- Access Genealogy - http://www.accessgenealogy.com -
Yuchi Indian Tribe
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Native American | No Comments
Our history of those tribes constituting the Creek Confederacy will not be complete without some mention of three alien peoples which were incorporated with it at a comparatively recent period. These are the Yuchi, the Natchez, and the Shawnee.
The Yuchi have attracted considerable attention owing to the fact that they were one of the very few small groups in the eastern part of North America having an independent stock language. Their isolation in this respect, added to the absence of a migration legend among them and their own claims, have led to a belief that they were the most ancient inhabitants of the extreme southeastern parts of the present United States. The conclusion was natural, almost inevitable, but the event proves how little the most plausible theory may amount to in the absence of adequate information. Strong evidence has now come to light that these people, far from being aboriginal inhabitants of the country later associated with them, had occupied it within the historic period.
Dr. F. G. Speck has contributed to the study of southern tribes an invaluable paper on “The Ethnology of the Yuchi Indians,” but he made no special investigation into their history from documentary sources. However, he noted an apparent absence of Yuchi names — with one possible exception — in the narratives of the De Soto expedition, and particularly called attention to the non-Yuchean character of the name of Cofitachequi, which up to that time had generally been considered a Yuchi town. I have touched upon this particular point more at length in another place.
One reason for the general misimderstanding of the place of the Yuchi in aboriginal American history was the fact that the language was generally considered very difficult by other peoples and few learned it, and, although not necessarily resulting from that circumstance, it so happened that they were known to different tribes by different names, never apparently by the term Tsoyahá, “Offspring of the sun,” which they apply to themselves. Regarding the name Yuchi, Speck says:
It is presumably a demonstrative signifying “being far away” or “at a distance” in reference to human beings in a state of settlement (yū, “at a distance,” tcī, “sitting down”).
It is possible, in attempting an explanation of the origin of the name, that the reply ” Yū‛tcī” was given by some Indian of the tribe in answer to a stranger’s inquiry, “Where do you come from?” which is a common mode of salutation in the southeast. The reply may then have been mistaken for a tribal name and retained as such. Similar instances of mistaken analogy have occurred at various times in connection with the Indians of this continent, and as the Yuchi interpreters themselves favor this explanation it has seemed advisable at least to make note of it.
I can add nothing except to say that the Creeks have no explanation of the name to offer, and that it appears rather late, little if any before the opening of the eighteenth century. In the South Carolina archives reference is made to “the Uche or Round Town people,” but the second term is probably not intended as a translation of the first.
Gatschet gives Tahogaléwi as the Delaware equivalent of Yuchi, and from early maps, where it appears in the forms Tahogale, Tahogaria, Taogria, Tongaria, Tohogalegas, etc., it is evident that it was applied by other Algonquian peoples also. It was used most persistently for a band of Yuchi on Tennessee River, but on the maps of Moll and some other cartographers the Tahogale are placed along Savannah River a fact which serves to confirm the identification of the term.
Tohogalega was sometimes abbreviated to Hogologe or Hog Logee. A legend on a map in Jefferys’s Atlas at a point on Savannah River several miles above Augusta reads: “Hughchees or Hogoleges Old Town deserted in 1715,” and an island in the river at this point is called “Huhgchee I.” The form Hughchee is somewhat unusual, but is confirmed as actually intended for Yuchi by numerous references to this island as “Uchee Island” in the Georgia Colonial Documents and elswehere, as well as the existence of a “Uchee Creek” which flows into the Savannah at this point.
The earliest historical name for the Yuchi was Chiska or Chisca. I assert this confidently on the basis of information contained in very early Spanish documents, both published and unpublished, and on the very strongest of circumstantial evidence, although as yet no categorical statement of the identity has been found. The circumstantial evidence is as follows:
Some time ago I attempted a further identification of this tribe with a people settled upon the Savannah River at the time when South Carolina was colonized by the whites, and called by the latter Westo. Prof. Verner W. Crane, who has made some important historical discoveries in this region, to be mentioned presently, has, however, taken strong exception to it. The resulting discussion between Professor Crane and myself has appeared in the American Anthropologist, which the reader may consult, but it will not be profitable to cover the same ground again. I will merely incorporate a short statement of my present views on the subject and the reasons which lead me still to adhere to my original opinion.
My studies of southeastern tribes have clearly demonstrated that the Yuchi once inhabited some territory in the neighborhood of the southern Appalachian Mountains, from which a large part of them moved during the seventeenth and the early part of the eighteenth centuries, invading the low countries to the south of them and settling in several different places. Two or three such waves of migration can be made out with certainty, the first resulting in a settlement on Choctawhatchee River, in the western part of the present State of Florida; a second giving birth to the Yuchi settlement on Savananh River above the site of the present Augusta, later removed to the Chattahoochee River and then to the Tallapoosa; and a third, probably subsequent to the Yamasee war, which brought about a Yuchean colonization of the lower Savannah, and later became consolidated into the well-known Yuchi town among the Lower Creeks. Furthermore, distinct names are often applied to these several bands, and sometimes they appear upon the same map under the distinct names. The first name appears in history as “Chisea,” but later we find them called, successively, Hogologe and Yuchi; the second are called both Hogologe and Yuchi; while the last appears as Yuchi almost invariably. On numerous maps we find the Hogologe (or Hogolege) and Yuchi entered as if they were distinct tribes, and Romans includes the two in his enumeration of the principal Lower Creek towns.
So far as the Yuchi are concerned, then, the concurrent use of two or more distinct names does not prove that the people so called were unrelated. There can be no question that the Westo constituted for a long period a body of Indians distinct from those just mentioned. They were not a part of the same tribal organization. The question is. Were they or were they not a Yuchean tribe? Did they speak a Yuchean dialect?
In the first place, attention should be called to the fact that in the immediate neighborhood of the southern Appalachians the Yuchi are the only people known to have moved southward in any considerable numbers in the early historic period. Again, after the Yamasee war and the later removal of those people to whom the term Yuchi is commonly applied to the Chattahoochee River, the Yuchi and Westo towns were established a very few miles apart, where the two may readily have united. It is evident that a sufficiently large body of Westo Indians continued to exist in this neigh-borhood to have attracted the attention of those traders and explorers from whom accounts have come down to us if they were as different from the Creeks generally as there is every reason to believe, unless they were confused with another people which did attract such attention. And it is a matter of record that practically all earlier writers upon the Lower Creeks make particular mention of the Yuchi and comment upon their distinct language and peculiar customs.
In his last communication Professor Crane cites a new piece of evidence which he thinks renders it necessary for us to reject the Yuchean connection of the Westo. This is the reference in Woodward’s Westo Narrative to a report brought by two Shawnee Indians to the effect that ye “Cussetaws, Checsaws, and Chiskers were intended to come downe and fight ye Westoes.” If the Chiska and Westo were both Yuchi, Professor Crane argues that they would not be fighting each other. This, however, by no means follows. Many instances may be cited of tribes related by language at bitter enmity with one another and allied on each side with peopled having no connection with them whatever. Besides, Woodward says regarding these Shawnee, “There was none here yt understood them, but by signes they intreated freindship of ye Westoes showeing,” and so on as above. One may well hesitate to place entire confidence in information obtained in this manner.
On the other hand, there is one bit of documentary evidence which tends to identify the Indians under discussion with the Chiska. This is given on page 296, and it will not be necessary to quote it at length, but the gist of it is that about 1682 La Salle encountered some Indians called “Cisca” and learned that the Indians of “English Florida” had burned one of their villages, “aided by the English,” after which they had abandoned their easternmost villages and moved into the neighborhood of La Salle’s fort. Now, English Florida must certainly refer to Carolina, not Virginia, and the Carolina settlers engaged in no war of consequence up to that time — certainly none resulting in the expulsion of a tribe — except that against the Westo, who had been driven out the year before.
