Seminole Indian History

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The history of the Seminole is very well known in outline, and much has been written regarding our famous Seminole War; yet it is evident that much remains to be said, on the Indian side at least, before we can have a clear understanding of the Seminole society and Seminole history. The name, as is well known, is applied by the Creeks to people who remove from populous towns and live by themselves, and it is commonly stated that the Seminole consisted of “runaways” and outlaws from the Creek Nation proper. A careful study of their history, however, shows this to be only a partial statement of the case.

Perhaps the best account we have regarding the beginnings of the Seminole is by Bartram. The destruction of the Apalachee towns in the manner elsewhere narrated1 had partially cleared the way for settlements in Florida by Indians from the north, and in the period immediately succeeding bodies of them gradually pushed southward from the large Creek towns on Chattahoochee River. The first impulse toward Florida of any consequence began with that great upheaval we have so often mentioned — the Yamasee war. The Yamasee themselves entered Florida almost in a body, but they arrived there as friends of the Spaniards, adding their strength to the decaying forces of the original Floridian tribes, and themselves shared in large measure the fate of those peoples — extermination or expulsion from the country. At the same time a movement was started which resulted in the invasion of the peninsula on its western side, and this, indeed, marks the real beginning of the Seminole. Bartram gives an account of it in describing his journey from the Savannah River to Mobile, and it has been reproduced in detailing the history of the Oconee Tribe.2

By consulting this it will be seen that the Oconee Indians were a nucleus about which the Seminole Nation grew up. It is evident that for a considerable period part of them remained near the Chattahoochee, for they are recorded in the census of 17613 and their town is described by Hawkins in 1799.4 It disappears in the interval between 1799 and 1832, when the government census of Creeks was taken, and probably all had then moved to Florida.5 Brinton says that the first group of Seminole came into Florida in 1750, under a chief named Secoffee.6 He was probably the one known to the English as “the Cowkeeper,” mentioned in the quotation above from Bartram. He appears in the Georgia Colonial Documents as living well toward the south and spending most of his time in warring with the Spaniards.7 The Oconee chief who participated in Oglethorpe’s first general Indian council was “Oueekachumpa,” called by the English “Long King.”8 It does not appear whether Secoffee was his successor or merely the leader of those Oconee who went into Florida. I do not know on what authority Brinton places the invasion of Florida by Secoffee in 1750, but the date appears to be at least approximately correct, and is important as establishing the beginnings of the Seminole as a distinct people. Fairbanks incorrectly states — that is, if Secoffee is really the Cowkeeper of the English — that he “left two sons, head chiefs, Payne and Bowlegs.”9 This is, of course, an assumption natural to a white man, but descent was in the female line among both Creeks and Seminole, and Cohen, who knew Indian customs much better than Fairbanks, is undoubtedly correct when he says that Cowkeeper was “uncle of old Payne.”10 He adds that the former had been given a silver crown by the British Government for services during the American Revolution, from which we know that he lived at least almost to the end of that struggle. Cohen apparently contradicts himself in referring to these chiefs, but his later statement appears to be correct, and from this it seems that the Cowkeeper was succeeded by a chief known as “King Payne.” Cohen says that he married a Yamasee woman.11 The grant of land to Forbes & Co. made in 1811 in payment for debts contracted by the Indians was signed among others by Payne for all of the Alachua settlements and by Capitchy Micco [Kapitsa miko] for the Mikasuki. In 1812, in revenge for depredations committed on the Georgia settlements by these Indians, Colonel Newman, Inspector General of Florida, offered to lead a party against Payne’s town, which was still in Alachua, and probably just where Bartram found it. In the fight which ensued near that place King Payne was mortally wounded, and many other Indians killed or wounded, but the invaders were forced to retreat under cover of night. King Payne was succeeded by his brother, Bowlegs, whose Indian name is given by Cohen as Islapaopaya [opaya meaning "far away"].12 Cohen says that the Alachua settlements were broken up in 1814 by the Tennesseeans and Bowlegs was killed.13 At any rate about this time the Alachuas, or part of them, moved farther south, and we presently find their head chief, Mikonopi (“Top Chief”), the nephew of King Payne and Bowlegs, living at Okihamki, just west of Lake Harris or Astatula.14 Mikonopi came as near being “head chief of the Seminoles” as any at the outbreak of the great Seminole War. We may therefore say that the nucleus of the Seminole Nation was not merely a body of “outcasts” as has been so often represented, but a distinct tribe, the Oconee, affiliated, it is true, with the Creeks, but always on the outer margin of the confederacy and to a considerable extent an independent body, representing not the Muskogee but the Hitchiti speaking peoples of southern Georgia ? those who called themselves Atcik-hata.15

The Hitchiti character of this Seminole nucleus comes out still stronger when we turn to examine those towns established in the wake of the Oconee invasion. The only early lists available are those given by Bartram and Hawkins, which are as follows:

SEMINOLE TOWNS ACCORDING TO BARTRAM (1778)16

  1. Suolarnocha.
  2. Cuscowilla or Alachua.
  3. Talahasochte.
  4. Caloosahatche.
  5. - Great island.
  6. - Great hammock.
  7. - Capon.
  8. - St. Mark’s.
  9. - Forks.

The last 5 of the towns listed above were Traders’ names.

SEMINOLE TOWNS ACCORDING TO HAWKINS (1799)17

  1. Sim-e-no-le-tal-lau-has-see.
  2. Mic-c-sooc-e.
  3. We-cho-took-me.
  4. Au-lot-che-wau.
  5. Oc-le-wau thluc-co.
  6. Tal-lau-gue chapco pop-cau.
  7. Cull-oo-sau hat-che.

