|Collection||American Philosophical Society Library: Caleb Swan Papers|
|Date||May 2, 1791|
|Author Name||Caleb Swan (primary) Location: Philadelphia|
|Recipient Name||[not available]|
|Summary||Document, report describes the Creek country, people, culture, and government. Refers to horse theft and trials.|
|Document Format||Copy of document|
|Document Notes||[not available]|
|Content Notes||[not available]|
|Related Persons/Groups||Caleb Swan; Brigr Generl McGillivray; Chiefs and Warriors of the Creek Nation; Creeks; Cossades; Alabamas; Captain Smith [of schooner]; Captain Burbeck; Dr. Charles Caxton Howard; Mr Marbury; Jack Kinnard's Negroes; Seminolies; Mad Dog, King of the Tuckabatches; Charles Weatherford; Secretary of War; Ufalas; Oakfuskies; Allens [Indian Trader]; Reved Mr. Morses; Upper Creeks; Alabama River; Chactaws; Rowen; Muscogies; Creek Indians; Florida and Appalachian Indians; Seminoles; Dr. Harrison; Natches or Sunset Indians; Shawanese; Towannas; Jack Kinnard; Don Juan Nepomacena De Quesada; James Allen; Bully; Oglethorpe; Cherokees; Upper Creeks; Lower Creeks; Chactaws; Chickasaws; Cherokees; Hallowing King; White Lieutenant; Mad-Dog King; Old Tallassie King; Opilth Mico; Dog Warrior; Red Shoes; Stentsacco Cheota; Colonel Brown; Mr. Alexander.;|
|Related Places||Philadelphia; New York; St. Marys River; Flint River; United States; Great White Town; Chathoose River; Coweta district; Little Tallassie; Natches; Tuckabatches; Tensace; West Floridia; Alabama River; Cumberland Island; Captain Burnbecks post; East Florida; Spanish Creek; Alabama River; Chehaw towns; Flint River; Chattahoosee River; Cussitah and Cowetas Towns; Tallapoosie River; Tuckabatches; Little Tallasie; Tuskeegee town; Natchez Village; district of the Hillabes; Chatahoosa River; Cupitahs; Cowetas; Oakmulgee Riber; Chatahoosee Riber; Oconee; Rock Landing; Great Okafanoka Swamp; East Florida; Alabala River; Coosa or Coosahatchee River; Little Tallapie; Bay of Mobile; Mexico; Canada; Cowetas; Oak Mulgee River; Georgia; Tallapoosie River; Coosa River; Alabama River; Louisiana; Tallapoosie River; Appalachiacola Riber; Micasukee; Coseta Town; Cussitah Town; Michasukee Village; St Augustine; Pensacola; St Marks; Mobile; South Carolina; Savannah; Florida; Fort Alabamous; Little Tallasie; Upper Nfalas; Abbacoochees; Natchez; Coosas; Oteo'oche'enas; Pinclatchees; Pocuntu'lla'ha'ssa; Weokees; Little Tallassie; Tuskeegees; Coosades; Alabamas; Tawassa; Ochchoys; Pawacta; Autoba; Ahhoba; Big Wetumpkies; Little Wetumpties; Wocksoy Ochees; Coosa River; Soosa River; Tallapoosie River; Hillabees; Hillabee; Killeego; Quatchoys; Stakagulgas; Waccokoys; Tallapoosie Riber; Tuckabatchy Telhasee; Totakaga; New York; Chullayacpauley; Toguspogus; Oakfuskee; Little Ufalas; Big Ufalas; Toghatches; Tuckabatches; Big Tallasoie; Half-way-house; Chewaulays; Cooshatches; Coolamies; Shawanee Sawannas; Kehulkee; Mucklapes; Chattahoosee River; Chelucco Ninny; Chattahoosee; Hohtatoga; Cowetas; Cupitahs; Challagatska; broken arrow; Euchees; Hitchatees; Pallachuola; Chewockala; Little Chehaus; Big Chahaus; Chatahoosa River; Flint River; Botany Bay.;|
|Keywords||Letter of Instruction; Treaty; Horse; Pack Horse; Licenses; Trial;|
|Key Phrases||nation; no disaster happened; voyage ; journey by land through the country; occasioned me to us the authority you were pleased to give me; arrived safe at the first Indian villages; latter part of September; found myself among these people; my inclination; my interest; to be come as useful as possible to the Great Chief; I endeavored to impress on the Jealous Minds of the Indians in general that the White people of the United States were sincere and candid in all their overtures of peace and friendship; I was pledged to theme for the truth of what I had told them; of which their friends had been witness of at the great White Town; viewed me; in the light of a spy; uniform declaration to the contrary; persevering attention to his person; flattered that all his suspicions were removed; alteration in his conduct towards me; reason to believe that I gained his confidence effectual; I found from experiment; to learn the language and to pronounce it well must be a task of several youthful years; vocabulary of their principals words; some familiar sentences; directed my enquiries; to objects contained in your letter; making notes; found myself watched with an eye of jealousy; therefore thought it prudent to keep them out of sight; even f rom my only friend Mr McGillivray; going into the country; down at the southern corner of it; traveling; westward; route through all the districts and tribes of the upper Creeks; together with a variety of jaunts and visits to different towns and villages of the Coosades and Alabamas; following sheets contain the result of my observations during the excursion; offering to you with a hope that they contain such information with respect to the Natives and the fine country the possess as my be pleasing as well as interesting and useful to government; to be attached to the Indians; manner of living; sacrificing all the social virtues to the disgusting habits of the savage barbarism; custom with McGillivray to spend his winters on the sea Coast among the Spaniards, leaving his wife, servants, and horses, at a plantation he has near Tensaee, within the border of West Florida; returning to pass his summers in the nation. Could not remain in the country through the winter without suffering the inconvenience of Cold, and probably of hunger, and these without a companion; reasons that induced my to leave the country; whoever may try the experiment for no longer a time than I have done ill find sufficient excuse for their patience fortitude and solitary Philosophy; journal; transcript; sailed; imprudently run the vessel through a large breaker; struck several time on the sand and afterwards went over; visit of compliment; procuring horses; several of the chiefs of the lower towns separated; five of our horses died; flooded for half a mile over its banks on each side; provisions mostly wasted and spoiled by the late rains; journey stopped by the floods; endeavored to build a canoe, having but a small hatchet the attempt was fruitless; Indians killed a stray cow; stretched her skin over hoops into the shape of a bowl with which to make the experiment of getting over; swimming and towing the skin boat; war-hoop to frighten away the alligators that are here in vast numbers; by uncommon and hazardous exertion we were with all our baggage safe over by dark; loss of four of our horses; Jack Kinnards Negroes; fresh horses; news from their chief; fresh supply of provisions; chief made some communications to the people; general meeting; some seemed pleased, others threw their tobacco into the fire in disgust; snow fell an inch deep; moon totally eclipsed; regulate my account of time; Indians; yelling with fear and firing guns in every direction; have an opinion, on these