Collection: People of One Fire

Native American History of Butts County, Georgia

Butts County is located in central Georgia and is part of the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA.) It is named after Captain Samuel Butts, who was killed in action during the Creek Civil War (Redstick War.) Its county seat is Jackson. Captain Butts commanded a militia company in the First Brigade of the Georgia Militia, under the command of Brig. Gen. John Floyd. The army consisted of 1,200 Caucasians and 400 Georgia Yuchi. It was attacked at night at Calebee Creek on January 27. 1814. The English word comes from the Creek word Kvlvpe, which means White Oak. The Georgians sustained so many casualties, including Captain Butts that it retreated to Fort Mitchell on the Chattahoochee River. The Yuchi were promised that if they fought against the Red Stick Creeks, they could stay in Georgia forever. Many lost their land at the “Treaty of Fort Jackson” in 1814 before they even got home. The Yuchi also lost their status as a separate tribe at that time. Butts County is the location of one of the sacred places of the Creek People, Indian Springs and a hotel built by Creek leader, William McIntosh. Indian Springs State Park in Butts County is the oldest state park in the United States. The property went from being a Creek Reserve to state ownership very soon after the Treaty of 1827 eliminated all Creek...

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Native American History of Bleckley County, Georgia

Bleckley County is located in central Georgia.  It is named after Edward Logan Bleckley (1827 – 1907) – a lawyer and Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.  Its county seat is Cochran.  Bleckley is the location of the nation’s oldest two year public college, Middle Georgia College. Bleckley County is bordered on the north by both Wilkinson and Twiggs Counties. Laurens County forms its eastern boundary. Dodge County forms its southwestern boundary while Pulaski County forms its southwestern boundary. It is bordered to the west by Houston County.  The Ocmulgee River forms a relatively short section of the county’s northwestern boundary. Geology and hydrology Bleckley County is located in the Atlantic Coastal Plain geological region. The Atlantic Coastal Plain is characterized by underlying rock strata that are relatively young sedimentary rock from the Late Cretaceous Period, when the shore of the Atlantic Ocean ran through present day Bleckley County. Here the terrain is much more moderate than in the Piedmont, varying from gently rolling hills to flat bottomlands. Bleckley County’s largest stream is the Ocmulgee River, which flows along the northwestern side of the county.  Other major streams include the Little Ocmulgee River, Brushy Creek, Big Bend Creek, Evergreen Creek, Harrison Branch, Little Limestone Creek, Reedy Creek and Wilson Branch.  The Little Ocmulgee River is essentially a band of slowly moving swamp water within Bleckley County. The Ocmulgee...

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Native American History of Bartow County, Georgia

Bartow County located in northwest Georgia.  It is part of the Atlanta Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA.)  Its county seat is Cartersville.   Bartow is named after Colonial Francis S. Bartow, a Confederate officer who was killed in the First Battle of Manassas.  Prior to the Civil War, it was named Cass County in honor of General Lewis Cass of Michigan, Secretary of War under President Jackson, Minister to France and Secretary of State under President Buchannan. Cass played a major role in the removal of Cherokee Indians from northwestern Georgia.  Most of the buildings in Cassville, the county’s original county seat, were burned in the autumn of 1864 as retaliation for a Confederate cavalry raid on the Union supply lines.  The town was never rebuilt, while the county seat was moved to Cartersville. Bartow County is bordered on the north by Gordon County and the east by Cherokee County. Cobb County adjoins Bartow on the southeast side. Gordon County adjoins Bartow on its western side. Paulding County forms its southern boundary. Polk County forms Bartow’s southwestern boundary, while Floyd County adjoins Pickens on the western side.  Pickens County forms a relatively short section of Bartow County’s northeast boundary. Bartow County is the location of the Etowah Mounds National Historic Landmark, one of the most important archaeological sites in the United States. It was an early center of advanced Native...

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Native American History of Jackson County, Florida

Native American History of Jackson County, FL through 1800 AD Jackson County is located in northwestern Florida.  Its northern boundary is the Alabama line. Its eastern boundary is the Chattahoochee River and the southwestern tip of Georgia.  To the west is Holmes County, FL and the south, is Calhoun County, FL.  The Chipola River flows through the center of the county and flows southward into Washington County.  Much of Jackson County is in its drainage basin.  The Ecofina River begins in the southwestern corner of the county and also flows southward into Washington County. The Gulf Coastal Plain stretching from Mobile, AL to Cedar Key, FL was known as Am-Ixchel by Native Americans, when first explored by the Spaniards in the 1500s. The word was written as Amichel in Castilian and means “Place of the Moon Goddess” in Chontal Maya.  This evidence along with many surviving Itza and Chontal Maya place names in Georgia and the Southern Highlands, suggests that the sea-going Chontal Maya merchants were familiar with present day northwestern Florida. Although most popular literature describes the aboriginal occupants of Jackson as being Muskogee-Creeks, these Native peoples were immigrants, who entered Florida along with other branches of the Creeks in the 1700s and early 1800s.  Because of population and territorial losses among other Creek branches, the Muskogee-Creeks came to dominate a confederacy of Native provinces in the Lower...