Hawkins says of the Seminole settlements enumerated by him:

These towns are made from the towns 0-co-nee, Sau-woog-e-lo, Eu-fau-lau, Tum-mault-lau, Pa–la–chooc-le and Hitch-e-tee.18

Of these six towns only Eu-fau-lau is certainly known to have belonged to the Muskogee proper, and one early writer represents this as made up of outcasts from all quarters. We do not know the status of Tum-mault-lau with certainty, but the form of the name itself, the position which it occupied in very early times, and certain other considerations, all point to a connection with the Hitchiti-speaking peoples.19 The language of the Mikasuki in Oklahoma is so close to that of the Hitchiti that they are commonly considered to be parts of one people; and the following story regarding them was told to me by Jackson Lewis, an old Hitchiti Indian, for whose opinions I have the greatest respect. He said that the name was properly Nikasuki.

The Nikasukis are precisely the same as the Hitchiti. In early days some Hitchiti went hunting to a point where two rivers met. They found alligators there which they ate, and when they came back they reported that they were good food. They went many times, and finally they came to like this point of land so well that a number of them settled there permanently. They had reported that alligators were as numerous and as easy to obtain as hogs (suki in Hitchiti), so that the parent tribe called their settlement Hog-eaters, which is what Nikasuki means.

We can not, however, concede the likelihood that n could so easily have been corrupted into m, since the latter appears in the early documents as far back as we can go. I have elsewhere quoted the opinion of the old Mikasuki chief relative to the distinction between his people and the Hitchiti, and their supposed relationship to the Chiaha. It must be remembered that the Chiaha anciently came away from the Yamasee, at a point not far from the earlier home of the Oconee, and it is quite possible that they recognized a closer connection with the Oconee Indians than with the Hitchiti proper. True, Mr. Penieres, subagent for Indian affairs in Florida, reported in 1821 that only a few straggling families of Chiaha were to be found in the peninsula;20 but it is quite possible that these represented a much later immigration, the earlier colonists having already (by 1778) adopted the name Mikasuki. The first settlement of these ” true Mikasuki,” as I venture to call them, was, so far as we know, at Old Mikasuki, near the lake which bears their name, in Jefferson County, Florida. Later they, or part of them, moved to New Mikasuki, somewhere near Greenville, in Madison County. In 1823 the chief of this town was Tuskameha (Taski heniha).21 It appears from Cohen, however, that at a somewhat earlier date the chief of the Mikasuki was named Tokos imała, called by the whites John Hicks, or Hext.22 Tokos imała appears in a list of towns dated 1821 as chief of the town in the Alachua plains,23 and he did not die until 1835; therefore when no town is enumerated in the Alachua plains in 1823 and no chief bearing the name,24 we are left to guess whether the town has been omitted or whether someone else appears in his place. It is probable that the Mikasuki were scattered among several towns, but as these, with but few exceptions, received new names from each new location, it is practically impossible to trace them.

From notes gathered by myself and the statements of early writers it is evident that this Mikasuki element was one of the most important, if not the most important, among the Seminole. It is also evident that there was before the outbreak of the final Seminole War a certain amount of friction and mutual jealousy between them and the Muskogee Seminole, founded partly, no doubt, on differences in speech and customs. Thus, in a letter written by William P. Duval to Col. Thomas L. McKenney, general superintendent of Indian affairs, and dated Tallahassee, April 5, 1826, we find the following disparaging notice:

The Mickasuky tribe I must except from this funeral [commendatory] remark. They are, and ever have been, the most violent and lawless Indians in all the South. They have set their own chiefs at defiance, killing their hogs and cattle, and pillaging their plantations. There are about two hundred of these Indians that never can be managed but by force. Three times have they attempted to put to death their head chief, because he has endeavored to restrain their excesses.

All the chiefs, in open council, have denounced them; and have assured me that, if the Government will afford them assistance, they will punish these outlaws of their nation and bring them into their boundary. I have seen many of them on the Suwanee and Ocilla Rivers; they are actually raising crops in the neighborhood of the whites, although I furnished them with provisions two months since, when they all promised immediately to go into the boundary. Not one has gone, nor will they move unless compelled. I have been upwards of two months in the woods, regulating and bringing the Indians to order; and have completely succeeded, except with the Mickasuky tribe. The inhabitants are greatly exasperated at the injuries they have sustained from this tribe, and the worst consequences may be expected. I acknowledge I can do nothing more without force. No confidence can be placed in this tribe, and the orderly Indians complain as much of them as the whites. They have most wantonly killed up the cattle and hogs of the nation, and will continue to do so. In fact, their own people have suffered as much from their depredations as our citizens.25

On the other hand, John Hicks, chief of at least a part of the Mikasuki, is represented by Cohen as the most influential and far-sighted man among the Seminole and a supporter of the emigration idea.26 His death was followed almost immediately by the ascendency of the party opposed to emigration and the outbreak of the Seminole War. Cohen is also authority for the statement that the Ocklawaha tribe or band represented the last element of Yamasee Indians, and he is probably correct, since the Yamasee are placed near Ocklawaha River on several maps of a slightly earlier period. He adds that they were noticeably darker than the other Seminole.27 On the list of towns given in 1823 appears one called “Yumersee,” located “at the head of Sumulga Hatchee River, 20 miles north of St. Marks.” The chief at that time was “Alac Hajo” (Ahalak hadjo, “potato hadjo”).28 I have given their history elsewhere.29

According to an aged Oklahoma Seminole who was born in Florida, the people of Tallahassee, where the State capital now stands, were Sawokli. It appears from the early records that this was an old Florida settlement, but I have no other evidence regarding its origin. The Cull-oo-sau hat-che (Kalusa håtchi) town of Hawkins I believe to have been occupied by some of the earlier natives of Florida, which, as has been seen, had remained down into American times.30

The history of the earliest Muskogee element in Florida is rescued for us in part by Romans, who says:

About the middle of the land, nearly in latitude 28, is a village called New Eufala, being a colony from Yufala, in the Upper Creek Nation, planted in 1767, in a beautiful and fertile plain.31

Although a little too far south, as given by him, there is reason to believe that this is the town later known as Tco’ko tca’ti, or “Red House,” and sometimes as “Red Town,” between the Big hammock and the hammock called from the name of this town “Chucoochartie hammock.”

