A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians, vol. 1: With a Linguistic, Historic and Ethnographic Introduction

Owing to the absence of the Author on official duties in the Indian Territory, the Map which should accompany this volume has not been prepared. It will therefore be issued with the second volume.


Creek Indians,




Νᾱφε καὶ μέμνας' ὰπιστεῑν
ᾰρθρα ταῦυτα τῶν φρενῶν.



In the present work, Mr. Gatschet has carried out a much needed investigation. The tribes who inhabited the watershed of the north shore of the Mexican Gulf must always occupy a prominent place in the study of American Ethnology, as possibly connecting the races of North and South America, and those of the Valley of the Mississippi with those of Anahuac and Mayapan.

Years ago the general editor of this series stated, in various publications, the problems that region offers, and on finding the remarkable legend of Chekilli, translated it and published it, as pointing to a solution of some of the questions involved. This legend has, at his request, been taken by Mr. Gatschet as a centre around which to group the ethnography of that whole territory, as well as a careful analysis of the legend and its language.

The first volume contains the general discussion of the subject, and closes with the Creek version of the Legend and its translation. The second will contain the Hitchiti Version, the Notes, and Vocabulary.

One statement of the author, overlooked in the proof reading, seems of sufficient importance to be corrected here. The Choctaw Grammar of the late Rev. Cyrus Byington was published complete, and from his last revision (1866-68), not as an extract from his first draft, as stated on page 117. The full particulars are given in the Introduction to the Grammar.



The present publication proposes to bring before the public, in popular form, some scientific results obtained while studying the language and ethnology of the Creek tribe and its ethnic congeners. The method of furthering ethnographic study by all the means which the study of language can afford, has been too little appreciated up to the present time, but has been constantly kept in view in this publication. Language is not only the most general and important help to ethnology, but outside of race, it is also the most ancient of all; ethnologists are well aware of this fact, but do not generally apply it to their studies, because they find it too tedious to acquire the language of unlettered tribes by staying long enough among them.

The help afforded to linguistic studies by the books published in and upon the Indian languages is valuable only for a few among the great number of the dialects. The majority of them are laid down in phonetically defective missionary alphabets, about which we are prompted to repeat what the citizens of the young colony of Mexico wrote to the government of Spain, in Cortez's time: "Send to us pious and Christian men, as preachers, bishops and missionaries, but do not send us scholars, who, with their pettifogging distinctions and love of contention, create nothing but disorder and strife."[1] In the same manner, some Creek scholars and churchmen agreed five times in succession, before 1853, upon standard alphabets to be followed in transcribing Creek, but, as Judge G. W. Stidham justly remarks, made it worse each time. To arrive at trustworthy results, it is therefore necessary to investigate the forms of speech as they are in use among the Indians themselves.

Very few statements of the Kasi'hta migration legend can be made available for history. It is wholly legendary, in its first portion even mythical; it is of a comparatively remote age, exceedingly instructive for ethnography and for the development of religious ideas; it is full of that sort of naïveté which we like so much to meet in the mental productions of our aborigines, and affords striking instances of the debasing and brutalizing influence of the unrestricted belief in the supernatural and miraculous. Of the sun-worship, which underlies the religions of all the tribes in the Gulf territories, only slight intimations are contained in the Kasi'hta legend, and the important problem, whether the Creeks ever crossed the Mississippi river from west to east in their migrations, seems to be settled by it in the negative, although other legends may be adduced as speaking in its favor.

Owing to deficient information on several Maskoki dialects, I have not touched the problem of their comparative age. From the few indications on hand, I am inclined to think that Alibamu and Koassáti possess more and Cha'hta less archaic forms than the other dialect-groups.

From Rev. H. C. Buckner's Creek Grammar, with its numerous defects, I have extracted but a few conjugational forms of the verb isita to take, but have availed myself of some linguistic manuscripts of Mrs. A. E. W. Robertson, the industrious teacher and translator of many parts of the Bible into Creek.

The re-translation of the legend into Creek and Hitchiti is due to Judge G. W. Stidham, of Eufaula, Indian Territory, who in infancy witnessed the emigration of his tribe, the Hitchiti, from the Chatahuchi river into their present location. My heartfelt thanks are also due to other Indians, who have materially helped me in my repeated revisions of the subject matter embodied in these volumes, and in other investigations. They were the Creek delegates to the Federal government, Chiefs Chicote and Ispahidshi, Messrs. S. B. Callaghan, Grayson and Hodge.

I also fully acknowledge the services tendered by the officers of the U. S. Bureau of Ethnology, as well as by Dr. Daniel G. Brinton and by General Albert Pike, who placed the rich shelves of their libraries at my disposition. In the kindest manner I was furnished with scientific statements of various kinds by Messrs. W. R. Gerard, C. C. Royce and Dr. W. C. Hoffmann.


Washington, August, 1884.




I. Linguistic Groups of the Gulf States.

Timucua, 11. Calusa, 13. Tequesta, 15. Kataba, 15. Yuchi, 17. Cheroki, 24. Arkansas, 29. Taensa, 30. Tangipahoa, 34. Naktche, 34. Tonica, 39. Adai, 41. Pani, 42. Shetimasha, 44. Atákapa, 45. Bidai, 47. Koroa, 47. The Westo and Stono Indians, 48. The Linguistic Map, 49.

II. The Maskoki Family.

The Common Maskoki Language, 53. The Name Maskoki, 58. Tribal Divisions; the Yamassi, 62. Yamacraw, 65. Seminole, 66. Apalachi, 74. Mikasuki, 76. Hitchiti, 77. The Hitchiti Dialect, 80. Alibamu, 85. Koassáti, 89. Chicasa, 90. Tribes on the Yazoo River, 97. Cha'hta, 100. The Cha'hta Language, 116.

III. The Creek Indians.

Creek Settlements, 120. List of Towns, 124. The Indian Pathways, 151. The Creek Government, 152. Tribal Divisions and Gentes, 153. Civil Government, 156. The Warrior Class, 158. War Titles, 160. War Customs, 164. Organization of the Confederacy, 168. The Public Square, 171. The Annual Busk, 177. Further Ethnographic Notes, 183. Creek History, 188. The Creek Dialect, 198. Lexical Affinities, 212.

The Kasi'hta Migration Legend.

Indian Migration Legends, 214. Migration Legends of the Creek Tribes, 222. Tchikilli's Kasi'hta Legend, 235. The Text, 237. The Translation, 244.

[Pg 9]




The early explorers of the Gulf territories have left to posterity a large amount of information concerning the natives whom they met as friends or fought as enemies. They have described their picturesque attire, their curious, sometimes awkward, habits and customs, their dwellings and plantations, their government in times of peace and war, as exhaustively as they could do, or thought fit to do. They distinguished tribes from confederacies, and called the latter kingdoms and empires, governed by princes, kings and emperors. But the characteristics of race and language, which are the most important for ethnology, because they are the most ancient in their origin, are not often alluded to by them, and when the modern sciences of anthropology and ethnology had been established on solid principles many of these southern races had already disappeared or intermingled, and scientific inquiry came too late for their investigation.

A full elucidation of the history and antiquities of the subject of our inquiries, the Creeks, is possible only after having obtained an exhaustive knowledge of the tribes and nations living around them. The more populous among them have preserved their language and remember many of[Pg 10] their ancestors' customs and habits, so that active exploration in the field can still be helpful to us in many respects in tracing and rediscovering their ancient condition. Three centuries ago the tribes of the Maskoki family must have predominated in power over all their neighbors, as they do even now in numbers, and had formed confederacies uniting distant tribes. Whether they ever crossed the Mississippi river or not, the Indians of this family are as thoroughly southern as their neighbors, and seem to have inhabited southern lands for times immemorial. The scientists who now claim that they descend from the mound builders, do so only on the belief that they must have dwelt for uncounted centuries in the fertile tracts where Hernando de Soto found them, and where they have remained up to a recent epoch. In the territory once occupied by their tribes no topographic name appears to point to an earlier and alien population; and as to their exterior, the peculiar olive admixture to their cinnamon complexion is a characteristic which they have in common with all other southern tribes.

My introduction to the Kasi'hta national legend proposes to assign to the Creeks: (1) their proper position in the Maskoki family and among their other neighbors; and (2) to describe some of their ethnologic characteristics. The material has been divided in several chapters, which I have in their logical sequence arranged as follows:

Linguistic families traceable within the Gulf States.
The Maskoki group; its historic subdivisions.
The Creek Indians; tribal topography, historic and ethnographic notices, sketch of their language.


In the history of the Creeks, and in their legends of migration, many references occur to the tribes around them, with whom they came in contact. These contacts were chiefly of a hostile character, for the normal state of barbaric tribes[Pg 11] is to live in almost permanent mutual conflicts. What follows is an attempt to enumerate and sketch them, the sketch to be of a prevalently topographic nature. We are not thoroughly acquainted with the racial or anthropological peculiarities of the nations surrounding the Maskoki proper on all sides, but in their languages we possess an excellent help for classifying them. Language is not an absolute indicator of race, but it is more so in America than elsewhere, for the large number of linguistic families in the western hemisphere proves that the populations speaking their dialects have suffered less than in the eastern by encroachment, foreign admixture, forcible alteration or entire destruction.

Beginning at the southeast, we first meet the historic Timucua family, the tribes of which are extinct at the present time; and after describing the Indians of the Floridian Peninsula, southern extremity, we pass over to the Yuchi, on Savannah river, to the Naktche, Taensa and the other stocks once settled along and beyond the mighty Uk'hina, or "water road" of the Mississippi river.


In the sixteenth century the Timucua inhabited the northern and middle portion of the peninsula of Florida, and although their exact limits to the north are unknown, they held a portion of Florida bordering on Georgia, and some of the coast islands in the Atlantic Ocean, as Guale (then the name of Amelia) and others. The more populous settlements of these Indians lay on the eastern coast of Florida, along the St. John's river and its tributaries, and in the northeastern angle of the Gulf of Mexico. Their southernmost villages known to us were Hirrihigua, near Tampa Bay, and Tucururu, near Cape Cañaveral, on the Atlantic Coast.

The people received its name from one of their villages called Timagoa, Thimagoua (Timoga on De Bry's map), situated on one of the western tributaries of St. John's river,[Pg 12] and having some political importance. The name means lord, ruler, master [atimuca "waited upon (muca) by servants (ati)];" and the people's name is written Atimuca early in the eighteenth century. We first become acquainted with their numerous tribes through the memoir of Alvar Nuñez Cabeça de Vaca, the three chroniclers of de Soto's expedition, and more fully through Réné de Laudonnière (1564). Two missionaries of the Franciscan order, Francisco Pareja (1612 sqq.) and Gregorio de Mouilla (1635), have composed devotional books in their vocalic language. De Bry's Brevis Narratio, Frankfort a. M., 1591, contains a map of their country, and engravings representing their dwellings, fights, dances and mode of living.

A few words of their language (lengua timuquana in Spanish) show affinity with Maskoki, others with Carib. From 1595 A. D. they gradually became converted to Christianity, revolted in 1687 against their Spanish oppressors, and early in the eighteenth century (1706) were so reduced in number that they yielded easily to the attacks of the Yámassi Indians, who, instigated by English colonists, made incursions upon their villages from the North. Their last remnants withdrew to the Mosquito Lagoon, in Volusia County, Florida, where the name of the Tomoco river still recalls their tribal name.

In 1564, Réné de Laudonnière heard of five head chiefs (paracusi) of confederacies in the Timucua country, and from Pareja we can infer that seven or more dialects were spoken in its circumference. The five head chiefs, Saturiwa, Holata Utina, Potanu, Onethcaqua and Hostaqua are only tribal names (in the second, Utina is the tribal appellation), and the dialects, as far as known, were those of Timagoa, Potanu, Itafi, the Fresh-Water district, Tucururu, Santa Lucia de Acuera, and Mocama ("on the coast"). The last but one probably coincided with that of Aïs.

The Aïs Indians, who held the coast from Cape Cañaveral, where the Spaniards had the post Santa Lucia, to a lagoon[Pg 13] once called Aïsahatcha (viz., Aïs river), were considered as a people distinct from the Timucua. They worshiped the sun in the shape of a stuffed deer raised upon the end of a high beam planted in the ground; this gave, probably, origin to their name Aïs, for B. Romans interprets Aïsahatcha by Deer river (itchi, itche deer, in Creek and Seminole). Their territory formed the northern part of the "province" of Tequesta. Cf. B. Romans, East and West Florida (New York, 1775), pp. 2. 260. 273. 281. Herrera, Dec. IV, 4, 7. Barcia, Ensayo, p. 118.


The languages spoken by the Calusa and by the people next in order, the Tequesta, are unknown to us, and thus cannot be mentioned here as forming separate linguistic stocks. I simply make mention of these tribes, because they were regarded as people distinct from the Timucua and the tribes of Maskoki origin.

The Calusa held the southwestern extremity of Florida, and their tribal name is left recorded in Calusahatchi, a river south of Tampa bay. They are called Calos on de Bry's map (1591), otherwise Colusa, Callos, Carlos, and formed a confederacy of many villages, the names of which are given in the memoir of Hernando d'Escalante Fontanedo (Mémoire sur la Floride, in Ternaux-Compans' Collection XX, p. 22; translated from the original Spanish). These names were written down in 1559, and do not show much affinity with Timucua; but since they are the only remnants of the Calusa language, I present the full list: "Tampa, Tomo, Tuchi, Sogo, No (which signifies 'beloved village'), Sinapa, Sinaesta, Metamapo, Sacaspada, Calaobe, Estame, Yagua, Guaya, Guevu, Muspa, Casitoa, Tatesta, Coyovea, Jutun, Tequemapo, Comachica, Quiseyove and two others in the vicinity. There are others in the interior, near Lake Mayaimi—viz., Cutespa, Tavaguemue, Tomsobe, Enempa and twenty others. Two[Pg 14] upon the Lucayos obey to the cacique of Carlos, Guarunguve and Cuchiaga. Carlos and his deceased father were the rulers of these fifty towns." Fontanedo states that he was prisoner in these parts from his thirteenth to his thirtieth year; that he knew four languages, but was not familiar with those of Aïs and Teaga, not having been there.

One of these names is decidedly Spanish, Sacaspada or "Draw-the-sword"; two others appear to be Timucua, Calaobe (kala fruit; abo stalk, tree) and Comachica (hica land, country). Some may be explained by the Creek language, but only one of them, Tampa (itímpi close to it, near it) is Creek to a certainty; Tuchi resembles tútchi kidneys; Sogo, sá-uka rattle, gourd-rattle, and No is the radix of a-no-kítcha lover, anukídshās I love, which agrees with the interpretation given by Fontanedo. Tavaguemue may possibly contain the Creek táwa sumach; Mayaimi (Lake), which Fontanedo explains by "very large," the Creek augmentative term máhi, and Guevu the Creek u-íwa water.

The Spanish orthography, in which these names are laid down, is unfitted for transcribing Indian languages, perhaps as much so as the English orthography; nevertheless, we recognize the frequently-occurring terminal -esta, -sta, which sounds quite like Timucua. There are no doubt many geographic terms, taken from Seminole-Creek, in the south of the peninsula as well as in the north; it only remains to determine what age we have to ascribe to them.

The Calusa bore the reputation of being a savage and rapacious people, and B. Romans (p. 292) denounces them as having been pirates. He informs us (p. 289), that "at Sandy Point, the southern extremity of the peninsula, are large fields, being the lands formerly planted by the Colusa savages;" and that "they were driven away from the continent by the Creeks, their more potent neighbors." In 1763 the remnants, about eighty families, went to Havannah from their last possessions at Cayos Vacos and Cayo Hueso (hueso,[Pg 15] bone), where Romans saw the rests of their stone habitations (p. 291); now called Cayos bajos and Key West.

On the languages spoken in these parts more will be found under the heading "Seminole."


Of the Tequesta people on the southeastern end of the peninsula we know still less than of the Calusa Indians. There was a tradition that they were the same people which held the Bahama or Lucayo Islands, and the local names of the Florida coast given by Fontanedo may partly refer to this nationality.

They obtained their name from a village, Tequesta, which lay on a river coming from Lake Mayaimi (Fontanedo in Ternaux-C., XX, p. 14) and was visited by Walter Raleigh (Barcia, Ensayo, p. 161). The lands of the Aïs formed the northern portion of the Tequesta domains, and a place called Mocossou is located there on de Bry's map.

This extinct tribe does not seem to have come in contact with the Creeks, though its area is now inhabited by Seminoles.


The Kataba Indians of North and South Carolina are mentioned here only incidentally, as they do not appear to have had much intercourse with any Maskoki tribe. The real extent of this linguistic group is unknown; being in want of any vocabularies besides that of the Kataba, on Kataba river, S. C., and of the Woccons, settled near the coast of N. C., we are not inclined to trust implicitly the statement of Adair, who speaks of a large Kataba confederacy embracing twenty-eight villages "of different nations," on Santee, Combahee, Congaree and other rivers, and speaking dialects of the Kataba language. The Waterees, seen by Lawson, probably belonged to this stock, and the Woccons lived contiguous to the Tuscarora-Iroquois tribe.

[Pg 16]

The passage of Adair being the only notice on the extent of the Kataba language found in the early authors, excepting Lawson, I transcribe it here in full (History, pp. 224. 225): "About the year 1743, the nation (of the Katahba) consisted of almost four hundred warriors, of above twenty different dialects. I shall mention a few of the national names of those who make up this mixed language; the Kátahba is the standard or court dialect—the Wateree, who make up a large town; Eenó, Charàh, ||-wah, now Chowan, Canggaree, Nachee, Yamasee, Coosah, etc. Their country had an old waste field of seven miles extent, and several others of smaller dimensions, which shows that they were formerly a numerous people, to cultivate so much land with their dull stone axes, etc."

After Charàh a new page begins, and the -wah following, which has no connection with what precedes, proves that there is a printer's lacune, perhaps of a whole line. Eenó is given by Lawson as a Tuscarora town;[2] Charàh is the ancient Sara, Saura, Saraw or Sarau mentioned by Lederer and others. The "Nachee" certainly did not speak a Kataba language, nor is there much probability that the Yámassi did so. By the Coosah are probably meant the Indians living on Coosawhatchee river, South Carolina, near Savannah. Adair, in his quality as trader, had visited the Kataba settlements personally.[3]

Pénicaut, in his "Relation,"[4] mentions a curious fact, which proves that the alliances of the Kataba extended over a wide territory in the South. In 1708, the Alibamu had invited warriors of the Cheroki, Abika and Kataba (here called Cadapouces, Canapouces) to an expedition against the Mobilians and the French at Fort Mobile. These hordes[Pg 17] arrived near the bay, and were supposed to number four thousand men; they withdrew without inflicting much damage. More about this expedition under "Alibamu," q. v.


None of all the allophylic tribes referred to in this First Part stood in closer connection with the Creeks or Maskoki proper than the Yuchi or Uchee Indians. They constituted a portion of their confederacy from the middle of the eighteenth century, and this gives us the opportunity to discuss their peculiarities more in detail than those of the other "outsiders." They have preserved their own language and customs; no mention is made of them in the migration legend, and the Creeks have always considered them as a peculiar people.

General Pleasant Porter has kindly favored me with a few ethnologic points, gained by himself from Yuchi Indians, who inhabit the largest town in the Creek Nation, Indian Terr., with a population of about 500. "In bodily size they are smaller than the Creeks, but lithe and of wiry musculature, the muscles often protruding from the body. Their descent is in the male line, and they were once polygamous. It is a disputed fact whether they ever observed the custom of flattening their children's heads, like some of their neighbors. They call themselves children of the Sun, and sun worship seems to have been more pronounced here than with other tribes of the Gulf States. The monthly efflux of the Sun, whom they considered as of the female sex, fell to the earth, as they say, and from this the Yuchi people took its origin. They increase in number at the present time, and a part of them are still pagans. Popularly expressed, their language sounds 'like the warble of the prairie-chickens.' It is stated that their conjurers' songs give a clue to all their antiquities and symbolic customs. They exclude the use of salt from all drugs which serve them as medicine. While engaged in making[Pg 18] medicine they sing the above songs for a time; then comes the oral portion of their ritual, which is followed by other songs."

Not much is known of their language, but it might be easily obtained from the natives familiar with English. From what we know of it, it shows no radical affinity with any known American tongue, and its phonetics have often been noticed for their strangeness. They are said to speak with an abundance of arrested sounds or voice-checks, from which they start again with a jerk of the voice. The accent often rests on the ultima (Powell's mscr. vocabulary), and Ware ascribes to them, though wrongly, the Hottentot cluck.

The numerals follow the decimal, not the quinary system as they do in the Maskoki languages. The lack of a dual form in the intransitive verb also distinguishes Yuchi from the latter.

The earliest habitat of the Yuchi, as far as traceable, was on both sides of the Savannah river, and Yuchi towns existed there down to the middle of the eighteenth century.

When Commander H. de Soto reached these parts with his army, the "queen" (señora, caçica) of the country met him at the town Cofetaçque on a barge, a circumstance which testifies to the existence of a considerable water-course there. Cofetaçque, written also Cofitachiqui (Biedma), Cofachiqui (Garcilaso de la Vega), Cutifachiqui (consonants inverted, Elvas) was seven days' march from Chalaque (Cheroki) "province," and distant from the sea about thirty leagues, as stated by the natives of the place. There were many ruined towns in the vicinity, we are told by the Fidalgo de Elvas. One league from there, in the direction up stream, was Talomeco town, the "temple" of which is described as a wonderful and curious structure by Garcilaso. Many modern historians have located these towns on the middle course of Savannah river, and Charles C. Jones (Hernando de Soto, 1880; pp. 27. 29) believes, with other investigators, that[Pg 19] Cofetaçque stood at Silver Bluff, on the left bank of the Savannah river, about twenty-five miles by water below Augusta. The domains of that "queen," or, as we would express it, the towns and lands of that confederacy, extended from there up to the Cheroki mountains.

The name Cofita-chiqui seems to prove by itself that these towns were inhabited by Yuchi Indians; for it contains kowita, the Yuchi term for Indian, and apparently "Indian of our own tribe." This term appears in all the vocabularies: kawíta, man, male; kohwita, ko-ita, plural kohino'h, man; kota, man, contracted from kow'ta, kowita; also in compounds: kowĕt-ten-chōō, chief; kohítta makinnung, chief of a people. The terms for the parts of the human body all begin with ko-. The second part of the name, -chiqui, is a term foreign to Yuchi, but found in all the dialects of Maskoki in the function of house, dwelling, (tchúku, tchóko, and in the eastern or Apalachian dialects, tchíki) and has to be rendered here in the collective sense of houses, town. Local names to be compared with Cofitachiqui are: Cofachi, further south, and Acapachiqui, a tract of land near Apalache.

The signification of the name Yutchi, plural Yutchihá, by which this people calls itself, is unknown. All the surrounding Indian tribes call them Yuchi, with the exception of the Lenápi or Delawares, who style them Tahogaléwi.

But there are two sides to this question. We find the local name Kawíta, evidently the above term, twice on middle Chatahuchi river, and also in Cofetalaya, settlements of the Cha'hta Indians in Tala and Green counties, Mississippi. Did any Yuchi ever live in these localities in earlier epochs? Garcilaso de Vega, Florida III, c. 10, states that Juan Ortiz, who had been in the Floridian peninsula before, acted as interpreter at Cofitachiqui. This raises the query, did the natives of this "capital" speak Creek or Yuchi? Who will attempt to give an irrefutable answer to this query?

The existence of a "queen" or caçica, that is, of a chief's[Pg 20] widow invested with the authority of a chief, seems to show that Cofetaçque town or confederacy did not belong to the Maskoki connection, for we find no similar instance in Creek towns. Among the Yuchi, succession is in the male line, but the Hitchiti possess a legendary tradition, according to which the first chief that ever stood at the head of their community was a woman.

To determine the extent of the lands inhabited or claimed by the Yuchi in de Soto's time, is next to impossible. At a later period they lived on the eastern side of the Savannah river, and on its western side as far as Ogeechee river, and upon tracts above and below Augusta, Georgia. These tracts were claimed by them as late as 1736. John Filson, in his "Discovery etc. of Kentucky" vol. II, 84-87 (1793), gives a list of thirty Indian tribes, and a statement on Yuchi towns, which he must have obtained from a much older source: "Uchees occupy four different places of residence, at the head of St. John's, the fork of St. Mary's, the head of Cannouchee and the head of St. Tillis.[5] These rivers rise on the borders of Georgia and run separately into the ocean." To Cannouchee answers a place Canosi, mentioned in Juan de la Vandera's narrative (1569); the name, however, is Creek and not Yuchi. Hawkins states that formerly Yuchi were settled in small villages at Ponpon, Saltketchers and Silver Bluff, S. C., and on the Ogeechee river, Ga. In 1739 a Yuchi town existed on the Savannah river, twenty-five miles above Ebenezer, which is in Effingham county, Georgia, near Savannah City (Jones, Tomochichi, p. 117; see next page).

From notices contained in the first volume of Urlsperger's "Ausführliche Nachricht," pp. 845. 850-851, we gather the facts that this Yuchi town was five miles above the Apalachicola Fort, which stood in the "Pallachucla savanna," and that its inhabitants celebrated an annual busk, which was at times visited by the colonists. Governor Oglethorpe[Pg 21] concluded an alliance with this town, and when he exchanged presents to confirm the agreement made, he obtained skins from these Indians. Rev. Boltzius, the minister of the Salzburger emigrants, settled in the vicinity, depicts their character in dark colors; he states "they are much inclined to Robbing and Stealing," but was evidently influenced by the Yámassi and Yamacraw in their vicinity, who hated them as a race foreign to themselves. Of these he says, "these Creeks are Honest, Serviceable and Disinterested."[6]

The reason why the Yuchi people gradually left their old seats and passed over to Chatahuchi and Flint rivers is stated as follows by Benj. Hawkins, United States Agent among the Creeks in his instructive "Sketch of the Creek Country" (1799).[7]

In 1729, "Captain Ellick," an old chief of Kasí'hta, married three Yuchi women and brought them to Kasí'hta. This was greatly disliked by his townspeople, and he was prevailed upon to move across Chatahuchi river, opposite to where Yuchi town was in Hawkins' time; he settled there with his three brothers, two of whom had intermarried with Yuchis. After this, the chief collected all the Yuchi people, gave them lands on the site of Yuchi town, and there they settled.

Hawkins eulogizes the people by stating that they are more civil, orderly and industrious than their neighbors (the Lower Creeks), the men more attached to their wives, and these more chaste. He estimates the number of their warriors ("gun-men"), including those of the three branch villages, at about two hundred and fifty. These branch towns were Intatchkálgi, "beaver-dam people";[8] Padshiläíka, "pigeon roost"; and Tokogálgi, "tad-pole people", on Flint river[Pg 22] and its side creeks; while a few Yuchi had gone to the Upper Creeks and settled there at Sawanógi. Yuchi, the main town, lay on the western bank of Chatahuchi river, on a tributary called Yuchi creek, ten and one-half miles below Kawíta Talahássi, and two miles above Osutchi. Another water course, called "Uchee river," runs from the west into Oklokoni river, or "Yellow Water," in the southwestern corner of the State of Georgia. Morse, in his list of Seminole settlements (1822), mentions a Yuchi town near Mikasuki, Florida.

The main Yuchi town on Chatahuchi river was built in a vast plain rising from the river. W. Bartram, who saw it in 1775, depicts it as the largest, most compact, and best situated Indian town he ever saw; the habitations were large and neatly built, the walls of the houses consisted of a wooden frame, lathed and plastered inside and outside with a reddish clay, and roofed with cypress bark or shingles. He estimated the number of the inhabitants at one thousand or fifteen hundred. They were usually at variance with the Maskoki confederacy, and "did not mix" with its people, but were wise enough to unite with them against a common enemy (Travels, pp. 386. 387).

The early reports may often have unconsciously included the Yuchi among the Apalachi[9] and Apalatchúkla. Among the chiefs who accompanied Tomochichi, miko of the Yamacraw Indians, to England in 1733, was Umphichi or Umpeachy, "a Uchee chief from Palachocolas."[10]

William Bartram, who traveled through these parts from 1773 to 1778, and published his "Travels" many years later,[11] calls them "Uche or Savannuca," which is the Creek Sawanógi, or "dwellers upon Savannah river." This name Savannuca, and many equally sounding names, have caused much[Pg 23] confusion concerning a supposed immigration of the Sháwano or Shawnee Indians (of the Algonkin race) into Georgia, among historians not posted in Indian languages. Sawanógi is derived from Savannah river, which is named after the prairies extending on both sides, these being called in Spanish sabana. Sabana, and savane in the Canadian French, designate a grassy plain, level country, prairie, also in Span. pasture extending over a plain; from Latin sabana napkin. It still occurs in some local names of Canada and of Spanish America. But this term has nothing at all in common with the Algonkin word sháwano south, from which are derived the tribal names: Sháwano or Shawnee, once on Ohio and Cumberland rivers and their tributaries; Chowan in Southern Virginia; Siwoneys in Connecticut; Sawannoe in New Jersey (about 1616); Chaouanons, the southern division of the Illinois or Maskoutens.

These tribes, and many others characterized as southerners by the same or similar Algonkin names, had no connection among themselves, besides the affinity in their dialects, which for the Chowans is not even certain. The tradition that Sháwanos existed in Upper Georgia, around Tugĕlo, and on the head waters of the large Georgia rivers, requires therefore further examination. Milfort, in his Mémoire (pp. 9. 10) states that lands were obtained from "les Savanogués, sauvages qui habitent cette partie (de Tougoulou)," for the plantation of vineyards, about 1775. The name of the Suwanee river, Florida, and that of Suwanee Creek and town, northeast of Atlanta, Georgia, seem to contain the Creek term sawáni echo. By all means, these names cannot serve to prove the presence of the Sháwano tribe in these eastern parts, but a settlement of Sháwanos, also called Sawanógi, existed on Tallapoosa river, where they seem to have been mixed with Yuchi.[12]

A. Gallatin, "Synopsis of the Indian Tribes," p. 95, mentions[Pg 24] a tradition, according to which "the ancient seats of the Yuchi were east of the Coosa, and probably of the Chatahuchi river, and that they consider themselves as the most ancient inhabitants of the country." Of which country? If the whole country is meant, which was at the dawn of history held by Maskoki tribes, the name of the Yazoo river may be adduced as an argument for the truth of this tradition, for yasu, yashu is the Yuchi term for leaf and any leaf-bearing tree, even pines (from yá, wood, tree), and Kawíta has been mentioned above. From a thorough comparative study of the Yuchi language, the Maskoki dialects and the local nomenclature of the country, we can alone expect any reliable information upon the extent and the area of territory anciently held by the Yuchi; but at present it is safest to locate their "priscan home" upon both sides of Lower Savannah river.


Intercourse between the Creek and the Cheroki Indians must have taken place in prehistoric times, as evidenced by local names, and more so by Cheroki terms adopted into the Creek language.

The Cheroki, or more correctly, Tsálagi nation is essentially a hill people; their numerous settlements were divided into two great sections by the watershed ridge of the Alleghany mountains, in their language Unéga katúsi ("white, whitish mountains"), of which even now a portion is called "Smoky Mountains." Northwest of that ridge lay the Cheroki villages of the Overhill settlement, Ótari, Ótali ("up, above"), along the Great and Little Tennessee rivers and their tributaries, while southeast of it, in the mountains of North Carolina and on the head waters of the Georgia rivers, extended the towns of the Lower Cheroki, or Erati (in Cheroki élati, below, nether). There were also a number of Cheroki villages in the northern parts of Alabama State, and du Pratz distinctly states, that the "Chéraquies" lived east of the[Pg 25] Abé-ikas.[13] While calling a person of their own people by the name of Atsálagi, in the plural Anitsálagi, they comprise all the Creeks under the name of Kúsa, from Coosa river, or more probably from the ancient, far-famed town of the same name: Agúsa, Kúsa, Gúsa, a Creek person; Anigúsa, the Creek people; Gúsa uniwoní'hsti, the Creek language.

The Cheroki language was spoken in many dialects before the people emigrated to the lands allotted to them in the northeastern part of the Indian Territory, and even now a difference may be observed between the Western Cheroki and the Eastern or Mountain Cheroki, which is the language of the people that remained in the hills of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee.[14] Mr. Horatio Hale has recently demonstrated the affinity of Cheroki with the Iroquois stock;[15] Wendát and Tuscarora form other dialectic branches of it, showing much closer relation to the Iroquois dialects of Western New York than Cheroki. Thirty-two terms of the Keowe dialect (Lower Cheroki), taken down by B. Hawkins, are embodied in an unpublished vocabulary, which is in the possession of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.[16] Another ancient dialect is that of Kitówa or Kitúa; this is the name by which the Cheroki are known among several northern tribes, as Delawares and Sháwano (cf. below); it was also the name of a secret society among the Cheroki, which existed at the time of the Secession war.

The Cheroki Indians are bodily well developed, rather[Pg 26] tall in stature and of an irritable temper, flashing up easily. In the eighteenth century they were engaged in constant wars, and from their mountain fastnesses made sallies upon all the surrounding Indian tribes. The Iroquois or "Northern Indians" attacked them in their own country, as they also did the Kataba and Western Algonkins. A warlike spirit pervaded the whole Cheroki nation, and even women participated in their raids and fights.[17]

Wm. Bartram states, that the Cheroki men had a lighter and more olive complexion than the contiguous Creek tribes, adding that some of their young girls were nearly as fair and blooming as European women. H. Timberlake, who visited a portion of their villages (on Great Tennessee river) in 1762, represents them as of a middle stature, straight, well built, with small heads and feet, and of an olive color, though generally painted. They shaved the hair of their heads, and many of the old people had it plucked out by the roots, the scalp-lock only remaining. The ears were slit and stretched to an enormous circumference, an operation which caused them incredible pain and was adopted from the Sháwano or some other northern nation. The women wore the hair long, even reaching to the knees, but plucked it out from all the other parts of the body, especially the looser part of the sex (Memoirs, pp. 49-51). Polygamy then existed among them. They erected houses extending sometimes from sixty to seventy feet in length, but rarely over sixteen in width, and covered them with narrow boards. Some of these houses were two stories high, and a hot-house or sudatory stood close to every one of these capacious structures. They also made bark canoes and canoes of poplar[18] or pine, from thirty to forty feet long and about[Pg 27] two feet broad, with flat bottoms and sides. Pottery was made by them of red and white clay (Ibid., pp. 59-62).

The male population was divided into a class of head-men or chiefs, recruited by popular election, the selection being made among the most valorous men and the best orators in their councils; and in two classes of "yeomen": the "warriors" and the "fighting men," these being inferior to the warriors.

Distinction in reward of exploits was conferred through the honorary titles of Outacity, "man killer," Kolona, "raven" and "Beloved," names to which parallels will be found among the Creeks. (Ibid., pp. 70, 71.)

Seven clans or gentes exist among the Cheroki, and many of them observe to the present day the regulations imposed by the gentile organization. They will not marry into their own gens or phratry, for instance. The totems of these gentes (anatáyaⁿwe, gens, clan) were obtained in 1880 from Mr. Richard Wolf, delegate of the people to the United States government, as follows:

1. Aniweyahiá anatáyaⁿwe, wolf gens, the most important of all.

2. Ane-igilóhi anatáyaⁿwe, long hair gens.

3. Anigodegē′we, the gens to which Mr. Wolf belongs. They can marry into all gentes, except into the long hair clan, because this contains their "aunts" (ä`loki).

4. Anitsī′skwa, bird gens.

5. Aniwō′te, paint gens; (wō′te, wo′de, clay; aniwō′ti, paint).

6. Anigo-ulé, anikulé, acorn gens.

7. Anisahóne, blue gens.

Besides the fact that gentes Nos. 2 and 3 belong to one phratry, the other phratries and their names were not remembered by the informant. The prefix ani- marks the plural of animate beings.

The list of totemic gentes printed in Lewis H. Morgan, Ancient Society, p. 164, differs from the above in giving ten[Pg 28] gentes, two being extinct, and one or two being perhaps phratries and not gentes:—

1. Wolf, aniwhíya. 2. Red paint, aniwóte. 3. Long prairie, anigätagáni'h. 4. Deaf (a bird), dsuliniana. 5. Holly tree, anisdásdi. 6. Deer, anikáwi'h. 7. Blue, anisahókni. 8. Long hair, anikalóhai. 9. Acorn, anidsúla (extinct). 10. Bird, anidséskwa (extinct).

The names of several Cheroki towns are mentioned by the historians of de Soto's expedition, which traversed a portion of their country; by Adair, Timberlake and by Wm. Bartram, who has left a long list of their settlements.

The rare publication: Weston (Pl. Chas. Jennett), Documents connected with the History of South Carolina, London, 1856, 4to, contains an article by de Brahm, which gives an ethnologic sketch and many other particulars of the Southern Indians, and especially refers to the Cheroki (pp. 218-227). The English-Cheroki war, from February to August, 1760, is narrated pp. 208-213.

The tradition that the Cheroki, or rather a portion of them, were found living in caves, is substantiated by the appellation "Cave-dwellers," given to them by the Northern Indians. The Comanches call them Ebikuita; the Senecas, Uyáda, cave-men; the Wendát, Uwatáyo-róno, from uwatáyo, which in their language means "hole in the ground, cave;" the Sháwano call them Katowá, plural Katowági; and the Delawares by the same name, Gatohuá (Barton, Appendix, p. 8: Gattóchwa). This refers to Kitówa, one of their towns previously mentioned. Caves of the old Cheroki country were examined by archæologists, and some of them showed marks of former occupation, especially caves in Sullivan and Hawkins counties, Tennessee. This reminds us of the Troglodytæ and Mandritæ of ancient times, of the Cliff-Dwellers on Upper Colorado river, New Mexico, and of other American tribes, which lived in caves. Thus a Shasti tribe, the Weohow, are reported to have received this name from a "stone[Pg 29] house" or rock dwelling situated in their country, east of Shasta River and south of the Siskiyou Mountains.[19]

Lists of the ancient Cheroki towns will be found in W. Bartram's Travels, p. 371-372 (forty-three), in H. Timberlake (his map is also reproduced in Jefferys' Topography of N. A., an atlas in fol., 1762), and in J. Gerar W. de Brahm, Hist. of the Prov. of Georgia, Wormsloe 1849, fol., p. 54.


None of the numerous Algonkin tribes lived in the immediate neighborhood of the Maskoki family of Indians, but of the Dakotan stock the Arkansas (originally Ákansā—the Akansea of Father Gravier), dwelt in close proximity, and had frequent intercourse with this Southern nation.

Pénicaut relates[20] that the French commander, Lemoyne d'Iberville, sailed up the Mississippi river, and sixty leagues above the mouth of the Yazoo found the mouth of the Arkansas river; eight leagues above, on the same western shore, was the nation of the Arkansas, and in their town were two other "nations," called Torimas and Kappas. By these warlike and hunting tribes he was received in a friendly manner. The men are described as stout and thick-set (gros et trapus), the women as pretty and light-complexioned. Imahao, another Arkansas village, is mentioned in Margry IV, 179. The affluent of the Mississippi on which the Arkansas were settled was, according to D. Coxe, Carolana, p. 11, the Ousoutowy river: another name for Arkansas river.[21]

From Rev. J. Owen Dorsey, who makes a special study of all the Dakota tribes, I obtained the following oral information, founded on his personal intercourse with individuals of the Káppa tribe:

"Ákansa is the Algonkin name by which the Kápa, Quápa[Pg 30] were called by the eastern Indians, as Illinois, etc. They call themselves Ugáχpa and once lived in four villages, two of which were on Mississippi, two on Arkansas river, near its mouth: Their towns, though now transferred to the Indian Territory, northeastern angle, have preserved the same names:

"1. Ugaχpáχti or 'real Kápa.' Ugáχpa means 'down stream,' just as O′maha means 'up stream.'

"2. Tiwadímaⁿ, called Toriman by French authors.

"3. Uzutiúhe, corrupted into O′sotchoue, O′sochi, Southois by the French authors. Probably means: 'village upon low-land level.'

"4. Taⁿwaⁿzhika or 'small village;' corrupted into Topinga, Tonginga, Donginga by the French.

"The Pacaha 'province' of de Soto's historians is a name inverted from Capaha, which is Ugáχpa. The form Quápa is incorrect, for Kápa (or Kápaha of La Salle), which is abbreviated from Ugáχpa."

In 1721 LaHarpe saw three of their villages on the Mississippi river, and noticed snake worship among these Indians.



On account of the recent discovery of their consonantic language, which proves to be disconnected from any other aboriginal tongue spoken in North America, a peculiar interest attaches itself to the tribe of the Taensa Indians, whose cabins stood in Tensas county, Louisiana, bordering east on Mississippi river. The Tensas river, in French Bayou Tensa, which joins the Washita river at Trinity City, after forming a prodigious number of bends, and flowing past a multitude of artificial mounds, still keeps up the memory of this extinct tribe.

In March 1700, the French commander L. d'Iberville[Pg 31] calculated the distance from the landing of the Natchez to that of the Taensas, following the river, at about 15½ leagues, and in the air-line, 11¼ leagues. That Taensa landing, at the foot of a bluff nine hundred feet high (150 toises), was about 32°5´ Lat., while d'Iberville, trusting his inaccurate methods of measuring, located it at 32°47´ Lat. (Margry IV, 413).

The tribe occupied seven villages at the time of d'Iberville's visit, which were distant four leagues from the Mississippi river, and grouped around a semi-circular lake, probably Lake St. Joseph. One hundred and twenty of these cabins were extending for two leagues on the lake shore, and a "temple" was among them. The missionary Montigny, who visited the locality about the same epoch, estimated the population of that part of the Taensa settlement which he saw at 400 persons. "They were scattered over an area of eight leagues, and their cabins lay along a river."

The seven villages visited by d'Iberville constitute one town only, as he was told. This means to say that they formed a confederacy. A Taensa Indian, who accompanied him, gave their names in the Chicasa trade language, or, as the French called it, the Mobilian jargon (Margry IV, 179).

1. Taënsas; from Cha'hta taⁿdshi maize.

2. Ohytoucoulas; perhaps from úti chestnut; cf. utápa chestnut eater. For -ougoula, cf. p. 36.

3. Nyhougoulas;

4. Couthaougoulas; from Cha'hta uk'hátaχ lake.

5. Conchayon; cf. Cha'hta kónshak reed, species of cane.

6. Talaspa; probably from ta`lapi five, or ta`lepa hundred.

7. Chaoucoula; from Cha'hta issi deer, or hátche river, water-course.

In the Taensa Grammar and Vocabulary of Haumonté, Parisot and Adam (Paris, 1882), the name by which the people called itself is Hâstriryini "warriors, men, tribe;"[Pg 32] cf. p. 91: hâstri to fight, make war; hâstrir warrior, man; hâstriryi people, tribe; but Tensagini also occurs in the texts, which would point to an extensive maize culture.

The Taensa were sun worshipers, and had a temple with idols and a perpetual fire. When d'Iberville sojourned among them, lightning struck their temple and destroyed it, upon which the mothers sacrificed their infants, to appease the wrath of the incensed deity, by throwing them into the burning edifice (Margry IV, 414, etc.; V, 398). The people then rubbed their faces and bodies with earth. Nothing definite is known about their gentes, phratries and totems. Several French authors represent them as speaking the Naktche language (which is untrue) and as being of the same nation.[22] D'Iberville states that their language differed from that of the Huma tribe.

The remnants of a tribe called Mosopellea, probably of Illinois-Algonkin origin and previously residing west of the "Isle of Tamaroa," on western shore of Mississippi river, joined the Taensa, and were met there in 1682 by Tonti. They had been almost annihilated by the Iroquois.[23]

The Taensa had, at one time, formed an alliance with the Koroa, then on Yazoo river, and another with the Arkansas Indians.

The Taensa grammar speaks of a northern and of a southern, more polished dialect, but does not locate them topographically. The only word of Taensa which I have found to agree with any other language, is ista eye; it also occurs in Southern Dakotan dialects.

[Pg 33]


In early colonial times a portion of the Northern Taensa, driven from their homes on the Taensa river by the rage of the Chicasa, fled to the Mobilians. The French settled them on the western side of Mobile bay, below Fort St. Louis, and thirty miles above Fort Condé, which stood on the site of the present city of Mobile.[24] The French called them "les petits Taënsas" in contradistinction to the "great (or northern) Taënsas," on Mississippi and Taensa rivers. About the middle of the eighteenth century one hundred of their cabins stood north of the French fort St. Louis, and also north of the Tohome Indian settlement. The Taensa were then speaking their native language and, besides this, a corrupt Chicasa dialect, called the Mobilian language by the French.[25] Subsequently they must have removed from there to the eastern channel, for Bartram, Travels, pp. 401. 403, describes Taensa there as a "pretty high bluff, on the eastern channel of the great Mobile river, about thirty miles above Fort Condé, or city of Mobile, at the head of the bay ... with many artificial mounds of earth and other ruins." During the wars of 1813-15 the adjacent country is called the "Tensaw country."

It is not unlikely that these Taensa were identical with the "petits Taënsas" seen by Lemoyne d'Iberville at the Huma town in March 1700, and described by him as migratory, but living most of the time at three days' distance west of Huma, and then warring against the Bayogoulas. They gained their sustenance by hunting, though buffaloes were scarce in their country, and were men of a fine physique (Margry IV, 408). In 1702 they defeated the Bayogoulas and burnt their village on Mississippi river; the Bayogoulas[Pg 34] fled to the French fort on that river, then commanded by Mr. St. Denis. If identical with the Taensa on Mobile river, these fights of theirs must have occurred during their passage from the North to the bay of Mobile.


A third tribe, which may have stood in some connection with the two tribes above, are the Tangipahoa Indians settled in various places east of New Orleans, especially on Tangipahoa river, in southeastern Louisiana. A French author states that they formed one of the seven villages of the Acolapissa. The name is written in different ways, and is interpreted by Gov. Allen Wright as "those who gather maize stalks," from táⁿdshe maize; ápi stalk, cob; áyua they gather. Pénicaut defines the name differently, for he states (Margry V, 387) "we found (northwest of Lake Pontchartrain) a river, Tandgepao, which in the Indian signifies 'bled blanc.'" The Taensapaoa tribe, on the river of the same name, is referred to in Bartram, Travels, p. 422; cf. p. 423. We have no notice concerning the language spoken by this tribe, which was, perhaps, incorporated into the Cha'hta living now around New Orleans; thus we are unable to decide whether they spoke Cha'hta, like the other Acolapissa, or another tongue. The Tangibao tribe was "destroyed by the Oumas," as stated in a passage of Margry (IV, 168); by which is meant, that they were scattered and their tribal connection disrupted.


Of the Lower Mississippi tribes the most powerful and populous was that of the Naktche, settled at the beginning of the eighteenth century in nine villages on and about St. Catherine creek (Lúkfi-ákula in Cha'hta: "clay-digging place," to daub houses with), in a beautiful and fertile country. This stream wends its way first south, then west, in a semi-circular course, around the present city of Natchez,[Pg 35] Mississippi, and runs at an average distance of three to four miles from it. Other Naktche villages existed in its vicinity.

Náktche is the correct form of the tribal name, though this people appears to have called itself by some other appellation. Natchez is the old-fashioned plural adopted from French orthography; we might just as well write Iroquoiz, Islinoiz or Adayez, instead of the terminal -s now designating the plural in French. The Cheroki Indians call a Nache, Natche or Náktche person A′noχtse, A′nnoχtse, the people or tribe Anínoχtse, shortened into Ani`htse, which proves that a guttural has been elided from the present form of the name. Isalakti, from whom Albert Gallatin obtained a vocabulary of the language, called himself a Nahktse, not a Natche chief.

The name is of Shetimasha origin, I have reasons to assume. Náksh in that language means one that is in a hurry, one running, náksh así,[26] abbrev. náksh warrior; and the earliest French explorers may have heard that name from the Shetimasha Indians settled on the Mississippi, where Bayou Lafourche, also called the river of the Shetimasha, branches off from it. Should the name belong to the Chicasa trade language, we might think of the Cha'hta adverb: naksika aside, away from, referring to the site of the Naktche villages at some distance from the great "water-road," the Mississippi river.

