The Late Slave Raiding
The Late Slave Raiding Period (1705 – 1721)
The era when things got really bloody and really confusing
This is the period when Native Americans increasingly became the pawns of France
and Great Britain in their struggle over North America. For a quarter of a
century, France had formally claimed all lands within the Mississippi, Missouri
and Ohio River Basins, based on the explorations of LaSalle. With the founding
of the first capital of the Province of Louisiana, Mobile, in 1702, France also
claimed the basin of the Mobile-Alabama-Tallapoosa-Coosa-Etowah-Coosawattee
River System. At the same time, France recognized the claim of the Kingdom of
Spain to the Chattahoochee-Flint River System all the way to what is now the
northeastern tip of Georgia. Unlike Great Britain, France thoroughly explored
the major rivers in their claimed territories prior to establishing colonies.
The Province of Louisiana extended eastward to the peaks of the Blue Ridge
Mountains. Thus, the French claimed all of what is now Tennessee, Alabama,
Mississippi, western North Carolina, plus about a third of what is now Georgia.
After the War of Spanish Succession ended, English, French and Spanish troops
could not directly oppose each other (for awhile!) - but their respective Indian
allies could. Neutral tribes were punished by being subject to slave raids from
either the French or the English allies. The French in Louisiana used Native
American slaves on plantations in the Mississippi Delta; sent surplus slaves to
sugar plantations in the Caribbean, and also used them as forced laborers for
public works throughout their colonies. Almost all the drainage canals that
allowed the creation of the new provincial capital of New Orleans were dug
Chitimacha slaves. The Chitimacha’s had initially been hospitable to the French,
who settled on dry ground, where the French Quarter now is. However, French
planters began to seize their lands at will, war broke out, and the Chitimacha
were quickly crushed by French firearms. Both the French and the English
automatically enslaved entire tribes, who dared to oppose their colonial
As African slaves became more and more available to planters, the demand for
Native American slaves diminished in South Carolina. Nevertheless, in 1710, 20%
of Charleston’s population was Native American slaves. Most Native slaves were
now traded for Africans on the docks of Charleston and Port Royal. The ratio was
four Indians to one African.
Many small villages in the Carolinas had been annihilated. The Spanish Mission
Indians had been annihilated. The remaining provinces in the lower Southeast
were quickly aligning to one of the Native American political alliances:
Yamassee, Catawba, Cherokee, French (Alabama, Koasati, proto-Upper Creeks),
Ochese (forerunner of Middle Creeks) Cusapa and Choctaw. The Yuchi and Chickasaw
tended to remain independent. Thus, now when Native American slave raiders went
out to abduct young women and pre-adolescent boys, they faced retaliation from a
number of villages and towns, plus the probable loss of some of their own people
in the process. The laws of the British Empire now strictly forbade enslavement
of members of tribes in good standing with the Crown. South Carolina court
records show that His Majesty’s judges were regularly freeing enslaved Indians,
who claimed to be from allied tribes. It is also interesting that English Law
allowed the Indians themselves to file legal complaints.
The location in this era of the main body of people, who would be ancestors of
the modern Cherokee Indians, is a big question mark. They definitely were not in
North Carolina. Very few radiocarbon dates for Cherokee villages have been found
in North Carolina, which are before 1720, Letters in 1827 from interim Principal
Chief Charles Hicks to John Ross state that the first principal town of the
Cherokees was at Big Tellico on the Little Tennessee River in Tennessee, not
Kituwa, as is currently taught Cherokees. Kituwa definitely became the most
important town of the Middle Cherokees in the middle 1700s. However, even then,
Chota of the Overhills Cherokees was where the first “king” of the Cherokees
resided in 1750.
It is quite likely then, that the future Cherokee population was forming around
a Rickohocken nucleus. The first French maps of the Carolina Mountains were made
during this era. These maps showed the Cherokees located in the former territory
of the Rickohockens – SW Virginia, SE Kentucky and NE Tennessee, They showed
western North Carolina occupied by the Tuskegee, Shawnee, Yuchi and Apalachee.
What would become the Middle Cherokees were perhaps a few small Muskogean,
Yuchi, Shawnee, and possibly Rickohocken villages in the North Carolina
Mountains that were political allies of the Lower and Valley Cherokees. However,
the Lower and Valley Cherokees then evidently spoke a Muskogean dialect that
mixed Hitchiti, Yuchi and Southern Siouan. All of their original town names were
derived from Muskogean, Yuchi or Siouan words. The sudden explosion of Cherokee
population in the North Carolina Mountains can be explained by an event that
began in 1715. This will be discussed later.