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Native American History of Houston County, Alabama

Houston County is located in the southeast corner of Alabama, immediately west of the Chattahoochee River and the State of Georgia. The southern boundary of the county is the Florida state line. It is named after a governor of Alabama, William Smith Houston. The county seat is Dothan. To the north is Henry County, AL.   On the east boundary is Early County, GA and to the Southeast is Seminole County, GA. Jackson County, FL adjoins Houston County, AL to the south. To the northwest is Dale County, AL and to the west is Geneva County, AL. Geology and Hydrology The entire county is in Alabama’s Gulf Coastal Plain. The county’s terrain is characterized by low rolling clay hills and sandy loam along river or creek bottomlands. This region is underlain by relatively young sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Part of Houston County drains eastward into the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers. The Apalachicola begins at the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, east of Houston County. The Little Choctawhatchee River cuts across the extreme northwestern tip of the county. Most of the southern half of the county drains southward into Florida. Cedar and Bryan’s Creeks flow eastward into the Chattahoochee River. Omussee Creek flows northward into Henry County and then into the Chattahoochee. Cowartz, Buck and Big Creeks flow southward into Florida.   During Native American occupation, the Chattahoochee would have...

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Native American History of Wakulla County, Florida

Wakulla County is located in northwestern Florida. It was named after the Creek-Seminole pronunciation of a Native American word, Guacara, The county seat and largest city in the county is Crawfordville.  Its northern boundary is Leon County, FL. Its northern boundary is Leon County, FL.  To the east is Jefferson County, FL; to the west is Liberty County, FL and the southwest, is Franklin County, FL.  The Ochlockonee River forms much of the western boundary of the county. The meaning of Guacara is unknown.  Most texts suggest that it is an Arawak word, but this seems unlikely since the region was solidly Muskogean.  Another explanation is that it is a Tamaule word.  Tamaule was originally spoken in the coastal plain of Tamaulipas State.  When the region was invaded around 1250 AD by Chichimec barbarians, many of the inhabitants apparently fled to the Gulf Coast and southern Georgia.  Their language became one of the dialects of Itsate (Hitchiti-Creek.)  If that is the case, the original word in Tamauli was Wakale, which means Waka People. The Spanish almost always changed a Muskogean “e” to a Castilian “a.”  A similar name was used for a hybrid people living in southern Florida, near Lake Okeechobee. Geology and Hydrology of Wakulla County The terrain of Wakulla County is characterized by spines of the Red Hills Country reaching southward from southwest Georgia, flat, acidic, sandy...

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Native American History of Walton County, Florida

Walton County is located in northwestern Florida and stretches between the Alabama State Line and Gulf of Mexico.   The county seat and largest city in the county is DeFuniak Springs.  Its northwestern boundary is Covington County, AL. Its northeastern boundary is Geneva County, AL.  To the east is Holmes and Washington Counties, FL; to the west is Okaloosa County, FL and the southeast, is Bay County, FL.  Walton County was created in 1824 by the territorial government. It was named for George Walton, Secretary of the Florida territory from 1821 to 1826.  Much of the southwestern portion of the county is occupied by Eglin Air Force Base. Geology and Hydrology of Walton County Much of the southern half of Walton County is characterized by bays, bayous, tidal creeks, tidal marshes, sinkholes, freshwater lakes and freshwater swamps. However, elevations increase significantly in the northern half of the county.  Britton Hill, in the northern half, is the highest point in Florida. It has a peak elevation of 345 feet (105 m.) The Choctawhatchee River flows through the eastern edge of Walton County and then into Gulf of Mexico at Choctawhatchee Bay.  The Shoal River begins in the northeastern corner of the county then flows westward into Okaloosa County. East Juniper, Rock, and  Alagua Creeks begin in the center of the county, then flows southward into Choctawhatchee Bay. The Gulf Coastal Plain...