The Naktche tribe owes its celebrity and almost romantic fame to several causes: their towns were populous, the government more centralized than that of the surrounding native populations; the French settled in their vicinity, and hence their authors have left to posterity more information concerning their confederacy than concerning other tribes; their stubborn resistance to French encroachments gave them a high reputation for bravery; their religious customs, centering in a highly developed sun-worship, made of them an object[Pg 36] of curious interest and far-going ethnologic speculation for the white colonists, whose views on the Naktche we must receive with the utmost caution.

L. d'Iberville reports, that at the time of his visit (March 1699) the villages of the Naktche made up one town only, and formed a complex of contiguous villages called Théloël or Thécoël[27] (Margry IV, 179).

The annalist Pénicaut, who visited these parts in 1704, states that the nine villages were situated in a delightful country, swarming with buffaloes, drained by rivulets and partly wooded. The village or residence of the head chief, the Sun, lay one league from the Mississippi river, and three other villages were on a brook, at a distance of half a league from each other. He alludes to their human sacrifices, the frequency of infanticide, and gives descriptions of their temple, perpetual fire, their "marche des cadavres" and articles of dress. The house of the Sun was large enough to contain four thousand persons; he had female servants called oulchil tichon, and thirty male attendants ("laquais") or loüés, the Allouez of other chroniclers. Mother-right prevailed among them (Margry V, 444-456).

The Taensa guide, who accompanied d'Iberville to the Naktche tribe in 1699, furnished him a list of the nine villages, their names being given in the Chicasa trade language. I presume that they are given in the topographical order as they followed each other on St. Catharine creek, from its mouth upward, since the "Nachés" village or residence of the Sun was distant one league only from the Mississippi river. We are not acquainted with the names given to these villages in the Naktche language. The etymologies of the Cha'hta language were obtained from Allen Wright; the suffixed word -ougoula is the Cha'hta ókla people, tribe.

[Pg 37]

1. Nachés;

2. Pochougoula; "pond-lily people," from Cha'hta pántchi pond lily.

3. Ousagoucoulas; "hickory people," from Cha'hta û′ssak, óssak hickory.

4. Cogoucoulas; "swan people," from ókok swan.

5. Yatanocas;

6. Ymacachas; almost homonymous with the Arkansas village Imahao, mentioned above.

7. Thoucoue; probably identical with Théloël (cf. above) and the Thioux of later authors.

8. Tougoulas; "wood or forest people" from iti wood.

9. Achougoulas; "pipe people," from ashunga pipe, literally, "the thing they smoke from;" cf. shúngali I smoke from.

Although these names are considerably frenchified in their orthography, the meaning of some admits of no doubt. When I visited Natchez city in January 1882, I was informed that the White Apple village, called Apilua (Vpelois) and mentioned by Le Page du Pratz, is supposed to have existed twelve to fifteen miles southeast of the city. The White Earth village and the village of the Meal were other settlements of theirs. Owing to incessant rains, I could not explore the sites to their full extent, but found a flat mound south of St. Catharine's creek, with a diameter of thirty-two feet and perfectly circular, which lay at the same distance from the Mississippi as given above for the residence of the Sun. Col. J. F. H. Claiborne's History of Mississippi, vol. I, 40-47, gives valuable extracts from French archives, pointing to the real sites of the Naktche habitations. The colossal mound of Seltzer-town stands but a short distance from the creek alluded to, and is fourteen miles from Natchez city to the northeast.

The settlement of the French on the heights of Natchez, the growing animosity of the natives against the intruders, the three successive wars, the massacre of the colonists[Pg 38] in November, 1729, and the final dispersion of the tribe in February 1730, are well-known historic facts and need not be repeated in this volume. The disorganized warriors retreated with their families to different parts of the country. One party fled across Mississippi river to some locality near Trinity City, La., where they entrenched themselves, but were attacked, defeated and partly captured by a body of French troops two years later. Another party reached the Chicasa country and was granted a home and protection by that tribe; but the revengeful French colonists declared war upon the hospitable Chicasa for sheltering their mortal enemies, and invaded their lands by way of the Yazoo river in 1736, but were compelled to retreat after suffering considerable loss. Fort Tombigbee, constructed in 1735, served as a second base for the French operations. Further French-Chicasa wars occurred in 1739-40 and in 1748.[28]

Later on, we find their remnants among the Creeks, who had provided them with seats on Upper Coosa river, and incorporated them into their confederacy. They built a village called Naktche, and a part of them went to reside in the neighboring Abikúdshi town. Naktche town lay, in B. Hawkins' time (1799), on a creek of the same name, joining Coosa river sixty miles above its confluence with Tallapoosa river, and harbored from fifty to one hundred warriors (Hawkins, p. 42). A number of Naktche families, speaking their paternal language, now live in the hilly parts of the Cheroki Nation, Indian Territory.

A body of Indians, called by French and English writers Thioux and Grigras, remained in the vicinity of the Natchez colony after the departure of the Naktche Indians, who had been the ruling tribe of the confederacy. It is doubtful whether these two divisions were of foreign or of Naktche origin, though the latter seems improbable. The Grigras[Pg 39] were called so on account of a peculiarity in their pronunciation; it probably referred to what the French call grasseyer, and the Canadian French parler gras.[29] Eleven Sháwano were once brought to the villages as captives, and were known there as "Stinkards," "Puants," terms which served to interpret the Naktche term métsmetskop miserable, bad, wretched, inferior.

The scanty vocabularies which we possess of the Naktche language contain a sprinkling of foreign terms adopted from the Chicasa or Mobilian. Two languages at least were spoken before 1730 in the Naktche villages; the Naktche by the ruling class or tribe; the other, the Chicasa or trade language by the "low people;" and hence the mixture referred to. Du Pratz gives specimens of both. Naktche is a vocalic language, rich in verbal forms, and, to judge from a few specimens, polysynthetic to a considerable degree in its affixes.


Migratory dispositions seem to have inhered to the Tonica or Tunica tribe in a higher degree than to their southern neighbors, for in the short lapse of two centuries we see them stationed at more than three places.

In a letter addressed by Commander Lemoyne d'Iberville to the Minister of the French Navy, dated from Bayogoulas, February 26th, 1700, he states that an English fur-trader and Indian slave-jobber had just visited the Tonica, who are on a river emptying into the Mississippi, twenty leagues above[Pg 40] the Taensa Indians, at some distance from the Chicasa, and 170 leagues from the Gulf of Mexico. When d'Iberville ascended the Yazoo river in the same year, he found a village of this tribe on its right (or western) bank, four days' travel from the Natchez landing. Seven villages were seen upon this river, which is navigable for sixty leagues. The Tonica village, the lowest of them, was two days' travel from Thysia, the uppermost (Margry IV, 180. 362. 398; V, 401). La Harpe mentions the establishment of a mission house among the Tonica on Yazoo river.[30]

In 1706, when expecting to become involved in a conflict with the Chicasa and Alibamu Indians, the Tonica tribe, or a part of it, fled southward to the towns of the Huma, and massacred a number of these near the site where New Orleans was built afterwards (French, Hist. Coll. of La., III, 35). The "Tunica Old Fields" lay in Tunica county, Mississippi State, opposite Helena, Arkansas. Cf. Cha'hta.

They subsequently lived at the Tonica Bluffs, on the east shore of the Mississippi river, two leagues below the influx of the Red river. T. Jefferys, who in 1761 gave a description of their village and chief's house, states that they had settled on a hill near the "River of the Tunicas," which comes from the Lake of the Tunicas, and that in close vicinity two other villages were existing (Hist. of French Dominions, I, 145-146).[31] Th. Hutchins, Louisiana and West Florida, Phila., 1784, p. 44, locates them a few miles below that spot, opposite Pointe Coupée and ten miles below the Pascagoulas, on Mississippi river. So does also Baudry de Lozières in 1802, who speaks of a population of one hundred and twenty men.

In 1817, a portion of the tribe, if not the whole, had gone up the Red river and settled at Avoyelles, ninety miles above[Pg 41] its confluence with the Mississippi. A group of these Indians is now in Calcasieu county, Louisiana, in the neighborhood of Lake Charles City.

A separate chapter has been devoted to this tribe, because there is a strong probability that their language differed entirely from the rest of the Southern tongues. Le Page du Pratz, l.l., in confirming this statement, testifies to the existence of the sound R in their language, which occurs neither in Naktche nor in the Maskoki dialects or Shetimasha (II, 220-221). We possess no vocabulary of it, and even the tribal name belongs to Chicasa: túnnig post, pillar, support, probably post of territorial demarcation of their lands on the Yazoo river. The only direct intimation which I possess on that tongue is a correspondence of Alphonse L. Pinart, who saw some Tonica individuals, and inferred from their terms that they might belong to the great Pani stock of the Western plains.


Of this small and obscure Indian community mention is made much earlier than of all the other tribes hitherto spoken of in this volume, for Cabeça de Vaca, in his Naufragios, mentions them among the inland tribes as Atayos. In the list of eight Caddo villages, given by a Taensa guide to L. d'Iberville on his expedition up the Red river (March 1699), they figure as the Natao (Margry IV, 178).

The Adái, Atá-i, Háta-i, Adayes (incorrectly called Adaize) seem to have persisted at their ancient home, where they formed a tribe belonging to the Caddo confederacy. Charlevoix (Hist. de la Nouvelle France, ed. Shea VI, p. 24) relates that a Spanish mission was founded among the Adaes in 1715. A Spanish fort existed there, seven leagues west of Natchitoches, as late as the commencement of the nineteenth century. Baudry de Lozières puts their population at one hundred men (1802), and Morse (1822) at thirty, who then[Pg 42] passed their days in idleness on the Bayou Pierre of Red river. Even at the present time they are remembered as a former division of the Caddo confederacy, and called Háta-i by the Caddo, who are settled in the southeastern part of the Indian Territory.

A list of about 300 Adái words was gathered in 1802 by Martin Duralde, which proves it to be a vocalic language independent of any other, though a few affinities are traceable with the Pani dialects. The orthography of that vocabulary cannot, however, be fully relied on. The original is in the library of the American Philosophical Society, in Philadelphia. Rob. G. Latham, in his "Opuscula; Essays, chiefly philological," etc., London 1860; pp. 402-404, has compared Adahi words with the corresponding terms of other North American languages, but without arriving at a definite result.


The great family of Pani Indians has, in historic times, extended from the Platte river southward to the Gulf of Mexico. From the main stock, the Sanish or Arikari have wandered on their hunting trips north to the Middle Missouri river, while the Pani, in four divisions, had the Platte and its tributaries for their headquarters. The southern tribes are the Witchita, the Towákone or Three Canes, who speak the Witchita dialect, the Kichai and the originally Texan tribes of the Caddo and Waco (Wéko, in Spanish: Hueco.)[32]

The Pani family was too remote from the Maskoki tribes to enter in direct connection with them. Some of the southern septs had intercourse with them, mainly through the French colonists. Fights between Caddos and Cha'hta are recorded for the eighteenth century. The Pani family is mentioned here simply because the legendary caves from which the Creek nation is said to have sprung lay on Red[Pg 43] river, within the limits of the territory held by some of the southern Pani nations.

When L. d'Iberville ascended the western branch of the Red river, now called Red river (the eastern branch being Washita or Black river), in March 1699, he saw and visited eight villages of the Caddo connection. His Taensa guide named them as follows:

Yataché; called Yátassi by Americans.

Nactythos; they are the Natchitoches.


Natao; the Adái above.


Cadodaquis; full form, Cado-hadatcho or "chief tribe."



The Cachaymons and the Cadodaquis had been previously visited by Cavelier de la Salle, when returning from the Cenys, in the central parts of Texas.[33]

The Caddo confederacy consists of the following divisions or tribes, as given me by a Caddo Indian in 1882:

Kado proper; kádo means chief, principal.

Anadáko, Anadāku; also Nandako.

Ainai, Ayenai; also Hini, Inies upon an affluent of Sabine river; identical with the Tachies (Sibley). From this tribal name is derived Texas, anciently Tachus, Taxus.

Natchidosh, Nashédosh; the Natchitoches.


Anabaidaítcho, Nabádatsu; the Nabedatches, who are nearly extinct now.

Nátassi; identical with the Natachés above.

Nakúhĕdōtch, Nakohodótse; the Nagogdoches.

Assine, Assíni; the Asinays of French explorers.

Hadaí; the Adái, Adáye, q. v.

[Pg 44]

Yowā′ni, now in Texas.

A′-ish; a few of these are now living in Texas, called Alish, Eyish by former writers.

The Caddo relate, as being the mythical origin of their nation, that they came from a water-sink in Louisiana, went westward, shoved up earth by means of arrow-heads, and thus made a mountain. The totems of their gentes once were, as far as remembered, bear ná-ustse, panther kö′she, wolf tá-isha, snake kíka, wild-cat wadó, owl néa, ó-ush.

When Milfort passed through the Red river country about 1780, the Caddo, whom he describes as fallacious in trading, were at war with the Cha'hta (Mémoire, p. 95).

In 1705 some Colapissa from the Talcatcha river, four leagues from Lake Pontchartrain, settled upon the northern bank of this lake at Castembayouque (now Bayou Castin, at Mandeville), and were joined, six months after, by a party of "Nassitoches," whom famine had driven from their homes on Red river.[34]


These natives once dwelt in numerous settlements clustering around Bayou Lafourche, Grand river (or Bayou Atchafalaya), and chiefly around Grand Lake or Lake of the Shetimasha. All that is left of them—about fifty-five Indians, of a parentage strongly mixed with white blood, reside at Charenton, St. Mary's Parish, on the southwestern side of the lake, though a few are scattered through the forests on Grand river. They call themselves Pántch pínunkansh, "men altogether red." The name Shetimasha, by which they are generally known, is of Cha'hta origin, and means "they possess (imásha) cooking vessels (tchúti)." Their central place of worship was three miles north of Charenton, on a small inlet of Grand Lake. They worshiped there, by dances and exhaustive fasting, their principal deity, Kút-Nähänsh, the "mid-day sun."

[Pg 45]

They were not warlike, and never figured prominently in colonial history. When a portion of the tribe, settled on Bayou Lafourche, had murdered Mr. Saint-Cosme, a Naktche missionary descending the Mississippi river in 1703, they were attacked by the colonists and their Indian allies. The war ended with a speedy submission of the savages. They called the Naktche Indians their brothers, and their myths related that their "Great Spirit" created them in the country of that people, and gave them laws, women and tobacco. The Cha'hta tribes, who attempted to deprive them of their native land, made continual forays upon them during the eighteenth century.

These Indians were strict monogamists. The chieftaincy was a life-long office among them. The chiefs lived in lodges larger than those of the common people, and their tobacco pipes were larger than those of the warriors. The foreheads of the children were subjected to the flattening process.[35]

Their language is extremely polysynthetic as far as derivation by suffixes is concerned, and there are also a number of prefixes. For the pronouns thou and ye a common and a reverential form are in use. The faculty for forming compound words is considerable, and the numerals show the decimal form of computation.


To close the list of the linguistic families encircling the Maskoki stock, we mention the Atákapa, a language which has been studied but very imperfectly. This tribe once existed upon the upper Bayou Tèche northwest and west of the Shetimasha, north and northwest of the Opelousa Indians, and from the Tèche extended beyond Vermilion river, perhaps down to the sea coast. The Atákapa of old were a well-made race of excellent hunters, but had, as their name[Pg 46] indicates, the reputation of being anthropophagists (Cha'hta: hátak, hattak person, ápa to eat). At first, they suffered no intrusion of the colonists into their territory and cut off expeditions attempting to penetrate into their seats. During the nineteenth century they retreated toward the Sabine river. The name by which they call themselves is unknown; perhaps it is Skunnemoke, which was the name of one of their villages on Vermilion river, six leagues west of New Iberia. Cf. Th. Hutchins (Phila., 1784).

The scanty vocabulary of their language, taken in 1802, shows clusters of consonants, especially at the end of words, but with its queer, half-Spanish orthography does not appear to form a reliable basis for linguistic conclusions. A few words agree with Tónkawē, the language of a small Texan tribe; and according to tradition, the Karánkawas, once the giant people of Matagorda bay, on the Texan Coast, spoke a dialect of Atákapa. These three tribes were, like all other Texan tribes, reputed to be anthropophagists. In extenuation of this charge, Milfort asserts that they "do not eat men, but roast them only, on account of the cruelties first enacted against their ancestors by the Spaniards" (p. 90). This remark refers to a tribe, also called Atákapas, which he met at a distance of five days' travel west of St. Bernard bay.

We have but few notices of expeditions sent by French colonists to explore the unknown interior of what forms now the State of Louisiana. One of these, consisting of three Frenchmen, was in 1703 directed to explore the tribes about the river de la Madeleine, now Bayou Tèche. The two men who returned reported to have met seven "nations" there; the man they lost was eaten by the natives, and this misfortune prompted them to a speedy departure. The location seems to point to the territory of the Atákapa.[36]

[Pg 47]

The enumeration of the southern linguistic stocks winds up with the Atákapa; but it comprises only the families the existence of which is proved by vocabularies. Tonica and the recently-discovered Taensa furnish the proof that the Gulf States may have harbored, or still harbor, allophylic tribes speaking languages unknown to us. The areas of the southern languages being usually small, they could easily escape discovery, insomuch as the attention of the explorers and colonists was directed more toward ethnography than toward aboriginal linguistics.

The southern tribes which I suspect of speaking or having spoken allophylic languages, are the Bidai, the Koroa, the Westo and Stono Indians.


Rev. Morse, in his Report to the Government (1822), states that their home is on the western or right side of Trinity river, Texas, sixty-five miles above its mouth, and that they count one hundred and twenty people. In 1850 a small settlement of five or six Bidai families existed on Lower Sabine River.

The Opelousas of Louisiana and the Cances of Texas spoke languages differing from all others around them.[37]


The earliest home of this tribe, which figures extensively in French colonial history, is a mountainous tract on the western shore of Mississippi river, eight leagues above the Natchez landing. They were visited there, early in 1682, by the explorer, C. de la Salle, who noticed the compression of their skulls (Margry I, 558. 566). They were a warlike and determined people of hunters. In 1705 a party of them, hired by the French priest Foucault to convey him by water to the Yazoos, murderously dispatched him with two other Frenchmen (Pénicaut, in Margry V, 458). A companion of C. de la Salle (in 1682) noticed that the "language of the[Pg 48] Coroa differed from that of the Tinsa and Natché," but that in his opinion their manners and customs were the same (Margry I, 558).

Koroas afterward figure as one of the tribes settled on Yazoo river, formerly called also River of the Chicasa, and are mentioned there by D. Coxe, Carolana (1742), p. 10, as Kourouas. They were then the allies of the Chicasa, but afterward merged in the Cha'hta people, who call them Kólwa, Kúlua. Allen Wright, descended from a grandfather of this tribe, states that the term is neither Cha'hta nor Chicasa, and that the Koroa spoke a language differing entirely from Cha'hta.[38] A place Kolua is now in Coahoma county, probably far distant from the ancient home of this tribe. The origin of the name is unknown; the Cha'hta word: káⁿlo strong, powerful, presents some analogy in sound.


lived in the vicinity of the English colony at Charleston, South Carolina. Their predatory habits made them particularly troublesome in 1669-1671 and in 1674, when they had to be repulsed by an army of volunteers. The Stonos must have lived north of the colony, or on the upper course of some river, for, in 1674, they are described as "coming down" (Hewat, Histor. Account of S. C. and Ga., London 1779; I, 51. 77). Stono Inlet is the name of a cove near Charleston. Both tribes also met with disastrous reverses at the hands of the Savannah Indians, probably the Yámassi (Archdale). They are both mentioned as having belonged to the Kataba confederacy, but this does not by any means prove that they spoke Kataba or a dialect of it. As to the name, the Westo Indians may be identified with the Oustacs of Lederer (who are reported as being at war with the Usherees), and with the Hostaqua of René de Laudonnière, who[Pg 49] mentions them as forming a confederacy under a paracusi in the northern parts of the "Floridian" territory. Possibly the Creek word ō′sta four, in the sense of "four allied tribes," has given origin to this tribal name (ostáka in Alibamu).

The affinity of the extinct Congaree Indians, on Congaree river, is doubtful also; Lawson relates that they did not understand the speech of the Waterees and Chicarees. Cf. Kataba. Owing to the inactivity of the local historians, our ethnographic information on the North and South Carolina Indians is extremely meagre and unsatisfactory.


The linguistic map added to this volume is an attempt to locate, in a general way, the settlements pertaining to the Indians of each of the linguistic stocks of the Gulf States, as far as traceable in the eighteenth century. Some of them, as the Timucua and Yámassi settlements, are taken from dates somewhat earlier, while the location of the Atákapa tribe is known to us only from the first decennium of the nineteenth century. The marking of the linguistic areas by dots, pointing to the tribal settlements, answers much better the purpose than the coloring of large areas, which conveys the erroneous impression that the population was scattered all over a certain country. This will do very well for densely populated countries, or for tracts inhabited by roving, erratic Indians, whom we meet only on the west side of the Mississippi river. The Gulf States' Indians were no longer in the condition of pure hunting tribes; they had settled in stationary villages, and derived the main part of their sustenance from agriculture and fishing.

The location of the Chicasa, Cheroki, Seminole and Caddo (Pani) tribes were not indicated with that completeness which the subject requires. The northwest corner of the map shows the tracts occupied at present in the Indian Territory by tribes of Maskoki lineage.

[Pg 50]


Among the various nationalities of the Gulf territories the Maskoki family of tribes occupied a central and commanding position. Not only the large extent of territory held by them, but also their numbers, their prowess in war, and a certain degree of mental culture and self-esteem made of the Maskoki one of the most important groups in Indian history. From their ethnologic condition of later times, we infer that these tribes have extended for many centuries back in time, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi and beyond that river, and from the Apalachian ridge to the Gulf of Mexico. With short intermissions they kept up warfare with all the circumjacent Indian communities, and also among each other. All the various dispositions of the human mind are represented in the Maskoki tribes. We have the cruel and lurking Chicasa, the powerful and ingenious but treacherous and corruptible Cha'hta, the magnanimous and hospitable, proud and revengeful Creek, the aggressive Alibamu, the quarrelsome Yámassi, and the self-willed, independent Seminole, jealous of the enjoyment of his savage freedom in the swamps and everglades of the semi-tropical peninsula.

The irresolute and egotistic policy of these tribes often caused serious difficulties to the government of the English and French colonies, and some of them constantly wavered in their adhesion between the French and the English cause. The American government overcame their opposition easily whenever a conflict presented itself (the Seminole war forms an exception), because, like all the Indians, they never knew how to unite against a common foe.

The two main branches of the stock, the Creek and the Cha'hta Indians, were constantly at war, and the remembrance of their deadly conflicts has now passed to their descendants in the form of folklore. The two differ anthropologically in their exterior, the people of the western or Cha'hta branch being thick-set and heavy, that of the eastern[Pg 51] or Creek connection more lithe and tall. Prognathism is not frequent among them, and the complexion of both is a rather dark cinnamon, with the southern olive tinge. The general intelligence of this gifted race renders it susceptible for civilization, endows it with eloquence, but does not always restrain it from the outbursts of the wildest passion.

Among the tribes of the Maskoki family, we notice the following ethnographic practices: the use of the red and white colors as symbols of war and peace, an extensive system of totemic gentes, the use of the Ilex cassine for the manufacture of the black drink, the erection of artificial mounds, the belief in a deity called "Master of Life," and original sun-worship. The eastern tribes all had an annual festival in the town square, called a fast (púskita in Creek), and some traces of it may be found also among the western connection. In the eastern and western branch (also among the Naktche people) the children belong to the gens of the mother, a custom which differs from that of the Yuchi and dates from high antiquity. No instances of anthropophagy are recorded, but the custom of scalping seems to have been indigenous among them. The early Timucua scalped their enemies and dried the scalps over their camp-fires. The artificial flattening of the foreheads of male infants seems to have prevailed in the western branch only, but some kind of skull deformation could be observed throughout the Gulf territories. The re-interment of dead bodies, after cleaning their bones from the adhering muscles several months after death, is recorded more especially for the western branch, but was probably observed among all tribes in various modifications.

None of the customs just enumerated was peculiar to the Maskoki tribes, but common throughout the south, many of them being found in the north also. They were mentioned here only, to give in their totality a fair ethnographic picture of the Maskoki nationality.

The genealogy of the Maskoki tribes cannot be established[Pg 52] on anthropological, that is racial, characteristics; these Indians formerly incorporated so many alien elements into their towns, and have become so largely mixed with half-castes in the nineteenth century, that a division on racial grounds has become almost impossible.

Hence, the only characteristic by which a subdivision of the family can be attempted, is that of language. Following their ancient topographic location from east to west, we obtain the following synopsis:

First branch, or Maskoki proper. The Creek, Maskokálgi or Maskoki proper, settled on Coosa, Tallapoosa, Upper and Middle Chatahuchi rivers. From these branched off by segmentation the Creek portion of the Seminoles, of the Yámassi and of the little Yamacraw community.

Second, or Apalachian branch. This southeastern division, which may be called also a parte potiori the Hitchiti connection, anciently comprised the tribes on the Lower Chatahuchi river and, east from there, the extinct Apalachi, the Mikasuki, and the Hitchiti portion of the Seminoles, Yámassi and Yamacraws.

Third, or Alibamu branch comprised the Alibamu villages on the river of that name; to them belonged the Koassáti and Witumka on Coosa river, its northern affluent.

Fourth, Western or Cha'hta branch. From the main people, the Cha'hta, settled in the middle portions of the State of Mississippi, the Chicasa, Pascagoula, Biloxi, Huma and other tribes once became separated through segmentation.

The strongest evidence for a community of origin of the Maskoki tribes is furnished by the fact that their dialects belong to one linguistic family. The numerous incorporations of foreign elements have not been able to alter the purity of their language; the number of intrusive words is very small, and the grammar has repelled every foreign intrusion. This is the inference we draw from their best studied dialects, for[Pg 53] with some of them, as with Ábika, we are not acquainted at all, and with others very imperfectly. The principal dialects of the family greatly differ from each other; Cha'hta, for instance, is unintelligible to the Creek, Koassáti and Hitchiti people, and the speech of each of these three tribes is not understood by the two others. When Albert Gallatin published his vocabularies of Cha'hta and Creek, he was uncertain at first whether they were related to each other or not. On the other side, the difference between Cha'hta and Chicasa, and between Creek and Seminole, is so insignificant that these dialects may be considered as practically identical. The degree of dialectic difference points approximately to the date of the separation of the respective communities, and untold centuries must have elapsed since the two main branches of the family were torn asunder, for Cha'hta differs about as much from Creek as the literary German does from Icelandic.


Although the dialects of Maskoki do not now diverge from each other more than did the Semitic dialects two thousand years ago, the time when they all had a common language, or, in other words, the time preceding the separation into four divisions must lie further back than eight or ten thousand years. We cannot expect to reconstruct the parent Maskoki language spoken at that time but very imperfectly, since the oldest text known to exist in any of the dialects dates from A. D. 1688 only. An approach to its reconstruction could be attempted by carefully comparing the lexicon and grammatic forms of the dialects presently spoken, and an individual acquainted with them all, or at least with their four representatives, might also compose a comparative grammar of these dialects as spoken at the present epoch of their development, which would reveal many points concerning the ancient or historic shape of the language once common to all these tribes.

What the Maskoki dialects presently spoken, as far as[Pg 54] published, have in common, may be stated in a general way in the following outlines:

Phonetics.—The dialects possess the sound f and the palatalized l (`l), but lack th, v and r, while nasalization of the vocalic element is more peculiar to the western than to the eastern divisions. There is a tendency to pronounce the mutes or checks by applying the tongue to the alveolar part of the palate. The phonetic system is as follows:

Not aspirated Aspirated. Spirants. Nasals. Trills.
Gutturals k g χ h
Palatals tch, ts dsh, ds y ń `l
Linguals sh l
Dentals t d s n
Labials p b f w m
Vowels:—i, e, ā, a, o, u; with their long and nasalized sounds.

The syllable is quite simple in its structure; it consists either of a vowel only, or begins with one consonant (in the eastern division with one or two), and ends in a vowel. Deviations from this rule must be explained by phonetic alteration, elision, etc. The frequent occurrence of homonymous terms forms a peculiar difficulty in the study of the dialects.

Morphology.—No thorough distinction exists between the different parts of speech, none especially between the nominal and the verbal element. The fact that all adjectives can be verbified, could be better expressed as follows: The adjectives used attributively are participles of attributive verbs and inflected for number like these, their so-called plural being the plural form of a verb. This we observe in Iroquois, Taensa and many other American languages; it also explains the position of the adjective after the noun qualified. Some forms of the finite verb represent true verbs, while others, like the Creek forms, with tcha-, tchi-, pu-, etc., prefixed, which is the possessive pronoun, are nominal forms, and represent nomina agentis and nomina actionis. The three cases of the noun are not accurately distinguished from each[Pg 55] other in their functions; substantives form diminutives in -odshi, -osi, -usi, etc. The distinction between animate and inanimate gender is not made in this language family; much less that between the male and the female sex. The possessive pronoun of the third person singular and plural (im-, in-, i-) is prefixed in the same manner to substantives to indicate possession, as it is to verbs to show that an act is performed in the interest or to the detriment of the verbal subject or object. The Cha'hta alone distinguishes between the inclusive and the exclusive pronouns we, our, ours. A dual exists neither in the noun nor in the pronoun, but in most of the intransitive verbs. The numerals are built upon the quinary system, the numeral system most frequent in North America. The verb forms a considerable number of tenses and incorporates the prefixed object-pronoun, the interrogative and the negative particle; it has a form for the passive and one for the reflective voice. By a sort of reduplication a distributive form is produced in the verb, adjective and some numerals, which often has a frequentative and iterative function. The lack of a true relative pronoun and of a true substantive verb is supplied in different ways by the various dialects; the former, for instance, by the frequent use of the verbal in -t. Derivatives are formed by prefixation and suffixation, many of the derivational being identical with inflectional affixes in these dialects.

Although Maskoki speech, taken as a whole, belongs to the agglutinative type of languages, some forms of it, especially the predicative inflection of the verb and the vocalic changes in the radicals, strongly remind us of the inflective languages. Words, phrases and sentences are sometimes composed by syncope, a process which is more characteristic of the agglutinative than of the inflective type, and is by no means confined to the languages of America.

In the following comparative table I have gathered some terms of Maskoki which coincide in two or more of the dialects. The table may be helpful for giving a general idea of the lexical differences existing between the dialects explored: [Pg 56]

Cha'hta. Chicasa. Alibamu. Koassáti. Creek. Seminole. Hitchiti. Apalachi. Mikasuki.
Warrior táska táska tastenukíha tastanóki taskáya taskáya hú′li-tipi taskaia tasikiá'hli
Woman ohóyo ehó, ihó téyi hókti hókti täígi taiki
Foot íyi iyi i-pát'ha i-pát'ha íli ili i-paláshi ia, ya ili-palasi
Village, town támaha ókla óla óla tálofa tálofa ókli tófun (obj. case) ókli
Chief míngo mínko míko míku miko miko miki miki
House tchúka tchúka ishá ísa tchú'ku tchûku tchíki tchíka tchíki
Knife báshpo bushpo isláfka islátka iskalafki iskalafki
Canoe píni píni pi`lúdshi pi`lódshi(dim) pi`lótsi, pi`li pi`lódshi (dim)
Fire lúak lúak íti tigba tútka tútka íti íti
Water óka, uk'ha óka óki óki o-íwa, u-íwa o-íwa óki óki
Earth, land yákni yák'ne iháni iháni íkana íkana yákni yákni
Stone, rock táli tále táli táli tcháto tcháto táli tale
Wood íti iti itu ítu itu ítu ahí a`li
Sun háshi hashé hasie hási hási hási hási hasi
Moon háshi hashé nenaká hasi-nissi ni′la hási hás-'lisi has-ótali hitok (month) has-otali
Thunder hilóha hilóha tonokóχha winei'hká tinítki tinítki tonuká'htchi tonokatchi
Pine tíak tíak tchúye tchùye tchóli tchoyi
Maize ántchi tántchi tchasié tchási ádshi, átchi ádshi áspi áspi
Grass háshuk háshuk ássi páhi páhi páhi páhi
Bear níta nita níkta nikta nok'húsi nokose noχū'si nókosi
Deer issi íssi ítchu idshu ítchu ítcho itchi itchi
Bird húshi fushé fósi fosi fúsua fosua, fúswa fosi fusi
Fish naní nanné 'lá`lu 'lá`lu 'lá`lu 'la`lu 'lá`li 'lá`li
Good atchúkma atchúkma kanóasu káheno, kánu hi`li hi`li hí`li hí`li
White háta, tóbi tohobi hátka hátga hátki hátki hátgi hatki
Red húmma hómma húmma húmma tcháti tcháti kitistchi kitiski
Black lúsa lósa lótcha lúdsa lásti lásti lódshi lútchi
All móma oklunhá wayamúlu wayili omálga omálga lápki ámali, ilúngta lápki
One atcháfa tcháffa tchafáka tchafáka hámgin hámgin `lámin 'lámin
Two túklo tókolo tokoló túglo hokólin hokólin túklan tóklan
Three tutchína totchéna tut'tchína tutchínan tut'tchínin tut'tchinin tutchínan tusa tot'tchínan
Four úshta oshtá ostáka ostákan óshtin óshtin sitákin tchitákin
Five ta`lápi ta`lápe ta`lápi tsahupága tcha'hkípin tcha'hki′pin tchákgipan tcha′hkípin
Six hanáli hannále hánali ahanna′lin ipákin ipákin ipagin ipákin
Seven untúklo ontokló hontók'lo hontóklun kolapákin kolapákin kolapákin kolapákin
Eight untotchína ontutchéna hontot'tchina undetsínan tchinapákin tchinapákin tusnapákin tosnapákin
Nine tchakáli tchakále ibitchá'hkali pitchakálin ostapàkin ostapákin ustapakin ostapákin
Ten pokóli pokóle pokóli pokóle pálin pálin pokólin pokólin
To see pisa píssa hitchas hitchus hídshita hidshita hitchígi pitcha hidshíki

[Pg 57]

The Chicasa of this comparative table is from a vocabulary taken by G. Gibbs (1866); the Seminole and the Mikasuki from Buckingham Smith's vocabularies printed in the Historical Magazine (Morrisania, N. Y.) for August, 1866, and in W. W. Beach's: Indian Miscellany, Albany 1877, p. 120-126. The latter differs but little from the Mikasuki of G. Gibbs, in the linguistic collection of the Bureau of Ethnology in Washington. The few words of Apalachi were drawn from the missive sent, A. D. 1688, to the king of Spain, to be mentioned under "Apalachi"; the Koassáti terms I obtained in part at the Indian training school at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, partly from Gen. Alb. Pike's vocabularies, which also furnished the Alibamu terms.

Readers will perceive at the first glance that Cha'hta is practically the same language as Chicasa, Creek as Seminole and Hitchiti as Mikasuki. Alibamu forms a dialect for itself, leaning more toward Cha'hta than Creek. The southeastern group holds a middle position between Cha'hta and Creek. As far as the queer and inaccurate Spanish orthography of Apalachi enables us to judge, this dialect again differs somewhat from Hitchiti and Mikasuki. It will be well to remember that in Indian and all illiterate languages the sounds of the same organ-class are interchangeable; thus, a word may be correctly pronounced and written in six, ten, or twelve different ways. Tcháto rock, stone can be pronounced tchátu, tchádo, tchádu, tsáto, tsátu, tsádo, tsádu, etc. This explains many of the apparent discrepancies observed in the comparative table, and in our texts printed below.

A comparative study of the existing Maskoki vocabularies would be very fruitful for the ethnographic history of the tribes, and likely to disclose the relative epochs of their settlement, if those that we have now could be thoroughly relied on. In the comparative table subjoined I have received only such terms that answer to this requisite.

There are terms which occur in all dialects in the same or[Pg 58] nearly the same form, as hási sun, ítchu, íssi deer, ófi, ífa dog, the terms for chief, black, yellow, bird, snake, buffalo, turtle, fox (also in Cheroki: tsu'hlá), the numerals and the personal pronouns; they must, therefore, have been once the common property of the still undivided, primordial tribe. The fact that the words for chief (míki, míngo, míko), for holá'hta, and for warrior (táska, taskáya), agree in all dialects, points to the fact that when the tribes separated they lived under similar social conditions which they have kept up ever since. The terms for maize disagree but apparently, and seem to be reducible to one radix, atch or ash; the terms for dog agree in all dialects—hence, the Maskoki tribes planted maize and kept dogs before, probably many centuries before they separated; and the term ífa went over from them to the Timucua. The word for buffalo, yánase, is the same in all dialects, and was probably obtained from the North, since the term occurs in Cheroki also (yá'hsa in Eastern Cheroki). The name for salt, hápi, a mineral which had a sacrificial importance, is found also in Yuchi in the form tápi, but Creek has ók-tchanua, Hitchiti: ok-tcháhane. The term for tobacco agrees in all divisions of the stock (haktchúmma), except in the Creek branch, where it is called hítchi, hídshi. This weed is said to have received its Maskoki names from a similarity of the top of the green plant with the phallus, which is called in Alibamu and Hitchiti: óktchi or áktchi.


Maskóki, Maskógi, isti Maskóki, designates a single person of the Creek tribe, and forms, as a collective plural, Maskokálgi, the Creek community, the Creek people, the Creek Indians. English authors write this name Muscogee, Muskhogee, and its plural Muscogulgee. The first syllable, as pronounced by the Creek Indians, contains a clear, short a, and that the name was written Muscogee and not Mascogee, is not to be wondered at, for the English language, with its[Pg 59] surd, indistinct and strongly modified vocalization, will convert the clearest a into a u. Whether the name Maskoki was given to the Creeks before or after the incorporation of the towns speaking other languages than theirs, we are unable to tell, but the name figures in some of the oldest documents on this people. The accent is usually laid on the middle syllable: Maskóki, Maskógi. None of the tribes are able to explain the name from their own language.

The Cheroki call a Creek Indian Kúsa, the nation Ani-kúsa, probably because Kúsa was the first Creek town they met, when coming from their country along Coosa river, Alabama. But why did the English colonists call them Creek Indians? Because, when the English traders entered the Maskoki country from Charleston or Savannah, they had to cross a number of streams and creeks, especially between the Chatahuchi and Savannah rivers. Gallatin thought it probable that the inhabitants of the country adjacent to Savannah river were called Creeks from an early time (Synopsis, p. 94). The French settlers rendered the term Lower Creeks by "Basses-Rivières."

The Wendát or Hurons call the Creek people Ku-û′sha, having obtained the name from the Cheroki. The Foxes or Utagami call one Creek man U'mashgo ánene-u, the people U′mashgohak. B. S. Barton, New Views (1798), Appendix p. 8, states that the Delawares call the Creeks Masquachki: "swampland."

Caleb Swan, who wrote a report on the Creek people in 1791, mentions (Schoolcraft V, 259) a tradition current among them, that they incorporated the Alibamu first, then the Koassáti, then the Naktche, and finally the Sháwano. In his time the Sháwano had four towns on the Tallapoosa river, and other Sháwano (from the northwest) increased their population every year by large numbers. One of these towns was called Sawanógi, another Kanhatki. A Muscogee creek is near Columbus, running into Chatahuchi river from[Pg 60] the east. "Muskhogans" inhabited the tract north of Pensacola.

The term is not derived from any known Maskoki word. If oki water formed a component part of it, it would stand first, as in the Hitchiti geographic terms Okĕlákni "yellow water," Okifenóke "wavering, shaking waters," Okmúlgi "bubbling water," Okitchóbi "river," lit. "large river." We are therefore entitled to look out for a Sháwano origin of the tribal name, and remember the fact that the Creek Indians called the Sháwano and the Lenápe (Delawares) their grandfathers. It will be appropriate to consult also the other Algonkin languages for proper names comparable with the one which occupies our attention.

The Sháwano call a Creek person Humásko, the Creek people Humaskógi. Here the hu- is the predicative prefix: he is, she is, they are, and appears often as ho-, hui-, ku-. Thus Humaskógi means "they are Masko", the suffix -gi, -ki being the plural ending of the animate order of substantives in Sháwano. A word masko is not traceable at present in that language, but muskiégui means lake, pond, m'skiegu-pki or muskiégu-pki timbered swamp, musk'hánui nepí the water (nepí) rises up to, surrounds, but does not cover up. Miskekopke in Caleb Atwater's vocabulary (Archæol. Americ. I, p. 290), signifies wet ground, swamp. Rev. Lacombe's Cree or Knisteno Dictionary gives: maskek marsh, swamp, trembling ground unsafe to walk upon; Maskekowiyiniw the Maskegons or Bogmen, a tribe of Crees, also called Maskekowok, who were formerly Odshibwē Indians, but left Lake Superior to join the Crees; their name forms a striking parallel to our southern Maskoki. Rev. Watkins' Cree Dictionary, with its English, unscientific orthography, has muskāg, muskāk swamp, marsh; Muskāgoo Swampy Indian, Maskegon; Muskāgoowew he is a Swampy Indian. Here the predicative suffix -wew is placed after the noun, while hu- of Sháwano stands before it. The Odshibwē Dictionary of[Pg 61] Bishop Baraga has máshkig, plur. máskigon swamp, marsh; Mashki sibi Bad River; a corrupt form standing for Mashkigi sibi Swamp River. In Abnáki we have meguä'k fresh water marsh, maskehegat fetid water.

The Sháwano word for creek, brook, branch of river is methtékui; Sháwano often has th where the northern dialects have s (thípi river, in Potawat. and Sauk: sibe, in Odshibwē: sibi) and hence the radix meth- is probably identical with mas- in maskek.

The country inhabited by the Maskoki proper abounds in creek bottoms overflowed in the rainy season, as the country around Opelíka "swamp-site" (from Creek: opílua, apílua swamp, läíkita to be stretched out), Opil-`láko "great swamp," west of the above (Hawkins, p. 50) and many other places rendered uninhabitable by the moisture of the ground. The countries of the Cha'hta and Chicasa also formed a succession of swamps, low grounds and marshes. In view of the fact that no other general name for the whole Creek nation was known to exist save Maskoki, and that the legend and the chroniclers of de Soto's expedition speak of single tribes only, we are entitled to assume this foreign origin for the name until a better one is presented. Another instance of an Algonkin name of an Indian nationality adopted by the Maskoki is that of isti Natuági, or the "enemies creeping up stealthily," lit., "snake-men," by which the Iroquois, or Five Nations, are meant.[39]

In this publication I call the Maskoki proper by the name of Creeks only, and have used their name on account of the central location and commanding position of the Maskoki proper, to whom this appellation properly belongs, to designate the whole Cha'hta-Maskoki family of Indians.

It will also be remembered that several of the larger communities of American Indians are known to the white population[Pg 62] exclusively through names borrowed from other languages than their own, as, for instance, the Kalapúya of Oregon, who call themselves Amē′nmei, Kalapúya (anciently Kalapúyua) being of Chinook origin, and the Pani, whose name is, according to J. H. Trumbull, taken from an Algonkin dialect, and means lungy, not bellicose, inferior, while their own name is Tsaríksi tsáriks "men of men."[40] Foreign names have also been given to the smaller tribes of the Shetimasha and Atákapa, names which are of Cha'hta origin; v. supra. The Patagonian and Argentinian tribes are mostly known to us under Chilian names, and the Aimboré or Nkrä′kmun of Brazil we know only under the Portuguese name Botocudos.


As early as the latter half of the sixteenth century, a tribe speaking a Maskoki language was settled on the shores of the Atlantic ocean, on lands included at present in the State of South Carolina, and from these shores they extended to some distance inland. In that country René de Laudonnière in 1564 established a fortification in Port Royal Bay, called Charlefort, and the terms transmitted by him, being all of Creek origin, leave no doubt about the affinity of the natives, yatiqui interpreter, tola laurel, Olataraca, viz.: holá'hta `láko, nom. pr. "the great leader." Shortly after, the Spanish captain Juan Pardo led an expedition (1566-67) through the countries along Savannah river, and the local names found in the report made of it by Juan de la Vandera (1569) also point to the presence of a people speaking Creek established on both sides of that river:[41] Ahoya "two going"; Issa[Pg 63] Cr. ídshu "deer"; Solameco, Cr. súli miko "buzzard chief"; Canosi, Cr. ikanō′dshi "graves are there"—the name of Cannouchee river, Georgia.

After the lapse of a century, when British colonists began to settle in larger numbers in these parts, a tribe called Yámassi (Yemasee, Yamasee, Yemmassaws, etc.) appears in the colonial documents as settled there, and in the maritime tracts of Georgia and Eastern Florida. Thus G. R. Fairbanks, History of St. Augustine (1858), p. 125, mentions the following dates from Spanish annals: "The Yemasees, always peaceful and manageable, had a principal town, Macarisqui, near St. Augustine. In 1680 they revolted, because the Spaniards had executed one of their principal chiefs at St. Augustine; and in 1686 they made a general attack on the Spaniards, and became their mortal enemies."

The inroads of the Yámassi, in Cr. Yamassálgi, made in 1687 and 1706 upon the christianized Timucua have been alluded to under "Timucua" (p. 12).

The English surveyor Lawson, who traveled through these parts in 1701, calls them Savannah Indians, stating that they are "a famous, warlike, friendly nation of Indians, living at the south end of Ashley river." (Reprint of 1860, p. 75.) Governor Archdale also calls them Savannahs[42] in 1695; hence they were named like the Yuchi, either from the Savannah river, or from the savanas or prairies of the southern parts of South Carolina. The Yuchi probably lived northwest of them. A few miles north of Savannah city there is a town and railroad crossing, Yemassee, which perpetuates their tribal name. Another ancient authority locates some between the Combahee and the Savannah river, and there stood their largest[Pg 64] town, Pocotaligo.[43] Hewat (1779) states that they possessed a large territory lying backward from Port Royal Island, in his time called Indian Land (Hist. Acc., I, 213). Cf. Westo and Stono Indians, p. 48.

They had been the staunchest Indian supporters of the new British colony, and had sent 28 men of auxiliary troops to Colonel Barnwell, to defeat the Tuscarora insurrection on the coast of North Carolina (1712-13), when they suddenly revolted on April 15th, 1715, committed the most atrocious deeds against helpless colonists, and showed themselves to be quite the reverse of what their name indicates (yámasi, yámassi, the Creek term for mild, gentle, peaceable[44]). Among their confederates in the unprovoked insurrection were Kataba, Cheroki and Congari Indians. Wholesale massacres of colonists occurred around Pocotaligo, on Port Royal Island and at Stono, and the number of victims was estimated at four hundred. A force of volunteers, commanded by Governor Craven, defeated them at Saltketchers, on Upper Combahee river, southern branch, and drove them over Savannah river, but for a while they continued their depredations from their places of refuge (Hewat, Histor. Acc., I, 213-222).

Names of Yámassi Indians mentioned at that period also testify to their Creek provenience. The name of a man called Sanute is explained by Cr. sanódshäs I encamp near, or with somebody; that of Ishiagaska (Tchiagaska?) by íka akáska his scraped or shaved head; or issi akáska his hair (on body) removed. At a public council held at Savannah, in May 1733, a Lower Creek chief from Kawíta expressed the hope that the Yámassi may be in time reunited to his people; a fact which fully proves the ethnic affinity of the two national bodies.[Pg 65][45]

In Thomas Jeffery's Map of Florida, which stands opposite the title-page of John Bartram, Descr. of East Florida, London, 1769, 4to, a tract on the northeast shore of Pensacola bay is marked "Yamase Land."

A tradition is current among the Creeks, that the Yámassi were reduced and exterminated by them, but it is difficult to trace the date of that event. W. Bartram, Travels, p. 137, speaks of the "sepulchres or tumuli of the Yamasees who were here slain in the last decisive battle, the Creeks having driven them to this point, between the doubling of the river (St. Juan, Florida), where few of them escaped the fury of the conquerors.... There were nearly thirty of these cemeteries of the dead," etc.; cf. ibid., p. 183. 516. Forty or fifty of them fled to St. Augustine and other coast fortresses, and were protected by the Spanish authorities; p. 55. 485. 390.

