Topic: Appalachee

French Colonizing Expeditions

A small temporary fort was established by Captain Jean Ribault in Port Royal Sound, SC in 1562. Seventeenth Century French maps state that members of this colony traveled to the “gold-bearing mountains of the Apalache,” and claimed the territory for the King of France. Only French maps of the period provide an accurate description of the entire Savannah River system, but no archives have been found that collaborate such a journey. In 1564, after establishing Fort Caroline somewhere in the vicinity of the mouth of the Altamaha River, Captain René Goulaine de Laudonniére dispatched several expeditions up the Altamaha River to the sources of its tributaries in the foothills of the mountains. He had learned from tribes on the coast that important trading activities occurred along this route. The Apalache Indians traded gold, copper, silver, greenstone, mica and crystals mined in the mountains to provinces in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain.  Control of this trade route was a major cause of warfare between the provinces in the lower elevations.  Greenstone was the most desired commodity because it was the only stone suitable for axes and wedges to split wood. The two longest expeditions lasted six months and two months; the longest one being commanded by La Roche Ferriere. These expeditions provided the names of the provinces between the mountains and the sea.  One was named the Mayacoa or Maya...

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The Migration Legend of the Kashita People

One of the many aspects of the contemporary Creek Indians that non-indigenous anthropologists seldom understand is that the Creeks are an assimilated people, composed of diverse ethnic groups, many of whom were originally enemies.  The Itsate-speaking Creeks were the main players in the mound building business.  However, they were decimated first by European diseases. and then by English sponsored slave raiders. By the early 1700s, the Muskogee-speaking minority were clustered in present day west-central Georgia and east-central Alabama. They were less affected by the holocausts that killed off 90-95% of the Itsate-speaking Creeks. The Muskogees came to dominate an alliance of remnant Creek towns. However, up until the American Revolution, the Itsate language was still the predominate language among Georgia Creeks.  By the time of the Indian Removal in the 1830s, Muskogee language and traditions dominated the Creek Confederacy. What survives today in Oklahoma are primarily Muskogee cultural memories. Many Oklahoma Creeks are not even aware that their ancestors dominated northern Georgia, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, much of South Carolina and even a wedge in south central North Carolina.  The western Creeks do not think of themselves as a “mountain people,” and have no cultural memories of such a period.  Fortunately, one legend of an earlier time survives elsewhere. The exception is the Migration Legend of the Kas’hita People which was presented to Governor James Oglethorpe in written...

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Apalachee Tribe

The Apalachee Indians are of Muskhogean stock and linguistically are closely related to the Choctaw. Their first known inhabitation of North America is found around Lake Jackson, Louisiana, where they appeared to have resided from about 1100-1511. Archeologists have studied the mortuary evidence found in the mounds in the Lake Jackson region, and have identified a complex chiefdom of the Apalachee people. When Narváez and De Soto encountered them in the 16th century, they were found in Florida, but there is no evidence that there was a large scale migration of people to the Floridian peninsula. Rather it appears from the archeological remains that there was an abandonment of the political centers of the tribe, both at Lake Jackson and a smaller center at Velda, and a movement of the paramount chief from the Lake Jackson to the Anhaica Apalachee region. In 1608 some of the chiefs of the Apalachee travelled to St. Augustine and pledged allegiance to the Spanish Crown. While there, they “invited” Spanish missionaries to their villages. For several generations the Apalachee people would become slaves to the Spanish authorities… they would lose their religion, their nobility, and their political structure. The Apalachee province once held the region north of the bay now called by the name, from about the neighborhood of Pensacola river to Ocilla river. The chief towns were about the present Tallahassee and...

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Hitchiti Indian Tribe

The Hitchiti tribe, of whose language we present an extensive specimen in this volume, also belongs to the southeastern group, which I have called Apalachian. Hitchiti town was, in Hawkins time, established on the eastern bank of Chatahuchi River, four miles below Chiaha. The natives possessed a narrow strip of good land bordering on the river, and had the reputation of being honest and industrious. They obtained their name from Hitchiti creek, so called at its junction with Chatahuchi river, [and in its upper course Ahíki (Ouhe-gee); cf. List] from Creek: ahí-tchita “to look up (the stream).” They had spread out into two branch settlements: Hitchitúdshi or Little Hitchiti, on both sides of Flint River, below the junction of Kitchofuni Creek, which passes through a county named after it; and Tutalósi on Tutalosi creek, a branch of Kitchofuni creek, twenty miles west of Hitchitúdshi (Hawkins, p. 60. 65). The existence of several Hitchiti towns is mentioned by C. Swan in 1791; and Wm. Bartram states that they “speak the Stincard language.” There is a popular saying among the Creeks, that the ancient name of the tribe was Atchík’hade, a Hitchiti word which signifies white heap (of ashes). Some Hitchiti Indians trace their mythic origin to a fall from the sky, but my informants, Chicote and G. W. Stidham, gave me the following tale: “Their ancestors first appeared in the...

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