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Achese Moves to Florida

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Artist rendition of the Town of Ochesee

Artist rendition of the Town of Ochesee

In 1690 Scottish traders built a fort and trading post on the plaza of the ancient Ocmulgee acropolis. This development influenced towns located on the Chattahoochee River that were members of the People of One Fire, to move to the Ocmulgee River. The English and Scottish traders called the Ocmulgee River, Ochesee Creek. They mispronounced Achese as Ochesee. From this geographical name, the Creek Indians get their modern identity. The “Creek” village that located closest to the fort was called Oka-mole-ke, which in a Georgia dialect of the Muskogee language means “swirling water.” English speakers mispronounced it as Ok-mul-gee and eventually gave the name to the river.

War broke out in the Southern Frontier in 1715. The primary grievances by the Southeastern Indians were associated with dishonest traders and Native American slavery. Members of the People or One Fire, or Creek Confederacy, burned the trading post on the Ocmulgee River. Fearing retribution from the British and their new Cherokee allies, most of the towns on the Ocmulgee either moved to the Chattahoochee River or to the Florida Panhandle. Achese moved to the Florida Panhandle.

The Creek population steadily declined in the general vicinity of Ochese throughout the 1700s, but the town site was maintained as a ceremonial ground until 1825. When the Creek Nation reluctantly ceded most of their lands in Georgia, the leaders demanded that a six square mile tract around Ocmulgee Mounds and Ochese be held in perpetuity by the Creeks. However, the Ocmulgee Reserve was overrun by squatters and land speculators, very soon after the treaty was written. Much of the tract now is the Ocmulgee National Monument.

In 1832 most of the Creek people living in Alabama and northern Florida were forcibly deported to the Indian Territory, now the State of Oklahoma. The town, now called Ochese, also went on the Trail of Tears. It remained an important ceremonial center for the Oklahoma Creeks until 1905 when the lands of the Creek Nation were surveyed into lots and redistributed.

Back to: Achese: Birthplace of the Creek Confederacy

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