Muskogee. Meaning unknown, but perhaps originally from Shawnee and having reference to swampy ground. To this tribe the name Creeks was ordinarily applied. Also called:
- Ani’-Gu’sa, by the Cherokee, meaning “Coosa people,” after an ancient and famous town on Coosa River.
- Ku-û’sha, by the Wyandot.
- Ochesee, by the Hitchiti.
- Sko’-ki han-ya, by the Biloxi.
Muskogee Connections. The Muskogee language constitutes one division of the Muskhogean tongues proper, that which I call Northern.
Muskogee Location. From the earliest times of which we have any record these people seem to have had towns all the way from the Atlantic coast of Georgia and the neighborhood of Savannah River to central Alabama. (See also Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.)
It is difficult to separate major divisions of the Muskogee from towns and towns from villages, but there were certainly several distinct Muskogee tribes at a very early period. The following subdivisional classification is perhaps as good as any:
Abihka (in St. Clair, Calhoun, and Talladega Counties):
- Abihka-in-the-west, a late branch of Abihka in the western part of the Creek Nation, Okla.
- Abihkutci, on Tallassee Hatchee Creek, Talladega County, on the right bank 5 miles from Coosa River.
- Kan-tcati, on or near Chocolocko, or Choccolocco, Creek and probably not far from the present “Conchardee.”
- Kayomalgi, possibly settled by Shawnee or Chickasaw, probably near Sylacauga, Talladega County.
- Lun-ham-ga, location unknown.
- Talladega, on Talladega Creek, Talladega County.
- Tcahki lako, on Choccolocco Creek in Talladega or Calhoun County.
- on the upper Ocmulgee River
- on the Chattahoochee
- on the Tallapoosa in Tallapoosa County
- on the south side of the Tallapoosa in Macon County
- on the north side near Calebee Creek in Elmore County.
- Abihkutci, a division of Okfuskee, which apparently came into existence after the Creeks had removed to Oklahoma.
- Atcinaulga, on the west bank of Tallapoosa River in Randolph County.
- Big Tulsa, on the east bank of Tallapoosa River at the mouth of Ufaubee Creek in Tallapoosa County.
- Chatukchufaula, possibly identical with the last, on Nafape Creek or Tallapoosa River.
- Chuleocwhooatlee, on the left bank of Tallapoosa River, 11 miles below Nuyaka, in Tallapoosa County.
- Holitaiga, on Chattahoochee River in Troup County, Ga.
- Imukfa, on Emaufaw Creek in Tallapoosa County
- Ipisagi, on Sandy Creek in Tallapoosa County.
- Kohamutkikatsa, location unknown.
- Little Tulsa, on the ‘east side of Coosa River, 3 miles above the falls, Elmore County.
- Lutcapoga, perhaps near Loachapoka in Lee County, or on the upper Tallapoosa.
- Nafape, on a creek of the same name flowing into Ufaubee Creek.
- Okfuskee, location
- at the mouth of Hillabee Creek
- at the mouth of Sand Creek, both in Tallapoosa County
- on Chattahoochee River in Troup County, Ga.
- on the upper Tallapoosa in Tallapoosa County, Ala.
- another town of the name or an earlier location of the first somewhere near the lower Tallapoosa
- Old Coosa, near the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers
- Otciapofa, on the east side of the Coosa River in Elmore County, just below the falls.
- Saoga-hatchee, on Saogahatchee Creek, in Tallapoosa or Lee County.
- Suka-ispoga, on the west bank of Tallapoosa River below the mouth of Hillibee Creek, in Tallapoosa County, Alabama.
- Tallassehasee, on Tallassee Hatchee Creek in Talladega County.
- Tcahkilako, On Chattahoochee River near Franklin, Heard County, Ga.
- Tcatoksofka, seemingly a later name of the main Okfuskee town.
- Teawokela, 25 miles east northeast of the mouth of Upatoie Creek, probably near Chewacla Station, Lee County.
- Tculakonini, on Chattahoochee River in Troup County Ga.
- Tohtogagi, on the west bank of Tallapoosa River, probably in Randolph County.
- Tukabahchee Tallahassee, later called Talmutcasi, on the west side of Tallapoosa River in Tallapoosa County, Alabama.
