila the Indians determined to burn him alive. They tied him to a post, and put much wood under him. When about to burn him, there came to the chief one of the principal Indian women, whose son the Spaniards held captive in the city of St. Agustine without her having been able to find any way to rescue him although she had tried it. This moved her to beg the chief earnestly that he should give friar Francisco to her to exchange him for her son. Other Indians, who desired to see him free, begged the same thing; and although it cost them much urging to appease the hatred of the chief for the father, he granted what the Indian woman asked, giving him to her so badly treated, that he arrived at St. Agustine in such a condition that they did not recognize him: he had endured such great and such continuous labors. He accomplished the exchange, and the people of the city expressed a great deal of sympathy for friar Francisco.

God wished to give a greater punishment to the Indians of Florida, who killed the missionaries so unjustly; and, refusing water to the earth, upon the burning of the crops, there began such a great famine in Florida that the conspirators died miserably themselves, confessing the cause of their misfortune to have been the barbarity, which they exercised against the Franciscan monks.20

Davila was liberated in 1599, and Barcia speaks as if the famine occurred the year following.

A letter containing an account of this uprising and accompanied by testimony taken from several witnesses is preserved among the Spanish archives and a copy of this is in the Lowery collection. While less dramatic, naturally, than the narrative given, it differs in no essential particulars. The governor’s punitive expedition was in 1597 or very early in 1598. He burned the principal Guale towns, including their granaries, and quickly reduced the greater part of the people to submission. In a letter of date 1600 he says:

No harm, not even death, that I have inflicted upon them has had as much weight in bringing them to obedience as the act of depriving them of their means of subsistence.

In the same letter he has some additional information regarding the causes of the war which do not appear in the communications of the missionaries. He states that it was Don Juanillo’s turn to be head mico of Guale, but owing to his being a quarrelsome and warlike young man, he was deprived of that dignity by the Rev. Friars Pedro de Corpa and Blas Rodriguez, who conferred it upon Don Francisco, a man of age and of good and humble habits. And this caused the massacre of the friars, among whom were the two mentioned. Although in the depositions that I took from several Indians in regard to that massacre they all affirmed that to have been the direct cause for the commission of that crime, yet I never allowed it to be written, as I could not consent to have anything derogatory to the priests made public, and besides I look upon the Indians as being very little truthful and to cover their treachery would invent many lies.

Yet it is strange that Don Juanillo and Don Francisco were both leaders of the hostile Indians, and were irreconcilable to the last.21

The chief of Espogache was among the first to surrender and he was quickly followed by others. In a letter written April 24, 1601, Gov. de Canço states that the chief of Asao and 40 Indians had just come to tender their submission and that all had given in except the chief of Tolomato, his nephew, and two other chiefs.22 Later the same year the governor induced the chief of Asao to head an expedition against this refractory element, he being one of the chiefs of most consideration in the province. This mico solicited assistance from the chiefs of Tulufina, Guale, Espogache, Yoa, Ufalague, Talapo, Olata Potoque, Ytoçuço, the chiefs of the Salchiches, the Tama, and the Cusabo. Don Juanillo and his partisans had established themselves in a stockaded town called Yfusinique and met the first attack of their more numerous foes so valiantly that many of them were killed. The allied chiefs then decided that a general assault would be necessary, and this was successful. Don Juanillo and Don Francisco were killed and their scalps taken and with them fell great numbers of their warriors, including 24 principal men. The remainder were taken back to Tamufa, from which the expedition had started.23

In a report on his missionary work dated September 15, 1602, Fray Balbazar Lopez, who was stationed at San Pedro, says that there were then no missionaries in the province of Guale, but more than 1,200 Christian Indians.24