Even though the Native American slave trade would be the most important source
of income for the Upper Cherokees until around 1720, many of the Valley and
Lower Cherokees were descended from ancient Muskogean, Yuchi and Siouan
agricultural peoples, who had formerly lived nearer the coast. They were not
traditionally hunters and raiders like the Rickohockens. They supplemented their
farm produce and wild game by trading skins and furs to South Carolinians at
Fort Moore. They did not like the slave trade and in 1705 sent a letter to
Governor Moore demanding that he immediately end the slave trade. The Cherokee
chiefs urged him to base future trading activities on furs, skins and
agricultural products. Settlers in what is now North Carolina also pressured
South Carolina to end the Native American slave trade, because it was feared
that there would soon be an explosion on the frontier caused by the White and
Native American slave raiders. Men were often killed trying to protect their
families from these raiders. It must be remembered that also at this time, there
were at least 14 bands of people, who the British called Cherokees, but they
were NOT members of the same tribal government. There was no central authority,
just friendly relationships between bands.
What eventually did ignite an explosion of the frontier was the incessant slave
raiding by whites in South Carolina. This was generally illegal, but hard to
stop as long as Native American slavery was permitted. Traders used false
weights to cheat Indians, and then stole the wives and children of men when
debts could not be paid. Small bands of ruthless men would also raid tribes, who
were allies of South Carolina. The young men and women captured usually could
not speak English and probably were totally unfamiliar with the English court
system. They were quickly hauled to Charleston, auctioned on the docks, and then
shipped away to some Caribbean sugar plantation where they might live two years
before dying from fatigue and malnutrition. The time period from capture to
shipment might last 4-5 days. This was not enough time for colonial authorities
to intervene. The victims were helpless since they could not communicate with
any passersby. Alternatively, more mature, Native girls might be kept as
The ancestors of the peoples, who would become the modern Creek Indians,
certainly did not consider themselves as one tribe, either. Many of them would
eventually be divided into either the alliances of the Yamassee, the Creeks, the
Seminole, the Catawba and eventually, the Seminole. This is a historical fact
that also confuses people. Many Creek provinces in South Carolina joined the
Catawba Alliance. Later in the century, most South Carolina Creek towns left
what is now South Carolina and joined the Creek Confederacy. However, keep in
mind that on maps of the period, they were still in the Colony of South Carolina
and still considered British allies. They merely decided that membership in the
Creek Confederacy was a better deal than membership in the Catawba or Cherokee
Who were the Cohuita? This is the generic label that the French used for Middle
Creeks, who were allies of the British. The word is the French way of spelling
Koweta. The mountains that defined the eastern boundary of the French Province
of Louisiana were called by the French, the Cohuita Mountains. Later in the
century, English mapmakers would call them the Cohutta Mountains – not knowing
that a French “hui” was pronounced like an English “we.”
At this point, please tighten the seat belt on your office chair, so you won’t
roll in the floor laughing. Here are some of the meanings that Georgia-based web
sites use for Cohutta; (bless their hearts) Of course; all say that it is a
Cherokee word. Evidently this Cherokee word had as many meanings as there are
pseudo-Cherokee history web sites, because you will see, “tall mountains - green
mountains - mountains that hold up the sky - foggy weather – fog – frog – hiding
place, and beautiful flowers, etc.” One public school in Harris County, GA has a
special website for their school mascot, the Cohutta Warriors, named after the
Cherokee people, who they said once lived in their county!
Who were the Coweta? This is the name that the English used for a specific
branch of the Creeks. During the early 1700s, the Kowetv were the dominant
member of the People of One Fire (Creek Confederacy.) The capital of the Creek
Confederacy was a town named Koweta. Apparently, it was originally at Indian
Springs, GA, but moved to the Chattahoochee River during the Yamassee War. There
were several towns named “Coweta” on the early maps of Georgia, including one in
Sapphire Valley, NC. From the 1730s until the seizure of all Creek lands in
Georgia, the big town of Koweta was on the Chattahoochee River near the
Alabama-Georgia line. The actual location is still debated by scholars.
The motherland of the Kowetv apparently was a cluster of towns with mounds on
the headwaters of the Little Tennessee River in what is now NE Georgia and the
SE corner of the North Carolina Mountains. Their territory extended northward as
far as Hendersonville, NC until 1763. The town of Etowah, NC is the site of one
of the Kowetv towns in North Carolina. Their original name in Hitchiti was
Kowete – Mountain Lion People. They probably were associated with the second
occupation of Etowah Mounds in that almost all Kowetv mounds were five sided
like Mound A at Etowah National Historic Landmark.
Who were the Conchaqui? This was the French name of the Apalachicola villages in
what is now NW Georgia, but was then the eastern border of Louisiana. The word
means “Conk People.” The Conchaqui spoke a language that was a blend of
Hitchiti, Choctaw and Muskogee. The mountain Apalachicola apparently moved
southwestward and joined the Creek Confederacy after the French lost Louisiana.