occasions, that a large frog is swallowing the moon, and make all their most hideous noises to frighten it away; sister hanged herself in a passion, but was cut down & saved; woman; woman hanged herself; privately buried in the village the same evening; letter; mountains; attended the Square three times to their black drinks, at the pressing invitation of the White Lieutenant; half breed; great war mics of all the district of the oakfuskies and in point of appearance and abilities is a rival to any other chief in the country. Sole indulgence over 1000 gun-men; river; falls; villages; lands; most superior quality; with little labor might be mad to 'blossom like the rose'; topographical sketches; river very crooked; marsh; thick woods; Reved Mr Morses Map; Great Okafanoka Swamp; misplace intirely; instead of spreading itself northwestward into Georgia s in the map laid down it extends away southerly into East Florida; old path from St. Mary's to the Creek nation is difficult to be traced, having been little used since 1783; continual of miry pine barren; so poor that game of the wood is not to be found in it; Alabala not laid down in any of the common maps; rain; freshet; current is rapid; passengers; entangled; drowned; danger from its great number of hungry alligators; clans; villages; huts, from the high color of the clay, at a little distance, resemble clusters of new burned brick kills; high country; deep and quite; high lands; rocks and shoals; canoes; hunting grounds; a fertile and extensive country capable of producing everything necessary to the comfort and convenience of mankind; ; well watered; soil is of a dark brown color with a deep strata of red or brown clay and with the slovenly management of savages produces abundantly; well timbered with oak; hiccory; mulberry poplar; wild cherry; laurel; cedar; cypress; bay; gum; ironwood; corkwood and the wild locust; small waterfalls and millseats; low lands and bottoms; cane brakes; gensang; snake root; genuine Sarsaparilla of Mexico; great variety of other medicinal plants and herbs which remain to be analized by a skilful botanist and without doubt will be found as valuable and important as any hitherto discovered; mines and minerals; specimens of which I have collected; herewith to present; Rowens Maps and surveys; rude wilderness; exhibiting many natural beauties; only rendered unpleasant by being in the possession of the Jealous Natives; western part of the Country of the Creek's; small; natural advantages; of more real value than all the rest of their territory; every species of clay and wood proper for building; soil and climate are suited to the culture of corn, wine, oil, rice, wheat, silk, hemp, indigo, and every species of fruit trees and English grape; in process of time become a most delectable part f the United States; free navigation; one day or other be the seat of manufactures; climate of this inland country is remarkably healthy; wet and dry seasons are periodical and regular; Christmas; March; July; September; constant breezes; head of Su summer very temperate; fall; perfumed by the aromatic shrubbery which abounds; winters are soft and mild; summers wholesome; no stagnant waters or infectious bogs; muskeetoes; sand-flies; animals of the forests; tyger or panthers is more common here but of less size than those taken towards Canada; black wolves are plenty; the lands of this region resemble ours in the northern states in every respect; great numbers of paroquets, and the beautiful red-bird, so much sought bor by Europeans, called the Virginia nightingale; reptiles here are much like those found in t he northern climates; gofer; a spices of the land tortoise; deserve some attention from curious naturalists; the Indians have a belief that this animal has the power of causing droughts or floods, therefore whenever they find them dash them to pieces with religious violence; origin of the Muscogies, or Creek Indians; men of the best information and longest acquaintance with these Indians; following account of the rise and progress of the nation; tradition; general belief; a long time ago some strange wandering clans of Indians from the northwest fount their way down to the present country of the Tenisnobies; plenty of fish and game; friendly footing with each other; became so powerful a body as to excite the Jealousy of their Applachian neighbors; wars ensued; some clans and families emigrated northward; established themselves eastward; westward; their lands; incorporated with the Creek Nation; courage and wialike abilities; pure water and air of this high country; warriors; superior to most of the nations that surround them; numbers increased; it appears long to have been a maxim of their policy to give equal liberty and protection to tribes conquered by themselves, as well as to those vanquished by others; many individuals taken in war are slaves among them and their children are called the slave-race, and cannot arrive to much honorary distinction in the country on that account; notes on the seminolies; wandering hordes; sandy and barren; fishing along the sea-shore; small clans and families; inland country; corn; water is very scarce; poor and miserable beyond description; seldom assemble; language; so great a change; old people; women; children; manhood; modern tongue; their country is a place of refuge for vagrants or murderers from every part; neck of land; Kinnard is a noted trader, farmer and herdsmen; two wives; about 40 valuable Negroes; and some Indian slaves; he has taken from 12 to 1500 head of cattle & horses; property; plunder; free booting; during the American War; Georgia quarrel; read or write; drunkenness; and like all half-breeds is very proud of being white blooded; he is a despot; shoots his Negroes if he pleases; cut off the ears of one of his wives in a drunken fit of suspicion; threaten the Spanish; English boxing; settlement; cattle; express; chalk; prisoner; white people; communication; British subjects; French; treaty of Savannah; kind treatment; good management; allies; Spaniards; voyages; travels; settlements; fort; post; captain's command; trade; troops; agents; commissaries; effectively attached them to the 'great king over the water'; American Revolution; peace; trade has been beneficial only to British subjects; manufactured; Tories; renegades of every sort; hatred of the Spaniards; population & military strength; towns; tolerably compact; houses; clusters; banks of rivers and small streams; each cluster of houses contain a family of relations who eat and live in common; public square; house and yard; near the centre; appropriated to various public uses; ceremonies; principal towns; it is impossible to determine the number of Indians that compose the Creek Nation; estimates the number of gun-men to be between 5 and 6000, exclusive of the Seminolies who are of little or no account in war except as small parties of marauders acting independent of the general