After the middle of the eighteenth century the name Yámassi disappears from the annals as that of a distinct tribe. They were now merged into the Seminoles; they continued long to exist as one of their bands west of the Savannah river, and it is reported "that the Yemasi band of Creeks refused to fight in the British-American war of 1813."

All the above dates permit us to conclude that, ethnographically, the Yámassi were for the main part of Creek origin, but that some foreign admixture, either Kataba or Yuchi, had taken place, which will account for the presence of their local names of foreign origin. The Apalachian or Hitchiti branch of the Maskoki family must have also furnished elements to those Yámassi who were settled southwest of Savannah city, for that was the country in which the Apalachian branch was established.


This small tribe is known only through its connection with the young British colony of Savannah and the protection which its chief, Tomochichi, extended over it. This chief, from some unknown reason, had separated from his mother[Pg 66] tribe of Apalatchúkla town, and went to reside upon a river bluff four miles above the site of Savannah city. He subsequently visited England and its court with Esquire Oglethorpe (in 1733), and died, about ninety-seven years old, in 1739, highly respected by his Indians and the colonists. The Yamacraw Indians, who had followed him to the Savannah river, consisted mainly of disaffected Lower Creek and of some Yámassi Indians.

The Creeks cannot give any account of the name Yamacraw, and the R, which is a component sound of it, does not occur in any of the Maskoki dialects nor in Yuchi. Cf. Chas. C. Jones, Historical Sketch of Tomo-chi-chi, mico of the Yamacraws. Albany, 1868, 8vo.


The term semanóle, or isti simanóle, signifies separatist or runaway, and as a tribal name points to the Indians who left the Creek, especially the Lower Creek settlements, for Florida, to live, hunt and fish there in entire independence. The term does not mean wild, savage, as frequently stated; if applied now in this sense to animals, it is because of its original meaning, "what has become a runaway": pínua simanóle wild turkey (cf. pín-apúiga domesticated turkey), tchu-áta semanóli, antelope, literally, "goat turned runaway, wild," from tchu-áta, ítchu háta goat, lit., "bleating deer."[46] The present Seminoles of Florida call themselves Ikaniú-ksalgi or "Peninsula-People" (from íkana land, niúksa, for in-yúksa its point, its promontory, -algi: collective ending); another name for them is Tallaháski, from their town Tallahassie, now capital of the State of Florida. The Wendát or Hurons call them Ungiayó-rono, "Peninsula-People," from ungiáyo peninsula. In Creek, the Florida peninsula is called also Ikan-fáski, the "Pointed Land," the Seminoles: Ikanafáskalgi[Pg 67] "people of the pointed land." The name most commonly given to the Seminoles in the Indian Territory by the Creeks is Simanō′lalgi, by the Hitchiti: Simanō′la'li.

Indians speaking the Creek language lived in the south of the peninsula as early as the sixteenth century. This fact is fully proved by the local names and by other terms used in these parts transmitted by Fontanedo (in 1559, cf. Calusa): seletega! "run hither!" now pronounced silítiga, silítka, abbrev. from isilítka; isilítkäs I run away, lit., I carry myself away, off; lítkäs I am running. Silítiga is now used as a personal name among the Creeks.

We have seen that a portion of Fontanedo's local names of the Calusa country are of Creek origin, and that another portion is probably Timucua. The rest of them, like Yagua and others, seem to be of Caribbean origin, and a transient or stationary population of Caribs is mentioned by Hervas, Catalogo de las lenguas I, p. 386 as having lived in the Apalachi country.[47]

The hostile encounter between Creeks and Calusa, mentioned by Romans (cf. Calusa), probably took place about A. D. 1700, but the name Seminole does not appear as early as that. Previous to that event the Creeks seem to have held only the coast line and the north part of what is now the area of Florida State. A further accession resulted from the arrival of the Yámassi, whom Governor Craven had driven into Georgia and into the arms of their enemies, the Spaniards of Florida, after suppressing the revolt of 1715 in which they had participated.

The Seminoles of modern times are a people compounded of the following elements: separatists from the Lower Creek and Hitchiti towns; remnants of tribes partly civilized by the Spaniards; Yámassi Indians and some negroes. According to Hawkins, Sketch of the Creek Country (1799), pp. 25. 26, they had emigrated from Okóni, Sáwokli, Yufála,[Pg 68] Tamá`la, Apalatchúkla and Hitchiti (all of which are Lower Creek towns), being invited to Florida by the plenty of game, the mildness of the climate and the productiveness of the soil. The Seminoles mentioned by him inhabited the whole peninsula, from Apalachicola river to the "Florida Point," and had the following seven towns: Semanóle Talahássi, Mikasuki, Witchotúkmi, Alachua, Oklawáha `láko, Talua-tchápk-apópka, Kalusa-hátchi. Some of the larger immigrations from the Creek towns into those parts occurred: in 1750, after the end of the Revolutionary war, in 1808 and after the revolt of the Upper Creeks in 1814.

When Wm. Bartram traveled through the Seminole country, about 1773, he was informed that Cuscowilla, a town on a lake of the same name and a sort of Seminole capital, had been built by Indians from Okóni old town, settled upon the Alachua plains: "They abdicated the ancient Alachua town on the borders of the savanna, about fifty miles west from the river San Juan, and built here, calling the new town Cuscowilla. (About 1710) they had emigrated from Oconee town, on the Oconee river, on account of the proximity of the white people." They formerly waged war with the "Tomocos (Timucua), Utinas, Calloosas, Yamases" and other Florida tribes.[48]

The Seminoles were always regarded as a sort of outcasts by the Creek tribes from which they had seceded, and no doubt there were reasons for this. The emigration included many of the more turbulent elements of the population, and the mere fact that many of them spoke another dialect than the Maskoki proper (some belonging to the Hitchiti or southeastern division of the family) is likely to have cast a shadow upon them. The anecdote narrated by Milfort (Mémoire,[Pg 69] p. 311-317) furnishes ample proof of the low esteem in which the Seminoles were held by the Creeks. But, on the other side, emigration was favored by the Creek communities themselves through the practice observed by some of their number to send away a part of their young men to form branch villages, whenever the number of the inhabitants began to exceed two hundred. Several towns will be found in our "List of Creek Settlements," in which the process of segmentation was going on upon a large scale in the eighteenth century.

The Seminoles first appear as a distinct politic body in American history under one of their chiefs, called King Payne, at the beginning of this century. This refers more particularly to the Seminoles of the northern parts of what is now Florida; these Indians showed, like the Creeks, hostile intentions towards the thirteen states during and after the Revolution, and conjointly with the Upper Creeks on Tallapoosa river concluded a treaty of friendship with the Spaniards at Pensacola in May, 1784. Although under Spanish control, the Seminoles entered into hostilities with the Americans in 1793 and in 1812. In the latter year Payne míko was killed in a battle at Alachua, and his brother, the influential Bowlegs, died soon after. These unruly tribes surprised and massacred American settlers on the Satilla river, Georgia, in 1817, and another conflict began, which terminated in the destruction of the Mikasuki and Suwanee river towns of the Seminoles by General Jackson, in April, 1818. After the cession of Florida, and its incorporation into the American Union (1819), the Seminoles gave up all their territory by the treaty of Fort Moultrie, September 18th, 1823, receiving in exchange goods and annuities. When the government concluded to move these Indians west of the Mississippi river, a treaty of a conditional character was concluded with them at Payne's Landing, in 1832. The larger portion were removed, but the more stubborn part dissented, and[Pg 70] thus gave origin to one of the gravest conflicts which ever occurred between Indians and whites. The Seminole war began with the massacre of Major Dade's command near Wahoo swamp, December 28th, 1835, and continued with unabated fury for five years, entailing an immense expenditure of money and lives. A number of Creek warriors joined the hostile Seminoles in 1836.

A census of the Seminoles taken in 1822 gave a population of 3899, with 800 negroes belonging to them. The population of the Seminoles in the Indian Territory amounted to 2667 in 1881 (Ind. Affairs' Rep.), and that of the Florida Seminoles will be stated below. There are some Seminoles now in Mexico, who went there with their negro slaves.

The settlements of the Seminoles were partly erratic, comparable to hunters' camps, partly stationary. The stationary villages existed chiefly in the northern parts of the Seminole lands, corresponding to Southern Georgia and Northern Florida of our days. A very instructive table exists of some of their stationary villages, drawn up by Capt. Young, and printed in Rev. Morse's Report on the Indians of the United States (1822), p. 364. This table however includes, with a few exceptions, only places situated near Apalachicola river (east and west of it), in Alabama, Georgia and Florida; the list was probably made at a time when Florida was still under Spanish domination, which accounts for the fact that the county names are not added to the localities. Many of these towns were, in fact, Lower Creek towns and not belonging to the Seminole proper, all of whom lived east of Apalachicola river, mostly at some distance from it. Seminole and Lower Creek were, in earlier times, often regarded as identical appellations; cf. Milfort, Mém., p. 118.

The remarks included in parentheses were added by myself.

[Pg 71]


Micasukeys—(In eastern part of Leon county, Florida).

Fowl Towns—Twelve miles east of Fort Scott (a place "Fowl Town" is now in Decatur county, Georgia, on eastern shore of Chatahuchi river).

Oka-tiokinans—Near Fort Gaines (the Oki-tiyákni of our List of Creek Settlements; Fort Gaines is on Chatahuchi river, Clay county, Georgia, 31° 38´ Lat.)

Uchees—Near the Mikasukey.

Ehawhokales—On Apalachicola (river).

Ocheeses—At Ocheese Bluff (Ocheese in southeast corner of Jackson county, Florida, western shore of Apalachicola river; cf. List).

Tamatles—Seven miles from the Ocheeses. (Cf. Tamá`li, in List of Creek Settlements.)

Attapulgas—On Little river, a branch of Okalokina (now Oklokonee river, or "Yellow Water," from óki water, lákni yellow, in Hitchiti; the place is in Decatur county, Georgia. From ítu-púlga, boring holes into wood to make fire: púlgäs I bore, ítu wood).

Telmocresses—West side of Chatahoochee river (is Tálua mútchasi, "Newtown").

Cheskitalowas—West side of Chatahoochee river (Chiska talófa of the Lower Creeks, q. v.)

Wekivas—Four miles above the Cheskitalowas.

Emussas—Two miles above the Wekivas (Omussee creek runs into Chatahuchi river from the west, 31° 20´ Lat.; imússa signifies: tributary, branch, creek joining another water-course; from the verb im-ósäs).

Ufallahs—Twelve miles above Fort Gaines (Yufála, now Eufaula, on west bank of Chatahuchi river, 31° 55´ Lat.)

Red Grounds—Two miles above the line (or Georgia boundary; Ikan-tcháti in Creek).

[Pg 72]

Etohussewakkes—Three miles above Fort Gaines (from ítu log, hássi old, wákäs, I lie on the ground).

Tattowhehallys—Scattered among other towns (probably tálua hállui "upper town").

Tallehassas—On the road from Okalokina (Oklokonee river) to Mikasukey (now Tallahassie, or "Old City," the capital of Florida State).

Owassissas—On east waters of St. Mark's river (Wacissa, Basisa is a river with a Timucua name).

Chehaws—On the Flint river (comprehends the villages planted there from Chiaha, on Chatahuchi river).

Tallewheanas—East side of Flint river (is Hótali huyána; cf. List of Creek Settlements).

Oakmulges—East of Flint river, near the Tallewheanas.

From reports of the eighteenth century we learn that in the south of the Floridian peninsula the Seminoles were scattered in small bodies, in barren deserts, forests, etc., and that at intervals they assembled to take black drink or deliberate on tribal matters. It is also stated that in consequence of their separation the Seminole language had changed greatly from the original Creek; a statement which is not borne out by recent investigations, and probably refers only to the Seminole towns speaking Hitchiti dialects.

By order of the Bureau of Ethnology, Rev. Clay MacCauley in 1880 visited the Seminoles settled in the southern parts of the peninsula, to take their census and institute ethnologic researches. He found that their population amounted to 208 Indians, and that they lived in five settlements to which he gave the following names:

1. Miami settlement; this is the old name of Mayaimi Lake, and has nothing in common with the Miami-Algonkin tribe.

2. Big Cypress, 26° 30´ Lat.

3. Fish-eating Creek, 26° 37´; head-chief Tustenúggi.

4. Cow Creek, fifteen miles north of Lake Okitchóbi.

[Pg 73]

5. Catfish Lake, 28° Lat. The late Chipko was chief there, who had been present with Osceola at the Dade massacre in 1835.

Traces of languages other than the Seminole were not discovered by him.

In December 1882 J. Francis Le Baron transmitted to the Smithsonian Institution a few ethnologic notices and a vocabulary obtained from the Seminole Indians of Chipko's (since deceased) band, which he had visited in March 1881 in their village near Lake Pierce. The dialect of the vocabulary does not differ from Creek in any appreciable degree. On marriage customs and the annual busk of these Indians he makes the following remarks: "They do not marry or intermix with the whites, and are very jealous of the virtue of their women, punishing with death any squaw that accepts the attentions of a white man. Some Seminoles exhibit a mixture of negro blood, but some are very tall, fine-looking savages. Their three tribes live at Chipko town, near Lake Oketchobee, and in the Everglades. They have a semi-religious annual festival in June or July, called the green corn dance, the new corn being then ripe enough to be eaten. Plurality of wives is forbidden by their laws. Tom Tiger, a fine-looking Indian, is said to have broken this rule by marrying two wives, for which misdemeanor he was banished from the tribe. He traveled about one hundred miles to the nearest tribe in the Everglades, and jumped unseen into the ring at the green corn dance. This procured him absolution, conformably to their laws."

We have deemed it appropriate to dwell at length on the history, topography and peculiar customs of the Seminoles on account of their identity with the Creek Indians, the main object of this research. We now pass over to the Southeastern or Apalachian group of Maskoki.

[Pg 74]


The Hitchiti, Mikasuki and Apalachi languages form a dialectic group distinct from Creek and the western dialects, and the people speaking them must once have had a common origin. The proper names Apalachi and Apalatchúkli are now extinct as tribal names, but are of very ancient date. The auriferous ledges of the Cheroki country were said to be within "the extreme confines of the Apalachi province" (Fontanedo, 1559), and the Apalachi found by Narvaez was fifteen days' march north of Aute,[49] a roadstead or harbor on the Gulf of Mexico, though the Indians had stated to him that it lay at a distance of nine days' travel only. The "province" of Apalachi probably included the upper part or the whole of the Chatahuchi river basin, and on account of the ending -okla in Apalatchúkla, its origin must be sought in the Cha'hta or Hitchiti dialect. Rev. Byington explains it by helping people, allies, in the Cha'hta apălătchi ókla, but the original form of the name is Apalaχtchi ókli, not apálatchi; -χtchi is a Hitchiti suffix of adjectives, and apálui in that dialect means "on the other side of." Hence the adjective apálaχtchi: "those (people ókli) on the other side, shore or river."

The town of Apalachi, on Apalache bay, must be kept clearly distinct from the town of Apalachicola, or Apalatchúkla, about fifty miles further west, on the river then called by the same name.

Apalachi town was north of Apalachi bay, the principal port of which is now St. Marks. This was probably the place after which "Apalache provincia" was named in de Soto's time; Biedma, one of his historians, states (in Smith, Docum. ined., I, 48. 49), that "this province was divided by a river from the country east of it, having Aguile as frontierstown. Apalachi has many towns and produces much food, and (the Indians) call this land visited by us Yustaga." This river was probably the St. Mark's river. Both names are also[Pg 75] distinguished as belonging to separate communities in Margry IV, 96. 117 (1699) and IV, 309. The western "Palachees" are laid down on the map in Dan. Coxe, Carolana, on Chatahuchi river, the eastern "Palachees" on a river in the northeast angle of the Gulf of Mexico; north of the latter are the Tommachees (Timucua). At present, a northwestern affluent of Okoni river, in Upper Georgia, is called Apalache river.

Apalatchúkla, a name originally belonging to a tribe, was in early times transferred to the river, now Chatahuchi, and from this to all the towns of the Lower Creeks. An instance of this is given by L. d'Iberville, who states (Margry IV, 594. 595) that in 1701 a difficulty arose between the Apalachicolys and the Apalachis on account of depredations committed; that the Spanish call those Indians Apalachicolys, the French Conchaques, and that they counted about 2000 families—an equal number of men being ascribed to the Apalachis, who were under Spanish rule.

The name of the tribe and town was Apalatchúkla, also written Pallachucla, Palachicola. This town was on the western bank of Chatahuchi river, 1½ miles below Chiaha. In early times its tribe was the most important among the Lower Creeks, adverse to warfare, a "peace or white town," and called by the people Tálua `láko, Great Town. Like the town Apalachi, the inhabitants of this town spoke a dialect resembling Hitchiti very closely. Apalachicola river is now the name of Chatahuchi river below its junction with the Flint river. More about this town in the: List of Creek Settlements.

Later in the sixteenth century the boundary between the Timucua and the Apalachi lands is stated to have been on or near the Vacissa river; Ibitachuco or Black Lake being the eastern Apalachi boundary, the westernmost town of the Timucua being Asile (Ausile, Oxilla).

In 1638 the Indians of Apalachi made war against the Spanish colonists. Although the governor of Florida had but few troops to oppose, he marched against them and[Pg 76] daunted their aggressiveness (sobervia) by forcing them to a disastrous retreat and following them into their own country (Barcia, Ensayo, p. 203).

In 1688 a number of Apalachi chiefs (caciques) addressed a letter of complaint to Charles the Second, king of Spain (†1700), concerning the exactions to which their former governors had subjected them, and other topics relating to their actual condition. The towns mentioned in the letter are San Luis de Apalachi, Ibitachuco, Pattali, Santa Cruz, Talpatqui, Vasisa, San Marcos. The original, with its Spanish translation, was reproduced in a fac-simile edition in 1860 by Buckingham Smith (fol.), and other documents written in Apalachi are preserved in the archives of Havana, the seat of the archbishopric, to which Apalachi and all the other settlements comprised within the diocese of St. Helena belonged.

Christianized Apalachis, who had been frequently raided by Alibamu Indians, fled in 1705 to the French colony at Mobile, where Governor de Bienville gave them lands and grain-seed to settle between the Mobilian and Tohome tribe; cf. Pénicaut in Margry V, 461. 485, where their religious festivals and other customs are described. Like the Apalachis, the tribe of the heathen Taouachas had quitted the Spanish territory for being harassed by the Alibamu, and fled southwest to the French, who settled them on Mobile river, one league above the Apalachis (1710; in Margry V, 485-487). Some Cha'hta refugees had been settled at the "Anse des Chactas," on Mobile bay, the year preceding. In the nineteenth century the last remnants of the Apalachi tribe were living on the Bayou Rapide, in Louisiana, and about A. D. 1815 counted fourteen families.


"Miccosukee" is a town of Florida, near the northern border of the State, in Leon county, built on the western shore of the lake of the same name. The tribe established there speaks the Hitchiti language, and must hence have[Pg 77] separated from some town or towns of the Lower Creeks speaking that language.

The tribe was reckoned among the Seminole Indians, but does not figure prominently in Indian history before the outbreak of the Seminole war of 1817. It then raised the "red pole" as a sign of war, and became conspicuous as a sort of political centre for these Southern "soreheads." The vocabularies of that dialect show it to be practically identical with that of Hitchiti town. Cf. the comparative table, p. 56. More notices on this tribe will be found under: Seminole.


The Hitchiti tribe, of whose language we present an extensive specimen in this volume, also belongs to the southeastern group, which I have called Apalachian.

Hitchiti town was, in Hawkins' time, established on the eastern bank of Chatahuchi river, four miles below Chiaha. The natives possessed a narrow strip of good land bordering on the river, and had the reputation of being honest and industrious. They obtained their name from Hitchiti creek, so called at its junction with Chatahuchi river, [and in its upper course Ahíki (Ouhe-gee); cf. List] from Creek: ahítchita "to look up (the stream)." They had spread out into two branch settlements: Hitchitúdshi or Little Hitchiti, on both sides of Flint river, below the junction of Kitchofuni creek, which passes through a county named after it; and Tutalósi on Tutalosi creek, a branch of Kitchofuni creek, twenty miles west of Hitchitúdshi (Hawkins, p. 60. 65). The existence of several Hitchiti towns is mentioned by C. Swan in 1791; and Wm. Bartram states that they "speak the Stincard language." There is a popular saying among the Creeks, that the ancient name of the tribe was Atchík'hade, a Hitchiti word which signifies white heap (of ashes).

Some Hitchiti Indians trace their mythic origin to a fall from the sky, but my informants, Chicote and G. W. Stidham, gave[Pg 78] me the following tale: "Their ancestors first appeared in the country by coming out of a canebrake or reed thicket (útski in Hitchiti) near the sea coast. They sunned and dried their children during four days, then set out, arrived at a lake and stopped there. Some thought it was the sea, but it was a lake; they set out again, traveled up a stream and settled there for a permanency." Another tradition says that this people was the first to settle at the site of Okmulgi town, an ancient capital of the confederacy.

The tribe was a member of the Creek confederacy and does not figure prominently in history. The first mention I can find of it, is of the year 1733, when Gov. Oglethorpe met the Lower Creek chiefs at Savannah, Ga., to conciliate their tribes in his favor. The "Echetas" had sent their war-chiefs, Chutabeeche and Robin with four attendants (Ch. C. Jones, Tomochichi, p. 28). The Yutchitálgi of our legend, who were represented at the Savannah council of 1735 by "Tomehuichi, dog king of the Euchitaws," are probably the Hitchiti, not the Yuchi. Wm. Bartram calls them (1773) "Echetas" also.

The dialect spoken by the Hitchiti and Mikasuki once spread over an extensive area, for local names are worded in it from the Chatahuchi river in an eastern direction up to the Atlantic coast. To these belong those mentioned under "the name Maskoki," p. 58.

According to Wm. Bartram, Travels, pp. 462-464, the following towns on Chatahuchi river spoke the "Stincard" language, that is a language differing from Creek or Muscogulge: Chíaha (Chehaw), Hitchiti (Echeta), Okóni (Occone), the two Sáwokli (Swaglaw, Great and Little). From this it becomes probable, though not certain, that the dialect known to us as Hitchiti was common to them all. The Sáwokli tribe, settled in the Indian Territory, have united there with the Hitchiti, a circumstance which seems to point to ancient relationship.

[Pg 79]

Like the Creeks, the Hitchiti have an ancient female dialect, still remembered and perhaps spoken by the older people, which was formerly the language of the males also. The woman language existing among the Creek Indians is called by them also the ancient language. A thorough study of these archaic remnants would certainly throw light on the early local distribution of the tribes and dialects of the Maskoki in the Gulf States.


The following ancient hunting song may serve as a specimen of the female dialect of Hitchiti; the ending -i of the verbs, standing instead of -is of the male dialect, proves it to be worded in that archaic form of speech. Obtained from Judge G. W. Stidham:

Hántun talánkawati ā′klig; éyali.
Sutá! kayá! kayap'hú!
aluktchabakliwáti ā′klig; éyali.
Sutá! kayá! kayap'hú!
aluktigonknawáti ā′klig; áyali.
Sutá! kayá! kayap'hú!
aluk'hadshá-aliwati ā′klig; éyali.
Sutá! kayá! kayap'hú!
hántun ayawáti ā′klig; áyali.
Sutá! kayá! kayap'hú!
Somewhere (the deer) lies on the ground, I think; I walk about.
Awake, arise, stand up!
It is raising up its head, I believe; I walk about.
Awake, arise, stand up!
It attempts to rise, I believe; I walk about.
Awake, arise, stand up!
Slowly it raises its body, I think; I walk about.
Awake, arise, stand up!
It has now risen on its feet, I presume; I walk about.
Awake, arise, stand up!
[Pg 80]

At every second line of this song the singer kicks at a log, feigning to start up the deer by the noise from its recesses in the woods. The song-lines are repeated thrice, in a slow and plaintive tune, except the refrain, which is sung or rather spoken in a quicker measure, and once only. For the words of the text and of the refrain, cf. the Hitchiti Glossary.


of the Maskoki language-family is analogous, though by no means identical with the Creek dialect in its grammatic outlines. Many points of comparison will readily suggest themselves to our readers, and enable us to be comparatively short in the following sketch.

The female dialect is an archaic form of Hitchiti parallel to archaic Creek; both were formerly spoken by both sexes. Only the common form (or male language) of Hitchiti will be considered here.


The phonetic system is the same as in Creek, except that the sonant mutes, b, g, are more distinctly heard (d is quite rare). The processes of alternation are the same in both dialects. Many vowels of substantives are short in Creek, which appear long in Hitchiti: ă′pi tree: H. ā′pi; hă′si sun, moon: H. hā′si; nĭ′ta day: H. níta etc.


Noun. The case inflection of the substantive, adjective, of some pronouns and of the nominal forms of the verb is effected by the suffixes: -i for the absolute, -ut for the subjective, -un for the objective case: yáti person, yátut, yátun; náki what, which, nákut, nákun. A few verbals inflect in -a, -at, -an; for instance, those terminating in -hunga.

The diminutive ending is the same as in Creek: -odshi, -udshi.

[Pg 81]

To the Creek collective suffix -algi corresponds -a'li, which is, in fact, the third person of a verbal plural: míki chief, miká'li the class of chiefs and: "they are chiefs." Maskóki: Maskoká'li the Creek people; fápli'hitchi wind, fápli'htcha'li wind clan, wind gens.

Hitchiti has a greater power of verbifying substantives than Creek: míki chief, mikólis I am chief; tchóyi pine-tree, tchóyus it is a pine tree.

There is no real substantive verb in the language, and adjectives, when becoming verbified, are turned into attributive verbs, as in Creek: wánti strong, hard; tsawántus I am strong; wántus he, it is strong, hard; wántatik not strong; wántigus he is very strong; wántatis he is not strong; wanta'hlátis he is not strong at all.

The gradation of the adjective is expressed either by the attributive verb, to which isi-, is- is prefixed, or in some other ways syntactically:

Kúdsuni tchátu-kunáwun isínwantûs iron is harder than silver.

ukitchúbi okilósi ihayuχkíki o'latíwats a lake is deeper than a river; lit. "to river the lake in its depth does not come up." This may also be expressed: okilósi (u)kitchóbi isihayuχkúwats; lit. "a lake (than) a river more-deepens."

yá hali'hlósăka lápkun uⁿweíkas this boy is the tallest; lit. "this boy all surpasses in height."

yát yákni tchäíh'-apiktchaχáyus this is the highest mountain; lit. "this ground-high stands ahead."

The numeral has two forms for the cardinal number: one used attributively, and another, abbreviated from it, used exclusively for counting; there are, outside of this, forms for the ordinal, for the distributive, and for the adverbial numeral. The list of the numerals is as follows:

[Pg 82]

Cardinals. Ordinals. Distributive. Adverbial.
1 `lámin `láhai'h índshuatki `láhamin a`la'hmi
2 túklan tukā′ satóklaka tuklákan satúkla'h
3 tutchínan tutchi satotchínaka tutchinákan atutchína'h
4 sitákin síta'h isítagika sitahákin asítagi
5 tchaχgípan tchá'hgi istchaχgípaka tchaχgipákan atsá'hgipi
6 ípagin ípa isipágaka ipahákan isípagi
7 kulapákin kúlapa iskulapákika kulapáhakan iskulapáki
8 tusnapákin tusnapá istusnapákika tusnapáhakan istusnapáki
9 ustapákin ustapá isustapákika ustapáhakan isustapáki
10 pokólin pukú ispokólika pukúlakan ispukúli
20 pokóli túklan ispokol-túklaka pokó-tukúlakan ispukúli-túklan
100 tchúkpi `lámin istchukpi-`lámika tchukpi-`lámakan istchukpi-`lámin
Folded four times is expressed by the cardinal: po`lótki sítaki; folded eight times: po`lótki tusnapákin.

The personal pronoun appears in different forms: subjective absolute; subjective prefixed to verbs and objective pronoun.

Subjective absolute: Subj. prefixed: Objective:
I ā′ni tcha-, am-, an-, a- tcha-
thou tchí'hni tchi- tchi-
he, she, it í'hni im-, in-, i-
we pú'hni pu-, po- pu-
ye tchi'hnitáki tchi-, inverted: ítch- tchi-, w. suffix
they i'hnitáki im-, in-, i-

ánāli (usually ánalut) myself, 2 s. tchí'hnāli, 3 s. í'hnāli; pú'hnāli ourselves, 2 pl. tchi'hnālitáki, 3 pl. i'hnalitáki.

The possessive pronoun.

myam-, an-, a-tcha-, inverted: atch-
thytchi-,tchi-, inverted: itch-
his, her, itsim-, in-, i-im-, in-, i-
ourpú'hni, pu-pun-, pu-, po-
yourtchíχtchi, tchi-tchi-, with suffix
theirim-, in-, i-i- etc., with suffix.

[Pg 83]

tchálbi my hand or hands, tchílbi, ílbi; púlbi our hand or hands, tchílbuχtchi, ílbi.

ántchiki my house or houses; tchíntchiki, íntchiki; púntchiki, tchíntchigoχtchi, íntchigoχtchi.

Demonstrative pronouns: ma, mût, mûn (Cr. ma); yá, yát, yán or yûn (Cr. hía); yákti, yáktut, yáktun (Cr. ása); má'hmali the same.

Demonstr.-relat. pronoun: náki, nákut, nákun which, what.

Interrogative pronouns: nó`li? nó`lut or nó`lut i? nó`lun or nó`lun i? who? náki? nákut? nákun? which? what? nákon i? what is it?

The Hitchiti verb equals the Creek verb in the abundance of inflectional forms. In order to show the inflection of a verb (or rather a part of it), going parallel to the one chosen as the Creek paradigm, we select ísiki to take, to carry; áwiki being used when a plurality of objects is concerned; Creek: ísita, tcháwita.

ísilis I take, 2 s. ísitskas, 3 s. ísis; 1 pl. ísikas, 2 pl. isátchkas, 3 pl. ísa`li.

áwalis I take, pl. of obj., 2 s. awitskas, 3 s. áwas; 1 pl. áwikas, 2 pl. áwatskas, 3 pl. áwa`lis.

í'hsilis I took a short time ago (Cr. ísayanks); á'hwalis.

ísānis I took several days ago (Cr. isāímatas); also I had taken; áwānis.

ísiliktas I have taken many years ago (Cr. īsáyantas); áwaliktas.

ísilālis I shall take (Cr. isá`lis); áwalālis.

ísis! pl. ísitis! take it! ā′wis! ā′witis! (or ā'watis!)

ísiχtchi having taken, holding in one's hands; áwiχtchi.

í'hsik (object) taken, part. pass.; á′hwak.

ísigi, ísiki to take, the taking; áwigi, áwiki.

ísi, ísut, ísun one who takes, carries; áwi, áwut, áwun.

isihúnka, -at, -an one who took, has taken; awihúnka, -at, -an.

isáhika, -at, -an one who is going to take; awáhika, -at, -an.

[Pg 84]

From this verb ísiki, áwiki the language does not form any passive, reciprocal, reflective and causative voice, but employs verbs from other radices instead. The interrogative and negative inflection is as follows:

ísatas I do not take, 2 s. ísitskatis, 3 s. ísitis; 1 pl. isíkatis, 2 pl. isátskatis, 3 pl. (?); áwatas I do not take, pl. of obj., awítskatis etc.

ísilus? do I take? 2 s. ísitskus? 3 s. ísus? 1 pl. ísigō? 2 pl. ísatskō? 3 pl. (?). áwalus? do I take? etc.

isatä′sōs? do I not take? 2 s. isitskatibōs? 3 s. isitísōs? 1 pl. isikatíbōs? 2 pl. isatskatíbōs? 3 pl. (?). awatä′sōs? do I not take? etc.

A form for the 3. pl. was remembered by none of my informants, who state that the Hitchiti render it by a circumscriptive sentence.

A specimen of the objective or compound conjugation of the verb I strike, batā′plilis, runs as follows:

I strike thee once tchibatáplilis, repeatedly tchibátaspilis
I strike him, her once batā′plilis batáspilis
ye tchibatap'hólilis tchibatas'hópilis
them batas'húpilis batas'húpilis
He, she strikes me once: tchábataplis, repeatedly: tchabátaspis
thee tchíbataplis tchibátaspis
him, her batáplis batáspis
us púbataplis pubátaspis
ye tchibatap'hólis tchibatas'hópis
them batáspis batas'hópis

The same verb to strike gives origin to the following genera verbi, each appearing under two different forms, and all being quoted in the present tense of the declarative mode, affirmative voice:

Active: batā′plilis I strike (now) by one blow
batā′spilis I strike (now) by several blows
Passive: tchabátapkas I am struck once, by one blow
tchabátaspkas I am struck more than once (obsolete)
Reciprocal: itibatáplikas we strike each other once
itibatáspigas we strike each other repeatedly
Reflective: ilbatā′plilis I strike myself by one blow
ilbatáspilis I strike myself by several blows
Causative: bataplídshilis I cause to strike once
bataspídshilis I cause to strike repeatedly.

[Pg 85]

Postpositions govern the absolute case of the noun just as they do in Creek:

kónut tchígi í-aχnun i-aulídshis the skunk stays under the house.

sáwut áhi ígapun untchóχolis the racoon sits on the top of the tree.

ótaki labáki near or around an island.

ótagi apálu-un on the other side of the island.

yántuntun hitchkátigan beyond sight, is an instance of a postposition figuring as preposition, and is connected with the objective case of a noun. It is not a real postposition, but an adverb used in this function.


The disconnected remarks on the Alibamu Indians which we find in the documents and chronicles represent them as early settlers on Alabama river, at a moderate distance from the confluence of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers. In our legend they are introduced among the four tribes contending for the honor of being the most ancient and valorous.

D. Coxe, Carolana, p. 24 mentions their tribal name in the following connection: "On Coussa river[50] are the Ullibalies[51],[Pg 86] Olibahalies, Allibamus; below them the Tallises." Allen Wright derives Alibamu (also written Allibamous, Alibami, Albámu, incorrectly Alibamon) from Cha'hta: álba thicket and áyalmu, place cleared (of trees, thickets): álba ayamúle I open or clear the thicket. If this derivation is correct, the name, with its generic definition, could apply to many localities simultaneously. Let us hear what Sekopechi or "Perseverance," an old man of that tribe, related to Agent Eakin concerning their early migrations and settlements. (Schoolcraft, Indians I, 266 sqq):

"The Great Spirit brought the Alabama Indians from the ground between the Cahawba and Alabama rivers, and they believe that they are of right possessors of this soil. The Muscogees formerly called themselves Alabamians ("thicket-clearers"?), but other tribes called them Oke-choy-atte, "life."[52] The earliest oral tradition of the Alibamu of a migration is, that they migrated from the Cahawba and Alabama rivers to the junction of the Tuscaloosa (?) and Coosa rivers, where they sojourned for two years. After this they dwelt at the junction of the Coosa and Alabama rivers, on the west side of what was subsequently the site of Fort Jackson. It is supposed that at this time they numbered fifty effective men. They claimed the country from Fort Jackson to New Orleans for their hunting grounds."

Whatever may be the real foundation of this confused narrative, it seems that the Alibamu reached their later seats from a country lying to the west or southwest, and that they showed a preference for river-junctions, for this enabled them to take fish in two rivers simultaneously. Another migration legend of this tribe, as related by Milfort, will be given and accounted for below.

Biedma relates that H. de Soto, when reaching the "Alibamo province," had to fight the natives entrenched within a palisaded fort (fuerte de Alibamo, Garc., de la Vega) and the[Pg 87] Fidalgo of Elvas: that the cacique of Chicaça came with the caciques of Alimamu and of Nicalasa,[53] whereupon a fight took place. But that Alibamo province lay northwest of Chicaça town and province, and was reached only after passing the Chocchechuma village on Yazoo river; it was probably not the Alibamu tribe of the later centuries. In the report of Tristan de Luna's expedition no mention is made of the Alibamu Indians, though it speaks of "Rio Olibahali."

In 1702 five French traders started with ten Alibamu natives from Mobile, for the country where the tribe resided. They were killed by these guides when at a distance of ten leagues from the Alibamu village, and M. de Bienville, then governor of the French colony, resolved to make war on the tribe. He started with a force of seventy Frenchmen and eighteen hundred Indian auxiliaries; the latter deserted after a march of six days, and finally the party was compelled to return. A second expedition, consisting of Frenchmen only, was not more successful, and had to redescend Alabama river in canoes. Mr. de Boisbriand, the leader of a third expedition, finally succeeded in destroying a camp of Alibamu, sixty-five miles up the river, in killing the inmates and capturing their women and children, who were given to the Mobilians, their allies.[54] This action was only the first of a series of subsequent troubles.

An alliance concluded by the Alibamu with the Mobilians did not last long, for in 1708 they arrived with a host of Cheroki, Abika and Kataba Indians, in the vicinity of the French fort on Mobile Bay, where Naniabas, Tohomes and Mobilians had settled, but were foiled in their attack upon the Mobilians through the watchfulness of the tribe and of the French colonists. The whole force of their aggressors and their allies combined was estimated at four thousand warriors (id., Margry V, 477-478; cf. 427).

[Pg 88]

In 1713, after the Alibamu had made an inroad into the Carolinas with a host of Kataba and Abika Indians, their confederates, the head-chief of the first-named tribe besought the French commander at Mobile bay to erect a fort in his own country. The offer was accepted, and the tribe was helpful in erecting a spacious fort of about three hundred feet square, on a bluff overlooking the river, and close to their village (id., Margry V, 510-511). This fort, built near the junction of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, was called Fort Toulouse, and by the British colonists Fort Albamu, or Alebama garrison.

When Fort Toulouse was abandoned in 1762, some Alibamu Indians followed the French, and established themselves about sixty miles above New Orleans, on Mississippi river, near the Huma village. Th. Hutchins (1784), p. 39. estimates the number of their warriors settled there at thirty. Subsequently they passed into the interior of Louisiana, where some are hunting and roving in the woods at the present time. The majority, however, settled in Polk county, in the southeastern corner of Texas, became agriculturists, and about 1862 numbered over two hundred persons. Some Alibamu reside in the Indian Territory. Cf. Buschmann, Spuren d. azt. Spr., p. 424.

The former seats of the tribe, near the site of the present capital, Montgomery, are described as follows:

Colonel Benj. Hawkins, United States Agent among the Creeks, saw four Alibamu towns on Alabama river, below Koassáti. "The inhabitants are probably the ancient Alabamas, and formerly had a regular town." (Sketch of the Creek Country, pp. 35-37, 1799.) The three first were surrounded by fertile lands, and lay on the eastern bank of Alabama river. Their names were as follows:

Ikan-tcháti or "Red Ground," a small village, with poor and indolent inhabitants.

Tawássa or Tawasa, three miles below Ikan-tcháti, a small[Pg 89] village on a high bluff. Called Taouacha by the French, cf. Tohome. The Koassáti word tabasa means widower, widow.

Pawókti, small town on a bluff; two miles below Tawássa.

A′tagi, a village four miles below the above, situated on the western bank, and spreading along it for two miles. Also written At-tau-gee, Autaugee, Autobi. Autauga county is named after it.

These Alibamu could raise in all about eighty warriors; they did not conform to Creek custom, nor did they apply the Creek law for the punishment of adultery. Although hospitable to white people, they had very little intercourse with them. Whenever a white person had eaten of a dish and left it, they threw the rest away, and washed everything handled by the guest immediately. The above towns, together with Oktchoyúdshi and Koassáti were, upon a decree of the national council at Tukabatchi, November 27th, 1799, united into one group or class under one "warrior of the nation." The dignitary elected to that post of honor was Hu`lipoyi of Oktchoyúdshi, who had the war titles of hádsho and tustĕnúggi. (Hawkins, pp. 51. 52.) Cf. Witumka.


The ancient seat of this tribe was in Hawkins' time (1799), on the right or northern bank of Alabama river, three miles below the confluence of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers. Coosada, Elmore county, Alabama, is built on the same spot. "They are not Creeks," says Hawkins (p. 35), "although they conform to their ceremonies; a part of this town moved lately beyond the Mississippi, and have settled there." G. W. Stidham, who visited their settlement in Polk county, Texas, during the Secession war, states that they lived there east of the Alibamu, numbered about 200 persons, were pure-blooded and very superstitious. Some Creek Indians are with them, who formerly lived in Florida, between the Seminoles and the Lower Creeks.

[Pg 90]

Their tribal name is differently spelt: Coosadas, Koösati, Kosádi, Coushatees, etc. Milfort, Mém. p. 265, writes it Coussehaté. This tribe must not be confounded with the Conshacs, q. v.

From an Alibamu Indian, Sekopechi, we have a statement on the languages spoken by the people of the Creek confederacy (Schoolcraft, Indians, I, 266 sq.): "The Muskogees speak six different dialects: Muskogee, Hitchitee, Nauchee, Euchee, Alabama and Aquassawtee, but all of them generally understand the Muskogee language." This seems to indicate that the Alibamu dialect differs from Koassáti, for this is meant by Aquassawtee; but the vocabularies of General Albert Pike show that both forms of speech are practically one and the same language.

Historic notices of this tribe after its emigration to western parts were collected by Prof. Buschmann, Spuren d. aztek. Sprache, p. 430. Many Koassáti live scattered among the Creeks in the Creek Nation, Indian Territory, at Yufála, for instance.

Witumka, on Coosa river, spoke, according to Bartram, the "Stincard" language, and was a town of the Alibamu division. Cf. List of Creek Settlements.


The northern parts of Mississippi State contain the earliest homes of the warlike tribe of Chicasa Indians which historical documents enable us to trace. Pontotoc county was the centre of their habitations in the eighteenth century, and was so probably at the time of the Columbian discovery; settlements of the tribe scattered along the Mississippi river, in West Tennessee and in Kentucky up to Ohio river, are reported by the later chroniclers.

In the year 1540 the army of Hernando de Soto crossed a portion of their territory, called by its historians "Chicaça provincia," and also visited a town of this name, with a[Pg 91] smaller settlement (alojamiento) in its vicinity named Chicaçilla.

Two rivers anciently bore the name of "Chicasa river," not because they were partially or exclusively inhabited by tribes of this nationality, but because their headwaters lay within the Chicasa boundaries. This gives us a clue to the topographic position of the Chicasa settlements. Jefferys (I, 153), states that "Chicasa river is the Maubile or Mobile river, running north and south (now called Lower Alibama river), and that it takes its rise in the country of the Chicasaws in three streams." When L. d'Iberville traveled up the Yazoo river, the villages on its banks were referred to him as lying on "la rivière des Chicachas."[55]

The most lucid and comprehensive account of the Chicasa settlements is found in Adair's History.

James Adair, who was for several years a trader among the Chicasa, gives the following account of their country and settlements (History, p. 352, sq.): "The Chikkasah country lies in about thirty-five degrees N. Lat., at the distance of one hundred and sixty miles from the eastern side of the Mississippi ... about half way from Mobille to the Illinois, etc. The Chikkasah are now settled between the heads of two of the most western branches of Mobille river and within twelve miles of Tahre Hache (Tallahatchie).... In 1720 they had four contiguous settlements, which lay nearly in the form of three parts of a square, only that the eastern side was five miles shorter than the western, with the open part toward the Choktah. One was called Yaneka, about a mile wide and six miles long ...; another was ten miles long ... and from one to two miles broad. The towns were called Shatara, Chookheereso, Hykehah, Tuskawillao, and Phalacheho. The other square, Chookka Pharáah or "the long-house," was single and ran four miles in length and one mile in breadth. It was more populous[Pg 92] than their whole nation contains at present ... scarcely 450 warriors." From Adair's text it appears that the three towns were but a short distance from the fortified places held by them at the time when he composed his History (published 1775). They were about Pontotoc or Dallas counties, Mississippi.

The Chicasa settlements are referred to in detail by B. Romans, East and West Florida, p. 63: "They live in the centre of an uneven and large nitrous savannah; have in it one town, long one mile and a half, very narrow and irregular; this they divide into seven (towns), by the names of Melattaw 'hat and feather,' Chatelaw 'copper town,' Chukafalaya 'long town,' Tuckahaw 'a certain weed,' Ashuck hooma 'red grass.' Formerly the whole of them were enclosed in palisadoes." Unfortunately, this list gives only five towns instead of the seven referred to.

D. Coxe, Carolana (1741) says, when speaking of the Tennessee river (p. 13. 14): "River of the Cusates, Cheraquees or Kasqui river ...; a cataract is on it, also the tribe of the Chicazas." An early French report alludes to one of their villages, situated thirty leagues inward from a place forty leagues above the mouth of Arkansas river. "From Abeeka to the Chickasaw towns the distance is about one hundred and fifty-nine miles, crossing many savannahs;" B. Romans, E. and W. Florida, p. 313.

Through all the epochs of colonial history the Chicasa people maintained their old reputation for independence and bravery. They were constantly engaged in quarrels and broils with all their Indian neighbors: sometimes with the cognate Cha'hta and with the Creeks, at other times with the Cheroki, Illinois, Kickapu, Sháwano, Tonica, Mobilians, Osage and Arkansas (Kapaha) Indians. In 1732 they cut to pieces a war party of the Iroquois invading their territory, but in 1748 coöperated against the French with that confederacy. J. Haywood, in his Natural and Aboriginal History[Pg 93] of Tennessee (1823), p. 240, alludes to a tradition purporting that the Chicasa had formerly assisted the Cheroki in driving the Shawanese from the Cumberland river; the Cheroki desired war, and attacked the Chicasa shortly before 1769, but were utterly defeated by them at the "Chicasa Old Fields," and retreated by way of Cumberland river and the Cany Fork. On the authority of chief Chenubbee, the same author states (p. 290) that a part of the Chicasa established themselves on Savannah river, opposite Augusta, but that misunderstandings with the Creeks made them go west again. In 1795 the Chicasa claimed the land opposite Augusta, and sent a memorial to the United States Government to substantiate that claim. Another fraction of the tribe, called the Lightwood-Knots, went to war with the Creeks, but were reduced by them, and have lived with them in peace ever since. These facts seem to have some reference to the settlement of a Chicasa band near Kasíχta, and east of that town; cf. Kasí'hta.

Pénicaut mentions an intertribal war between them and the Cha'hta, and relates a case of treason committed by a Cha'hta chief in 1703.[56] A war with the Creeks occurred in 1793, in which the Americans stood on the Chicasa side.

The policy of the Chicasa in regard to the white colonists was that of a steady and protracted enmity against the French. This feeling was produced as well by the intrigues of the British traders residing among them as by their hatred of the Cha'hta, who had entered into friendly relations with the French colonists, though they could not, by any means, be called their trusty allies. By establishing fortified posts on the Yazoo and Little Tombigbee rivers,[57] the French threatened the independence of these Indians, who began hostilities[Pg 94] against them in 1722, near the Yazoo post, and urged the Naktche to a stubborn resistance against French encroachments. They sheltered the retreating Naktche against the pursuing French,[58] besieged the commander Denys at Fort Natchitoches, though they were repulsed there with considerable loss, defeated the French invading their country at Amalahta (1736), at the Long House, or Tchúka faláya (Adair, p. 354), and other points, and in the second attack of 1739-40 also baffled their attempts at conquering portions of Chicasa territory.

The relations of these Indians with the United States were regulated by a treaty concluded at Hopewell, 1786, with Pio mico and other Chicasa chiefs. Their territory was then fixed at the Ohio river on the north side, and by a boundary line passing through Northern Mississippi on the south side. They began to emigrate to the west of Arkansas river early in this century, and in 1822 the population remaining in their old seats amounted to 3625. Treaties for the removal of the remainder were concluded at Pontotoc creek, October 20th, 1832, and at Washington, May 24th, 1834.

After their establishment in the Indian Territory the political connections still existing between them and the Cha'hta were severed by a treaty signed June 22d, 1855. The line of demarcation separating the two "nations," and following the meridian, is not, however, of a binding character, for individuals of both peoples settle east or west of it, wherever they please (G. W. Stidham).