Who were the Coushetta? This is the French word for the Kusa. The Kusa
originally spoke a dialect of Hitchiti and pronounced their name Kawshe. In
Upper Creek the word for Kusa is stile Kawche. In Highland Hitchiti, Kusa People
would be Kvsete – pronounced Kaushe-te – hence the French word.
Who were the Hillabee? The Hillabee trace their roots to the large town of Ilape
in South Carolina that was mentioned by Pardo’s chronicler. Europeans typically
wrote a Muskogean P as a B, English frontiersmen often added an H to a Muskogean
I, if it was at the beginning of a word. Ilape was the capital of the Veheti
Creeks, who are now known as the Pee Dee. Their homeland was the lower Pee Dee
River Basin in north central South Carolina. Some Veheti (People who have
weapons) assimilated into colonial society. Some Veheti joined the Catawba
Confederacy, while the majority moved to north central Georgia and joined the
Creek Confederacy. They later moved to northern Alabama and became associated
with the Upper Creeks. Veheti or vehedi is now defined in Oklahoma Muskogee as
“people who have guns,” but probably originally meant, “People who have bows and
Who were the Hogeloge? The Hogeloge were Yuchi’s living in what is now eastern
Tennessee. The specific locations of their towns are not currently known, but
apparently some were on the Upper Tennessee River during the late 1600s and
early 1700s. The most common name given the river during that era was the
Hogeloge River. The Hogeloge seemed to have considered the ruins now called Old
Stone Fort in Manchester, TN, to be sacred. They were probably the descendants
of the builders of this Woodland Period ceremonial site. The meaning of Hogeloge
is not definitely known at this time.
The Hogeloge Yuchi are known to have continued living in ethnic communities in
the Cohutta Mountains of Georgia and SE Tennessee until at least 1911. During
the early 20th century, they apparently dispersed or assimilated into the nearby
communities. Some Hogeloge Yuchi moved to the lands of the Snowbird Cherokees in
Graham and Cherokee Counties, NC, where their descendants live today.
Who were the Oconee? The Hitchiti names that they called themselves were either
Okvni or Okvte. As in many other cases, Europeans misinterpreted the Muskogean
“V” sound as either an A or a U. The chroniclers of de Soto wrote down the name
of their capital as Ocute. However, its real name would have been O’lamikko
Okvte = Royal Capital of the Water People. Okvni means “purified with water in
both Hitchiti and Archaic (Georgia) Mvskoke. This refers to their religious
practice of ritual baptism. The symbolic cleansing with water prior to entering
temples or dance grounds is still maintained today by the Yuchi in Oklahoma and
some branches of the Creeks.
The homeland of the Oconee, at least during the Middle Mississippian Cultural
Period onward, was the Oconee River Basin in northeastern and eastern Georgia.
The first towns with mounds in that region appeared at approximately the same
time that the acropolis at Ocmulgee was abandoned. They also settled sections of
northwestern South Carolina, and had a colony where the North Carolina Cherokee
Nation is located. The main North Carolina talwa was located around a large
five-side mound in the Birdtown section of the reservation on the Oconaluftee
River. That town site was destroyed in the late 20th century by development and
a new sewage treatment plant for the reservation.
The Oconee were always somewhat different in their traditions from most other
branches of the Creeks. Farmland was not owned communally by all the women of
the town, but by the females of individual households or extended families. Most
of the people did not live in towns, but in dispersed farmsteads and extended
family hamlets. Their elite housing, public structures and platform mounds were
concentrated in small, fortified compounds such as the Shoulderbone Mound site
in Hancock County, GA. Some of their mounds were quite large, though.
Apparently, in times of trouble, the people would take refuge in such fortified
compounds, but this is not known for certain.
By dispersing the population, the Oconees were able to assure greater
consumption of animal and fish protein for all the citizens. This practice was
also more suitable for the relatively smaller tracts of bottomland available in
the Piedmont and mountains. The dispersed pattern also enabled the Oconee to
assimilate peacefully with their new European and African neighbors..
Many Oconee families never left their homeland until the late 20th century.
Until then, mixed heritage Oconees tended to marry other mixed-heritage Creeks.
There was substantial mixed-heritage populations on both sides of the upper
Savannah River, and near Ninety-Six, SC, Hawkinsville, GA and Sparta, GA
(Hancock County.) The greatest concentration of Oconee descendants today is in
Hancock County, where the county government sponsors a Green Corn Festival.
Another interesting aspect of the Oconees was their close association with the
Yuchi. The two peoples apparently maintained separate ethnic identities, but
settled regions together. Both along the Savannah River and in the North
Carolina Mountains, there is archaeological evidence of round Yuchi towns with
round buildings existing simultaneously with the Oconee villages, which had
rectangular buildings and rectangular plazas. One of the old divisions of the
Yuchi was the Water Clan. There may be a connection to the Oconee’s name.