As opposed to the Yuchean theory. Professor Crane can only suggest a possible Iroquoian connection for these otherwise enigmatic Westo, and he has but two direct arguments to offer, both of the slenderest. One of these is the superficial resemblance between the name Rickohockans, which, as we shall presently see, he identifies with the Westo, and the native name of the old Erie tribe Riquehronnons; the other an excerpt from the South Carolina archives to be noted presently.13 Regarding the first point it is to be remarked that Mr. J. N. B. Hewitt, who has a profound knowledge of the languages of the Five Nations and a very considerable knowledge of Algonquian, considers the resemblance only superficial and the former word plainly Algonquian. His researches also indicate another direction of migration for the defeated Erie.
The excerpt referred to is a commentary appended to the South Carolina Commons House address of 1693 mentioned above to the effect that ” the Mawhawkes are a numerous, warlike nation of Indians, and strictly aleyd to the Westos….” As Professor Crane says, “much depends on the interpretation of the expression ‘strictly aleyd’ “; but I believe that the adverb would hardly have been used if the connection between the Mohawk and Westo were merely linguistic. While that might have been intended as one of the bonds between them, some kind of political or military coordination appears to be hinted at also, and this was extremely improbable between sworn foes like the Erie and Iroquois, while, on the other hand, we know that the Iroquois and Yuchi were both bitter enemies of the eastern Siouan tribes.
My conclusion is that, in the present state of this question, the Yuchean connection of the Westo has greater probability in its favor than any other theory, and I shall treat their history along with that of the better identified Yuchean bands, leaving the reader to draw his own conclusions from the material available, all of which will be presented.
On taking this position, however, we are immediately confronted by a further identification, mentioned above, between the Westo and the Rickohockans or Rechahecrians, a mysterious tribe which appears in early Virginia history. Professor Crane, to whom we owe this identification, bases it on material contained in the colonial archives of the State of South Carolina, which is as follows. On January 13, 1693, the upper house of the colony of South Carolina laid before the commons house of Assembly information to the effect that some northern Indians had come to establish themselves among the Tuskegee, and others were coming the summer following to settle among the Coweta and Kasihta. The reply of the lower house, drawn up by a committee of which James Moore, a leading Indian trader, was chairman, declared “that all possible means be used to prevent the settlemt of any Northern nation of Indians amongst our Friends, more Especially ye Rickohogo’s or Westos, a people which formerly when well used made an attempt to Destroy us. . . .” And Professor Crane well adds: “The ‘Hickauhaugau’ of Woodward’s relation was, then, simply a variant of ‘Rickohogo’ or Rickahockan.” This identification appears to me satisfactory and very illuminating. It is to be ob-served, too, that the mountain habitat of these Rickohockans falls very near to, if it is not identical with, the habitat of the northern band of Chiska to be described presently. As the name Rickohockan seems, fide Hewitt, to be an Algonquian term signifying “cave-landers, ” we must not lose sight of the possibility that it may have been applied to more than one people, and that they were identical, at least in part, with the Westo of South Carolina history. Singularly enough Professor Crane, even in this identification, is confronted by the same difficulty which we note so frequently in dealing with the Yuchi — the application of synonymous terms to different bands. Thus Lederer meets in one town Rickohockans whose home was “not far westward of the Apalataean mountains” and later hears of the “Oustack,” a fierce tribe at war with the Catawba. These Oustack must certainly have been the Westo then living in the same region and known by a name almost identical, allowing for an ending which we may reasonably attribute to Lederer’s Algonquian interpreter.
Still one more term may prove to have been applied to these people of many names, the term Tamahita. A full statement of the arguments in this case has already been given. Let us now take up the history of these various Yuchi, or supposedly Yuchi, bands.
As I have already explained, there is no evidence that the Yuchi were on Savannah River in De Soto’s time. In fact, there is no proof that he himself met them at all. When he was passing down the Tennessee River, however, he heard of them under the name “Chisca,” the “province” so called lying across the mountains to the north. They were evidently in the rough country in the eastern part of the present State of Tennessee, and De Soto sent two soldiers to visit them. The Fidalgo of Elvas says:
In three days [after the arrival of the expedition at Coste] they that went to Chisca got back, and related that they had been taken through a country so scant of maize, and with such high mountains, that it was impossible the army should march in that direction; and finding the distance was becoming long, and that they should be back late, upon consultation they agreed to return, coming from a poor little town where there was nothing of value, bringing a cow-hide as delicate as a calfskin the people had given them, the hair being like the soft wool on the cross of the merino with the common sheep.
Ranjel says simply that the messengers “brought good news,” and Garcilasso speaks as if they actually reached the province they were in search of. On account of some slip in the memories of the latter’s informants he applies the name Chisca to a town near the Mississippi which the other chroniclers call Quizquiz, or Quizqui. Biedma makes no mention either of the province or the expedition. It will be noticed that Elvas says nothing of any metal seen by the explorers. Garcilasso, on the other hand, states that they “reported that the mines were of a very highly colored copper”. The success of the expedition as reported by Garcilasso and Ranjel and this mention of copper mines accord ill with what Elvas says. Is it possible that some facts regarding the expedition were kept secret within official circles, but leaked out into the camp through the messengers? After the explorers had crossed the Mississippi Elvas tells us they “marched in quest of a province called Pacaha, which he had been informed was nigh Chisca,” and, after he had arrived at the former place, he sent out an expedition to see if they could turn back toward the latter. It is possible that they had learned of another band of Yuchi who are known to have been living near the Mussel Shoals about 1700.
The next we hear of this province is in the Pardo narratives. In November, 1566, as we have seen, Juan Pardo left the new port of Santa Elena and marched northward to the province of Juada, probably the country of the Siouan Cheraw. There he built a fort, which he left in charge of a sergeant named Moyano (or Boyano). The following January (1567), after Pardons return to Santa Elena, a letter reached him from Moyano informing him that his sergeant had been at war with a chief named “Chisca,” that with 15 soldiers he had killed over 1,000 Indians and burned 50 huts. Later Moyano received a threatening letter from one of the mountain chiefs (un cacique de la sierra), perhaps from this same Chisca — at any rate from one of his allies. Determined to be the first to attack, Moyano went out from the fort of San Juan with twenty soldiers, marched four days through the sierra, and reached the enemies one morning and found them so well fortified that it was a marvel, because they were surrounded with a very high wooden wall and having a small gate with its defences; and the sergeant seeing that there was no way to enter but by the gate, made a shelter by means of which they entered with great danger, because they wounded the sergeant in the mouth and nine other soldiers in different places, but none of them dangerously. When they finally gained the fort the Indians took refuge in the huts which they had inside, which were underground, from which they came out to skirmish with the Spaniards, and [the latter] killing many of the Indians, fastened the doors of the said huts and set fire to them and burned them all, so that there were killed and burned 1,500 Indians.
In contemplating this feat of Moyano’s I can not help repeating Lowery’s reference to a Spanish proverb, “Distant countries, big tales.” It is sad to relate that the hero of the expedition was afterwards cut off, along with all of the force accompanying him except one man, by a comparatively insignificant tribe near Port Royal. And yet it is possible that Moyano’s narrative is true if he was accompanied by a large body of friendly Indians not mentioned in the text.
Later the Chiska chief, in alliance with those of “Carrosa, Costehe, and Coza,” was reported to be lying in wait with several thousand Indians, intending to attack Pardo, and this was why Pardo turned back to Santa Elena from his second expedition that same year (1567).
As we shall presently see, the Yuchi later came to be called Chichimecs by the Spaniards through a fancied resemblance in character to the wild tribes north of Mexico. A reference to “Chichimecas” far to the north of Florida in a Spanish document dating from the last quarter of the sixteenth century may possibly have reference to the tribe we are discussing.
The course of Yuchi history now separates into several distinct channels, corresponding to a similar division among the people themselves. A portion of them remained in the north, a second body settled not far from Choctawhatchoc River in western Florida, and two or three others established themselves on and near the Savannah River. Each will be considered in turn, beginning with that band mentioned first, which remained nearest to the original Yuchi home.