- Tukpafka, on Chattahoochee River in Heard County, Ga. later moved to Tallapoosa, settled on the left bank 11 miles above Okfuskee, Tallapoosa County, and renamed Nuyaka.
- Tulsa Canadian, a branch of Tulsa on the Canadian River, Oklahoma.
- Tulsa Little River, a branch of Tulsa near Holdenvillle, Oklahoma.
Coweta (early location on the upper Ocmulgee, later on the west bank of Chattahoochee River in Russell County, Ala. opposite Columbus, Ga.)
- Coweta Tallahassee, later Likatcka or Broken Arrow, probably a former location of the bulk of the tribe, on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River in Russell County, Ala.
- Katca tastanagi’s Town “at Cho-lose-pare-kari.”
- Settlements on “Hallewokke Y oaxarhatchee.”
- Settlements on “Toosilkstorkee Hatchee.”
- Settlements on “Warkeeche Hatchee.”
- Wetumpka, branch of the last on the main fork of Big Uchee Creek 12 miles northwest from the mother town, Coweta Tallahassee.
- A branch among the Seminole called Kan-tcatiFlorida, Chowok ohatchee.”
- A branch village of Eufaula hopai on a creek called Chowokolohatchee
- Eufaulahatchee or Eufaula Old Town, on Talladega Creek, also called Eufaula Creek, 15 miles from its mouth.
- Lower Eufaula or Eufaula hopai, above the mouth of Pataula Creek, in Clay County, Georgia.
- Upper Eufaula, on the right bank of Tallapoosa River 5 miles below Okfuskee, in Tallapoosa County, at one time separated into Big Eufaula and Little Eufaula.
Hilibi (at the junction of Hillabee and Bear Creeks, Tallapoosa County)
- Anetechapko, 10 miles above Hillibi on a branch Hillabee Creek
- Etcuseislaiga, on the left hank of Hillabee Creek, 4 miles below Hilibi.
- Kitcopataki, location unknown
- Lanutciabala, on the northwest branch of Hillabee Creek, probably in Tallapoosa County
- Little Hilibi, location unknown.
- Oktahasasi, on a creek of the mane 2 miles below Hilibi.
Holiwahali (on the north bank of Tallapoosa Ruver in Elmore County)
- Lapiako, on the south side of Tallapoosa in Montgomery County nearly opposite Hołiwahali.
Kasihta (best-known location on the east bank of Chattahoochee River, at the junction of Upatoie Creek in Chattahoochee County, Ga.):
- Apatai, in the forks of Upatoie and Pine Knob Creeks in Muskogee County, Ga.
- Salenojuh, on Flint River 8 miles below Aupiogee Creek (?).
- Settlements bearing the same name (Kasihta).
- Settlements on Chowockeleehatchee Creek, Ala.
- Settlements on Little Uchee Creek, Ala.
- Settlements on “Tolarnulkar Hatchee.”
- Sicharlitcha, location unknown.
- Tallassee Town, on Opillikee Hatchee, perhaps in Schley or Macon Counties, Ga.
- Tuckabatchee Harjo’s Town, on Osenubba Hatchee, a west branch of the Chattahoochee, Ala.
- Tuskehenehaw Chooley’s Town, near West Point, Troup County, Ga.
- Asilanabi, on Yellow Leaf Creek in Shelby County, AL.
- Lalogalga, or Fish Pond, on a branch of Elkhatchee Creek, 14 miles up, in
- Tallapoosa or Coosa County.
- Okchai, location
- on the east side of the lower Coosa in Elmore County;
- in the southeastern part of Coosa County, on a creek bearing their name,
- which flowed into Kialaga Creek.
- Potcas hatchee, probably a branch of this on the upper Creek in Clay or Coosa County.
- Tcahki lako, on Chattahoochee River.
- Tulsa hatchee, location uncertain.
- Pakan Tallahassee, on Hatchet Creek, Coosa County.
- The Pakana who settled near Fort Toulouse at the junction of Coosa and
- Tallapoosa Rivers and afterward moved to Louisiana, living on Calcasieu River for a while.
Tukabahchee (in the sharp angle made where Tallapoosa River turns west in Elmore County):
- Only one small out village is mentioned, Wihili, location unknown.
Wakokai (on the middle course of Hatchet Creek in Coosa County):
- Sakapadai, probably on Sacapartoy, a branch of Hatchet Creek, Coosa County.