In 1604, as we have seen, in November, Gov. Pedro de Ibarra visited San Simon, Sapelo, and Guale. One of his objects was to listen to complaints and compose differences, but he represented as almost equally important his desire to see the province Christianized. By that time a church had been built at Asao, on or near San Simon, and another in Guale, while a third was to be constructed at Espogache near Sapelo. Ibarra was accompanied on this expedition by Fray Pedro Ruiz, then in charge of the doctrina at San Pedro, who said mass in each place.25 When the Bishop of Cuba visited Florida in 1606 Ruiz was in immediate charge of the doctrina of Guale, and Fray Diego Delgado was located at the doctrina of Talaxe, close to Asao, from which he occasionally visited Espogache. The province of Guale was soon thoroughly missionized and work there continued until the practical destruction of the province in the latter part of the century. In a letter of 1608 we find a note to the effect that five Guale chiefs had rebelled, but nothing more is said about the disturbance, which must have been of small consequence. Another letter, dated April 16, 1645, states that the Indians of Guale were then in insurrection, but could be readily reduced.26 The list of Florida missions, made in 1655, mentions four or five belonging to the province of Guale, San Buenaventura de Boadalquivi [Guadalquini] on Jekyl Island, Santo Domingo de Talaje on or near the present St. Simons, San Josef de Zapala on or near Sapelo, Santa Catarina de Guale on St. Catherines Island, and perhaps Santiago de Ocone, which is said to have been on an island 30 leagues from St. Augustine, and therefore perhaps near Jekyl Island.27 It is evident that the attacks of the northern Indians, which were soon to put an end to the missions entirely, had begun at this date, because we find Santiago, mico of Tolomato, and his people located 3 leagues from St. Augustine, between two creeks, evidently those called San Diego Tolomato, or North River, and Guana. This was the mission station of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Tolomato, which appears again in the list of 1680. In 1661, as we learn by letters from Gov. D. Alonso de Aranguiz y Cotes to the king, Guale was invaded by Indians, “said to be Chichumecos,” but probably, as we shall see, Yuchi. From the letter of a soldier setting forth his past services it appears that these strangers sacked the churches and convents and killed many Christian Indians, but were driven off by a force sent from St. Augustine.28

When South Carolina was settled, in the year 1670, the English found the post and missions about Port Royal abandoned, but those in Guale still flourishing. In a letter to Lord Ashley, dated the same year, William Owen says:

There are only foure [Spanish miasionaries] betweene us and St. Augustines. Our next neighbour is he of Wallie wch ye Spaniard calls St Katarina who hath about 300? Indians att his devoir. With him joyne ye rest of ye Brotherhood and cann muster upp from 700 hundred Indians besides those of ye main they vpon any vrgent occasions shall call to their assistance, they by these Indians make warr with any other people yt disoblige them and yet seem not to be concerned in ye matter.29

In addition to Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Tolomato, four Guale missions appear in the mission list of 1680, viz, San Buenaventura de Ovadalquini, Santo Domingo de Assaho, San Joseph de Capala, and Santa Cathalina de Guale. They were placed in one province with two Timucua missions, the whole being called the Provincia de Guale y Mocama.30 Mocama means ‘on the sea” in Timucua, the Timucua towns in this province being on and near the Atlantic.

Through a letter written to the court of Spain May 14, 1680, we learn that the “Chichumecos, Uchizes, and Chiluques (i. e., the Yuchi, Creeks, and Cherokee) had made friends with the English and had jointly attacked two of the Guale missions. The writer says that (apparently in the year preceding):

They entered all together, first that on the island of Guadalquini, belonging to said province [of Guale]. There they caused several deaths, but when the natives appeared led by my lieutenant, to defend themselves, they retired and within a few days they entered the island of Santa Catalina, capital and frontier post, against these enemies. They were over three hundred men strong, and killed the guard of six men. with the exception of one man who escaped and gave the alarm, thus enabling the inhabitants of that village to gather for their defense. They consisted of about 40 natives and five Spaniards of this garrison, who occupied the convent of the friar of that doctrina, where a few days previously captain Francisco Fuentes, my lieutenant of that province had arrived. He planned their defense so well and with such great courage that he kept it up from dawn until 4p.m. with sixteen Indians who had joined him with their firearms (on this occasion I considered it important that the Indians should carry firearms). As soon as I was advised of what had occurred I sent assistance, the first three days ahead. Then I sent a body of about thirty men and a boat with thirteen people, including the sailors, but when they arrived the enemy had retreated. I am assured that among them [the enemies] there came several Englishmen who instructed them, all armed with long shotguns, which caused much horror to those natives, who abandoned the island of Santa Catalina. I am told that they might return to live there if the garrison be doubled. As I have heard that they had eight men there from this garrison, I have resolved to send as many as twenty, because it is very important to support the province of Guale for the sake of this garrison, as well for its safety and conservation as for its subsistence and protection against invasion as it is the provider of this garrison on account of its abundance and richness compared with this place which is so poor. I am always afraid that they might penetrate by the sandbar of Zapata [Zapala].31