In 1656, if we accept Professor Crane’s identification and my own inferences from it, the Yuchi made a sudden and spectacular appearance on and disappearance from the stage of Virginia history. John Burk has the following account of it:
Whilst the assembly were employed in these wise and benevoIent projects, information was received that a body of inland or mountain Indians, to the number of six or seven hundred, had seated themselves near the falls of James River, apparently with the intention of forming a regular settlement. Some movements were at this time noticed among the neighboring tribes which seemed to indicate something like a concert and correspondence with these strangers; and the minds of the colonists, always alive to, and apprehensive of, Indian treachery, were unusually agitated on this occasion. The place these Indians had made choice of was another source of disquiet. It was strong and difficult of access, alike calculated for offensive and defensive operations; and they recollected the immense trouble and expence that had been incurred in extirpating the tribes which formerly dwelt in that place. At the conclusion of the last peace with the Indians this station was considered so important, that its cession was insisted on, as the main pledge and security of peace; and it had hitherto continued unoccupied as a sort of barrier to the frontiers in that direction. Under all these circumstances they could not see it, without anxiety, occupied by a powerful band of hardy warriors, who perhaps were only the advance guard of a more formidable and extensive emigration.
The measures of the assembly in removing this ground of alarm, were prompt and vigorous. One hundred men were dispatched under the command of Edward Hill, to dislodge the intruders. His instructions were to use peaceable means only, unless compelled by necessity; and to require the assistance of all the neighboring Indians, according to the articles of the late treaty. The governor was at the same time directed to send an account of this invasion to Totopotomoi [principal chief of the Pamunkey Indians], and desire that his influence should be exerted in procuring the immediate cooperation of the friendly tribes.
It is difficult to form any satisfactory conjecture as to the motives of this extraordinary movement directly against the stream and tide of emigration. It was certainly a bold step to descend into the plain, in the face of an enemy, whose power they must have heard of, and which could scarcely fail of inspiring astonishment and awe; and to take the place of warlike tribes, whom the skill and destructive weapons of the whites had lately exterminated and swept away.
The scanty materials which the state records have preserved of Indian affairs throw little light on this subject. But though they do not present this people in all the various relations of peace and war, we generally see them in one point of view at least; and are often able by induction, to supply a considerable range of incident and reflection. In the second session of [the] assembly. Colonel Edward Hill was cashiered, and declared incapable of holding any office, civil or military, within the colony, for improper conduct in his expedition against the Kechahecrians. We are not told whether the offence of Hill was cowardice or a wilful disobedience of the instructions he had received. There is however reason to believe that he was defeated, and that the Kechahecrians maintained themselves in their position at the falls by force; for the governor and council were directed by the assembly to make a peace with this people, and they farther directed that the monies which were expended for this purpose should be levied on the proper estate of Hill.
From other sources almost equally authentic we learn that the aid demanded of the Indians was granted without hesitation. Totopotomoi marched at the head of an hundred warriors of the tribe of Pamunkey and fell with the greater part of his followers, gallantly fighting in this obstinate and bloody encounter.
The site of this battle was at the falls of the James. It is evident that we have here the migration of a tribe, and hence the probabihty that this settlement was occupied by Yuchi rather than Cherokee becomes so much the stronger. Why the newcomers disappeared after leaving won a decisive victory over both whites and Indians, and made a treaty of peace by which their right to inhabit part of the country must have been recognized, is a mystery. The historians appear to be silent both as to the time and the manner of their going. The chances are that, having been forced or induced to abandon their original seats, they had small attachment to any new spot and were easily prevailed upon to establish themselves elsewhere. Perhaps reports filtering back to them from their kinsmen in the south led them to believe that there they should find an easier existence or less hostile neighbors. On the other hand, they may merely have returned into the interior, for we know that there were Yuchi in Tennessee until a comparatively late period, but among the Florida records is one which points to a new influx of Yuchi into the south shortly after the date of the great battle on the James. This will be considered presently.
Whether these latter Indians were Rickohockans or not, there were Rickohockans still in the north. In 1670, during his second expedition into the province of Carolina, Lederer was informed by several Indians “that the nation of Rickohockans, who dwell not far to the westward of the Apalataean Mountains, are seated upon a land, as they term it, of great waves,” from which Lederer infers that they meant the seashore. It is more likely, as Mooney suggests, that they had reference to the mountains. A tragedy of which Rickohockans were the victims was Addressed by Lederer at the town of Occaneechee. He says:
The next day after my arrival at Akenatzy, a Rickohockan ambassadour, attended by five Indians, whose faces were coloured with auripigmentum (in which mineral these parts do much abound), was received and that night invited to a ball of their fashion; but in the height of their mirth and dancing, by a smoke contrived for that purpose, the room was suddenly darkened and, for what cause I know not, the Rickhockan and his retinue barbarously murthered.
The next reference to the northern Yuchi is in a document printed in the Margry collection under the heading “Rivières et Peuplades des Pays Découverts,” apparently written by La Salle shortly after his descent of the Mississippi in 1682. Unfortunately the first part is wanting. The fragment preserved begins by speaking of some people who were “neighbors of the Cisca and their allies as well as the Cicaca.” On the next page, in speaking of the upper Ohio region, he says:
The Apalatchites, people of English Florida, are not far from some one of its most eastern branches, because they have war with the Tchataké [Cherokee] and the Cisca, one of whose villages they burned, aided by the English. The Ciscas then abandoned their former villages, which were much further to the east than those from which they have come here.”
In a letter written to M. de La Barre somewhat later La Salle refers to the Illinois, Shawnee, and “Cisca” whom he had assembled about Fort St. Louis, near the present Utica, Illinois. It is also possible that they are the Chaskpe mentioned in another place in connection with the Shawnee and “Oabano,” but still more probable that the Chaskpe (or Cheskape) were a part of the Shawnee, since they appear on early maps farther north than the Chiska, near the Cumberland.
Probably these Yuchi did not remain long at La Salle’s fort, but from this time on the tribe appears on numerous maps under several variants of its Algonquian name — Tahogalegas, Taogaria, Tongeria, Taharea. Covens and Mortier place it on the south side of the Ohio just above its junction with the Wabash. Coxe gives it as one of four small tribes located on an island of the same name in Tennessee River. Sauvole in a letter of 1701 mentions it, though the name has been misprinted “Coongalees.” Coxe and most of the remaining authorities represent the tribe as located lower down the Tennessee than any others except the Chickasaw, who at that time had a settlement a few leagues above its mouth. In the fall of the year 1700 Father Gravier, of the Society of Jesus, descended the Mississippi to the newly established French post in Louisiana, and some distance below the mouth of the Ohio he encounted “a pirogue of Taögria.” He has the following to say regarding this adventure:
These belong the the loup nation, and carry on a considerable trade with the English. There were only 6 men in it [the pirogue] with a Woman and a child; they were coming from the Akansea. He who seemed the most notable among them could speak a few words of Illinois and spoke the Chaouanoua tongue. He made me sit in front of his traveling cabin, and offered me some sagamité to eat. He afterward told me, as news, that Father de Limoges (whom he called Captain Pauiongha) had upset while in his canoe, and had lost everything; and that the Kappa akansea had supplied him with provisions and a canoe, to continue his voyage. I gave him a knife and half a box of vermilion; he made me a present of a very large piece of meat, the produce of his hunting.
Gravier naturally classified these people with the Algonquians, since they were able to speak the language of their neighbors, the Shawnee, and had themselves an adopted Algonquian name.