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Native American History of Russell County, Alabama

In 1832 the Treaty of Cusseta transferred the lands of the Creek Confederacy to the United States.  This territory included what is now Russell County. Although most Alabamans today probably assume that the Creek Indians are an ancient, indigenous ethnic group, that once occupied all or most of their state, the Creek Tribe, in fact, is a political entity that is not much older than Alabama itself. The ethnic label “Creek” does not even appear on official British maps until around 1745. Until after the American Revolution, maps described locations of specifically named ethnic groups within the geographical regions denote as “Creek.”  The word “Muscogee” – which nowadays is considered synonymous with “Creek” – does not appear on any maps until late in the 18th Century. Russell County figures very prominently in the pre-European and Federal periods of the Muskogee-Creek history.  Although the archaeological profession is aware of at least some of the Native American town and village sites in Russell County, these archaeological zones have not received public protection, nor are they generally known to those in Russell County charges with the management of the county’s development. The State of Alabama is obviously proud of its Native American history as evidenced by past investments at Moundville, AL.   The State of Alabama was also supportive of the efforts to reconstruct Fort Mitchell in Russell County.  Fort Mitchell functioned as...

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Native American History of Lee County, Alabama

Although most Alabamans today probably assume that the Creek Indians are an ancient, indigenous ethnic group, that once occupied all or most of their state, the Creek Tribe, in fact, is a political entity that is not much older than Alabama itself. The ethnic label “Creek” does not even appear on maps until 1745. Until after the American Revolution, maps described locations of specifically named ethnic groups within the geographical regions denote as “Creek.”  The word “Muscogee” – which nowadays is considered synonymous with “Creek” – does not appear on any maps until late in the 18th Century. Location and Geography Lee County is located in east central Alabama, northeast of Phoenix City, AL and Columbus, GA.  In 1832 the Treaty of Cusseta transferred the lands of the Creek Confederacy to the United States.  This territory included what is now Lee County.  In 1866, it was created from Russell, Chambers, Macon and Tallapoosa Counties and named after General Robert E. Lee.  Immediately to the east is Russell County and to the north is Chambers County. Tallapoosa adjoins on short segment of the northeastern section of Lee. Macon County adjoins on the southwest. The eastern boundary of Lee is the Chattahoochee River and Georgia state line. The northern part of the county forms the southern tip of the Piedmont geological zone that is generally known by geologists as the Fall...

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Native American History of Henry County, Alabama

Henry County is located in the southeast corner of Alabama, immediately west of the Chattahoochee River and the State of Georgia. It is named after the Governor of Virginia during the American Revolution, Patrick Henry. The county seat is Abbeville. To the north is Barbour County, AL. On the northeast boundary is Clay County, GA and to the Southeast is Early County, GA. Henry County adjoins Houston County, AL to the south and Dale County, AL to the west. Geology and Hydrology The entire county is in Alabama’s Gulf Coastal Plain. The county’s terrain is characterized by low rolling clay hills and sandy loam along river or creek bottomlands. This region is underlain by relatively young sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Part of the county drains eastward into the Chattahoochee River, while the Choctawhatchee River flows through the western part of Henry. During Native American occupation, the Chattahoochee would have been navigable by the largest of indigenous trade canoes or Chontal Maya sea-going craft. The Choctawhatchee is navigable for canoes and small boats. Another major stream in Henry County is Abbie Creek. Native American Occupation In 1832 the Treaty of Cusseta transferred the remaining lands of the Creek Confederacy to the United States. This territory included what is now Henry County. Although most Alabamans today probably assume that the Creek Indians are an ancient, indigenous ethnic group, that once occupied...

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Native American History of Geneva County, Alabama

Geneva County is located in southeastern Alabama. When created by the Alabama legislature in 1868, a Walter H. Yonge, a native of Switzerland suggested that it be named after Geneva, Switzerland. Its county seat is also named Geneva. It is bordered on the south by Holmes County, FL and on the southwest by Walton County, FL. To the northeast is Dale County, AL and northwest is Coffee County, AL. Houston County, AL is to the east, while Covington County, AL is to the west. The Choctawhatchee River flows through the center of Geneva County and flows southward into Holmes County, Florida. Much of Geneva County is in its drainage basin. The original Creek name of the Choctawhatchee River was probably, Chakato-hachi (=Chatot River,) but was misinterpreted by English-speaking settlers to be Choctawhatchee. The Choctawhatchee’s main tributaries in Geneva County are Double Bridge Creek, which joins the river just north of the town of Geneva and the Pea River, which joins the river just south of the town of Geneva. The Gulf Coastal Plain stretching from Mobile, AL to Cedar Key, FL was known as Am-Ixchel by Native Americans, when first explored by the Spaniards in the 1500s. The word was written as Amichel in Castilian and means “Place of the Moon Goddess” in Chontal Maya. This evidence along with many surviving Itza and Chontal Maya place names in Georgia...