- Tukpafka, on Hatchet Creek, Coosa County.
- Wiogufki, on Weogufka Creek in Coosa County.
Besides the Muskogee tribes noted above, there were the following:
- Fus-hatchee. Not a major division; on the north bank of Tallapoosa River in Elmore County, 2 miles below Holiwahali. They may have been related to the Holiwahali.
- Kan-hatki. Not a major division; just below Kolomi on the north bank of Tallapoosa River in Elmore County. Possibly related to the Holiwahali.
- Kealedji. Not a primary division; perhaps a branch of Tukabahchee; locations:
- on the Ocmull-ee
- on Kialaga Creek in Elmore County or Tallapoosa County, having one branch Hatcheetcaba, west of Kealedji, probably in Elmore County
- Kolomi. Probably not a major division; locations:
- on the Ocmulgee
- on the middle Chattahoochee in Russell County, Ala.
- on the north side of the lower Tallapoosa in Elmore County. They may have been related to the Holiwahali
- Wiwohka. Not a primary division but a late town; location
- near the mouth of Hatchet Creek in Coosa County
- on Weeks Creek in Elmore County
In addition to the above there were a number of towns and villages which cannot be classified, or only with extreme doubt. They are as follows:
- Acpactaniche, on the headwaters of Coosa River, perhaps meant for Pakana.
- Alkehatchee, an Upper Creek town.
- Atchasapa, on Tallapoosa River not far below Tulsa, possibly for Hatcheechubba.
- Aucheucaula, in the northwestern part of Coosa County.
- Auhoba, below Autauga.
- Breed Camp, an Upper Creek town, probably meant for the Chickasaw settlement of Ooe-asa.
- Cauwaoulau, a Lower Creek village in Russell County west of Uchee Post Office and south of the old Federal road.
- Chachane, the Lower Creek town farthest downstream.
- Chanahunrege, between the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers in or near Coosa County.
- Chananagi, placed by Brannon (1909) “in Bullock County, just south of the Central of Georgia Railroad near Suspension.”
- Chichoufkee, an Upper Creek town in Elmore County, east of Coosa River and near Wiwoka Creek.
- Chinnaby’s Fort, at Ten Islands in the Coosa River.
- Chiscalage, in or near Coosa County, perhaps a body of Yuchi.
- Cholocco Litabixee, in the Horseshoe Bend of Tallapoosa River.
- Chuahla, just below White Oak Creek, south of Alabama River.
- Cohatchie, in the southwestern part of Talladega County on the bank of Coosa River.
- Conaliga, in the western part of Russell County or the eastern part of Macon, somewhere near the present Warrior Stand.
- Cooccohapofe, on Chattahoochee River.
- Cotohautustenuggee, on the right bank of Upatoie Creek, Muscogee County, Georgia.
- Cow Towns, location uncertain.
- Donnally’s Town, on the Flint or the Chattahoochee River.
- Ekun-duts-ke, probably on the south bank of Line Creek in Montgomery County.
- Emarhe, location uncertain.
- Eto-husse-wakkes, on Chattahoochee River, 3 miles above Fort Gaines.
- Fife’s Village, an Upper Creek village a few miles east of Talladega, Ala.
- Fin’halui, a Lower Creek settlement, perhaps the Yuchi settlement of High Log.
- Habiquache, given by the Popple Map as on the west side of Coosa River.
- Hkan atchaka, “Holy Ground,” in Lowndes County, 2½ miles due north of White Hall, just below the mouth of Holy Ground Creek on the Old Sprott Plantation.
- Istapoga, in Talladega County near the influx of Estaboga Creek into Choc
- colocco Creek, about 10 miles from Coosa River.
- Kehatches, somewhere above the bend of Tallapoosa River and between it and the Coosa.
- Keroff, apparently on the upper Coosa.
- Litafatchi, at the head of Canoe Creek in St. Clair County.
- Lustuhatchee, above the second cataract of Tallapoosa River.
- Melton’s Village, in Marshall County, Ala., on Town Creek, at the site of the present “Old Village Ford.”
- Ninnipaskulgee, near Tukabahchee.
- Nipky, probably a Lower Creek town.
- Oakchinawa Village, in Talladega County, on both sides of Salt Creek, near the point where it flows into Big Shoal Creek.
- Old Osonee Town, on Cahawba River in Shelby County.