There is no way of determining whence the populations of “We-cho-took-me” and “Tallau-gue chapco pop-cau,” the two remaining towns in Hawkins’s list, were drawn, nor those of most of the towns mentioned by Bartram. We-cho-took-me was remembered by Jackson Lewis, the informant to whom I have so often referred. He pronounced the name Oetcotukni and interpreted it to mean “where there is a pond of water.”

A few years after the date set by Romans, namely in 1778, a new Muskogee element appears in this region contributed by the towns of Kolomi, Fus-hatchee and Okchai, besides an Alabama contingent from Tawasa and Kan-tcati.32

After the conclusion of the Creek war of 1813-14 great numbers of Creeks, especially from the Upper Creek country, in a few cases entire towns, descended into Florida, increasing the original population by about two-thirds. And, whereas we have seen that up to this time the Hitchiti element was predominant, it now begins to be swallowed up or overshadowed by that of the true Creeks or Muskogee. The distinction between the older or true Seminole and the later comers was maintained for a time, as appears in the reports and documents of the early years of the nineteenth century relating to Indian affairs in Florida. One of the most important statements in this connection is by Mr. Penieres in a letter to General Jackson, dated July, 1821, though the estimates of population given by him are probably too high. This has been printed several times, but I here take it from Jedidiah Morse’s Report on the Indian Tribes, where it seems to appear with the smallest number of typographical blemishes:

The Indian tribes known under the denomination of the Creeks, are divided into bands, designated to me as follows: The Mekasousky, Souhane, Moskoky, Santa-Fé, Red-stick and Echitos. I have been assured that those bands had raised, during the late war, more than twelve hundred warriors, which may lead to suppose a population of more than three thousand individuals.

The nation known under the denomination of Seminoles, is composed of seven bands — viz, the Larchivue, Oklêvuaha, Chockechiatte, Pyaklé-kaha, Taléhouyana and Topkélaké. Besides these are some remnants of ancient tribes, as the Houtchis, Chaas, Cana-acke, etc. ; but of these there are only a few straggling families.

On the borders of Georgia is another tribe, called Cahouita. This tribe, under the orders of Mc’Intosh, raised from one hundred to one hundred and fifty warriors; who under this chief, about seven years ago, waged a civil war on the whites and Seminoles who hold them in the utmost detestation.

To this census, which would carry the Indian population to more than five thousand individuals, of both sexes, must be added five or six hundred maroon negroes, or mulattos, who live wild in the woods, or in a state of half slavery among the Indiana.33

Mr. Penieres evidently distinguishes as “Creeks” the later comers into Florida, and as “Seminoles” the earlier occupants of the peninsula. Under the first heading he is not describing the Creek Nation in general, but only those who had settled in Florida within the seven years preceding the date of his letter. Although there at first appears to be great lack of system in this enumeration, a careful examination shows that it has a real significance and helps us to understand the Indian population of Florida, the elements which entered into it, and to some extent the distribution of those elements. Let us take the Seminole proper first. The name first given, “Latchivue,” is without doubt meant for Alachua, but it is not intended to designate the Oconee who lived on the Alachua plains in Bartram’s time, but evidently that portion of the Mikasuki under John Hicks or Takos ima?a known on independent evidence to have been there in 1821. “Oklevuaha” is, of course, Ocklawaha, and represents probably, as I have said above, the old Yamasee element. “Chockechiatte” is Tcoko tcati, the Eufaula colony.34 Pyaklé-kaha is evidently identical with Pelaclekaha, which is given by some authorities as the residence of Mikonopi and by others as a Negro town near Okihamgi, his actual residence. At any rate it clearly refers to the Oconee colony in Florida, the pioneer town and the one visited by Bartram when situated on the Alachua plains. The town next mentioned, Taléhouyana, is misprinted in most of the other places where this letter has been copied. While its identity is not entirely assured there is good reason to believe that it is none other than the town of Hotalgihuyana, settled by Chiaha and Osochi Indians. The place last mentioned is “Topkélaké,” which means “fort place,” “place where there is a fort.” There were several localities known by the name. One appears in 1821 near the present city of Tallahassee, and there was probably another near Tohopekaliga Lake in central Florida, but I am inclined to identify this settlement with a town which occurs in the enumeration made in 1823 and which is placed 30 miles “east,” by which I suppose we are to understand north, of Cape Florida.35 It would thus seem to have been in the neighborhood of Hillsboro Inlet. The settlers were probably from the Upper Creeks.36 While it is said that the Seminole were composed of seven bands, only six are enumerated. Perhaps Mr. Penieres classed as a seventh the ” remnants of ancient tribes” to which he refers immediately afterwards. Of these the “Houtchis” are of course the Yuchi, and we know from several sources that their settlement was one called “Tallahassee or Spring Garden,” in the enumeration of 1823, near a place in Volusia County called Spring Garden today.37 The “Chaas” were probably the Chiaha, a settlement of whom, according to Bell, was at a place called Beech-Creek, the exact location of which I have been unable to determine.38 According to my Seminole informants there was a great fighter in Florida named Kana?ki, and they thought the name “Cana-acke” might have been derived from him, but I believe it is intended for the Kan-hatki.39