interest of the others; old men; women; children; making the whole about 25 or 26000 souls; white-trader; white pack horse men; in almost every town one family of whites and in some two who do not trade; asylum of liberty; whites of every description throughout the country; nearly 300 persons; a number sufficient to contaminate all the natives; it is a fact that every town is under the influence of the Whitman; attached to the British; late war; loss of friends and property or persecution, retained bitter resentments against the people of the United States; to have revenge, and to obtain plunder that may be taken; use this influence to send out predatory parties against the settlements in their vicinity; the Indians are very badly armed; musquets in preference to rifles; of French manufacture, procured through the Spanish government at Pensacola; soon become unfit for service; In the Indians were able to purchase for themselves they would however prefer rifles in all cases because they find them more sure and lasting; A good rifle will command the price of 100 chalks or 50 dollars; treaty; communicated to all the people of the country and believed and relied upon; of the past and p[resent government; military democracy; nation; chief; superior talents; political abilities; every individual has so high an opinion of his own importance and independence that is would be difficult if not impossible to impress on the community at large the necessity of any social compact; yet they seem all united to defend and secure their lands and hunting ranges; each town has its chief or Mico; beloved second man; regulate the police of the town and public buildings; men of the best memories; can tell long stories; give minute details of ancient customs; councilors and orators; had a control over the warriors and leaders; scouts; war-parties; Kings; white-towns; refuge to prisoners; escape death or torture; asylum; sacred places; war or red towns; governed entirely by warriors; modern government; chiefs and principal warriors; annual meetings; deliberate on public affairs; fixed by a chief; broken days; black drink; tobacco; give or receive advice with profound gravity and moderation; influence; consists in the privilege of advising and not in the power of commanding; every individual is at liberty to choose whether or not he shall engage in any warlike enterprise; rage of the young met to acquire war-names; thrust of plunder in the older ones and leaders are motives sufficient to raise gangs of volunteers to go in quest of hair or horses at any time; they think that force constitutes right; victory is an infallible proof of justice; young men remain in a kind of disgrace and are obliged to light pipes, bring wood, and help cook the black drink for the warriors and perform all the menial services of the public square until they shall have performed some warlike exploit and a seat in the square at black-drink; bring some hair; young warriors; friends; war-hoop; scalp; red painted wand; war names; reproach; old women; esta dogs; you are nobody; liar; expressions; quarrel; equipment; war party; gun; ammunition; knife; small bag of gritz or broken corn; hors ropes or halters; war-camps; woods; men; scalp; they are much given to lying and exaggeration on those occasions; taking boy and girls prisoners to supply the places of such of their people as have been or may be killed; but they save grown men and women as prisoners only when avarice takes precedence of barbarity and the set the price of ransom upon them according to the rank and estimation in which the prisoners may be held; Indian women; have the honor of whipping them; their ruling passion seems to be war and their mode of conducting it constitutes some part of their political government;; British; superintendent; police of the nation; spirit of opposition; but one institution in the nation that resembles civilization; it was introduced by Mr McGillivray and thought sometimes observed, if oftener dispensed with; if an Indian steals an horse he is liable by this law to return him or another of equal value and pay a fine; thirty lashes; complaints or accusations; hear the evidences of the parties and never to decide on the case; putting off the trial; parties at length forget their resentments and often compromise the quarrel between themselves; the whites living among the Indians, with very few exceptions, are the most abandoned wretches that can be found perhaps this side of Botany Bay; traders; hirelings; pack-horse men; licenses; purchasers; but the Indians don't suffer them to cultivate much land.|
|Transcription||Philadelphia May 2d. 1791.
To The honorable Henry. Knox Es[=]quire-- Secretary for the department. of war.
Persuant to the letter of instruction, which I had the honor to receive from you on the 18th of August 1791.-- I accompanied Brig.r Gener.l McGillivray, and the Chiefs and the warriors of the Creek, who attended at the treaty in New-York, from that place, to their nation.-- Fortunately no disaster happened on our voyage to St. Marys River, or on our Journey by land through the Country, that occasi[=]ioned me to use the authority you were pleased to give me of drawing on you, in case it should be found ne[=]cessary. ----- And we all arrived safe at the first indian villages on Flint River, the latter part of September.
Situated as I found myself among these people, it was not only my inclination, but I found it my interest, to become as useful as possible to the Great Chief; and on all occasions I endeavoured to im[=]press on the Jealous Minds of the indians in general, that the White people of the United States, were Sincere and candid in all
their overtures of peace and friendship towards them: And that being myself in their power, I was pledged to them, for the truth of what I had told them, and of which their friends, had been witnesses of at the great White Town.
I conceived that Genl McGillivray viewed me for some time, rather in the light of a spy, than otherwise.-- but from an uniform declaration to the contrary, and a persevering attention to his person, I was flattered that all his suspicions were removed, and from an alteration in his conduct towards me, I have reason to believe that I gained his Confidence effectually.
I found from experiment, that to learn the language, and to pronounce it well, must be a task of Several Youthful years--therefore after obtaining a vocabulary of their principal words, and some familiar sentences, I directed my enquiries more particularly to the other objects contained in your letter.
In making notes while in the country, I found myself watched with an eye of Jealousy, and therefore thought it pru=
pects gloomy. our provisions mostly waisted and spoiled, by the late rains, and our Journey stopped by the floods.
22d. Endeavoured to build a canoe, having but a small hatchet, the attempt was fruitless.
23d. The waters continued to rise.
24th The waters at a stand.