Who were the Tallassee? They were one of the more important branches of the
Creek Confederacy in the 1700s, but also a band of the Cherokees during that
era. Native American towns named Tallassee Talasee or Talasi can be found in
South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. The
branch of the Tallassee in east central Alabama seems to have been the most
active in the Creek Confederacy, but maps of the late 1700s and early 1800s also
show them occupying the Okefenokee Swamp and middle Altamaha Basin in SE Georgia
until 1843. A little known fact of history is that the last military action by
Federal troops associated with the Trail of Tears was an attack on the Tallassee
villages on the Altamaha River in SE Georgia in 1843.
The homeland of the Tallassee appears to have been the Little Tennessee River
Basin in North Carolina and Tennessee. There is still a place name west of
Fontana Dam named Tallassee. The Muskogean ethnic name, Talasi, has more than
one interpretation. It could be actually Talwasi, which means “offspring from a
town” or satellite town in Muskogee. In Hitchiti and Alabama, it can mean
gravel, or could be a corruption of the word, Talisi, which means “off spring of
a town” in Archaic Koasati. Thus, the town name, Tali, mentioned by de Soto,
could just be a generic name for any Koasati town. Tali literally means
“something measured out.” Tali is the root noun for the Hitchiti-Koasati word
for architect, talliya.
The Tallassee Creeks were the last Native American group in Georgia to live in
ethnic communities and fully maintain their traditions. They continued to live
in the Okefenokee Swamp until lumber companies began harvesting its virgin
cypress stands in the early 20th century. A newspaper article in Waycross, GA
from the 1860s mentioned that local militia attacked “Ware County Indian” farms
that had been recently established outside the swamp. Once dispersed, the
Tallassee Creeks worked as racial intermediaries in the turpentine industry.
They were foremen over gangs of African turpentine workers. The Tallassee
continued to hold rituals and coming-of-age lessons in the Okefenokee Swamp
until the 1940s, when it became the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
Who were the Tallapoosa? They were one of the oldest branches of the Creek
Confederacy and were located in west-central Georgia and east central Alabama
until the 1830s. The name obviously is derived from the Muskogee words Talwa
Posa – Grandmother Town. However, the City of Tallapoosa, GA has on good
authority from a professor in Mississippi that the river’s name was derived from
Choctaw words that mean, “pulverized rock.” The good professor did not give an
explanation why one of the most important branches of the Creeks, would have a
Who were the Yamacraw? The Yamacraw were a small splinter group whose villages
were on the west side of the Savannah River in the early 1700s. Their principal
town was located adjacent to the site of Savannah. In fact, Savannah was built
on Yamacraw Bluff. They were close friends of the Georgia settlers until the
Revolution, when they seemed to have moved westward.
The name of this group is problematic. They spoke a dialect of Hitchiti, but
Yama infers association with Yama trade jargon from Mobile Bay. “Craw” is a
typical Southern Siouan locative suffix.
1705 – A group of Lower Cherokee chiefs sent a letter to the colonial governor
in Charleston, demanding that he stop the Native American slave trade.
1705 – Bath is founded, becoming the first town in North Carolina. Settlers had
been drifting into what is now North Carolina since the 1660s, but they lived in
isolated farmsteads and hamlets.
1706 - The remaining Spanish missions and ranches in the Pensacola area were
attacked, and Abosaya was under siege for 20 days. The Apalachees of Abosaya
then moved to a new location south of St. Augustine, but within a year most of
them had been killed in raids.
1706 – The Catawba and Iroquois signed a peace treaty, ending a long, bloody
1707 – The Queen Anne’s War (War of Spanish Succession) ended. The status quo
remained in the Southeast. Spain still claimed the
Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. France still claimed all of the
lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Great Britain still claimed all of the
lands from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. The European powers then
gathered Indian allies around them. The bitter divisiveness caused by the Native
American slave trade was worsened by the encouragement of major alliances to
fight each other, essentially under European flags. The tribes were rewarded for
their loyalty and casualties by being able to sell the captives of the enemy as
slaves. The wars between the alliances of the Choctaw, French Muskogeans,
Chickasaw, Cherokee, Yamassee, Catawba and Koweta would last for decades.
1707 – Upper Cherokees vs. Cumberland Shawnees War - The Upper Cherokees
attacked the Shawnee living on the Little Tennessee and Upper Tennessee Rivers.
Future maps no longer show Shawnee living in this region and it is labeled
Cherokee. Shawnees living in the Cumberland Plateau then formed an alliance with
the Delaware of Pennsylvania. They attacked and defeated the Upper Cherokees,
forcing them to sue for peace.
