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Osochi Tribe

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I have registered my belief that the origin of the Osochi is to be sought in that Florida “province” through which De Soto passed shortly before reaching the Apalachee. The name is given variously as Uçachile,1 Uzachil,2 Veachile,3 and Ossachile.4 Since the Timucua chief Uriutina speaks of the Uçachile as “of our nation,”5 while the chief of Uçachile is said to be “kinsman of the chief of Caliquen,”6 it may be inferred that the tribe then spoke a Timucua dialect.7 If this were really the case it is strange that, instead of retiring farther into Florida with the rest of the Timucua, these people chose to move northward entirely away from the old Timucua country. Nevertheless, Spanish documents do inform us of one northward movement as an aftermath of the Timucua rebellion in 1656.8 Other evidence seeming to mark out various steps in the migration of these people has been adduced already,9 mention being made of “Tommakees” near the mouth of Apalachicola River about 1700 by Coxe,10 “Tomoóka” in the same region by Lamhatty in 1707,11 and a town or tribe near the junction of the Apalachicola and Flint Rivers called “Apalache ó Sachile” at a considerably later date.12 The ó in the last term has been mistaken by the cartographer for the Spanish connective ó, but there can be no doubt that it belongs properly with what follows. Osochi is always accented on the first syllable. The spot indicated on this map is that at which the Apalachicola Indians settled after the Yamasee war. We must suppose, then, unless we have to do with a very bad misprint, either that the Osochi were considered an Apalachicola band or that they were living with the Apalachicola midway between their old territories and the homes of the Lower Creeks. These facts do not, of course, amount to proof of a connection between the Uçachile and Osochi, but they point in that direction.

Adair, writing in the latter half of the eighteenth century, mentions the “Oosécha” as one of those nations, remains of which had settled in the lower part of the Muskogee country.13 On the De Crenay map (1733) their name appears under the very distorted form Cochoutehy (or Cochutchy) east of Flint River, between the Sawokli and Eufaula,14 but the French census of 1760 shows them between the Yuchi and Chiaha15 and those of 1738 and 1750 near the Okmulgee.16 In the assignment to the traders, July 3, 1761, we find “The Point Towns called Ouschetaws, Chehaws and Oakmulgees,” given to George Mackay and James Hewitt along with the Hitchiti town.17 Bartram spells the name “Hooseche,” and says that they spoke the Muskogee tongue, but this is probably an error even for his time.18 In 1797 their trader was Samuel Palmer.19 Hawkins, in 1799, has the following to say about them:

Oose-oo-che; is about two miles below Uchee, on the right bank of Chat-to-ho-chee; they formerly lived on Flint river, and settling here, they built a hot house in 1794 ; they cultivate with their neighbors, the Che-au-haus, below them, the land in the point.20

The statement regarding their origin tends to tie them a little more definitely to the tribe mentioned in the Spanish map. The census of 1832 gives two settlements as occupied by this tribe, which it spells “Oswichee,” one on Chattahoochee River and one “on the waters of Opillike Hatchee (Opile’ki hå’tci).21 In 1804 Hawkins condemns the Osochi for a reactionary outbreak which occurred there when “we were told they would adhere to old times, they preferred the old bow and arrow to the gun.”22 After their removal west of the Mississippi the Osochi were settled on the north side of the Arkansas some distance above the present city of Muskogee. Later a part of them moved over close to Council Hill to be near the Hitchiti and also, according to another authority, on account of the Green Peach war. An old man belonging to this group told me that his grandmother could speak Hitchiti, and he believed that in the past more spoke Hitchiti than Creek. This is also indicated by the close association of the Osochi and Chiaha in early days.

The two together settled a town known as Hotalgihuyana.23 Their familiarity with Hitchiti may have been merely a natural result of long association with Chiaha and Apalachicola Indians. No remembrance of any language other than Hitchiti and Muskogee is preserved among them.

Footnotes

  1. Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, II, p. 73. 

  2. Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, I, p. 41. 

  3. Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, II, p. 6. 

  4. Shipp’s De Soto and Fla., p. 299. 

  5. Bourne, op. cit., II, p. 75. 

  6. Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, I, p. 41. 

  7. However, it is to be noted that the tribes southeast of Ocilla River are spoken of as constituting the Yustaga province, which is sometimes distinguished from the Timucua province proper. 

  8. See p. 338. 

  9. See p. 26. 

  10. French, Hist. Colls. La., 1850, p. 234. 

  11. Amer. Anthrop., n. s. vol. X, p. 571. 

  12. Hamilton, Col. Mobile, p. 210; Ruidiaz, La Florida, I, XLV. 

  13. Adair, Hist. Am. Inds., p. 257. 

  14. Plate 5; Hamilton, Col. Mobile, p. 190. 

  15. Miss. Prov. Arch., I, p. 96. 

  16. MSS., AyerColl. 

  17. Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 522. 

  18. Bartram, Travels, p. 462. 

  19. Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 171. 

  20. Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 63. 

  21. Senate Doc. 512, 23d Cong., lst sess., pp. 353-356; Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, IV, p. 578. 

  22. Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 438. 

  23. See pp. 170, 409. 


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