25th The indians killed a stray cow in the woods and stretched^ herskin, over hoops, into the shape of a bowl with which to make the experiment of getting over.
26th. Early in the morning the indians commenced by swiming, and touring the skin boat - setting up the war- hoop to frighten away the alegators, that are here in vast numbers. -- by uncomman and hazardous escertion, we were, with all our baggage Safe over by dark, having met with no accident except the loss of four of our horses, which were entangled and drowned in swiming the river.
27.th__ Supplied ourselves with 15 fresh horses, taken from Jack Kinnards Negroes whom we met in woods, bound to St. Marys with horses for Fall.
30th Arrieved at the Chehan towns on flint river, and found the indians assembled in great numbers to hear the news from their Chief whom
they had given up for lost.
October 1. encamped at John Kinnards on the borders of the lower Creeks & Seminolries and had a fresh supply of provisions.
October 5th Crossed the Shattahoosee river at the broken arrow 12 miles below the Cussitah and Corvetas Towns.
7th Crossed the Tallapossie river at the Tuckabatches- here the Chief made some Communications to the people who were also assembled to hear his talk.
8th- Arrived at Little Tallassie on the Alabama river._____
20th Attended a general meeting, called by the mad dog King of the Tuckabathes, when Mc Gillivray made further communications to the people__some seemed pleased, others threw their tobacco into the fire in disgust.
21. The snow fell an inch deep in this Country
22nd__ The moon totally eclipsed, and served me to regulate my account of time which from a variety of causes, I had not been able to Keep accurately.
Note__The Indians in all surrounding villages yelling with fear, and firing Guns in every direction.__they
have an opinion, on these occasions, that a large frog is swallowing the Moon, and make all their most hideous noises to frighten it away.
Oct. 29. Mrs. Mc Gillivrays sister, hanged herself in a passion, but was cut down & Saved.
November 20th___ ___ A woman related to McGillivray, hanged herself in the Tuskeegee town, at Little Tallapie, and was privately buried in the village the same evening.
27.th Charles Weatherford brought a letter from the Sevretary of War, dated 15. Sept. 1790.
December. 15th Left Little Tallapie, for the upper country and arrived at the Natchez Villages in two days.
20th. Went over the mountains to the district of the Hillabes.
December 21. Arrived at the Ufalas; attneded the square, three times to their black drinks; at the pressing imitation of the White Lieutenant.
Note__The white Lieutenant is a half breed. he is the Great war Mics of all the district of the oakfuskies and in Joint of appearance
and ablities, is a rival to any other Chief (up?) the Country he is about 50 years of age, 6 feet 2 inches high and well made, and is said to have the sole infulence over 1000 gun-en.
22nd Crossed the Chatahoosa, b the upper war path at the horse-ford about 60 miles above the Cussitahs and lowetas.
24th Crossed flint river out the upper falls, and stretched down the country in a south East direction.
Decemeber 27.th Crossed the Oakmulgee river at the falls on the middle trading path.
note___All the lands, on this path, from midian villages, on the Chattahoosee river, eastward to the Oakmulgee, and even Ocoonee rivers, are of a most superior quality.__It might give pain to a traveller who now must view it, but as a rude desart, which with little labor might be made to "blossom like the rose."
28th Crossed the Oconee at the falls 10 miles above the Rock landing, and encamped
January 17. 1791. Left Captain Savages post at the Rock landing_and arrived via New York_on the 12 of March in Philadelphia.
St Marys River is very crooked, with
a wide open Mash on each side, from its mouth upward [an o with a strike through it]for 30 miles; where the marsh is terminated by thick woods, the river becomes nearly straight for 30 miles further to Allens, an indian trader at the head of its navigation. At this trading station, the river is like a dead Creek, about 4 fathoms deep and 10 rods wide. It is well laid down in the Reved. Mr. Morses map.__but the Great Okafanoka Swamp which is the source of the river, is misplaced intirely, instead of spreading itself northwestward into Georgia as in the map, laid down, it extends away Southerly into Last florida.
The old path from St Marys to the Creek nation is difficult to be traced, having been little used since 1783.__ After leaving St Marys; for 100 miles westward, it is a continual soft miry pine barren, affording neither water or food for men or horses indeed it is so poor that the common game of the woods is not to be found in it.
The Alabaha, not laid down in any of the common maps of the southern country; is a considerable river; 100 miles west of the head of St Marys running in a southerly direction: it is often difficult to be crossed, the banks
are low, and a triffing rain swells it to move than a mile in [wedth?]; in a freshet the current is rapid, and passengers are lia [=] ble to be entangled in limbs and briars, and drowned: there is also real danger from its great number of hungry alligators. --From the Alababa, it is 90 miles to the Chehan Villages, low down on Flint River, and a continual brine barren, tho' lefs' sterile than that left behind.
Flint River is about 30 Rods wide, and from 12 to 15 feet deep in summer time, with a gentle current. --It is 30 miles from the villages of the Chehaus, to Jack Kinnards, a rich half breed chief. From Kinnards to the tribes of the Euchees and Hitchatees, is about 80 miles, where the faith crosses the Chattahoosee river 12 miles below the Corvetou and Cufsitah Towns, at a Village called the broken Arrow:
The Chattahoosee river is about 30 rods wide, very rapid and full of shoals. The lands in general upon it are light and and sandy and the clay of a bright red: The lower creeks are settled in scattering clans and villages, from the head to the mouth of this river; and their huts, from the high color of the clay, at a little distance, resem[=]ble clusters of new burned brick Kilns. From [undecipherable]the Chattahoosee to the Talla[=]
hoosee river, is about 70 iles, by the main hath which crosses at the falls just above the town of the Tuckabatches.
The Tallahoosee rises in the high lands near the CHerokees: it runs through the high country of the Oakfuskees, in a westerly direction. __ it is full of shoals and falls until it reaches the Tucka(=)batches, where it becomes deep and quiet: from there, the course of it is west for about 30 miles to Little Tallapie, where it unites with the Coro[=]fa, or Coosahatchee.