Turning to those bands set down as belonging to the Creeks we find some that are undoubtedly Muskogee and some of different lineage. The Mikasuki are also referred to under this head, and the name was probably used for those at New Mikasuki, who may have come from the Lower Creek towns much later than the ones already considered. The “Echitos” are, of course, Hitchiti, in this case people from the true Hitchiti town. The rest appear to have been mainly Muskogee, although there were some Alabama and Koasati among them. The “Souhane” were those Indians settled on Suwanee River, who, according to a letter written by Gen. Jackson in 1821, were from the Upper Creeks.40 The Santa Fe band must have been the Indians on Santa Fe River. Jackson gives a Santa Fe talofa “at the east fork of the Suwanee,” but does not state whether its people came from the Upper Creeks or were old inhabitants of Florida.41 The “Red-Stick” band may have been so named merely because they belonged to the element among the Creeks recently at war with the whites, or they may have been that portion from the Red towns. In any case we can not separate them from the band set down as “Moskoky” — the Muskogee. In Jackson’s letter 11 towns beside two on the Suwanee are definitely identified as having come from the Creeks, and nearly all of these were from the Upper Creeks.42 The remaining seven are either given as containing strictly Florida people or else are passed over without comment, and among them are one or two which there is reason to believe belong among the later comers. The relation of two to one, which I have already mentioned as representing probably the proportion of refugee Creeks to old Seminole, is therefore maintained roughly, even in the number of their towns. The “Spanish Indians,” consisting of remnants of the ancient Florida peoples, are not included in this enumeration.

The Seminole towns moved about so frequently and their names were altered so often that it is impossible to give a complete history of the people by towns, or to identify in every case the tribes which occupied them. Two or three town lists have been preserved from the period just before the outbreak of the Seminole War and it may be of some interest to insert these. They vividly illustrate the truth of the statement I have just made. The first is contained in a letter of Capt. John H. Bell, agent for the Indians in Florida, addressed to a committee of Congress, in February, 1821, and reproduced by Jedidiah Morse in his Report on Indian Affairs.43 It is as follows:

  1. Red-town, at Tampa Bay. Number of souls unknown.
  2. Oc-lack-o-na-yahe, above Tampa Bay. A number of souls.
  3. O-po-nays Town, back of Tampa Bay.
  4. Tots-ta-la-hoeets-ka, or Watermelon Town, on the seaboard, west side Tampa Bay; the greater part of all these fled from the Upper Creeks when peace was given to that nation.
  5. A-ha-pop-ka, situated back of the Musquitoe.
  6. Low-walta Village, composed of those who fled from Coosa, and followed McQueen and Francis, their prophets.
  7. McQueen’s Village, east side Tampa Bay.
  8. A-lack-a-way-talofa, in the Alachua Plains. A great number of souls. Took-o-sa-moth-lay, the chief.
  9. Santa-fee-talofa, at the east fork of Suwany. Lock-taw-me-coocky, the chief.
  10. Waw-ka-eau-su, on the east side of the mouth of the Suwany, on the seaboard; these are from the Coosa River, followers of McQueen and Francis.
  11. Old Suwany Town, burnt in 1818, on the Suwany River. These are from the Tallapoosa towns, and they are from the Upper Creeks.
  12. A-la-pa-ha-talofa, west of Suwany and east of the Miccasuky. The chief Ock-mulgee is lately dead.
  13. Wa-cissa-talofa, at the head of St. Mark’s River. These are from the Chattahouchy, Upper Creeks.
  14. Willa-noucha-talofa, near the head of St. Mark’s River, west of Wa-cissa-talofa. Natives of Florida.
  15. Talla-hasse, on the waters of the Miccasuky pond. These have lived there a long time, have about 100 warriors, and suppose 10 souls to a warrior; say 1,000 souls.
  16. Top-ke-gal-ga, on the east side on the O-clock-ney, near Talla-hasse.
  17. We-thoe-cuchy-talofa [Withla-cooche talofa], between the St. Mark’s and O-clock-ney Rivers, in the fork of the latter; very few of them are natives of the land.
  18. O-chuce-ulga, east of the Apalachicola, where Hambly and Blunt [Blount] live; about 250 souls, Coth-rin, the chief.
  19. Cho-co-nickla Village, the chief is Nea-thoe-o-mot-la, the second chief, Mulatto-King; were raised here; have about sixty warriors on the west side of the Apalachicola.
  20. Top-hulga.44) This village and Cho-co-nick-la join each other. Raised in East Florida, and removed there.
  21. Tock-to-eth-la, west of Fort Scott and Chatta-houchy, ten miles above the forks; forty or fifty warriors were raised at the O-cun-cha-ta, or Red Ground, and moved down.
  22. Another town in East Florida Point, called O-chu-po-cras-sa. These moved down from the Upper Creeks. About thirty warriors, and a great many women and children settled there.

The foregoing list is extracted from a talk field by General Jackson with three Chiefs of the Florida Indians, viz, Blount, Nea-moth-la, and Mulatto King, at Pensacola, 29th Septeviber, 1821. To which may be added the following settlements in East Florida:

  1. Pe-lac-le-ke-ha, the residence of Miccanopa, chief of the Seminole nations, situated about one hundred and twenty miles south of Alachua.
  2. Chu-ku-chatta, about twenty miles south of Pilaclekaha.
  3. Hich-a-pue-susse, about twenty miles southeast of Chukuchatta, at the same distance from the head of Tampa.
  4. Big Hammock settlement, the most numerous, north of Tampa Bay and west of Hechapususse.
  5. Oc-la-wa-haw, on the river of that name, west of St. John’s River.
  6. Mulatto Girl’s Town, south of Caskawilla Lake.
  7. Bucker Woman’s Town, near Long Swamp, east of Big Hammock.
  8. King Heijah’a, south, and Payne’s negro settlements in Alachua; these are slaves belonging to the Seminoles, in all about three hundred.
  9. John Hicks’ Town, west of Payne’s Savannah, Miccasukys.
  10. Oke-a-fenoke swamp, south side, a number of Cowetas.
  11. Beech Creek, settlement of Cheehaws.45)
  12. Spring Garden, above Lake George, Uchees. Billy is their chief.
  13. South of Tampa, near Charlotte’s Bay, Choctaws.

