In De Soto’s time the most powerful Upper Creek town was Coosa. The first news of this seems to have been obtained in Patofa (or Tatofa), a province in southern Georgia, where the natives said “that toward the northwest there was a province called Coça, a plentiful country having very large towns.” 1
The expedition reached Coça after leaving Tali and Tasqui, and after passing through several villages which according to Elvas were “subject to the cacique of Coça.” 2 On Friday, July 16, 1540, they entered the town. The chief of Coosa came out to meet them in a litter borne on the shoulders of his principal men, and with many attendants playing on flutes and singing. 3 ” In the barbacoas,” says Elvas, “was a great quantity of maize and beans; the country, thickly settled in numerous and large towns, with fields between, extending from one to another, was pleasant, and had a rich soil with fair river margins. In the woods were many ameixas [plums and persimmons], as well those of Spain as of the country; and wild grapes on vines growing up into the trees, near the streams; like-wise a kind that grew on low vines elsewhere, the berry being large and sweet, but, for want of hoeing and dressing, had large stones.” 4
After a slight difference with the natives, who naturally objected to having their chief virtually held captive by De Soto, the Spaniards secured the bearers and women they desired and started on again toward the south or southwest on Friday, August 20. 5 It would appear that the influence of the Coosa chief extended over a large number of the towns later called Upper Creeks, although this was probably due rather to ties of alliance and respect than to any actual overlordship on his part. At a town called Tallise, perhaps identical with the later Tulsa, this authority seems to have come to an end, and farther on were the Mobile quite beyond the sphere of his influence.
In 1559 a gigantic effort was made on the part of the Spaniards to colonize the region of our Gulf States. An expedition, led by Tristan de Luna, started from Mexico with that object in view. We have already mentioned the landing of this colony in Pensacola Harbor, or Mobile Bay, and their subsequent removal northward to a town called Nanipacna. Being threatened with starvation here, De Luna sent a sergeant major with six captains and 200 soldiers northward in search of Coosa, whither some of his companions had accompanied De Soto 20 years before, and which they extolled highly. They came first to a place called Olibahali, of which we shall speak again, and after a short stay there continued still farther toward the north. The narrative continues as follows:
The whole province was called Coza, taking its name from the most famous city within its boundaries. It was God’s will that they should soon get within sight of that place which had been so far famed and so much thought about and, yet, it did not have above thirty houses, or a few more. There were seven little hamlets in its district, five of them smaller and two larger than Coza itself, which name prevailed for the fame it had enjoyed in its antiquity. It looked so much worse to the Spaniards for having been depicted so grandly, and they had thought it to be so much better. Its inhabitants had been said to be innumerable, the site itself as being wider and more level than Mexico, the springs had been said to be many and of very clear water, food plentiful and gold and silver in abundance, which, without judging rashly, was that which the Spaniards desired most. Truly the land was fertile, but it lacked cultivation. There was much forest, but little fruit, because as it was not cultivated the land was all unimproved and full of thistles and weeds. Those they had brought along as guides, being people who had been there before, declared that they must have been bewitched when this country seemed to them so rich and populated as they had stated. The arrival of the Spaniards in former years had driven the Indians up into the forests, where they preferred to live among the wild beasts who did no harm to them, but whom they could master, than among the Spaniards at whose hands they received injuries, although they were good to them. Those from Coza received the guests well, liberally, and with kindness, and the Spaniards appreciated this, the more so as the actions of their predecessors did not call for it. They gave them each day four fanegas 6 of corn for their men and their horses, of which latter they had fifty and none of which, even during their worst sufferings from hunger, they had wanted to kill and eat, well knowing that the Indians were more afraid of horses, and that one horse gave them a more warlike appearance, than the fists of two men together. But the soldiers did not look for maize; they asked most diligently where the gold could be found and where the silver, because only for the hopes of this as a dessert had they endured the fasts of the painful journey. Every day little groups of them went searching through the country and they found it all deserted and without news of gold. From only two tribes were there news about gold – one was the Oliuahali which they had just left; the others were the Napochies, who lived farther on . Those were enemies to those of Coza, and they had very stubborn warfare with each other, the Napochies avenging some offense they had received at the hands of the people of Coza. The latter Indians showed themselves such good friends of the Spaniards that our men did not know what recompense to give them nor what favor to do them. The wish to favor those who humiliate themselves goes hand in hand with ambition. The Spaniards have the fame of not being very humble and the people of Coza who had surrendered themselves experienced now their favors. Not only were they careful not to cause them any damage or injury, but gave them many things they had brought along, outside of what they gave in the regular exchange for maize. Their gratitude went even so far that the sergeant major, who accompanied the expedition as captain of the 200 men, told the Indians that if they wanted his favor and the strength of his men to make war on their enemies, they could have them readily, just as they had been ready to receive him and his men and favor them with food. Those of Coza thought very highly of this offer, and in the hope of its fulfillment kept the Spaniards such a long time with them, giving them as much maize each day as was possible, the land being so poor and the villages few and small. The Spaniards were nearly 300 men between small and big [young and old] ones, masters and servants, and the time they all ate there was three months, the Indians making great efforts to sustain such a heavy expense for the sake of their companionship as well as for the favors they expected from them later. All the deeds in this life are done for some interested reason and, just as the Spaniards showed friendship for them that they might not shorten their provisions and perhaps escape to the forests, so the Indians showed their friendship, hoping that with their aid they could take full vengeance of their enemies. And the friars were watching, hoping that a greater population might be discovered to convert and maintain in the Christian creed. Those small hamlets had until then neither seen friars nor did they have any commodities to allow monks to live and preach among them; neither could they embrace and maintain the Christian faith without their assistance….
Very bitter battles did the Napochies have with those from Coza, but justice was greatly at variance with success. Those from Coza were in the right, but the Napochies were victorious. In ancient times the Napochies were tributaries of the Coza people, because this place (Coza) was always recognized as head of the kingdom and its lord was considered to stand above the one of the Napochies. Then the people from Coza began to decrease while the Napochies were increasing until they refused to be their vassals, finding themselves strong enough to maintain their liberty which they abused. Then those of Coza took to arms to reduce the rebels to their former servitude, but the most victories were on the side of the Napochies. Those from Coza remained greatly affronted as well from seeing their ancient tribute broken off, as because they found themselves without strength to restore it. On that account they had lately stopped their fights, although their sentiments remained the same and for several months they had not gone into the battlefield, for fear lest they return vanquished, as before. When the Spaniards, grateful for good treatment, offered their assistance against their enemies, they accepted immediately, in view of their rabid thirst for vengeance. All the love they showed to the Spaniards was in the interest that they should not forget their promise. Fifteen days had passed, when, after a consultation among themselves, the principal men went before the captain and thus spoke:
“Sir, we are ashamed not to be able to serve you better, and as we would wish, but this is only because we are afflicted with wars and trouble with some Indians who are our neighbors and are called Napochies. Those have always been our tributaries acknowledging the nobility of our superiors, but a few years ago they rebelled and stopped their tribute and they killed our relatives and friends. And when they can not insult us with their deeds, they do so with words. Now, it seems only reasonable, that you, who have so much knowledge, should favor and increase ours. Thou, Señor, hast given us thy word when thou knowest our wish to help us if we should need thy assistance against our enemies. This promise we, thy servants, beg of thee humbly now to fulfill and we promise to gather the greatest army of our men [people], and with thy good order and efforts helping us, we can assure our victory. And when once reinstated in our former rights, we can serve thee ever so much better.”
When the captain had listened to the well concerted reasoning of those of Coza, he replied to them with a glad countenance, that, aside from the fact that it had always been his wish to help and assist them, it was a common cause now, and he considered it convenient or even necessary to communicate with all the men, especially with the friars, who were the ministers of God, and the spiritual fathers of the army; that he would treat the matter with eagerness, procuring that their wishes be attended to and that the following day he would give them the answer, according to the resolutions taken in the matter.