That the friars were not in all cases protectors of the Indians appears from a letter written to Governor Cabrera by “the casique of the province of Guale” dated May 5, 1681, complaining of their arbitrary and overbearing attitude. Cabrera was, however, no lover of friars. Meantime the pressure of the northern Indians continued. Cabrera, in a letter dated December 8, 1680, speaks of what appears to have been a second invasion of Guale by the English and “Chuchumecos,” and in one of June 14, 1681, he states that some Guale Indians had taken to the woods, while others had assembled in the Florida towns farther south, the town of Carlos, “40 leagues from St. Augustine,” being particularly mentioned. Several invasions appear to have taken place at about this time and a letter, written March 20, 1683, states that Guale had been totally ruined by them.32

In 1682 the South Carolina Documents refer to “the nations of Spanish Indians, which they call Sapalla, Soho [Asaho], and Sapicbay,” and from the identity of the first two it is probable that all were Guale tribes.33

We now come to the final abandonment of Guale, both by Spaniards and Indians; and here our authorities do not agree. Barcia, presumably relying upon documents to which no one else has had access, states that the governor of Florida wished to remove the Indians forcibly to islands nearer St. Augustine, whereupon they rebelled and took to the woods or passed over to the English. Certain manuscript authorities, however, represent the removal as having been at the request of the Indians themselves, and the raid upon St. Catherines mentioned above doubtless had something to do with it. Barcia’s account runs thus:

[Don Juan Marquez] had occasioned a rebellion of the Indians of the towns of San Felipe, San Simon, Santa Catalina, Sapala, Tupichihasao, Obaldaquini, and others, because he wanted to move them to the islands of Santa Maria, San Juan, and Santa Cruz, and in order to escape this transplantation many fled to the forests, and others passed to the province of S. Jorge, or Carolina, a colony made shortly before by the English in the country of the Spaniards, upon which Virginia joins, and bordering upon Apalachicolo, Caveta, and Casica …34

The name Tupichihasao seems to combine the names of the towns Topiqui and Asao (or Hasao), which were probably run together in copying. The latter was on or near St. Simons Island and may be merely the Indian name of the St. Simons mission. The San Felipe mission must have been a comparatively new one; it evidently had nothing to do with the former Fort Felipe at St. Helena, which had been long abandoned.

An entirely different view of this Indian movement is given in a letter from the King of Spain, dated September 9, 1688, from which it appears that the chiefs and natives of Guale had asked to be settled where they could enjoy more quiet and had chosen the islands of San Pedro, Santa Maria, and San Juan. It was, however, decided to assign them the last two of these, and instead of San Pedro a third nearer St. Augustine, called Santa Cruz.35

An interesting glimpse of these missions is furnished us by the Quaker Dickenson in 1699, when he and his companioiis who had been shipwrecked on the southeast coast of Florida passed north from St. Augustine on their way to Carolina. He says:

Taking our departure from Augustine [Sept. 29] we had about 2 or 3 leagues to an Indian town called St. a Cruce, where, being landed, we were directed to the Indian warehouse [town house]. It was built round, having 16 squares,36 and on each square a cabin37 built and painted, which would hold two people, the house being about 50 feet diameter; and in the middle of the top was a square opening about 15 feet. This house was very clean; and fires being ready made nigh our cabin, the Spanish captain made choice of cabins for him and his soldiers and appointed us our cabins, in this town they have a friar and a large house to worship in, with three bells; and tlh Indians go as constantly to their devotions at all times and seasons, as any of the Spaniards. Night being come and the time of their devotion over, the friar came in, and many of the Indians, both men and women, and they had a dance according to their way and custom. We had plenty of Casseena drink, and such victuals as the Indians had provided for us, some bringing corn boiled, others pease; some one thing, some another; of all which we made a good supper, and slept till morning.

