Our Georgia History
 
The Creek Indians of Georgia, Part II

By Larry Worthy
Exclusively for Our Georgia History

Creek Indians in Georgia, Part I
Creek Indians in Georgia, Part II
Creek Indians in Georgia, Part III

Mortor's success had most of the Creek confederacy behind him, even if they did end up losing the war in 1763. He and his chief rival , Emistesigo, settled their differences at an English brokered peace conference in 1765. Then disagreements with the Choctaws boiled over and the Creek began an extended battle with their neighbors to the west. During a battle Great Mortor was killed; his old foe, Emistesigo, became the leader of the Creek Nation. The battles with the Choctaw continued well into the American Revolution.

From 1763 to 1773 the settlers of Georgia moved inland to claim the territory the Creeks had ceded at Augusta in 1763. Internal strife in the colonies before the American Revolution meant slower westward movement by the settlers. Yet by 1773 Georgians were once again demainding lands in payment for debts run up by the Creek. This time the Cherokee and Creek shared claim to the land the Georgians wanted, so both had to be satisfied. Georgia "purchased" the land, although all they actually did was to forgive debt that the tribes had accrued.

The Revolution presented serious problems for the entire state of Georgia. With the Spanish to the south, French to the west and Cherokee and Creek on the frontier Georgia felt isolated and for good reason. It would have been easy for the Indians to overrun the still lightly populated state. During the opening days of the American Revolution loyalist Superintendent John Stuart and surveyor/commissary agent David Taitt tried to sway the Creek into the English camp but Emistesigo was unwilling to turn his back on the American colonies. He had a complete understanding of what was transpiring between America and England and knew the English could not and would not bring him the trade the Americans could. There was a division in the Creek Nation, with the Lower Creeks tending to side with the Americans. The Upper Creek had been heavily influenced by the Cherokee, whom the English won over to their side. On May 1st, 1776 representatives from the combined Creek Nation met with George Gauphin, an Irish trader and ardent American who spoke on behalf of the revolutionary governments of Georgia and South Carolina. Gauphin convinced the Creek to remain neutral in the fight between the Americans and their English oppressors.

To counter the negative effects of Augusta, Stuart appointed Alexander McGillivray as Taitt's assistant commissary. The move was brilliant. Creek had been unhappy with Taitt's attempts to eliminate liquor from the triibe; McGillivray was close to Chief Emistesigo (they were both from Little Tallissee); McGillivray was head of the powerful Wind Clan; and McGillivray was seething at the Americans for siezing his father's estate.

McGillivray asked for English assistance in ending the war with the Choctaw. In Pensacola on October 26, 1776, the long warring nations declared peace. The price the Creek had to pay for the treaty was to join the Cherokee in their battles on the frontiers of Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia. By the time the Creek force had been mounted, however, the Americans had retaliated against the Cherokee, driving Dragging Canoe and his people from their villages. To retaliate against the British agitators would be somewhat more complicated.

Delegations from Cusseta and Okfuskee visited Gauphin at his trading post a few miles south of present-day Louisville, Georgia. From Gauphintown, also known as Ogeechee Old Town the Creek chiefs continued on to Augusta and Charleston. Gauphin exhorted the chiefs to murder the English agents among them. David Taitt and John Stuart's assistant Alexander Cameron (a surveyor who worked with the Cherokee) were in Little Tallassee meeting with McGillivray when the warriors returned from Augusta. The Cussetas wasted no time trying to kill Taitt and Cameron, who barely escaped to Pensacola. McGillivray organized a peace conference with Stuart, Taitt and Cameron, in which the Creek apoligized for the actions of the Cussetas. The net result of Gauphin's botched attempt at influencing the Creek was increased raiding activity against the Georgians across their frontier with the Creek and consolidation of power by McGillivray.

During this time the English had Captain William McIntosh try to raise an army of Creek warriors. He was not very successful, only inspiring a handful of Hitichis to join the Spanish in St. Augustine. He did however, meet a Creek woman with whom he had a child, also known as William McIntosh.

1779 saw the English implement a "Southern Strategy" to defeat the Americans. General Augustine Prevost was to move north along the coast and capture Savannah with the aid of attacks along the frontier by both the Creek and Cherokee. Over the next three years the state of Georgia remained in English hands, with the exception of some bands of upcountry resistance. When General Anthony Wayne surrounded the English in Savannah, Emistesigo led a band of Creek in an attack to relieve the English troops. Wayne's troops turned back the Creek and killed Emistesigo.

Creek Indians in Georgia, Part I
Creek Indians in Georgia, Part II
Creek Indians in Georgia, Part III

 

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FrontHistory 101Early GeorgiaAmerican IndiansSearch
WarsPeopleTimelineListsPlacesPoetry




Golden Ink
Georgia's innovative design group


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Copyright