He [the captain] called to council the friars, the captains, and all the others, who, according to custom had a right to be there, and, the case being proposed and explained, it was agreed that only two captains with their men should go, one of cavalry, the other of infantry, and the other four bodies of their little army remain in camp with the rest of the people. Then they likewise divided the monks, Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion going with the new army and Fray Domingo de Salazar remaining with the others in Coza. The next day, those who wished so very dearly that it be in their favor, came for the answer. The captain gave them an account of what had been decided, ordering them to get ready, because he in person desired to accompany them with the two Spanish regiments and would take along, if necessary, the rest of the Spanish army, which would readily come to their assistance. The people from Coza were very glad and thanked the captain very much, offering to dispose everything quickly for the expedition. Within six days they were all ready. The Spaniards did not want to take more than fifty men, twenty-five horsemen and twenty-five on foot. The Indians got together almost three hundred archers, very skillful and certain in the use of that arm, in which, the fact that it is the only one they have has afforded them remarkable training. Every Indian uses a bow as tall as his body; the string is not made of hemp but of animal nerve sinew well twisted and tanned. They all use a quiver full of arrows made of long, thin, and very straight rods, the points of which are of flint, curiously cut in triangular form, the wings very sharp and mostly dipped in some very poisonous and deadly substance. 7 They also use three or four feathers tied on their arrows to insure straight flying, and they are so skilled in shooting them that they can hit a flying bird. The force of the flint arrowheads is such that at a moderate distance they can pierce a coat of mail.
The Indians set forward, and it was beautiful to see them divided up in eight different groups, two of which marched together in the four directions of the earth (north, south, east, and west), which is the style in which the children of Israel used to march, three tribes together in the four directions of the world to signify that they would occupy it all. They were well disposed, and in order to fight their enemies, the Napochies, better, they lifted their bows, arranged the arrows gracefully and shifted the band of the quiver as if they wanted to beseech it to give up new shafts quickly; others examined the necklace [collar] to which the arrow points were fastened and which hung down upon their shoulders, and they all brandished their arms and stamped with their feet on the ground, all showing how great was their wish to fight and how badly they felt about the delay. Each group had its captain, whose emblem was a long stave of two brazas 8 in height and which the Indians call Otatl 9 and which has at its upper end several white feathers. These were used like banners, which everyone had to respect and obey. This was also the custom among the heathens who affixed on such a stave the head of some wild animal they had killed on a hunt, or the one of some prominent enemy whom they had killed in battle. To carry the white feathers was a mystery, for they insisted that they did not wish war with the Napochies, but to reduce them to the former condition of tributaries to them, the Coza people, and pay all since the time they had refused obedience. In order to give the Indian army more power and importance the captain had ordered a horse to be fixed with all its trappings for the lord or cacique of the Indians, and as the poor Indian had never seen much less used one, he ordered a negro to guide the animal. The Indians in those parts had seen horses very rarely, or only at a great distance and to their sorrow, nor were there any in New Spain before the arrival of the Spaniards. The cacique went or rather rode in the rear guard, not less flattered by the obsequiousness of the captain than afraid of his riding feat. Our Spaniards also left Coza, always being careful to put up their tents or lodgings apart from the Indians so that the latter could not commit any treachery if they so intended. One day, after they had all left Coza at a distance of about eight leagues, eight Indians, who appeared to be chiefs, entered the camp of the Spaniards, running and without uttering a word; they also passed the Indian camp and, arriving at the rearguard where their cacique was, took him down from his horse, and the one who seemed to be the highest in rank among the eight, put him on his shoulders, and the others caught him, both by his feet and arms, and they ran with great impetuosity back the same way they had come. These runners emitted very loud howlings, continuing them as long as their breath lasted, and when their wind gave out they barked like big dogs until they had recovered it in order to continue the howls and prolonged shouts. The Spaniards, though tired from the sun and hungry, observing the ceremonious superstitions of the Indians, upon seeing and hearing the mad music with which they honored their lord, could not contain their laughter in spite of their sufferings. The Indians continued their run to a distance of about half a league from where the camp was, until they arrived on a little plain near the road which had been carefully swept and cleaned for the purpose. There had been constructed in the center of that plain a shed or theatre nine cubits in height with a few rough steps to mount. Upon arriving near the theatre the Indians first carried their lord around the plain once on their shoulders, then they lowered him at the foot of the steps, which he mounted alone. He remained standing while all the Indians were seated on the plain, waiting to see what their master would do. The Spaniards were on their guard about these wonderful and quite new ceremonies and desirous to know their mysteries and understand their object and meaning. The cacique began to promenade with great majesty on the theatre, looking with severity over the world. Then they gave him a moat beautiful fly flap which they had ready, made of showy birds’ plumes of great value. As soon as he held it in his hand he pointed it towards the land of the Napochies in the same fashion as would the astrologer the alidade [cross-staff], or the pilot the sextant in order to take the altitude at sea. After having done this three or four times they gave him some little seeds like fern seeds, and he put them into his mouth and began to grind and pulverize them with his teeth and molars, pointing again three or four times towards the land of the Napochies as he had done before. When the seeds were all ground he began to throw them from his mouth around the plain in very small pieces. Then he turned towards his captains with a glad countenance and he said to them: “Console yourselves, my friends; our journey will have a prosperous outcome; our enemies will be conquered and their strength broken, like those seeds which I ground between my teeth.” After pronouncing these few words, he descended from the scaffold and mounted his horse, continuing his way, as he had done hitherto. The Spaniards were discussing what they had seen, and laughing about this grotesque ceremony, but the blessed father, Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion, mourned over it, for it seemed sacrilege to him and a pact with the demon, those ceremonials which those poor people used in their blind idolatry. They all arrived, already late, at the banks of a river, and they decided to rest there in order to enjoy the coolness of the water to relieve the heat of the earth. When the Spaniards wanted to prepare something to eat they did not find anything. There had been a mistake, greatly to the detriment of all. The Indians had understood that the Spaniards carried food for being so much more dainty and delicate people, and the Spaniards thought the Indians had provided it, since they (the Spaniards) had gone along for their benefit. Both were to blame, and they all suffered the penalty. They remained without eating a mouthful that night and until the following one, putting down that privation more on the list of those of the past. They put up the two camps at a stone’s throw, being thus always on guard by this division, for, although the Indians were at present very much their friends, they are people who make the laws of friendship doubtful and they had once been greatly offended with the Spaniards, and were now their reconciled friends.