Five Canadians who reached South Carolina via the Tennessee River in the summer of 1701 found this town above a town of the Chickasaw and below that of the Tali. They estimated the number of their men at “about 200.” It is probable that soon after this time the Yuchi moved higher up the Tennessee, for the next we hear of them they were living close to the Cherokee country. Through the South Carolina archives we learn that they had a town there named Chestowce or Chestowa. This is a Cherokee word which Mooney spells Tsistu‛yĭ, and interprets “Rabbit place.” May 14,1712, the South Carolina board dealing with Indian trade was informed that a band of “Uche or Round Town people” were on the point of abandoning their town, and this is probably the band intended. We learn from the same source that in 1714 this town was “cut off” by the Cherokee in retaliation for the murder of a Cherokee Indian. The documents add that the murder had been committed at the instigation of some English traders. The tradition of the event remained in the country for a long time, as is evident by the following statements of Ramsey. In recounting the various tribes which formerly inhabited Tennessee he says:
A small tribe of Uchees once occupied the country near the mouth of Hiwassee. Their warriors were exterminated in a desperate battle with the Cherokees.
In another place he adds that this conflict occurred at “the Uchee Old Fields, in what is now Rhea County.” The site is now in Meigs County. He also says that the survivors were compelled to retreat to Florida, where they became incorporated with the Seminole, but he has evidently brought together two widely separated fragments of Yuchi history. It is apparent that the extermination was not as complete as he represents, nor did the whole tribe leave the country. Mr. Mooney quotes testimony from a Cherokee mixed blood named Gansé‛ tĭ, or Rattling-gourd, who was born on Hiwassee River in 1820 and went west with his people in 1838, to the effect that “a number of Yuchi lived, before the removal, scattered among the Cherokee near the present Cleveland, Tenn., and on Chickamauga, Cohutta, and Pinelog Creeks in the adjacent section of Georgia. They had no separate settlements, but spoke their own language, which he described as ‘hard and grunting.’ Some of them spoke also Cherokee and Creek.” As the existence of the northern band of Yuchi was not suspected when Mr. Mooney penned the above he naturally assumed that they had drifted north from the Creek country before a boundary had been fixed between the tribes. It is now apparent that they were descendants of the Yuchi whose history we have been tracing. On Mitchell’s map (pl. 6) and several others we find “Chestoi O. T.” (i. e., Chestowee old town) laid down upon the Hiwassee a short distance above its mouth. After the removal some of these Yuchi probably reunited with the main part of their tribe in the Creek Nation; a few are said to be still living in Tennessee, and there is a modern town named “Euchee” on Tennessee River, near the northern end of Meigs County.
Before taking up the largest Yuchi divisions, those on Savannah River, it will be convenient to consider the third branch of the tribe, since it did not have the permanency of the Savannah bands, and historical information regarding it goes back to an earlier date. This third branch was located when we first learn of it in what is now the State of Florida, a short distance west of the Choctawhatchee River, for which reason the people are called Choctawhatchee Yuchi.
The following probably refers specifically to the band under consideration. It is part of a letter written from St. Augustine, August 22, 1639, to the court by Gov. Damian de la Vega Castro y Pardo about various matters connected with the administration of his province.
A number of Indians called Ysicas or Chiscas, a warlike people and who take pride in this fact, roam through those provinces, free, originating from New Mexico. I have tried to gather them, and get them away from the trails, assigning to them a place where they could settle, ten leagues from this garrison beyond a river called Rio Blanco, near another village of Catholics. It seemed to me that taking them off the trails they could no longer molest the Christian Indians, but would spread out and multiply, making a livelihood by hunting and trying to work and cultivate the ground with the end of making of them vassals of your Majesty and converting them. Having them close by and under supervision it would be easy to punish any excesses and they could be used in helping to search for fugitive Indians, who run away from their doctrinas, which is causing great damage, for the reason that, running away this way loose, they join bands of heathens and may apostatize. Furthermore these Ysicas are friends of the Spaniards, courageous, and ready to go against any enemies. These Indians are good by land and by water, as well as several other tribes who have come to yield their obedience to your Majesty two hundred leagues from here…
These Yuchi are again mentioned in connection with the irruption of a new horde of “barbarians” from the north to be described presently. They are represented as perpetual trouble makers for the Spaniards, and in 1674 three of them threatened to interfere with the labors of the missionaries among the Chatot. They are accused of complicity in the outbreak in that tribe one year later, being described as “a rebellious people, mountaineers (montaras), reared in license without the control of culture or other conventions, attentive solely to game, which is their means of livelihood and with which those lands abound.”
Their meddlesome propensities brought on a war with the Apalachee Indians in 1677; of which the following is an account. It is contained in a letter written to the King of Spain by Gov..D. Pablo de Hita Salazar, and is dated St. Augustine, November 10, 1678.
Report given to Captain Juan Fernandez de Florencia by the principal military chiefs who made war on the Chisca Indians and whose names are: Juan Mendoza, Matheo Chuba, the Cacique of Cupayca, Bernardo and Ventura de Ynija, of San Luis. This report tells how the war against the Chiscas originated, which is in the following way: Many years ago those Indians used to come on the trails. It was not quite certain whether they were Chiscas or Chichutecas, but they would assault and kill the Christians or would carry them off, men, women, and children, and make slaves of them. Not until last year, which was 1676, did it become clear that they were Chiscas by the deaths they caused at Huistachuco; and by the killing among the Chines at Chachariz and at Cupayca we knew they were Chiscas, and although it is true that they went immediately in pursuit they could never catch them, because their assaults were made at night. It has been possible to take away from them only twice the female slaves which they had taken as well in San Luis as elsewhere, and that winter and part of the summer were spent in great anxiety and alarm until they had finished their digging. The digging being once finished, and being on armed night watch in the cabin of San Luis the said chiefs, Juan Mendoza and Matheo and Benito Ynija, discussing the case with other leading men of the settlement of San Luis, they proposed to go out and hunt for the enemy. Some of them said, “We need not be given leave to go,” while others said, “It could not be denied us, since every day the enemy alarms us, and we are without tranquillity, and every day they kill our relatives, and what is more they enslave some of them and carry them off and commit all kinds of mockery with them; and we are all Christians and vassals of the king whom may God protect for many years, and we are unanimous and agree in this matter.”
They all went and asked leave of the said Captain Juan Fernandez as of their lieutenant and war captain and the head of said province. Upon being told of their resolution, he gladly gave them said leave, and he furthermore comforted and animated them and promised to help them in every way possible, and they all came into this cabin. The chiefs, the caciques, and other leading men were very well satisfied and joyous, and they began instantly to prepare their arms, their provisions, and bundles, and they sent out messengers to the people of the other places, telling their caciques and leading men, that, in case they should want to go and join them, they might be able to make their preparations. From San Luis there went 85 men with their arms; from the place called San Damian went its cacique, Don Bernardo with seventy men; from la Chine, which is a settlement in the district of San Luis, 8 men; from los Chacatos, which also lies within the boundaries of San Luis, 10 men; from Ayubale, came 2 men, and 3 from Tomole; also 1 from Azpalaga. These latter came without being sent by their caciques, who for some reasons which they gave excused themselves. When everything was prepared and in readiness the lieutenant reported it to the governor and his excellency approved of it and thanked the said Indians for their good intentions. The captain, Juan Fernandez, all being gathered in this cabin (bujio), provided ammunition for all the harquebusiers, and he likewise gave us a small jar of powder and a “sucuche” of bullets, and we left on the 2nd of September, 1677, after the captain, Juan Fernandez, at the meeting in the cabin, had appointed as principal chiefs, Juan Mendoza, captain of San Luis; Mateo Chubas, Maese del Campo, chief of the camp, or in the field; and Don Bernardo, cacique and captain of the settlement of San Damian de Cupayca, and Ventura Ynija of this place, admonishing them to behave like united brothers, as well on the journey as on the battlefield. When the necessary orders had been given, we departed and went to sleep at the River Lagino, which is at a distance of two leagues from here, and where we arrived early. When all the people were together, we counted the men, finding that we had thirty firearms — 15 from this place, San Luis, and 15 from San Damian, and between harquebusiers and archers there were 190. The chiefs made speeches to their men, telling them that they were men who could defend their homes, their wives, and children, and that with the help of God our wishes would be fulfilled and we would see our enemies. As Christians, God and His Blessed Mother would favour us. Then they arranged that 12 men should explore the country inland as spies, 12 should remain behind, each group being protected by several harquebusiers.