This morning early [Sept. 30] we left this town, having about 2 leagues to go with the canoes, and then we were to travel by land; but a cart was provided to carry our provisions and necessaries, in which those that could not travel were carried. We had about 5 leagues to a sentinel’s house, where we lay all night, and next morning travelled along the sea shore about 4 leagues to an inlet. Here we waited for canoes to come for us, to carry us about 2 miles to an Indian town called St. Wan’s [San Juan’s], being on an island. We went through a skirt of wood into the plantations, for a mile. In the middle of this island is the town, St. Wan’s, a large town and many people; they have a friar and worship house. The people are very industrious, having plenty of hogs, fowls, and large crops of corn, as we could tell by their corn houses. The Indians brought us victuals as at the last town, and we lay in their warehouse, which was larger than at the other town.

This morning [Oct. 2] the Indians brought us victuals for breakfast, and the friar gave my wife some loaves of bread made of Indian corn which was somewhat extraordinary; also a parcel of fowls.

About 10 o’clock in the forenoon we left St. Wan’s walking about a mile to the sound; here were canoes and Indians ready to transport us to the next town. We did believe we might have come all the way along the sound, but the Spaniards were not willing to discover the place to us.

An hour before sun set we got to the town call’d St. Mary’s. This was a frontier and garrison town; the inhabitants are Indians with some Spanish soldiers. We were conducted to the ware house, as the custom is, every town having one: we understood these houses were either for their times of mirth and dancing, or to lodge and entertain strangers. The house was about 31 feet diameter,38 built round, with 32 squares; in each square a cabin about 8 feet long, of good height, painted and well matted. The centre of the building is a quadrangle of 20 feet, being open at the top, against which the house is built. In this quadrangle is the place they dance, having a great fire in the middle. In one of the squares is the gate way or passage. The women natives of these towns clothe themselves with the moss of trees, making gowns and petticoats thereof, which at a distance, or in the night, looks very neat. The Indian boys we saw were kept to school in the church, the friar being their schoolmaster. This was the largest town of all, and about a mile from it was another called St. Philip’s. At St. Mary’s we were to stay till the 5th or 6th inst. Here we were to receive our 60 roves of corn and 10 of pease. While we staid we had one half of our corn beaten into meal by the Indians, the other we kept whole, not knowing what weather we should have.. . . We got of the Indians plenty of garlick and long pepper, to season our corn and pease, both of which are griping and windy, and we made wooden trays and spoons to eat with. We got rushes and made a sort of plaited rope thereof; the use we intended it for, was to be serviceable to help us in building huts or tents with, at such times as we should meet with hard weather . . .

We departed this place [Oct. 6] and put into the town of St. Philip’s, where the Spanish Captain invited us on shore to drink Casseena, which we did: the Spaniards, having left something behind, we staid here about an hour, and then set forward.

About 2 or 3 leagues from hence we came in sight of an Indian town called Sappataw.”39

“Sappataw” is probably a misprint for Sappalaw, i. e., Sapelo. Some, and probably all, of these missions were on the sites of former missions occupied by Timucua, but most of the latter Indians must have died out or been removed. At least, Dickenson says in two places that the Indians living there were “related” to the Yamasee then in Carolina.40

If Barcia may be trusted, a considerable number of Guale Indians fled to South Carolina at the time when the remainder of the tribe was removed to Florida. In 1702 a second outbreak occurred, resulting, apparently, in the reunion of all of the Guale natives on Savannah River, in the edge of the English colony and under the lead of the Yamasee. These two rebellions are indicated in the legend on an early Spanish map which states that the Spaniards occupied San Felipe, Guale, and Sapelo until 1686, when they withdrew to St. Simons, and that in 1702 St. Simons was also abandoned. It is clear, however, from Dickenson’s narrative that the Georgia coast had been practically given up in his time, so that the “withdrawal” from St. Simons meant in reality the removal of the remaining Guale Indians from Florida. Probably most of those who fled to the English at the earlier date were from the northern part of the Georgia coast, while those who went to Florida were principally from St. Simons and other southern missions. Even in 1702 a few probably remained under the Spanish government until their kinsmen shifted their allegiance once more in 1715. The only specific reference to this second outbreak that has come to my attention is contained in a letter written from London, about 1715, by Juan de Ayala, who says:

In the year 1702 the native Indians of all the provinces of San Agustin, who since its discovery had been converted to the Catholic faith, and maintained as subjects of his Majesty, revolted, and, forsaking that religion, sought the protection of the English of Carolina, with whom they have remained ever since, continually harassing the Catholic Indians.41

This revolt was due, in part, to compulsion exercised by the English and their allies, in part it was an unavoidable “taking to the woods,” through the failure of the Spaniards to protect their proteges, and in part it came from the prestige which success brought the victorious English. The underlying cause was the unwillingness on the part of the Spaniards to allow their Indians the use of firearms and a stingy home policy, which left Florida insufficiently defended. It is doubtful how far the Timucua tribes engaged in this secession. At any rate they did not go in such numbers as to attract the attention of the English. The Apalachee and the people of Guale remained distinct. The fortunes of those Guale Indians who remained in Florida from the time of the rebellion imtil they were rejoined by their kinsmen who had gone to Carolina will be considered when we come to speak of the Timucua, probably constituting the largest portion of the Indians who were true to Spain.

The Yamasee Indians

From this time on the name Guale practically disappears, and the people who formerly bore it are almost invariably known as Yamasee. It has been thought by recent investigators that the people of Guale and the Yamasee were identical, but facts contained in the Spanish archives show that this is incorrect. They make it plain that the Yamasee were an independent tribe from very early times, belonging, as Barcia states, to the province of Guale, or perhaps rather to its outskirts, but not originally a dominant tribe of the province. It was only in later years that by taking the lead among the hostile Indians their name came to supersede that of Guale and of every band of Guale Indians. They are not mentioned frequently until late, and it is only by piecing together bits of information from various quarters that we can get any idea of their history.

For our first notice we must go back to the very beginning of Spanish exploration on the Atlantic coast of North America, to the list of “provinces” for which Francisco of Chicora was responsible. In this list, as previously noted,42 we find one province called “Yamiscaron” which there is every reason to believe refers to the tribe we have under discussion. The peculiar ending suggests a form which appears again in Yamacraw and which it is difficult to account for in a tribe supposed to be Muskhogean and without a true phonetic r in the Maskoki language. I can explain it only by supposing that it was originally taken from the speech of the Siouan neighbors of these people to the northeast.43

April 4, 1540, De Soto’s army came to a province called by Biedma “the Province of Altapaha.” Elvas gives it as “the town of Altamaca,” but Ranjel has the correct form Altamaha. The last mentioned speaks as if the Spaniards did not pass through the main town, but they received messengers from the chief, who furnished them with food and had them transported across a river. This was probably the river which Biedma says encouraged them because it flowed east instead of south. Ranjel seems to imply that Altamaha, like a neighboring chief called Çamumo, was the subject of “a great chief whose name was Ocute” (the Hitchiti).44 The significance in this encounter is due to the fact that Altamaha afterwards appears as the head town of the Lower Yamasee. From Ranjel’s statement it would seem that the Yamasee were at this time connected with the Hitchiti, whereas the language of the Guale people proper was somewhat different.