It is probable that the supplementary list repeats under a different name some of those in the list quoted from Jackson. Thus Bell’s “John Hicks’ Town,” No. 31, is evidently identical with Jackson’s “A-lack-a-way-talofa,” No. 8, John Hicks’s Indian name having been Takos imala. Jackson’s “Red Town,” No. 1, may also be the same as Bell’s “Chu-ku-chatta,” No. 24, the latter meaning “red house;” but in that case we must suppose that Jackson has erred in classing the town with those “the greater part” of which fled from the Upper Creeks. Analyzing the composition of these towns as far as the information at hand will allow we find the following condition: Nos. 8 and 31, as just noted, represent one town, occupied by the Mikasuki, but probably by only a part of them; No. 23 represents the old Oconee; No. 24, the Eufaula Indians; No. 27, the Yamasee; No. 32, Coweta Indians; No. 33, Chiaha; No. 34, Yuchi; and Nos. 28 to 30 were probably settled almost entirely by negroes. I have already given my reasons for thinking that the “Choctaws” settled according to Bell in No. 35 were really Calusa Indians.46 No. 21 is said to have been drawn from the Red Ground among the Upper Creeks. There were two towns of this name — one an Abihka, the other an Alabama town. I believe that the one here referred to was the Alabama town because the Abihka were little involved in the war, and it appears, moreover, that comparatively few of the Indians engaged in the fight at Horseshoe Bend emigrated to Florida. On the other hand, the Alabama were active hostiles, and Paddy Walsh, one of the ablest Creek leaders, was an Alabama of Tawasa town. The Indians of town No. 7 were probably Tulsa, because Peter McQueen, their leader, was a Tulsa Indian. The name of No. 6 is probably an attempt at ?iwahali. There is today in the Seminole Nation a town of this name. It is said to have consisted partly of Ho?iwahali Indians, as the name implies, but also of people from Kan-hatki and Fus-hatchee.47 Probably No. 6 is this compound town or the nucleus out of which it developed.

Nos. 1 to 4 are said by Jackson to have come for the most part from the Upper Creeks; and No. 22, apparently the settlement at Cape Florida, is assigned a similar origin. No. 13 is said to have come from the Chattahoochee and at the same time from the Upper Creek settlements. Perhaps the inhabitants were from those settlements above the falls of the Chattahoochee which were established in early times by the Okfuskee. No. 10 is given as from the Coosa, and No. 11 from the Tallapoosa, while No. 17 is merely said to have consisted of immigrants. Nos. 25 and 26 were probably from the Upper Creeks. Nos. 14, 19, and 20 are said to have been occupied by old Florida Indians, while Nos. 4, 9, 12, 16, and 18 were also probably populated from the older occupants of the peninsula. Tallahassee, No. 15, is said by some living informants to have been a Sawokli settlement. To summarize, 16 towns appear to have belonged to the old Seminoles, 15 to the immigrants from the Upper Creeks, and 3 to the Negroes settled among them. The towns of the newcomers were apparently more populous, since they seem to have outnumbered the earlier occupants.

In his estimates of population Morse gives a somewhat different list furnished by a Capt. Young, and dating from a slightly earlier period:48

Tribe Population Location
1 Micasukeys [Mikasuki] 1,400 30 m. NNE. from Fort St. Mark, on a pond 14 miles long, 2 or 3 feet wide; land fertile, and of a beautiful aspect.
2 Fowl Towns [or Totalosi talofa]49 300 12 miles E. Fort Scott; land tolerable
3 Oka-tiokinans [Okitiyakani] 580 Near Fort Gaines
4 Uchees [Yuchi] 130 Near the Mikasukey
5 Ehawho-ka-les [Sawokli] 150 On Apalachicola, 12 miles below Ocheese bluff.
6 Ocheeses 220 At the bluff of their name.
7 Tamatles [Tama?i] 220 7 miles above the Ocheeses
8 Attapulgas [or Atap'hulga]50 220 On Little River, a branch of Okalokina, 15 miles above Mikasukey path, from Fort Gadsden; fine body of lands.
9 Telmocresses [Tål mutcåsi]51 100 W. side of Chatahoochee, 15 miles above the fork, good land.
10 Cheskitalowas [Chiska talofa]52 580 On the W. side of Chattahoochee, 2 miles above the line.
11 Wekivas 250 4 miles above the Cheskitalowas.
12 Emusas [Yamasee]53 20 2 miles above the Wekivas.
13 Ufallahs [Eufaula] 670 12 miles above Fort Gaines.
14 Red grounds [Alabama Indians] 100 2 miles above the line.
15 Eto-husse-wakkes [Itahasiwaki] 100 3 miles above Fort Gaines
16 Tatto-whe-hallys [Chatukchufaula?]54 130 Scattered among other towns; dishonest.
17 Tallehassas55 [Tallahassee] 15 On the road from Okalokina to Micasukey.
18 Owassissas56 100 On the eastern waters of St. Mark’s River.
19 Chehaws [Chiaha] 670 On the Flint River, in the fork of Makulley Creek.
20 Talle-wh-anas [Hotalgihuvana] 210 E. side of Flint River, not far from the Chehaws.
21 Oakmulges [Okmulgee] 220 E. of Flint River, near the Tallewheanas.
Total 6,385

This appears to include merely the uppermost Seminole towns along with some which properly belong to the Lower Creeks. Most of them are easily identified, as has been indicated in the brackets.