With more precaution than satiety the Spaniards procured repose that night, when, at the tenth hour, our camp being at rest, a great noise was heard from that of the Indians, with much singing, and dances after their fashion, in the luxury of big fires which they had started in abundance, there being much firewood in that place. Our men were on their guard until briefly told by the interpreter, whom they had taken along, that there was no occasion for fear on the part of the Spaniards, but a feasting and occasion of rejoicing on that of the Indians. They felt more assured yet when they saw that the Indians did not move from their place and they now watched most attentively to enjoy their ceremonials as they had done in the past, asking the interpreter what they were saying to one another. After they had sung and danced for a long while the cacique seated himself on an elevated place, the six captains drawing near him, and he began to speak to them admonishing the whole army to be brave, restore the glory of their ancestors, and avenge the injuries they had received. “Not one of you,” he said, “can help considering as particularly his this Enterprise, besides being that of all in common. Remember your relatives and you will see that not one among you has been exempt from mourning those who have been killed at the hands of the Napochies. Renew the dominion of your ancestors and detest the audacity of the tributaries who have tried to violate it. If we came alone, we might be obliged to see the loss of life, but not of our honor; how much more now, that we have in our company the brave and vigorous Spaniards, sons of the sun and relatives of the gods.” The captains had been listening very attentively and humbly to the reasoning of their lord, and as he finished they approached him one by one in order, repeating to him in more or fewer words this sentence: ” Señor, the more than sufficient reason for what thou hast told us is known to us all; many are the damages the Napochies have done us, who besides having denied us the obedience they have inherited from their ancestors, have shed the blood of those of our kin and country. For many a day have we wished for this occasion to show our courage and service thee, especially now, that thy great prudence has won us the favor and endeavor of the brave Spaniards. I swear to thee, Señor, before our gods, to serve thee with all my men in this battle and not turn our backs on these enemies the Napochies, until we have taken revenge.” These words the captain accompanied by threats and warlike gestures, desirous (and as if calling for the occasion) to show by actions the truth of his words. All this was repeated by the second captain and the others in their order, and this homage finished, they retired for the rest of the night. The Spaniards were greatly surprised to find such obeisance used to their princes by people of such retired regions, usages which the Romans and other republics of considerable civilization practiced before they entered a war. Besides the oath the Romans made every first of January before their Emperor, the soldiers made another one to the captain under whose orders they served, promising never to desert his banner, nor evade the meeting of the enemy, but to injure him in every way. Many such examples are repeated since the time of Herodianus, Cornelius Tacitus, and Suetonius Tranquilus, with a particular reminiscence in the life of Galba. And it is well worth consideration that the power of nature should have created a similarity in the ceremonials among Indians and Romans in cases of war where good reasoning rules so that all be under the orders of the superiors and personal grievances be set aside for the common welfare. This oath the captains swore on the hands of their lord on that night because they expected to see their enemies on the following day very near by, or even be with them, and the same oath remained to be made by the soldiers to their captains. At daybreak hunger made them rise early, hoping to reach the first village of the Napochies in order to get something to eat, for they needed it very much. They traveled all that day, making their night’s rest near a big river which was at a distance of two leagues from the first village of the enemy. There it seemed most convenient for the army to rest, in order to fall upon the village by surprise in the dead of night and kill them all, this being the intention of those from Coza. In order to attain better their intentions, they begged of the captain not to have the trumpet sounded that evening, which was the signal to all for prayer, greeting the queen of the Angels with the Ave Maria, which is the custom in all Christendom at nightfall. “The Napochies” said the people of Coza, “are ensnarers and always have their spies around those fields, and upon hearing the trumpet they would retire into the woods and we would remain without the victory we desire; and therefore the trumpet should not be sounded.” Thus the signal remained unsounded for that one night, but the blessed father Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion, with his pious devotion, went around to all the soldiers tolling them to say the Ave Maria, and he who was bugler of the evangile now had become bugler of war in the service of the Holy Virgin Mary. That night those of Coza sent their spies into the village of the Napochies to see what they were doing and if they were careless on account of their ignorance of the coming of the enemy; or, if knowing it, they were on the warpath. At midnight the spies came back, well content, for they had noticed great silence and lack of watchfulness in that village, where, not only was there no sound of arms, but even the ordinary noises of inhabited places were not heard. “They all sleep,*’ they said, “and are entirely ignorant of our coming, and as a testimonial that we have made our investigation of the enemies’ village carefully and faithfully, we bring these ears of green corn, these beans, and calabashes, taken from the gardens which the Napochies have near their own houses.” With those news the Coza people recovered new life and animation, and on that night all the soldiers made their oath to their captains, just as the captains had done on the previous one to their cacique. And our Spaniards enjoyed those ceremonies at closer quarters, since they had seen from the first ceremony that this was really war against Indians which was intended, and not craft against themselves. The Indians were now very ferocious, with a great desire to come in contact with their enemies….
All of the Napochies had left their town, because without it being clear who had given them warning, they had received it, and the silence the spies had noticed in the village was not due to their carelessness but to their absence. The people of Coza went marching towards the village of the Napochies in good order, spreading over the country in small companies, each keeping to one road, thus covering all the exits from the village in order to kill all of their enemies, for they thought they were quiet and unprepared in their houses. When they entered the village they were astonished at the too great quiet and, finding the houses abandoned, they saw upon entering that their enemies had left them in a hurry, for they left even their food and in several houses they found it cooking on the fire, where now those poor men found it ready to season. They found in that village, which was quite complete, a quantity of maize, beans, and many pots filled with bear fat, bears abounding in that country and their fat being greatly prized. The highest priced riches which they could carry off as spoils were skins of deer and bear, which those Indians tanned in a diligent manner very nicely and with which they covered themselves or which they used as beds. The people of Coza were desirous of finding some Indians on whom to demonstrate the fury of their wrath and vengeance and they went looking for them very diligently, but soon they saw what increased their wrath. In a square situated in the center of the village they found a pole of about three estados in height 10 which served as gallows or pillory where they affronted or insulted their enemies and also criminals. As in the past wars had been in favour of the Napochies, that pole was full of scalps of people from Coza. It was an Indian custom that the scalp of the fallen enemy was taken and hung on that pole. The dead had been numerous and the pole was quite peopled with scalps. It was a very great sorrow for the Coza people to see that testimonial of their ignominy which at once recalled the memory of past injuries. They all raised their voices in a furious wail, bemoaning the deaths of their relatives and friends. They shed many tears as well for the loss of their dead as for the affront to the living. Moved to compassion, the Spaniards tried to console them, but for a very long time the demonstrations of mourning did not give them a chance for a single word, nor could they do more than go around the square with extraordinary signs of compassion or sorrow for their friends or of wrath against their enemies Then they [the Indians] got hold of one of the hatchets which the Spaniards had brought with them, and they cut down the dried out tree close to the ground, taking the scalps to bury them with the superstitious practices of their kind. With all this they became so furious and filled with vengeance, that everyone of them wished to have many hands and to be able to lay them all on the Napochies. They went from house to house looking for someone like enfuriated lions and they found only a poor strange Indian [from another tribe] who was ill and very innocent of those things, but as blind vengeance does not stop to consider, they tortured the poor Indian till they left him dying. Before he expired though, the good father Fray Domingo reached his side and told him, through the interpreter he had brought along, that if he wished to enjoy the eternal blessings of heaven, he should receive the blessed water of baptism and thereby become a Christian. He further gave him a few reasonings, the shortest possible as the occasion demanded, but the unfortunate Indian, with inherent idolatry and suffering from his fresh wounds, did not pay any attention to such good council, but delivered his soul to the demon as his ancestors before him had done. This greatly pained the blessed Father Domingo, because, as his greatest aim was to save souls, their loss was his greatest sorrow.
When the vindictive fury of the Coza people could not find any hostile Napochies on whom to vent itself, they wanted to burn the whole village and they started to do so. This cruelty caused much grief to the merciful Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion, and upon his plea the captain told the people of Coza to put out the fires, and the same friar, through his interpreter, condemned their action, telling them that it was cowardice to take vengeance in the absence of the enemies whose flight, if it meant avowal of their deficiency, was so much more glory for the victors. All the courage which the Athenians and the Lacedemonians showed in their wars was nullified by the cruelty which they showed the vanquished. “How can we know,” said the good father to the Spaniards, “whether the Indians of this village are not perhaps hidden in these forests, awaiting us in some narrow pass to strike us all down with their arrows? Don’t allow, brethren, this cruel destruction by fire, so that God may not permit your own deaths at the hands of the inhabitants of this place [these houses].” The captain urged the cacique to have the fire stopped; and as he was tardy in ordering it, the captain told him in the name of Fray Domingo, that if the village was really to be burnt down, the Spaniards would all return because they considered this war of the fire as waged directly against them by burning down the houses, where was the food which they all needed so greatly at all times. Following this menace, the cacique ordered the Indians to put out the fire which had already made great headway and to subdue which required the efforts of the whole army. When the Indians were all quieted, the cacique took possession of the village in company with his principal men and with much singing and dancing, accompanied by the music of badly tuned flutes, they celebrated their victories.