- Opillako, on Pinthlocco Creek in Coosa County.
- Oti palm, on the west bank of Coosa River, just below the junction of Canoe Creek. (See Chinnaby’s Fort.)
- Oti tutcina, probably between Coosa and Opillako or Pakan Tallahassee and on Coosa River.
- Pea Creek, perhaps an out settlement of Tukabahchee, location unknown.
- Pin Huti, somewhere near Dadeville in Tallapoosa County.
- Rabbit Town, possibly a nickname, location unknown.
- St. Taffery’s, location unknown.
- Satapo, on Tennessee River.
- Talipsehogy, an Upper Creek settlement.
- Talishatchie Town, in Calhoun County east of a branch of Tallasehatchee Creek, 3 miles southwest of Jacksonville.
- Tallapoosa, said to be within a day’s journey of Fort Toulouse at the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers and probably on the river of that name.
- Talwa Hadjo, on Cahawba River.
- Tohowogly, perhaps intended for Sawokli, 8 to 10 miles below the falls of the Chattahoochee.
- Turkey Creek, in Jefferson County, on Turkey Creek north of Trussville, probably Creek.
- Uncuaula, in the western part of Coosa County on Coosa River.
- Wallhal, an Upper Creek town given on the Purcell map, perhaps intended for Eufaula, or an independent town on Wallahatchee Creek, Elmore County.
- Weyolla, a town so entered on the Popple Map, between the Coosa and Tallapoosa but near the former; probably a distorted form of the name of some well-known place.
Muskogee History. Muskogee tradition points to the northwest for the origin of the nation. In the spring of 1540, De Soto passed through some settlements and a “province” called Chisi, Ichisi, and Achese, in southern Georgia, which may have been occupied by Muskogee because they are known to Hitchiti-speaking people as Ochesce. Somewhat later he entered Cofitachequi, probably either the later Kasihta, or Coweta, and the same summer he entered Coosa and passed through the country of the Upper Creeks. Companions of De Luna visited Coosa again in 1559 and assisted it in its wars with a neighboring tribe to the West, the Napochi. Cofitachequi was visited later by Juan Pardo and other Spanish explorers and some of Pardo’s companions penetrated as far as Coosa. It is probable that part if not all of the province of Guale on the Georgia coast was at that time occupied by Muskogee, and relations between the Guale Indians and the Spaniards continued intimate from 1565 onward. Soon afterward the Spaniards also encountered the Creeks of Chattahoochee River. At what time the confederacy of which the Muskogee were the most important part was established is unknown but the nucleus probably existed in De Soto’s time. At any rate it was in a flourishing condition in 1670 when South Carolina was colonized and probably continued to grow more rapidly than before owing to the accession of Creek tribes displaced by the Whites or other tribes whom the Whites had displaced. Before 1715 a large body were living on Ocmulgee River but following on the Yamasee outbreak of that year they withdrew to the Chattahoochee from which they had moved previously to be near the English trading posts. Occupying, as they did a central position between the English, Spanish, and French colonies, the favor of the Creeks was a matter of concern to these nations, and they played a more important part than any other American Indians in the colonial history of the Gulf region. For a considerable period they were allied with the English, and they were largely instrumental in destroying the former Indian inhabitants of Florida and breaking up the missions which had been established there. Finding the territory thus vacated very agreeable and one abounding particularly game, they presently began to settle in it permanently, after it was ceded to Great Britain in 1763. The first of the true Muskogee to emigrate to Florida, except for a small band of Coweta, were some Eufaula Indians, and the Muskogee do not seem to have constituted the dominant element until after the Creek-American war 1813-14. In the last decades of the eighteenth century, the internal organization of the Confederacy was almost revolutionized by Alexander McGillivray, the son of a Scotch trader, who set up a virtual dictatorship and raised the Confederacy to a high position of influence by his skill in playing off one European nation against another. After his death friction developed between the factions favorable to and those opposed to the Whites. Inspired by the Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, a large part of the Upper Creeks broke out into open hostilities in 1813, but nearly all of the Lower Creeks and some of the most prominent Upper Creek towns refused to join with them and a large force from the Lower Creeks under William MacIntosh and Timpoochee Barnard, the Yuchi chief, actively aided the American army. The war was ended by Andrew Jackson’s victory at Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River, March 27, 1814. One immediate result of this war was to double or triple the number of Seminole in Florida, owing to the multitude of Creeks who wished to escape from their old country. From this time on friction between the pro-White and anti-White Creek factions increased. When the inducing Indians to emigrate, the friction increased still more and culminated in 1825 when the Georgia commissioners had induced William MacIntosh, leader of the pro-American faction, and some other chiefs to affix their signatures to a treaty ceding all that was then left of the Creek lands. For this act formal sentence of death was passed upon MacIntosh, and he was shot by a band of Indians sent to his house for that purpose May 1, 1825. However, the leaders of the Confederacy finally agreed to the removal, which took place between 1836 and 1840, the Lower Creeks settling in the upper part of their new lands and the Upper Creeks in the lower part. The former factional troubles kept the relations between these two sections strained for some years, but they were finally adjusted and in course of time an elective government with a chief, second chief, and a representative assembly of two houses was established, which continued until the nation was incorporated into the State of Oklahoma.