This group of quasi-Seminole towns, along with the Lower Creeks, ceded a tract of land to Panton, Leslie & Co. in 1785 in order to extinguish debts contracted with that trading house, and confirmed it in 1806. The following chiefs affixed their signatures to the confirmation of this treaty. I have preserved the manuscript orthography.

Hopay Hacho Totolozu Talofa [Totalori Talofa], great orator of the Seminole.
Hothepocio Justannagee of Totolose Talofa [Totalosi Talofa]
Hopay micco of Ocknuilgeeche [Okmulgee or Okmulgutci].
Tustannagee micco of the same town.
Kuneeka Thlucco of Cheeyaha [Chiaha].
Emathlee Thlucio of the same.
Mico Napamico of Cuasita [Kasihta].
Yahullo Emathla of Chiska Talofa.
Tasikaya mico of Osootchie [Osotci].
Uchee Tustannagee of Uchee [Yuchi].
Yahulla micco of Ufalles [Eufaula].
Albania Justannagee of Ufallee [Eufaula].
Tasikaya Hadjo of Ocheesces [Ochisi].
Nika mico of Achinalga [Achinaalga].
Tustannage Hadjo of Tochtouheithles.57
Ninnyyuageichy of Tochtouheithles.58
Tustannage of Palachucklie [Apalachicola].
Yahulla Ennakla or John Meally of Ocheesa [Otcisi].
Hopay Hadjo, for Copixtsy mico, of Mickacuky [Mikasuki].
Justannagee Hopay or Little Prince of Cowetas [Coweta].
Ocheesce mico of Yauollee [Iolee].59
Hopayok Hadjo of Yanollee [Iolee].
Mico Tecocksy or Hatas mico.
Hopayoo mico of Tauassees [Tawasa].
Totka Tustannage of Wifalutka.60
Efau Tustannagee of Mikasuky [Mikasuki] for Hopay Hadjo.
Pawas mico of Ocoteyokony [Okitiyagani].
Tustannage Chapo of Ennussee [Emussee or Yamasee].
Tasikaya mico of the same.
Tustannage Chupko of Tomathly [Tama?i].
Halleveccha, king of Tomathla [Tama?i].
Tuskinia, lieutenant of Chatoackchufall [Chatukchufaula].61

The Chatukchufaula Indians were probably on the Chattahoochee at this time above the Coweta, and were therefore included. A similar grant of land was made to Forbes & Co. in 1811.62

The third list of Seminole towns was made only two years after Bell’s.63 Where possible, in the subjoined reproduction of it, I have indicated by numbers in brackets the town in list 1 to which each corresponds, but the number of cases in which it has been found impossible to do this, together with the numerous changes in the names of the chiefs and in the town locations, show the difficulties encountered in tracing the history of Seminole bands.

Town Chief
1. Cohowofooche. Neamothla [Heniha ima?a]. 23 miles N. by W. from St. Mark’s.
2 [15]. Tallahassa [Talahasi]. Chefixico [Tcu fiksiko] . 20 miles N. by W. from St. Mark’s.
3 [23]. Okehumpkee [Okihûmga]. Miconope [Miko nåbå]. 60 miles SW. from Volusia.
4 [20]. Taphulga [Atap'hulga].64 Ehe-mathlochee [Ima?utci?]. 30 miles E. of Appalachicola, and 1 mile N. of Forbes’s purchase.
5 [21]. Totoawathla. Eheconhatamico [Ikån-håtki miko]. W. side of Chattahoochee, 10 miles above the forks.
6 [19]. Chokonokla ["Burnt house"?] Mulatto King W. side of Appalachicola, 4 m. below the fork.
7 [18]. Iolee Blount. 60 m. above the mouth of Appalachicola, on the W. bank.
8 [18]. Spanawalka ["Plenty of Spaniards there"?]. Cochrane. 2 m. below Iolee, on the same side.
9. Oscillee Latafixico [Hola?ta fiksiko]. At the mouth of Oscillee River, on the E. bank.
10. Ohathlokhouchy [Oi?åkutci]. Woxaliolahta [Woksi hola?ta]. On Little River, 40 m. E. of Appalachicola.
11. Yumersee Alac Hajo [Ahalak hadjo] Head of Sumulga Hatchee River, 20 m. N. of St. Mark’s.
12. Lochchiocha. Okoska-amathla [Okoski ima?a]. 60 m. E. of Appalachicola, and near Ochlochne.
13 [14?]. Alouko. Tukchuslu Hajo E. side of Sumulga Hatchee River, 20 m. N. of St. Mark’s.
14. Hiamonee. Chowastic [Tcowastayi] 5 m. from the Georgia line, on the E. bank of Ochlochne River.
15. Tuckagulga. Ben Burgess. On the E. bank of Ochlochne River, between that and Hiamonee.
16. Wasupa Toshatehismico [Koasati miko]. 2 m. E. of Sumulga Hatchee River and 18 m. from St. Mark’s.
17. Hatchcalamocha. Amathla Hajo [Ima?a hadjo]. Near Drum Swamp, 18 m. W. of New Mickasuky town.
18. Etotulga ["Fallen tree"]. Mickcooche [Mikotci]. 10 m. E. of the old Mickasuky town.
19. Topananaulka [Tubenånålga, "Place of zigzag timber"]. Obiakee 3 m. W. of New Mickasuky.
20. Seleuxa [Ironwood?] Koamathla [Koe ima?a?] Head of Oscillee River.
21. Ahosulga Hockoknakola 5 m. S. of New Mickasuky town.
22. Mickasuky (New). Tuskameha 30 m. W. of Suwanee River.
23. Sampala [Såmbala] Ehe-maltho-chee [Ima-?otci]. 26 m. above the forks of the Appalachicola, on the W. bank.
24. Oktahatku [Oktaha håtki]. Menohomaltha Hajo [Heniha ima?a hadjo]. 7 m. E. of W. [!] from Sampala.
25 [12]. Chohalaboohhulka [Tcu lihaboå?lga, "Place where deer tracks abound"]. Yahola Hajo W. side of Suwanee, above its junction with Alapaha.
26. Welika. Lathwamaltha [Hola?ta ima?a]. 4 m. E. of Tallahassee towns.
27 [9]. Wachitokha. Ho-lahta-mico [Hola?ta miko[. E. side of Suwanee, between that and Santa Fe.
28. Talakhacha [Tålå håtchi?]. Tullis Hajo [Hilis hadjo]. W. side of Cape Florida, on the sea coast.
29 [22]. Sohopikaliga [Tohopki la(gi, "Where sits a fort"]. Cho-ke-hip-kalana E. of the last town, 30 m.
30. Loksachumpa. Lok-po-ka, Sakoosa Hajo [Takusa Hadjo]. Head of St. John’s River.
31. Ahapapka [Place to eat potatoes"]. Ocheesetustanuka [Otci-?si tåstånågi]. Head of Okelawaha.
32. Apukasasoche. Enehe-mathlochee [Heniha ima?utci]. 20 m. W. from the head of St. John’s.
33. Yulaka [Wialaka, spring, or Yulaha, orange?]. Philip, or Emathla. On the W. side of St. John’s River, 35 m. from Volusia or Dexter.
34 [34]. Talahassee, or Spring Gardens. Uchee Tustehuka, or Billy [Yutci tåstånågi]. 10 m. from Volusia.
35. Etanie. Checota Hajo. W. of St. John’s, E. of Black Creek.
36. Tuslalahockaka. Alac Hajo [Ahalak hadjo] 10 m. W. of Walalecooche.
37 [27]. Yalacasooche. Yelathaloke. Mouth of Oklawaha.