The abundance of maize in that village was greater than had been supposed and the cacique ordered much of it to be taken to Coza 11 so that the Spaniards who had remained there should not lack food. His main intention was to reach or find the enemy, leaving enough people in that village [of the Napochies] to prove his possession and a garrison of Spanish soldiers, which the captain asked for greater security. He then left to pursue the fugitives. They left in great confusion, because they did not know where to find a trace of the flight which a whole village had taken and although the people of Coza endeavored diligently to find out whether they had hidden in the forests, they could not obtain any news more certain than their own conjectures. “It can not be otherwise,” they said, “than that the enemy, knowing that we were coming with the Spaniards became suspicious of the security of their forests and went to hide on the great water.” When the Spaniards heard the name of great water, they thought it might be the sea, but it was only a great river, which we call the River of the Holy Spirit, the source of which is in some big forests of the country called La Florida. It is very deep and of the width of two harquebuse-shots. In a certain place which the Indians knew, it became very wide, losing its depth, so that it could be forded and it is there where the Napochies of the first village had passed, and also those who lived on the bank of that river, who, upon hearing the news, also abandoned their village, passing the waters of the Oquechiton, which is the name the Indians give that river and which means in our language the great water (la grande agua). 12 Before the Spaniards arrived at this little hamlet however, they saw on the flat roof (azotea) of an Indian house, two Indians who were on the lookout to see whether the Spaniards were pursuing the people of the two villages who had fled across the river. The horsemen spurred their horses and, when the Indians on guard saw them, they were so surprised by their monstrosity [on horseback] that they threw themselves down the embankment towards the river, without the Spaniards being able to reach them, because the bank was very steep and the Indians very swift. One of them was in such a great hurry that he left a great number of arrows behind which he had tied up in a skin, in the fashion of a quiver.
All the Spaniards arrived at the village but found it deserted, containing a great amount of food, such as maize and beans. The inhabitants of both villages were on the riverbank on the other side, quite confident that the Spaniards would not be able to ford it. They ridiculed and made angry vociferations against the people from Coza. Their mirth was short lived, however, for, as the Coza people knew that country, they found the ford in the river and they started crossing it, the water reaching the chests of those on foot and the saddles of the riders. Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion remained on this side of the water with the cacique, because as he was not of the war party it did not seem well that he should get wet. When our soldiers had reached about the middle of the river, one of them fired his flint lock which he had charged with two balls, and he felled one of the Napochies who was on the other side. When the others saw him on the ground dead, they were greatly astonished at the kind of Spanish weapon, which at such a distance could at one shot kill men. They put him on their shoulders and hurrriedly carried him off, afraid that other shots might follow against their own persons. All the Napochies fled, and the people of Coza upon passing the river pursued them until the fugitives gathered on the other side of an arm of the same stream, and when those from Coza were about to pass that the Napochies called out to them and said that they would fight no longer, but that they would be friends, because they [the Coza people] brought with them the power of the Spaniards; that they were ready to return to their former tributes and acknowledgment of what they owed them [the Coza people]. Those from Coza were glad and they called to them that they should come in peace and present themselves to their cacique . They all came to present their obedience, the captain of the Spaniards requesting that the vanquished be treated benignly. The cacique received them with severity, reproaching them harshly for their past rebellion and justifying any death he might choose to give them, as well for their refusal to pay their tributes as for the lives of so many Coza people which they had taken, but that the intervention of the Spaniards was so highly appreciated that he admitted them into his reconciliation and grace, restoring former conditions. The vanquished were very grateful, throwing the blame on bad counselors, as if it were not just as bad to listen to the bad which is advised as to advise it. They capitulated and peace was made.
The Napochies pledged themselves to pay as tributes, thrice a year, game, or fruits, chestnuts, and nuts, in confirmation of their [the Coza people’s] superiority, which had been recognized by their forefathers. This done, the whole army returned to the first village of the Napochies, where they had left in garrison Spanish soldiers and Coza people. As this village was convenient they rested there three days, until it seemed time to return to Coza where the 150 Spanish soldiers were waiting for them. The journey was short and they arrived soon, and although they found them all in good health, including Father Fray Domingo de Salazarwho had remained with them, all had suffered great hunger and want, because there were many people and they had been there a long time. They began to talk of returning to Nanipacna, where they had left their general, not having found in this land what had been claimed and hoped for. As it means valor in war sometimes to flee and temerity to attack, thus is it prudence on some occasions to retrace one’s steps, when the going ahead does not bring any benefit. 13
Barcia’s account of this expedition is much shorter and contains little not given in the narrative of Padilla. He says that Father Domingo de la Anunciacion “asked the Indians about a man called Falco Herrado 14 a soldier of low rank, who remained voluntarily at Coza when Hernando de Soto passed through there; and he also asked about a negro, by the name of Robles, whom De Soto left behind sick, 15 and he was informed that they had lived for 11 or 12 years among those Indians, who treated them very well, and that 8 or 9 years before they died from sickness.” 16
After consultation the Spaniards determined to send messengers back to De Luna, the bulk of the force remaining where it was until they learned whether he would join them. They found that the Spanish settlers had withdrawn to the port where they had originally landed, and, arrived there, they received orders to return to the Spaniards in Coza and direct them to abandon the country and unite with the rest of the colony. As soon as the messengers reached them they set out “to the great grief of the Indians who accompanied them two or three days’ journey weeping, with great demonstrations of love, but not for their religion, since only one dying Indian asked for baptism, which Father Salazar administered to him. In the beginning of November they reached the port after having been seven months on this exploration.” 17
We learn from this narrative that the nucleus of the Coosa River Creeks and the Tallapoosa River Creeks was already in existence, and that the Coosa and Holiwahali tribes were then most prominent in the respective groups. It is probable that most of the other tribes afterwards found upon Tallapoosa River were at this time in Georgia, and it is likely that the Abihka had not yet come to settle beside the Coosa. In spite of an evident confusion in the minds of the Spaniards of Indian and feudal institutions there must have been some basis for the overlordship said to have been enjoyed by the Indians of Coosa. The Napochies seem to have been a Choctaw-speaking people on the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers. Mr. Grayson informs me that the name was preserved until recent years as a war title among the Creeks. They were probably identical with the Napissa, whom Iberville notes as having already in his time (1699) united with the Chickasaw. 18
In 1567 Juan Pardo came toward this country, advancing beyond Chiaha on the Tennessee to a place called Satapo, from which some Indians and a soldier proceeded to Coosa. On the authority of the soldier, Vandera gives the following description of Coosa town:
Coosa is a large village, the largest to be met after leaving Santa Elena on the road we took from there. It may contain about 150 people – that is, judging by the size of the village. It seems to be a wealthier place than all the others; there are generally a great many Indians in it. It is situated in a valley at the foot of a mountain. All around it at one-quarter, one-half, and one league there are very many big places. It is a very fertile country; its situation is at midday’s sun or perhaps a little less than midday. 19
Fear of this tribe, allied with the “Chisca, Carrosa, and Costehe,” was what decided Pardo to turn back to Santa Elena. 20 While Vandera seems to say that Coosa had 150 inhabitants, he must mean neighborhoods, otherwise it certainly would not be the largest place the Spaniards had discovered. Garcilasso says that in Coosa there were 500 houses, but he is wont to exaggerate. 21 At the same time, if Vandera means 150 neighborhoods and Garcilasso counted all classes of buildings, the two statements could be reconciled very well.
And now, after enjoying such early prominence, the Coosa tribe slips entirely from view, and when we next catch a glimpse of it its ancient importance has gone. Adair, the first writer to notice the town particularly, says:
In the upper or most western part of the country of the Muskohge there was an old beloved town, now reduced to a small ruinous village, called Koosahy which is still a place of safety to those who kill undesignedly. It stands on commanding ground, overlooking a bold river. 22
The name appears in the enumerations of 1738, 1750, 23 and 1760, 24 and a part at least in the enumeration of 1761. 25 In 1796 John O’ Kelly, a half-breed, was trader there, having succeeded his father. 26
Hawkins describes the town as follows, as it existed in 1799:
Coo-sau; on the left bank of Coo-sau, between two creeks, Eu-fau-lau and Nau-chee. The town borders on the first, above; and on the other river. The town is on a high and beautiful hill; the land on the river is rich and flat for two hundred yards, then waving and rich, fine for wheat and com. It is a limestone country, with fine springs, and a very desirable one; there is reed on the branches, and pea- vine in the rich bottoms and hill sides, moss in the river and on the rock beds of the creek.