The next reference comes in a letter dated November 15, 1633, and is as follows: “The Amacanos Indians have approached the Province of Apalache and desire missionaries.”45 August 22, 1639, Gov. Damian de la Vega Castro y Pardo writes that he has made peace between the Apalachee on one side and the “Chacatos [Chatot], Apalachocolos [Lower Creeks], and Amacanos.”46 These last references indicate that while the Yamasee may have been theoretically in the Province of Guale, they rather belonged to its hinterland and, as presently appears, were not missionized or affected much by European influences. In 1670 William Owen speaks of them as allies of the Spaniards living south of the Cusabo.47 They come to light next in Spanish documents, this time unequivocally, in a letter of Gov. Don Pablo de Hita Solazar, dated March 8, 1680. He says:

It has come to the notice of his honor that some Yamasee Indians, infidels (unos yndios Yamasis ynfieles), who are in the town which was that of San Antonio de Anacape, have asked for a minister to teach them our holy Catholic faith.48

This mission was 20 leagues from St. Augustine, evidently that called Antonico in the Fresh Water district, and the governor entrusted these Yamasee at first to the care of Fray Bartholome de Quiñones, Padre and Doctrinero del Pueblo de Maiaca, which was 16 leagues beyond. These Yamasee explain why the station of San Antonio is called a “new conversion” in the mission list of 1680, although it existed at a very much earlier period as a Timucua mission.49 The application of the term “infidels” to them is significant; had they been from the coast district of Guale they would in all probability have been Christianized by this time. The name Nombre de Dios de Amacarisse, which also occurs in the mission list of 1680, indicates still another body of Yamasee in that old station.50) Fairbanks calls it Macarisqui and speaks of it as the principal town.51) Barcia52 spells it Mascarasi and says it was within 600 yards (varas) of St. Augustine, which would agree with the known situation of Nombre de Dios. The next we hear of them the Yamasee have taken the lead among those Indians which sought refuge near the English colony of Carolina and they became so prominent that the English do not appear to have been aware that any other Indians accompanied them.

In a letter to the Spanish monarch, dated London, October 20, 1734, Fray Joseph Ramos Escudero seems to attribute their primacy to encouragement given the Yamasee by the English and the supplies of clothing and arms with which they provided them.53

In the copy of this letter made by Miss Brooks the name of the tribe is consistently spelled Llamapas, but there can be no question regarding its identity. The original Y has been transposed into a double l and the old style ss into p, Escudero explains their removal from the Spanish colony by saying that these Yamasee “had a grudge agamst a certain governor of Florida on account of having ill treated their chief by words and deeds, because the latter, owing to the sickness of his superior, had failed one year to send to the city of St. Augustine, Florida, a certain number of men for the cultivation of the lands as he was obliged to do.”

Another account of the rebellion is given by Barcia. Referring to the colony of South Carolina, he says:

Some Indians fled to this province because the English who occupied it had persuaded theqd to give them obedience, instead of to the king; especially the chief of the Iamacos, a nation which lived in the province of Guale, becoming offended at the governor, without being placated by the strong persuasions and repeated kindnesses which the Franciscan missionaries showed to him in the year 1684, for despising all he withdrew to his country and afterwards gave obedience to the English settled in Santa Elena and San Jorge, other Indians following him; and not satisfied with this lapse of faith, he returned the following year to the province of Timuqua or Timagoa to make war, plundered the Doctrina of Santa Oatalina, carried off the furnishings of the church and convent of San Francisco, burned the town, inflicted grievous death on many Indians, and carried back other prisoners to Santa Elena, where he made slaves of them, which invasion was so unexpected that it could not be foreseen nor prevented …54

Early South Carolina documents speak of 10 Yamasee towns there, 5 upper towns headed by Pocotaligo, and 5 lower towns headed by Altamahaw or Aratomahaw.55 The new settlers were given a strip of land back of Port Royal on the northeast side of the Savannah River, which, long after they had vacated it, was still known as “the Indian land.” The following names of chiefs or “kings” are given in the South Carolina documents and these evidently refer to their towns: The Pocotalligo king, the Altamahaw king, the Yewhaw king, the Huspaw king, the Chasee king, the Pocolabo king, the Ilcombe king, and the Dawfuskee king,56 though the identity of this last is a little uncertain. The “Peterba king” mentioned among those killed in the Tuscarora war in 1712 was also probably a Yamasee, though he may have been an Apalachee. There were 87 Yamasee among Col. Barnwell’s Indian allies in the Tuscarora expedition.57

Footnotes

  1. See pp. 14-16. 

  2. Lowery, MSS. 

  3. Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, I, pp. 50-51. 