No plausible analysis of the name Chicasa, which many western tribes, as well as the Chicasa themselves, pronounce Shikasa, Shíkasha, has yet been suggested. Near the Gulf[Pg 95] coast it occurs in many local names, and also in Chickasawhay river, Mississippi, the banks of which were inhabited by Cha'hta people.

In language and customs they differ but little from their southern neighbors, the Cha'hta, and must be considered as a northern branch of them. Both have two phratries only, each of which were (originally) subdivided, in an equal manner, into four gentes; but the thorough-going difference in the totems of the 8-12 gentes points to a very ancient separation of the two national bodies.

The Chicasa language served as a medium of commercial and tribal intercourse to all the nations inhabiting the shores of the great Uk-'hina ("water road"), or Lower Mississippi river. Jefferys (I, 165), compares it to the "lingua franca in the Levant; they call it the vulgar tongue." A special mention of some tribes which spoke it is made by L. d'Iberville[59]: "Bayagoula, Ouma, Chicacha, Colapissa show little difference in their language;" and "The Oumas, Bayogoulas, Theloël, Taensas, the Coloas, the Chycacha, the Napissa, the Ouachas, Choutymachas, Yagenechito, speak the same language and understand the Bilochy, the Pascoboula." As we have seen before, three of the above tribes, the Naktche portion of the Théloël settlements, the Taensa and the Shetimasha had their own languages, but availed themselves of the Chicasa for the purposes of intertribal barter, exchange and communication. The most important passages on this medium of trade are contained in Le Page du Pratz, Histoire (II, 218. 219): "La langue Tchicacha est parlée aussi par les Chatkas (sic!) et (corrompue) par les Taensas; cette langue corrompue est appelée Mobilienne par les Français," etc., and in Margry V, 442, where Pénicaut alleges to have studied the languages of the Louisiana savages pretty thoroughly for five years, "surtout le Mobilien, qui est le principal et qu'on entend par toutes les nations." Cf. the article Naktche.

[Pg 96]

A few terms in which Chicasa differs from main Cha'hta are as follows:

Chicasakuíshto panther,Cha'htakuítchito
kóe domestic cat,káto (Spanish)
ísto large,tchíto
iskitinúsa small,iskitinĕ
húshi bird,fúshi

The Chicasa trade language also adopted a few terms from northern languages, as:

píshu lynx, from Odshibwē pishīu; also an Odshibwē totem-clan.

piakímina persimmon, changed in the French Creole dialect to plaquemine.

shishikushi gourd-rattle or drum, Margry IV, 175.

sacacuya war-whoop, la huée.

Lewis H. Morgan published in his Ancient Society (New York, 1877). p. 163, a communication from Rev. Chas. C. Copeland, missionary among the Chicasa Indians, on the totemic gentes observed by him. Copeland states that the descent is in the female line, that no intermarriage takes place among individuals of the same gens, and that property as well as the office of chief is hereditary in the gens. The following list will show how considerably he differs from Gibbs' list inserted below:

Panther phratry, kóa. Its gentes: 1. kó-intchush, wild cat; 2. fúshi, bird; 3. nánni, fish; 4. issi, deer.

Spanish phratry, Ishpáni. Its gentes: 1. sháwi racoon; 2. Ishpáni Spanish; 3. míngo Royal; 4. huskóni; 5. túnni squirrel; 6. hotchon tchápa alligator; 7. nashóba wolf; 8. tchú'hla blackbird.

Further investigations will show whether the two gentes, Ishpáni and mingo, are not in fact one and the same, as they appear in Gibbs' list. This list is taken from a manuscript note to his Chicasa vocabulary, and contains nine "clans" or iksa, yéksa:

[Pg 97]

Spáne or Spanish gens; míngos or chiefs could be chosen from this gens only, and were hereditary in the female line; shă-é or racoon gens; second chiefs or headmen were selected from it; kuishto or tiger gens; ko-intchūsh or catamount gens; náni or fish gens; íssi or deer gens; halóba or? gens; foshé or bird gens; huⁿshkoné or skunk gens, the least respected of them all.

An account in Schoolcraft, Indians I, 311, describes the mode of tribal government, and the method by which the chiefs ratified the laws passed. Sick people, when wealthy, treated their friends to a sort of donation party (or pótlatch of the Pacific coast) after their recovery; a custom called tonshpashúpa by the tribe.


Along the Yazoo river existed a series of towns which seem to have been independent at the time of their discovery, but at a late period, about 1836, were incorporated into the Chicasa people. Some were inhabited by powerful and influential tribes, but it is uncertain whether any of them were of Maskoki lineage and language or not.[60] During the third Naktche-French war, the Yazoo tribes suffered considerably from attacks directed upon them by the Arkansas Indians. The countries along Yazoo river are low and swampy grounds, subject to inundations, especially the narrow strip of land extending between that river and the Mississippi.

The Taensa guide who accompanied Lemoyne d'Iberville, up the Yazoo river in March 1699, enumerated the villages seen on its low banks in their succession from southwest to northeast, as follows (Margry IV, 180):

[Pg 98]

1. Tonica, four days' travel from the Naktche and two days' travel from the uppermost town, Thysia. Cf. Tonica, p. 39 sqq.

2. Ouispe; the Oussipés of Pénicaut.

3. Opocoulas. They are the Affagoulas, Offogoula, Ouféogoulas or "Dog-People" of the later authors, and in 1784 some of them are mentioned as residing eight miles above Pointe Coupée, on W. bank of Mississippi river.

4. Taposa; the Tapouchas of Baudry de Lozière.

5. Chaquesauma. This important tribe, written also Chokeechuma, Chactchioumas, Saques'húma, etc., are the Saquechuma visited by a detachment of de Soto's army in their walled town (1540). The name signifies "red crabs." Cf. Adair, History, p. 352: "Tahre-hache (Tallahatchi),[61] which lower down is called Chokchooma river, as that nation made their first settlements there, after they came on the other side of Mississippi.... The Chicasaw, Choktah and also the Chokchooma, who in process of time were forced by war to settle between the two former nations, came together from the west as one family," etc. Cf. B. Romans, p. 315. Crab, crawfish is sóktchu in Creek, sáktchi in Hitchiti.

6. Outapa; called Epitoupa, Ibitoupas in other documents.

7. Thysia; at six days' canoe travel (forty-two leagues) from the Naktche. They are the Tihiou of Dan. Coxe (1741).

Pénicaut, who accompanied d'Iberville in this expedition, gives an account of the Yazoo villages, which differs in some respects from the above: Going up the river of the Yazoux for four leagues, there are found on the right the villages[Pg 99] inhabited by six savage nations, called "les Yasoux, les Offogoulas, les Tonicas, les Coroas, les Ouitoupas et les Oussipés." A French priest had already fixed himself in one of the villages for their conversion.[62]

D'Iberville was also informed that the Chicasa and the Napissas formed a union, and that the villages of both were standing close to each other. The term Napissa, in Cha'hta naⁿpissa, means spy, sentinel, watcher, and corresponds in signification to Akolapissa, name of a tribe between Mobile Bay and New Orleans, q. v. Compare also the Napochies, who, at the time of Tristan de Luna's visit, warred with the Coça (or Kusa, on Coosa river?): "Coças tenian guerra con los Napochies"; Barcia, Ensayo, p. 37.

D. Coxe, Carolana, p. 10, gives the Yazoo towns in the following order: The lowest is Yassaues or Yassa (Yazoo), then Tounica, Kouroua, Samboukia, Tihiou, Epitoupa. Their enumeration by Baudry de Lozière, 1802, is as follows: "Yazoos, Offogoulas, Coroas are united, and live on Yazoo river in one village; strength, 120 men. Chacchioumas, Ibitoupas, Tapouchas in one settlement on Upper Yazoo river, forty leagues from the above." Cf. Koroa.

Another Yazoo tribe, mentioned at a later period as confederated with the Chicasa are the Tchúla, Chola or "Foxes."

Yazoo is not a Cha'hta word, although the Cha'hta had a "clan" of that name: Yā′sho ókla, Yáshukla, as I am informed by Gov. Allen Wright.[63] T. Jefferys (I, 144) reports the Yazoos to be the allies of the "Cherokees, who are under the protection of Great Britain." He also states that the French post was three leagues from the mouth of Yazoo river, close to a village inhabited by a medley of Yazoo, Couroas and Ofogoula Indians, and mentions the tribes in the following order (I, 163): "Yazoo Indians, about 100 huts; further up, Coroas, about 40 huts; Chactioumas or "red lobsters",[Pg 100] about 50 huts, on same river; Oufé-ouglas, about 60 huts; Tapoussas, not over 25 huts."


The southwestern area of the Maskoki territory was occupied by the Cha'hta people, and in the eighteenth century this was probably the most populous of all Maskoki divisions. They dwelt in the middle and southern parts of what is now Mississippi State, where, according to early authors, they had from fifty to seventy villages; they then extended from the Mississippi to Tombigbee river, and east of it.

The tribes of Tuskalusa or Black Warrior, and that of Mauvila, which offered such a bold resistance to H. de Soto's soldiers, were of Cha'hta lineage, though it is not possible at present to state the location of their towns at so remote a period.

On account of their vicinity to the French colonies at Mobile, Biloxi, New Orleans, and on other points of the Lower Mississippi, the Cha'hta associated early with the colonists, and became their allies in Indian wars. The French and British traders called them Têtes-Plattes, Flatheads. In the third French war against the Naktche a large body of Cha'hta warriors served as allies under the French commander, and on January 27, 1730, before daylight, made a furious onslaught on their principal village, killing sixty enemies and rescuing fifty-nine French women and children and one hundred and fifty negro slaves previously captured by the tribe (Claiborne, Mississippi, I, 45. 46). In the Chicasa war fourteen hundred Cha'hta Indians aided the French army in its attack on the Chúka p'háraah or Long-House Town, as auxiliaries (Adair, History, p. 354).

They continued friends of the French until (as stated by Romans, Florida, p. 74) some English traders found means to draw the eastern party and the district of Coosa (together called Oypat-oocooloo, "small nation") into a civil war[Pg 101] with the western divisions, called Oocooloo-Falaya ("long tribe"), Oocooloo-Hanalé ("six tribes"), and Chickasawhays, which, after many conflicts and the destruction of East Congeeto, ended with the peace of 1763.

The Cha'hta did not rely so much on the products of the chase, as other tribes, but preferred to till the ground extensively and with care. Later travelers, like Adair, depict their character and morality in very dark colors. In war, the Cha'hta east of the Mississippi river were less aggressive than those who resided west of it, for the policy of keeping in the defensive agreed best with their dull and slow disposition of mind. About 1732, the ordinary, though contested boundary between them and the Creek confederacy was the ridge that separates the waters of the Tombigbee from those of the Alabama river. Their principal wars, always defensive and not very sanguinary, were fought with the Creeks; in a conflict of six years, 1765-1771, they lost about three hundred men (Gallatin, Synopsis, p. 100). Claiborne mentions a battle fought between the two nations on the eastern bank of Noxubee river, about five miles west of Cooksville, Noxubee County, Mississippi. Charles Dobbs, the settler at the farm including the burying-ground of those who fell in that battle, opened it in 1832, and found many Spanish dollars in the graves. It was some three hundred yards northeast of the junction of Shuqualak creek with the river. A decisive victory of the Cha'hta took place at Nusic-heah, or Line creek, over the Chocchuma Indians, who belonged to the Chicasa connection; the battle occurred south of that creek, at a locality named Lyon's Bluff.[64]

Milfort establishes a thorough distinction between the northern and the southern Cha'hta as to their pursuits of life and moral character. The Cha'hta of the northern section are warlike and brave, wear garments, and crop their hair in Creek fashion. The southern Cha'hta, settled on[Pg 102] fertile ground west of Mobile and southwest of Pascogoula, are dirty, indolent and cowardly, miserably dressed and inveterate beggars. Both sections could in his time raise six thousand warriors (p. 285-292). The mortuary customs, part of which were exceedingly barbaric, are spoken of with many details by Milfort (p. 292-304); their practices in cases of divorce and adultery (p. 304-311) are dwelt upon by several other writers, and were of a revolting character.[65]

No mention is made of the "great house" or "the square" in Cha'hta towns, as it existed in every one of the larger Creek communities, nor of the green corn dance. But they had the favorite game of chunké, and played at ball between village and village (B. Romans, p. 79. 80). The men assisted their wives in their agricultural labors and in many other works connected with the household.[66] The practice of flattening the heads extended to the male children only; the Aimará of Peru observed the same exclusive custom.

The collecting and cleaning of the bones of corpses was a custom existing throughout the southern as well as the northern Indians east of Mississippi river, and among some tribes west of it. Every tribe practiced it in a different manner; the Cha'hta employed for the cleaning: "old gentlemen with very long nails," and deposited the remains, placed in boxes, in the bone houses existing in every town.[67] Tombigbee river received its name from this class of men: itúmbi-bíkpi "coffin-maker." The Indians at Fort Orange or Albany (probably the Mohawks) bound up the cleaned bones in small bundles and buried them: De Vries, Voyages (1642) p. 164; the Nanticokes removed them to the place from which the tribe had emigrated (Heckewelder, Delawares, p. 75 sq.) Similar customs were observed among the Dakota-Santees,[Pg 103] Shetimashas and several South American tribes. Captain Smith mentions the quiogozon or burial place of Virginia chiefs.[68]

The Cha'hta also had the custom, observed down to the present century, of setting up poles around their new graves, on which they hung hoops, wreaths, etc., for the spirit to ascend upon. Around these the survivors gathered every day at sunrise, noon, sunset, emitting convulsive cries during thirty to forty days. On the last day all neighbors assembled, the poles were pulled up, and the lamentation ended with drinking, carousing and great disorders.[69]

The Chicasa are not known to have settled west of the Mississippi river to any extensive degree, but their southern neighbors and relations, the Cha'hta, did so at an early epoch, no doubt prompted by the increase of population. The Cha'hta emigrating to these western parts were looked at by their countrymen at home in the same light as the Seminoles were by the Creeks. They were considered as outcasts, on account of the turbulent and lawless elements which made up a large part of them.

On the middle course of Red river Milfort met a body of Cha'hta Indians, who had quitted their country about 1755 in quest of better hunting grounds, and were involved in frequent quarrels with the Caddos (p. 95).

The French found several Cha'hta tribes, as the Bayogoula, Huma and Acolapissa, settled upon Mississippi river. In the eighteenth century the inland Shetimasha on Grand Lake were constantly harassed by Cha'hta incursions. About 1809 a Cha'hta village existed on Washita river, another on[Pg 104] Bayou Chicot, Opelousas Parish, Louisiana. Morse mentions for 1820 twelve hundred Cha'hta Indians on the Sabine and Neche rivers, one hundred and forty on Red river near Nanatsoho, or Pecan Point, and many lived scattered around that district. At the present time (1882), encampments of Biloxis, who speak the Cha'hta language, exist in the forests of Louisiana south of Red river.

The Cha'hta nation is formally, though not locally, divided into two íksa (yéksa) or kinships, which exist promiscuously throughout their territory. These divisions were defined by Allen Wright as: 1. Kasháp-úkla or kashápa úkĕla (ókla) "part of the people;" 2. Úkla iⁿhulá'hta "people of the headmen."

Besides this, there is another formal division into three ókla, districts or fires, the names of which were partly alluded to in the passage from B. Romans:

ókla fálaya "long people";

áhepat ókla "potato-eating people";

ókla hánnali "Sixtown people," who used a special dialect.

The list of Cha'hta gentes, as printed in Lewis H. Morgan, Ancient Society,[70] stands as follows:

First phratry: kúshap ókla or Divided People. Four gentes: 1. kush-iksa, reed gens. 2. Law okla. 3. Lulak-iksa. 4. Linoklusha.

Second phratry: wátaki huláta or Beloved People, "people of head-men": Four gentes: 1. chufan íksa, beloved people. 2. iskuláni, small (people); 3. chito, large (people); 4. shakch-úkla, cray-fish people.

Property and the office of chief was hereditary in the gens.

As far as the wording is concerned, Morgan's list is not satisfactory, but being the only one extant I present it as it is.

Rev. Alfred Wright, missionary of the Cha'hta, knows of six gentes only, but states that there were two great families who could not intermarry. These were, as stated by Morgan,[Pg 105] the reed gens and the chufan gens. Wright then continues: "Woman's brothers are considered natural guardians of the children, even during father's lifetime; counsel was taken for criminals from their phratry, the opposite phratry, or rather the principal men of this, acting as accusers. If they failed to adjust the case, the principal men of the next larger division took it up; if they also failed, the case then came before the itimoklushas and the shakch-uklas, whose decision was final. This practice is falling in disuse now." A business-like and truly judicial proceeding like this does much honor to the character and policy of the Cha'hta, and will be found in but a few other Indian communities. It must have acted powerfully against the prevailing practice of family revenge, and served to establish a state of safety for the lives of individuals.

More points on Cha'hta ethnography will be found in the Notes to B. F. French, Histor. Collect, of La., III, 128-139.

The legends of the Cha'hta speak of a giant race, peaceable and agricultural (nahúllo)[71], and also of a cannibal race, both of which they met east of the Mississippi river.

The Cha'hta trace their mythic origin from the "Stooping, Leaning or Winding Hill," Náni Wáya, a mound of fifty feet altitude, situated in Winston county, Mississippi, on the headwaters of Pearl river. The top of this "birthplace" of the nation is level, and has a surface of about one-fourth of an acre. One legend states, that the Cha'hta arrived there, after crossing the Mississippi and separating from the Chicasa, who went north during an epidemic. Nanna Waya creek runs through the southeastern parts of Winston county, Miss.

Another place, far-famed in Cha'hta folklore, was the "House of Warriors," Taska-tchúka, the oldest settlement in[Pg 106] the nation, and standing on the verge of the Kúshtush[72]. It lay in Neshoba county, Mississippi. It was a sort of temple, and the Unkala, a priestly order, had the custody or care of it. The I′ksa A′numpule or "clan-speakers" prepared the bones of great warriors for burial, and the Unkala went at the head of the mourners to that temple, chanting hymns in an unknown tongue.[73]

The curious tale of the origin of the Cha'hta from Náni Wáya has been often referred to by authors. B. Romans states that they showed the "hole in the ground," from which they came, between their nation and the Chicasa, and told the colonists that their neighbors were surprised at seeing a people rise at once out of the earth (p. 71). The most circumstantial account of this preternatural occurrence is laid down in the following narrative.[74] "When the earth was a level plain in the condition of a quagmire, a superior being, in appearance a red man, came down from above, and alighting near the centre of the Choctaw nation, threw up a large mound or hill, called Nanne Wayah, stooping or sloping hill. Then he caused the red people to come out of it, and when he supposed that a sufficient number had come out, he stamped on the ground with his foot. When this signal of his power was given, some were partly formed, others were just raising their heads above the mud, emerging into light,[75] and struggling into life.... Thus seated on the area of their hill, they were told by their Creator they should live forever. But they did not seem to understand what he had told them; therefore he took away from them the grant of immortality, and made them subject to[Pg 107] death. The earth then indurated, the hills were formed by the agitation of the waters and winds on the soft mud. The Creator then told the people that the earth would bring forth the chestnut, hickory nut and acorn; it is likely that maize was discovered, but long afterward, by a crow. Men began to cover themselves by the long moss (abundant in southern climates), which they tied around their waists; then were invented bow and arrows, and the skins of the game used for clothing."

Here the creation of the Cha'hta is made coeval with the creation of the earth, and some features of the story give evidence of modern and rationalistic tendencies of the relator. Other Cha'hta traditions state that the people came from the west, and stopped at Nani Waya, only to obtain their laws and phratries from the Creator—a story made to resemble the legislation on Mount Sinai. Other legends conveyed the belief that the emerging from the sacred hill took place only four or five generations before.[76]

The emerging of the human beings from the top of a hill is an event not unheard of in American mythology, and should not be associated with a simultaneous creation of man. It refers to the coming up of primeval man from a lower world into a preëxistent upper world, through some orifice. A graphic representation of this idea will be found in the Návajo creation myth, published in Amer. Antiquarian V, 207-224, from which extracts are given in this volume below. Five different worlds are there supposed to have existed, superposed to each other, and some of the orifices through which the "old people" crawled up are visible at the present time.

The published maps of the Cha'hta country, drawn in colonial times, are too imperfect to give us a clear idea of the situation of their towns. From more recent sources it appears that these settlements consisted of smaller groups of cabins[Pg 108] clustered together in tribes, perhaps also after gentes, as we see it done among the Mississippi tribes and in a few instances among the Creeks.

The "old Choctaw Boundary Line," as marked upon the U. S. Land Office map of 1878, runs from Prentiss, a point on the Mississippi river in Bolivar county (33° 37´ Lat.), Miss., in a southeastern direction to a point on Yazoo river, in Holmes county. The "Chicasaw Boundary Line" runs from the Tunica Old Fields, in Tunica county, opposite Helena, on Mississippi river (34° 33´ Lat.), southeast through Coffeeville in Yallabusha county, to a point in Sumner county, eastern part. The "Choctaw Boundary Line" passes from east to west, following approximately the 31° 50´ of Lat., from the Eastern boundary of Mississippi State to the southwest corner of Copiah county. All these boundary lines were run after the conclusion of the treaty at Doak's Stand.

The Cusha Indians, also called Coosa, Coosahs, had settlements on the Cusha creeks, in Lauderdale county.

The Ukla-faláya, or "Long People," were settled in Leake county. (?)

The Cofetaláya were inhabiting Atala and Choctaw counties, settled at French Camp, etc., on the old military road leading to Old Doak's Stand; General Jackson advanced through this road, when marching south to meet the English army.

Pineshuk Indians, on a branch of Pearl river, in Winston county.

Boguechito Indians, on stream of the same name in Neshoba county, near Philadelphia. Some Mugulashas lived in the Boguechito district; Wiatakali was one of the villages. "Yazoo Old Village" also stood in Neshoba county.

Sixtowns or English-Towns, a group of six villages in Smith and Jasper counties. Adair, p. 298, mentions "seven towns that lie close together and next to New Orleans", perhaps meaning these. The names of the six towns were as follows:[Pg 109] Chinokabi, Okatallia, Killis-tamaha (kílis, in Creek: inkílisi, is English), Tallatown, Nashoweya, Bishkon.

Sukinatchi or "Factory Indians" settlement, in Lowndes and Kemper counties. Allamutcha Old Town was ten miles from Sukinatchi creek.

Yauana, Yowanne was a palisaded town on Pascagoula river, or one of its affluents; cf. Adair, History, 297-299. 301. He calls it remote but considerable; it has its name from a worm, very destructive to corn in the wet season. French maps place it on the same river, where "Chicachae" fort stood above, and call it: "Yauana, dernier village des Choctaws." "Yoani, on the banks of the Pasca Oocooloo (Pascagoula)"; B. Romans, p. 86.

An old Cha'hta Agency was in Oktibbeha county.

Cobb Indians; west of Pearl river.

Shuqualak in Noxubee county.

Chicasawhay Indians on river of the same name, an affluent of the Pascagoula river; B. Romans, p. 86, states, that "the Choctaws of Chicasahay and the Yoani on Pasca Oocooloo river" are the only Cha'hta able to swim.

It may be collected from the above, that the main settlements of the Northern Cha'hta were between Mobile and Big Black river, east and west, and between 32° and 33° 30´ Lat., where their remnants reside even nowadays.


In the southern part of the Cha'hta territory several tribes, represented to be of Cha'hta lineage, appear as distinct from the main body, and are always mentioned separately. The French colonists, in whose annals they figure extensively, call them Mobilians, Tohomes, Pascogoulas, Biloxis, Mougoulachas, Bayogoulas and Humas (Oumas). They have all disappeared in our epoch, with the exception of the Biloxi, of whom scattered remnants live in the forests of Louisiana, south of the Red river.

[Pg 110]

The Mobilians seem to be the descendants of the inhabitants of Mauvila, a walled town, at some distance from the seat of the Tuscalusa chief, and dependent on him. These Indians are well known for their stubborn resistance offered in 1540 to the invading troops of Hernando de Soto.

Subsequently they must have removed several hundred miles south of Tuscalusa river, perhaps on account of intertribal broils with the Alibamu; for in the year 1708 we find them settled on Mobile Bay, where the French had allowed them, the Naniaba and Tohome, to erect lodges around their fort. Cf. Alibamu. On a place of worship visited by this tribe (1702), Margry IV, 513.

The Tohome, Thomes, Tomez Indians, settled north of Mobile City, stood in the service of the French colony, and adopted the Roman Catholic faith. Besides the Naniaba[77] and Mobilian Indians, the French had settled in their vicinity a pagan Cha'hta tribe from the northwest and an adventitious band of Apalaches, who had fled the Spanish domination in Florida. We are informed that the language and barbarous customs of the Tohomes differed considerably from those of the neighboring Indians. Their name is the Cha'hta adjective tohóbi, contr. tóbi white.

In 1702 they were at war with the Chicasa. Their cabins stood eight leagues from the French settlement at Mobile, on Mobile river, and the number of their men is given as three hundred. They spoke a dialect of the Bayogoula. Cf. Margry IV, 427. 429. 504. 512-14. 531. The Mobilians and the Tohomes combined counted three hundred and fifty families: Margry IV, 594. 602.

The Touachas settled by the French upon Mobile bay in 1705, were a part of the Tawasa, an Alibamu tribe mentioned above.[Pg 111][78]

The Pascogoula, incorrectly termed Pascoboula Indians, were a small tribe settled upon Pascogoula river, three days' travel southwest of Fort Mobile. Six different nations were said to inhabit the banks of the river, probably all of Cha'hta lineage; among them are mentioned the Pascogoulas, Chozettas, Bilocchi, Moctoby, all insignificant in numbers. The name signifies "bread-people," and is composed of the Cha'hta páska bread, ókla people, the Nahuatl tribal name of the Tlascaltecs being of the same signification: tlaxcalli tortilla, from ixca to bake. Cf. Margry IV, 154-157. 193. 195. 425-427. 451. 454. 602.

A portion of these Indians may have been identical with the Chicasawhay Indians, and with the inhabitants of Yauana.

The Biloxi Indians became first known to the whites by the erection of a French settlement, in 1699, on a bay called after this tribe, which is styled B'lúksi by the Cha'hta, and has some reference to the catch of turtles (lúktchi turtle).

"We thought it most convenient to found a settlement in the Bilocchy bay; ... it is distant only three leagues from the Pascoboula river, upon which are built the three villages of the Bilocchy, Pascoboula and Moctoby." Margry IV, 195; cf. 311. 451. We also find the statement that the Bayogoulas call the Annocchy: Bilocchy (pronounced: Bilokshi), Margry IV, 172. Pénicaut refers to their place of settlement on Biloxi bay in 1704 in Margry V, 442. On their language cf. Margry IV, 184; quoted under Chicasa, q. v.

Later on they crossed the Mississippi to its western side, and are mentioned as wanderers on Bayou Crocodile and its environs (1806), which they frequent even now, and on the Lake of Avoyelles.

The Mugulashas (pron.: Moogoolashas) were neighbors of the French colonists at Biloxi bay, and a people of the same name lived in the village occupied by the Bayogoulas. Mougoulachas is the French orthography of the name. Their[Pg 112] name is identical with Imuklásha or the "opposite phratry" in the Cha'hta nation, from which Muklásha, a Creek town, also received its name. In consequence of this generic meaning of the term this appellation is met with in several portions of the Cha'hta country.

Previous to March 1700, there had been a conflict between them and the Bayogoulas, in which the latter had killed all of the Mugulashas who were within their reach, and called in families of the Colapissas and Tioux to occupy their deserted fields and lodges. Cf. Margry IV, 429., Boguechito Indians, Bayogoula and Acolapissa.

The Acolapissa Indians appear under various names in the country northwest to northeast of New Orleans. They are also called Colapissa, Quinipissa, Quiripissa, Querepisa, forms which all flow from Cha'hta ókla-písa "those who look out for people," guardians, spies, sentinels, watching men. This term refers to their position upon the in- and out-flow of Lake Pontchartrain and other coast lagoons, combined with their watchfulness for hostile parties passing these places. It is therefore a generic term and not a specific tribal name; hence it was applied to several tribes simultaneously, and they were reported to have seven towns, Tangibao among them, which were distant eight days' travel by land E. N. E. from their settlement on Mississippi river. Cf. Margry IV, 120. 167. 168. Their village on Mississippi river was seen by L. d'Iberville, 1699-1700, twenty-five leagues from its mouth (IV, 101). Their language is spoken of, ibid. IV, 412. At the time of Tonti's visit, 1685, they lived twenty leagues further down the Mississippi than in 1699-1700. They suffered terribly from epidemics, and joined the Mugulashas, q. v., whose chief became the chief of both tribes; Margry IV, 453. 602. On "Colapissas" residing on Talcatcha or Pearl river, see Pani, p. 44. The Bayogoulas informed d'Iberville in 1699, that the "Quinipissas" lived fifty leagues east of them, and thirty or forty leagues distant[Pg 113] from the sea, in six villages: Margry IV, 119. 120. Are they the Sixtown Indians?

The Bayogoula Indians inhabited a village on the Mississippi river, western shore (Margry IV, 119. 155), conjointly with the Mugulashas, sixty-four leagues distant from the sea, thirty-five leagues from the Humas, and eight days' canoe travel from Biloxi bay.

Commander Lemoyne d'Iberville graphically describes (Margry IV, 170-172) the village of the Bayogoula with its two temples and 107 cabins. The number of the males was rather large (200 to 250) compared to the paucity of women inhabiting it. A fire was burning in the centre of the temples, and near the door were figures of animals, the "choucoüacha" or opossum being one of them. This word shukuasha is the diminutive of Cha'hta: shukata opossum, and contains the diminutive terminal -ushi. Shishikushi or "tambours faits de calebasses," gourd-drums, is another Indian term occurring in his description,[79] probably borrowed from an Algonkin language of the north. A curious instance of sign language displayed by one of the Bayogoula chiefs will be found in Margry IV, 154. 155.

The full form of the tribal name is Bayuk-ókla or river-tribe, creek- or bayou-people; the Cha'hta word for a smaller river, or river forming part of a delta is báyuk, contr. bōk, and occurs in Boguechito, Bok'húmma, etc.

The Húma, Ouma, Houma or Omma tribe lived, in the earlier periods of French colonization, seven leagues above the junction of Red river, on the eastern bank of Mississippi river. L. d'Iberville describes their settlement, 1699, as placed on a hill-ridge, 2½ leagues inland, and containing 140 cabins, with about 350 heads of families. Their village is described in Margry IV, 177. 179. 265-271. 452, located by degrees of latitude: 32° 15´, of longitude: 281° 25´. The[Pg 114] limit between the lands occupied by the Huma and the Bayogoula was marked by a high pole painted red, in Cha'hta Istr-ouma (?), which stood on the high shores of Mississippi river at Baton Rouge, La.[80] Their hostilities with the Tangipahoa are referred to by the French annalists, and ended in the destroying of the Tangipahoa town by the Huma; Margry IV, 168. 169. Cf. Taensa. A tribe mentioned in 1682 in connection with the Huma is that of the Chigilousa; Margry I, 563.

Their language is distinctly stated to have differed from that of the Taensa, IV, 412. 448, and the tribal name, a Cha'hta term for red, probably refers to red leggings, as Opelúsa is said to refer to black leggings or moccasins.

They once claimed the ground on which New Orleans stands, and after the Revolution lived on Bayou Lafourche.[81] A coast parish, with Houma as parish seat, is now called after them.

The country south of the Upper Creek settlements, lying between Lower Alabama and Lower Chatahuchi river, must have been sparsely settled in colonial times, for there is but one Indian tribe, the Pensacola (páⁿsha-ókla or "hair-people") mentioned there. This name is of Cha'hta origin, and there is a tradition that the old homes, or a part of them, of the Cha'hta nation lay in these tracts. On Escambia river there are Cha'hta at the present time, who keep up the custom of family vendetta or blood revenge, and that river is also mentioned as a constant battle-field between the Creeks and Cha'hta tribes by W. Bartram.[82] When the Cha'hta concluded treaties with the United States Government involving cessions of land, they claimed ownership of the lands in question, even of some lands lying on the east side of Chatahuchi river, where they had probably been hunting from an early[Pg 115] period. A list of the way-stations and fords on the post-road between Lower Tallapoosa river and the Bay of Mobile is appended to Hawkins' Sketch, p. 85, and was probably written after 1813; cf. p. 83. This post-road was quite probably an old Indian war-trail traveled over by Creek warriors to meet the Cha'hta.

The Conshac tribe, the topographic and ethnographic position of which is difficult to trace, has been located in these thinly-inhabited portions of the Gulf coast. La Harpe, whose annals are printed in B. F. French, Histor. Coll. of Louisiana, Vol. III, states (p. 44) that "two villages of Conshaques, who had always been faithful to the French and resided near Mobile Fort, had been driven out of their country because they would not receive the English among them (about 1720)." The Conshacs and Alibamu were at war with the Tohome before 1702; cf. Margry IV, 512. 518. L. d'Iberville, in 1702, gives their number at 2000 families, probably including the Alibamu, stating that both tribes have their first settlements 35 to 40 leagues to the northeast, on an eastern affluent of Mobile river, joining it five leagues above the fort. From these first villages to the E. N. E. there are other Conshac villages, known to the Spaniards as Apalachicolys, with many English settled among them, and 60 to 65 leagues distant from Mobile.[83] Du Pratz, who speaks of them from hearsay only, places them north of the Alibamu, and states that they spoke a language almost the same as the Chicasa (Hist. p. 208). "A small party of Coussac Indians is settled on Chacta-hatcha or Pea river, running into St. Rose's bay, 25 leagues above its mouth."[84] On the headwaters of Ikanfina river, H. Tanner's map (1827) has a locality called: Pokanaweethly Cootsa O. F.

The origin of these different acceptations can only be[Pg 116] accounted for by the generic meaning of the appellation Conshac. It is the Cha'hta word kánshak: (1) a species of cane, of extremely hard texture, and (2) knife made from it. These knives were used throughout the Gulf territories, and thus d'Iberville and du Pratz call by this name the Creek Indians or Maskoki proper, while to others the Conchaques are the Cusha, Kúsha, a Cha'hta tribe near Mobile bay, which is called by Rev. Byington in his manuscript dictionary Konshas, Konshaws. That the Creeks once manufactured knives of this kind is stated in our Kasí'hta migration legend.


the representative of the western group of Maskoki dialects, differs in its phonetics from the eastern dialects chiefly by the more general vocalic nasalization previously alluded to. Words cannot begin with two consonants; the Creek st is replaced by sht, and combinations like tl, bt, nt do not occur (Byington's Grammar, p. 9). In short words the accent is laid upon the penultima.

The cases of the noun are not so distinctly marked as they are in the eastern dialects by the case-suffixes in -t and -n, but have often to be determined by the hearer from the position of the words in the sentence. But in other respects, case and many other relations are pointed out by an extensive series of suffixed or enclitic syllables, mostly monosyllabic, which Byington calls article-pronouns, and writes as separate words. They are simply suffixes of pronominal origin, and correspond to our articles the, a, to our relative and demonstrative pronouns, partly also to our adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions. They form combinations among themselves, and supply verbal inflection with its modal suffixes or exponents. Adjectives possess a distinct plural form, which points to their origin from verbs, but in substantives number is not expressed except by the verb connected with them, or by means of separate words.

[Pg 117]

There are two classes of personal pronouns, the relative and the absolute (the former referring to something said previously), but the personal inflection of the verb is effected by prefixes, the predicative suffix 'h being added to the end of each form in the affirmative conjugation. Only the first person of the singular is marked by a suffix: -li (increased by 'h: -li'h). The lack of a true substantive verb to be is to some extent supplied by this suffix -'h. Verbal inflection is rich in tenses and other forms, and largely modifies the radix to express changes in voice, mode and tense. The sway of phonetic laws is all-powerful here, and they operate whenever a slight conflict of syllables disagreeing with the delicate ear of the Cha'hta Indian takes place.

Of abstract terms there exists a larger supply than in many other American languages.

Several dialects of Cha'hta were and are still in existence, as the Sixtown dialect, the ones spoken from Mobile bay to New Orleans, those heard on the Lower Mississippi river, and that of the Chicasa. The dialect now embodied in the literary language of the present Cha'hta is that of the central parts of Mississippi State, where the American Protestant missionaries had selected a field of operation.

Rev. Cyrus Byington (born 1793, died 1867) worked as a missionary among this people before and after the removal to the Indian territory. He completed the first draft of his "Choctaw Grammar" in 1834, and an extract of it was published by Dr. D. G. Brinton.[85] His manuscript "Choctaw Dictionary," now in the library of the U. S. Bureau of Ethnology, fills five folio volumes, contains about 17,000 items (words, phrases and sentences), and was completed about 1833. The missionary alphabet used by him, which is also the alphabet of Cha'hta literature, is very imperfect, as it fails to express all sounds of the language by signs for each,[Pg 118] and entirely neglects accentuation. The pronunciation of Cha'hta is so delicate and pliant that only a superior scientific alphabet can approximately express its peculiar sounds and intonations.

Cha'hta has been made the subject of linguistic inquiry by Fr. Müller, Grundzüge d. Sprachwissenschaft, II, 232-238, and by Forchhammer in the Transactions of the Congrès des Américanistes, 2d session, 1877, 8vo.; also by L. Adam.


The Creek Indians or Maskoki proper occupy, in historic times, a central position among the other tribes of their affiliation, and through their influence and physical power, which they attained by forming a comparatively strong and permanent national union, have become the most noteworthy of all the Southern tribes of the United States territories. They still form a compact body of Indians for themselves, and their history, customs and antiquities can be studied at the present time almost as well as they could at the beginning of the nineteenth century. But personal presence among the Creeks in the Indian Territory is necessary to obtain from them all the information which is needed for the purposes of ethnologic science.

There is a tradition that when the Creek people incorporated tribes of other nations into their confederacy, these tribes never kept up their own customs and peculiarities for any length of time, but were subdued in such a manner as to conform with the dominant race. As a confirmation of this, it is asserted that the Creeks annihilated the Yámassi Indians completely, so that they disappeared entirely among their number; that the Tukabatchi, Taskígi and other tribes of foreign descent abandoned their paternal language to adopt that of the dominant Creeks.

But there are facts which tend to attenuate or disprove this tradition. The Yuchi, as well as the Naktche tribe and[Pg 119] the tribes of Alibamu descent[86] have retained their language and peculiar habits up to the present time, notwithstanding their long incorporation into the Creek community. The Hitchiti, Apalatchúkla and Sawokli tribes, with their branch villages, have also retained their language to this day, notwithstanding their membership in the extensive confederacy, a membership which must have lasted for centuries; and in fact we cannot see how the retention of vernacular speech could hurt the interests of the community even in the slightest way. There were tribes among the Maskoki proper, which were said to have given up not only their own language, but also their customs, at a time which fell within the remembrance of the living generation. Among their number was the Taskígi tribe,[87] on the confluence of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, whose earlier language was probably Cheroki. But, on the other side, a body of Chicasa Indians lived near Kasíχta in historic times, which during their stay certainly preserved their language as well as their traditional customs. From Em. Bowen's map it appears that Chicasa Indians also lived on Savannah river (above the Yuchi) for some time, and many Cheroki must have lived within the boundaries of the consolidated Creek confederacy. The more there were of them, and the nearer they were to their own country, the more it becomes probable that they preserved their own language and paternal customs. The existence of Cheroki local names amid the Creek settlements strongly militates in favor of this; we have Etowa, Okóni, Chiaha, Tamá`li, Átasi, Taskígi, Amakalli.

In the minds of many of our readers it will ever remain doubtful that the Creek tribes immigrated into the territories of the Eastern Gulf States by crossing the Lower Mississippi river. But there is at least one fact which goes to show that[Pg 120] the settling of the Creeks proceeded from west to east and southeast. The oldest immigration to Chatahuchi river is that of the Kasíχta and Kawíta tribes, both of whom, as our legend shows, found the Kúsa and the Apalatchúkla with their connections, in situ, probably the Ábiχka also. If there is any truth in the Hitchiti tradition, the tribes of this division came from the seashore, an indication which seems to point to the coast tracts afterwards claimed by the Cha'hta. All the other settlements on Chatahuchi river seem younger than Kasíχta and Kawíta, and therefore the Creek immigration to those parts came from Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers. At one time the northern or Cheroki-Creek boundary of the Coosa river settlements was Talatígi, now written Talladega, for the name of this town has to be interpreted by "Village at the End," itálua atígi. If the name of Tallapoosa river, in Hitchiti Talepúsi, can be derived from Creek talepú`la stranger, this would furnish another indication for a former allophylic population in that valley; but `l rarely, if ever, changes into s. The Cheroki local names in these parts, and east from there, show conclusively who these "strangers" may have been.

It appears from old charts, that Creek towns, or at least towns having Creek names, also existed west of Coosa river, as on Canoe creek: Litafatcha, and on Cahawba river: Tálua hádsho, "Crazy Town," together with ruins of other villages above this.


The towns and villages of the Creeks were in the eighteenth century built along the banks of rivers and their smaller tributaries, often in places subject to inundation during large freshets, which occurred once in about fifteen years. The smallest of them contained from twenty to thirty cabins, some of the larger ones up to two hundred, and in 1832 Tukabatchi, then the largest of all the Creek settlements, harbored 386 families. Many towns appeared rather[Pg 121] compactly built, although they were composed of irregular clusters of four to eight houses standing together; each of these clusters contained a gens ("clan or family of relations," C. Swan), eating and living in common. The huts and cabins of the Lower Creeks resembled, from a distance, clusters of newly-burned brick kilns, from the high color of the clay.[88]

It will be found appropriate to distinguish between Creek towns and villages. By towns is indicated the settlements which had a public square, by villages those which had none. The square occupied the central part of the town, and was reserved for the celebration of festivals, especially the annual busk or fast (púskita), for the meetings of chiefs, headmen and "beloved men," and for the performance of daily dances. Upon this central area stood the "great house," tchúka `láko, the council-house, and attached to it was a play-ground, called by traders the "chunkey-yard." Descriptions of these places will be given below.

Another thoroughgoing distinction in the settlements of the Creek nation was that of the red or war towns and the white or peace towns.

The red or kipáya towns, to which C. Swan in 1791 refers as being already a thing of the past, were governed by warriors only. The term red refers to the warlike disposition of these towns, but does not correspond to our adjective bloody; it depicts the wrath or anger animating the warriors when out on the war-path. The posts of their cabin in the public square were painted red on one side.

The present Creeks still keep up formally this ancient distinction between the towns, and count the following among the kipáya towns:

Kawíta, Tukabátchi, `Lá-`láko, Átasi, Ka-iläídshi, Chiáha,[Pg 122] Úsudshi, Hútali-huyána, Alibamu, Yufala, Yufala hupáyi, Hílapi, Kitcha-patáki.

The white towns, also called peace towns, conservative towns, were governed by civil officers or míkalgi, and, as some of the earlier authors allege, were considered as places of refuge and safety to individuals who had left their tribes in dread of punishment or revenge at the hand of their pursuers. The modern Creeks count among the peace towns, called tálua-míkagi towns, the following settlements:

Hitchiti, Okfúski, Kasíχta, Ábi'hka, Abiχkúdshi, Tálisi, Oktcháyi, Odshi-apófa, Lutchapóka, Taskígi, Assi-lánapi or Green-Leaf, Wiwúχka.

Quite different from the above list is the one of the white towns given by Col. Benj. Hawkins in 1799, which refers to the Upper Creeks only: Okfúski and its branch villages (viz: Niuyáχa, Tukabátchi Talahássi, Imúkfa, Tutokági, Atchinálgi, Okfuskū′dshi, Sukapóga, Ipisógi); then Tálisi, Átasi, Fus'-hátchi, Kulúmi. For this list and that of the kipáya towns, cf. his "Sketch," p. 51. 52.

The ancient distinction between red and white towns began to fall into disuse with the approach of the white colonists, which entailed the spread of agricultural pursuits among these Indians; nevertheless frequent reference is made to it by the modern Creeks.

Segmentation of villages is frequently observed in Indian tribes, and the list below will give many striking instances. It was brought about by over-population, as in the case of Okfúski; and it is probable that then only certain gentes, not a promiscuous lot of citizens, emigrated from a town. Other causes for emigration were the exhaustion of the cultivated lands by many successive crops, as well as the need of new and extensive hunting grounds. These they could not obtain in their nearest neighborhood without warring with their proprietors, and therefore often repaired to distant countries to seek new homes (Bartram, Travels, p. 389).[Pg 123] The frequent removals of towns to new sites, lying at short distances only, may be easily explained by the unhealthiness of the old site, produced by the constant accumulation of refuse and filth around the towns, which never had anything like sewers or efficient regulations of sanitary police.

The distinction between Muscogulge and Stincard towns, explicitly spoken of in Wm. Bartram's Travels (see Appendices), refers merely to the form of speech used by the tribes of the confederacy. This epithet (Puants in French) may have had an opprobrious meaning in the beginning, but not in later times, when it simply served to distinguish the principal people from the accessory tribes. We find it also used as a current term in the Naktche villages.

Bartram does not designate as Stincards the tribes speaking languages of another stock than Maskoki, the Yuchi, for instance; not even all of those that speak dialects of Maskoki other than the Creek. He calls by this savorous name the Muklása, Witúmka, Koassáti, Chíaha, Hitchiti, Okóni, both Sáwokli and a part of the Seminoles. He mentions the towns only, and omits all the villages which have branched off from the towns.

The present Creeks know nothing of such a distinction. Although I do not know the Creek term which corresponded to it in the eighteenth century, it is not improbable that such a designation was in vogue; for we find many similar opprobrious epithets among other Indians, as Cuitlateca or "excrementers" in Mexico; Puants or Metsmetskop among the Naktche[89]; Inkalik, "sons of louse-eggs" among the Eskimo; Kā′katilsh or "arm-pit-stinkers" among the Klamaths of Southwestern Oregon; Móki or Múki, "cadaverous, stinking," an epithet originally given to one of the Shínumo or Móki towns for lack of bravery, and belonging to the Shínumo language: múki dead.

The plural forms: tchilokóga and tchilokogálgi designate[Pg 124] in Creek persons speaking another than the Creek language; tchilókäs I speak an alien language. "Stincards" would be expressed in Creek by ísti fámbagi. Of all the gentes of the Chicasa that of the skunk or hushkoni was held in the lowest esteem, some of the lowest officials, as runners, etc., being appointed from it; therefore it can be conjectured that from the Chicasa tribe a term like "skunks," "stinkards," may have been transferred and applied to the less esteemed gentes of other nations.


In this alphabetic list of ancient Creek towns and villages I have included all the names of inhabited places which I have found recorded before the emigration of the people to the Indian Territory. The description of their sites is chiefly taken from Hawkins' "Sketch," one of the most instructive books which we possess on the Creeks in their earlier homes. Some of these town names are still existing in Alabama and Georgia, although the site has not unfrequently changed. I have interspersed into the list a few names of the larger rivers. The etymologies added to the names contain the opinions of the Creek delegates visiting Washington every year, and they seldom differed among each other on any name. The local names are written according to my scientific system of phonetics, the only change introduced being that of the palatal tch for ch.


Ábi'hka, one of the oldest among the Upper Creek towns; the oldest chiefs were in the habit of naming the Creek nation after it. Hawkins speaks of Abikúdshi only, not of Abi'hka. It certainly lay somewhere near the Upper Coosa river, where some old maps have it. Emanuel Bowen, "A new map of Georgia," has only "Abacouse," and this in the wrong place, below Kúsa and above [Pg 125]Great Talasse, on the western side of Coosa river. A town Abi'hka now exists in the Indian Territory. The name of the ancient town was pronounced Ábi'hka, Apíχka and written Obika, Abeka, Abeicas, Abecka, Beicas, Becaes, etc.; its people are called Apiχkanági. Some writers have identified them with the Kúsa and also with the Conshacs, e. g. du Pratz.[90] D. Coxe, Carolana, p. 25, states that "the Becaes or Abecaes have thirteen towns, and the Ewemalas, between the Becaes and the Chattas, can raise five hundred fighting men" (1741). A part of the most ancient Creek customs originated here, as, for instance, the law for regulating marriages and for punishing adultery. The Creek term ábi'hka signifies "pile at the base, heap at the root" (ábi stem, pole), and was imparted to this tribe, "because in the contest for supremacy its warriors heaped up a pile of scalps, covering the base of the war-pole only. Before this achievement the tribe was called sak'hútga door, shutter, or simat'hútga itálua shutter, door of the towns or tribes." Cf. ak'hútäs I close a door, sak'hútga hawídshäs I open a door.