The Coosa, or Coosahatchee, river, also rises in the high lands near the Cherokees. its course is generally South; it runs through the country of the Natchez & other tribes of the Wiper creeks, the roughest and most broken district in the whole nation; it is rapid and so full of rocks and shoals, that, although there is a sufficiency of water, it is hardly navigable, even for canoes: It forms the Tallahoosee at Little Tallapie and there forms the Alabama, which conti[=]nues in a southwestwardly direction to the bay of Mobile.
This long river and its movin branches form the western line of settlements or villages of the Creek nation.__but their hunting grounds extend 200 miles beyond to the Tom[=]
big bee river, which is the guiding line between Sheoix Country and the Chactaws.
The Alabama river is remarkable fir its gentle current pure waters, and good fish, it runs about 2 miles an hour:-- at the head of it, it is 70, or 80 rods wide, & from 25 to 20 feet deep in the dryest seasons of the year: The banks are 50 feet high; & never overflown.--Travellers who have navigated it in large boats, in the month of May, in 9 days from Little Tallapie to the Mobile bay, complete the distance by water to be 350 miles.
Thus river, for 40 miles down, and probably much farther is very beautiful! it has high clear fields all along the banks that afford romantic views of its different courses and windings, for miles together,--having no floats or land bars, it might be navigated with boats of large burden, up to McGillivrays at Little Tallipie.--Through the centre of a fertile and extensive country capable of producing every thing necessary to the comfort and convenience of mankind.
The surrounding country is well watered. the soil is of a dark brown, colour, with a deep shots of red, or brown clay, and with the slovenly management of savages, produces abundantly.
It is well timbered with oak, hiccory, mul=
berry poplar, wild cherry, laurel, cedar, cypress, bay, gum, gronwood, corkwood, and the wild locust.
There are abundance of small water falls and millseats of Constant water, to be had, in all parts of the country within a few miles of each other.
The low lands, and bottoms, are interspersed with numerous cane brakes, of enormous growth, and the banks of rivers, and higher grounds, produce gensang, loneca or the snake root, and the genuine Sarsaparilla of Mexico, in perfection.
There is also a great variety of other medecinal plants and herbs.--which remain to be analized by a skilful Botanist, and without doubt will be found as valuable, and as important as any hitherto discovered.
There are useful mines and minerals on the Alabama, some specimens of which I have collected and have the honor herewith to present.
The whole of the country claimed by the Creeks, within the limits of the United States, at a moderate computation, must contain nearly 84,000, square miles, according to Bowens Maps and Surveys,
annexed hereto; which by good judges are affirmed to be accurate.
At present it is but a rude wilderness; exhibiting many natural beauties, which are only rendered [undecipherable] by being in the possession of the Jealous Natives.
The western part of the country of the Creeks, particularly, tho! but small compared with the whole, is without doubt; from its natural advantages, of more real value than all the rest of the territory.
This district possesses every species of clay and wood proper for building, and the soil and climate are suited to the culture of corn, wine, oil, rice, wheat, silk, hemp, indigo, and every species of fruit trees, and English-grass; and must, in process of time, become a most delectable part of the United States; and with a free navigation through the Bay of Mobile may probably, one day or other, be the seat of manufacturers.
The climate of the inland country is remarkably healthy. The wet and dry seasons are periodical and regular. The rainy seasons are from Christmas to the
beginning of March, and from the mid[=]dle of July to the latter end of Sep[=]tember
Between these two periods there is seldom much rain or cloudy weather.
The constant breezes, which are probably occasioned by the high hills and [undecipherable] and rapid water-courses, renders the heat of summer very temperate, and tow[=]ards the fall of the year. They are high[=]ly porfused by the aromatic shrubbery, which abounds all over the country. The winters are soft and mild, and the summers wholesome. There are no stagnant waters, or infectious fogs a[=]bout the rivers; consequently, neither allegators, miskeetoes, or sand-flies have ever been found here.
The animals of the forests in this coun[=]try, differ little from those at the northward. The tyger, or panther, is more common here, but of lep size than those taken towards Canada. Large black wolves are plenty, and I believe preculiar to the country.
The lands of this region resemble ours in the northern States in every respect; but, in addition, may be comted the land-storke, or pine barren hoop[=]
ing crane. There are also great members of parognets, and the beautiful red-bird, so much sought for by Europeans, called the Virginia nightingale.
Reptiles here are much like those found in the northern climates; but the Gofer, a species of the land-tortoise, might deserve some attention from curious naturalists. This creature lives on the land altogether, feeds on grass, and chews the grind, like a sheep. He returns to his hole, in some sandy place, in the day-time, and at night comes out to feed. He is of the shape of common land-tortoisesand of enormous strength. Although but of about 8 or 10 inches in length, and 6 or 8 in breadth, he is able to walk, on hard ground, with the heaviest man standing upon his back, with tolerable ease.
The indians have a belief that this animal has the power of causing droughts, or floods; therefore, whenever they find them, dash them to pieces with religious violence.
Origin of the Muscogies, or Creek Indians.
Men of the best information and longest acquaintance with these indians, give the following account of the rise and progress of the Nation.
Tradition handed down from one generation to another, has established a general belief among them (which may be true) . That a long time ago some strange wandering clans of indi[=]ains from the northwest found their way down to the present country of the Semi[=]nolies. There meeting with plenty of fish and game; they settled themselves in the vicinity of the then powerful tribes of the Florida, and Appalachian Indians. --that for some time, they remained on a friendly footing with each other; the new-comers were Stiled Seminolies (Sig[=]nifying wanderers, or lost people).
These wanders from the north encreased and at length became so powerful a bo[=]dy, as to excite the jealousy of their Appalachian neighbors.-- Wars ensued, and finally the Seminolies became mas[=]ters of the country.-- The remnants of the Appalachians, were totally "destroyed by the Creeks in 1719." -- ride Dr.
