Kolomi Tribe

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The earliest mention of Kolomi town is contained in a letter of the Spanish lieutenant at Apalachee, Antonio Mateos, in 1686.1 A translation of this has been given in considering the history of the Kasihta.2 The town was then probably on Ocmulgee River, where it appears on some of the very early maps, placed close to Atasi. From the failure of Mateos to mention Atasi it is possible that that town was not yet in existence. From later maps we learn that after the Yamasee war the Kolomi settled on the Chattahoochee. The maps show them in what is now Stewart County, Ga., but Colomokee Creek in Clay County may perhaps mark a former settlement of Kolomi people farther south. The name is often given on maps in the form ”Colomino.”3 Still later they removed to the Tallapoosa, where, as appears from Bartram, they first settled upon the east bank but later moved across.4 In all these changes they seem to have kept company with the Atasi. Their name appears in the lists of 1738, 1750, 1760, and 1761. In 1761 their officially recognized trader was James Germany.5 Bartram thus describes the town in 1777:

Here are very extensive old fields, the abandoned plantations and commons of the old town, on the east side of the river; but the settlement is removed, and the new town now stands on the opposite shore, in a charming fruitful plain, under an elevated ridge of hills, the swelling beds or bases of which are covered with a pleasing verdure of grass; but the last ascent is steeper, and towards the summit discovers shelving rocky cliffs, which appear to be continually splitting and bursting to pieces, scattering their thin exfoliations over the tops of the grassy knolls beneath. The plain is narrow where the town is built; their houses are neat commodious buildings, a wooden frame with plastered walls, and roofed with Cypress bark or shingles; every habitation consists of four oblong square houses, of one story, of the same form and dimensions, and so situated as to form an exact square, encompassing an area or courtyard of about a quarter of an acre of ground, leaving an entrance into it at each comer. Here is a beautiful new square or areopagus, in the centre of the new town; but the stores of the principal trader, and two or three Indian habitations, stand near the banks of the opposite shore on the site of the old Coolome town. The Tallapoose River is here three hundred yards over, and about fifteen or twenty feet deep; the water is very clear, agreeable to the taste, esteemed salubrious, and runs with a steady, active current.6

A little later Bartram called again and has the following to say regarding the trader, James Germany, mentioned above:

[I] called by the way at the beautiful town of Coolome, where I tarried some time with Mr. Germany the chief trader of the town, an elderly gentleman, but active, cheerful and very agreeable, who received and treated me with the utmost civility and friendship; his wife is a Creek woman, of a very amiable and worthy character and disposition, industrious, prudent and affectionate; and by her he has several children, whom he is desirous to send to Savanna or Charleston, for their education, but can not prevail on his wife to consent to it.7

In May, 1797, according to a list compiled by Hawkins, there was no trader in this town, but in a subsequent list, dated September of the same year, he gives William Gregory, who was formerly a hireling of Nicholas White at Fushatchee.8 Swan (1791) mentions the place,9 and Hawkins (1799) thus describes it:

Coo-loo-me is below and near to Foosce-hat-che, on the right side of the river; the town is small and compact, on a flat much too low, and subject to be overflowed in the seasons of floods, which is once in fifteen or sixteen years, always in the winter season, and mostly in March; they have, within two years, begun to settle back, next to the broken lands; the cornfields are on the opposite side, joining those of Foosce-hat-che, and extend together near four miles down the river, from one hundred to two hundred yards wide. Back of these hills there is a rich swamp of from four to six hundred yards wide, which, when reclaimed, must be valuable for corn and rice and could be easily drained into the river, which seldom overflows its banks, in spring or summer.

They have no fences; they have huts in the fields to shelter the laborers in the summer season from rain, and for the guards set to watch the crops while they are growing. At this season some families move over and reside in their fields, and return with their crops into the town. There are two paths, one through the fields on the river bank, and the other back of the swamp. In the season for melons the Indians of this town and Foosce-hat-che show in a particular manner their hospitality to all travellers, by calling to them, introducing them to their huts or the shade of their trees, and giving them excellent melons, and the best fare they possess. Opposite the town house, in the fields, is a conical mound of earth thirty feet in diameter, ten feet high, with large peach trees on several places. At the lower end of the fields, on the left bank of a fine little creek, Le-cau-suh, is a pretty little village of Coo-loo-me people, finely situated on a rising ground; the land up this creek is waving pine forest.10

The name of this town is wanting from the census rolls of 1832, and there is little doubt that the tradition is correct which states that it was one of those which went to Florida after the Creek war of 1813.11 A part of the Kolomi people were already in that country, since they are noted in papers of John Stuart, the British Indian agent, dated 1778.12 According to a very old Creek Indian, now dead, Kolomi decreased so much in numbers that it united with Fus-hatchee, and Fus-hatchee decreased so much that it united with Atasi, with which the town of Kan-hatki, to be mentioned elsewhere, also combined. But, as we shall see, this can not have been altogether true, though it is an undoubted fact that the towns mentioned were closely united in terms of friendship. While Kolomi is still preserved as a war name very few of the Creeks in Oklahoma remember it as a town.

Footnotes

  1. Serrano y Sanz, Doc. Hist., pp. 194-195. 

  2. See p. 221. 

  3. This form of the name suggests a derivation from kulo, a kind of oak with large acorns, and omin, “where there are.” 

  4. Bartram, Travels, p. 394. 

  5. MS8., Ayer Lib.; Miss. Prov. Arch., I, p. 94; Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 523. 

  6. Bartram, Travels, pp. 394-395. 

  7. Bartram, Travels, pp. 447-448. 

  8. Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, pp. 168-195. 

  9. Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, p. 262. 

  10. Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, pp. 33-34. 

  11. See Gatschet in Misc. Colls. Ala. Hist. Soc., I, p. 401. 

  12. Copy of MS. in Lib Cong. 



MLA Source Citation:

Swanton, John Reed. Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors. US Government Printing Office. 1902. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 13 October 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/kolomi-tribe.htm - Last updated on Aug 26th, 2014


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