Abikū′dshi, an Upper Creek town on the right bank of Natche (now Tallahatchi) creek, five miles east of Coosa river, on a small plain. Settled from Ábika, and by some Indians from Natche, q. v. Bartram (1775) states, that they spoke a dialect of Chicasa; which can be true of a part of the inhabitants only. A spacious cave exists in the neighborhood.

Ahíki creek, Hitchiti name of the upper course of Hitchiti creek, an eastern tributary of Chatahuchi river. Hawkins (p. 60) writes it Ouhe-gee creek. The name signifies "sweet potato-mother" (áhi, íki), from the circumstance that when planting sweet potatoes (áhi), the fruit [Pg 126]sown remains in the ground until the new crop comes to maturity.

Alabama river is formed by the junction of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers; pursues a winding course between banks about fifty feet high, and joins Tombigbee river about thirty miles above Mobile bay, when it assumes the name of Mobile river. Its waters are pure, its current gentle; it runs about two miles an hour, and has 15-18 feet depth in the driest season of the year. Boats travel from the junction to Mobile bay in about nine days, through a fertile country, with high, cleared fields and romantic landscapes (Hawkins). The hunting grounds of the Creeks extended to the water-shed between the Tombigbee and the Coosa and Alabama rivers.

Amakalli, Lower Creek town, planted by Chiaha Indians on a creek of that name, which is the main water-course of Kitchofuni creek, a northern affluent of Flint river, Georgia. Inhabited by sixty men in 1799. The name is not Creek; it seems identical with Amacalola, the Cheroki name of a picturesque cascade on Amacalola creek, a northern affluent of Etowa river, Dawson county, Georgia. The derivation given for it is: ama water, kalola sliding, tumbling.

Anáti tchápko or "Long Swamp," a Hillabi village, ten miles above that town, on a northern tributary of Hillabi creek. A battle occurred there during the Creek or Red Stick war, January 24th, 1814. Usually written Enotochopko. The Creek term anáti means a brushy, swampy place, where persons can secrete themselves.

Apalatchúkla, a Lower Creek town on the west bank of Chatahuchi river, 1½ miles below Chíaha. In Hawkins' time it was in a state of decay, but in former times had been a white or peace town, called (even now) Itálua `láko "large town," and the principal community among [Pg 127]the Lower Creek settlements. The name was abbreviated into Palatchúkla, and has also been transferred to the Chatahuchi river; that river is now called Apalachicola below its confluence with the Flint river. Cf. Sawokli-údshi. Bartram (Travels, p. 522) states: The Indians have a tradition that the vast four-square terraces, chunk yards, etc., at Apalachucla, old town, were "the ruins of an ancient Indian town and fortress." This "old town" lay one mile and a half down the river from the new town, and was abandoned about 1750 on account of unhealthy location. Bartram viewed the "terraces, on which formerly stood their town-house or rotunda and square or areopagus," and gives a lucid description of them. About fifty years before his visit a general killing of the white traders occurred in this town, though these had placed themselves under the protection of the chiefs (Travels, pp. 388-390). Concerning the former importance of this "white" town, W. Bartram (Travels, p. 387) states, that "this town is esteemed the mother town or capital of the Creek confederacy; sacred to peace; no captives are put to death or human blood spilt there; deputies from all Creek towns assemble there when a general peace is proposed." He refers to the town existing at the time of his visit, but implicitly also to the "old Apalachucla town." The ancient and correct form of this name is Apalaχtchúkla, and of the extinct tribe east of it, on Apalache bay, Apaláχtchi. Judge G. W. Stidham heard of the following etymology of the name: In cleaning the ground for the town square and making it even, the ground and sweeping finally formed a ridge on the outside of the chunk-yard or play-ground; from this ridge the town was called apálaχtch'-ukla. More upon this subject, cf. Apalachi. An Apalachicola Fort on Savannah river is mentioned on p. 20.

[Pg 128]

Apatá-i, a village of the Lower Creeks, settled by Kasí'hta people on Big creek or Hátchi `láko, twenty miles east of Chatahuchi river, in Georgia. The name refers to a sheet-like covering, from apatáyäs I cover; cf. patákäs I spread out; the Creek word apatá-i signifies any covering comparable to wall-papers, carpets, etc. The town of Upotoy now lies on Upotoy creek, Muscogee county, Alabama, in 32° 38´ Lat.

Ássi-lánapi, an Upper Creek town, called Oselanopy in the Census list of 1832. It probably lay on Yellow Leaf creek, which joins Coosa river from the west about five miles below Talladega creek. From it sprang Green-leaf Town in the Indian Territory, since láni means yellow and green at the same time. Green is now more frequently expressed by páhi-láni.

Átasi, or Átassi, an Upper Creek town on the east side of Tallapoosa river, below and adjoining Kalibi hátchi creek. It was a miserable-looking place in Hawkins' time, with about 43 warriors in 1766. Like that of all the other towns built on Tallapoosa river, below its falls, the site is low and unhealthy. The name is derived from the war-club (ă′tăssa), and was written Autossee, Ottossee, Otasse, Ot-tis-se, etc. Battle on November 29th, 1813. A town in the Indian Territory is called after it A′tĕsi, its inhabitants Atĕsálgi. "A post or column of pine, forty feet high, stood in the town of Autassee, on a low, circular, artificial hill." Bartram, Travels, p. 456. Cf. Hu`li-Wá'hli.

Atchina-álgi, or "Cedar Grove," the northernmost of all the Creek settlements, near the Hillabi-Etowa trail, on a side creek of Tallapoosa river and forty miles above Niuya'áχa. Settled from Lutchapóga.

Atchina Hátchi, or "Cedar Creek," a village settled by Indians from Ka-iläídshi, q. v. on a creek of the same name.

[Pg 129] Chatahuchi, a former town of the Lower Creeks, on the headwaters of Chatahuchi river. Probably abandoned in Hawkins' time; he calls it "old town Chatahutchi;" cf. Chatahuchi river. Called Chata Uche by Bartram (1775), Chatahoosie by Swan (1791).

Chatahuchi river is the water-course dividing, in its lower portion, the State of Alabama from that of Georgia. On its banks were settled the towns and villages of the Lower Creeks. Its name is composed of tchátu rock, stone and hútchi marked, provided with signs, and hence means: "Pictured Rocks." Rocks of this description are in the bed of the river, at the "old town Chatahuchi," above Hú`li-täíka (Hawkins, p. 52). Other names for this river were: Apalachukla river (Wm. Bartram), Cahouita or Apalachoocoly river (Jefferys' map in John Bartram's report).

Che`láko Nini, or "Horse-Trail," a Lower Creek town on the headwaters of Chatahuchi river, settled by Okfuski Indians. Mentioned in 1832 as Chelucconinny. Probably identical with Okfuski Nini; see Okfuskúdshi, and: Indian Pathways.

Chíaha, or Tchíaha, Chehaw, a Lower Creek town just below Ósotchi town and contiguous to it, on western bank of Chatahuchi river. The Chíaha Indians had in 1799 spread out in villages on the Flint river, of which Hawkins names Amakalli, Hótali-huyána; and at Chiahúdshi. Here a trail crossed the Chatahuchi river (Swan, 1791). A town of the same name, "where otters live," existed among the Cheroki. An Upper Creek town of this name, with twenty-nine heads of families, is mentioned in the Census list of 1832 (Schoolcraft IV, 578).

Chiahū′dshi, or "Little Chíaha," a Lower Creek town planted by Chíaha Indians in a pine forest one mile and a half west of Hitchiti town. Cf. Hitchiti, pp. 77. sqq.

[Pg 130]

Chíska talófa, a Lower Creek town on the west side of Chatahuchi river. Morse, Report, p. 364, refers to it under the name of "Cheskitalowas" as belonging to the Seminole villages. Is it Chisca, or "Chisi provincia", visited by the army of H. de Soto in 1540? Hawkins states that Chiske talófa hatche was the name given to Savannah river (from tchíska base of tree).

Coosa River, (1) an affluent of Alabama river in Eastern Alabama, in Creek Kusa-hátchi, runs through the roughest and most hilly district formerly held by the Creek Indians. "It is rapid, and so full of rocks and shoals that it is hardly navigable even for canoes": Swan, in Schoolcraft V, 257. Cusawati is an affluent of Upper Coosa river, in northwestern Georgia, a tract where Cheroki local names may be expected.

(2) A water-course of the same name, Coosawhatchie, passes southeast of Savannah City, South Carolina, into the Atlantic ocean. For the etymology, see Kúsa.

Fin'-hálui, a town of the Lower Creeks or Seminoles. The name signifies a high bridge, or a high foot-log, and the traders' name was "High Log" (1832).

A swamp having the same name, Finholoway Swamp, lies in Wayne county, between the lower Altamaha and Satilla rivers, Georgia.

Fish-Ponds, or Fish-Pond Town; cf. `Lá`lo-kálka.

Flint River, in Creek `Lonotíska hátchi, an eastern Georgian affluent of Chatahuchi river, and almost of the same length. Creeks, Yuchi and Seminole Indians were settled on it and on its numerous tributaries, one of which is `Lónoto creek, also called Indian creek, Dooley county, Georgia. From `lónoto flint.

Fort Toulouse; cf. Taskígi. This fort was also called, from the tribe settled around it, Fort Alibamu, Fort Albamo, Fort Alebahmah, Forteresse des Alibamons. Abandoned by the French in 1762.

[Pg 131]

Fusi-hátchi, Fus'-hátchi, or "Birdcreek," a town of the Upper Creeks, built on the right or northern bank of Tallapoosa river, two miles below Hu`li-Wáli. Remains of a walled town on the opposite shore.

Hátchi tchápa, or "Half-way Creek," a small village settled in a pine forest by Ka-iläídshi Indians, q. v.

Hickory Ground; cf. Odshi-apófa.

Hillabi, pronounced Hî′lapi, an Upper Creek town on Ko-ufadi creek, which runs into Hillabi creek one mile from the village. Hillabi creek is a western tributary of Tallapoosa river, and joins it eight miles below Niuyáχa. The majority of the Hillabi people had settled in four villages of the vicinity in 1799, which were: `Lánudshi apála, Anáti tchápko, Ístudshi-läíka, Úktaha `lási.

A battle took place in the vicinity on November 18th, 1813. Though the name is of difficult analysis, it is said to refer to quickness, velocity (of the water-course?)

Hitchiti, a Lower Creek town with branch villages; cf. Hitchiti, p. 77 sqq.

Hitchitū′dshi; cf. Hitchiti, p. 77.

Hótali-huyána, a Lower Creek town, planted by Chiaha Indians on the eastern bank of Flint river, six miles below the Kitchofuni creek junction. Ósotchi settlers had mingled with the twenty families of the village. The name means: "Hurricane Town," for hútali in Creek is wind, huyána passing; it therefore marks a locality once devastated by a passing hurricane. Called Tallewheanas, in Seminole list, p. 72.

Hu`li-täíga, a Lower Creek village on Chatahuchi river, planted by Okfuski Indians. Bartram calls it Hothtetoga, C. Swan: Hohtatoga (Schoolcraft, Indians V, 262); the name signifies "war-ford," military river-passage.

Hul′i-Wá'hli, an Upper Creek town on the right bank of Tallapoosa river, five miles below Átasi. This town obtained its name from the privilege of declaring [Pg 132]war (hú`li war, awá'hlita to share out, divide); the declaration was first sent to Tukabatchi, and from there among the other tribes. The town bordered west on Atas'-hátchi creek. The name is written Clewauley (1791), Ho-ithle-Wau-lee (Hawkins), Cleu-wath-ta (1832), Cluale, Clewulla, etc.

Ikanatcháka, or Holy Ground, a town on the southern side of Alabama river, built on holy ground, and therefore said to be exempt from any possible inroads of the white people. Weatherford, the leader of the insurgent Creeks, and their prophet Hilis'-háko resided there; the forces gathered at this place by them were defeated December 23d, 1813. From íkana ground, atcháka beloved, sacred.

Ikan'-hátki, or "white ground," a Sháwano town just below Kulumi, and on the same side of Tallapoosa river. "Cunhutki speaks the Muscogulge tongue"; W. Bartram (1775).

Imúkfa, an Upper Creek town on Imukfa creek, west of Tallapoosa river. Near this place, in a bend or peninsula formed by the Tallapoosa river, called Horse Shoe by the whites, the American troops achieved a decisive victory over the Red Stick party of the Creek Indians on March 25th, 1814, which resulted in the surrender of Weatherford, their leader, and put an end to this bloody campaign. Not less than five hundred and fifty-seven Creek warriors lost their lives in this battle. The term imúkfa is Hitchiti, for (1) shell; (2) metallic ornament of concave shape; Hawkins interprets the name by "gorget made of a conch." In Hitchiti, bend of river is hátchi paχútchki; ha'htchafáshki, hatsafáski is river-bend in Creek. Tohopeka is another name for this battle-field, but does not belong to the Creek language.

Intatchkálgi, or "collection of beaver dams," a Yuchi town of Georgia settled twenty-eight miles up Opil-`láko [Pg 133]creek, a tributary of Flint river. A square was built by the fourteen families of this town in 1798. Tátchki means anything straight, as a dam, beaver dam, line, boundary line, etc., íkan'-tátchka survey-line; the above creek was probably Beaver-dam creek, an eastern tributary of Flint river, joining it about 32° 15´ Lat.

Ipisógi, an Upper Creek town upon Ipisógi creek, a large eastern tributary of Tallapoosa river, joining it opposite Okfuski. Forty settlers in 1799. Cf. Pin-hóti.

Istapóga, an Upper Creek settlement not recorded in the earlier documents; a place of this name exists now east of Coosa river, Talladega county, Alabama. The name, usually written Eastaboga, signifies: "where people reside" (ísti people; apókita to reside).

Ístudshi-läíka, or "child lying there," a Hillabi village, on Hillabi creek, four miles below Hillabi town. It owes its name to the circumstance that a child was found on its site.

Ka-iläídshi, an Upper Creek town, on a creek of the same name, which joins Oktchóyi creek, a western tributary of Tallapoosa river, joining it fifteen miles above Tukabatchi. The two villages, Atchina Hátchi and Hátchi tchápa, branched off from this town. The name was variously written Ki-a-li-ge, Kiliga, Killeegko, Kiolege, and probably referred to a warrior's head dress: íka his head; iläídshäs I kill.

Kan'-tcháti, Kansháde, "Red dirt," "Red earth," an Upper Creek town, mentioned in 1835 as "Conchant-ti." Conchardee is a place a few miles northwest of Talladega.

Kasí'hta, a Lower Creek town on the eastern bank of Chatahuchi river, two and a half miles below Kawíta Talahássi; Kasí'hta once claimed the lands above the falls of the Chatahuchi river on its eastern bank. In this town and tribe our migration legend has taken its [Pg 134]origin. Its branch settlements spread out on the right side of the river, the number of the warriors of the town and branches being estimated at 180 in 1799; it was considered the largest among the Lower Creeks. The natives were friendly to the whites and fond of visiting them; the old chiefs were orderly men, desirous and active in restraining the young "braves" from the licentiousness which they had contracted through their intercourse with the scum of the white colonists. Hawkins makes some strictures at their incompetency for farming; "they do not know the season for planting, or, if they do, they never avail themselves of what they know, as they always plant one month too late" (p. 59). A large conical mound is described by him as standing on the Kasí'hta fields, forty-five yards in diameter at its base, and flat on the top. Below the town was the "old Cussetuh town," on a high flat, and afterwards "a Chicasaw town" occupied this site (p. 58). A branch village of Kasí'hta is Apatá-i, q. v. The name Kasí'hta, Kasiχta, is popularly explained as "coming from the sun" (hă′si) and being identical with hasí'hta. The Creeks infer, from the parallel Creek form hasóti, "sunshine," that Kasí'hta really meant "light," or "bright splendor of the sun;" anciently, this term was used for the sun himself, "as the old people say." The inhabitants of the town believed that they came from the sun. Cf. Yuchi. A place Cusseta is now in Chatahuchi county, Georgia, 32° 20´ Lat.

Kawäíki, a town of the Lower Creeks, having forty-five heads of families in 1832. Kawäíki Creek is named after quails.

Kawíta, a Lower Creek town on the high western bank of Chatahuchi river, three miles below its falls. The fishery in the western channel of the river, below the falls, belonged to Kawíta, that in the eastern channel [Pg 135]to Kasí'hta. In Hawkins' time (1799) many Indians had settled on streams in the vicinity, as at Hátchi íka, "Creek-Head." Probably a colony of Kawíta Talahássi.

Kawíta Talahássi, "old Kawíta Town," a Lower Creek town two miles and a half below Kawíta, on the western side of the river, and half a mile from it. Old Kawíta town was the "public establishment" of the Lower Creeks, and in 1799 could raise sixty-five warriors; it was also the seat of the United States agent. Kawíta Talahássi had branched off by segmentation from Kasí'hta, as shown in the migration legend, and itself has given origin to a village called Witúmka, on Big Yuchi creek. The town was a political centre for the nation, and is referred to by the traveler Wm. Bartram (1775), p. 389. 463, in the following terms: "The great Coweta town, on Chatahuchi or Apalachucly river, twelve miles above Apalachucla town, is called the bloody town, where the micos, chiefs and warriors assemble, when a general war is proposed, and here captives and state malefactors are put to death. Coweta speaks the Muscogulgee tongue." Colden, Five Nations, p. 5, mentions an alliance concluded between the Iroquois of New York and the Cowetas; but here the name Cowetas is used in the wider sense of Creek Indians or Lower Creek Indians. The Creek form is Kawítalgi, or ísti Kawítalgi. Written Caouita by French authors. Cf. Apalatchúkla.

Kitcho-patáki, an Upper Creek town, now name of a Creek settlement in the Indian Territory. From kítchu "maize-pounding block of wood"; patáki "spreading out." Kitchopatáki creek joins Tallapoosa river from the west a few miles below Okfuskee, in Randolph county, Alabama.

Koassáti, an Upper Creek town. Cf. special article on this tribe, pp. 89. 90.

[Pg 136]

Kulumi, Upper Creek town on right side of Tallapoosa river, small and compact, below Fusi-hátchi and contiguous to it. A conical mound, thirty feet in diameter, was seen by Hawkins, opposite the "town-house." A part of the inhabitants had settled on Likasa creek. The signification of the name is unknown, but it may have connection with a'hkolúmäs I clinch (prefix a- for áni I). Of the "old Coolome town," which stood on the opposite shore of Tallapoosa river, a few houses were left at the time of Bartram's visit, c. 1775 (Travels, p. 395).

Kúsa, (1) an old capital of the Creek people, referred to as Coça by the historians of de Soto's expedition, on the eastern bank of Coosa river, between Yufála and Natche creeks, which join Coosa river from the east, a quarter of a mile apart.[91] The town stood on a high hill in the midst of a rich limestone country, forty miles above Pakan-Talahássi and sixty above Taskígi, q. v. Bartram saw it (1775), half deserted and in ruins. "The great and old beloved town of refuge, Koosah, which stands high on the eastern side of a bold river, about two hundred and fifty yards broad, that runs by the late dangerous Alebahma fort, down to the black poisoning Mobille, and so into the gulph of Mexico:" Adair, History, p. 395. This town, which was also, as it seems, the sojourning place of Tristan de Luna's expedition (1559), must have been one of the earliest centres of the Maskoki people, though it does not appear among its "four leading towns". Its inhabitants may at one time have been comprised under the people of the neighboring Abi'hka town, q. v. Kósa is the name of a small forest-bird, resembling a sparrow; but the name of the town and river could possibly be an ancient form of ō′sa, ōsá, 'osá poke or pokeweed, a plant with red berries, which grows [Pg 137]plentifully and to an enormous height throughout the South. Cf. Coosa river. It is more probable, however, that the name is of Cha'hta origin; cf. (3).

(2) A town, "Old Kúsa" or "Coussas old village," is reported a short distance below Fort Toulouse, on the northern shore of Alabama river, between Taskígi and Koassáti. It was, perhaps, from this place that the Alabama river was, in earlier times, called Coosa or Coussa river, but since Hawkins and others make no mention of this town, I surmise that it was identical with Koassáti, the name being an abbreviation from the latter.

(3) The Kúsa, Cusha or Coosa towns, on the Kúsa Creeks, formed a group of the eastern Cha'hta settlements. From Cha'hta kush reed, cane which corresponds to the kóa, kóe of Creek. Cf. p. 108.

`Lá`lo-kálka, "Fish-Pond Town," or "Fish-Ponds," an Upper Creek town on a small creek forming ponds, fourteen miles above its junction with Alkohátchi, a stream running into Tallapoosa river from the west, four miles above Okfuski. The name is abbreviated from `lá`lo-akálka fish separated, placed apart; from `lá`lo fish, akálgäs I am separated from. This was a colony planted by Oktcháyi Indians, q. v.

`Lánudshi apála, or "beyond a little mountain," a Hillabi place fifteen miles from that town and on the northwest branch of Hillabi creek; had a "town-house" or public square.

`Láp`láko, or "Tall Cane," "Big Reed," the name of two villages of the Upper Creeks, mentioned in 1832. `Láp is a tall cane, from which sarbacanes or blow-guns are made.

`Lè-kátchka, `Li-i-kátchka, or "Broken Arrow," a Lower Creek town on a ford of the southern trail, which crossed Chatahuchi river at this point, twelve miles below Kasi'hta and Kawíta (Swan, 1791). Bartram [Pg 138]calls it Tukauska, Swan: Chalagatsca. Called so because reeds were obtained there for manufacturing arrow shafts.

Lutchapóga, or "Terrapin-Resort," an Upper Creek town, probably near Tallapoosa river. The village Atchina-álgi was settled by natives of this town (Hawkins, p. 47), but afterwards incorporated with Okfuski. Also mentioned in the Census list of 1832. A place called Loachapoka is now in Lee county, Alabama, about half-way between Montgomery and West Point. From lútcha terrapin, póka killing-place; póyäs I destroy, kill; póka occurs only in compound words.

H. S. Tanner's map (1827) marks an Indian town Luchepoga on west bank of Tallapoosa river, about ten miles above Tukabátchi Talahássi; also Luchanpogan creek, as a western tributary of Chatahuchi river, in 33° 8´ Lat., just below Chatahuchi town.

Muklása, a small Upper Creek town one mile below Sawanógi and on the same side of Tallapoosa river. In times of freshet the river spreads here nearly eight miles from bank to bank. Bartram states, that Mucclasse speaks the "Stincard tongue," and the list of 1832 writes "Muckeleses." They are Alibamu, and a town of that name is in the Indian Territory. "The Wolf-king, our old, steady friend of the Amooklasah Town, near the late Alebahma" (Adair, History, p. 277). The name points to the Imuklásha, a division of the Cha'hta people; imúkla is the "opposite people," referring to the two iksa, Kasháp-ukla and Úkla iⁿhulá'hta. Cf. Cha'hta, p. 104, and Mugulasha, p. 111. 112.

Natche (better Náktche), on "Natche creek, five miles above Abikū′dshi, scattering for two miles on a rich flat below the fork of the creek, which is an eastern [Pg 139]tributary of Upper Coosa river."[92] Peopled by the remainder of the Naktche tribe on Mississippi river, and containing from fifty to one hundred warriors in 1799. The root tálua was dug by them in this vicinity. Bartram states, that "Natchez speak Muscogee and Chicasaw" (1775).

Niuyáχa, village of the Upper Creeks, settled by Tukpáfka Indians in 1777, twenty miles above Okfuski, on the east bank of Tallapoosa river. It was called so after the Treaty of New York, concluded between the United States Government and the Creek confederacy, at a date posterior to the settlement of this town, August 7th, 1790.

Nofápi creek, an affluent of Yufábi creek. Cf. Yufábi, and Annotations to the Legend.

Odshi-apófa, or "Hickory-Ground," an Upper Creek town on the eastern bank of Coosa river, two miles above the fork of the river; from ō′dshi hickory, ápi tree, stem, trunk, -ófa, -ófan, a suffix pointing to locality. The falls of Coosa river, one mile above the town, can be easily passed in canoes, either up or down. The town had forty warriors at the time of Hawkins' visit (1799). Identical with Little Tálisi; Milfort, p. 27: "le petit Talessy ou village des Noyers." A map of this section will be found in Schoolcraft, Indians, V, 255. Literally: "in the hickory grove."

Okfuski (better Akfáski), an Upper Creek town, erected on both sides of Tallapoosa river, about thirty-five miles above Tukabatchi. The Indians settled on the eastern side came from Chatahuchi river, and had founded on it three villages, Che`láko-Ni′ni, Hul′i-täíga, Tchúka l′áko, q. v. In 1799 Okfuski (one hundred and eighty warriors) with its seven branch villages on Tallapoosa river (two hundred and seventy warriors) was considered the largest community of the confederacy. The shrub Ilex cassine was growing there in clumps. These seven villages were: Niuyáχa, Tukabátchi Talahássi, Imúkfa, [Pg 140]Tuχtukági, Atchina-álgi, Ipisógi, Suka-ispóka. The Creek term akfáski, akfúski signifies point, tongue of a confluence, promontory, from ak-down in, fáski sharp, pointed. Tallapoosa river was also called Okfuski river.

Okfuskū′dshi, or "Little Okfuski," a part of a small village four miles above Niuyáχa. Some of these people formerly inhabited Okfuski-Níni, on Chatahuchi river, but were driven from there by Georgian volunteers in 1793. Cf. Che`láko-Níni.

Oki-tiyákni, a lower Creek village on the eastern bank of Chatahuchi river, eight miles below Yufála. Hawkins writes it O-ke-teyoc-en-ni, and Morse, Report, p. 364, mentions among the Seminole settlements, "Oka-tiokinans, near Fort Gaines." Oki-tiyakni, a Hitchiti term, means either whirlpool, or river-bend.

Okmúlgi (1), a Lower Creek town on the east side of Flint river, near Hótali-huyána. The name signifies "bubbling, boiling water," from H. óki water; múlgis it is boiling, in Creek and Hitchiti.

(2) East of Flint river is Okmúlgi river, which, after joining Little Okmúlgi and Okóni rivers, forms Altamaha river.

Okóni, a small Lower Creek town, six miles below Apalachúkla, on the western bank of Chatahuchi river; settled by immigrants from a locality below the Rock Landing on Okóni river, Georgia. They spoke the "Stincard tongue," and probably were Apalachians of the Hitchiti-Mikasuki dialect. Cf. Cuscowilla, under the head of: Seminole. The name is the Cheroki term ekuóni river, from ékua great, large, viz.: "great water." Bartram, who encamped on the site of the old Okóni town on Okóni river, states (Travels, p. 378), that the Indians abandoned that place about 1710, on account of the vicinity of the white colonists, and built a town among the Upper Creeks. Their roving disposition [Pg 141]impelled them to leave this settlement also, and to migrate to the fertile Alachua plains, where they built Cuscowilla on the banks of a lake, and had to defend it against the attacks of the Tomocos, Utinas, Calloosas (?), Yamases and other remnant tribes of Florida, and the more northern refugees from Carolina, all of whom were helped by the Spaniards. Being reinforced by other Indians from the Upper Creek towns, "their uncles," they repulsed the aggressors and destroyed their villages, as well as those of the Spaniards. This notice probably refers to the Indian troubles with the Yámassi, which occurred long before 1710, since inroads are recorded as early as 1687. Hawkins, p. 65, states that the town they formerly occupied on Okóni river stood just below the Rock Landing, once the site of a British post about four miles below Milledgeville, Georgia.

Oktcháyi, an Upper Creek town built along Oktchayi creek, a western tributary of Tallapoosa river. The town, mentioned as Oak-tchoy in 1791, lay three miles below Ka-iläídshi, in the central district. Cf. `La`lo-kálka. Milfort, Mémoire, p. 266. 267, calls the tribe: les Oxiailles.

Oktchayū′dshi, a "little compact town" of the Upper Creek Indians, on the eastern bank of Coosa river, between Otchi-apófa and Taskígi, its cabins joining those of the latter town. Their maize fields lay on the same side of the river, on the Sambelo grounds, below Sambelo creek. They removed their village to the eastern side of Tallapoosa river on account of former Chicasa raids. The name of the town, "Little Oktcháyi," proves it to be a colony or branch of Oktcháyi, q. v.; Pl. Porter says it is a branch of Okfúski.

Opíl'-`láko, or "Big Swamp," from opílua swamp, `láko large. (1) An Upper Creek town on a stream of the same name, which joins Pákan'-Talahássi creek on its [Pg 142]left side. The town was twenty miles from Coosa river; its tribe is called Pinclatchas by C. Swan (1791).

(2) A locality west of Kasi′hta; cf. Tálisi.

(3) A stream running into Flint river, Georgia. Cf. Intatchkálgi.

Ósotchi, Ósutchi, Ósudshi, or Úsutchi, a Lower Creek town about two miles below Yuchi town, on the western bank of Chatahuchi river, whose inhabitants migrated to this place in 1794 from Flint river. The town adjoins that of Chiaha; Bartram calls it Hoositchi. The descendants of it and of Chíaha have consolidated into one town in the Creek Nation, Indian Territory. Cf. Hawkins, p. 63.

Padshiläíka, or "Pigeon Roost;" (1) a Yuchi town on the junction of Padshiläíka creek with Flint river, Macon county, Georgia, about 32° 38´ Lat. The village suffered heavily by the loss of sixteen warriors, who were murdered by Benjamin Harrison and his associates; cf. Hawkins, p. 62 sq.

(2) Patsiläíka river was the name of the western branch of Conecuh river, in Southern Alabama, Covington county, which runs into Escambia river and Pensacola bay. From pádshi pigeon, and läíkäs I sit down, am sitting.

Pákan'-Talahássi, Upper Creek town on a creek of the same name, which joins Coosa river from the east, forty miles below Kúsa town. From ipákana, mayapple, itálua town, hássi ancient, in the sense of waste. G. W. Stidham interprets the name: "Old Peach Orchard Town."

Pin'-hóti, or "Turkey-Home," an Upper Creek town on the right side of a small tributary of Ipisógi creek; cf. Ipisógi. The trail from Niuyáχa to Kawíta Talahássi passed through this settlement. From pínua turkey, húti, hóti home.

[Pg 143]

Pótchus'-hátchi, Upper Creek town in the central district, on a stream of the same name, which joins Coosa river from the northeast, four miles below Pákan'-Talahássi. The town was in Coosa or Talladega county, Alabama, forty miles above the junction; the name signifies "Hatchet-Stream": potchúsua hatchet, ax; hátchi water-course.

Sakapatáyi, Upper Creek town in the central district, now Socopatoy, on a small eastern tributary of Pótchus'-hátchi, or Hatchet creek, Coosa county, Alabama; pronounced also Sakapató-i by Creek Indians. Probably refers to water-lilies covering the surface of a pond, the seeds of them being eaten by the natives; from sakpatágäs I lie inside (a covering, blanket, etc.) A legend, which evidently originated from the name already existing, relates that wayfarers passing there had left a large provision-basket (sáka) at this locality, which was upset and left rotting, so that finally it became flattened out: from patäídshäs I spread out something; patáyi, partic. pass., shaken out.

Sauga Hátchi, Upper Creek town on a stream of the same name, which runs into Tallapoosa river from the east, ten miles below Yufála. In 1799 the thirty young men of this place had joined Tálisi town. Hawkins, p. 49, renders the name by "cymbal creek." Sauga is a hard-shelled fruit or gourd, similar to a cocoa-nut, used for making rattles; saúkäs I am rattling.

Sawanógi, or "Sháwanos," a town settled by Sháwano-Algonkins, but belonging to the Creek confederacy. It stood on the left or southern side of Tallapoosa river, three miles below Likasa creek. The inhabitants (in 1799) retained the customs and language of their countrymen in the northwest, and had joined them in their late war against the United States. Some Yuchi Indians lived among them. The "town-house" was an oblong [Pg 144]square cabin, roof "eight feet pitch," sides and roof covered with pine-bark. Cf. Ikan'-hátki.

Sáwokli, or Great Sáwokli, Sá-ukli, a Lower Creek town, six miles below Okóni, on the west bank of Chatahuchi river, and four miles and a half above Wiláni ("Yellow Water") Creek junction. The Hitchiti word sáwi means racoon, úkli town; and both Sáwokli towns spoke the "Stincard tongue" (Bartram). Called Chewakala in 1791; Swaglaw, etc. Among the Hitchiti the míkalgi were appointed from the racoon gens only.

Sawokli-ū′dshi, or "Little Sáwokli," a Lower Creek town on the eastern bank of Chatahuchi river, four miles below Okóni town; contained about twenty families in 1799. About 1865 both Sáwokli towns in the Indian Territory have disbanded into the Tálua `láko; cf. Apalatchúkla.

Suka-ispóka, or Suka-ishpógi, called "Hog Range" by the traders, a small Upper Creek village situated on the western bank of Upper Tallapoosa river, twelve miles above Okfuski; its inhabitants had in 1799 moved, for the larger part, to Imúkfa. It is the place called elsewhere Soguspogus, Sokaspoge, Hog Resort, the name meaning literally: "hog-killing place." Cf. Lutchapóga.

Talatígi, now Talladega, an Upper Creek settlement in the central district east of Coosa river. A battle was fought there November 7th, 1813. The name signifies "border town," from itálua town and atígi at the end, on the border; cf. atígis "it is the last one, it forms the extremity." Cf. Kúsa (1).

Tálisi, abbrev. Tálsi, or: "Old Town," a contraction of the term itálua hássi; a town of the Upper Creeks on the eastern bank of Tallapoosa river, opposite Tukabatchi, in the fork of Yufábi creek. In Hawkins' time the natives of this place had for the larger part left the [Pg 145]town and settled up Yufábi creek, and the chief, Hobo-í`li míko, was at variance with the United States and Spanish colonial authorities. The traders' trail from Kasí'hta to the Upper Creek settlements crossed Yufábi creek twice at the "Big Swamp," Opil'-`láko. The Census of 1832 calls Tálisi: "Big Tallassie or the Halfway House."

Tálisi, Little, a town of the Upper Creeks, identical with Odshi-apófa, q. v.

Tallapoosa river, a considerable tributary of Alabama river, full of rocks, shoals and falls down to Tukabatchi town; for thirty miles from here to its junction with the Coosa, it becomes deep and quiet. The Hitchiti form of the name is Talapúsi; cf. Okfuski. A little village named Tallapoosa lies on the headwaters of Tallapoosa river, from which the river perhaps received its name; cf. talepú`li stranger (in Creek).

Tálua `láko, properly Itálua `láko, "the Great Town," the popular name of Apalatchúkla, q. v., the latter being no longer heard at the present time.

Tálua mutchási, (1) The new name for Tukabátchi Talahássi, q. v. It is commonly abbreviated into Talmodshási "Newtown." From itálua town, mutchási new.

(2) A Lower Creek town, on west shore of Chatahuchi river, mentioned by Morse (1822) as: Telmocresses, among the Seminole towns.

Támá`li, a Lower Creek town on Chatahuchi river, seven miles from Odshísi (Morse, Report, p. 364). Hawkins writes it Tum-mult-lau, and makes it a Seminole town. Probably a Cheroki name; there was on the southern shore of Tennessee river, between Ballplay creek and Toskegee, a settlement called Tommotley town in early maps; cf. Jefferys' Atlas of N. America (map of 1762).

Taskígi or Tuskíki, a little, ancient Upper Creek town, built near the site of the former French Fort Toulouse, [Pg 146]at the confluence of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers. It stood on the high shore of Coosa river, forty-six feet above its waters, where the two rivers approach each other within a quarter of a mile, to curve out again. On this bluff are also five conic mounds, the largest thirty yards in diameter at the base. The town, of 35 warriors, had lost its ancient language and spoke the Creek (1799). The noted A. MacGillivray, head chief of the Creeks in the latter part of the eighteenth century, or as he was styled, "Emperor of the Creek Nation," lived at Taskígi, where he owned a house and property along Coosa river, half a league from Fort Toulouse; Milfort, Mémoire, p. 27. On the immigration of the tribe, cf. Milfort, pp. 266. 267.

The name of the town may be explained as: "jumping men, jumpers," from Cr. tāská-is, tā′skäs I jump (tulúp-kalis in Hitchiti); or be considered an abbreviated form of táskialgi warriors; cf. taskáya citizen (Creek), and Hawkins, Sketch, p. 70. But since the town formerly spoke another language, it is, in view of the frequency of Cheroki names in the Creek country, appropriate to regard Taskígi as linguistically identical with "Toskegee," a Cheroki town on Great Tennessee river, southern shore, mentioned by several authors, and appearing on Lieutenant H. Timberlake's map in his Memoir, reproduced in Jefferys' Topography (Atlas) of North America, dated March, 1762.

Tchúka `láko, or "Great Cabin" of the public square, (1) A Lower Creek town on Chatahuchi river, settled by Okfuski Indians.

(2) A place of the same name is mentioned in the Census of 1832 as an Upper Creek town.

Tokogálgi, or "tadpole place," a small Yuchi settlement on Kitchofuni creek, a northern affluent of Flint river, Georgia, which joins it about 31° 40´ Lat. Beaver dams [Pg 147]existed on branches of Kitchofuni creek; cf. Hawkins, p. 63. The present Creeks call a tadpole tokiúlga.

Tukabátchi, an Upper Creek town built upon the western bank of Tallapoosa river, and two miles and a half below its falls, which are forty feet in fifty yards. Opposite was Tálisi town, q. v. Tukabatchi was an ancient capital, decreasing in population in Hawkins' time, but still able to raise one hundred and sixteen warriors. The town suffered much in its later wars with the Chicasa. Cf. Hú`li-Wáli. The traders' trail crossed the Tallapoosa river at this place. Bartram (1775) states that Tuccabatche spoke Muscogulge, and the Census of 1832 considers it the largest town among the Creeks, with three hundred and eighty-six houses. Here, as at a national centre, the Sháwano leader, Tecumseh, held his exciting orations against the United States Government, which prompted the Upper Creeks to rise in arms (1813). Tugibáχtchi, Tukipá'htchi, and Tukipáχtchi are the ancient forms of the name (Stidham), which is of foreign origin. The inhabitants believe that their ancestors fell from the sky, or according to others, came from the sun. Another tale is, that they did not originate on this continent; that when they arrived from their country they landed at the "Jagged Rock," tcháto tchaχàχa `láko, and brought the metallic plates with them, which they preserve to the present day with anxious care. In Adair's time (cf. Adair, History, pp. 178. 179, in Note) they consisted of five copper and two brass plates, and were, according to Old Bracket's account, preserved under the "beloved cabbin in Tuccabatchey Square" (A. D. 1759). Bracket's forefathers told him that they were given to the tribe "by the man we call God," and that the Tukabatchi were a people different from the Creeks. The plates are mentioned in Schoolcraft's Indians, V, 283 (C. Swan's account), and [Pg 148]rough sketches of them are given in Adair, 1.1. They appear to be of Spanish origin, and are produced at the busk. The town anciently was known under two other names: Ispokógi, or Itálua ispokógi, said to mean "town of survivors," or "surviving town, remnant of a town"; and Itálua fátcha-sígo, "incorrect town, town deviating from strictness." With this last appellation we may compare the Spanish village-name Villa Viciosa.

On national councils held there, cf. Hawkins, Sketch, p. 51 (in the year 1799) and Milfort, p. 40 (in the year 1780) and p. 266.

Tukabátchi Talahássi, or "old town of Tukabatchi," an Upper Creek town on west side of Tallapoosa river, four miles above Niuyáχa. Since 1797 it received a second name, that of Tálua mutchási or "new town." The Census list of 1832 calls it Talmachussa, Swan in 1791: Tuckabatchee Teehassa.

Tukpáfka, "Spunk-knot," a village on Chatahuchi river, Toapáfki in 1832, from which was settled the town of Niuyáχa, q. v. A creek of the same name is a tributary of Potchus'-Hátchi, q. v. Tukpáfka, not Tutpáfka, is the correct form; it means punky wood, spunk, rotten wood, tinder.

Tuχtu-kági, or "Corn cribs set up" by the Okfuski natives to support themselves during the hunting season, was an Upper Creek town on the western bank of Tallapoosa River, twenty miles above Niuyáχa. The trail from Hillabi to Etowa in the Cheroki country passed this town, which is near a spur of mountains. Mentioned as "Corn House" in the Census list of 1832, as Totokaga in 1791. Túχtu means a crib; kági is the past participle of kákīs, q. v.

Tutalósi, a branch village of Hitchiti town. Cf. Hitchiti, p. 77. The Creek word tutalósi means chicken, in Hitchiti tatayáhi; its inhabitants, who had no [Pg 149]town-square, are called by the people speaking Hitchiti: Tatayáhukli.

Úktaha-sàsi', or "Sand-Heap," two miles from Hillabi town, of which it was a branch or colony. Cf. Hillabi. If the name was pronounced Úktaha lási, it is "sand-lick."

U-i-ukúfki, Uyukúfki, an Upper Creek town, on a creek of the same name, a tributary of Hatchet creek (Hawkins, p. 42); Wiogúfka (1832). The name points to muddy water: o-íwa water, ukúfki muddy; and is also the Creek name for the Mississippi river. Exists now in Indian Territory. Cf. Potchus'-hátchi.

Wako-káyi, Waχoká-i, or "Blow-horn Nest," an Upper Creek town on Tukpáfka creek, a branch of Potchus'-Hátchi, a water-course which joins Coosa river from the east. Also written Wolkukay by cartographers; Wacacoys, in Census List of 1832; Wiccakaw by Bartram (1775). Wáko is a species of heron, bluish-grey, 2' high; káyi breeding-place. Another "Wacacoys" is mentioned, in 1832, as situated on Lower Coosa river, below Witúmka.

Watúla Hóka hátchi. The location of this stream is marked by Watoola village, which is situated on a run joining Big Yuchi creek in a southern course, about eighteen miles west of Chatahuchi river, on the road between Columbus, Ga., and Montgomery, Ala.

Wí-kai `láko, or "Large Spring," a Lower Creek or Seminole town, referred to by Morse under the name Wekivas. From u-íwa, abbrev. ú-i water, káya rising, `láko great, large. A Creek town in the Indian Territory bears the same name.

Witumka, (1) Upper Creek town on the rapids of Coosa river, east side, near its junction with Tallapoosa. Hawkins does not mention this old settlement, but Bartram, who traveled from 1773 to 1778, quotes Whittumke [Pg 150]among the Upper Creek towns speaking the "Stincard tongue," which in this instance was the Koassáti dialect.

(2) A branch town of Kawíta Talahássi, and twelve miles from it, on Witumka creek, the main fork of Yuchi creek. The place had a town-house, and extended for three miles up the creek. The name signifies "rumbling water;" from ú-i, abbrev. from u-íwa "water," and túmkīs "it rumbles, makes noise."

Witumka Creek, called Owatunka river in the migration legend, is the northern and main branch of Yuchi creek, which runs into the Chatahuchi river from the northwest, and joins it about 32° 18´ Lat. The other branch was Little Yuchi creek or Hosapo-läíki; cf. Note to Hawkins, p. 61.

Wiwúχka, or Wiwóka, Upper Creek town on Wiwóka creek, an eastern tributary of Coosa river, joining it about ten miles above Witumka. The town was fifteen miles above Odshi-apófa, and in 1799 numbered forty warriors. Called Weeokee in 1791; it means: "water roaring,": ú-i water, wóχkīs it is roaring.

Woksoyū′dshi, an Upper Creek town, mentioned in the Census List of 1832 as "Waksoyochees, on Lower Coosa river, below Wetumka."

Yuchi, a town of foreign extraction belonging to the Lower Creeks; has branched out into three other villages. Cf. Yuchi, p. 21.

Yufábi creek, an eastern tributary of Tallapoosa river, joining it a short distance from Tukabatchi. Nofápi creek, mentioned in the legend, is now Naufába creek, an upper branch of "Ufaupee creek," joining it in a southwestern direction.

Yufála, (1) Y. or Yufála Hátchi, Upper Creek town on Yufála creek, fifteen miles above its confluence with Coosa river. Called Upper Ufala in 1791.

[Pg 151]

(2) Upper Creek town on the west bank of Tallapoosa river, two miles below Okfuski in the air line.

(3) town of the Lower Creeks, fifteen miles below Sáwokli, on the eastern bank of Chatahuchi river. In 1799 the natives had spread out down to the forks of the river in several villages, and many had negro slaves, taken during the Revolutionary war. The Census of 1832 counted 229 heads of families. This name, of unknown signification, is written Eufaula.


A correct and detailed knowledge of the Indian trails leading through their country, and called by them warpaths, horse trails, and by the white traders "trading roads," forms an important part of Indian topography and history. Their general direction is determined by mountain ranges and gaps (passes), valleys, springs, water-courses, fordable places in rivers, etc. The early explorers of North American countries all followed these Indian trails: Narvaez, Hernando de Soto, Tristan de Luna, Juan del Pardo, Lederer and Lawson, because they were led along these tracks by their Indian guides. If we knew with accuracy the old Indian paths of the West, we would have little difficulty in rediscovering the routes traveled by Coronado's and Peñalossa's troops in New Mexico and in the great wastes of the Mississippi plains. In hilly lands these trails are, of course, easier to trace than in level portions of the country.

The best-known trails leading from the east to the Creek towns were as follows:

1. The upper trail or "warpath" crossed Chatahuchi river at Che`láko-Nini by a horse ford, about sixty miles above Kasiχta; cf. Schoolcraft, Indians, V, 255, and Adair, History, pp. 258. 368.

2. The "High Tower path" started from High Shoals on Apalachi river, which is the southern branch of Okóni river,[Pg 152] and went almost due west to "Shallow Ford" of Chatahuchi river, about twelve miles right north of Atlanta, Georgia, in the river bend.

3. The southern trail crossed the Chatahuchi river, coming from the Okóni and Okmúlgi rivers,[93] at the "Broken Arrow," `Lé-kátchka, while other travelers crossed it at the Yuchi towns, which cannot have been distant from the "Broken Arrow." The Tallapoosa river was passed at Tukabatchi; cf. Schoolcraft, Indians, V, 254.

From Tukabatchi it crossed over almost due west, as represented in Em. Bowen's map, to Coosa river, which was passed by a horse-ford, then followed the Coosa river up to Coosa old town. This is the trail partly traveled over by the Kasiχta tribe, as described in the migration legend.

4. The trail leading from St. Mary's river, Georgia, to the Creek towns went into disuse since 1783, and at the time of Swan's visit (1791) was difficult to trace. Cf. Schoolcraft, V, 256. If correctly represented in Tanner's map of 1827, a road then running from St. Mary's river to the Hitchiti ford of the Chatahuchi river crossed that river at Hitchitū′dshi.


The social organization of all the Indian nations of America is based upon the existence of the tribe. The tribe itself is based upon smaller units of individuals which are joined together by a common tie; this tie is either the archaic[Pg 153] maternal descent, or the more modern tie of paternal descent, or a combination of both. Among the Indians of North America east of the Rocky mountains, and also among many tribes west of them, the single groups descending from the same male or female ancestor form each a gens provided with a proper name or totem generally recalling the name of an animal.

Among the Creeks, Seminoles and all the other Maskoki tribes descent was in the female line. Every child born belonged to the gens of its mother, and not to that of its father, for no man could marry into his own gens. In case of the father's death or incapacity the children were cared for by the nearest relatives of the mother. Some public officers could be selected only from certain gentes, among which such a privilege had become hereditary. Regulations like these also controlled the warrior class and exercised a profound influence upon the government and history of the single tribes, and it often gave a too prominent position to some gentes in certain tribes, to the detriment or exclusion of others. The Hitchiti and Creek totems were the same.