Jackson Lewis gave me the name of one later Seminole town, ?anu-?tci aba-?la (“Across a little mountain”), which I have not been able to identify in the above lists.

With the Seminole War we have little to do. As an example of possibilities of Indian warfare when opposed to European it has the Parallel having dragged through eight years, not including Jackson’s first raid into northern Florida, and having cost the United States Government, it is estimated, $20,000,000, the lives of many thousand persons of both sexes, and enormous property losses besides. Mikonopi,who, as l have shown, represented the old Oconee lement, was the theoretical head chief of the Indians during this contest, but the brains of native resistance were Osceola, an Indian from Tulsa, and Jumper, who is said to have come from the Upper Towns, but to have been the last survivor of “some ancient tribe.” In spite of the prominence of these two Creeks, the Mikasuki and the other older elements as a whole took the most conspicuous parts in it. Although they were outnumbered, and in time nearly over-whelmed, by the later Creek refugees, to whom the popular but erroneous rendering of the term “Seminole,” that of “runaways,” would more particularly apply, the fact must be emphasized that the primacy in this war belonged to a non-Muskogee people who had in no way been concerned in the great Creek uprising, and that it was therefore at base a war with an entirely separate tribe.

We learn from the report of an Indian agent,65 writing in 1846, that the year before, shortly after the removal of the Seminole to the strip of Oklahoma later occupied by them, there were 27 “towns” or bands there which were in 1846 reduced to 25 by the death of two leaders, and the incorporation of their bands with others. The associations of the Creek elements in particular, in Florida, were so little sanctified by time and custom that they were easily destroyed, and progressively, with gradual losses in numbers, these 25 were still further cut down, until within the memory of the older people, only eight towns or neighborhoods supporting square grounds remained, and in 1912 these had been still further reduced to six. The Mikasuki preserve a ground near Seminole, Okla., and the Hitchiti had one near Keokuk Falls, which was given up many years ago. Of the remainder, one, located near Sasakwa, is called ?iwahali, and, as I have stated above, contains, besides persons from the Upper Creek town of that name, the descendants of those who once occupied Kan-hatki and Fus-hatchee. Eufaula may be assumed to represent the descendants of that old Seminole colony planted at Tcuko tcati. According to the people now constituting it, the only Indians other than Eufaula living there are Chiaha. The other square grounds are called Okfuskee, Chiaha, Talahasutci, and Otcisi. Okfuskee and Chiaha bear names of former Creek towns, but I learn that the appellations are quite conventional, although no doubt some of the individuals going by the name are actually descended from people belonging to the town which the name indicates. Talahasutci is probably the “Talahasochte” of Bartram. There are now no old people belonging to it, but the chief told me he thought it had broken away from Tulsa. On the other hand, some Creek informants insisted that it came either from Abihka or from Abihka through Pakan talahasi. As I have pointed out elsewhere, Pakan talahasi did not come from Abihka, and it is not likely that this town did either. If Hawkins is right in his description of the make-up of the Seminole population it would seem that originally it must have been either a Mikasuki town or a branch of Lower Eufaula.66 Conclusive evidence is lacking. In Bartram’s time the chief was known as the White King (Miko håtki).67 Otcisi is a name not found among the regular town names of the Creeks proper. One of my oldest informants said that his mother explained it as derived from the custom of going out after hickory nuts (otci) with which to make oil. He thought the town was a branch of Eufaula hopai, but that into it had been gathered people from other places. Otcisi was, however, a name given by Hitchiti-speaking people to the Creeks, and in fact to any who used a language different from their own. Another informant, himself an Otcisi, said that most of the inhabitants came from Hickory Ground, though a few were from Tälwå ?åko. This is, perhaps, the most probable statement, since this man, Yonasi, was the oldest person belonging to that place. The name, as applied to a town, appears as early as 1800 in the diary of Manuel Garcia, a Spanish officer sent to receive the Apalachee fort from Bowles.68