As it seemed early yet, we went to sleep on the banks of a small stream two leagues distant, called Lapache, which are studded with canes or reed. We placed our watches and night patrol, a precaution which was taken at all the places where we arrived. This place (Lapache) we left when the sun was high and arrived at noon at a little stream called Ystobalaga and went to sleep near another one called Ytaechato and there our watches and patrols said they had heard a noise which kept them in arms, and the next day we saw tracks of two persons away from the road. We took our noonday-rest at a rivulet, wooded on both banks and from there we sent out spies to go as far as the river Santa Cruz. These returned to tell us that there were no other tracks but those of the people of Santa Cruz, which lies on the bank of the stream, where the cacique Baltasar awaited with about twenty men with canoes to ferry us across the river. We arrived at that river and went to the place mentioned, which is on the other bank, and there we remained for two days provisioning ourselves. From there we despatched twenty-four men to go ahead as spies. When we were ready to leave the cacique Baltasar came with six of his men, saying that he was a vassal of His Majesty, and that although he was but a new Christian, his heart was in God and His Blessed Mother, and that he gladly was coming along to die for God, our Lord, for his king, and for his country. We thanked him, telling him that it was a great joy to die for God. We went to sleep near a lagoon, to one side of the road and about four leagues from Santa Cruz on a plain. The spies came back, telling us they had seen a trail which, although it was not fresh, seemed to show that it was of bad people. The next day we departed and arrived at a spring which is called Calutoble, from which flows a river toward the south. From here we went to sleep in a great forest which is called Chapole. The next morning we prayed and recommended ourselves to Our Lady, it being her day, that she might help us in everything, for she was our patroness and our guide.
Then we journeyed on and for rest arrived at the deserted site of San Nicolas de los Chacatos. From there we went to San Carlos, which is also abandoned by the said Chacatos, and where we slept to one side of it [the settlement]. The next morning early we surrounded the whole place in order to find out whether there were any Chiscas in it, since it was their stopping place. We did not take the road which heads toward the west because it goes to the region in which the Chiscas are settled, who naturally had their sentinels everywhere, so we went southward without taking to a road until we found one which led from the sea to the village of the Chiscas and which the Chacatos and Panzacolas had opened (built), who had settled by the sea and on which we traveled with our spies ahead and behind us, exploring the country about. That night we slept by a rivulet with a small growth of wood and the next day we departed without food, because our provisions had given out. All we had that morning was a handful of “tolocomo,” which is made of parched corn, and we did not eat till the next day. In the evening we arrived at the river Gurani and we passed on to Bipar, leaving sentinels, arms in hand, on either bank of the stream. On the next day, which was the tenth of the journey since we had left Apalache, we lost our way, very soon after starting and without any determined road we traveled westward, passing small streams with a big growth of reed, small creeks with many obstacles, narrow but very deep. The spies who had gone ahead returned and told us that they had seen many tracks and footpaths of bison and therefore we determined to rest for the night where they had seen them, trying to kill some with which to make our shields and still our hunger, since our provisions had entirely given out. The next morning the Chacatos who went with us killed a cow and we dried the skin. One of the men fell ill with fever and pain in his side, and some said that several of us ought to return with the sick man; others said no, and the patient himself said no, that he would prefer that they should carry him, in order that he might die seeing his enemies.
The next day’s travel brought us to a dense forest which we traversed and we slept on the other side of it. The next day we traveled in the rain and slept by a spring and the day following, after about one league’s traveling, we arrived at a big river called Napa Ubab, which was as thickly wooded on one bank as on the other; we crossed it that day and, as our provisions had given out, we slept on the opposite bank. While there we heard the Chacatos, who were in our company, say that they suffered a great many hardships and privations (hunger), that the Apalachinos although great in number, did not know how to fight, and, upon seeing the palisades of the Chiscas, they most assuredly would run away, while they themselves would perish. Therefore they wished to return, but that of course, they would not be allowed to return, if they showed themselves on the roads. We, the said chiefe, called them and together we said to them, “Children, we are Christians and we bear all those sufferings with great patience, so you also have patience. We all will have to have it until we see our enemies. And should you try to return, we would take you on by force until you take us to the place where the palisade of the Chiscas is and you shall guide us. Once there, then, you may fight if you so wish to, and if not you can stand aside,” which they really did, for only three of them fought beside us. The next morning we despatched spies on two different sides, and we traveled all day, night overtaking us on a little river, called Oclacasquis, which is Rio Colorado. That night some spies came back, telling us that they had seen tracks of bison and people who followed them (the bison). We were very anxious, because twelve of the spies whom we had sent out did not return all that night. In the morning we called those who had seen the tracks and ordered them to go ahead and see if they saw more tracks, and we followed them. Very soon they came running back, telling us that they had seen the Chiscas curing meat in smoke. We at once distributed our men on two wings in order to catch them between our forces and see if we could get them alive, but they defended themselves so that it became necessary to kill them. There were two. We remained there and on that day at about eight o’clock, the twelve men who had been missing fired a shot. We answered with another, and upon arriving where we were, they told us that they had lost their way, and they were greatly consoled at the sight of ears of corn which we had taken from the two Chiscas, considering them (the Chiscas) to be near by.
We continued our journey and on the seventeenth day after our departure from Apalache we rested for the night near a small lagoon, traveling the next day, always in a westerly direction. We despatched three men ahead to look for the road which led to the Chiscas, because the Chacatos had been overheard to say that we must be near to judge from the forests (or mountains) which they recognized. A short while afterwards the spies came back, telling us that they had found the road which led to the Chiscas, and we traveled until at about sunset we were on the said road. Some were of the opinion that we ought to pass the night where we had been when told about this place, others that we ought to sleep right here in order to reach the palisade early in the morning, but when we were all together the chiefs decided that we were not to sleep at all, but to keep right on advancing, and with the help of God reach the said palisade, because this was the eve of Saint Matthew, the Apostle. After having traveled about one league we heard noises and a drum and saw big fires, and we noticed that the road was a track greatly beaten by people who returned to the palisades of the Chacatos, Panzacolas, and Chiscas who lived near the sea, and we retired to a height to prepare ourselves, examine our arms, and fit ourselves up. Then all the chiefs gathered and we held a consultation about what was to be done. Some proposed to wait until sunrise, others to strike at midnight, still others shortly before sunrise. Finally we all agreed to make it a quarter before sunrise. Thus it was ordered, and we admonished our men. Then we sent two men ahead of us and most courageously followed them, and very soon we reached them, and they told us to look inside [the palisade], and that there were a great many people; that the inclosure was very big and spacious, the extent of each wall being over three hundred paces. They said the Chiscas were not sleeping; on the contrary there was much noise and they kept up big fires within and without. When we had all reached the place we sat down to watch the palisades and the great fires, and we entered into consultation whether it would be advisable to surround the inclosure, but as it was so big and we had few men, we did not dare do that, but determined to attack along one wall, and that this attack would be at three o’clock in the morning. Two captains and the Maese de Campo, Matheo Chuba, were to attack in the center, carrying the banner with the crucifix on one side and on the other Our Lady of the Rosary; the captain Don Bernardo on the east side with his drum and fife; Captain Juan Mendoza on the west side. About the time we got up to make the attack we saw a great light of the size of a man flame up behind us and then consume itself. In its center it had a blue spot. We saw about thirty persons, and at this instant a Chacato who was on sentinel duty cried out that we were there.