The administration of public affairs in the Creek nation can be studied to best advantage by dividing the dates on hand into three sections: the civil government of the Creek tribe; the warrior class; the confederacy and its government. What we give below will at least suffice to give readers a better understanding of some points in the migration legend. But before we enter upon these points, let us consider the basis of Indian social life, the gens.


Parallel to the two íksa of the Cha'hta the Creeks are divided into two fires (tútka), a civil fire and a military fire. The term fire evidently refers to council fires, which had to be kindled ceremonially by the friction of two pieces of wood. The term fire was also applied by Sháwanos and other Northern Indians[Pg 154] to the States formed by the early colonists, and is still used of the States now constituting the American Union: the thirteen fires, the seventeen fires, etc.

Concerning the gentes (aläíkita) of the Creek people, it is important to notice that in their towns each group of houses contained people of one gens only,[94] and these gentes are often mentioned in their local annals; and that the gens of each individual was determined by that of his mother. Some of the towns had separate gentes for themselves, all of which had privileges of their own.

Marriage between individuals of the same gens was prohibited; the office of the míko and the succession to property of deceased persons was and is still hereditary in the gens. In the Tukabatchi town the civil rulers or míkalgi were selected from the eagle gens; those of Hitchiti town from the racoon gens only; of Kasiχta from the bear gens; those of Taskígi probably from the wind gens. The beloved men or ístitchakálgi of Kasiχta were of the beaver gens.

In adultery and murder cases the relatives of the gens of the injured party alone had the right of judging and of taking satisfaction; the míko and his council were debarred from any interference. This custom explains why treaty stipulations made with the colonists or the Federal Government concerning murders committed have never been executed.[95]

There is probably no Indian tribe or nation in North America having a larger number of gentes than the Maskoki proper. This fact seems to point either to a long historic development of the tribe, through which so large a segmentation was brought about, or to internal dissensions, which could produce the same result. About twenty gentes[Pg 155] are now in existence, and the memory of some extinct ones is not lost in the present generation.

The list of Creek gentes, as obtained from Judge G. W. Stidham, runs as follows:

Nokósalgi bear gens; from nokósi bear.

Itchúalgi deer gens, from ítchu deer.

Kátsalgi panther gens; kátsa panther, cougar.

Koákotsalgi wild-cat gens; kóa-kótchi wild-cat.

Kunipálgi skunk gens; kúno, kóno skunk.

Wótkalgi racoon gens; wō′tko racoon.

Yahálgi wolf gens; yáha wolf.

Tsúlalgi fox gens; tsúla fox.

Itch'hásualgi beaver gens; itch'hásua beaver.

Osánalgi otter gens; osána otter.

Hálpadalgi alligator gens; hálpada alligator.

Fúsualgi bird gens; fúswa forest bird.

Ítamalgi, Támalgi, (?) cf. támkita to fly.

Sopáktalgi toad gens; sopáktu toad.

Tákusalgi mole gens; táku mole.

Atchíalgi maize gens; átchi maize.

Ahalaχálgi sweet potato gens; áha sweet potato, long marsh-potato.

Hútalgalgi wind gens; hútali wind.

Aktäyatsálgi (signification unknown).

(-algi is the sign of collective plurality—the ókla of Cha'hta.)

The following gentes are now extinct, but still occur in war names:

Pahósalgi; occurs in names like Pahós'-hádsho.

Okílisa; cf. Killis-tamaha, p. 109.

`Lá`lo-algi fish gens; `lá`lo fish, occurs in war names like `Lá`lo yahóla, etc.

Tchukótalgi, perhaps consolidated with another gens; it stood in a close connection with the Sopáktalgi. Also pronounced Tsuχódi; Chief Chicote is named after it.

[Pg 156]

Odshísalgi hickory nut gens; ō′dshi hickory nut. Some believe this gens represented the people of Otchísi town, p. 71.

Oktchúnualgi salt gens; oktchúnua salt.

Isfánalgi; seems analogous to the Ispáni phratry and gens of the Chicasa.

Wá'hlakalgi; cf. Hú`li-wá'hli, town name.

Muχlásalgi; said to mean "people of Muklása town"; cf. Imuklásha, under Cha'hta.

The Creek phratries and their names were not fully remembered by my informants. The only points which could be gathered were, that individuals belonging to the panther and the wildcat gentes could not intermarry, nor could the Tchukótalgi with the individuals of the toad gens or Sopáktalgi. This proves that the two groups formed each a phratry, which perhaps comprised other gentes besides. It is possible that among the above totemic gentes some are in fact phratries and not gentes; and the two fires (or tútka) of the Creeks are not real phratries, but formal divisions only.


Several gentes, with their families, united into one town or settlement, live under one chief, and thus constitute a tribe. The tribe, as far as constituting a politic body governing itself, is called in Creek itálua, which could also be rendered by: community or civil district. Amitáluadshi is "my own town, where I belong," amitálua "my own country." Itálua also signifies nation. Another term, talófa, means town or village, city as a collection of houses without any reference to its inhabitants.

The executive officer of each town is the míko or chief, formerly called "king" by the whites. His duty is to superintend all public and domestic concerns, to receive public characters, to listen to their speeches, the contents of which were referred to the town, and to "deliver the talks" of his community. The town elects him for life from a[Pg 157] certain gens. When he becomes sick or old he chooses an assistant, who is subject to the approval of the counsellors and head men. When the míko dies the next of kin in the maternal line succeeds him, usually his nephew, if he is fit for office.

Next in authority after the míko are the míkalgi and the counsellors, both of whom form the council of the town. The council appoints the Great Warrior, approves or rejects the nominations for a míko's assistant, and gives advice in law, war or peace questions.

Next in authority after the council is the body of the hinihálgi, old men and advisers, presided over by the híniha `láko. They are in charge of public buildings, supervise the erection of houses for new settlers, direct the agricultural pursuits and prepare the black drink. They are the "masters of ceremonies," and the name híniha, íniha, which is no longer understood by the present generation, is said to signify "self-adorner," in the sense of "warrior embellished with body paint." Hiniha `láko, abbreviated into Nia`láko, is now in use as a personal name, and recalls the name of the celebrated Seminole chief Neamáthla (híniha imá`la). In the Hitchiti towns they were comprised among the class of the beloved men. Before the broken days, níta χátska, they consulted about the time of the busk, and during the busk directed the performances.

Beloved men or isti-tchákalgi follow next in rank after the above. They are the men who have distinguished themselves by long public service, especially as war leaders, and the majority of them were advanced in age. C. Swan states that the beloved men were formerly called míkalgi in white towns.

Then follows the common people. For the tustĕnúggi `láko or Great Warrior, cf. "Warrior Class" and "Creek Confederacy."

Since Indian character expresses itself in the most[Pg 158] pronounced, self-willed independence, the power of the authorities was more of a persuasive than of a constraining or commanding nature. This will appear still better when we speak of the warrior class; and it may be appropriate to remember that no man felt himself bound by decrees of a popular assembly, by edicts of chiefs and their counsellors, or by treaties concluded by these with alien tribes or governments. The law exercised by the gens was more powerful than all these temporary rulings, and, in fact, was the real motive power in the Indian community.

The distinction between red and white towns is not clearly remembered now, and there are very few Creeks living who are able to tell whether such or such a town was red or white. As soon as the agricultural interests began to prevail over the military, through the approach of the colonial settlements, this feature had to disappear, and the social order also changed from the gens or φύλη into that of civitas. Adair, Hist., p. 159, seems inclined to identify the white (or "ancient, holy, old beloved, peaceable towns") with the "towns of refuge," one of which was Kúsa.


The geographic position of the Creeks in the midst of warlike and aggressive nations was a powerful stimulant for making "invincibles" of their male offspring. The ruling passion was that of war; second to it was that of hunting. A peculiar incentive was the possession of war-titles, and the rage for these was as strong among the younger men as that for plunder among the older. The surest means of ascending the ladder of honor was the capture of scalps from the enemy, and the policy of the red or bloody towns was that of fostering the warlike spirit by frequent raids and expeditions. In some towns young men were treated as menials before they had performed some daring deeds on the battle-field or acquired a war title.[96] To become a warrior every young man had to[Pg 159] pass through a severe ordeal of privations called fast, púskita, from the fifteenth to the seventeenth year of his age. This initiation into manhood usually lasted from four to eight months, but in certain rare instances could be abridged to twelve days.

A distinction of a material, not only honorific character was the election of a warrior to actual command as pakā′dsha or tustĕnúggi `láko.


After the young man had passed through the hardships of his initiation, the career of distinction stood open before him, for he was now a tassikáya or brave.[97] According to Hawkins' Sketch, the three degrees of advancement in command were as follows:

The tassikáya, who after initiation appears qualified for actual service in the field, and is promising, is appointed leader (isti pakā′dsha, or pakā′dsha) by the míko or chief of his town. When he distinguishes himself, he obtains a seat in the central cabin of the public square. When out on the warpath the leader was called imísi, immíssi, q. v., and when initiated to the faculty of charming the approaching enemy by physic and songs, ahopáya, q. v.

Warriors of the pakā′dsha class, who had repeatedly distinguished themselves on expeditions, could be promoted, when a general war was declared, to the charge of upper leader, isti pakā′dsha `láko, or tustĕnúggi.

The highest distinction was that of the great warrior, tustĕnúggi `láko, of whom there was one in every town. This dignitary was appointed by the míko and his counsellors, and selected by them among the best qualified warriors. His seat was at the western end of the míkalgi cabin in the public square. In Milfort's time this dignitary had become[Pg 160] a civil and military officer,[98] and nowadays his functions are those of a civil functionary only.

In cases when the towns had resolved upon a general war, a leader for all the town-tustĕnúggis was appointed in the person of a "generalissimo," called also pakā′dsha, tustĕnúggi, or tustĕnúggi `láko.

Among the Creeks now inhabiting the Indian Territory the nomenclature has been altered from the above. A young man is called tassikáya after receiving the war-title and having some employment during the busk; he becomes tustĕnúggi after being declared as such by a vote of his town; but in aboriginal times a young man was not called tustĕnúggi before he had shown his bravery by the taking of at least one scalp.


War-titles are important distinctions bestowed in almost every part of the world, for military achievements; but, to preserve their distinctive value, are usually conferred only on a small portion of the warriors. Among the Creeks war-names are, however, so common that at present one is conferred upon every young man of the people. According to the old reports, a Creek warrior of the eighteenth century could obtain a war-title only after taking one or several scalps, but the traditions current among the modern Creeks are silent on this point. In earlier days many warriors had several, even four or five of these titles (tassikáya inhotchífka), and when participants of a war party were present in numbers at the taking of a scalp, each of them obtained a war-title according to the report of the fight made by the pakā′dsha on his return home. The war-titles were not always, though most frequently, conferred upon the warriors during the busk, or within the square.

Chief Chicote informs me, that the names in question were[Pg 161] distributed by the "beloved men" or ist'-atsákalgi while sitting in their cabins or arbors on two opposite sides of the square. The ist'-atsákalgi called out young men from the side opposite to them, and imparted one of the five titles to be mentioned below, according to their free choice, and simultaneously intrusted each with some office connected with the busk. These offices consisted either in sweeping the area or in carrying water, in building and keeping up the fire in the centre, in setting up the medicine-pots or in helping to prepare black drink. War-titles and busk-offices were formerly given also to such who had never joined a war party. The use of the other name, which every man had obtained during childhood, was prohibited within the square.

To the five war-titles below, the totem of the gens was often added, so that, for instance, one of the yahólalgi, who offered the black drink, could be called ítcho yahóla hádsho, or y. míko, y. fíksiko, etc. It is said, that anciently some titles were limited to certain clans only. The idea that advancement by degree was connected with these titles is an erroneous inference from our own military institutions. Although regarded as war-names at the present time, they seem to have been mere busk-titles from the beginning, and are such even now. In connection with ítcho deer, a gens name, they are as follows:

ítcho tassikáya deer warrior.

ítcho hádsho tassikáya deer crazy (foolish, mad, drunken) warrior.

ítcho fíksiko tassikáya deer heartless warrior.

ítcho yahóla tassikáya deer hallooing warrior.

ítcho ima′`la tassikáya deer (leading?) warrior.

Other war-titles were: holá'hta tustĕnúggi, míko tustĕnúggi, híniha, híniha `láko. Inholá'hti, plur. inholáχtagi figures in war-titles, but stands in no connection with the busk. The appellation of immíkagi comprehends all the men of that gens from which the míko in the town ceremonies, not the[Pg 162] míko as a political office-holder, is selected. The pronoun im-, in-, i- in all these names (ihinihálgi, intastĕnaχálgi, etc.), signifies that they "belong to the míko" of the tribal ceremonies.

War-titles should be clearly distinguished from war-names and other names. Any of the nine appellations contained in the item above, and any name composed with one of them, is a war-title; all others, as Old Red Shoe, are simply names or war-names. Women and boys never had but one name, and whenever a warrior had, by successive campaigns, five or six honorific titles conferred upon him, he became generally known by one or two of these only.

These names and war-titles are highly important for the study of Creek ethnography, and have been already referred to in the chapter on gentes. A brief list of war-names of influential men is contained in Major C. Swan's Report, as follows:[99]

"Hallowing King (Kawíta); White Lieutenant (Okfuski); Mad Dog (Tukabatchi míko); Opilth míko (Big Talahássi); Dog Warrior (Náktche); Old Red Shoe (Alibamu and Koassáti). To these may be added the "dog king," Tamhuídshi, of the Hitchiti, mentioned in the prooemium of the legend, and "a war-leader, the son of the dog-king of the Huphale town."[100] The Cha'hta war-titles frequently end in -ábi, -ápi: killer; cf. the Creek term póyäs, tipóyäs I kill."

The Creeks often conferred war-titles on white men of note, and made Milfort, who became a relative of the chief McGillivray by marriage, the chief warrior of the nation. The ceremonies performed on that occasion are described at length by himself.[101]

[Pg 163]

We give a few instances of historical and recent Creek war-names and war-titles:—

Abiχkúdshi míko, Hútalg'-imá`la, Kawíta tustĕnúggi, all members of the Creek "House of Kings."

Ássi yahóla "the black drink hallooer;" Osceola, chief.

Híniha `láko hupáyi "great híniha charmer," a Creek leader in the battle at Átasi and other engagements.

Hopú-i hí`l'-míko "good child-chief."

Hopú-i hí`li yahóla "handsome child yahóla"; a Creek chief.

Hú`li 'má'hti "war-leader," a frequently occurring war-name; 'má'hti is abbreviated from homáχti.

Hutálgi míku "chief from wind gens;" is chief of Taskígi town.

Ifa hádsho, or "dog warrior"; cf. Hawkins, p. 80.

Ispahídshi, name of a headman, and usually spelt Spiechee: "whooping, brawling" while taking off the scalp.

Kátsa hádsho "tiger-hádsho," a Seminole chief, erroneously called Tigertail.

Kósisti, abbr. Kósti; occurs in Kósti fíksiko, etc. The signification is lost, but we may compare the town Acostehe, visited by de Soto's army in coming south from the Cheroki country.

`Lawaχaíki "lying in ambush; creeping up clandestinely."

Míko imá`la "chief leader."

Núkusi íli tchápko "long-footed bear," war-name of S. B. Callahan, Creek delegate to the United States Government.

Sutak'háχki "men fighting in a line."

Tálua fíksiko "heartless town;" presently judge of the Wiwúχka district, I. T.

Tassikáya míku "chief warrior;" president House of Kings.

Uχtáha-sasi hádsho "sandy-place hádsho;" chief.

[Pg 164]

Wáksi, Cha'hta term referring to the drawing up of the prepuce. Occurs in Wáksi holá'hta and other Creek titles, perhaps also in the tribal name of the Waxsaws on Santee river, S. C., and in Waxahatchi, town in Alabama. The name conveyed the idea of a low, unmanly behavior, but had no obscene meaning. Other nations regard epithets like these (ὰπελλαι, verpi) as highly injurious, and load their enemies with them, as the Tchiglit-Inuit do the Tinné Indians of the interior: taordshioit, ortcho-todsho-eitut.[102]


A few notes on the war-customs of the Creeks, which resembled those of most Southern tribes, may be useful for shedding light on the early migrations of the people and upon the tactics observed in their campaigns.

The principal motive for Indian wars being the conquest of scalps, slaves, plunder and hunting grounds, the Creeks, conscious of their great power, were not very particular in finding causes for warfare, and did not even advance specious reasons for declaring war. Thus, Adair gives as the true cause of a long war between the Creeks and Cheroki, the killing and scalping of two Chicasa hunters by a Shawano "brave." This man took refuge among the Cheroki people, and war was declared to them by the Creeks, because they then had concluded a war alliance with the Chicasa (History, p. 278).

It is rather improbable that a declaration of war always preceded the attack, for the advance into the hostile territory was made clandestinely[103]; but the resolution of starting upon the warpath was heralded in the towns with[Pg 165] great ceremonies. Of these we shall speak under the heading: Confederacy.

The Creeks of old were in the habit of carrying on their warfare chiefly in small bodies, like other Indian tribes. Small commands are better enabled to surprise the enemy or his camps in clandestine or night attacks, or to cut off hostile warriors, than large ones. There are instances that the Creeks formed war-parties of four men only. Their leader was then styled imísi, immíssi or "the one carrying it for them," this term referring to the battle-charm or war-physic. War-parties of forty to sixty men are mentioned also.

When warriors started for the "field of honor" in larger or smaller bodies, they were led by a commander (pakā′dsha) who simultaneously was an ahopáya or hopáya, "charmer at a distance." Men of this order had, like other warriors, to undergo, while quite young, a severe course of initiation into manhood, which also comprised instructions in herb-physicking. To become initiated they camped away from other people, and had for their only companion the old conjuror, who for four months initiated them and taught them the incantations intended to act as charms upon the enemy. To begin with, a fast of either four or eight days and the eating of certain bitter weeds was prescribed, to purify the system and to prepare the youth for a ready comprehension of the objects of tuition. The whole process was sometimes repeated for another four months, in the spring of the year following, and differed in every town. The knowledge thus acquired, it was believed, imparted to the person a full conjuring power and charmer's influence over the antagonist, and enabled him to conquer the hostile warriors at a distance (hupá-i) and before reaching them, or to make them come near enough for easy capture.

When the Great Warrior started on the warpath he gave notice to the participants where he would strike camp that night, and then set out, sometimes with one or two men[Pg 166] only. A war-whoop and the discharge of his gun were the signals of his departure, and were responded to by his followers by acting in the same manner. The other warriors took their time, and went to rejoin him one or two days after. A man taking part in a war-expedition was called hú`li-á`la.

A war party always proceeded in Indian file, each man stepping into the footprints of the foregoing, to prevent the enemy from knowing their number. This explains also the episode of the legend referring to the tracks lost in the bottom of the river, q. v.[104] The tracks, footprints, strokes of hatchets visible on the bark of trees, etc., differed in every American tribe. Among the Creeks the last man in the file often sought to cover the tracks by placing grass upon them. A considerable force of scouts hovered around the marching file, to prevent surprises; the leader marched at the head of the file.

The attack was made in true Indian and savage fashion, before daybreak. The warriors crept up as silently as possible, tried to dart their missiles from secret spots, and never exposed their bodies to the enemy when they could cover them by some eminence or rock, tree or bush. The leader took a position in the rear. The Chicasa Indians continually taunted the colonial troops upon the fearless but useless exposure of their men to the battle-fire of the wary Indian braves. Milfort relates that his men fought nude, because they had noticed that the fragments of clothing entering the body with the point of the missile rendered the wound much more dangerous than the missile itself.

When making prisoners the Creeks habitually spared only the lives of children, killing mercilessly the adult males and females. They even burnt many of them at the stake, and Milfort claims that this barbaric custom was abandoned only through his influence (Mém., pp. 219-220).

[Pg 167]

The food on which they subsisted, on their expeditions, was pounded maize, contained in a small bag, which they carried upon their bodies.

The encampments for the night (hápu) were round-shaped, every man lying in contiguity to another in a circle, and leaving only a small issue, which was guarded by the commander. After the commander's signal no one was allowed to move from his place. The same order was observed when the army halted during the day, and the same arrangement is conspicuous in the campings of the Southern Dakota tribes, as Iowa, Ponka, Ugáχpa, etc.

A graphic description of southern war-camps is found in B. Romans, Florida, p. 65: "A Choctaw war-camp is circular, with a fire in the centre, and each man has a crutched branch at his head to hang his powder and shot upon and to set his gun against, and the feet of all to the fire; a Cherokee war-camp is a long line of fire, against which they also lay their feet. A Choctaw makes his camp, in traveling, in form of a sugar loaf; a Chicasa makes it in form of our arbours; a Creek like to our sheds or piazzas, to a timber-house." The Creek war-camps in the woods were constructed in such a manner that the exact number of the party could at once be ascertained.[105]

After their return the warriors placed the scalps in the public square, or divided them among their acquaintances. Anciently the privilege of raising the scalp-pole (itu tcháti) belonged to two tribes only, the Kasíχta and the Kawíta.[106] The cause for this is shown in our half-mythic migration legend. The tradition that the custom of scalping was but recently imported among the Creeks from the Northern Indians was manufactured for a purpose, and invented by many other tribes also, to appear more human in the eyes of the white settlers. Scalping and the drying of scalps had[Pg 168] been observed in Florida as early as 1564 by René de Laudonnière.


The Creek confederacy, or "league of the Muscogulgee" was a purely political organization connecting the various and disparate elements, which composed it, for common action against external aggression. It had no direct influence on the social organization of the tribes, and the most appropriate term for this, and other Indian confederacies as well, is that of war-confederacy, war-league or symmachy. In Creek the Maskoki confederacy is called ísti Maskóki imitihalátka.

To call this loose assemblage of towns and tribes a military democracy, in the sense that the majority of the votes decided a question brought before the people in a manner that was binding for the citizens, is entirely wrong and misleading, for Indians regard their actions subject to their own decisions only, or, at the utmost, to those of their individual gens. Every Creek town or individual could go on the warpath or stay at home, in spite of any wish or decree issued by the chiefs or assembled warriors. The young warriors, anxious to obtain fame and war-titles, joined the war-parties on the call of a leader. In questions of war unanimity was seldom attained in the council of a town, much less in the whole nation; "it is not recollected by the oldest man, that more than one-half of the nation went to war at the same time or 'took the war-talk.'"

"When the míko and his councillors are of opinion that the town has been injured, the Great Warrior lifts the war-hatchet, átăsi, against the offending nation. But as soon as it is taken up, the míko and his council may interpose, and by their prudent counsels stop it, and proceed to adjust the misunderstanding by negotiation. If the Great Warrior persists and 'goes out,' he is followed by all who are for war."

These words, quoted from the "Sketch" of the United[Pg 169] States agent, B. Hawkins, plainly show, that the initiative for war rested with the civil authority, and not with the military. But it is possible that Hawkins speaks of white or peace-towns only, and not of the red towns (p. 72). He continues as follows:

"Peace is always determined on and concluded by the míko and councillors, and peace-talks are always addressed to the cabin of the míko. In some cases, where the resentment of the warriors has run high, the míko and council have been much embarrassed."

All this proves that every town had the privilege to begin warfare for itself, independent of the confederacy, provided that the civil government consented to the undertaking. This fact plainly shows the perfect independence of the Indian tribe from the war-confederacy, and forms a striking contrast to our ideas of a centralized state power. In some instances the Creek towns left their defensive position to act on the offensive principle, but they were not sustained then by the Maskoki confederacy.

The chief of the confederacy had to advise only, and not to command; he was of influence only when endowed with superior talent and political ability. The chief and principal warriors had annual meetings in the public square of some central town, on public affairs; they drank ássi, exchanged tobacco, and then proceeded to debate. Time and place of these conventions were fixed by a chief, and the space of time between warning and that of assembly was called "broken days." Major C. Swan, after whose report this passage is quoted (Schoolcraft V, 279) states that the title of the chief of the confederacy was the great beloved man, while Milfort, who was himself invested with the charge of great warrior of the nation, styles him "Le Tastanégy ou grand chef de guerre," adding, however, that in his time he was the highest authority in civil and military affairs (Mémoire, Note to p. 237). The English, French and Spaniards frequently called him the[Pg 170] Emperor of the Upper and Lower Creeks, a term which is not entirely misapplied when taken in its original sense of "military commander," the imperator of the Romans.

At a later period the meeting of the confederacy usually took place at Tukabatchi, which had become the largest community. From the above it results, however, that the Creeks had no capital town in the sense as we use this term. Col. B. Hawkins, who attempted to introduce some unity among the towns for the purpose of facilitating the transaction of business of the nation, and their intercourse with the United States Government, proposed various measures, as the classing of the towns into nine districts; these were adopted at Tukabatchi by the chiefs of the nation, on November 27th, 1799.[107]

The small degree of respect which the Creek towns paid to international treaties (sitimfátchita) or other solemn engagements made with the whites, as sales of territory, etc., is another proof for the looseness of the "powerful Creek confederacy." After giving a list of six influential headmen of different towns, Major C. Swan declares that a treaty made with these chiefs would probably be communicated to all the people of the country, and be believed and relied upon (Schoolcraft V, 263). Subsequent events have shown this to be founded on a misapprehension of the Indian character, which is that of the most outspoken individuality.

Major C. Swan, who only traveled through the country to leave it again, makes the following interesting statement concerning the political and social status of the disparate tribes composing the Creek confederacy (1791; in Schoolcraft V, 259. 260):

"Their numbers have increased faster by the acquisition of foreign subjects than by the increase of the original stock. It appears long to have been a maxim of their policy to give equal liberty and protection to tribes conquered by[Pg 171] 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."


All the Creek towns, viz., the more populous settlements, had laid out a square-shaped piece of ground in or near their central part. It contained the only public buildings of the town, the great house and the council-house, and, as an appurtenance, the play-ground. The square was the focus of the public and social life of the town; its present Creek name, intchúka `láko, is taken from the "great house" as its principal portion.

From the eighteenth century we possess three descriptions of the square and the ceremonies enacted in it, which are entering into copious details; that of W. Bartram, describing the square of Átasi town (about 1775); that of C. Swan, describing that of Odshi-apófa, or the Hickory Ground (1791), and last, but not least, the description of the square at Kawíta, by B. Hawkins (1799). All the towns differed somewhat in the structure of the great house and of the council-house, but in the subsequent sketch we shall chiefly dwell upon those points in which they all seem to agree. Public squares still exist at the present time in some of the pure-blood towns of the Creek nation, Indian Territory, and the busk, in its ancient, though slightly modified form, is annually celebrated in them. The ground-plan of the square at the Hickory Ground is represented in Schoolcraft's Indians V, 264.

Of other buildings destined for public use I have found no mention, except of granaries or corn-cribs, which were under the supervision of the míko.

The great house, tchúku `láko, also called "town-house," "public square," like the square in the midst of which it was placed, was formed by four one-story buildings of equal[Pg 172] size, facing inward, and enclosing a square area of about thirty feet on each side.[108] They were generally made to face the east, west, north and south.

These buildings, which had the appearance of sheds, consisted of a wooden frame, supported on posts set in the ground and covered with slabs. They were made of the same material as their dwelling houses, but differed by having the front facing the square open, and the walls of the back sides had an open space of two feet or more next to the eaves, to admit a circulation of air. Each house was divided into three apartments, separated by low partitions of clay, making a total of twelve partitions. These apartments, called cabins (tópa) had three[109] seats, or rather platforms, being broad enough to sleep upon; the first of them was about two feet from the ground, the second eight feet above the first, and the third or back seat eight feet above the second. Over the whole of these seats was spread a covering of cane-mats, as large as carpets. They were provided with new coverings every year, just before the busk; and since the old covers were not removed, they had in the majority of the squares eight to twelve coverings, laid one above the other. Milfort states that each cabin could seat from forty to sixty persons (Mémoire, p. 203).

Caleb Swan, who, in his above description of the cabins in the square, copied the original seen at Odshi-apófa or Little Talassie, where he stopped, differs in several particulars, especially in the allotment of the cabins to the authorities, from Hawkins, who resided in Kawíta. Swan assigns the eastern building to the beloved men, the southern to the warriors, the northern to the second men, etc., while the western building served for keeping the apparatus for cooking black drink, war physic, and to store lumber. According to[Pg 173] Hawkins, the western building, fronting east, contained the míkos and high-ranked people; the northern building was the warriors'; the southern that of the beloved men, and the eastern that of the young people and their associates. "The cabin of the great chief faces east," says Milfort, p. 203, "to indicate that he has to watch the interests of his nation continually." The three cabins of the míkalgi or old men, facing west, are the only ones painted white, and are always ornamented with guirlands (at Kawíta). On the post, or on a plank over each cabin, are painted the emblems of the gens to which it is allotted; thus the buffalo gens have the buffalo painted on it.

From the roofs were dangling on the inside heterogeneous emblems of peace and trophies of war, as eagles' feathers, swans' wings, wooden scalping knives, war clubs, red-painted wands, bunches of hoops on which to dry their scalps, bundles of a war-physic called snake-root (sínika in Cheroki), baskets, etc. Rude paintings of warriors' heads with horns, horned rattlesnakes, horned alligators, etc., were visible upon the smooth posts and timbers supporting the great house. In the "painted squares" of some of the red or war-towns the posts and smooth timber were painted red, with white or black edges, this being considered as a mark of high distinction. Other privileged towns possessed a covered square, by which term is meant a bridging over of the entrance spaces left between the four buildings by means of canes laid on poles.

In the centre of the area of the "great house" a perpetual fire was burning, fed by four logs, and kept up by public ministrants especially appointed for the purpose. The inside area is called impaskófa, "dedicated ground."

The "square" was hung over with green boughs, in sign of mourning, when a man died in the town; no black drink was then taken for four days. When an Indian was killed who belonged to a town which had a square, black[Pg 174] drink had to be taken on the outside of the square, and every ceremony was suspended until the outrage was atoned for. To each great house belonged a black drink cook, and from the young warriors two or three men were appointed to attend to those who took this liquid every morning; they called the townspeople to this ceremony by beating drums (C. Swan).

After the close of their council-meeting in the council-house, the míko, his councillors and warriors repaired to the chief's cabin in the "great house." They met there every day, drank the ássi or black drink, continued deliberations on public and domestic affairs, attended to complaints and redressed them; then conversed about news while smoking, or amused themselves at playing "roll the bullet" in a sort of ten-pin alley. The name of this game is `li-i tchallítchka. Bartram, p. 453, states that the chief's cabin at Átasi was of a different construction from the three other buildings.

But besides being the central point of the town for all meetings of a public character, the great house was the festive place for the annual busk and the daily dance; it occasionally served as a sleeping place for Indians passing through the town on their travels. The special locations allotted to the persons in authority and the gentes on the cabin-sheds are described under the heading: The annual busk.

The council-house or tchukófa `láko stood on a circular mound or eminence, in close contiguity to the northeast corner of the "great house." It is variously called by travelers: hot-house, sudatory, assembly-room, winter council-house, mountain-house,[110] or, from its circular shape, rotunda. Its appearance is generally described as that of a huge cone placed on an octagonal frame about twelve feet high, and covered with tufts of bark. Its diameter was from twenty-five to thirty feet, and in the larger towns the building could[Pg 175] accommodate many hundred persons.[111] Its perpendicular walls were made of thick posts, daubed with clay on the outside. Contiguous to the walls, one broad circular seat, made of cane-mats, was going around the structure on the inside, and in the centre the fire was burning on a small elevation of the ground. The fuel consisted of dry cane or dry pine slabs split fine; and, as if it were to give a concrete image of the warming rays of the sun, these split canes were disposed in a spiral line which exhibited several revolutions around the centre. No opening was provided for the escape of the smoke or the admission of fresh air, and the building soon became intolerably hot; but at dance-feasts the natives danced around the fire in the terrible heat and dust, without the least apparent inconvenience.[112]

The council-house served, to some extent, the same purposes as the "great house," but was more resorted to in the inclement season than in summer. Every night during winter the old and young visited it for conversation or dance, and in very cold weather the old and destitute went there to sleep. In all seasons it was the assembly-room of the míko and his counsellors for deliberations of a private character; there they decided upon punishments to be inflicted, as whipping etc., and entrusted the Great Warrior with the execution of the sentences. Previous to a war-expedition the young men visited the hot-house for four days, prepared and drank their war-physic, and sang their war- and charm-songs under the leadership of conjurers.[113] Milfort was installed into the charge of "Great Warrior of the Nation" in the Kawíta council-house by solemn orations, the smoking of the pipe,[Pg 176] the drinking of the ássi-decoct and other ceremonies,[114] and then conducted to the "great house."

When the natives gathered in this structure for sweating, either for promoting their health or as a religious ceremony, they developed steam by throwing water on heated stones, then danced around the fire, and went to plunge into the chilling waves of the river flowing past their town.

The play-ground occupied the northwestern angle of the public square, and formed an oblong segment of it, of rather irregular shape. It was made distinct from the rest of the square by one or two low embankments or terraces; in its centre stood, on a low circular mound, a four-sided pole or pillar, sometimes forty feet high. A mark fastened on its top served at appointed times as a target to shoot at with rifles or arrows. Around the pole the floor of the yard was beaten solid.

The play-ground, tă′dshu in Creek, was called by the white traders chunkey-yard, chunk-yard, from the principal game played in it. This game, the chunkey- or tchungke-game, consisted in throwing a pole after the chunke, a rounded stone which was set rolling upon its edge. Cf. Adair, Hist., p. 401. 402. There was also a sort of ball play in use among the Creeks and many other Indian tribes, by which a ball (púku) was aimed at an object suspended on the top of a high pole, or, as it is played now, at the top of two twin poles (puk-ábi), called sometimes "maypoles." In summer time dances were also performed in this yard, and Bartram saw "at the corner of each farther end a slave-post or strong stake, where the captives that are burnt alive are bound."[115]

[Pg 177]


The solemn annual festival held by the Creek people of ancient and modern days is the púskita, a word now passed into provincial English (busk); its real meaning is that of a fast. In the more important towns it lasted eight days; in towns of minor note four days only, and its celebration differed in each town in some particulars. The day on which to begin it was fixed by the míko and his council, and depended on the maturity of the maize crop and on various other circumstances. Its celebration took place mainly in the "great house" of the public square, and from Hawkins' description, who saw it celebrated in Kasiχta,[116] we extract the following particulars:

In the morning of the first day the warriors clean the area of the great house and sprinkle it with white sand, at the time when the black drink is being prepared. The fire in the centre is made by friction, very early in the day, by a ministrant especially appointed for the purpose, called the fire-maker. Four logs, as long as the span of both arms, are brought to the centre of the area by the warriors, and laid down end to end, so as to form a cross. Each end of this cross points to one of the cardinal points of the compass. At the spot where the logs converge, the new fire is kindled and the logs are consumed during the first four days of the púskita. The women of the turkey gens dance the turkey-dance, pínua opánga, while the powerful emetic pā′ssa is being brewed. It is drank from noon to mid-afternoon, after which the tadpole-dance, tokiúlka opánga, is danced by four males and four females, who are called the tokiúlka or tadpoles. In the evening the men dance the dance of the híniha: híniha opánga, and continue it till daylight.

The second day begins with the performance of the gun-dance, ítch'ha opánga, danced by females about ten o'clock[Pg 178] in the forenoon.[117] At noon the men approach the new fire, rub some of its ashes on the chin, neck and belly, jump head foremost into the river, and then return to the great house. Meanwhile the females prepare the new maize for the feast, and the men on arriving rub some of it between their hands, then on their face and breast, after which feasting begins.

The third day the men pass by sitting in the square.

On the fourth day the women rise early to obtain a spark of the new fire; they bring it to their own hearths, which were previously cleaned and sprinkled with sand, and then kindle their fires on them. When the first four logs are consumed, the men repeat the ceremony of rubbing the ashes on their chin, neck and belly, and then plunge into water. Subsequently they taste salt and dance the long dance, opánga tchápko.

The fifth day is devoted to the bringing in of four other logs, which are disposed and kindled as aforementioned, and then the men drink ássi.

On the sixth and seventh day the men remain in the "great house."

The ceremonies of the eighth or last day in the square and outside of it are of a peculiarly impressive character. Fourteen species of physic plants are placed in two pots containing water, then stirred and beaten up in it. After the aliktchálgi or conjurers have blown into the mixture through a small reed, the men drink of the liquid and rub it over their joints till afternoon. The names of the medical plants were as follows:

1. míko huyanī′tcha.

2. tóla or sweet bay.

3. atchína or cedar (the leaves of it).

4. kapapáska, a shrub with red berries.

[Pg 179]

5. tchul'-íssa; signifies: "pine-leaves."

6. aták`la lásti, a shrub with black berries.

7. tútka hílissua, the "fire-physic."

8. tchúfi insákka áfaga, "rabbit-basket-string," a vine-like plant resembling the strawberry plant.

9. tchúfi mási, a species of cane.

10. hílissua hátki, the "white physic"; abbrev. hílis'-hátki.

11. tútka tchókishi, a moss species.

12. u-i láni, "yellow water": the Jerusalem oak.

13. oktchanátchku, a rock-moss.

14. kóha lowági "switch cane, limber cane."

To these plants the modern Creeks add, as a fifteenth one, the pā′ssa; cf. below.

Then another singular mixture is prepared, of which the ingredients must have been of symbolic significance: Old maize cobs and pine burs are placed in a pot and burned to ashes. Four girls below the age of puberty bring ashes from home, put them in the pot, and stir up all together, after which the men mix white clay with water in two pans. One pan of the wet clay and another of the ashes are brought to the míko's cabin, the other two to that of the warriors, who rub themselves with the contents of both. Two men appointed to that office then bring flowers of "old man's tobacco," ísti atchúli pákpagi, prepared on the first day of the busk, in a pan to the míko's cabin, and a particle of it is given to every person present. Upon this the míko and his councillors walk four times around the burning logs, throwing some of the "old man's tobacco" into the fire each time they face the east, and then stop while facing the west. The warriors then repeat the same ceremony.

At the míko's cabin a cane having two white feathers on its end is stuck out. At the moment when the sun sets, a man of the fish gens takes it down, and walks, followed by all spectators, toward the river. Having gone half way, he utters the death-whoop, and repeats it four times before he[Pg 180] reaches the water's edge. After the crowd has thickly congregated at the bank, each person places a grain of "old man's tobacco" on the head and others in each ear. Then, at a signal repeated four times, they throw some of it into the river, and every man, at a like signal, plunges into the water, to pick up four stones from the bottom. With these they cross themselves on their breasts four times, each time throwing one of the stones back into the river and uttering the death-whoop. Then they wash themselves, take up the cane with the feathers, return to the great house, where they stick it up, then walk through the town visiting.

The mad dance, opánga hádsho, is performed after night-fall, and this terminates the long ceremony.

The celebration of the púskita had a favorable influence upon the minds of the people, for it was a signal of amnesty, absolving the Indian of all crimes, murder excepted, and seemed to bury guilt itself in oblivion. All former quarrels and hatred were forgotten and man restored to himself and to the community. Indians renewing past quarrels after this solemn festival, were severely reprimanded by others. This change of mind was symbolized by the custom of the women of breaking to pieces all the household utensils of the past year, and replacing them by new ones; the men refitted all their property so as to look new, and it was considered extremely disgraceful, even for the most indigent, to eat any of the new maize before the annual busk (Sketch, pp. 75-78).[118]

The foregoing sketch would be incomplete without the addition of another account of a four days' puskita, which C. Swan witnessed at Odshi-apófa, near the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers; it explains and amplifies many of the incidents related by Hawkins.

[Pg 181]

The account inserted in Swan's article (Schoolcraft, Indians V, 267. 268) is signed "Anthony Alex. M'Gillivray," who was then a chief of the nation, and related by marriage to Milfort. We gather from his statements, that at Odshi-apófa or "Hickory Ground," which is a white town also, the "priest, or fire-maker of the town" had the privilege of determining the days of the busk, and that in doing so he was led by the ripening of the maize-crop and by the growth of the cassine-shrub. At the break of the first day he went to the square, unattended by others, dressed in white leather moccasins and stockings, with a white dressed deer-skin over his shoulders, and produced there the new fire, by the friction of two dry pieces of wood. When the spark was blazing up, four young men entered the area at the openings of its four corners, each holding a stick of wood; they approached the new fire with high reverence, and placed the ends of their sticks to it "in a very formal manner." Then four other young men came forward in the same manner, each holding an ear of the newly-ripened Indian corn, which the conjurer took from them and with formalities threw into the fire. Then four other men entered the square in the same manner, carrying branches of the new cassine, some of which the priest threw into the fire, the rest being immediately parched and cooked for ceremonial use. The mysterious jargon which he muttered during this ceremonial act was supposed to form a conversation with the great "master of breath."

The male population having in the meantime gathered in the cabins, the prepared black drink is served to them, and sparks of the new fire are carried and left outside the buildings for public use. The women bring it to their homes, which they have cleaned and decorated the day before for the occasion by extinguishing the old fires and removing their ashes throughout the town. They are forbidden to step into the square, but dance with the children on its outside. On the second day the men take their war-physic,[Pg 182] a decoction of the button-snake root, in such quantities as would produce strong spasmodic effects. The third day is spent by the older men in the square, in taking black drink, etc., by the young men in hunting or fishing for the last day of the festival. The females pass the first three days in bathing, and it is unlawful for the males to touch any of them even with the tip of the finger. Both sexes are compelled to abstain rigidly from any food, especially from salt. The fourth day all classes congregate in the "great house" promiscuously; the game killed on the previous day is given to the public, and the women are cooking the provisions brought in from all sides, over the new fire. After this convivial day the evening dances conclude the annual festivity. Any provisions left over are given to the "fire-maker."

Less circumstantial descriptions of this curious ceremony, which is frequently called from analogy the "green corn dance," are contained in Adair's History, Argument VIII, in Bartram, Travels, pp. 507. 508, in Milfort and many other writers. It appears from all that the busk is not a solstitial celebration, but a rejoicing over the first fruits of the year. The new year begins with the busk, which is celebrated in August or late in July. Every town celebrated its busk at a period independent from that of the other towns, whenever their crops had come to maturity.

Religious ideas were connected with the festival, for the benefits imparted to mankind by the new fruits were the gifts of the sun, which was symbolized by the fire burning in the centre of the square. The new fire meant the new life, physical and moral, which had to begin with the new year. Everything had to be new or renewed; even the garments worn heretofore were given to the flames. The pardon granted to offenders gave them a chance to begin a new and better course of life. It was unlawful to pass between the fire in the area and the rising sun, for this would have interrupted the mystic communication existing between the[Pg 183] two. The rigorous fasting observed also fitted the people to prepare for a new moral life, and made them more receptive for the supernatural; the convivial scene which closed the busk typified the idea that all men, whether low or high, are born brethren. The black drink was the symbol of purification from wickedness, of prowess in war and of friendship and hospitality.

Although the ritual of the busk differed in every Creek tribe, many analogies can be traced with well-known customs among the Aztec and Maya nations, whose "unlucky five days" at the year's close equally terminated with rejoicings, as the precursors of a new life.


Abundant material for the study of ethnography is on hand for the earlier and later periods of the Creek nation; but here we have to restrict ourselves to some points which are especially adapted to the illustration of the migration legends. The relation of husband to wife and family being the foundation of all tribal, social and political life, should certainly be treated as fully as it deserves, but in this context only incident notes can be given on this subject.

Condition of Females.—Although succession among all Maskoki tribes was in the female line, the females occupied a subordinate condition among the Creeks, and in their households were subjected, like those of other Indians, to a life of drudgery. Divorces were of frequent occurrence.

On the first days of the busk females were not permitted to enter the area of the square, nor were they admitted to the council-house whenever the men were sitting in council or attending to the conjurer's performances. The women were assigned a bathing place in the river-currents at some distance below the men. It is also stated that a woman had the privilege of killing her offspring during the first lunation after the birth, but when she did so after that term she was[Pg 184] put to death herself.[119] This may have been the practice in a few Creek tribes, but it is doubtful that such was the general law in all, except in regard to illegitimate offspring.

The occupations of Creek women are described by Cpt. B. Romans, p. 96 (1775), in the following succinct form:

"The women are employed, besides the cultivation of the earth, in dressing the victuals, preparing, scraping, braining, rubbing and smoaking the Roe-skins, making macksens of them, spinning buffaloe wool, making salt, preparing cassine drink, drying the chamærops and passiflora, making cold flour for traveling, gathering nuts and making their milk; likewise in making baskets, brooms, pots, bowls and other earthen and wooden vessels."

Initiation.—Indian parents bring up their children in a manner which better deserves the name of training than that of education. They think children become best fitted for future life when they can, for a certain period of their ages, roam around at will and act at their own pleasure. They do not reprobate or punish them for any wanton act they may commit; hence the licentiousness of both sexes up to the time of marriage, and the comparative want of discipline among warriors on their expeditions. But the boys were taught to harden their constitutions against the inclemencies of the seasons and the privations in war, and this result they most successfully attained by the so-called initiation, and also by continued bodily exercise before and after that solemn period of their lives. B. Romans (1775) sketches the training of the Creek youths in the following words (p. 96): "Creeks make the boys swim in the coldest weather; make them frequently undergo scratching from head to foot, through the skin, with broken glass or gar-fish teeth[120], so as to make them all in a gore of blood, and then wash them with cold water;[Pg 185] this is with them the arcanum against all diseases; but when they design it as a punishment to the boys, they dry-scratch them, i. e., they apply no water after the operation, which renders it very painful. They endeavor ... to teach them all manner of cruelty toward brutes," etc.

This sort of treatment must have been abundantly productive of rheumatism and other affections, though we have many instances of Creek Indians reaching a high age. Of the initiation which the Creek boys underwent before attaining their seventeenth year, B. Hawkins gives a full and circumstantial account, which shows that superstitions had entered into the customs of private life of the Creeks as deeply as they had into those of other Indian tribes.

The ceremony of initiating youth into manhood, says B. Hawkins[121], is usually performed at the age from fifteen to seventeen, and is called puskita (fasting), like the busk of the nation. A youth of the proper age gathers two handfuls of the sowátchko plant, which intoxicates and maddens, and eats this very bitter root for a whole day, after which he steeps the leaves in water and drinks from this. After sunset he eats two or three spoonfuls of boiled grits.[122] He remains in a house for four days, during which the above performances are repeated. Putting on a new pair of moccasins (stillipaíχa), he leaves the cabin, and during twelve moons abstains from eating the meat of young bucks, of turkey-cocks, fowls, peas and salt, and is also forbidden to pick his ears and to scratch his head with his fingers, but must use a small splinter to perform these operations. Boiled grits—the only food allowed to him during the first four moons—may be cooked for him by a little girl, but on a fire kindled especially for his own use. From the fifth month any person may cook for him, but he has to serve himself first, using one pan and spoon only. Every new moon he[Pg 186] drinks the pā′ssa or button-snake root, an emetic, for four days, and takes no food except some boiled grits, húmpita hátki, in the evening. At the commencement of the twelfth lunation he performs for four days the same rites as he did at the beginning of the initiation, but on the fifth he leaves the cabin, gathers maize-cobs, burns them to ashes, and with these rubs his whole body. At the end of the moon he elicits transpiration by sleeping under blankets, then goes into cold water, an act which ends the ceremony. The herb medicines are administered to him by the ísti pakā′dsha `láko or "great leader," who, when speaking of him, says: pusidshedshē′yi sanatchumitchä′tchä-is,[123] "I am passing him through the physicking process repeatedly," or: náki omálga imaki`lä′dshäyi sá`lit ómäs, tchí, "I am teaching him all the matters proper for him to think of." If he has a dream during this course of initiation, he has to drink from the pā′ssa, and dares not touch any persons, save boys who are under a like course. This course is sometimes shortened to a few months, even to twelve days only, but the performances are the same.

The purpose of the initiation of boys, corresponding to the first-menstruation rites of females, was the spiritual as well as the physical strengthening of the individual. While the physical exposures and privations were thought to render him strong in body and fearless in battle, the dreams coming upon him, in consequence of the exhaustion by hunger and maddening by all sorts of physic, were supposed to furnish him visions, which would reveal to him enchanting views for future life, material riches and the ways to acquire them, the principles of bravery and persistence, the modes of charming enemies and game at a distance, of obtaining scalps, and prospects of general happiness and of a respected position in his tribe.[124]

[Pg 187]

Commemorative Beads.—To perpetuate the memory of historical facts, as epidemics, tribal wars, migrations, the Creeks possessed the pictorial or ideographic writing, the material generally used for it being tanned skins. Besides this, which was common to the majority of Indian tribes of North America, Milfort (pp. 47-49) mentions another mode of transmitting facts to posterity, which shows a certain analogy with the wampum-belts of the Iroquois and Algonkin tribes.