Harrisons. his. Col. Uc
In process of time, the game of the country was found insufficient to support their encreasing numbers. Some clans and families emigrated northward, and took possession of the present district of the Cowetas, having established themselves there, other emigrations followed and in time, spread themselves eastward as far as the Oak Mulgee-river; and other waters of Georgia and So. Carolina, and westward as far as the Tallapoosie and Coosa rivers, which are the main branches of the Alabama: Here they were encountered by the Alabama-Nation, whom they afterwards conquered, and by restoring to them, their lands and river, they Gained their attachment, and they were incorporated with the Creek-Nation.
The Creeks became * for their courage and warlike abilities, and being possessed of a well watered country, were distinguished from their Ancestors, the Seminiolies, in the low barren country by the name of Muscogies, or Creeks.
*It is thus in the original; but I imagine the word famous, or some similar word, was, by accident, left out. B.&.B
The kind soil, pure water and air of their high country, being favorable to their constitutions as warriors, without doubt has contributed to give them a character, superior to most of the Nations that surround them. Their numbers have encreased faster by the acquisition of foreign Subjects than by the encrease of the original Stock. -- It appears long to have been a mascim [?] go their policy, to give equal liberty and protection, to tribes conquered by themselves, as well as to those vanquished by others: -- although many individuals taken in war, are slaves among them, and their children, are called of the slave-race, and Cannot arrive to much honorary distinction, in the country, on that account.
The Alabamas, and Coosades are said to be the first who adopted the ceremonies and customs of the Creeks, and became part of the Nation. -- The Natches, or sunset indians from the Missisippi joined the Creeks about 50 years since, after being driven out of Louisiana; and added Considerably to their confederative body: And now the Shawanese, called by them Sawannas, are joining them in large numbers every year, having already four towns on the Tallapoosie river, that contain
|21.|near 300 war men, and more are soon expected.
Notes on the Seminolies
The seminolies are in small wandering hordes through the whole country from the point of S. Florida to the Appalachia eola-river, near which they have Nicasukee, and some other permanent villages: Their Country being sandy and barren, occasions those who cannot live by fishing along the sea-shore, to scatter in small clans and famelies through the inland Country whenever they can find >ins
The Seminolies are the original stock of the Creek nation; but their language has undergone so great a change, that it is hardly understood by the upper Creeks, or ever by themselves in general; it is
|22.|preserved by many old people, and taught by women to the children as a kind of religious duty, but as they grow to manhood, they forget or lose it in the more frequent use of the modern tongue: They are more unsettled in their manner of [being], than any other district of people in the nation. Their country is a place of refuge, for vagrants, or murderers, from every part of the nation, who, by flying from the upper and lower districts to this desart, are able to elude the pursuit and revenge of even indians themselves: the term Seminolies |signifying wanderers) is well applied to them, for they are most of them, continually shifting from one place to another, every year. The forgoing account of the Seminolies was given by General Mc. Gillirray, who seldom, if ever, has visited their Country- He is known to them as theri great Chief, but few of them have seen him. The Seminolies are said to be principally under the influence of Jack Kinnard, a rich scotch half breed, living on the neck of land between flint, and the Chattahoosee rivers, about 90 miles below
|23.| the Cussitah and Coweta Gowns. And of a Spanich half breed Chief, being on the Appalachia eola-river, near the Michasukee= Village - Called the Bully - But the truth is, they have no government among them. Kinnard is a noted trader, farmer and herdsmen, - he has two wives, about 40 valuable Negroes, and some indian slaves- he has from 12. to 1500 head of Cattle & horses, and commonly 5. or 6000 Spanish dollars in his house, which are the produce of Cattle he sells. He accumulated his property entirely by plunder, and free booting, during the American war, and the Georgia quarrel,- this raised him to the dignity of a chief; and enabled him to go largely into trade, by which he supplies all the indians around him, who are dupes to his avarice:- He cannot read a unite and commonly has some mean person about his house to do it for him: - He is addicted to excessive drunkeness, and like all hald-breed is very proud of being white blooded.- He is a despot; shoots his negroes if he pleases; and has cut off the ears of one of his
(24.)own wives, with his own hands, in a drunken fit of Suspicion. He is of so much consequence, in his own Country as to threaten the Spaniards into Compliance with almost any thing: The following is a copy of a letter he dictated, and sent to Don Juan Neponacena De Quesada, the Governor of St. Augustine, in August 1790. The Governor, in Consequence, released Allen, the prisoner, and sent an express 600 miles upto Little-Tallassie, with a Statement of the affair, to McGilliuray." I send you this talk- our people have a talk given out here, that our beloved white man, is put in Jail by your talk- for making the red man steal Lang[s] Cattle- when Lang owed him 170 [Chalks?]- which was right- James Allen is our beloved White man- and mush have him give to us in 20 days- back again to buy our horses, as he did before- now give him back again & Save you trouble- which shall be - now - this is my talkhisJohn K Kinnard"MarkThe Bully, in a man of as much
|25.| [half circle from one side around the bottom to the other.] influence and property as Kinnard- he is 50 years old: keeps 3 young wives.- for size and strength has never yet found his equal, - he is master of the art of English boxing.- And has been the Samson of these Philistines, from his youth upward.- Of their former intercourse with the White people.
Soon ager the Settlement of So Carolina an intercourse and trade took place from Fort-Moon in that Province, between the white people and the lower Creeks, which appears to have been the first communication they had with british subjects; before this, they traded altogether with the french of Louisiana and the people of Pensacola, & H. Marks. The upper-Creeks Continued to send their skins to the French of Motile, for many years after the trade of the lower-Creeks had been drawn into So. Carolina.
In 1732, when the Colony of [searsia] was founded under General Oglethorpe, he called 8 tribes of the lower-Creeks
(28.) [the number 28 is encased in a circle--tried to replicate as accurately as possible]
mufactured in it, are carefully kept alive by tires and remagadoes of every sort who are constantly among them, and their hatred of the Shaniards is equally evident, and implacable.
Population & Military Strength.