We all attacked at once, giving them a whole charge of harquebus and archery and pulling out the sticks [from the palisade], and through the openings the captains threw themselves in upon the enemy with their harquebusiers, killing our enemies. Within the palisades there were three big houses with their embrasures, where so many of the Chiscas retired and shot so many arrows at us from their shelter that it looked like a dense smoke. As we carried with us small levers, we destroyed, helped by our firearms, many boards, and we killed and wounded so many that the wounded began fleeing and threw themselves into the river to drown themselves. Our cartridges set fire to the houses. They killed five of our men and wounded forty. There was a tree which had caught fire from our firearms and its burning leaves set fire to many houses, and the fact that although it was green it should have caught fire and should burn like tinder greatly excited our attention. When the Chiscas saw that wonder they threw themselves into the river which is in a ravine there, as well men as women with their small babies clasped to their bosoms. Although we wished to save them and keep them alive, they were almost dead and drowned. We found others alive under the corn cribs (barbacoas), and we pulled them out, separating the dead from the burned (or wounded) ones, and in so doing covered ourselves with blood from head to foot. Putting out the fire of the several houses that were burning, we found eighteen men and one boy dead. We did not count the women and children, for as they had hidden in sentry boxes and behind or under boarding many of them were consumed by the fire. All this lasted from three o’clock in the morning until sunrise, when we saw that the Chiscas had all fled and had crossed the river swimming.
We cured our wounded and reinforced our position with the sticks of the palisade which had remained, building a small inclosure to guard ourselves against those of our enemies still alive, whose loud shrieking on the other side of the river we heard. Although within the palisades we had found provisions, they were but scarce, and in our chiefs’ council we decided to send out thirty men to search the plains for food and also to search the forests, for throughout that day we had been shot upon with arrows from the river bank, and as the river was but narrow they reached us. But we did not allow our men to cross the river, because so many of our men were wounded. Thus, our men were to remain on land on this side. As we were sallying forth in a little troop, one of the Chiscas shot an arrow from a sentry box and wounded one of our men after he had got some provisions. One of our men said he wanted to go back to the palisade, and, although he was admonished against it, he did not listen, and, traversing the forest, he found some Chiscas in ambush, who killed him. The rest of us went back to our palisade with our provisions, and we spent two days and two nights there, taking great precautions, keeping constant watches, and beating our war drums morning and night. All that time we heard many screams and shouts, and after a consultation among the chiefs we agreed to leave on the third day, setting fire to all that had remained. When the Chiscas saw the fire, heard the drums, and, besides, saw us come forth in two bodies, carrying our wounded in the center, a troop of them came to encounter us in the same road. Captain Bernardo de Cupayca discharged his gun, and with one shot hit a Chisca so fairly that he fell dead, and the Enija from San Luis, Ventura, fired and killed another one, and our men wanted to go and scalp them, which, however, the chiefs did not allow. The Chiscas fled, and we continued on our way, enduring great suffering. After about half a league we reached a clearing, where we found four shells and several pots in which were boiled herbs. We asked the Chacatos what this might signify, and they told us it was witchcraft, in order that we might lose our way and not be able to reach our country, so that we might fall into their hands and be killed by them. But it pleased God that after eight days we entered the deserted country of the Chacatos very glad, carrying our wounded on litters, and on the ninth day we met a troop of people who came from Apalache to bring us provisions, which comforted us greatly, and we continued very happily, entering Apalache on the fifth day of October of the year 1677, by the favor of God and the Virgin of the Rosary.
I give my oath and true testimony, I, Captain Juan Fernandez de Florencia, lieutenant of this province of Apalache, that there appeared before me the said Juan Mendoza, Matheo Chuba, and Don Bernardo, the cacique of Cupayca, and Ventura, Ynija, of this place of San Luis, who, in their own language, declared the above stated and all that is written down, which I remit in the original to the governor, Don Pablo de Hita Salazar, governor and captain general of the garrison of San Agustin and its provinces by His Majesty. Made (written) in San Luis de Talimali on the 30th of August, 1678.
Juan Fernandez de Florbncia.
Later the same incorrigible people are held responsible, jointly with the English, for having prevented the establishment of a mission among the Apalachicola.
On the Lamhatty map (1707) these Yuchi appear in approximately the same position under the name Ogolaúghoo [Hogologe]. In 1718 we hear of a “Rio de los Chiscas” 5 leagues from Pensacola. In the census taken in 1761 we find the “Choctaw Hatchee Euchees” included with the Tukabahchee and “Pea Creek and other plantations” under the traders James McQueen and T. Ferryman, and these are probably the Yuchi of the French census of the same period located close to the Tukabahchee and said to number 16 men. We are to infer from this that they had then settled among the Upper Creeks. Their possible connection with the Yuchi reported by Hawkins to have united with the Shawnee on Tallapoosa River has already been mentioned. We hear nothing more about them from this time on, but their name is preserved in Euchee anna, a village in Walton County, Florida.
In 1603 some old soldiers reported to Gov. Ibarra, of Florida, “that 20 leagues from Crista [in this case probably Santa Elena] is a rich people so civilized that they have their houses of hewn stone — that is, toward the northeast from whence they came, conquering those [Indians] of our lands.” This may refer to Yuchi, although the mention of “hewn stone” houses tends to place the account under suspicion. Another possible reference to the influx of this band appears in a letter to the king from Gov. D. Alonso de Aranguiz y Cotes, dated September 8, 1662. He says:
In a letter of Nov. 8, of the past year, 1661, I recounted to Y. M. how in the province of Goale, near this presidio, there had entered some Indians who were said to be Chichumecos which ate human flesh, and if I had not assisted in opposing their design they would have destroyed it, as I had had news regarding others from infidel Indians who came fleeing from them, and as I saw that they would retire by the way they came I made examinations and inquiries in different directions until I took four prisoners near the province of Apalachecole which is a hundred and eighty leagues distant from this presidio. Having sent infantry for the purpose I took some Indians of the Chisca Nation to serve as interpreters of their language because there was no one in these provinces who could understand them, and they said they were from Jacan, that when they retired from the province of Goale they went to that of Tama and to that of Catufa, and that there they wandered about in different bands, and the said Chisca Indians, after having explained what people they were said that very near the lands of those people there was only one very large river, on the middle course of which had fortified themselves a nation of white people who warred with them continually and were approaching these provinces, and they do not know whether they are Spaniards or English.
The position which the Indians describe as that of their former home, along with their proximity to the white people, strongly suggests that occupied by the Rechahecrians on the James, yet it is strange that they should be unable to state whether their white neighbors were or were not English. These new arrivals are spoken of as if distinct from the “Chisca” — a fact tending to throw doubt on their ‘Yuchean affinities; but it is probable that the term Chisca was limited by the governor to that band of Yuchi with which the Spaniards were familiar until then, those who had made their home on Choctawhatchee River. These invading “Chichumecos” may have been the Indians who appear soon afterwards in the narratives of the early English explorers of the Carolina coast and the accounts of the South Carolina colonists, under the name of Westo. The members of the expedition which in 1670 made the first permanent settlement learned that these Westo had attacked and destroyed the Cusabo towns at St. Helena and Kiawa. They found that the coast Indians were mortally afraid of them and accused them of being cannibals, an accusation for which there appears to have been no justification.
In the summer of this same year (1670) John Lederer, exploring southwest from Virginia on his own recognizance, heard of this tribe through their neighbors and enemies, the Catawba, whom he calls Ushery. He says:
This prince [i e , the prince of the Ushery Indians], though his dominions are large and populous, is in continual fear of the Oustack Indians on the opposite side of the lakea people so addicted to arms that even their women come into the field and shoot arrows over their husbands’ shoulders, who shield them with leathern targets. The men it seems should fight with silver-hatchets; for one of the Usheryes told me that they were of the same metal with the pomel of my sword. They are a cruel generation, and prey upon people whom they either steal or force away from the Usheryes in Periago’s, to sacrifice to their idols.
That the Westo were then at war with the Iswa (Lederer’s Ushery), a branch of the Catawba, is plainly indicated in the South Carolina archives.