1707 – Catawba vs. Foothills Shawnee War - The Catawba attacked the Shawnees
living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most left the colony, but
apparently some remained in the Swannanoa River Valley southeast of present day
Asheville. The river’s name is apparently derived from the Muskogee words for
1710 – New Bern, NC was founded by Calvinist Protestants from Switzerland and
Germany, around the confluence of the Trent and Neuse Rivers in the coastal
plain of what is now North Carolina. The colony was well-planned, thrived
immediately, but was severely damaged by the Tuscarora War. After the war, the
colony thrived again. New Bern became the first capital of North Carolina in
1711-1715 – Tuscarora & Allies vs. North Carolina
War - Both settlers on the frontier of the Colony of Carolina and the Lower
Cherokees had repeatedly warned South Carolina that the Native American slave
raids would soon lead to catastrophe. The Colony of Pennsylvania sent a letter
to the governor in Charleston complaining that the continued selling of Carolina
Indian slaves in Pennsylvania was causing great anger among its Indians and
could result in war, but Carolina leaders did not listen.
The Tuscarora were related to the Iroquois. Apparently, they were fairly recent
arrivals to North Carolina since they still maintained constant communications
with their Iroquois and Susquehanna allies in the north. However, by the early
1700s, they had adopted the agricultural lifestyle of most Southeastern ethnic
groups. They had originally controlled a broad swath of what is now North
Carolina that ran from the ocean to the mountains, but plagues and slave raids
had reduced their territory substantially.
Initially, their relations with Charleston had been excellent. They were trading
partners with the new Charleston Colony, and were known as “gentile, dignified
people.” However, incessant slave raids by the Upper Cherokees and Carolina
traders had decimated their population and backed them into the corner, so to
speak. Once the Swiss settlers arrived in the territory of the Southern
Tuscarora, there were serious problems. Surveyor General Lawson sold the
Europeans, lands lying in the heart of the Tuscarora territory, which he did not
own. Swiss and Germans took more Tuscarora land at will and grabbed Tuscarora
youth as slaves during the first year the colony existed. Apparently, the Swiss
and German Protestants viewed their neighbors as sub-human and were totally
unfamiliar with Native American culture.
It is obvious that the Tuscarora considered the Upper Cherokees and Lower
Cherokees to be two separate tribes. They were trade partners of the Lower
Cherokees, but were favorite victims of the Upper Cherokees/Rickohockens, since
the Iroquois Confederacy and the Rickohockens were always enemies.
The war began with the capture of Surveyor General Lawson and the Baron De
Graffenried by about 60 Tuscarora. Lawson was condemned to be burnt to death in
Sept. 1711. Baron De Graffenried talked the Tuscarora in to taking a ransom to
save his life. The Northern Tuscarora refused to be involved with an
insurrection, since they were not being attacked by slave raiders. However,
immediately after the execution of Lawson, a portion of the Southern Tuscarora
under Chief Hancock along with their Coree, Pamlico, Matamuskeet, Bear River,
and Machapungo, allies attacked many settlements in North Carolina. Immediately,
at least 130 Swiss and German immigrants at New Bern were killed. Soon hundreds
of settlers in North Carolina had been killed.
A militia and Indian army from South Carolina, led by Colonel John Barwell,
defeated the main band of Southern Tuscarora and drove them into their palisaded
capital town a few miles north of New Bern. The Southern Tuscarora’s sued for
peace and signed a treaty in 1712. The Colony of North Carolina refused to pay
for the expenses of the South Carolina army, even though the capitals of both
Carolinas were in Charleston. The South Carolinians then captured 1000
Tuscaroras and sold them into slavery. This immediately started the war again.
An even larger army of South Carolinians with Cherokee, Catawba and Yamassee
allies re-invaded the Tuscarora lands and defeated them again. This time they
took several hundred more Tuscaroras as slaves, while the survivors fled
northward and joined the Iroquois Confederacy. The Northern Tuscaroras of North
Carolina were always on good terms with the colony and stayed where they were.
Over time, bit by bit, they lost their land to European settlers. It is
currently believe that many eventually migrated to the Six Nations or the
1712 – The Colony of Carolina was divided into the Colonies of South Carolina
and North Carolina. However, until 1729, the government of North Carolina was
located in Charleston, South Carolina. Even its governor lived in Charleston.
1714 – The Cherokee population began to grow rapidly due to immigration from
refugee tribes. Most of the small tribes in central and eastern North Carolina
disappeared at the end of the Tuscarora War. Presumably, they fled to the
mountains and joined the Cherokees.
1714 – Cumberland Plateau Shawnee vs. Chickasaw & Cherokee War – With a rapidly
growing population, the Cherokees needed more hunting lands. They formed an
alliance with the Chickasaws. In a brutal pincer attack they drove the Shawnee
completely out of the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee.