  4. This is about a third of a degree too far north. From this statement it appears that the town of Guale was on Ossabaw Island, and this agrees with the position given it on Le Moyne’s map, on an island between the mouths of the rivers Grande and Belle. 

  5. If we follow Le Moyne we must place this on St. Catherines Island. (See preceding note. 

  6. The material in this paragraph is drawn from the Lowery MSS., except that regarding Couexis, for which see p. 50. 

  7. See p. 86. 

  8. See p. 20. 

  9. See p. 243. 

  10. See p. 12. 

  11. One Spanish document registers the primacy of Tolomato in these words: “La lengua de Guale de que es mico y cabeça Tolomato.” 

  12. See p. 41. 

  13. See p. 41. 

  14. See p. 50. 

  15. Ruidiaz, La Florida, II, p. 307; Barcia, La Florida, pp. 138-139. 

  16. Lowery, MSS. 

  17. This word, puerto, may be a misprint of puerta, gate. 

  18. This name is given farther on as de Avila or Avila. 

  19. It appears from unpublished Spanish documents that he sent two canoes against two which the enemy had dispatched in advance. 

  20. Barcia, La Florida, pp. 170-172. 

  21. The above material is from the Brooks and Lowery MSS. in the Library of Congress. 

  22. Serrano y Sanz, Doc. Hist., p. 161 

  23. Lowery and Brooks, MSS., Lib. Cong. 

  24. Lowery, MSS. 

  25. Serrano y Sanz, Doc. Hist. , pp. 164-193. 

  26. See p. 322; and Serrano y Sanz, Doc. Hist., p. 132. 

  27. Serrano y Sanz, Doc. Hist. , pp. 164-193. 

  28. Lowery, MSS. 

  29. S. Car. Hist. Soc. Colls., v, p. 198. 

  30. Serrano y Sanz, Doc. Hist., pp. 216-219. 

  31. S. Car. Hist. Soc. Colls., v, p. 198. 

  32. Lowery, MSS., Lib. Cong. 

  33. MS., Pub. Rec. of S. C, II. 8. 

  34. Barcia, La Florida, p. 287. 

  35. Brooks, MSS. Miss Brooks has given the name of this king as Philip IV, but he was long dead and Charles II was on the throne. For the location of these islands see p. 51 and plate 1. 

  36. This term seems to be applied to the spaces between the vertical wall timbers. 

  37. Old name for a bed raised on posts close to the wall of an Indian house. 

  38. This figure is too small, perhaps due to a misprint; 32 squares 8 feet long would mean a circumfercnoe of 256 feet and a diameter of 70-80 feet. The figure 3 In 31 is probably a misprint for 8 as suggested by Bushnell (see below). 

  39. Dickenson, Narrative, pp. 90-94. See D. I. Bushnell, Jr., in Bull. 69, Bur. Amer. Ethn., pp. 84-85, who gives diagrammatic plans of the town houses. 

  40. Dickenson, Narrative, pp. 94, 96. 

  41. Brooks, MSS. 

  42. See p. 37. 

  43. But see p. 108. 

  44. Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, I, p. 66; II, pp. 10, 89-90. 

  45. Lowery, MSS. 

  46. Ibid.; also Serrano y Sans, Doc. Hist., pp. 198-199. 

  47. See p. 67. 

  48. Lowery, MSS. 

  49. Lowery, MSS. 

  50. G. R. Fairbanks, Hist. of St. Augustine, p. 125. The name of this town helps explain the later “Yamacraw.” (See p. 108. 

  51. G. R. Fairbanks, Hist. of St. Augustine, p. 125. The name of this town helps explain the later “Yamacraw.” (See p. 108. 

  52. Barcia, La Florida, p. 240. 

  53. Brooks, MSS. 

  54. Barda, La Florida, p. 287. 

  55. Proc. Board dealing with Indian Trade, MS., pp. 46 and 47. 

  56. Ibid., pp. 55, 58, 81, 102; Council Records, MS., VI p. 159; VII, p. 186; X, p. 177. 

  57. S. Car Hist. and Gen. Mag., 9, pp. 30-31. 


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