But, as I have already said, the lack of permanence of most Seminole towns, and the frequent change of name which they underwent, has rendered it next to impossible to follow in any connected manner the history of more than a very few groups. At the same time the main outlines of Seminole history and the principal factors entering into it are quite evident. They were at base a portion of the Atsikhata or non-Muskogee people of southern Georgia, around whom had gathered a still more numerous body of refugee Muskogee. These latter obscured their original character to such an extent that its basal separateness was usually unrecognized, and ultimately the language of the invaders overwhelmed that of the original settlers. This fact lends coherence to several early statements like that of Swan that “the Seminoles are the original stock of the Creek, but their language has undergone so great a change that it is hardly understood by the Upper Creeks, or even by themselves in general. It is preserved by many old people, and taught by women to the children as a kind of religious duty; but as they grow to manhood, they forget and lose it by the more frequent use of the modern tongue.”69 Of course, Swan misunderstood the situation. The original Creek language of which he speaks was Mikasuki, which in his time was already being crowded out by Muskogee or Creek proper.

Footnotes

  1. See pp. 121-123. 

  2. See p. 180. 

  3. Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 522. 

  4. See p. 181. 

  5. See p. 181. 

  6. Brinton, The Floridian Peninsula, p. 145. 

  7. Ga. Col. Docs., VII, p. 626 et seq. 

  8. Acct. Showing; the Progress of Ga., pp. 35-36. 

  9. Fairbanks, Hist of Fla., p. 174. 

  10. Cohen, Notices of Florida, p. 238. 

  11. Ibid., p. 33. 

  12. Ibid., pp. 35, 238. 

  13. Ibid., p. 35. 

  14. His residence is often given as Pilaklakaha , which appears to have been a Negro town near Okihamki. 

  15. See p. 172. 

  16. Bartram, Travels, p. 462. 

  17. Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls. , III, p. 25. A more nearly phonetic way of rendering the fifth would be Akla-waha ?åko, and the sixth Talaa’lgi tcåpko popka (“a place to eat cow or stock peas”). 

  18. Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 25. 

  19. See p. 12. 

  20. See p. 404. 

  21. See p. 411. 

  22. Cohen, Notices of Florida, p. 641. 

  23. See p. 406. 

  24. List on pp. 411-412. 

  25. Am. State Papers, Indian Affairs, II, p. 694. 

  26. Cohen, Notices of Florida, p. 64 et seq. 

  27. Cohen, Notices of Florida, p. 33. 

  28. See p. 411. 

  29. See p. 108. 

  30. See p. 344. 

  31. Romans, Concise Nat. Hist. Fla., p. 280. 

  32. MS., Lib. Cong. 

  33. Morse, Rept. to the Sec. of War, p. 811, 

  34. See p. 408. 

  35. See p. 412. 

  36. See p. 407, town No. 22. 

  37. See p. 407, town No. 22. 

  38. See p. 407. 

  39. See p. 269. 

  40. See p. 406, town No. 11. 

  41. See p. 406, town No. 9 

  42. See below. 

  43. Morse, Rept. to the Sec. of War, pp. 300-308. 

  44. Also callod Attapulgas; the Creek is Atap’halgi from the atap’ha, dogwood. (See Gatschet in Misc. Coll. Ala. Hist. Soc, I, p. 393. 

  45. Possibly this is identical with Fulemmy’s Town or Pinder Town, which is placed on Suwanee River in 1817 and was inhabited by Chiaha Indians. ” Pinder” is dialectic for peanut. (See Misc. Colls. Ala. Hist. Soc., I, p. 396. 

  46. See p. 28. 

  47. See p. 269. 

  48. Morse, Rept. to the Sec. of War, p. 364. 

  49. A writer quoted by Gatschet gives these as Cahalli hatchi, old Tallahassi, Atap’halgi, Allik hadshi, Etatulga, Mikasuki, (Misc. Colls. Ala. Hist. Soc., I, p.413). The second, third, and last of these occur independently in the above list. Also see p. 177. 

  50. See No. 20 in Bell’s list. 

  51. A Tål mutcåsi in this neighborhood is recorded by no one else unless it is intended by the “Sumachaches” of Manuel Garcia’s diary, dated 1800 (Edward E. Ayer Coll. in Newberry Library, Chicago). The same officer mentions Tallahassey and Bruacissey (Owassissas), besides several towns properly belonging to the Lower Creeks

  52. See p. 308. 

  53. See p. 108. 

  54. See p. 245. 

  55. See p. 403. 

  56. See p. 406. 

  57. The town numbered 21 in list 1 and 5 in list 3, and are probably of Alabama origin, 

  58. The town numbered 21 in list 1 and 5 in list 3, and are probably of Alabama origin, 

  59. Seven of list 3. 

  60. Perhaps identical with No. 13 in the third list. 

  61. Copy of MS. , Ayer Coll. , Newberry Lib. 

  62. In the Ayer collection is a statement of the debts contracted by the Indians with this firm, the amount of each debt, and the name of the debtor, but the names are mostly English nicknames. 

  63. American State Papers, Indian Affairs, II, p. 439. 

  64. Mentioned under the name of its chief, “Ematlochee” in U. S. Ind. Treaties (1833), p. 578, 1837, as a Creek town. 

  65. Ind. Affs. Rept. for 1846, p. 278. 

  66. See p. 400. 

  67. Bartram, Travels, p. 224 et seq 

  68. Archive Nacional, Sevilla, copy in Edward E. Ayer Coll., Newberry Library. 

  69. Swan In Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, p. 260. 



MLA Source Citation:

Swanton, John Reed. Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors. US Government Printing Office. 1902. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 22 August 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/seminole-indian-history.htm - Last updated on Aug 20th, 2014


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