[extravagant loops drawn]
The smallest of their Towns have, from 20 to 30 houses in them, and some of the largest contain from 150 to 200 that are tolerably compact. These Houses stand in clusters of 18.104.22.168. & .8 together, irregularly distributed up and down the banks gf rivers and small streams, each cluster of houses contain a famely of relations, who ear and live in common. Each Town has a public Sgnare[?] hit house and yard near the centre of it, appropriated to various public uses, of which I shall endeavor to give a particular description, together with the Ceremonies performed in it, hereafter.
The following are the Names of the principal Towns of the upper and lower Creeks, that have sgnares[?], beginning at
Of the Lower Creeks, beginning at the headwaters of the Chaattahoosee are the towns of 41. Chelucco Ninni
46 Challagaitsha (or Broken Arron
47 Eucheees, Several
48 Hitchatees, Several
50 Chewockala, Besides near 20 towns and villages of the Little and Big Chehaws, low down on Chatahossa and Flint Rivers, the names of which I could not ascertain.
From their roving and unsteady manner of living, it is impossible to determine the number of gun-men to be between 5 and 6000, exclusive of the Seminoles, who are of little or no account in war, except as small parties of marauders, acting independent of the general interest of the others.
The useless old men and women and children may be reckoned at three times that number of gun-men, making it in the whole about 25 or 26,000 souls.
Every town and village has one established white trader in it, and there are several
(31.[the curve cuts below the 3]
neighbourhoods besides, that have traders: each trader commonly employs one or two white^pack horse men. Besides these, there arein almost every town, one famely of whites, and in some two, who do not trade; that have fled from some part of the frontiers to this asylum of liberty. It may be conjectured, with safety, that to include the whites of every description, throughout the country they will amount to nearly 300 persons; a number sufficient to contaminate all the natives. For it is a fact, that every town is principally under the influence of the whitemen; who reside in it; and as most of the have been attached to the British in the late war, and, of course, have from loss of friends and property or persecution, retained bitter resentments against the people of the United States, and more especially those living on the frontiers, they often, to have revenge and to obtain [plunder?] that may be taken, use this influence to send out predatory parties against the settlements in their vicinity.
The Indians are very badly armed. The Chief has ade it a point to furnish them with musquets in preference to rifles, which, from the necessity of
(32.[half circle from side, around bottom of number and back up the other side, centered]
being wiped after every shot, have been found less convenient than the former. Their musqueets are of the slender French manufacture, procured through the Spanish government at Pensacola, but so slightly ade; that they soon become unfit for any service. If the Indians were able to purchase for themselves, they would, however, prefer rifles in all cases, because they find them more sure and lasting. A good rifle will at any time, command the price of 100 [lhalks?], or 50 dollars, to be paid in skins or horses, in the country.
The most influentiall Indian Chiefs, in the country, either in peace or war, are the Hallowing-King, in the coweta-district; the White Lieutenant of the Oakpiskies; the mad-Dog King of the [Inokabatchees?]; the Old Tallassie, or the Half-way House; the dog-warrior of the natchez; and Red-shoes of the Coosades and Alabamas.
A treaty made with the before-named Chiefs would, probably be communicated to all the people of the country , and be believed, and relied upon.
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Of the past and present Government. [centered]
The government, if it may be termed one, is a kind of military democrasy. At present, the nation has a Chief, whose title is Stentsacco [Cheota?], or the great beloved man. He is eminent with the people only for his superior talents, and political abilities. Every individual has so high an opinion of his own importance and independency, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to impress on the community, at large, the necessity of any social compact, that should be binding upon it yet, they seem all united to defend and secure their lands and hunting ranges.
Each town has its chief or Mico, and some experienced war-leaders. It has also what they stile beloved second men, whose business it is to regulate the police of the town, and public buildings. They are generally men of the best memories, that can tell long stories, and give minute details of ancient customs.
The Micos are councillors and orators, and, until very lately, had a control over the warriors and leaders, whose business was to conduct the scouts and
(34) [half circle from side, around bottom of number and back up the other side, centered]
The Micos were formerly stiled the kings, or beloved men of the white-towns, which were once considered as places of safety and refuge to prisoners, who could escape death, or torture by flight, and find an asylum in these sacred places.
Other towns were called war, or red, towns, and differed from the white-towns of the micos by being governed entirely by warriors. This is said to have been their former government, but is now done away.
In conformity to the modern government, the chiefs and principal warriors have annual meetings to deliberate on public affairs. The time is fixed by a chief, and the space between the time of warning and that of assembling is called the broken days. They assemble in the Public-Square of some central town; drink black drink; exchange tobacco; and the chiefs and orators afterwards proceed to give or receive advise, with profound gravity and moderation.
The influence of the great beloved man, on all occasions, consists in the priviledge of advising, and not in the power of com=
35. [circled, centered]
manding. Every Individual is at liberty to chuse whether or not he shall engage in any warlike enterprize.-- But the rage of the young men to acquire war-names, and the thirst of plunder in the older ones ^and leaders, are motives sufficient to raise gangs of voluntiers to go in quest of hair, or horses, at any time when they are disengaged from hunting. It is little matter with them, what the pretense for going to war may be. They think that force constitutes right, and victory is an infallable proof of justice on their side. They, therefore, attack as boldly as they are indefatigable in securing a scalp, or to obtain plunder.
Young men remain in a kind of disgrace, and are obliged to light pipes, bring wood, and help ++ [two plus signs stacked on top of one another] cook the black-drink for the warriors, and perform all the menial services of the Public-Square, until they shall have performed some warlike exploit, that may procure them a war-name, and a seat in the square at black-drink. This stimulates them to push abroad, and, at all hazards, obtain a scalp, or, as they term it, bring in some hair.
++ to, I presume accidentally left ought. B.[J. or I.]B.