They get fish plentifully in the spring season, near the mouth of Eu-fau-lau-hat-che; they are rock, trout, buffalo, red horse and perch. They have fine stocks of horses, hogs and cattle; the town gives name to the river, and is sixty miles above Tus-kee-gee. 27
Coosa had evidently fallen off very much from its ancient grandeur and its name does not appear in the census enumeration of 1832. Those who lived there abandoned their town some years after 1799, and settled a few miles higher up on the east side of the river near what is now East Bend. 28 It is not now represented by any existing town among the Creeks, but the name is well known and still appears in war titles. From the census list of 1761 one might judge that part of the Coosa had moved down on Tallapoosa River and settled with the Fus-hatchee people, with whom they would have gone to Florida and afterwards, in part at least, to the southern part of the Seminole Nation, Oklahoma. 29 The French census of about 1760 associates them rather with the Kan-hatki, but the fate of Kan-hatki and Fus-hatchee was the same. 30 What happened to the greater portion of them will be told presently.
Besides Coosa proper we find a town placed on several maps between Tuskegee and Koasati and called “Old Coosa,” or “Coussas old village.” From the resemblance of the name to that of the Koasati as usually spelled, and the proximity of the two places, Gatschet thought it was another term applied to the latter. 31 But on the other hand we often find Coosa-old-town and Koasati on the same map, and both are mentioned separately in the enumerations of 1760 and 1761. 32 The fact that, according to the same lists, there were Coosa on Tallapoosa River not far away, associated with the Fus-hatchee and Kan-hatki, would strengthen the belief that there were really some Coosa Indians at this place. Even if there were not, the name itself clearly implies that the site had once been occupied by Coosa Indians, and by inference at a time anterior to the settlement of the Coosa already considered. Without traceable connection with any of these bodies is “a Small Settlement of Indians called the Cousah old Fields” encountered in 1778 between the Choctawhatchee and Apalachicola Rivers by a British expedition under David Holmes sent into East Florida from Pensacola. 33
Still another branch of this tribe was in all probability the Coosa of South Carolina which has been elsewhere considered. 34
By common tradition and the busk expression, “We are Kos-istagi,” still used by them, we know that there are several other towns descended from Coosa, though no longer bearing the name. The most important of these was Otciapofa, commonly called “Hickory Ground,” whose people came from Little Tulsa. Little Tulsa was the seat of the famous Alexander McGillivray and was located on the east bank of Coosa River 3 miles above the falls. After his death the inhabitants all moved to the Hickory Ground, Otciapofa, which was on the same side of the river just below the falls. 35 The condition of this latter town in 1799 is thus described by Hawkins:
O-che-au-po-fau; from Oche-ub, a hickory tree, and po-fau, in or among, called by the traders, hickory ground. It is on the left bank of the Coosau, two miles above the fork of the river, and one mile below the falls, on a flat of poor land, just below a small stream; the fields are on the right side of the river, on rich flat land; and this flat extends back for two miles, with oak and hickory, then pine forest; the range out in this forest is fine for cattle; reed is abundant in all the branches.
The falls can be easily passed in canoes, either up or down; the rock is very different from that of Tallapoosa; here it is ragged and very coarse granite; the land bordering on the left side of the falls is broken or waving, gravelly, not rich. At the termination of the falls there is a fine little stream, large enough for a small mill, called, from the clearness of the water, We-hemt-le, good water. 36 Three and a half miles above the town are ten apple trees, planted by the late General McGillivray; half a mile further up are the remains of Old Tal-e-see, 37 formerly the residence of Mr. Lochlan 38 and his son, the general . Here are ten apple trees, planted by the father, and a stone chimney, the remains of a house built by the son, and these are all the improvements left by the father and son.
These people are, some of them, industrious. They have forty gunmen, nearly three hundred cattle, and some horses and hogs; the family of the general belong to this town; he left one son and two daughters; the son is in Scotland, with his grand-father, and the daughters with Sam Macnack [Moniac], a half-breed, their uncle; the property is much of it wasted. The chiefs have requested the agent for Indian affairs to take charge of the property for the son, to prevent its being wasted by the sisters of the general or by their children. Mrs. Durant, the oldest sister, has eight children. She is industrious, but has no economy or management. In possession of fourteen working negroes, she seldom makes bread enough, and they live poorly. She can spin and weave, and is making some feeble efforts to obtain clothing for her family. The other sister, Sehoi, has about thirty negroes, is extravagant and heedless, neither spins nor weaves, and has no government of her family. She has one son, David Tale [Tate?] who has been educated in Philadelphia and Scotland. He promises to do better. 39
Big Tulsa, which separated from the town last mentioned, may be identical with that which appears in the De Soto chronicles under the synonymous terms Talisi, Tallise, and Talisse. 41 Biedma does not mention it. The other three chroniclers describe it as a large town by a great river, having plenty of corn. Elvas states that other towns and many fields of maize were on the opposite shore.” 42 Garcilasso says that this place was “the key of the country,” and that it was “palisaded, invested with very good terraces, and almost surrounded by a river.” He adds that “it did not heartily acknowledge the cacique [of Coosa], because of a neighboring chief, who endeavored to make the people revolt against him.” 43 We may gather from this that Tulsa had at that time become such a large and strong town that it no longer leaned on the mother town of Coosa, as would be the case with a new or weak offshoot. There may indeed be some question whether this was the Tulsa of later history, but there does not appear to be a really valid reason to deny this, although the name from which it is thought to have been derived is a very common one. Spanish documents of 1597-98 speak, for instance, of a town called Talaxe (or Talashe) in Guale and a river so called, evidently the Altamaha. Woodward says that “the Tallasses never settled on the Tallapoosa River before 1756; they were moved to that place by James McQueen” from the Talladega country, 44 but the name occurs here on the earliest maps available, at a date far back of any period of which Woodward could have had information. Probably his statement applies to an independent body of Tulsa entered in the list dating from 1750, 41 as in the Abihka country, and appearing on the Purcell map (pl. 7) as ‘ ‘Tallassehase,” Tulsa old town. The history of this settlement is otherwise unknown. In De Soto’s time the several towns may not have become separated, but of that we have no knowledge. My opinion is that in either case the town entered by De Soto was farther toward the southwest than the position in which Big Tulsa was later found, somewhere, in fact, between the site of Holiwahali and that of the present St. Clair, in Lowndes County, Alabama. 45
The name of this town occurs frequently in later documents, and it is given in the lists of 1750, 1760, and 1761, by Bartram, Swan, and Hawkins, and in the census of 1832. 46 In the great squares of this town and Tukabahchee Tecumseh met the Creeks in council. In 1797 the traders here were James McQueen, the oldest white man in the Creek Nation, who had come to Georgia as a soldier under Oglethorpe in 1733, 47 and William Powell. Hawkins gives the following description of it as it existed in 1799:
Tal-e-see, from Tal-o-fau, a town, and e-see, taken. 48 Situated in the fork of Eu-fau-be On the left bank of Tal-Ia-poo-sa, opposite Took-au-bat-che. Eu-fau-be has its source in the ridge dividing the waters of Chat-to-ho-che from Tal-la-poo-sa, and runs nearly west to the junction with the river; here it is sixty feet wide. The land on it is poor for some miles up, then rich flats, bordered with pine land with reedy branches; a fine range for cattle and horses.
The Indians have mostly left the town, and settled up the creek, or on its waters, for twenty miles. 49 The settlements are some of them well chosen, and fenced with worm fences. The land bordering on the streams of the right side of the creek, is better than that of the left; and here the settlements are mostly made. Twelve miles up the creek from its mouth it forks; the large fork of the left side has some rich flat swamp, large white oak, poplar, ash, and white pine. The trading path from Cus-se-tuh to the Upper Creeks crosses this fork twice. Here it is called big swamp (opil-thluc-co). The waving land to its source is stiff. The growth is post oak, pine, and hard-shelled hickory. 50
The Indians who have settled out on the margins and branches of the creek have several of them, cattle, hogs, and horses, and begin to be attentive to them. The head warrior of the town, Peter McQueen, a half-breed, is a snug trader, has a valuable property in negroes and stock, and begins to know their value.