1714 – 1754 – Upper & Overhills Cherokees vs. French allies in the Great Lakes
Basin - The massive and successful attack of the Cherokees on the Shawnee, who
were staunch French allies, caught the attention of the French military. They
feared that the British would use the Cherokees to attack French colonial
outposts along the Ohio, Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers. The French therefore
armed their Algonquin allies in the Southern Great Lakes Region and sent them to
attack the Cherokees in SE Kentucky, NW North Carolina and SW Virginia. Of
course, this was the original territory of the Rickohocken predecessors of the
The effect of these hammer-blow raids was to push the Cherokees out of Kentucky
and Virginia and into western North Carolina. It was this long war, combined
with periodic attacks from the Iroquois that caused the sudden existence of many
Cherokee towns and villages in the heart of the North Carolina Mountains. The
mountains provided a natural wall of security that only had a few gates. The
western gate was guarded by the Overhills Towns. The northern gates, the French
Broad and Pigeon Rivers, required long journeys on the eastern flank of the
Cherokee lands. It was also this constant threat from the north that probably
limited Cherokee expansion into the French Broad River Basin. The French Broad
Valley was accessible to the French allies from the west and to the Iroquois
enemies from the east. The river got its name from the fact that it was in
territory claimed by France.
The Upper Cherokees the attacked the French allies around Lake Erie. They
evolved into a militaristic society in order to survive the attacks coming from
all sides. However, admirable their defense of their newly won lands, the
Cherokees lost much of their original cultural traditions in the process. There
was little energy for art or architecture, if their men were constantly at war.
1714-1715 – Valley Cherokee vs. Yuchi-Apalachee War – The colonial records that
survive state that two traders living near Fort Moore, SC became angry with the
North Carolina Mountain Yuchi because one had been partially scalped him after
he attempted to defraud them. The traders distributed firearms to the Valley
Cherokees towns living in the foothills of the Nantahala Mountains. The Valley
Cherokees then massacred several Yuchi towns on the southwest side of the Upper
Hiwassee River. The surviving Yuchi then fled into what is now northeast
Georgia, along the Savannah River.
European maps of the period suggest a much larger scale of war than in the
surviving archives of the British. This most likely reason is that it did not
involve Europeans, and both the Yuchi and Mountain Apalachee were not allies of
either Great Britain or France. Before 1714 the maps show the Upper Hiwassee
River Basin being occupied by the Apalachee and the Yuchi. After the 1714-1715
period, the entire region is labeled Cherokee. As stated above, the Cherokee
population was growing rapidly and they needed much more land to maintain their
standard of living.
1714-1715 – Catawba vs. South Carolina War - The Colony of South Carolina had
promised to sell goods at reduced prices in return for the Catawba’s
contribution of several hundred warriors to the Tuscarora War. This promise was
not kept, as meanwhile, slave traders switched to stealing Catawba women and
children as slaves. The Catawbas drove out South Carolina militiamen from their
lands and then began to attack frontier farmsteads. In 1715 the Catawba War
merged with the Yamassee War.
1715-1717 – Yamassee & Allies vs. South Carolina War – The Yamassee, twice, had
sent large bands of warriors to save North Carolina from the Tuscorara and
their allies. However, traders continued to swindle them, and then steal their
wives and children for slaves when heads of household could pay their debts.
Being in the southern tip of what is now South Carolina and the southeastern
corner of what is now Georgia, their villages were convenient to white slave
raiders. With most of the North Carolina Indians of the Piedmont and Coastal
Plain now gone, the slave raiders turned on the Yamassee.
There is no official archive to prove it, but the strategy of the Yamassee was
well thought out. It followed exactly Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville’s “Project Sur
de Carolina.” (See Part Three.) It is quite possible that French agents stirred
the Yamassee to seek revenge for their mistreatment. Just before hostilities
began, the Colony of South Carolina sent six of its most important Indian trade
officials to meet with the Yamassee. Four of the six were tortured to death. The
Yamassee then struck at the inner line of forts protecting Charleston. Most were
Simultaneously, the Yamasee, Ochese Creeks Cherokee, Chickasaw, Catawba,
Apalachee, Apalachicola, Yuchi, Savano., Pee Dee, Cape Fear, Cheraw, and others
murdered most of the South Carolina traders in the Southeast and attacked whites
within their respective territories. Obviously, the simultaneous attacks across
the Southeast were planned in advance. The Ochese sent raiders to attack South
Carolina and were preparing to send a larger army.
Within a few weeks, much of the colony had been depopulated, just as d’Iberville
had planned and predicted. The Native American raiders killed hundreds of
people, burned the farms and plantations, and freed the Native American slaves.
They often killed African slaves along with their European masters. It is
presumed that most freed slaves headed to the mountains to escape the fighting
and took refuge among the Cherokees. The Yamassee and their allies were not as
successful when fighting pitched battles with the South Carolina militia. Small
tribes in South Carolina, who had tried to stay neutral, were subject to attack
by white militias. Many or most of them, also took refuge among the Cherokees.