Muskogee Population. Except where an attempt is made to give the population by towns, it is usually impossible to separate the Muskogee from other peoples of the Confederacy. Correct estimates of all Creeks are also rendered difficult because they were taking in smaller tribes from time to time and giving off colonists to Florida and Louisiana. In 1702 Iberville placed the whole number of Creek and Alabama families at 2,000. In 1708 South Carolina officials estimated about 2,000 warriors. In 1715 something approaching a census was taken of the tribes in their vicinity by the government of South Carolina and a total of 1,869 men and a population of 6,522 was returned for the Creeks, exclusive of the Alabama, Yuchi, Shawnee, Apalachicola, and Yamasee. A town by town enumeration made by the Spaniards in 1738 shows 1,660 warriors; a French estimate of 1750, 905; another of 1760, 2,620; a North Carolina estimate of 1760, 2,000 warriors; an English estimate of 1761, 1,385; one of about 3,000 the same year; an American estimate of 1792, 2,850; and finally the census taken in 1832-33 just before the emigration of the Creeks to their new lands across the Mississippi, showed a total of 17,939 in the true Muskogee towns. Besides these more careful statements, we have a number of general estimates of warriors in the eighteenth century ranging from 1,250 up to between 5,000 and 6,000. This last was by Alexander McGillivray and is nearest that shown by the census of 1832-33. It would seem either that the earlier estimates were uniformly too low or that the Confederacy increased rapidly during the latter part of the eighteenth century and the first part of the nineteenth. After the removal estimates returned by the Indian Office and from other sources ranged between 20,000 and 25,000. When a new census was taken in 1857, however, less than 15,000 were returned, and there was a slow falling off until 1919 when there were about 12,000. It must be noted that the census of 1910 returned only 6,945, a figure which can be reconciled with that of the United States Indian Office only on the supposition that it is supposed to cover only Indians of full or nearly full blood. The report of the United States Indian Office for 1923 gives 11,952 Creeks by blood. Regarding the later population it must be remembered that it has become more and more diluted. The United States Census of 1930 gave 9,083 but included the Alabama and Koasati Indians of Texas and Louisiana and individuals scattered through more than 13 other States outside of Oklahoma, where 8,760 lived. These “general estimates” include the incorporated tribes.
Connection in which they have become noted. In the form Muskhogean, the name of this tribe was adopted by Powell (1891) for that group of languages to which the speech of the Muskogee belongs. In the form Muscogee it has been given to a county in western Georgia, and to a railroad junction in it, and to a post-village in Escambia County, Fla. In the form Muskogee it is the name of the capital of Muskogee County, Okla., the third largest city in that state. The political organization of which they constituted the nucleus and the dominant element represents the most successful attempt north of Mexico at the formation of a super state except that made by the Iroquois, and the part they played in the early history of our Gulf region was greater than that of any other, not even excepting the Cherokee. They were one of the principal mound-building tribes to survive into modern times and were unsurpassed in the elaborate character of their ceremonials (except possibly by the Natchez), while their prowess in war was proven by the great contest which they waged with the United States Government in 1813-14, and the still more remarkable struggle which their Seminole relatives and descendants maintained in Florida in 1835-1842. Their great war speaker, Hopohithli-yahola, was probably surpassed in native greatness by no chief in this area except the Choctaw Pushmataha. (See Foreman, 1930.)