In 1672-73 they attacked the South Carolina settlers. In 1674 Henry Woodward, the interpreter of the colony, visited a Westo town on Savannah River somewhere below the present Augusta. He describes his visit thus:
Haveing paddled about a league upp [the Savannah] wee came in sight of ye Westoe towne, alias ye Hickauhaugau which stands uppon a poynt of ye river (which is undoubtedly ye river May) uppon ye Westerne side soe yt ye river encompasseth two-thirds thereof. When we came wthin [sight] of the towne I fired my fowling piece & pistol web was answered with a hollow & imediately thereuppon they gave mee a vollew of fifty or sixty small arms. Here was a concourse of some hundred of Indians drest up in their anticke fighting garbe. Through ye midst of whom being conducted to their cheiftaines house ye which not being capable to containe ye crowd yt came to see me, ye smaller fry got up & uncouvered the top of ye house to satisfy their curiosity. Ye cheife of ye Indians made long speeches intimateing their own strength (& as I judged their desire of Freindship wth us). This night first haveing oyled my eyes and joynts with beares oyl, they presented mee divers deare skins setting before me sufficient of their food to satisfy at least half a dozen of their owne appetites Here takeing my first nights repose, ye next day I viewed ye Towne which is built in a confused manner, consisting of many long houses whose sides and tops are both artifitially done wth barke uppon ye tops of most whereof fastened to ye ends of long poles hang ye locks of haire of Indians that they have slaine. Ye inland side of ye towne being duble Pallisadoed, & yt part which fronts ye river haveing only a single one, under whose steep banks seldom ly lees then one hundred faire canoes ready uppon all occasions They are well provided with arms, amunition, tradeing cloath & other trade from ye northward for which at set times of ye year they truck dreet deare skins furrs & young Indian Slavee. In ten daies time yt I tarried here I viewed ye adjacent part cf ye Country, they are Seated uppon a most fruitfull soyl. Ye earth is intermingled wth a sparkling substance like Antimony, finding several! flakes of Isinglass in ye paths. Ye soales of my Indian shooes in which I travelled glistened like sylver. Ye clay of which their pots & pipes are made is intermingled wth ye like substance ye wood land is abounding wth various sorts of very large straite timber. Eight dais journey from ye tone ye River hath it first falls West. N. West were it divides it selfe into three branches, amongst which dividing branches inhabit ye Cowatoe and Chorakae Indians wth whom they are at continual warrs. Forty miles distant from the towne northward they say lye ye head of Ædistaw river being a great meer or lake. Two days before my departure arrived two Savana Indians living as they said twenty days journey West Southwardly from them. There was none here yt understood them but by signes they in treated freindship of ye Westoes showeing yt ye Cussetaws, Chaesaws & Chiskers were intended to come downe and fight ye Westoes. At which news they expeditiously repaired their pallisadoes, keeping watch all night. In the time of my abode here they gave me a young Indian boy taken from ye falls of yt River. The Savana Indians brought Spanish beeds & other trade as presents makeing signes yt they had comerce wth white people like unto mee, whom were not good. These they civilly treated & dismissed before my departure ten of them prepared to accompany mee in my journey home.
As pointed out by Professor Crane, “Hickauhaugau” is probably miscopied from “Rickauhaugau ” and is a synonym for Rickohockan.
In April, 1680, the governor of South Carolina had a conference with certain of the Westo chiefs, but later the Westo attacked some coast Indians, friendly to the colonists. War followed between them and the English, and, according to the colonial historians, it would have been disastrous to the new settlements had not a body of Shawnee fallen upon their enemies and driven them away from the Savannah. This happened in 1681, and the Indians thus dispossessed appear to have settled on Ocmulgee River near the Coweta, then living in the neighborhood of the present Butts County, Georgia. At any rate Fray Francisco Gutierrez de Vera states, in a letter dated May 19, 1681, largely concerned with the Chatot mission, that the Coweta chief had arrived and reported that “many Chuchumecas” had come to live at his town. There was certainly a settlement of Westo near there, numbering 15 men at the outbreak of the Yamasee war. But from the note discovered by Professor Crane it is probable that their numbers had been augmented by other Yuchi from the north. Individuals, as we have seen, strayed far enough westward to meet the French under La Salle.
During or immediately after the Yamasee war they retired beyond the Chattahoochee, where they are located on maps of the eighteenth century for a long time afterwards. They appear to have lived close to the mouth of Little Uchee Creek, Russell County, Alabama. They probably united with the main Yuchi town after its removal to Alabama, but we have no direct evidence regarding the time or manner in which this event took place. On the Purcell map, however, we find a town called Woristo, between Kasihta and Okmulgee. As the large Yuchi town and the Westo town were both here it seems probable that Woristo is meant for Westo, and that it was used for all of the Yuchi, especially since there is every reason to believe that the Westo town proper had already been given up.
In 1708 a rough Indian census made on behalf of the State of South Carolina makes no mention of Yuchi Indians, though they may be included in the eleven Lower Creek towns referred to, but the detailed census of 1715 gives two Yuchi towns 180 miles W. N. W. of Charleston. They were probably north of the Shawnee on Savannah River between Augusta, Georgia, and the Cherokee, and constituted the band which moved over to the Chattahoochee after the Yamasee war. This band is the one to which the term Hogologe is attached more particularly. They were accompanied by a part of the Shawnee and the Apalachicola Indians, the latter under Cherokee leechee.
As nearly as can be made out from the maps they settled near the mouth of Cowikee Crock in Barbour County, Alabama, but before many years they accompanied the Shawnee to Tallapoosa River. Their name is mentioned by Romans when enumerating the Creek tribes, and their town is probably the Chisketaloofa of the census of 1761, which had 30 hunters and was assigned, along with Weupkees (Okitiyagana), to the traders Macartan and Campbell. Morse enumerates “Cheskitalowas” among the Seminole villages. The name Chiska also appears in much later documents associated with a point near the lower Chattahoochee. In a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury transmitting copies of the report of the Commissioners of Land Claims in East and West Florida, February 22, 1825 (pub., Washington, 1825), Cheeskatalofa is mentioned as a town in which a meeting was held (p. 18). But while the name preserved a memory of them, the greater part of the Yuchi had probably moved even before 1761, since we know that their Shawnee friends had already done so. For a conjecture as to their subsequent fortunes see my discussion of the Tamahita.
Shortly after the Yamasee war another influx of Yuchee into the Savannah country took place, though little specific information regarding this seems to be preserved. The new arrivals settled at or near Silver Bluff, at Mount Pleasant, and as far down the river as Ebenezer Creek.
Hawkins says that there were villages at Ponpon and Saltkechers, in South Carolina, but this Is the sole evidence we have regarding settlements so far to the east of the Sayannah. Possibly some Coosa Indians of South Carolina afterwards combined with them. After the establishment of a Yuchi settlement on the Chattahoochee by Chief Ellick of the Kasihta, in the year 1729, as will be detailed below, they began to make their permanent residence more and more among the Creeks, using their old territories principally for hunting. Although the white settlers naturally coveted these lands, left vacant for so much of the time, Governor Oglethorpe restrained them and preserved the territory inviolate until after 1740. Not many years later they had been practically given over by the Yuchi themselves. Two very good descriptions of the Yuchi town on the Chattahoochee have been preserved to us — one by Bartram and one by Hawkins. It stood at the mouth of the present Big Uchee Creek. Bartram, who passed through the place in 1778, says of it:
The Uche town is situated in a low ground immediately bordering on the river; it is the largest, most compact, and best situated Indian town I ever saw; the habitations are large and neatly built; the walls of the houses are constructed of a wooden frame, then lathed and plastered inside and out with a reddish well-tempered clay or mortar, which gives them the appearance of red brick walls; and these houses are neatly covered or roofed with Cypress bark or shingles of that tree. The town appeared to be populous and thriving, full of youth and young children. I suppose the number of inhabitants, men, women and children, might amount to one thousand or fifteen hundred, as it is said they are able to muster five hundred gunmen or warriors. Their own national language is altogether or radically different from the Creek or Muscogulge tongue, and is called the Savanna or Savanuca tongue; I was told by the traders it was the same with, or a dialect of the Shawanese. They are in confederacy with the Creeks, but do not mix with them; and on account of their numbers and strength, are of importance enough to excite and draw upon them the jealousy of the whole Muscogulge confederacy, and are usually at variance, yet are wise enough to unite against a common enemy, to support the interest and glory of the general Creek confederacy.