It consisted of strings of small beads, in shape of a narrow ribbon (banderole) or rosary (chapelet). The beads are described as being similar to those called Cayenne pearls in Milfort's time, varying in color, the grains being strung up one after the other. The signification of each bead was determined by its shape and the position it occupied in its order of sequence. Only the principal events were recorded by these beads, and without any historic detail; hence a single string often sufficed to recall the history of twenty or twenty-five years. The events of each year were kept strictly distinct from the events of any subsequent year by a certain arrangement of the grains, and thus the strings proved reliable documents as to the chronology of tribal events. The oldest of the míkalgi (les chefs des vieillards) often recounted to Milfort, who had risen to the dignity of "chief warrior" in the nation, episodes of early Creek history, suggested to them by these "national archives."

Many old traditions of historic importance must have been embodied in these records; but the only one given by Milfort, referring to the emigration of the Creeks from their ancient cave-homes along Red river, is so mixed up with incredible matter, that the fixation of the events, as far as then remembered, must have taken place many generations after the arrival of the Creeks in their Alabama homes. Milfort himself, at the head of two hundred Creek men, undertook an expedition to that renowned spot, to gratify himself and his companions with the sight of the place itself[Pg 188] from which the nation had sprung forth, and all this solely on the strength of the belief which these bead-strings had inspired in his companions.

Further notices on Creek ethnology may be found in B. F. French, Hist. Collect. of Louisiana, III, 128-139, in the "Notes;" also in Urlsperger's "Nachricht," Vol. I, chapter 5, 859-868, a passage describing especially Yámassi customs.


To offer a history of the Creek tribe from its discovery down to our epoch to the readers does not lie within the scope of this volume, and for want of sufficient documents illustrating the earlier periods it could be presented in a fragmentary manner only. But a few notes on the subject, especially on the Oglethorpe treaties, will be of interest to the reader.

In the year following their departure from the West Indies (1540), the troops led by H. de Soto traversed a portion of the Creek territory, taken in its extent as known to us from the end of the eighteenth century. De Soto's presence is proved by the mention of Creek tribes bearing Creek names in the reports of his three chroniclers. The most circumstantial report in topography is that of the Knight of Elvas. He states that de Soto's army usually marched five to six leagues a day in peopled countries, but when passing through deserted lands proceeded faster. From Chiaha H. de Soto reached Coste in seven days. From Tali, probably contiguous to Coste, he marched for six days, through many towns, to Coça, arriving there July 26th, 1540. Leaving this town after a stay of twenty-five days, he reached Tallimuchase on the same day, Ytava on the next, and had to remain there six days, on account of a freshet in the river. Having crossed the river he reached Ullibahali town, fortified by a wooden wall, and on the next day stopped at a town subject to the lord of Ullibahali, to reach Toasi the day after. Then[Pg 189] he traversed the Tallise "province," peopled with many towns, and entered the great pueblo of Tallise on September 18th, to stay there twenty days. Many other towns were visible on the opposite side of the "maine river," on which Tallisi[125] stood. On leaving this pueblo he reached Casiste on the same day, and Tuscalusa, whose chief was lord of many territories, after another march of two days. From there Piache, on a great river, was reached in two days, and Mavila in three days from Piache. De Soto arrived in Mavila on October 18th, and the whole distance from Coça to Tuscalusa is computed by the Knight of Elvas at sixty leagues, the direction of the route being from north to south. In this particular Biedma differs from him.

The villages of Chiaha (Chisca, Ychiaha, China, var. lect.) and of Coste (Costehe, Acostehe) provinces were fortified and stood on river-islands. This latter circumstance makes it probable that they lay on Tennessee river, and hence were held by Cheroki Indians. Tali is either the Creek term tali dry, exsiccated, or the Cha'hta tali rock. Coça, then in a flourishing condition, is the town of Kúsa. Talli-muchasi, or "Newtown," near Coça, is clearly a Creek term, and so is Ytava, Itáwa, which I take for the imperfectly articulated itálua, tribe. Toasi is, I think, the town of Tawasa, which was one of the Alibamu villages, q. v., and lay on the southern shore of the Alabama river.

Tallisi is undoubtedly Talua-hássi, "old town," but which one of the numerous settlements of this name it may have been is now impossible to determine. Casiste resembles Kasí'hta, but cannot have been Kasíχta on Chatahuchi river, for de Soto reached Tuskalusa or "Black Warrior," which I take to be a town on the river of that name, within two days from Casiste, traveling west.[126] Piache, if Creek, could be[Pg 190] api-údshi little pole, small tree. Garcilaso de la Vega states that Tascalusa was on the same river (?) as Tallisi and below it. The documents of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries frequently give names of localities and tribes to the local chiefs, as was done here in the case of Tascalusa, Mavila, Alimamu and others. Chíaha is a Cheroki name, and is explained elsewhere as "place of otters." Some modern critics believe that de Soto's army did not cross the mountains into what is now North Carolina and Tennessee, the "over-hill" seats of the Cheroki people, but only skirted the southern slope of the Apalachian ridge by passing through Northern Georgia west into Northern Alabama, and then descending Coosa river. In order to determine de Soto's route in these parts, we have to decide first, whether the days and directions of the compass noted by his chroniclers deserve more credence than the local names transmitted in cases when both form conflicting statements. The names of localities could not be pure inventions; they prove by themselves, that tribes speaking Creek or Maskoki proper were encountered by the adventurous leader in the same tracts where we find them at the beginning of this nineteenth century. It follows from this that the Creek immigration from the west or northwest, if such an event ever occurred within the last two thousand years, must have preceded the time of de Soto's visit by a long lapse of time. Thus the terms itálua, talófa, talássi belong to the Creek dialect only; had H. de Soto been in a country speaking a Hitchiti dialect, he would have heard, instead of these, the term ókli, and instead of tálua mútchasi: ókli himáshi.[127]

In 1559 another Spanish leader, Tristan de Luna, disembarked in or near Mobile bay, then went north in quest of gold and treasure, reached Nanipacna, or "pueblo Santa Cruz de Nanipacna," and from there arrived, after experiencing[Pg 191] many privations and trials, among the Coças, who were then engaged in warfare with the Napochies (naⁿpissa? cf. Chicasa). He made a treaty of alliance with the Coças, and deemed it prudent to return. The distance from Coça to Nanipacna was twelve days, from there to the harbor three days' march.[128]

In 1567 Captain Juan del Pardo set out from St. Helena, near Charleston Harbor, S. C., on an exploration tour with a small detachment, following partly the same aboriginal trail which had guided de Soto through the wastes of Georgia and the Cheroki country. On leaving the banks of the Tennessee river, he turned south, touching Kossa, a sort of a capital (evidently Kúsa), then Tasqui, Tasquiqui and Olitifar. These are the only names of places mentioned by his chronicler, Juan de la Vandera (1569), which refer to the Creek country. Tasquiqui cannot be anything else but Taskígi, near the junction of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers.

From the beginning of the eighteenth century the French, Spanish and British colonists endeavored to win over the tribes of the confederacy to their interests. The Spaniards established in Northern Florida paid honors to the "emperor of the Cowetas," therewith hoping to influence all the Lower and Upper Creeks, and in 1710 received Kawíta delegates with distinction at St. Augustine. After the conflict with the Spaniards the British established Fort Moore for trading purposes among the Lower Creeks. In 1713 chiefs of the Alibamu, Koassáti and other tribes visited the French colony at Mobile, entered into friendly relations, invited them to construct Fort Alibamu, also called Fort Toulouse, near Odshi-apófa, q. v., and were helpful in erecting it. The French entertained a small garrison and a trader's post there, and subsequently the fort was called Fort Jackson.

[Pg 192]

The first British treaty with the Creeks was concluded by James Oglethorpe, Governor of the Carolinas. He set out May 14th, 1733, from Charleston, his residence, and on May 18th met in council the representatives of the Lower Creek tribes at Savannah. During the meeting many facts of interest were elicited. The Creeks then claimed the territory extending from the Savannah river to the Flint river, and south to St. Augustine, stating that their former number of ten tribes had been reduced to eight. Wikatchámpa, the Okóni míko, proclaimed that his tribe would peaceably cede to the British all lands not needed by themselves. The Yamacraw chief Tomochichi, then banished from one of the Lower Creek towns, spoke in favor of making a treaty with the foreigners, and Yahóla `láko, míko of Kawíta, allowed Tomochichi and his relatives "to call the kindred, that love them, out of each of the Creek towns, that they may come together and make one town. We must pray you to recall the Yamasees, that they may be buried in peace among their ancestors, and that they may see their graves before they die; and our own nation (of the Lower Creeks) shall be restored again to its ten towns." The treaty of land-cession, commerce and alliance was signed May 21st, and ratified by the trustees of the colony of Georgia, October 18th, 1733. It stipulated a cession of the lands between the Savannah and Altamaha rivers, and of some islands on the Atlantic coast, to the British; it further stipulated promises to enter into a commercial treaty at a later date, to place themselves under the general government of Great Britain, to live in peace with the colonies, to capture runaway slaves and deliver them at Charleston, Savannah or Palachukla garrison for a consideration. The treaty was confirmed by pledges on the side of the Creeks, which consisted in a bundle of buckskins for each town, whereas the English made presents of arms, garments, etc., in return. The Indians expressed a desire of receiving instruction through teachers, and the success obtained[Pg 193] in concluding this first treaty was mainly attributed to the influence of Tomochichi upon his fellow-countrymen. The eight tribes represented were Kawíta, Kasíχta, Ósutchi, Chíaha, Hítchiti, Apalatchúkla, Okóni, Yufála. The "two lost towns" were certainly not those of the Sáwokli and Yuchi, although these do not figure in the list. Only one of the headmen signing the treaty of 1733 figures in the prooemium of our legend (written in 1735): "Tomaumi, head warrior of Yufála, with three warriors;" he is identical with Tamókmi, war captain of the Eufantees (in 1735). Chekilli is not mentioned.

The above treaty is printed in: Political State of Great Britain, vol. 46, p. 237 sqq; extract in C. C. Jones, Tomochichi, pp. 27-37.

Although encouraged by this first successful meeting with the Creeks, the colonists knew so well the fickleness of the Indian character that they were distrustful of the steadiness of their promises, and thus sought to renew the friendly relations with them as often as possible.

A convention was arranged with the chiefs of the Lower Creeks at Savannah in 1735, during which the legend of the Kasiχta migration was delivered, but it does not appear whether any new treaty stipulations were mooted or not at that meeting.

Just after his return from England, Governor Oglethorpe again came to Savannah on October 13th, 1738, to meet in council the míkos of Chíaha, Okmúlgi, Ótchisi and Apalatchúkla, who were accompanied by thirty warriors and fifty-two attendants. They assured him of their firm and continued attachment to the crown, and notified him that deputies of the remaining towns would come down to see him, and that one thousand warriors of theirs were at his disposal. They also requested that brass weights and sealed measures should be deposited with the míkos of each town, to preclude the traders settled among them from cheating.

[Pg 194]

On the 17th of July, 1739, Oglethorpe with a large retinue started to meet the Creeks in their own country, at Kawíta. He traveled up Savannah river to the Yuchi town, twenty-five miles above Ebenezer, then followed the inland trail, for two hundred miles, without meeting any Indians. The council lasted from August 11th to 21st, and terminated in a treaty, by which the towns renewed their "fealty" to the king of Great Britain, and confirmed their cessions of territory, while Oglethorpe engaged that the British should not encroach upon their reserved lands, and that their traders should deal fairly and honestly with the Indians. The towns on Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers participated in the treaty.[129]

It may be regarded as a consequence of this compact, that Creek warriors joined the British as auxiliaries in the expedition against St. Augustine in 1742.

Important and detailed information on the relations of the Creeks and all other Southern tribes with the British and French settlers of colonial times may be found in the documents preserved at the State Paper Office, London. The contents of such papers as relate more especially to South Carolina are hinted at in numerous abstracts of them given in a catalogue in Collections of South Carolina Historical Society, Vols. I, II, Charleston, 8vo (Vol. II published in 1858); cf. II, 272. 297-298. 315-317. 322, etc. Compare also W. de Brahm's writings, mentioned in: Appendices.

An incomplete and unsatisfactory, though curious list of the elements then (1771) composing the Maskoki confederacy and of its western allies is contained in B. Romans, East and West Florida (p. 90). The passage first alludes to the Seminoles as allies, and then continues: "They are a mixture of the remains of the Cawittas, Talepoosas, Coosas, Apalachias, Conshacs or Coosades, Oakmulgis, Oconis, Okchoys, Alibamons, Natchez, Weetumkus, Pakanas, Taënsas, Chacsihoomas,[Pg 195] Abékas and some other tribes whose names I do not recollect."

An interesting point in early Creek history is the settlement of Cheroki Indians in Georgia, and their removal from there through the irruption of the Creeks. W. Bartram, Travels, p. 518, in describing the mounds of the country, states "that the region lying between Savanna river and Oakmulge, east and west, and from the sea coast (of the Atlantic) to the Cherokee or Apalachean mountains (filled with these mounds) was possessed by the Cherokees since the arrival of the Europeans; but they were afterwards dispossessed by the Muscogulges, and all that country was probably, many ages preceding the Cherokee invasion, inhabited by one nation or confederacy (unknown to the Cherokees, Creeks) ... etc." In another passage he gives a tradition of the Creeks, according to which an ancient town once built on the east bank of the Okmúlgi, near the old trading road, was their first settlement in these parts after their emigration from the west.

The topographic names from the Cheroki language throughout Georgia testify strongly to the presence of Cheroki Indians in these countries. The tracts on the Okóni and Okmúlgi are nearer to the seats of the Élati Cheroki than the Creek settlements on Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, where Cheroki local names occur also.

The legend reported by C. Swan (Schoolcraft V, 259) that the Creeks migrated from the northwest to the Seminole country, then back to Okmúlgi, Tallapoosa and Coosa rivers, deserves no credit, or applies to small bodies of Indians only.

From an ancient tradition John Haywood[130] relates the fact (pp. 237-241) that when the Cheroki Indians first settled in Tennessee, they found no other red people living on Tennessee[Pg 196] river, except a large body of Creeks near the influx of Hiwassee river (and some Shawanese on Cumberland river). They had settled "at the island on the Creek path," meaning a ford of the Great Tennessee river, also called "the Creek crossing," near the Alabama State border. At first they lived at peace with them, but subsequently attacked them, to drive them out of the country. By stratagem they drew them from their island, with all the canoes in their possession, to a place where others lay in ambush for them, engaged them in battle, took away their canoes to pass over to the island, and destroyed there all the property of the tribe. The enfeebled Creeks then left the country and went to the Coosa river.

The Broad river, a western affluent of Savannah river, formed for many years the boundary between the Cheroki and the eastern Creeks. It figures as such in Mouson's map of 1773.

The Creeks remained under the influence of the British government until after the American Revolutionary war, and in many conflicts showed their hostility to the thirteen states struggling for independence. Thus they acted in the British interest when they made a night attack on General Wayne's army, in 1782, led by Guristersigo, near the Savannah river. An attack on Buchanan's station was made by Creek and Cheroki warriors near Nashville, Tenn., in 1792. Treaties were concluded with them by the United States at New York, August 7th, 1790, and at Coleraine, Georgia, June 29th, 1796. An article of these stipulated the return of captured whites, and of negro slaves and property to their owners in Georgia. Trading and military posts were established among them, and an agent of the Government began to reside in one of their towns. Further cessions of Creek lands are recorded for 1802 and 1805.

Instigated by the impassionate speeches of Tecumseh, the Sháwano leader, the Upper Creeks, assisted by a few Yuchi and Sáwokli Indians, revolted in 1813 and massacred the[Pg 197] American garrison at Fort Mimms, near Mobile bay, Alabama, on August 30th of that year. General A. Jackson's army subdued the revolt, after many bloody victories, in the battle of the Horse-Shoe Bend, and by taking Pensacola, the seaport from which the Spaniards had supplied the insurrection with arms. A peace treaty was concluded on August 9th, 1814, embodying the cession of the Creek lands west of Coosa river. Surrounded as they were by white settlements on all sides, this revolt, known also as the Red Stick War, was the last consequential sign of reaction of the aboriginal Creek mind against civilizing influences.

Previous to the departure from their lands in the Gulf States to the Indian Territory (1836-1840), scattering bands of the Creeks joined the Seminoles in 1836, while others took arms against the United States to attack the border settlements and villages in Georgia and Alabama. These were soon annihilated by General Scott. The treaty of cession is dated April 4th, 1832, and the lands then granted to them in their new homes embraced an area of seven millions of acres. On October 11th, 1832, the Apalachicola tribe renewed a prior agreement to remove to the west of Mississippi river, and to surrender their inherited lands at the mouth of the Apalachicola river. Only 744 Creeks remained east of the Mississippi river.

At the outbreak of the Secession war, in 1861, the Creeks separated into two hostile parties. Chief Hopó`li yahóla with about 8000 Creeks adhered firmly to the Union cause, and at the head of about 800 of his warriors, aided by auxiliary troops, he defeated the Confederate party in one engagement; but in a second action he was defeated, and with his followers fled into Kansas. Both rencontres took place in the territory of the Cheroki Indians, in November and December, 1861.

The statistic dates of the Creek population given before B. Hawkins' time are mere estimates. In 1732 Governor[Pg 198] Oglethorpe reported 1300 warriors in eight towns of the Lower Creeks (Schoolcraft V, 263. 278), and in 1791 all the Creek "gun-men" were estimated to number between 5000 and 6000; the same number is given for these in the census of 1832 (Schoolcraft V, 262 sqq.; VI, 333), living in fifty-two towns, the whole population being between 25,000 and 30,000. In the same year the Cha'hta population was conjectured to amount to 18,000 (Schoolcraft VI, 479). The Report of the U. S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1881 gives a Creek population of 15,000, settled upon 3,215,495 acres of land; one half of these are tillable, but only 80,000 acres were cultivated during that year by these Indians.


of Maskoki is a harmonious, clearly vocalized form of speech, averse to nasalization. In forms it is exceedingly rich, but its syntax is very simple and undeveloped. An archaic form, called the female language, exists outside of the common Creek, and mainly differs from it in the endings of the verbs.


Creek possesses all sounds of the general Maskoki alphabet; but here and in Hitchiti the gutturals g, k, χ are often pronounced with the tongue resting upon the fore or alveolar part of the palate. The alternating processes observed here also occur in most other Indian and illiterate languages: tch, dsh alternate with ts, ds, h with k, χ; g with the other gutturals, b with p, d with t, ā with e, o with u. The accent shifts for rhetoric and syntactic causes, and many unaccented syllables are pronounced long. In the pronunciation of the natives there is a sort of singing modulation, which likes to lengthen the last syllables of a sentence.[131] Syllables not final generally terminate in a vowel.

[Pg 199]


The nominal inflection shows but three cases: The first in -i (or -a, -o, -u), which may be called absolute;[132] the subjective case in -t, -it (-at, -ut), and the objective in -n, -in (-an, -un). The absolute case, when used as a vocative, often lengthens or strongly accentuates the last syllable. The suffix -n indicates the direct and indirect object, and also sometimes the locative case. Diminutives are formed by means of the suffix -odshi, -udshi.

Substantive. The substantive noun does not inflect for number except in a few terms designating persons which form a plural in -agi, -aki: míko chief, míkagi chiefs, to be distinguished from míkalgi class from which chiefs are chosen; húnanwa man, hókti woman; hunantági, hóktagi. It is the archaic form of -akīs, the verbal ending of third person plural of certain verbal inflections. Cf. -a`li in Hitchiti.

The suffix -algi, though sometimes used as a plural suffix, designates collectivity: u-ikaíwa spring of water, u-ikaiwálki place with water-springs, and u-ikaiⁿálki people living at the springs; alíktcha conjurer, alíktchalgi conjurers as one body, taken in a body.

The parts of speech being but imperfectly differentiated, tenses can be expressed in nouns by adding suffixes: míko chief, mikotáti, míko-ō′mā one who was, has been chief; míko-ta`láni a future chief; adsulagitáti the defunct forefathers.

Adjectives form a real plural by appending the suffix -agi, -aki to the base. This applies, however, only to a limited number of adjectives, like:

[Pg 200]

atchúla old, pl. atchúlagi
hí`li good, hí`lagi
tcháti red, tchátaki
yíktchi strong, yíktchaki

The majority of the adjectives and of the attributive verbs derived from them form derivatives, which in some instances may be called distributive, in others frequentative and iterative forms. They are formed by a partial reduplication of the radix, when the basis is monosyllabic, or often of the last syllable of the basis, when the word is polysyllabic. Examples:

lásti black, láslati black here and black there; verbified: lánis, laslánis it is black.

hállui high, hálhawi each of them high.

súfki deep, súfsuki deep each, or deep in spots.

súlgi many, súlsugi many of each.

hólwaki bad, holwahóki each bad.

líkwi rotten; lík'howi (animals), líkliwi (vegetables).

kotchúkni short, kotchúntchoki short in spots.

sílkosi narrow, sílsikosi narrow in places, from sílki strip.

Adjectives are made negative by appending the privative particle -go, -gu, -ko, -ku: ítskisusi having a mother, itskisusiko motherless; hí`li good, hí`ligo not good, bad.

Gradation of adjectives and of attributive verbs formed from these can be effected in different ways, which are more perfect and expressive here than in those Indian languages which can express gradation only by syntactic means.

A comparative is formed by prefixing isim-, isin-, isi-, apheretically sim-, sin-, si- to the adjective or the attributive verb, the two objects compared standing usually before the adjective or verb. This prefix is composed of the particle isi-, is- and the possessive pronoun im-, in-, i- of the third person (s. and pl.), and corresponds somewhat to our than, as. The object compared stands in the absolute case.

[Pg 201]

kát'tcha yahá isin`lákit ómis the panther (kát'tcha) is larger (`lako large) than the wolf (yahá; ómis is so).

tchátu tchátu-χunáp-hatki (i-)síntchalatuit ómis iron (tchátu) is harder than silver.

ma tchī′panat ma hóktudshi (i-)simmáhis this boy is taller than that girl.

A superlative is formed by placing i`li-, apheretically `li-, before the comparative: máhi tall, isímmahi taller than, i'lisímmahi, `lisímmahi, `lisímahi tallest of, lit. "still taller than the taller ones."

ma tsúku halháwat i`lisihálluit ómis this house is the highest; lit. "higher than the high ones."

A superlative may be expressed also by using the comparative instead: ma tchípanat anhopuitáki omálgan isímmahis "that boy is the tallest of all my children"; lit. "that boy is taller than all my children." Or the superlative is expressed by the augmentative adverb máhi: very, quite, greatly, largely yíktchi máhi, the strongest, which at the same time means: very strong, quite strong; `láko máhi largest and very large; máhimahi tallest and very tall; the latter also being expressed by a lengthening of the vowel: mā′hi very tall.

Minuitive gradation is effected by inversion of the sense in the sentence and the use of the comparative; they say: "silver is costlier than iron," instead of saying: "iron is less costly than silver."

What we call prepositions are generally nominal forms in Creek, inflected like nouns and placed after their complements as postpositions, governing the absolute case:

únapa, subj. únapat, obj. únapan above, on the top of; `láni únapa (or: `láni yúksa) on the top of the mountain.

tchuku-ófan läíkäs I stay within, in the house; -ófan, -ofa, -úfa, -of is also temporal suffix: when, while, during: yá o`lolopí-ófan in this year.

inúkua atígin ak'húi`l he stands in the water up to (atígin) his neck.

[Pg 202]

tsá`lki a`láχkan on account of my father.

tchukú ilídshan, under the house.

ítu ilídshan, ítu tchískan under the tree.

Numerals. The cardinal numeral has a full form ending in -in, and another abbreviated from it used in counting objects, and not extending beyond ten; an ordinal, with prefix -ísa-, is-, apheret. sa-, s-; a distributive substituting -ákin to -in of the cardinal, and an adverbial form in -a.

Cardinals. Ordinals.
1 hámgin hámmai ihatitchíska first
2 hokólin hŏ′ko sahokólat second
3 tut'tchínin tút'tchi satut'tchínat
4 ō′stin, ū′stin ō′sti sō′stat
5 tcha'hgípin tchá'hgi satcha'hgíbat
6 ipákin ípa (i)sipákat
7 kolapákin kólapa iskolapákat
8 tchinapákin tchínapa istchinapákat
9 ōstapákin óstapa isūstapákat
10 pálin ispálat
20 páli-hokólin páli-hokólin ispali-hokólat
100 tchúkpi hámgin tchúkpi hámgin istchúkpi hámgat
Distributives. Adverbials.
1 hamgákin and hamgahákin ahámkutcha once
one to each
2 hokolákin and hokolahákin ahokóla twice
two to each
3 tut'tchinákin atút'tchina
4 ūstákin ō'sta
5 tcha'hgipákin tcha'hgíba
6 ipakákin and ipahákin ípaka
7 kolapakákin kolapáka
8 tchinapahákin and tchinapakákin tchinapáka
9 ōstapahákin and ōstapakákin ūstapáχa
10 palákin and palahákin pála
20 pali-hokolákin páli-hokóla
100 tchúkpi hamgákin tchúkpi hámgat

[Pg 203]

tipaχótchki "folded once"

tipaχó'hli ō′stin "folded four times"

tipaχó'hli tchinapákin "folded eight times"

hamháχosi "one here and one there, scattered."

The personal pronoun is as follows:

I áni, subj. ánit, obj. ánin, abbr. am-, an-, a-
thou tchími, tchímit, tchímin tchim-, tchin-
he, she, it ími, ímit, ímin im-, in-, i-, m-
we pómi, púmi; pómit, pomin pom-, pum-, pon-
ye tchimitáki, etc. tchintági
they imitáki, etc. íntaki

Cha'hta distinguishes between the inclusive and exclusive pronouns we, our, but Creek and Hitchiti do not.

The possessive pronoun is as follows:

my tcha-; am-, an-, a- tcháka my head
thy tchi- tchíka thy head
his, her, itsim-, in-, i- íka, his, her, its head
our punági, pu-tági, pu-, po- pukatáki, póka our heads
your tchinakitáki, tchimitaki, tchi-tagi tchikatági your heads
their inakitáki, imitági, i-tagi ikatáki their heads

The possessive relation is usually expressed:

(1) by the possessive pronoun prefixed to the object possessed: tcháka my head, anhopuitáki my children.

(2) when two nouns, especially substantives, stand in the relation of possession, the possessor stands in the absolute case before the object possessed, the pronoun im-, in-, i- being prefixed to the latter.

isti Mashkóki imíkana the land of the Creek men.

ádshi intálapi ear of maize; lit. "maize its ear."

ádsh' imápi stalk of maize.

íngi ítchki his thumb; lit. "his hand its mother."

Other pronouns:

isti person is used as indefinite pron.: somebody; istíka somebody's head, a person's head; stillipaíχa boot, from isti, íli, paíχa; isti hápu somebody's camping place.

[Pg 204]

istä′mat, pl. istämatáki? who?

istómat? abbr. ístat? (s. and pl.) which? which one?

hía, ya, í-a this (close by); subj. híat, obj. hían (in Cheroki: hía this, this one).

ma, mat, man this (further off).

ása, ásat, ásan that (far off).

Verb. The Creek verb is of the polysynthetic type, and inflects by means of prefixes, infixes and (chiefly by) suffixes. It possesses an affirmative, negative, interrogative and distributive form, which latter is used as a form for the plural of the subject in the intransitive verbs; it also has a large number of conversational forms usually derived by contraction, ellipses, etc., from the regular or standard forms; and in some of its inflections also a reverential besides the common form. It is rich in modes, verbals and voices and may be called extremely rich in tense-forms, when we compare to it the poverty of many other American languages.

The verb incorporates the direct and indirect pronominal object and inflects for person. In certain conjugational forms the personal affix is a prefix, in others a suffix. The historic tense, a sort of aorist, is formed by the infix -h- and a change of the radical vowel occurs at times, though not so often as in Cha'hta. Intransitive verbs show special forms, according to the number of the subject (singular, dual, plural). Very frequently these latter forms are made from different roots, as will be seen from the instances given below. Many transitive verbs have, when their object stands in the plural, a (distributive) form differing entirely or partially from the one referring to an object in the singular; a few others show this change, when their subject passes from the singular to the plural number. Other transitive verbs are combining the two inflections just described.

Adjectives can be verbified and then appear in the shape of attributive verbs: haúki, pl. hauháki hollow; haúkäs I am hollow, haúkis it is hollow, hauhákis they are hollow. No[Pg 205] real substantive verb being extant, its want is supplied by ómäs, mómäs, tóyäs I am so, I am such; these are conjugated regularly, and when connected with the verbals in -t (-at, -it, -ut) of any verb, compose a periphrastic conjugation which displays itself in an almost infinite number of forms.

From all this it becomes evident, that the Creek verb surpasses in its large power of polysynthesis the Algonkin, Dakota and Kalapuya verb, and in the richness of its forms approaches closely to the Iroquois verb, which is poorer in tenses, but has an impersonal conjugation and fourteen persons to each tense of the finite verb. Creek is likely to surpass also the Basque verb, which has become proverbial for the almost infinite number of its intricate verb forms.[133]

I propose to give below the inflection of the Creek verb in its general outlines only, as far as necessary to give an idea of the subject. The Creek conjugation is regular throughout in its standard forms, though the conversational form has introduced modifications.

Inflection of ísita to take, carry, hold (one object) and of tcháwita to take (more than one object). Only three tenses were given here as examples of tcháwita, although it has as many modes, tenses and other forms as ísita.

Active Voice.
Affirmative conjugation.
Declarative mode.

Present: ísä-is, or ísäs I am taking, 2 s. ísitchkis, 3 s. ísis; 1 pl. ísīs, ísis, 2 pl. isā′tchkis, 3 pl. isákis.

tcháwä-is or tcháwäs I am taking (more than one obj.), 2 s. tcháwitchkis, 3 s. tcháwis; 1 pl. tcháwīs, 2 pl. tchawā′tchkis, 3 pl. tchawā′kis.

The preterit tenses: í'hsäs I took, 2 s. í'hsitchkis, 3 s. í'hsis; 1 pl. i'hsis, 2 pl. i'hsā′tchkis, 3 pl. i'hsā′χkis.

[Pg 206]

tchá'hwäs I took (pl. of obj.), 2 s. tcha'hwítchkis, etc.

isäyángis, I have taken, 2 s. isitchkángis, 3 s. ísangis,-kis; 1 pl. ísiyankis, 2 pl. ísákatchkankis, 3 pl. isákankis.

tchawayángis I have taken (pl. of obj.), 2 s. tchawitchkánkis, etc.

isáyatis I took (indefinite, aorist or historic past tense), 2 s. isítchkatis, 3 s. ísatis; 1 pl. isíatīs, 2 pl. isátchkatis, 3 pl. isákatis.

isäyántas I took (long ago), 2 s. isitchkántas, 3 s. ísantas, etc.

isäimátas I had taken, 2 s. isitchkimátas, 3 s. isimátas, etc.

The future tenses: isá`lis I shall take, 2 s. isítchka`lis, etc.

isa`lánäs I am going to take, 2 s. isa`lánitchkis, 3 s. isa`lánis, etc.

isipayatitá`lis I shall have taken, 2 s. isipitchkatitá`lis, 3 s. isipatitá`lis, etc.

Conditional or subjunctive mode.

(ómati, ómat if, when, connected with the verbal in -n.)

Present: ísän ómat(i) if I take, 2 s. isítchkin ómat, 3 s. ísin ómat, etc.

Preterit: isä′yatin ómat if I had taken, 2 s. isítchkatin ómat, etc.

Future: isa`lánän ómatî'h if I am going to take, 2 s. isa`lanítchkin ómati'h, etc.

Potential mode.

ísayis I can take, 2 s. ísitchkīs, 3 s. isīs, isi-is, etc.

isa`lanáyat tálkis I must take, I have to take, 2 s. isa`lánitcha tálkis.

ísaχant ómatin ómäs I ought to have taken, 2 s. ísaχant ómatin ómitchkis.

ísi wäítäyis I may take, 2 s. ísitchki wäítīs, 3 s. ísi wäítīs.

isa`láni wäítayis probably I shall take (at some future time), 2 s. isa`lánitchki wäítīs, or wäítayis.

isáyi titáyïs (abbr. táyis) I am able to take, 2 s. isítchki titáyīs.

[Pg 207]

Imperative mode.

2 s. ísas! do thou take! (as a command). 2 pl. ísakis! do ye take! 2 s. ísipas! take! (reverential or exhortative). 2 pl. isípakis! take ye! ye may take!

Verbals, or nominal forms of verb.

ísita to take, the taking; tcháwita (pl. of obj.)

Present: ísä-i subj. ísä-it, ísät obj. ísä-in
I taking, I a taker.
2 s. ísitchki ísitchkit ísitchkin
thou taking.
3 s. ísi ísit ísin
he, she taking.
1 pl. ísī ísīt ísīn
we taking, we takers.
2 pl. isátchk i isátchkit isátchkin
ye taking.
3 pl. isáki isákit isákin
they taking.
Preterit: isä′yati isä′yatit isä′yatin
I having taken.
2 s. isítchkati isítchkatit isítchkatin
thou having taken.
3 s. ísati ísatit ísatin
he, she having taken.
1 pl. isakíyati 2. isakátchkati 3. ísakati etc.
Future: isa`lánä-i isa`lánän I going to take.
isa`lánitchki isa`lánitchkin thou going to take.
isa`láni isa`lánin he, she going to take.
pl. isa`láni, isa`lánatchki, isaka`láni, etc.
isákofan,abbr.isákof while taking.
isíkofan,"isíkof before he took.
isigáχkan,"ísiga because he takes or took.
isa`lániχkan,"isa`laniga because he will take.

[Pg 208]

Interrogative conjugation (specimen).

ísäya? do I take? 2 s. ísitska?, 3 s. ísa? 1 pl. ísiya? 2 pl. ísatska? 3 pl. isā′ka?

tcháwäya? do I take? (pl. of obj.), etc.

Negative conjugation:

isákus I do not take; 2 s. isítskigus, 3 s. isígus; 1 pl. isígus, 2 pl. isátskigus, 3 pl. iságigus.

tchawákus I do not take (pl. of obj.), etc.

Negative-interrogative conjugation:

isă'kō? do I not take? 2 s. isítskigō? 3 s. isĭ′gō? 1 pl. isī′go? 2 pl. isátskigō? 3 pl. iságigō? (suffix -gō often nasalized into -gōⁿ, -kōⁿ, -kuⁿ).

tchawă′kō? do I not take? etc.

Conjugation with indirect object:

imísäs I take for somebody, I take from somebody, 2 s. imísitchkis, 3 s. imísis; 1 pl. imisĭs, 2 pl. imísatchkis, 3 pl. imisā′kis.

intcháwäs I take for somebody (pl. of obj.), etc.

Medial conjugation:

isípäs I take for myself, 2 s. isípitchkis, 3 s. isípis; 1 pl. isípīs, 2 pl. isípatskis, 3 pl. isákipis.

tchawípäs I take for myself (pl. of obj.), etc.

Passive Voice.

It is formed from the active voice by inserting ho-, hu- after the basis of the verb. From ísäs I take is formed tchas'hóyäs (for tcha-is-hóyäs) I am taken; -s- being the only sound of the radix remaining.

Present: tchas'hóyäs I am taken, I am being taken; 2 s. tchis'hóyäs, 3 s. is'hóyäs; 1 pl. putcha-uhóyäs, 2 pl. tchitcha-uhoyákäs, 3 pl. tcha-uhóyäs.

Past: tchas'hóhyis, I was taken.

Future: tchas'hoya`lánis, I shall be taken.

Part. pass. partic. i'hsik; pl. of obj. á'hwak taken.

[Pg 209]

Other Voices.

Reciprocal voice: itítchawīs we take each other.

u'hlátkäs I fall on, upon: itu'hlátkäs I attack, have a scuffle.

Reflective voice: i-ísäs I take or carry myself.

yíkläs I pinch; iyíkläs I pinch myself.

Causative voice. This form had better be called a derivative form than a voice, as will appear from the following instances:

isipúidshäs I cause to take.

púskäs I fast; puskipúidshäs I make fast, puskä′dshäs I make, cause to fast; puskidshä′dshäs I cause to fast for initiation.

hátkis it is white, hatídshäs I whiten.

kí`läs I know, ki`lídshäs I inform, apprize, i-uki`lkuídshäs I explain myself.

huí`läs I stand, hui`lídshäs I set up, place, make stand.

Impersonal voice. A paradigm of an impersonal verb, inflected with its pronominal object, is as follows:

isanhí`lis it is good for me (hí`li good), 2 s. istchinhí`lis, 3 s. isinhí`lis; ispunhí`lis it is good for us, 2 pl. istchinhí`lagis, 3 pl. isinhí`lagis.

Other Conjugational Forms.

Paradigms of verbs inflected with the subject-pronoun standing either separate or incorporated:

ánit ómäs I do, am the cause ofantalgósis I am alone (for ánit álgosis)
tchímit ómadshkshtchintalgósis thou art alone
ímit ómisintalgósis
pómit ómīs we dopuntálgosis and puntalgosákis
tchintágit ómadshkshtchintalgosákis
(i)mitágit ómīsintalgosákis

[Pg 210]

Objective or compound conjugation.

A transitive verb connected with its direct pronominal object runs as follows:

yíklita to pinch, the pinching.

tchiyíkläs I pinch thee.

yíkläs I pinch him, her, it, or I pinch one object.

tchiyíklaχas I pinch ye.

yíklaχäs I pinch them, or several objects.

tchayíklitchkis thou pinchest me.

puyíklitchkis thou pinchest us.

yíklis he, she pinches (another).

yíklakōs, contr. yíklaks I do not pinch him, her, it.

yíklaχakōs I do not pinch them.

tchiyíklakōs I do not pinch thee.

tchiyíklayä? do I pinch thee?

yíkläya? do I pinch him, her, it?

yiklakayá? do I pinch them?

A transitive verb connected with its indirect pronominal object conjugates in the same manner, unless there is in it the idea for the benefit of, or for the detriment of, or from, away from somebody or something connected with it. In this case the pronoun im-, in-, i- is prefixed; paradigm given above.

käídshita to say, the saying, käídshäs I say.

tchikäídshás (for tchikäídshä-is) I say to thee.

käídshä-is, käídshäs I say to him, her, it (to one person).

tchikäídshakä′-is I say to ye.

käídshakä′-is I say to them (to several persons).

tchakäídshis he, she says to me.

tchikäídshis he, she says to thee.

käídshis he, she says to (to another).

pukäídshis he says to us.

tchikäídshagis he says to ye.

käídshagis he says to them (to several persons).

tchikäídshi-is we say to thee.

[Pg 211]

tchakäítchatchkis ye say to me.

tchikäítchakakīs they say to ye.

käidshakákīs they say to them.

Intransitive Verbs.

Subject in the singular, dual and plural number:

aláχäs I come, alahókis we two come, yē′dshīs we come.

ó`läs I arrive, o`lhóyis, o`lä′-idshis.

homaχtá-is I am ahead, I lead, du. and pl. homaχ'hóti-is.

wákäs I am lying, wak'hógis, lúmhīs.

húi`läs I stand, sihókis, sabáχlis.

á`läs I am about, wilágis, fúllis.

tchíyäs I enter, tchuχalágīs, sidshíyis.

On a special use made of the verbal dual, cf. Ceremonial allocutions.

Transitive Verbs.

Object in the singular and plural number; the latter form also marking a repetition of the act.

ilídshäs I kill, pasátäs.

háyäs I make, háhaidshäs; pl. of subject hayäkīs.

mutchasídshäs I make new, mutchasakúidshäs.

ki`lä′dshäs I cause to know, apprize, ki`lakuídshäs.

túläs I fell (a tree etc.), tultuídshäs I fell repeatedly, or many objects.

falápäs I split; ítun falá'hlidshäs I split many sticks separately.

náfkäs I strike, nafnákäs.

hopíläs I inhume, hopilhuídshäs and hopiláχäs.

tádshäs I cut off, sever, wá`läs.


Many conjunctions are formed from the auxiliary verbs ómäs, mómäs and thus are in fact verbs, not particles. In spite of the frequent use to which they are put they do not relieve the sentence of its heaviness to any perceptible extent; for what we call incident clauses and also many co-ordinate[Pg 212] principal sentences are uniformly expressed by groups of words, the verb of which stands in the -t or -n verbal, which nearest corresponds to our participle in -ing, or to having (h. gone, carried), sometimes five or six of them, followed at the close by a finite verb. Instances of this our Creek text affords almost on every page. This sort of incapsulation greatly embarrasses interpreters in the rendering of Creek texts in any of the modern European languages, which have a tendency towards analytic and an aversion to synthetic structure of the sentence, and therefore use conjunctions freely. A conjunction corresponding in every respect to our and exists in none of the Maskoki dialects.

The syntax is remarkably simple and uniform; the multiplicity of grammatic forms precludes the formation of many syntactic rules, just as in Sanscrit. The position of the words in the sentence is: subject, object, verb. The adjective when used attributively stands after the noun qualified.

Lexical Affinities.

Several Creek words possess a striking resemblance with words of equal or related signification, pertaining to other languages. Some of them are undoubtedly borrowed, while others may rest on a fortuitous resemblance. A few of them were pointed out by H. Hale, in Amer. Antiquarian V, 120. I consider as being borrowed from Cheroki:

Cr. átasi war-club, in Cher. atsá, at'sá; occurs in the Cher. war-name: At'sá utégi the one throwing away the war-club. It contains the idea of being bent, crooked; inatá atassíni the snake is crawling.

Cr. tchū′ska, post-oak, H. tchíski; Cher. tchuskó.

Cr. yĕnása, Cha'hta yánash bison, buffalo; Cher. yánasa.

The Creek sulitáwa soldier and the Cha'hta shulush shoe were borrowed from the French terms soldat and soulier (from Lat. subtalare).

Alike in Creek and Cheroki, but of uncertain provenience[Pg 213] are tsúla, tchúla fox, in Yuchi sátchoni; hía, i-a this, this one (pron. dem.). Compare also Cr. níni road, trail with Cher. naⁿnóhi, nä-ĕnóhi road. The Cr. words tíwa hair, scalp, and wáhu winged elm are said to be borrowed from foreign languages. It will be noticed, that names of plants, and especially of animals hunted by man often spread over several contiguous linguistic areas.

The Maskoki dialects, it must be acknowledged, have remained remarkably free from foreign admixture.

[Pg 214]



There are events in the history of a people, which are remembered with difficulty or displeasure and therefore soon drop from the memory of men. But there are other incidents which pass from father to son through many generations, and the remembrance of them, though altered in many particulars and variously recounted, seems to be undying. Events of this kind are migrations, long warfare or decisive battles, which resulted either in defeat or victory, alliances with cognate or friendly tribes, times of abundance, of famines and epidemics. To be of easy remembrance, there must be something connected with these events which forcibly strikes the imagination and in later times stands out as the principal fact, while minor features of its occurrence disappear or become subject to alterations in the progress of time.

This also shows the process, how historic legends and traditions are forming among uncultured nations, which are possessed of imperfect means only for the transmission of ideas to posterity. Whenever this traditionary lore is written down by a civilized people, then the gathering of these tales, half mythic and half historic, forms a commencement of historiography, and by later generations is regarded as valued material for clearing up the dawn of history.

The historic legends of the different nations vary exceedingly in their contents, at least as much as do the nations[Pg 215] themselves. There are some that speak of the chiefs only and not of the people, or fill the tales with mythic heroes and impossible events, while the more sober and intelligent restrict the miraculous element to narrow limits, though never excluding it entirely. There are peoples and individuals who will not give credence to a legend which does not contain miracles. Many of the North American tribes, especially on the Pacific coast, have no knowledge of early events in their tribe, because a severe law prohibits them from calling their dead relatives by their names. This superstition alone suffices to destroy the historic sense in the population, but does not seem to have operated among the Aztecs, Mayas and Quichhuas to any noticeable degree.

All nations of the globe have migrated from earlier into more recent seats, but with many of them these migrations took place in epochs so far distant that they have lost all recollections of them. These latter we call autochthonic; the Kalapuya of Willámet Valley, Oregon, and the Washo around Carson, Nevada, who claim to have originated from bulrushes in the vicinity, belong to these. All tribes of the Maskoki stock possess migration legends, and so do the Dakota and Iroquois. Their migration legends are intermingled with myths and mythic ideas; nevertheless, they prove that the migrations took place in comparatively recent times, and that these accounts are not pure astronomical or other fictions.

A full knowledge of Maskoki mythology would certainly help us in the understanding of their migration tales, but this subject has not been investigated as yet. Their principal mythic power is the "Master of Life" or "Holder of Breath," in Creek Isákita immíssi, a divine being, which is as thoroughly North American as Jahve, an ancient sun- and thunder-god, is of Semitic, and Dyaus, Zeus, Jupiter, the Sky-god, is of Aryan origin. The proper sense of the Creek name is "the one who carries, takes the life or breath for them;" it[Pg 216] is the embodiment of the idea that a great, powerful spirit gives life, or what is synonymous with it, breath to them (to persons, animals), and takes it off from them at will (isákita life, breath; im-pron. poss. 3d person, ísäs I take, when the object stands in the singular); ísi, íssi taker, holder. The Master of Life, also called Suta-läíkati, "resident in the sky," is not a pure abstraction, but has to be brought into connection with the sun-worship of all Americans, which again became associated with the cult of the fire-flame. The idea that the Creeks knew anything of the devil of the Christian religion is a pure invention of the missionaries; being christianized, they call him now: ísti fútchigō "the man acting perversely," tasoχlä′ya, or: ísti niklé-idsha atsū′li "the old person-burner" (áni niklé-idshäs I burn somebody, something); the Yuchi call him "the swinging man," just as they call a ghost "a hunting man." The Shetimasha name for the devil is néka, which properly means conjurer, sorcerer and witchcraft.

In the eyes of the missionaries and Christian settlers, the paramount importance and abstract character of the Master of Breath made him appear as the centre of an almost monotheistic religion; but on closer investigation it will be found that the Creeks believed in many genii and mythic animals besides, two of which were the isti-pápa and the snake, which furnished the snake horn as a war-talisman. It would be singular indeed, if the Creeks were the only Indians of America who believed solely in the Great Spirit and not also in a number of lesser conceptions of imagination, as dwarfs, giants, ogres, fairies, hobgoblins and earth-spirits.

The myths referring to the origin of nations often stand in close connection with myths accounting for the ages of the world or successive creations, with migration legends, and with culture-myths, explaining the origin of certain institutions, manufactures and arts.

Many of these myths are etymological, as that of the[Pg 217] Greeks, stating that they originated from stones thrown by Deucalion behind himself (λάας stone, and λαός people); that of Adam, being created from earth; adam, in Hebrew, signifies person and mankind, adom, adum, fem. adumáh red, ruddy, bay-colored, adamáh earth, ground, land, from its reddish color, admoni red-haired.

Although the origin from the earth is certainly the most natural that could suggest itself to primitive man, there are a number of nations claiming provenience from the sky (the Tukabatchi were let down from the sky in a gourd or calabash): from the sun (Yuchi), from the moon, from the sea, from the ashes of fire (Sháwano), from eggs (Quichhua) or certain plants.

The Aht, on the western coast of Vancouver Island, allege that animals were first produced at Cape Flattery, Washington Territory, and from the union of some of these with a star, which fell from heaven, came the first men, and from them sprang all the race of Nitin-aht, Klayok-aht and Mákah or Klass-aht Indians.[134]

Wherever a mythic origin from an animal, especially from a wild beast, is claimed for man, it is usually done to explain the totem of the gens to which the originators of the tale belong.

