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Okmulgee Tribe

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Georgia,Native American,Oklahoma | No Comments

This tribe also belonged to the Hitchiti group. The name refers to the bubbling up of water in a spring, and in Creek it is called Oiki łåko, and Oikewali, signifying much the same thing. The designation is said to have come originally from a large spring in Georgia. One of my informants thought that this was near Fort Mitchell, but probably it was the same spring from which the Ocmulgee River got its name, and this would be the famous “Indian Spring” in Butts County, Georgia. As early maps consulted by me do not show a town of the name on Ocmulgee River, and as the site of the Ocmulgee old fields was occupied by Hitchiti, I believe the Okmulgee were a branch of the Hitchiti, which perhaps left the town on the Ocmulgee before the main body of the people and made an independent settlement on Chattahoochee River. There their nearest neighbors were the Chiaha and Osochi, and the three together constituted what were sometimes known as “the point towns” from a point of land made by the river at that place. Bartram does not give the tribe separate mention, perhaps because he reckoned them as part of the Chiaha or Osochi. The French enumeration of 1750 records them as “Oemoulké,”1 the French census of about 1760 as “Omolquet,”2 and the Georgia census of 1761 gives them as one of “the point towns.”3 Hawkins omits them from his sketch, but mentions them in his notes taken in 1797, where he says:

Ocmulgee Village, 7 miles [below Hotalgihuyana]. There is a few families, the remains of the Ocmulgee people who formerly resided at the Ocmulgee fields on Ocmulgee River; lands poor, pine barren on both sides; the swamp equally poor and sandy; the growth dwarf scrub brush, evergreens, among which is the Cassine.”4

The mouth of Kinchafoonee creek was 8 miles below.

Manuel Garcia mentions their chief as one of several Lower Creek chiefs with whom he had a conference in the year 1800. He spells the name “Okomulgue.”5 Morse (1822) includes them in a list of towns copied from a manuscript by Capt. Young. They were then located east of Flint River, near the Hotalgihuyana, and numbered 220.6 They are wanting from the census rolls of 1832, but perhaps formed one of the two Osochi towns mentioned, each of which is given a very large population. On their removal west of the Mississippi they settled in the northeastern corner of the new Creek territory, near the Chiaha. They were among the first to give up their old square ground and to adopt white manners and customs. Probably in consequence of this progress they furnished three chiefs to the Creek Nation — Joe Perryman, Legus Perryman, and Pleasant Porter — and a number of leading men besides.

Footnotes

  1. MSS., Ayer Coll. 

  2. Miss. Prov. Arch., I. p. 96. 

  3. Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 522. 

  4. Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 173. 

  5. Copy MS. in Ayer Coll., Newberry Lib. 

  6. Morse, Rept. on Ind. Aff., p. 364. 


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