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Native American History of Dale County, Alabama

Dale County is located in southeastern Alabama. Ozark is its county seat. It is bordered on the southeast by Houston County, AL and on the southwest by Geneva County, GA.  To the north is Barbour County, AL and northwest is Pike County, AL. Coffee County, AL is to the west, while Henry County, AL is to the east. The Little Choctawhatchee River joins the Choctawhatchee River near the center of Dale County flows southward into Geneva County, AL.  Much of Dale County is in its drainage basin. The original Creek name of the Choctawhatchee River was probably, Chakato-hachi (=Chatot River,) but was misinterpreted by English-speaking settlers to be Choctawhatchee.  The Pea River crosses the extreme northwestern tip of the county. Evidence of Native American Occupation Early settlers in Dale County reported seeing several small Indian mounds or other evidence of former village sites.  However, none are visible today, or at least well known enough to be listed as archaeological sites. Although most popular literature describes the aboriginal occupants of Dale as being Muskogee-Creeks, these Native peoples were immigrants, who entered Alabama along with other branches of the Creeks in the 1700s and early 1800s.  Because of population and territorial losses among other Creek branches, the Muskogee-Creeks came to dominate a confederacy of Native provinces in the Lower Southeast in the late 1700s. The actual Muskogee-Creeks were indigenous to the...

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Native American History of Barbour County, Alabama

Barbour County is located in the southeast corner of Alabama, immediately west of the Chattahoochee River and the State of Georgia. The county seat is Clayton. The county is named after Jame Barbour, a popular Virginia governor and U. S. Senator.  As Secretary of War, Barbour successfully negotiated the removal of the Creek Nation from Georgia.  He was also the first national leader to propose creation of an Indian Territory in the West. To the east, Barbour County adjoins Quitman and Stewart Counties, GA. To the south, it adjoins Henry and Dale Counties, AL, plus Clay County, GA. On the west is Pike County, AL. It also adjoins Russell County, AL on the northeast and Bullock County, AL on the northwest. Geology and Hydrology The entire county is in Alabama’s Gulf Coastal Plain. This region is underlain by relatively young sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.  The terrain is characterized by low rolling clay hills and sandy loam along river or creek bottomlands. Much of the county drains eastward into the Chattahoochee River. The Choctawhatchee River begins in Barbour County and flows southward into Henry County.  It is only navigable by canoes and small boats, whereas the Chattahoochee River would have been navigable by the largest trade canoes, or even Chontal Maya sea craft.  Another major stream is Omussee Creek, which flows into the Chattahoochee River.  The mouth of Omussee Creek...

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Brief History of the French and Indian War

Most histories of the French and Indian War make little mention of events in the Southeast during this period.  The primary reason is that European armies did not battle each other in the South. The bulk of the bloodshed in the Southeast occurred in battles between colonial militias and Great Britain’s former ally, the Cherokees. In contrast, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia lost over 90% of its population during the French and Indian War, while the British settlements in northern New York temporarily ceased to exist. While the European settlers of what was to become the states of Georgia,...

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Incessant Warfare

What is seldom understood by the general public, and even some historians, is that the ethnic pattern of the Southeast changed starkly between 1700 and 1776. Even the names of rivers changed to reflect socioeconomic changes. The Tennessee River was originally known as the Calimaco River in the 1600s, which is Itza Maya for “Throne of the King.”  In the map above created in 1711 by Edward Crisp, it is labeled the Cusate or Hogeloge River.  “Cusate” means “Kusa People” in the Itsati-Creek language. Hogeloge was the name of a branch of the Yuchi’s living in eastern Tennessee.  The map shows western Tennessee occupied by the Chickasaws and eastern Tennessee occupied by the Creeks.  It makes no mention of the Cherokees.  Contemporary French maps accurately show the Chickasaws also living in what is now northern Alabama, central Tennessee and northwestern Georgia. The famous map of North America published by John Mitchell in 1755 showed the territory of the Cherokee Indians covering all of what is now Tennessee and extending to the Pacific Ocean.  The enormous territory was “granted” to the Cherokees in 1754, if they agreed to send warriors to fight the Indian allies of the French in Canada. The Mitchell map does not show the Chickasaws, Creeks or Yuchi living in Tennessee.  Mitchell showed northern Georgia to be part of South Carolina and primarily occupied by branches of...

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