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The Late Slave Raiding Period 1705-1721
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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 expansion.
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 concubines.
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 alliances.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 arrows.”
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.
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.
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.
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 Choctaw name.
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 war.
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 “Shawnee Waters.”
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 1729.
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 Cherokees.
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 Cherokee Alliance.
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 wiped out.
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.
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 Iroquois Confederacy.
Ochese, Uchese, 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.
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