These Indians were very friendly to the United States during the Revolutionary War, and their old chief, Ho-bo-ith-le Mic-co, of the halfway house (improperly called the Tal-e-see king), could not be prevailed on by any offers from the agents of Great Britain to take part with them. On the return of peace, and the establishment of friendly arrangements between the Indians and citizens of the United States, this chief felt himself neglected by Mr. Seagrove, which resenting, he robbed and insulted that gentleman, compelled him to leave his house near Took-au-bat-che, and fly into a swamp. He has since then, as from a spirit of contradiction, formed a party in opposition to the will of the nation, which has given much trouble and difficulty to the chiefs of the land. His principal assistants were the leaders of the banditti who insulted the commissioners of Spain and the United States, on the 17th September, 1799, at the confluence of Flint and Chat-to-ho-che. The exemplary punishment inflicted on them by the warriors of the nation, has effectually checked their mischief-making and silenced them. And this chief has had a solemn warning from the national council, to respect the laws of the nation, or he should meet the punishment ordained by the law. He is one of the great medal chiefs.
This spirit of party or opposition prevails not only here, but more or less in every town in the nation. The plainest proposition for ameliorating their condition, is immediately opposed; and this opposition continues as long as there is hope to obtain presents, the infallible mode heretofore in use, to gain a point. 51
Tulsa had several branch towns. Mention has already been made of one of these. 52 On the French list of 1760 and several early maps is a place called Nafape, or Nafabe, which was evidently a Tulsa out-village on a creek of the same name flowing into Ufaupee Creek. 53 Near, and possibly identical with this, was Chatukchufaula, although on some maps it appears on Tallapoosa River itself. It is evidently the “Challacpauley ” of Swan, 54 and I give it as a branch of Tulsa on the authority of Woodward. 55 It was destroyed in the war of 1813-14 by Indians friendly to the United States Government and the people probably migrated to Florida. 56
The “Halfway House,” of which the “Ho-bo-ith-le Mic-co” of Hawkins was chief, is frequently mentioned by travelers. Taitt gives its Creek name as “Chavucleyhatchie.” He says:
I took the bearings and distance of the path to this place which is twenty -five miles ENE. from the Tuckabatchie, situated on a creek called Chavucleyhatchie being the north branch of Nufabee Creek, which emptys itself into the Tallapuse River at the great Tallassies. In this village which belongs to the Tallasies are about 20 gunmen and one trader. 57
In Bartram’s list (1777) it appears as “Ghuaclahatche.” 58 Although given as a town distinct from the Halfway house the “Chawelatchie” of the Purcell map (pl. 7) is evidently intended for this, especially since Hawkins calls it “Chowolle Hatche.” 59 The name is perpetuated in the “Chewockeleehatchee Creek” of modern maps.
Another branch was Saoga-hatchee, “Rattle Creek,” which appears as early as 1760. 54 Hawkins has the following to say regarding it:
Sou-go-hat-che; from sou-go, a cymbal, and hat-che, a creek. This joins on the left side of Tallapoosa, ten miles below Eu-fau-lau. It is a large creek, and the land on the forks and to their sources is stiff in places, and stony. The timber is red oak and small hickory; the flats on the streams are rich, covered with reed; among the branches the land is waving and fit for cultivation.
They have thirty gunmen in this village, who have lately joined Tal-e-see. One of the chiefs, O-fau-mul-gau, has some cattle, others have a few, as they have only paid attention to their stock within two years, and their means for acquiring them were slender.
Above this creek, on the waters of Eu-fau-lau-hat-che, there are some settlements well chosen. The upland is stiff and stony or gravelly; the timber is post and red oak, pine and hickory; the trees are small; the soil apparently rich enough, and well suited for wheat, and the streams have some rich flats. 60
Another branch, Lutcapoga, ” terrapin resort,” “place where terrapins are gathered,” appears only in Hawkins’s Letters 61 and in the census of 1832. 62 There is to-day a place called Loachapoka in Lee County, Alabama, about halfway between Montgomery and West Point. The name was also given to a western tributary of the Chattahoochee.63 After the Creek removal this town settled in the northern-most part of the nation, where the flourishing modern city of Tulsa has grown up, named for its mother town. The main town of Tulsa also split into two parts in Oklahoma, called after their respective locations Tulsa Canadian and Tulsa Little River. The last is the only one which in 1912 maintained a square ground.
The Okfuskee [Akfaski] towns constituted the largest group descended from Coosa. Like the Tulsa, these people referred to them-selves in busk speeches as Kos-istågi, “Coosa people. ” The name, which signifies “point between rivers,” nowhere appears in the De Soto narratives, but is in evidence very early in the maps and documents of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. On the Lamhatty map it is given in the form “Oufusky,” apparently as far east as the east bank of Flint River. 63 Not much reliance can be placed on the geography of this map, though it is not unlikely that Lamhatty was attempting to place the eastern Okfuskee settlements on the upper Chattahoochee River. On the De Crenay map of 1733 two Okfuskee towns appear – one, “Oefasquets,” between the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers well down toward the point where they come together; the other, “Les grands Oefascjué,” a considerable distance up the Tallapoosa. 64 They occur again in the Spanish census of 1738, in which the latter is called “Oefasque Talajase,” showing it to have been the original town. 65 The same pair are repeated in the census of 1750. 66 The former appears in the list of 1760 as “Akfeechkoutchis” (i. e., Little Okfuskee); the latter as “Akfaches” (i.e., the Okfuskee proper). 67 This last is “the great Okwhuske town” which Adair mentions and locates on the west bank of Tallapoosa River. He calls the Tallapoosa River after it. 68
In 1754 the French of Fort Toulouse almost persuaded the Okfuskee Creeks to cut off those English traders who were among them, but they were prevented by the opposition of a young chief. 69 In 1760 such a massacre did take place at Okfuskee and its branch town, Sukaispoga, as also at Okchai and Kealedji. 70 The name of Okfuskee appears in the list of 1761, and in the lists of Bartram, Swan, and Hawkins. 71 Bartram mentions an upper and a lower town of the name, perhaps the two distinguished by the French. 58 In 1797 the trader was Patrick Donnally. 72 In the census rolls of 1832 no such town appears, but by that time the main settlement seems to have adopted the name Tcatoksofka, “deep rock,” i. e., one where there was a considerable fall of water, or “rock deep down,” and this does occur. 73 After the removal to Oklahoma, Tcatoksofka was still the principal town. The old name Okfuskee was revived somewhat later by a chief named Fushatcutci (Little Fus-hatchee) who moved into the western part of the nation with part of the Tcatoksofka people and gave the old name to his new settlement. From this circumstance his people afterwards called him Tal-mutca’s mi’ko, “New town chief.”
Another branch is called Abihkutci [Abi’kutci]. The name signifies “Little Abihka” and it might naturally be supposed that the people so designating themselves belonged to the Abihka Creeks. In fact, the principal Abihka town before the emigration was known as Abihkutci, whereas, after their removal, the diminutive ending was dropped and the name Abihka resumed. Two stories were given me of the way in which this name “Abihkutci” came to be used for an Okfuskee town. According to one, the town was founded by a few Abihka Indians, but it was later filled up with Okfuskee. According to the other, some Abihka joined the Okfuskee before the Civil War and afterwards left them. Then they formed a town apart and said “We will be called Little Abihkas.” But since they had at one time lived with the Okfuskee the latter adopted the name Abihkutci for use among themselves. In any case the occurrence does not seem to have preceded the westward emigration of the Creeks, and the town did not have a very long separate existence. At the present day it has no square ground of its own.