The surviving citizens of South Carolina were huddled on the coast of the
colony, awaiting their last stand.
1716 - The Cherokees had murdered traders and participated in several battles
with the Catawba. In one battle an entire troop (90 men) of South Carolina
cavalry was wiped out. It appeared that they would assist the other tribes in
the final coup de grace. The Cherokees then invited at least 12-40 mikkos of the
branches of the Muskogeans to meet with them in Tugaloo. (The number of leaders
varies considerably from different sources.)
The stated purpose of the conference was to form an alliance to finish off the
Colony of South Carolina. HOWEVER, at the behest of the female Cherokee conjurer
of Tugaloo, Charitey Haguey, the mikkos were murdered in their sleep. The
Cherokees then changed sides and became allies of the British. The Ochese Creeks
(just one of the Muskogeans many divisions) were by far, South Carolina’s most
important trade partner. It has been theorized that the Cherokees’ motivation
for treachery was the hope of replacing the Ochese Creeks as South Carolina’s
most favored trading partner.
Soon thereafter, the Catawba were severely beaten in battle, and sent word to
Virginia that they wanted to sue for peace with South Carolina. They not only
signed a peace treaty, but became allies of South Carolina. The problem that all
the tribes other than the Ochese Creeks, had, was that they did not know how to
fight in standing battles. They excelled at surprise attacks, but were usually
defeated in conventional battles.
After the Cherokees and Catawbas switched sides, the Ochese Creeks were hesitant
to send an army into South Carolina to assist the Yamassee. They did send some
raiding parties, but primarily were interested in seeking revenge on the
Cherokees. They and the Oconee Creeks began to send increasingly larger armies
in the Cherokee country, not to fight skirmishes, but to destroy towns. The
Creeks did know how to fight standing battles and lay siege to fortified towns.
After a couple of horrific losses, the Cherokees pulled their soldiers back from
the South Carolina coast to defend the homeland. At the same time, the Ochese
Creeks pulled their villages back to the Chattahoochee River so that they would
be out of reach by the South Carolina militia. By the end of the 18th century,
these relocated towns and villages would become known as the Muskogees.
Left to fight alone, the Yamassee begin to suffer major casualties. During the
first year of the war they had lost a fourth of their population to warfare and
enslavement. By 1717 the surviving Yamassee had pulled southward to the Altamaha
River. Both they and the Creeks were, of course, dependent on European made
muskets and gun powder. France and Spain were not able to make up for the
quantity and quality of former English munitions. Much to the relief of the
South Carolinians, the proto-Creeks had come to peace terms before ever sending
an army representing all of their members into South Carolina.
1715-1745 – Cherokee & Catawba vs. Iroquois Confederacy War – Another important
reason that the Cherokees and Catawbas changed sides in 1716 was that they came
under attack by the powerful Iroquois Confederacy. The Iroquois were outraged by
the assistance that the Cherokees and Catawbas gave South Carolina troops during
the Tuscarora War. Remember Tuscarora afterward became members of the
Confederacy, Even though, the members of this confederacy were up to 750 miles
away from the Cherokees and Catawba, they were able to attack the southern
Indians. The Cherokees and Catawbas sent war parties up north and did equal
damage to the Iroquois. These feats of physical stamina are hard for
contemporary Americans to comprehend. The warring nations essentially walked 2/3
the length of the Appalachian Trail with on a minimal amount of supplies to wage
war. This war continued as intermittent skirmishes and ambushes until 1745, when
the Seneca sent an ambassador to negotiate a peace treaty.
1715-1757 – Lower Cherokees & Valley Cherokees vs. the Coweta Creeks War -
Immediately after the murder of their mikkos, all of the divisions of the future
Creeks declared war on the Cherokees. Through the years, one by one, most of the
branches of the Creeks stopped fighting. South Carolina did its best to stop the
war because it was between two allies. However, the Koweta Creeks continued to
fight the Lower & Valley Cherokees for the next 47 years.
1715-1745 - Upper Cherokees vs. Upper Creek-Alabama-Choctaw War – The war began
because of the outrage of the Upper Creeks over the murder of their chiefs.
France encouraged the war because it claimed all of the lands occupied by the
Upper Cherokees, Overhills Cherokees, Middle Cherokees and Valley Cherokees.
Apparently, Great Britain encouraged this war against a branch the Creeks, since
they were French allies. The war appears to have consisted initially of revenge
raids by small bands of warriors from either side. The Overhills Cherokees
living near the confluence of the Tennessee and Little Tennessee River were the
most vulnerable to these raids. The constant threat of the well-armed allies of
France striking southeastern Tennessee was probably the reason that the major
Cherokee towns stayed clustered along the Little Tennessee River. Cherokee
villages did not settle down stream in the Tennessee Basin until after 1763. By
this time, they were friends with the Upper Creeks and Chickasaw.
