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Tuskegee Indians

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Alabama,Native American,North Carolina,Oklahoma,Tennessee | No Comments

Tuskegee Tribe: Meaning unknown, but apparently containing the Alabama term taska, “warrior.”

Tuskegee Connections. The original Tuskegee language is unknown but it was probably affiliated with the Alabama, and hence with the southern branch of Muskhogean.

Tuskegee Location. The later and best known location of this tribe was on the point of land between Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, but in 1685 part of them were on the Chattahoochee River near modern Columbus and the rest were on the upper Tennessee near Long Island. (See also Oklahoma and Tennessee)

Tuskegee Villages. None are known under any except the tribal name of Tuskegee.

Tuskegee History. In 1540 De Soto passed through a town called Tasqui 2 days before he entered Coosa. In 1567 Vandera was informed that there were two places in this neighborhood near together called Tasqui and Tasquiqui, both of which probably belonged to the Tuskegee. By the close of the seventeenth century the Tuskegee appear to have divided into two bands one of which Coxe (1705) places on an island in Tennessee River. This band continued to live on or near the Tennessee for a considerable period but in course of time settled among the Cherokee on the south side of Little Tennessee River, just above the mouth of Tellico, in the present Monroe County, Tennessee. Sequoya lived there in his boyhood. Another place which retained this name, and was probably the site of an earlier settlement was on the north bank of Tennessee River, in a bend just below Chattanooga, while there was a Tuskegee Creek on the south bank of Little Tennessee River, north of Robbinsville, in Graham County, N. C. This band; or the greater part of it, was probably absorbed by the Cherokee. A second body of Tuskegee moved to the location mentioned above where the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers come together. It is possible that they first established themselves among the Creek towns on the Ocmulgee, moved with them to the Chattahoochee in 1715 and finally to the point just indicated, for we have at least two documentary notices of Tuskegee at those points and they appear so situated on a number of maps. It is more likely that these were the Tuskegee who finally settled at the Coosa-Tallapoosa confluence than a third division of the tribe but the fact is not yet established. In 1717 the French fort called Fort Toulouse or the Alabama Fort was built close to this town and therefore it continued in the French interest as long as French rule lasted. After the Creek removal, the Tuskegee formed a town in the southeastern part of the Creek territories in Oklahoma, but at a later date part moved farther to the northwest and established themselves near Beggs.

Tuskegee Population. There are no figures for the Tuskegee division which remained on Tennessee River. The southern band had 10 men according to the estimate of 1750, but this is evidently too low. Later enumerations are 50 men in 1760, 40 in 1761, including those of Coosa Old Town, 25 in 1772 and 1792, 35 in 1799. The census of 1832-33 returned a population of 216 Indians and 25 Negro slaves.

Connection in which they haze become noted. The name Tuskegee became applied locally to several places in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, and one in Creek County, Oklahoma, but the most important place to receive it was Tuskeegee or Tuskegee, the county seat of Macon County, Ala. The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute for colored people, located at this place, has, under the guidance of the late Booker T. Washington, made the name better known than any other association.


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