Another branch was known as Tukabahchee Tallahassee, probably because it occupied a place where the Tukabahchee had formerly lived. It appears in the lists of Swan and Hawkins, 74 and the latter states that in 1797 it received the name of Talmutcasi (New Town). We find it under this latter designation in the census list of 1832. 75 It follows from its recent origin that it is distinct from the Talimachusy 76 or Tallimuchase 77 of De Soto’s time, though the names mean the same thing. After removal these people settled in the south-western part of the nation and appear to have changed from the White to the Red side, being sometimes treated as a branch of Atasi. Their square ground was given up so long ago that very little is remembered regarding it.
One of the oldest branches of Okfuskee was Sukaispoga, “place for getting hogs,” called by Hawkins “Sooc-he-ah,” and known to the traders as “Hog Range,” It appears in the censuses of 1760 and 1761, and in the lists of Bartram, Swan, and Hawkins. 78 In 1772 it had about 45 gunmen. 79 From Hawkins’s description, given below, it appears that the town united with Imukfa about 1799, and therefore the name does not appear in the census rolls of 1832. Imukfa was, according to Hawkins, made up of settlers from “Thu-le-oc-who-cat-lau” and the people of the town just referred to. “Thu-le-oc-who-cat-lau” is evidently the “Chuleocwhooatlee” which he mentions in 1797 in his letter and which was “on the left bank of Tallapoosa, 11 miles below Newyaucau. 80 Tohtogagi [To’togagi] is noted by Swan 81 and described (see below) by Hawkins. It preserved a separate existence after its removal west of the Mississippi down to the Civil War and was located east of the Canadian. Sometimes it was known as Hitcisihogi, after the name of its ball ground, though in the census of 1832 Hitcisihogi appears as an independent town. Perhaps two originally independent towns were later united.
While giving Atcina-ulga as an Okfuskee town, Hawkins says it was settled from Lutcapoga. 82 These two statements can not be reconciled, unless we suppose that some Okfuskee Indians were settled at Lutcapoga. Another branch village given by Hawkins is Epesaugee (Ipisagi). 83
At a very early day several Okfuskee settlements were made on the upper course of the Chattahoochee. One was called Tukpafka, “punk,” a name applied in later times to an entirely distinct town, originating from Wakokai. The name of this particular settlement occurs in Bartram’s list and is referred to by Hawkins, as will be seen below. 84 In 1777 (see below) they moved over to the Tallapoosa, where their new settlement was called Nuyaka, an attempt at modifying the name of New York City to accord with the requirements of Creek harmonic feeling. According to Swan the name Nuyaka was bestowed by a Colonel Ray, a New York British loyalist,83 while Gatschet says it was so named after the treaty of New York, concluded between the United States Government and the Creek Indians August 7, 1790. 85 It appears in the lists of Swan and Hawkins, but not on the census rolls of 1832. 86 After the removal this town continued to preserve its identity and in 1912 it was the only Okfuskee division that still maintained a square ground.
There were three Okfuskee settlements on the Chattahoochee River which existed for a longer time. These were Tculå’ko-nini (Horse Trail), Holi-taiga (War Ford), and Tca’hki låko (Big Shoal). They appear in the lists of Bartram and Hawkins, and, with the possible exception of the last, in that of Swan. 87 The census of 1832 includes a town of the same name as the last, but omits the others. September 27, 1793, they were attacked by Georgians and so severely handled that the inhabitants abandoned them and located on the east side of Tallapoosa River, opposite the mother town, Big Okfuskeei. 88 ” Wichagoes” and “lllahatchee,” given in the traders’ census of 1761, were probably Okfuskee towns. 29 Kohamutkikatska, “place where blow-gun canes are broken off,” was a comparatively late branch of Ok-fuskee. The name, in an excessively corrupted form (“Nohunt, the Gartsnar town”), appears in the census list of 1832. 89 Hawkins has the following information regarding Okfuskee and its branches:
Oc-fus-kee; from Oc, in, and fuskee, a point. The name is expressive of the position of the old town, and where the town house now stands on the right bank of Tal-lapoo-sa. The town spreads out on both sides of the river and is about thirty-five miles above Took-au-bat-che. The settlers on the left side of the river are from Chat-to-ho-che. They once formed three well-settled villages on that river – Che-luc-co ne-ne, Ho-ith-le-ti-gau, and Chau-ke thluc-co.
Oc-fus-kee, with its villages, is the largest town in the nation. They estimate the number of gun men of the old town at one hundred and eighty and two hundred and seventy in the villages or small towns. The land is flat for half a mile on the river, and fit for culture; back of this there are sharp, stoney hills; the growth is pine, and the branches all have reed.
They have no fences around the town; they have some cattle, hogs, and horses, and their range is a good one; the shoals in the river afford a great supply of moss, called by the traders salt grass, and the cows which frequent these shoals, are the largest and finest in the nation; they have some peach trees in the town, and the cassine yupon, in clumps. The Indians have lately moved out and settled in villages and the town will soon be an old field; the settling out in villages has been repeatedly pressed by the agent for Indian affairs, and with considerable success; they have seven villages belonging to this town.
- New-yau-cau; named after New York. It is on the left bank of Tallapoosa, twenty miles above Oc-fus-kee; 90 these people lived formerly at Tote-pauf-cau, (spunk-knot) on Chat-to-ho-che, and moved from thence in 1777. 91 They would not take part in the war between the United States and Great Britian and determined to retire from their settlements, which, through the rage of war, might feel the effects of the resentment of the people of the United States when roused by the conduct of the red people, as they were placed between the combatants. The town is “on a flat, bordering on the river; the adjoining lands are broken or waving and stony; on the opposite side they are broken, stony; the growth is pine, oak and hickory. The flat strips of land on the river, above and below, are generally narrow; the adjoining land is broken, with oak, hickory, and pine. The branches all have reed; they have a fine ford at the upper end of the town; the river is one hundred and twenty yards wide. Some of the people have settled out from the town, and they have good land on Im-mook-fau Creek, which joins the right side of the river, two miles below the town. 92
- Took-au-bat-che tal-lau-has-see; this village received in part a new name in 1797, Tal-lo-wau moo-chas-see (new town). It is on the right bank of the river, four miles above New-yau-cau; 93 the land around it is broken and stony; off the river the hills are waving; and post oak, hard shelled hickory, pine, and on the ridges, chestnut is the growth.
- Im-mook-fau (a gorget made of a conch). This village is four miles west from Tookaubatche [Tal-lauhas-see], on Immookfau Creek, which joins the right side of Tallapoosa, two miles below New-yau-cau. The settlers are from Chu-le-oc-who-cat-lau and Sooc-he-ah; they have fine rich flats on the creek, and good range for their cattle; they possess some hogs, cattle, and horses, and begin to be attentive to them.
- Tooh-to-cau-gee, from tooh-to, a corn house, and cau-gee, fixed or standing. 94 The Indians of Oc-fus-kee formerly built a corn house here for the convenience of their hunters and put their corn there for their support during the hunting season. It is on the right bank of Tallapoosa, twenty miles above New-yau-cau; 95 the settlements are on the narrow flat margins of the river on both sides. On the left side the mountains terminate here, the uplands are too poor and broken for cultivation; the path from E-tow-wah, in the Cherokee country, over the tops of these mountains, is a pretty good one. It winds down the mountains to this village; the river is here one hundred and twenty yards wide, a beautiful clear stream. On the right side, off from the river flats, the land is waving, with oak, hickory and pine, gravelly, and in some places large sheets of rock which wave as the land. The grit is coarse, but some of it is fit for mill stones; the land is good for corn, the trees are all small, with some chestnut on the ridges; the range is a good one for stock; reed is found on all the branches; on the path to New-yau-cau there is some large rock, the vein lies south-west; they are in two rows parallel with each other and the land good in their neighborhood.