Of course the Shawnee and Yuchi languages are radically distinct. Bartram was led into the error of supposing a relation to subsist between them by the fact that the two tribes were on very intimate terms; were mixed together, and both spoke languages quite different from Creek.
Hawkins’s description follows:
U-chee: is on the right bank of Chat-to-ho-che, ten and a half miles below Cow-e-tuh tal-lau-has-see, on a flat of rich land, with hickory, oak, blackjack, and long-leaf pine; the flat extends from one to two miles back from the river. Above the town, and bordering on it, Uchee Creek, eighty-five feet wide, joins the river. Opposite the town house, on the left bank of the river, there is a narrow strip of flat land from fifty to one hundred yards wide, then high pine barren hills; these people speak a tongue different from the Creeks; they were formerly settled in small villages at Ponpon, Saltketchers (Sol-ke-chuh), Silver Bluff, and O-ge-chee, and were continually at war with the Cherokees, Ca-tau-bau, and Creeks.
In the year 1729, an old chief of Cussetuh, called by the white people Captain Ellick, married three Uchee women, and brought them to Cussetuh, which was greatly disliked by his towns people; their opposition determined him to move from Cussetuh; he went down opposite where the town now is, and settled with his three brothers; two of whom had Uchee wives; he, after this, collected all the Uchees, gave them the land where their town now is, and there they settled.
These people are more civil and orderly than their neighbors; their women are more chaste, and the men better hunters; they retain all their original customs and laws, and have adopted none of the Creeks; they have some worm fences in and about their town, but very few peach trees.
They have lately begun to settle out in villages, and are industrious, compared with their neighbors; the men take part in the labors of the women, and are more constant in their attachment to their women than is usual among red people.
The number of gun men is variously estimated; they do not exceed two hundred and fifty, including all who are settled in villages, of which they have three.
1st. In-tuch-cul-gau; from in-tuch-ke, a dam across water [a "cut off"]; andul-gau, all; applied to beaver dams. This is on Opil-thluc-co, twenty-eight miles from its junction with Flint River. This creek is sixty feet wide at its mouth, one and a half miles above Timothy Barnard’s; the land bordering on the creek, up to the village, is good. Eight miles below the village the good land spreads out for four or five miles on both sides of the creek, with oaky woods (Tuck-au-mau-pa-fau) ; the range is fine for cattle; cane grows on the creeks, and reeds on all the branches.
They have fourteen families in the village; their industry is increasing; they built a square in 1798, which serves for their town house; they have a few cattle, hogs, and horses.
2d. Pad-gee-li-gau [padjilaiga]; from pad-jee, a pidgeon; and ligau, sit; pidgeon roost. This was formerly a large town, but broken up by Benjamin Harrison and his associates, who murdered sixteen of their gun men in Georgia; it is on the right bank of Flint River, and this creek, adjoining the river; the village takes its name from the creek; it is nine miles below the second falls of the river, these falls are at the island’s ford, where the path now crosses from Cussetuh to Fort Wilkinson; the village is advantageoulsy situated; the land is rich, the range good for cattle and hogs; the swamp is more than three miles through, on the left bank of the river, and is high and good canebrake; on the right bank, it is one mile through, low and flat; the cane, sassafras, and sumach, are large; this extensive and valuable swamp extends down on one side or the other of the river for twelve miles.
They have but a few families there, notwithstanding it is one of the best situations the Indians possess, for stock, fanning, and fish. Being a frontier, the great loss they sustained in having sixteen of their gun men murdered discourages them from returning.
3d. Toc-co-gul-egau (tad pole) [tóki ûlga, tadpole place]; a small settlement on Kit-cho-foo-ne Creek, near some beaver dams on branches of that creek; the land is good, but broken; fine range, small canes, and pea vines on the hills, and reeds on the branches; they have eight or ten families; this establishment is of two years only, and they have worm fences. U-che Will, the head of the village has some cattle, and they have promised to attend to hogs, and to follow the direction of the agent for Indian affairs, as soon as they can get into stock.
Some of the Uchees have settled with the Shaw-a-ne, at Sau-va-no-gee, among the Creeks of the upper towns.
I will also add what Hawkins has to say regarding the settlement of Timothy Barnard, who plays a prominent part in Creek history, both before and after this time:
This gentleman lives on the right bank of Flint River, fifteen miles below Pad-jee-li-gau. He has eleven children by a U-chee woman, and they are settled with and around him, and have fine stocks of cattle in an excellent range. He has a valuable property, but not productive; his farm is well fenced on both sides of the river; he has a peach orchard of fine fruit, and some fine nectarines, a garden well stored with vegetables, and some grape vines presented to him by the agent. He is an assistant and interpreter, and a man who has uniformly supported an honest character, friendly to peace during the revolutionary war, and to man. He has 40 sheep, some goats, and stock of every description, and keeps a very hospitable house. He is not much acquainted with farming, and receives light slowly on this subject, as is the case with all the Indian countrymen, without exception.”
The trader located at the main Yuchi town in 1797 is given by Hawkins as James Smithmoor.
The Yuchi also appear in the enumerations of 1760, 1761, that of Swan, and in the census of 1832, when they were credited with one main town and with a branch village called High Log. During the latter part of the eighteenth century and the first of the nineteenth, settlements of Yuchi were probably scattered through southern Georgia at many places. Imlay says “The Uchees Indians occupy four different places of residence, at the head of St. John’s, the Fork of St. Mary’s, the head of Cannuchee, and the head of St. Tillis (Satilla).”
After their removal to the new Creek territories west of the Mississippi they settled in the northwestern part of the nation, where they continued an almost distinct tribal life, although represented in the Creek national assembly. The reader is referred to Dr. Speck’s admirable paper for an account of their later condition.
Besides the Savannah, the Yuchi also occupied at least the upper portion of Ogeechee River. This is indicated by Hawkins in his account of the Yuchi town just given and also by several maps of the eighteenth century, in which the Ogeechee is called “Great Ogeechee or Hughchee River,” the latter being one spelllng of the name Yuchi. On many maps we find “Ogeechee Old Town” laid down near the upper course of Ogeechee River and on the trading path from Augusta to Ocmulgee old fields and the Creek country. The way in which this appears indicates that the town had removed at the time of the Yamasee war, when it may have united with those Yuchi known as Westo, the larger body of Yuchi not migrating until some years later. Their fate is somewhat confused by the following reference in Bartram:
Mr. Egan politely rode with me over a great part of the island (Amelia). On Egmont estate are several very large Indian tumuli, which are called Ogeeche mounts, so named from that nation of Indians who took shelter here, after being driven from their native settlements on the main near Ogeeche River. Here they were constantly harrassed by the Carolinians and Creeks, and at length slain by their conquerors, and their bones entombed in these heaps of earth and shells.
If there is any truth in this legend at all it is probable that the people referred to were Yamasee, or at least Indians of the province of Guale who had perhaps lived about the mouth of the Ogeechee, but not the Ogeechee tribe we have been considering.
As noted above, a portion of the Yuchi went to Florida. They appear first in west Florida near the Mikasuki, but later they moved across the peninsula and settled at Spring Garden, east of Dexters Lake, in Volusia County. Afterwards they were involved in the long Seminole war with the whites. All of them did not go in the first emigrations, a special census taken in the year 1847 giving four Yuchi warriors among the Seminole left in the peninsula.
(↵ returns to text)
Article printed from Access Genealogy: http://www.accessgenealogy.com
URL to article: http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/yuchi-indian-tribe.htm
Copyright © 2013 Access Genealogy (http://www.accessgenealogy.com/). All rights reserved.