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When the young warrior, after a successful expedition, approaches the town he belongs to, he announces his arrival by the war-hoop, which can be heard a mile, or more, and his friends go out to meet him. The scalp he has taken is then suspended on the end of a red painted wand, and, amidst the yelling multitude, accompanied with the war-song, is brought by him in triumph into the square, or centre of the town, where it is either deposited or cut up and divided among his friends, who then dub him a man and a warrior, worthy of a war-name, and a seat at the ceremony of ^the black drink, which he receives accordingly. ["the" is superscript between "ceremony" and "of" but carat is inserted at the location indicated]
Those who have seldom been abroad, and are not distinguished by war names, are stiled old women, which is the greatest term of reproach that can be used to them. They have also one other term of reproach, i.e., Este dogo, You are nobody. This is a very offensive expression, and cautiously to be used. To say you are a liar, is common, and a harmless expression; but to use either of the other expressions would bring up a quarrel at once.
The complete equipment of a war party is simply to each man a gun, ammunition, a knife, a small bag of gritz & or broken corn, and two or three horse-ropes, or halters. These parties are commonly but small, never more than 40, 50, or 60 go out together, as may be seen by their war-camps, frequently to be found in the woods, which are so formed, that the exact number of men in the party can, at once, be ascertained.
It is asserted that in most cases, if the Indians are warmly attacked by their enemy, and can once be dislodged from ^their several trees, that they will content themselves with one scalp, which they will divide among the whole, and then scatter and make the best speed ^home to their several towns, to tell their friends of the affair, and that they are much given to lying and exageration on those occasions.
They make a point of taking boys and girls prisoners, whom they carefully preserve to supply the places of such of their people as have been, or may be, killed from among them. But they save grown men and women as prisoners only, when avarice takes presidence of barbarity, and they set the price of
(38.) [half circle from side, around bottom of number and back up the other side, centered]
ransom upon them, according to the rank and estimation in which the prisoners may be held among his countrymen.
When prisoners of the latter description are brought into any of their towns, the Indian women, by paying a small premium of tobacco to the victorious warrior, are permitted to have the honour of whipping them, as they pass along. This is always practised and accompanied with much ridicule of the unfortunate victim, that has fallen into their hand[s?].
Their ruling passion seems to be war, and their mode of conducting it, constitutes some part of their political government. And, next, they are devoted to hunting.
The present Great Beloved Man, who left Georgia, in disgust, about ^the year 1776, and attached himself to the Upper-Creeks (where he was born), by the advice of his father immediately set about placing himself at the head of the nation. His kindred and family-connections, in the country, and his evident abilities, soon gave him as much influence among them, that the British made him their Commissary, with the rank and pay of L. Colonel, under Colonel Brown,
then superintendant. After the English had abandoned the nation, in 1782, this beloved man found it necessary, in order to carry on the war with success against the Georgians, to undertake a reform of the police of the nation, which had, for a long time, been divided by faction.
He effected a total revolution in one of their most ancient customs by placing the warriors, in all cases, over the micos and kings, who, tho' not active as warriors, were were always considered as important counsellors. The micos resisted this measure for some time; and the struggle became, at last, so serious, that the beloved Chief had one Sullivan, and two others, partizans of the micos, put to death, in their Public-Squares. They were all three white-men, who had undertaken to lead the faction against him. But he, finally, crushed the insurgents, and effected his purposes.
The spirit of opposition still remained against him in the old Tallassie- King, who with his clan conceived Mc.Gillivray but as a boy and usurper, taking steps that must prove derogatory to his family and consequence, and
(40.) [half circle from side, around bottom of number and back up the other side, centered]
under these circumstances, he undertook to treat separately with the Georgians. The consequence was, his houses were burned in his absence, and his corn and cattle destroyed. Notwithstanding, he remained refractory for a long time, as well as some of the most important of the lower-towns; until finding that the Georgians aimed at them indiscriminately, and Mr. Alexander had killed 12 of their real friends, the [Cussitahs?], they dropped their internal disputes, and united all their efforts, under the Great-Chief, against the frontiers.
There is but one institution in the nation, that resembles civilization: it was introduced by Mr. Mc.Gillivray, and though sometimes observed, is oftener dispensed with. If an Indian steals an horse, he is liable, by this law, to return him, or another of equal value, and pay a fine of 30 [lhalks? - Indian currency], or 15 dollars. If he is unable to do either, he may be tied, and whipped thirty lashes by the injured party. But, as in other cases, the infliction of punishment depends, at last, on the superior force of the injured Clan.
When the inhabitants of any particular town are notorious for horse=stealing,
or have acted otherwise unadvisedly, the Chief has the entire power of punishing them collectively, by removing the white=Man from them, and depriving them of trade. This, at once, humbles them most effectually, for they conceive the priviledge of having a good white-trader in their town to be inestimable.
Scarcely a day passes but complaints or accusations, of some kind or other, are laid before Mr.Mc.Gillivray, by some Indian, or white=trader. His uniform method of proceeding is cautiously, to hear the evidences of the parties, and never to decide on the case. By putting off the trial from one time to another, the parties, at length, forget their resentments, and often compromise the quarrel between themselves. It ^is good policy in the Chief not to give decisions in the disputes of his people; for all his systems would not defend him against the effects of the resentment of the party against whom he might be obliged, in justice, to give an opinion.
Some young men of his relations, and several active warriors, living about Little-Tallassie, whom the Chief keeps con=
stantly attached to him by frequent and profuse presents, serve him as a kind of watch, and often in the capacity of constables, to pursue, take up, and punish such characters as he may direct; and on some occasions they act as executioners.
It is a maxim of his policy to give protection to out=laws, debtors, thieves, and murderers, from any part of the country, who have fled, in great numbers, from the hands of justice., and found an asylum in the Creek= Nation.--
The Whites living among the Indians, with very few exceptions, are the most abandoned wretches that can be found, perhaps on this side of Botany-Bay. There is scarcely a crime in the whole catalogue but some one of them has been guilty of.
Most of the traders in the country, and all their hirelings and pack-horse men, are of the above description.
All of the traders have licences, and particular towns allotted to them respectively, with the liberty of selling their
(43.) [half circle from side, around bottom of number and back up the other side, centered]
places to such purchasers as shall be approved of by Mr. Mc.Gillivray, or of exchanging with each other. But the Indians dont suffer them to cultivate much land, upon the supposition, that if the traders raise produce themselves, they will not purchase the[:?] little they have to sell.