- Au-che-nau-ul-gau; from Au-che-nau, cedar, and ul-gau, all; a cedar grove. These settlers are from Loo-chau-po-gau (the resort of terrapin). It is on a creek, near the old town, forty miles above New-yau-cau. This settlement is the farthest north of all the Creeks; the land is very broken in the neighborhood. West of this village, post and black oak, all small; the soil is dark and stiff with coarse gravel and in some places stone; from the color of the earth in places there must be iron ore; the streams from the glades form fine little creeks, branches of the Tallapoasa. The land on their borders is broken, stiff, stony and rich, affording fine mill seats, and on the whole it is a country where the Indians might have desirable settlements; the path from E-tow-woh to Hill-au-bee passes through these glades.
- E-pe-sau-gee; this village is on a large creek which gives name to it and enters the Tallapoosa opposite Oc-fus-kee. The creek has its source in the ridge, dividing the waters of this river from Chat-to-ho-che; it is thirty yards wide and has a rocky bottom; they have forty settlers in the village, who have fenced their fields this season for the benefit of their stock, and they have all of them cattle, hogs, and horses. They have some good land on the creek, but generally it is broken, the strips of flat land are narrow; the broken is gravelly, with oak, hickory and pine, not very inviting. Four of these villages have valuable stocks of cattle. McCartney has one hundred; E-cun-chā-te E-maut-lau, one hundred; Tote-cúh Haujo, one hundred, and Took[aubatche] Micco, two hundred.
- Sooc-he-ah; from Sooc-cau, a hog, and he-ah, here, 96 called by the traders, hog range. It is situated on the right bank of Tallapoosa, twelve miles above Oc-fus-kee. It is a small settlement, the land is very broken, the flats on the river are narrow, the river broad and shoally. These settlers have moved, and joined Im-mook-fau, with a few exceptions. 97
To these must be added:
- Oc-fus-coo-che (little Oc-fus-kee) is a part of the small village, four miles above New-yau-cau. Some of these people lived at Oc-fus-kee nene, on the Chat-to-ho-che, from whence they were driven by an enterprising volunteer party from Georgia, the 27th September, 1793. 98
During the Green Peach war many Okfuskee settled in the edge of the Cherokee Nation, near Braggs, Oklahoma, and afterwards some of them remained there along with a number of the Okchai Indians.
- Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, I, p. 60.
- Ibid., p. 81.
- Ibid., p. 81; II, pp. 16, 112.
- Ibid., I, p. 82.
- Ibid., II,p. 113.
- About the same number of English bushels.
- This statement is probably erroneous, as the use of poisoned arrows among our southern Indians is denied by all other writers.
- One brata is 6 feet.
- Or otatli, a Nahustl word.
- Three times the height of a man.
- Acoca in the original MS.
- This is pure Choctaw, from oka, water, and the objective form of chito, big. This river was not the Mississippi, as Padilla supposes, but probably the Black Warrior.
- Davila Padilla, Histeria, pp. 205-217. Translation by Mrs. F. Bandelier.
- Ranjel in Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, II, p. 113; he gives this man’s name as Feryada, and calls him a Levantine.
- Ibid., p. 114.
- Barcia, La Florida, p. 35.
- Ibid., pp. 37-39.
- Margry, Déc., IV, p. 180.
- Vandera in Ruidiaz, II, pp. 485-486.
- Ibid., p. 471.
- Garcilasso in Shipp, De Soto and Florida, p. 374.
- Adair, Hist. Am. Inds., p. 159.
- MS., Ayer Coll.
- Miss. Prov. Arch., I, pp. 94-95.
- Col. Docs. Ga., VIII, p. 512.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, pp. 34, 169.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 41.
- Plate 8; Royce in 18th Ann. Rept. Bur. Amer. Ethn., pt. 2, pi. CVIII, map of Alabama.
- Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 523.
- Miss. Prov. Arch., I, p. 94.
- Creek Mig. Leg., I, p. 137.
- Miss. Prov. Arch., I, p. 94; Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 524.
- Copy of MS. Lib. Cong.
- See p. 25.
- Hawkins in Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 44.
- Wī hīli – “good water. “
- Little Tulsa.
- The Lib. Cong. MS. has “Mr. Lochlan McGillivray.”
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, pp. 39-40.
- Miss. Prov. Arch., I, p. 95; Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 523; Bartram, Travels, p. 461; Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, p. 262; Son. Doc. 512, 23d Cong., 1st sess,, IV, pp. 280-281.
- Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, I, p. 86; II, pp. 115-116; Garcilasso in Shipp, De Soto and Florida, p. 375.
- Bourne, op. cit., I, p. 86.
- Garcilasso in Shipp, De Soto and Florida, p. 375.
- Woodward, Reminiscences, p. 77.
- In plate 2 the positions of Tulsa (1) and Tawusa (1) should be transposed.
- Miss. Prov. Arch., I, p. 95; Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 523; Bertram, Travels, p. 481; Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, p. 262; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 25; Senate Doc. 512, 23d Cong., 1st sess., IV, pp. 260-264.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 168.
- There is a Creek tradition to the effect that this town was once “captured” by the Tukabahchee, but I am inclined to think that it was invented to account for the name. It is more likely that Gatschet is right in deriving the name from talwa, town, and, ahasi, old, although it Is now so much abbreviated that its original meaning is totally obscured.
- The Lib. Cong. MS. has “25 miles.”
- The Lib. Cong. MS. adds the name of the magnolia.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, pp. 26-27.
- See p. 243.
- Miss. Prov. Arch., I, p. 95.
- Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, p. 262.
- Wood ward, Reminiscences, p. 35.
- See pp. 409-410.
- Mereness, Trav. Am. Col., p. 545.
- Bartram, Travels, p. 461.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 50.
- Ibid., III, p. 49.
- As “Luchaossoguh.”- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 33.
- Senate Doc. 512, 23d Cong. 1st .sess., IV, pp. 270-274.
- Plate 9.
- Amer. Anthrop., n. s. vol. x, p.
- Hamilton, Col. Mobile, p. 190.
- MS., Ayer Lib.
- Miss. Prov. Arch., I, p. 96.
- Adair, Hist. Am. Inds., pp. 258, 262
- Ga. Col. Docs., VII, pp. 41-42.
- Ibid., pp. 261-266
- Ga. Col. Docs., VIII p. 523; Bartram, Travels, p. 461; Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, v, p. 262; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 25.
- Hawkins in Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 169.
- Sen. Doc. 512, 23d Cong., 1st sess., IV, pp. 331-343.
- Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, v, p. 262; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., II, p. 46.
- Senate Doc. 512, 23d Cong. 1st sess., IV, pp. 254-255.
- Bourne, Narr. of De Soto, II, p. 113.
- Ibid., I, p. 84.
- Miss. Prov. Arch, I, 95; Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 523; Bartram, Travels, p. 461; Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, v, p. 262; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., II, p. 48.
- Mereness, Trav. Am. Col., p. 529.
- Ga. Hist Soc. Colls., IX, p. 169.
- Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, v, p. 262.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 45.
- Ibid., p. 47.
- Bartram, Travels, p. 462; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 45.
- Misc. Coll. Ala. Hist. Soc., 1, p. 404.
- Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, v, p. 262; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 45.
- Bartram, Travels, p. 462; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 45; Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, v, p. 262.
- Hawkins, op. cit.; also Early map, pl. 9.
- Senate Doc. 512, 23d Cong., 1st sess., IV, p. 323.
- In notes made in 1797 he says “eighteen miles.”- Ga. Hist. Sec. Colls., IX, p. 169.
- The Lib. Cong. MS. says “alter the year 1777.”
- Near this town Is Horse Shoe Bend, the scene of Jackson’s decisive victory over the Creeks, March 27, 1814.
- In notes taken in 1797 he says “6 miles.”- Ga Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 170.
- Jackson Lewis, one of the writer’s informants, says it means “two corncribs,” and this has the sanction of Hawkins (Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 33). It seems to be composed of tohto, corn crib, and kagi, to be or to set up. See Gatschel, Creek Mig. Leg., I, p. 148.
- In notes taken in 1797 he says ” 15 miles.”- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 169.
- Hawkins Seems to have gotten hold of a mongrel expression, half Creek, half English. The proper Creek designation was Suka-ispoga.
- Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, pp. 45-48; IX, p. 170.
- Ibid., p. 51.