1718 – New Orleans was founded by Jean Baptiste La Moyne, Sieur de Bienville.
Within a few years the capital of the Province of Louisiana was moved to New
Orleans, since it was far more secure from attacks by British Indian allies by
land, or English ships by sea. The Mississippi River also offered a means for
Louisiana to communicate and trade with French colonies in the Midwest.
1718 – French colonial troops attacked and captured Pensacola, as part of a war
going on in Europe between France and Spain, who were former allies.
1718 - A few Apalachees from the Pensacola area returned to Apalachee province,
settling near a fort that the Spanish had just built at St. Marks, Florida. Many
Apalachees from the village of Ivitachuco moved to a site called Abosaya near a
fortified Spanish ranch in Alachua County, Florida.
1721 – Fort King George was constructed at the mouth of the Altamaha River near
present day, Darien, GA. A company of British Redcoats were sent from England to
garrison Fort George. They were soldiers deemed too old or invalid to fight
major battles and were drawn from other regiments. After 140 officers and men
died of disease at Fort George over a period of a few years, the British Crown
realized that duty on the American frontier required exceptionally fit, young
soldiers, not invalids.
How European languages have distorted Native Americans understanding of
Seneca: No better example of fabricated history can be found than the word for a
Native village visited by Pardo near the headwaters of the Savannah River. Juan
de la Bandera recorded the name as Seneca, which means that its real name was
probably Seneke = Stretched Out People in Mvskoke. Europeans often changed a
Muskogean “e” at the end to an “a.” Scholars in the late 20th century saw the
word, Seneca, and decided “Oh, wow, one of the Lower Cherokee towns was a member
of the Iroquois Confederacy. That’s also proof that the Cherokees were visited
by Juan Pardo AND Hernando de Soto!”
Also, in the late 20th century, some anonymous Seneca person in New York
announced that their tribe was once in South Carolina, but the Cherokees drove
them out in ancient times. Of course, all the history books picked up on those
malarkeys, and printed them as facts. The real facts are, though, that the
tribal name, Seneca is NOT what they call themselves. Osininka was an important
village of the people, who called themselves Onöndowága', meaning "People of the
Great Hill". The English frontiersmen couldn’t pronounce either word, so they
shortened the first one to Seneca and used it for the whole tribe. A 16th
century South Carolina town named Seneca could not have been a member of the
Ichesi: Various versions of the de Soto Chronicles mention a
town in central Georgia by one of these names. The O, U or I is the way that
Europeans typically wrote down the Creek “V” sound, which is actually something
like “aw.” When the English arrived, they called the Ocmulgee River, the Ochese
or Ochuse Creek. Ethnologist, John Swanton (bless his heart) decided that Uchese
was probably a Yuchi town, because the words sound alike.
The real name of the town was Vcesi (Awchesi) meaning Offspring of Corn. When
Awchesi moved to SW Georgia, the Creeks themselves began calling their town
Ochese. Then Ochese moved to Florida, then to Alabama and then to Oklahoma. I
have a feeling that even the Oklahoma Muskogees don’t know the town’s real name.
Also, many history books say that Ochese means “foreigners” in Hitchiti-Creek.
Lordamercy, I though Cherokee means foreigners in Creek (It does not.) Learn
something every day!
Almost all history books and web sites label activities in the Early Colonial
Era as being either by the South Carolina or North Carolina government. However,
the two separate colonies did not exist until 1712. The governments of both
colonies were located in Charleston until 1729. The British Crown claimed the
Altamaha River in what is now Georgia as the southern boundary of Carolina until
Georgia was founded. Until the end of the Revolution, the official northern
boundary of Georgia ran south of Augusta and the future site of Macon, GA. Only
the Colony of Georgia published maps showing its northern boundary extending to
North Carolina. Thus, even though virtually all history books on the
Revolutionary Era today call it Augusta, GA, it was officially Augusta, South
Carolina. When in 1776 Indian trader and author moved his mixed heritage family
to Oothlooga Creek between modern day Cartersville and Calhoun, Georgia, he
continued to describe his home as being in South Carolina. Oothlooga is a
Apalachicola word. That is why all it is always defined in scholarly,
well-researched, historical references as a Cherokee word “whose meaning has
been lost!” Remember the French-allied Apalachicola villages had only officially
been gone for 12 years, when Adair arrived, However, I suspect that there were
some Apalachicola’s still around, but taking a low profile.
Notes About this Material
Source: Richard Thornton, an alliance of Muskogean scholars, professors and
professionals. Copyright Richard Thornton, Blairsville, GA, 2010. Used here with