Topic: Muskogean

Black-Indian History

The first black slaves were introduced into the New World (1501-03) ostensibly to labor in the place of the Indians, who showed themselves ill-suited to enforced tasks and moreover were being exterminated in the Spanish colonies. The Indian-black inter-mixture has proceeded on a larger scale in South America, but not a little has also taken place in various parts of the northern continent. Wood (New England’s Prospect, 77, 1634) tells how some Indians of Massachusetts in 1633, coming across a black in the top of a tree were frightened, surmising that; ‘he was Abamacho, or the devil.” Nevertheless, inter-mixture of Indians and blacks has occurred in New England. About the middle of the 18th century the Indians of Martha’s Vineyard began to intermarry with blacks, the result being that “the mixed race increased in numbers and improved in temperance and industry.” A like inter-mixture with similar a results is reported about the same time from parts of Cape Cod. Among the Mashpee in 1802 very few pure Indians were left, there being a number of mulattoes 1Mass Hist. Soc. Coll., r, 206; iv, 206; ibid., 2d s., iii, 4; cf. Prince in Am. Anthrop., ix, no. 3, 1907. Robert Rantoul in 1833 2Hist. Coll. Essex Inst., xxiv, 81 states that “the Indians are said to be improved by the mixture.” In 1890, W. H. Clark 3Johns Hopk. Univ. Circ.,...

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Creek Tribe

Creek Indians. A confederacy forming the largest division of the Muskhogean family. They received their name form the English on account of the numerous streams in their country. During early historic times the Creek occupied the greater portion of Alabama and Georgia, residing chiefly on Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, the two largest tributaries of the Alabama river and on the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers. They claimed the territory on the east from the Savannah to St. Johns river and all the islands, thence to Apalachee Bay, and from this line northward to the mountains. The south portion of this...

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Chickasaw Tribe

Chickasaw Indians. An important Muskhogean tribe, closely related to the Choctaw in language and customs, although the two tribes were mutually hostile. Aside from tradition, the earliest habitat traceable for the Chickasaw is north Mississippi. Their villages in the 18th century centered about Pontotoc and Union counties, where the headwaters of the Tombigbee meet those of Yazoo river and its affluent, the Tallahatchie, about where the De Soto narratives place them in 1540, under the name Chicaza. Their main landing place on the Mississippi was at Chickasaw Bluffs, now the site of Memphis, Tennessee, whence a trail more than 160 miles long led to their villages. They had two other landing places farther up the Mississippi. Adair, who for many years was a trader among the Chickasaw and gives a full and circumstantial account of them 1Adair, Hist. Am. Inds., 352-373, 1775, states that in 1720 they had four contiguous settlements, and that the towns of one of these were: Chook’heereso Hykehah Phalacheho Shatara Tuskawillao Two of the other settlements of which he gives the names were Yaneka, 6 miles long, and Chookka Pharáah (Chukafalava), 4 miles long. Romans 2Romans, Florida, 63, 1775, describing their country and villages, says that they “live nearly in the center of an uneven and large nitrous savannah; have in it 1 town, 1½ miles long, very narrow and irregular; this they divide into...

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Notes On Creek History

To offer a history of the Creek tribe from its discovery down to our epoch to the readers does not lie within the scope of this volume, and for want of sufficient documents illustrating the earlier periods it could be presented in a fragmentary manner only. But a few notes on the subject, especially on the Oglethorpe treaties, will be of interest to the reader. In the year following their departure from the West Indies (1540), the troops led by H. de Soto traversed a portion of the Creek territory, taken in its extent as known to us from...

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List Of Creek Towns

In this alphabetic list of ancient Creek towns and villages I have included all the names of inhabited places which I have found recorded before the emigration of the people to the Indian Territory. The description of their sites is chiefly taken from Hawkins “Sketch” one of the most instructive books which we possess on the Creeks in their earlier homes. Some of these town names are still existing in Alabama and Georgia, although the site has not infrequently changed. I have interspersed into the list a few names of the larger rivers. The etymologies added to the names contain the opinions of the Creek delegates visiting Washington every year, and they seldom differed among each other on any name. The local names are written according to my scientific system of phonetics, the only change introduced being that of the palatal tch for ch. Ábi’hka, one of the oldest among the Upper Creek towns; the oldest chiefs were in the habit of naming the Creek nation after it. Hawkins speaks of Abikúdshi only, not of Abi’hka. It certainly lay somewhere near the Upper Coosa River, where some old maps have it. Emanuel Bowen, “A new map of Georgia,” has only “Abacouse,” and this in the wrong place, below Kusa and above Great Talasse, on the western side of Coosa River. A town Abi’hka now exists in the Indian Territory....

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The Creek Settlements

The towns and villages of the Creeks were in the eighteenth century built along the banks of rivers and their smaller tributaries, often in places subject to inundation during large freshets, which occurred once in about fifteen years. The smallest of them contained from twenty to thirty cabins, some of the larger ones up to two hundred, and in 1832 Tukabatchi, then the largest of all the Creek settlements, harbored 386 families. Many towns appeared rather compactly built, although they were composed of irregular clusters of four to eight houses standing together; each of these clusters contained a gens (“clan or family of relations,” C. Swan), eating and living in common. The huts and cabins of the Lower Creeks resembled, from a distance, clusters of newly-burned brick kilns, from the high color of the clay. 1Cf. Yuchi, p. 22. At the time of the conquest of Mexico by Cortez, many of the interior towns of that country were whitewashed in the same manner, by means of a shining white clay coating. It will be found appropriate to distinguish between Creek towns and villages. By towns is indicated the settlements which had a public square, by villages those which had none. The square occupied the central part of the town, and was reserved for the celebration of festivals, especially the annual busk or fast (púskita), for the meetings of chiefs,...

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The Creek Warrior Class

The geographic position of the Creeks in the midst of warlike and aggressive nations was a powerful stimulant for making “invincibles” of their male offspring. The ruling passion was that of war; second to it was that of hunting. A peculiar incentive was the possession of war-titles, and the rage for these was as strong among the younger men as that for plunder among the older. The surest means of ascending the ladder of honor was the capture of scalps from the enemy, and the policy of the red or bloody towns was that of fostering the warlike spirit by frequent raids and expeditions. In some towns young men were treated as menials before they had performed some daring deeds on the battlefield or acquired a war title. 1Milfort, Memoire, p. 251. To become a warrior every young man had to pass through a severe ordeal of privations called fast, púskita, from the fifteenth to the seventeenth year of his age. This initiation into manhood usually lasted from four to eight months, but in certain rare instances could be abridged to twelve days. A distinction of a material, not only honorific character was the election of a warrior to actual command as paká dsha or tustĕnúggi ‘láko. The Charges Of Commanders After the young man had passed through the hardships of his initiation, the career of distinction stood open...

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