Among the nations tracing their mythic origin to the earth, or what amounts to the same thing, to caves, deep holes, hills or mountains, are the Pomo of Northern California, who believe that their ancestors, the coyote-men, were created directly from a knoll of red earth,[135] still visible in their country; the Nahua, whose seven tribes issued from Chicomoztoc or the "Seven Caves."

A tribe of the Yókat group, the Tinluí in Southern California, claims that their forefathers issued from badger-burrows,[Pg 218] and they derive their tribal name from these holes, which are extremely frequent through their country.[136]

Six families representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois are called out to the upper world from a cave on the Oswego River by the "Holder of the Heavens," Tarenyawagon.[137]

Traditions on early migrations, which have originated in the people to which they refer and bear the imprint of genuineness, not that of a late fabrication by conjurers or mixed-bloods, usually contain indications of importance which are confirmed by archæologic and linguistic researches. The tradition of the Hebrews, which tells of their immigration into Palestine from the countries of the north across the Euphrates, is substantiated by their tribal name ibri "one who has crossed." The Hellenic, especially Doric tradition of an immigration from Thrace and Macedonia through Epirus and Thessalia into Greece is confirmed by linguistic and historic facts, but the Roman legend concerning the descent of the founders of the "Eternal City" from Troy was acknowledged to be a pious fraud by the ancients themselves.

The Indians of the upper and middle part of the peninsula of California claim descent from the Yuma population north of them; the Tinné-Apache of New Mexico and the Gila river, Arizona, also point to an ancient home in the far north, and both traditions are confirmed by the affinities of their dialects. In many instances, though by no means in all, the migrations are seen to follow the direction of the longitudinal axis of the continent. In North America another line of migration is observed besides, that from west to east; nevertheless, the Yuchi and some Dakota and Iroquois tribes have moved in a direction exactly opposite.

[Pg 219]

It is erroneous to believe that a people had but one migration legend, because only one has come to our knowledge.[138] This would be a thorough misapprehension of the various agencies which are at work in producing folk-lore. Every tribe of a people or nation has its own migration myth or legend, which in some points coincides, in others conflicts with those of the neighboring septs. Conflicting traditions will be noticed below, not only among the Maskoki nations at large, but also within the narrower limits of the Creek towns or tribes.

To the reproduction and critical examination of the different Creek migration legends transmitted to us we premise a short chapter on the mythic and legendary tales referring to the migrations of the other Maskoki nations.

The account of the Cha'hta migration, as given in the Missionary Herald, of Boston, Vol. XXIV (1828), p. 215, was referred to in a short extract in this volume, under Cha'hta, pp. 106. 107.

The narrative of the interpreter, who seems to have been somewhat imbued with the spirit of rationalism, continues as follows:

"When they emigrated from a distant country in the west, the Creeks were in front, the Cha'hta in the rear. They travelled to a 'good country' in the east; this was the inducement to go. On the way, they stopped to plant corn. Their great leader and prophet[139] directed all their movements, carried the hobuna or sacred bag (containing 'medicines') and a long white pole as the badge of his authority. When he planted the white pole, it was a signal for their encampment. He was always careful to set this pole perpendicularly and to suspend upon it the sacred bag. None were allowed to come near it and no one but himself might touch[Pg 220] it. When the pole inclined towards the east, this was the signal for them to proceed on their journey; it steadily inclined east until they reached Nánni Wáya. There they settled."

This story does not mention any crossing by the Cha'hta of the turbid waters of the mighty Mississippi, but accounts quite satisfactorily for the mysterious inclination of the pole, for the prophet must have been careful to suspend the satchel with the war-physic always on the eastern side, so as to have the pole brought down in that direction by the weight of the pouch. The tale contains a similar motive as that of the foundation of the citadel at Thebes by Kadmus, who was ordered by an oracle to follow a wandering heifer until it would settle in the grass, and then to found a city on the spot.

Follows the account of the Chicasa migration, as told by their old men to the United States agent stationed among them, and printed in Schoolcraft, Indians, I, 309 sq:

"By tradition they say they came from the West; a part of their tribe remained in the West. When about to start eastward they were provided with a large dog as a guard and a pole as guide; the dog would give them notice whenever an enemy was near at hand, and thus enable them to make their arrangements to receive them. The pole they would plant in the ground every night, and the next morning they would look at it, and go in the direction it leaned. They continued their journey in this way until they crossed the great Mississippi river, and on the waters of the Alabama river arrived in the country about where Huntsville, Alabama, now is. There the pole was unsettled for several days, but finally it settled and pointed in a southwest direction. They then started on that course, planting the pole every night, until they arrived at what is called the Chickasaw Old Fields,[Pg 221][140] where the pole stood perfectly erect. All then came to the conclusion that that was the Promised Land, and there they accordingly remained until they emigrated west of the State of Arkansas, in the years 1837 and 1838."

"While the pole was in an unsettled condition, a part of their tribe moved on east, and got with the Creek Indians, but so soon as the majority of the tribe settled at the Old Fields, they sent for the party that had gone east, who answered that they were very tired, and would rest where they were awhile. This clan was called Cush-eh-tah. They have never joined the parent tribe, but they always remained as friends until they had intercourse with the whites; then they became a separate nation."

"The great dog was lost in the Mississippi, and they always believed that the dog had got into a large sink-hole and there remained; the Chickasaws said they could hear the dog howl just before the evening came. Whenever any of their warriors get scalps, they give them to the boys to go and throw them into the sink where the dog was. After throwing the scalps, the boys would run off in great fright, and if one should fall in running, the Chickasaws were certain he would be killed or taken prisoner by their enemies. Some of the half-breeds, and nearly all of the full-bloods now believe it."

"In traveling from the West to the Promised Land in the East, they have no recollection of crossing any large watercourse except the Mississippi river; they had to fight their way through enemies on all sides, but cannot now remember the names of them. When they left the West, they were informed that they might look for whites and that they would come from the East; that they should be on their guard to avoid them, lest they should bring all manner of vice among them."

The end of this relation looks rather suspicious for its antiquity, or may be a later addition. The throwing of the[Pg 222] scalps into the sink has to be considered as a sort of sacrifice, although it is difficult to say which power of nature the dog represented. The howling of the dog before evening and the direction of the pole seem to indicate the state of the weather and the moisture of the ground, which could give origin to fevers. That the passage: "the dog was lost in the Mississippi," should read: "the dog was lost in the State of Mississippi," is plainly shown by the sentences following the statement.

The migration legends now current among the Alibamu and the Hitchiti are but short in form and have been referred to under the respective headings.


The following legends of the Creek Indians are the only ones I have been able to obtain, although it may be taken for certain, that every one of the larger centres of the Creek nation had its own story about this. The legend in Urlsperger and in Hawkins are both from Kasi'hta. Milfort's was probably given to him at Odshi-apófa, and a fragment of the Tukabatchi legend is inserted under Tukabatchi, p. 147.

Migration Legend as recounted to Col. Benj. Hawkins by Taskáya Miko, of Apatá-i, a branch village of Kasi'hta. "Sketch" of B. Hawkins, pp. 81-83.

"There are in the forks (akfáski) of Red River or U-i tcháti, west of Mississippi River, U-i ukúfki, two mounds of earth. At this place the Kasiχta, Kawita and Chicasa found themselves, and were at a loss for fire. They were here visited by the hayoyálgi, four men who came from the corners of the world. One of them asked the Indians, where they would have their fire (tútka). They pointed to a spot; it was made and they sat down around it. The hayoyálgi directed that they should pay particular attention to the fire, that it would preserve them and let Isákita imíssi, the holder of breath,[Pg 223] know their wants. One of the visitors took them to show them the pā′ssa, another showed them the míko huyanī′dsha, then the cedar or átchina and the sweet-bay or tóla. (One or two plants were not recollected, and each of these seven plants was to belong to a particular tribe, imaläíkita.[141]) After this, the four visitors disappeared in a cloud, going in the direction whence they came.

"The three towns then appointed their rulers. The Kasiχta chose the bear gens or nukusálgi to be their míkalgi, and the ístanalgi[142] to be their íniha-`lákalgi or men second in command. The Kawita chose the `lá`loalgi or fish gens to be their míkalgi.

"After these arrangements, some other Indians came from the west, met them, and had a great wrestle with the three towns; they made ballsticks and played with them, with bows and arrows, and with the átassa, the war club. They fell out, fought, and killed each other. After this warring, the three towns moved eastwardly, and met the Ábika on Coosa river. There they agreed to go to war for four years against their first enemy; they made shields[143], tupĕlúkso, of buffalo hides and it was agreed, that the warriors of each town should dry and bring forward the íka hálbi or scalps of the enemy and pile them; the Ábika had a small pile, the Chicasa were above them, the Kawita above them, and the Kasiχta above all. The two last towns raised the ítu tcháti, red or scalp-pole, and do not suffer any other town to raise it. Kasiχta is first in rank.

"After this, they settled the rank of the four towns among themselves. Kasiχta called Ábika and Chicasa tchatchúsi, my younger brothers. Chicasa and Ábika called Kasiχta and[Pg 224] Kawita tcha`láha, my elder brothers. Ábika called Chicasa ama'hmáya or my elders, my superiors, and Chicasa sometimes uses the same term to Ábika.

"This being done they commenced their settlements on Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, and crossing the falls of Tallapoosa, above Tukabáχtchi, they visited the Chatahutchi river, and found a race of people with flat heads in possession of the mounds in the Kasiχta fields. These people used bows and arrows, with strings made of sinews. The alíktchalgi or great physic makers sent some rats in the night-time, which gnawed the strings, and in the morning they attacked and defeated the flat-heads. They crossed the river at the island, near the mound, and took possession of the country. After this they spread out eastwardly to Otchísi-hátchi or Okmulgi river, to Okoni river, to Ogītchi or How-ge-chuh river, to Chíska tálofa hátchi or Savannah river, called sometimes Sawanógi. They met the white people on the seacoast, who drove them back to their present situation.

"Kasiχta and Chicasa consider themselves as people of one fire, tútk-itka hámkushi,[144] from the earliest account of their origin. Kasiχta appointed the first míko for the Chicasa, directed him to settle in the large field (sit down in the big savanna), where they now are, and govern them. Some of the Chicasa straggled off and settled near Augusta, from whence they returned and settled near Kasiχta, and thence rejoined their own people. Kasiχta and Chicasa have remained friends ever since their first acquaintance."

Extract from: "History of the Moskoquis, called to-day Creeks;" a chapter in "Mémoire" of Milfort, pp. 229-265:

Everybody knows, that when the Spaniards conquered[Pg 225] Mexico, they experienced but little difficulty in subduing the peaceable nation inhabiting those southwestern countries by means of their firearms, which proved to be far superior to the bows and arrows of their opponents, and against which courage availed almost nothing. The ruler Montezuma saw the impossibility of resisting, and called to his aid the neighboring tribes. At that epoch the Moskoquis formed a powerful separate republic in the northwest of Mexico; they succored him with a numerous body of warriors, but were frightfully decimated by the Spaniards, who dismembered Montezuma's domain, and almost completely depopulated it. The conquerors also extended their sceptre over the territory of the Moskoquis, who, disdaining abject slavery, preferred to leave their native country to regain their former independence.

They directed their steps to the north, and having marched about one hundred leagues reached the headwaters of Red river in fifteen days. From there they followed its course through immense plains, blooming with flowers and verdure and stocked with game, for eight days. Innumerable flocks of aquatic and other birds congregated around the salt ponds of the prairie and on the waters of Red River. Encountering clumps of trees upon their way, they stopped their march. Scouting parties were dispatched to explore the surroundings; they returned in a month, having discovered a forest, the borders of which were situated on Red river, and contained ample subterranean dwellings. The Moskoquis went on, and on reaching the spot, discovered that these dwellings were hollows made in the soft ground by buffaloes and other animals, which had been attracted by the salty taste of the earth. The tribe concluded to settle at this quiet place and began to sow the grains of maize which they had brought from their Mexican home. Being in want of other tools, they managed to cut and trim pieces of wood with sharp-edged stones; these wooden sticks were then charred and hardened in the[Pg 226] fire, to serve as agricultural implements. Thereupon they fenced in the fields selected for planting by means of rails and pickets, so as to prevent the wild animals from eating the maize-crop, and apportioned some of the land to each family[145] in the tribe. While the young people of both sexes were occupied at the agricultural work, the old ones were smoking their calumets. Thus many years were passed in happy retirement and abundance of material riches.

But soon their destinies took a downward turn, and forced them to expatriate themselves for a second time. A number of their men were killed by the Albamo or Alibamu, and the young men sent after them were unable to meet the hostiles and to chastise them. The míkos attributed this to the want of unity in their military organization, and as a remedy for it instituted the charge of Great Warrior or tustenúggi `láko. His authority lasted at first only during the war-expedition commanded by him, but within that time his power was unlimited, and he could not be called to any account.

Led by a tustenúggi of their choice, they pursued the Alibamu, and finally caught up with them near a forest on the banks of the Missouri river. The war-chief ordered the wind gens, to which he belonged, to cross the river first, then followed the bear gens, then the tiger gens, and so forth. On their march the vanguard was formed by the young braves, the rear-guard by the old men, and the non-combatants were placed in the centre. They surprised the Alibamu, who then inhabited subterranean dwellings (souterrains), and massacred a large number of them; then these retreated in haste along the Missouri river, descending on its right or southern banks. When again closely pressed by the pursuing Moskoquis, who had defeated them more than once, the Alibamu crossed over to the left side of the river; but this did not save them from pursuit, for the Moskoquis followed them to the opposite[Pg 227] side, defeated them in a sharp encounter, and drove them in the direction of Mississippi river, in which many found a watery grave in their hasty flight.

The two belligerent tribes now crossed Mississippi river, and the Alibamu, having an advance of eight days over their pursuers, fled before them into the interior parts to the east. The Moskoquis discovered their tracks and followed them to the Ohio river, north shore, thence to the influx of Wabash river, then crossed Ohio river into what is now Kentucky, continued their march in a southern direction, and finally arrived in the Yazoo country, where they stayed for several years. The caves in which they lived exist to the present day; some of them were excavated by themselves, while others were found ready for occupation.

In the meantime the Alibamu had remained in the fertile tracts along Coosa river. Their warriors cut off and scalped some of the Moskoqui scouts, who had come to ascertain their whereabouts. This deed so embittered the injured tribe, that their míkos resolved to dispossess the enemy of their territory for the third time. They crossed Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, followed Coosa river in marching along its banks from south to north,[146] but were too late for the Alibamu, who had previously left the country, partly for Mobile, partly for the tracts held by Cha'hta Indians.

The Moskoquis then quietly occupied the country which they had conquered and spread out along the rivers Coosa, Tallapoosa, Chatahutchi, Flint, Okmulgi, Great and Little Okoni and Ogitchi, till they reached Savannah river at the place where Augusta is now standing.

The Moskoquis, after taking possession of this wide extent of territory, sent their warriors down Mobile river in pursuit of the Alibamu, who had placed themselves under the protection of the French. The French commander sought to prevent[Pg 228] a war between the two bodies of Indians, and succeeded in arranging a truce of six months and in determining with accuracy the hunting grounds of both. Leaders and warriors of the Moskoquis then descended the river and concluded a lasting peace with the hostile tribe in the presence of the French commander. They even invited the Alibamu to join their confederacy by offering them a tract of land on what is now Alabama river, with the privilege of preserving their own customs. The Alibamu accepted the offer, settled on the land, built a town on it, called Coussehaté, and since then form an integral part of the Moskoqui people, which now assumed the name of Creeks.

As a sequel to his wonderful story of the pursuit of the Alibamu by the Creeks and the final peaceable settling down of both, Milfort adds some points on the early doings and warrings of the Creeks, which had occurred but a limited number of years before his stay in the tribe, and were recounted to him by one of the míkos from their memorial beads, like the legendary migration:

About the time of Coussehaté's foundation an Indian tribe dismembered by the Iroquois and Hurons, the Tukabatchi, fled to the Creeks, and asked for shelter. Lands were assigned and the fugitives built on it a town, which they named after themselves, and where the general assemblies of the entire people are sometimes meeting. This kind reception encouraged the Taskígi and the Oxiailles (Oktcháyi) who were also annoyed by their warlike neighbors, to seek a place of safety among the Creeks. Their request was granted also. The former settled at the confluence of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, the Oxiailles ten leagues to the north of them, in a beautiful prairie near a rivulet.

Shortly after this event, the small tribe of the Yuchi (la petite nation des Udgis), partly dismembered by the British, also fled to the Creek towns and were given a territory on Chatahutchi river. Likewise did a part of the[Pg 229] Chicasa apply for help; they were assigned seats on Yazoo river, "at the head of Loup river,"[147] and soon extended their habitations up to the Cheroki boundaries. A few years after, the unhappy Naktche took refuge among the Chicasa, who by protecting them underwent the displeasure of the French colonists. They attacked the Chicasa and in spite of their superior artillery were disastrously beaten near Loup river. A second attack of theirs was warded off by the tribe, by acceding to the peace arrangements proposed by the French. The Naktche then passed over to the Creeks and obtained lands on Coosa river; they built there the towns of Natchez and of Abikudshi, near two high mountains having the appearance of sugar-loaves. The head men of the Creeks went to New Orleans in order to arrange matters amicably with the French and permitted them to erect a fort at Taskigi, subsequently called Fort Toulouse, and the tribes were helpful in erecting it.

Jealous of the erection of this advanced trade-post by their hereditary enemy, the British asked for permission to build a fort on Ogītchi river, twenty miles west of Augusta, Georgia, but were roundly, and in unmistakable terms, refused by the Creek towns. After the loss of the Canadian provinces, Fort Toulouse was evacuated by the French. The Creeks, much dismayed at the departure of their friends, and filled with aversion against the British and Spaniards, were compelled to open their towns to the English traders, to obtain the needed articles of European manufacture.

Follows the recital of the incorporation of some families of Apalachicola, Sháwano and Cheroki Indians into the community of the Creeks (Mém., pp. 276-285). Unfortunately the statement concerning the immigration of the Cheroki is without any details, and therefore is of no avail in localizing[Pg 230] the Cheroki towns or colonies within the Creek territory (p. 285). The author states that the immigration was caused by the pressure exercised upon the tribe by the English and Americans; it was therefore of a quite modern date, if Milfort can be trusted.

In 1781, on the 1st of February, Milfort, great war-chief of the Creeks, left his home at Little Talassi, half a league above the ancient Fort Toulouse, at the head of two hundred young braves, to visit the legendary caves on Red river, from which the nation had issued in bygone times. They crossed the territories held by the Upper Cha'hta, passed through Mobile, the confluence of Iberville bayou with Mississippi river, St. Bernard bay on the coast, and following a northern direction, finally reached a forest on Red river, about 150 leagues above its junction with Mississippi river. They crossed these woods, which were situated on an eminence on the river side, and stood in face of the caves (cavernes), the objective point of the expedition.

The noise of a few gun-shots brought out of these spacious cavities a large number of bisons, wild oxen and wild horses, which ran, frightened as they were by the unusual explosions, head over heels, over precipices of more than eighty feet of perpendicular height into the slimy waters of Red river. The only description Milfort gives of these caves goes to show that there were several or many of them, situated in close vicinity to each other, and that those seen could easily contain fifteen to twenty thousand families. The party concluded to pass the inclement season in these grottoes, which they had reached about Christmas time. Here they hunted, fished and danced until the end of March, 1782, then started for the Missouri, and subsequently for home, well supplied with the products of the chase.

[Pg 231]

Remarks on Taskáya Míko's Kasi'hta Legend.

A closer study of this legend reveals many points of importance for the better understanding of Tchikilli's narrative, as both have evidently been derived from the same original report.

The locality where the tribes of the Kasíχta, Kawíta and Chicasa came from is placed here in the same point of the compass as in Tchikilli's story, in the west. Whether the forks of the Red river were supposed to coincide with the "mouth of the earth" in the legend can be decided only when we shall have a better knowledge of Creek folklore. If Hawkins' informant used the passive form of hídshäs to see, when speaking of the appearance of the Kasíχta, it would be more appropriate to say originated, were born than the expression we find in the text: "found themselves." The subterranean dwellings, mentioned and visited by Milfort as being the legendary home of the "Moskoquis," are not mentioned here; and in French colonial times the "Forks of Red river" designated the confluence of Washita and Red rivers.

The hayoyálgi, coming from the four corners of the world to light the sacred fire, the symbol of the sun, are the winds fanning it to a higher flame, and the purpose of the story is to make an oracular power of the sacred flame, by which the Holder of Breath, or Great Spirit, could be placed in communication with his Indian wards, and enabled to take care of them.

The notice that each of the seven plants distributed to the Indians belonged, or was the emblem of a certain gens or division of people, is gathered from this passage only, and probably refers to the ingredients of some war-physic, which only a limited number of the gentes may have been entitled to contribute to the annual púskita. The precedence of some favored gentes before others in regard to offices of peace or war is frequently observed among Northern as well as Southern tribes of Indians.[148] The number four is conspicuous[Pg 232] here as well as in the legend related by Tchikilli; we have four hayoyálgi, four principal chieftaincies, four years of warfare, etc.

The cause of the warring, or the pretense for it, against "some other Indians from the west" is curiously similar to the rivalry in athletic sports, which took place between the western Iroquois and their subdivisions, and finally led to the destruction of the Erie or Ká'hkwa Indians (Cusick, Johnson). The names of "brothers, cousins, elders," which occur here, are terms of intertribal courtesy, which we find also, perhaps in a more pronounced manner, among the New York Iroquois. The Creeks called the Delaware and Sháwano Indians grandfathers, because they regard their customs and practices as older and more venerable than their own; others state, because they occupied their countries further back in time than the Creeks did theirs.

The facts subsequently related are given without such chronological dates as we find with the previous ones, but the narrator evidently tried to condense into the space of a few years what it took generations to accomplish. This is very frequently observed in legendary tales. The spreading out of the people from the Tallapoosa river to the Chatahutchi and from there to the Savannah must have involved a warfare, struggling, migration and settling down of several centuries, for the advance of the Maskoki proper in this direction was tantamount to the formation of the Maskoki confederacy by subduing or incorporating the tribes standing in their way, and to the still more lengthy process of settling among them. What nation the flat-heads or aborigines of the country may have belonged to, will be discussed in the remarks to Tchikillis' tale. That there were Creek-speaking Indians on the Atlantic coast as early as 1564, has been shown conclusively in the article Yámassi; but their expulsion from there by the white colonists occurred but one hundred and fifty years later.

[Pg 233]

A certain objective purpose is inherent in these legends, which is more of a practical than of a historical character; it intends to trace the tribal friendship existing between the Kasiχta and the Chicasa, or a portion of the latter, to remote ages. It must be remembered, that both speak different languages intelligible to each other only in a limited number of words. An alliance comparable to this also exists between the Pima and Maricopa tribes of Arizona; the languages spoken by these even belong to different families.

The period when the Chicasa settlement near Kasiχta was broken up by the return of the inmates to the old Chicasa country is not definitely known, but may be approximately set down in the beginning of the eighteenth century. Later on, a war broke out between the Creeks and Chicasa. Kasiχta town refused to march against the old allies, and "when the Creeks offered to make peace their offers were rejected, till the Kasiχta interposed their good offices. These had the desired effect, and produced peace" (Hawkins, p. 83).

Remarks to Milfort's Legend.

Milfort's "History of the Moskoquis," as given above in an extract, is a singular mixture of recent fabrications and distortions of real historic events, with some points traceable to genuine aboriginal folklore.

Nobody who has the slightest knowledge of the general history of America will credit the statement that the Creeks ever lived in the northwestern part of Mexico at Montezuma's and Cortez' time, since H. de Soto found them, twenty years later, on the Coosa river; and much less the other statement, that they succored Montezuma against the invader's army.[149] That they met the Alibamu on the west side of Mississippi river is not impossible, but that they pursued them for nearly a thousand miles up that river to the Missouri, and[Pg 234] then down again on the other or eastern side of Mississippi, is incredible to anybody acquainted with Indian customs and warfare. The narrative of the Alibamu tribal origin given under: Alibamu, p. 86, locates the place where they issued from the ground between the Cahawba and the Alabama rivers. That the Creeks arrived in Northern Alabama in or after the time of the French colonization of the Lower Mississippi lands, is another impossibility, and the erection of Fort Toulouse preceded the second French war against the Chicasa by more than twenty years, whereas Milfort represents it as having been a consequence of that war.

It is singular and puzzling that Maskoki legends make so frequent mention of caves as the former abodes of their own or of cognate tribes. Milfort relates, that the Alibamu, when in the Yazoo country, lived in caves. This may refer to the Cha'hta country around "Yazoo Old Village" (p. 108, in Neshoba county, Mississippi; but if it points to the Yazoo river, we may think of the chief Alimamu (whose name stands for the tribe itself), met with by H. de Soto, west of Chicaça, and beyond Chocchechuma. A part of the Cheroki anciently dwelt in caves; and concerning the caverns from which the Creeks claim to have issued, James Adair gives the following interesting disclosure: "It is worthy of notice, that the Muskohgeh cave, out of which one of their politicians persuaded them their ancestors formerly ascended to their present terrestrial abode, lies in the Nanne Hamgeh old town, inhabited by the Mississippi-Nachee Indians,[150] which is one of the most western parts of their old-inhabited country." The idea that their forefathers issued from caves was so deeply engrafted in the minds of these Indians, that some of them took any conspicuous cave or any country rich in caves to be the primordial habitat of their race. This is also confirmed by a conjurer's tricky story alluded to by Adair, History, pp. 195. 196.

[Pg 235]

A notion constantly recurring in the Maskoki migrations is that they journeyed east. This, of course, only points to the general direction of their march in regard to their starting point. As they were addicted to heliolatry, it may be suggested that their conjurers advised them to travel, for luck, to the east only, because the east was the rising place of the sun, their protector and benefactor. Cosmologic ideas, like this, we find among the Aztecs, Mayas, Chibchas and many other American nations, but the direction of migrations is determined by physical causes and not by visionary schemes. Wealth and plunder prompted the German barbarians, at the beginning of the mediæval epoch of history, to migrate to the south of Europe; here, in the Gulf territories, the inducement lay more especially in the quest of a country more productive in grains, edible roots, fish and game. It may be observed here, that from the moving of the heavenly bodies from east to west the Pani Indians deduced the superstition that they should never move directly east in their travels.[151] This, however, they rarely observed in actual life at the expense of convenience.


The Kasi'hta migration legend, in its detailed form as now before us, has been transmitted in the following manner:

After Tchikilli had delivered it in the year 1735 at Savannah, in the presence of Governor Oglethorpe, of the colonial authorities and people, and of over sixty of his Indian followers (cf. p. 193, the interpreter handed it over, written upon a buffalo skin, to the British, and in the same year it was brought to England. To these statements, the American Gazetteer[152] adds the following particulars, which seem to be[Pg 236] founded on authentic information: "This speech was curiously written in red and black characters, on the skin of a young buffalo, and translated into English, as soon as delivered in the Indian language.... The said skin was set in a frame, and hung up in the Georgia Office, in Westminster. It contained the Indians' grateful acknowledgments for the honors and civilities paid to Tomochichi, etc."

Upon the request of Dr. Brinton, Mr. Nicholas Trübner made researches in the London offices for this pictured skin, but did not succeed in finding it. He discovered, however, a letter written by Tchikilli, dated March, 1734, which is deposited in the Public Record Office, Chancery Lane.[153]

The chances of rediscovering the English original of the legend are therefore almost as slim as those of recovering the lost books of Livy's History. But a translation from the English has been preserved in a German book of the period, and the style of this piece shows it to be an authentic and comparatively accurate rendering of the original. The German book referred to is a collection of pamphlets treating of colonial affairs, and published from 1735 to 1741; its first volume bears the title: Ausfuehrliche Nachricht von den Saltzburgischen Emigranten, die sich in America niedergelassen haben. Worin, etc. etc., Herausgegeben von Samuel Urlsperger, Halle, MDCCXXXV. The legend occupies pp. 869 to 876 of this first volume, and forms chapter six of the "Journal" of von Reck, the title of which is as follows: Herrn Philipp Georg Friederichs von Reck Diarium von Seiner Reise nach Georgien im Jahr 1735. F. von Reck was the commissary of those German-Protestant emigrants whom religious persecution had expelled from Salzburg, in Styria, their native city.

[Pg 237]


Náki Tchikílli ísti Maskō′ki Hatchapála'h Hatcháta tipā′χad ímmikut hammā′kit opunáyatīs Sawä′na talófan, o'h`lolopí 1735, mómen i-ätikóyatis móh'men yanashá`lpin uχhutsä′hudsatis.

Tchikílli ísti Maskō′ki Hatchapála Hatcháta típākad ímmikut; Ántitchi Káwitalgî î′mmiko máχit; Íllîdshî míkko; Ósta Kasíχtalgi îmmíkko; Támmidsho hú`li míkko; Wáli Apala'h`ltsuklálgi hú`li kapitáni; Puipaédshi míkko; Támhuitchi Yutchitálgi imífa míkko; Mitikáyi Okū′nalgi inhú`li míkko; Tuwidshédshi míkko; Huyáni Tchiyáhalgin Okmulgálgi tibáχad ínhu`li míkko; Stimalagué'htchi Osotsálgi immíkko; Hupí`li Sawoklálgi îmmíkko; Iwanágî míkko; Tamókmi Yufantálgî inhú`li kapitáni tún, tustanoχálgî páli-tut'tchínit apákin opunáyit ókatis:

Mómad níta ō′dshin íkana idshókuat hásî-aklatgátin ō′dshit ō′men hawáχladīs; mómof man Kasí'htalgi ikandshóχuan ā′sosa-id anákuasin inkákîda háyatis tché. Mú'mof íkanat tchapáka-ikit hopuitákin inlóχadis; ma mō′man akúyi'htchit inha'-aχlátkosin apóχadīs; mómäs apálluat isáfuli'htchit mátăwan i-apókatīs. Mómäs ísti súlgad í-upan fik'húnnatis múmaχan hí`lit-wē′tis kómākika.

Múmitu istómäs î′kana hubuitágî înlóχatid imomitchä′dshin, inhí`lîkût hási-óssātifátchan apíyatīs. (—— up!)

Mó'hmit apíyît oí-ua okû′fki tchíkfit lipákfit wággin uséχtchît, hápû háyit fígabin uhhayátgadis. Ísin háyatgi apíyît nĭ′ta hámgad yáfgadîn uíwa tsá-atid wággin[Pg 238] u`lé'htchadīs. Móh'mît man apógît u'h`lolopí hokólin `lá`lotäs man pasátit pápit apókatis. Múmäs wi-kä′wat inhi`lágikun inhi`lagigádis. Úyuwa tchádad iyúksa fádsan apíyadīs, mómof tinī′tki ō′kin impóhatis nákitoha kó'hmet uχ'hapíadīs.

Múmad íkodshi tchátit `lánin óssît ómātit ókin hídshatis; mómad ma `laní únapan yahaíkîda ókīd pohákatīs Nágitun ómad hí'htchagīs kä′χtchid ísti uχtútatis; múmatin tótka sákid hálluin álîgapit ómātit mat yahaíkida ókit ómin hidshákatis. Í-a `láni `láni immíkkun kaítchîd hodshífatīs. Háyumäs tinítki imúngīs mō′men ísti impingalagí imúngat ō′mis.

Man istî itáloa ma`láχ`laχa tut'tchínin itihídshatis mómad ma `láni tútka óssi ō′dshan ahitídshatit isfúllin itihídshatis; mó'hmet man imáhilissua ómäs ínhītchkin náki íta-u súlkin ahupu`llinákatīs.

Hă′si-óssati fátsan átit tútka hátkîd immalā′katis, mómäs istomitchakigátis. Wahála fátsan atít tútka okulátid immalákatis, múmäs má-o istomidshikátis. Akĕlátka fátchan atít tútka lástid immalákatis, má-o istomidshikádis. Ispógi húnisa fátchan atít tútka tcháatitut lánit immalákatis. Hía tótka `láni ahî′tki ō′dshi ahitídshi ísfullatid ituχkálan; hía tótkan háyomi atíkäs ō′dshit ō′s. Má-o yahá-iki ó'mäs ódshid ómīs. `Laní únapan púkabit úχui`lit ómatît fik'hí`lkîgût istukä′idhi máhid ómatin istä′mat ísto'hmit ómatin fík'hunnīs máχäs sîgátis. Ístûdshi î′tski-súsikōn ma ítun i`lanafaíkit ilíhotchatis; mó'hmet ma púkabî í'hsit hó`li apíyatäs isfúllatis. A′tassa ómid ómatis. Háyomäs ódshīs maómid, ito-ú'h mátawat ómatis. Hiátawan nákî i-alúnga ma`láχ`laχă ō′stid yahaígit îstumítskatad i-uχki`lkuídshit ódshîn inhítchkadīs; ihatitchíska: pássa; sahokólad:[Pg 239] míkko-huyanídsha; satot'tchínad: sawátsku'h; isústad; híshi lopútski; hayómit inhítchkadīs.

Imáhilissua inhítchkadi pō′skat pássa míkko-hoyanídsha tipákan isiafástid ómants. Hía púskita o'h`lolopí omálgan i-ilawídshit náki hóma lóktsat atígat man wéyit ómis. Ma imáhilissua inhitchékadi áyat húktagidēs ípuskīs, mómin ómad tútka ítäman i`la-itídshit apókin nĭtá tsaχgípäs, ípakäs, kulapáχäs ó`lin inhuyánad i`la-áwīd ómatis. Hían múmikun û′mad imahilíssuatäs imahopánid ómĭka; mómin hóktage-u'h tchafíndshagigō hakitáyid ómika.

Ma-ómofa máhin ísta itáluat adsuleidshítût ómit homáχ'hotit innakmágit shihóki-titáyiha kómitan itimayopóskit isihóχatis. Itáluat ō′stîga púkaben tchaktchahí'htchid: "fáki dshádin istchaditchagí'hlis; lánitût ómäsim nik`lúfat tchátit ómika mákakadis. Mumíh'tchid pónho`li ilî′tchkan apíagi`l mû′men ísta italuat-átit istigahá`lpi yaweíkit, ítu tchaktchahídshati û'hlánin ómat, mad atchúllīd óma`lis" itigä′dshadis.

Omálgat momítchita kómît, ómäsim Kasiχtálgî tá'htit yawaígit pókabi aksomidshä′χtchin hítchgigō háχadīs. Mómiga mat itállua adsúlli máhad ómis komhuyidádis. Tchikasálgit awaíhîgadis, mómen Atilámalgi i`la-aweihígadis; múmäs Abiχkágitawat u'hláni ayídshädshad isti-tó`lkua atíkusi-táyin yawaígadīs.

Ma-ómof fû′suă ok'holátid `lákid á`latis; ihádshî tchápgīd, ímpafnita lámhi imántalidshid. Níta umálgan alágît ístin pasátît pápît á`latis. Hókti ahákin háhit, hía fúsuă á`latin ihuiläidsháχadis. Hía fúsua ma nákî inhahóyadi í'hsit isayipatí′tut, hofónen i`lisaláχatīs. Ódshipin ómad nákitäs hítchkuidshi wäítis kómakatis.[Pg 240] Hofóni hákin tchíssi tchátit hī′tchkatis mómen ma fúsuat i`lkitó-aitis kómaχatis.

Ma tchíssin itimpunayágit istumidshakátit í`lgi imilidshagitáyad itimpunäyákatis. Ma fúsuă ítcha-kuadáksin ín`li apákín ō′dshid ómatis.

Mómen ma tchî′ssit ítsa kuadáksi îfákan kalágit intádshatis istómit issi-imanäítchiko-tidáyin háyatis; mómen man ilídisháχatis. Ma fúsuă fúsuă ómal immíkkun käidsháχatis. Lamhi-u míkko `lákid ō′mís kómagid ó′mis; mómiga hú`lidäs apíyis adám hí`lka hákadäs fúllis; mómof lámhi-hádshi kó'htsaktsahídshid isfúllid ómis. Tchátad hó`lit ómin hátgātît hí`lka ahopákat ómis. Íhu`lit táfa hátkin isnihāídshit idshû′kuan hatídshit awolä′dshit lámhi ókit hákin ómat istófan ilí'htchikos.

Hía nági mú'hmōf íyupan ma apókati inkapáχkit apíyit níni hátkid wákin o`läítchatis; páhitäs nak-omálgat hátkusi-álgid ómatis. Mómen ístit fulli-hí`lit ómadin idshákadis. Ma níni itahualapíχtchit anákuasin nodshä′dshadis. Isafulíχshit nínî istómid ómad yihidsháχadīs mómitísti istómid fúllit ómati, ma nî′nîn atíχgit atchakapiyakátin isámumides ó'hmis kómit ómadīs. Man atihäígit apíyit Kolós'hatchi mágidan ak'hadapídshatis; Kolós'hatchi kédshad tchádû-álgid íkodshid ómĕka.

Ma hátsi tayíχtchit apíyît hási-óssati fátchan Kósa mágida itálluat apókin i`limu`läítchatis; hían apókin o'h`lolopî′ óstad ó`ladīs. Kósalgit ókātit isti-pápat tchátu haúkin paíkīd ístin pumpasátit omítutanks mákatis.

Kosiχtálgit ókātit illídshida kómid hídshi-is máχadis. Íkanan ku`la-ít udshi ha`lpin húyan háhid isúχ`lanatis. Mó'hmit to-lopótskin o'htalaítchatis ma isti-pápa adshakayigōtitáyin háhit u'hapíyadis, nó'hmit sá-okan ma tcháto[Pg 241] haúkit isti-pápa paíkan i`limuhucíkatis. Ma isti-pápa tsabakihí`lit a-osā′-iyit ássidshatis afósalgat ití`laputit. Isti hámkûsit ílātin ahí`lit ómīs omálgi mahátin mónks hó'hmit, ístudshi ítski-sósikōn imawaigákatis íkan-haúkin awoläídshit át ófan. Man isti-pápa o'hlitäígit ígan-haúki inhayákatin u'hlatäíkin, tsulíkûsua ahít'hukin isnáfkit ilidsháχatis. Ifúni hayúmäs isfólli imúngat ō′mis. Palhámgad tsátitun palhámgit ok'holátid ómis.

Isti-pápa níta iskulapák' omálgan i`laágit ísti pasátit ómatis. Múnga ma ilí'htchuf mátawan fík'hunnin níta kolapágí ó`lin i`liétchatis. Ma isagi`létchkan hó`litäs apia`lánit i-ititákuitchat nĭta ípagin imapóskit iskulapákatin apíyid ómatis. Ifónin i-ahu`lkasítchid isapí-in ómad ihitskihí`lin fúllid ō′mis.

O'h`lopí ō′stad ó`lin Kósa talófa apókati ingapáχkit apíyat hátchî Nófāpi ká-etchid u`läítchatis yómad Kalasi-hátchi kä′hodshid hákitōs. Man u'h`lolopí hokólin fik'hún-nadīs. Mómid ádshidās ódshikoka náki yelúngan `lá`lun yómen humpáχatís, mómĭt itcha-kutáksi háheidshit in`li-tati itchhásua înútin `lonótutäs, yómān siyokfanfa-édshit kúha-tukáh'lin isláfka háyatis.

Hía apókati inkapáχkit apíyad hátchî Watulahági mákitan o`läítchatis. Watulaháki Hátchi käídshad wátulat tidayit látkid ómit háhokadin ahudshífît umhóyadīs; mán ni'hli hámgin nodshä′dshatis Hadám apíyad hátchi oíwa u'hlátkid odshin u`läídshatis; o-itúmkan hotchífadīs, I`lín hayátki hátchi hámgin u`läítchatis Afosafíska kĕ′dshid.

I`lín hayátki ma hátchin tayíχtchit apíyad `láni hálluit läíkin hu`läítchadin-ístit apókin hí′dshatis, níní hátki háyi fúllangid ō′mis kómatis. Mû′nga `li-hábkin háhi-it ísitch'hatis ísti hi`lágīt ómin ō′mad gí`lidan kómidut.[Pg 242] Mómäs `lí hátki tchátakué'htchit i`lásidsh'hatis mú'hmen ímmikûn hidshé′dshaχadin hi`líkuĕdos mákatis; `lít hát'hagid i`lafulídshin ō′mad u'hapíhi-id íhaliwa ûmûsäs, hupuitági ihitchkuídshit i`lasawasa nátchkatis, múmäs tchátidûga u'hapíhiatskas käídshatīs. Mómi istómäs ísti istómid omákat hítchitan kómit u'hapíyi sásatis; mû′matin sumitchípin o`läítchatīs.

Nínit ó-i sákun akadápgid ō′min hidsháχadis mómadit má nini tabála i`lússigōd ómin hídshit má ísti úyuan isáktchiyit ómiga i`lásosa-igōs kómadis.

Mán `lánit läígid ō′mis mō′terell mágität mû′madit a`lkasatúlga nafhúgīs ma-úkid hákid ómīs, mómin máísti mán apógit ómadshŏks kúmhuid ómīs. Hú`lidäs apíyit fúllin ómofa hía inhági istamaítäs pō′χki álgīn pohágît fúllid ómis.

Má úyuan apa-idshídshit apíyit ú'hlatkīd ódshin o`läítchadin tchátu `l′āk`lagid ódshin hídshatis man itcha-χûdáksit o'hlómhin hídshadīs; mómit má ísti nînî hátki háyi fúllangid ómadshuksh kómatís.

Istófäs ístan apíyit fúllāti hóman ísti hokólin wiláko-idshit fúllid ómīs. Hía húma-wilákad `láni hálluin o'htchimhókadin talófat ódshin hídshatis, `Li-hátkin ma talófa isítch'hatis mû′mas ma ísti talófa atíχkad `lî-î tchátin asítch'hatis.

Mómof kasíh'talgi tchapák'hoχatīs mú'hmit ma itáluan isapingalídshin ómof tchókŏ isiti āipíalis kómatis. Tchádun úyuan akpalátît täígagi titáyin háhi-it u'htäyídshatis móh'mit talófa imísatis ma ísti íka tapikstagïd omáχatis umálgan pasátit hokólĕsĕn ahusitchä′tchatīs. Ássitchi isápiyad î'fa hátkin is'híh'tchit illídshatis. Hokólusi ahō′skadin assídshit isapíyad níni hátkid wággin o`läítchādin talófat odsatchúkit íkodshin íh'tchit, hía ísti[Pg 243] hidshída kómi hopo-iyitángid ómadshoks kómatīs. Hían Palaχtchuklálgi apókitos mō′men ma oχ'huanápsīd Tamodsä′-idsi ómīs.

Kasi'htálgi imagi`läítska tcháti-palátkan i-ádshid emúnkatis; mómäs Palaχtchuklálgit ássîn iskuídshatis hî‛'lkida isahopákan mó'hmit imponáyatis: "pófigi hat'hágidōs mómin tchíme-u matapóma`lis podsû′shuădshi tcháti-algátin takuagí χtchit; istchigí`lga`li tchinátakin hat'h‛ēdshaksh!" gedshatis-ka-édshatīs.

Mómidû istómäs podshû′shuadshin ayíktchi imúnkatis mómäs Pālaχtchuklálgit isawätchítchikut imî'hsit intubá lídshan hopítaltis Palaχtchuklálgit táfatkin ímatis mó'hmit púmmikût hámgushikas käídshatīs; mú'hmati atígad istófäs itoχkálgit apóki imū′ngatatīs.

Ú-i `láko palahámgin apóki sásin apáluat tapálan apóki sásatis. Apóki há'mgad Kasíχtalgin kä′dshit; apáwan Kowitálgin kähódshid ómís; mómäs ísti hámgûsid ómis mómit Hatchapála Hatcháta tipáχad ísti Maskoki itálua homáχhotid ómis. Mómidu istómäs Kasíχtalgi taχtit íkuădshi tcháti tútka tcháti hídshatit ómit itálua tcháti-u háyatit ómika, îfîgi tchátadi wäika`lúngo imúngat ómis muntúmäs palahámgad hátkidun palahámgit tchátidut émäsim.

Hä′yomat nînî hátki mäímat isihí`lit ómati gi`lagídōs. Tamodshä‛dshi talepó`lat omídatitäs istúngun inlopä′-idshitad gi`lágitōs. Squire Oglethorpe adshákkahid míkko `lákon i`l'híχtchit oponáyat i`límpoχit i`limunáhin pohágidut akasamágid ómĕka.

[Pg 244]


"What Chekilli, the Head-chief of the Upper and Lower Creeks said, in a Talk held at Savannah, Anno, 1735, and which was handed over by the Interpreter, Written upon a Buffalo-skin, was, word for word, as follows:—

"'Speech, which, in the year 1735, was delivered at Savannah, in Georgia, by Chekilli, Emperor of the Upper and Lower Creeks; Antiche, highest Chief of the town of the Cowetas, Eliche, King; Ousta, Head Chief of the Cussitaws, Tomechaw, War King; Wali, War Captain of the Palachucolas, Poepiche, King; Tomehuichi, Dog King of the Euchitaws; Mittakawye, Head War Chief of the Okonees, Tuwechiche, King; Whoyauni, Head War Chief of the Chehaws and of the Hokmulge Nation; Stimelacoweche, King of the Osoches; Opithli, King of the Jawocolos; Ewenauki, King; Tahmokmi, War Captain of the Eusantees; and thirty other Warriors.

"'At a certain time, the Earth opened in the West, where its mouth is. The earth opened and the Cussitaws came out of its mouth, and settled near by. But the earth became angry and ate up their children; therefore, they moved further West. A part of them, however, turned back, and came again to the same place where they had been, and settled there. The greater number remained behind, because they thought it best to do so.

[Pg 245]

"'Their children, nevertheless, were eaten by the Earth, so that, full of dissatisfaction, they journeyed toward the sunrise.

"'They came to a thick, muddy, slimy river, came there, camped there, rested there, and stayed over night there.

"'The next day, they continued their journey and came, in one day, to a red, bloody river. They lived by this river, and ate of its fishes for two years; but there were low springs there; and it did not please them to remain. They went toward the end of this bloody river, and heard a noise as of thunder. They approached to see whence the noise came. At first, they perceived a red smoke, and then a mountain which thundered; and on the mountain, was a sound as of singing. They sent to see what this was; and it was a great fire which blazed upward, and made this singing noise. This mountain they named the King of Mountains. It thunders to this day; and men are very much afraid of it.

"'They here met a people of three different Nations. They had taken and saved some of the fire from the mountain; and, at this place, they also obtained a knowledge of herbs and of many other things.

"'From the East, a white fire came to them; which, however, they would not use.

"'From Wahalle, came a fire which was blue; neither did they use it.

"'From the West, came a fire which was black; nor would they use it.

"'At last, came a fire from the North, which was red and yellow. This they mingled with the fire they had [Pg 246]taken from the mountain; and this is the fire they use to-day; and this, too, sometimes sings.

"'On the mountain was a pole which was very restless and made a noise, nor could any one say how it could be quieted. At length, they took a motherless child, and struck it against the pole; and thus killed the child. They then took the pole, and carry it with them when they go to war. It was like a wooden tomahawk, such as they now use, and of the same wood. Here, they also found four herbs or roots, which sang and disclosed their virtues: First, Pasaw, the rattle-snake root; Second, Micoweanochaw red-root; Third, Sowatchko, which grows like wild fennel; and Fourth, Eschalapootchke, little tobacco.

"'These herbs, especially the first and third, they use as the best medicine to purify themselves at their Busk.

"'At this Busk, which is held yearly, they fast, and make offerings of the first-fruits.

"'Since they learned the virtues of these herbs, their women, at certain times, have a separate fire, and remain apart from the men five, six, and seven days, for the sake of purification. If they neglect this, the power of the herbs would depart; and the women would not be healthy.

"'About that time a dispute arose, as to which was the oldest and which should rule; and they agreed, as they were four Nations, they would set up four poles, and make them red with clay, which is yellow at first, but becomes red by burning. They would then go to war; and whichever Nation should first cover its pole, from top to bottom, with the scalps of their enemies, should be the oldest.

[Pg 247]

"'They all tried, but the Cussitaws covered their pole first, and so thickly that it was hidden from sight. Therefore, they were looked upon, by the whole Nation, as the oldest.

"'The Chickasaws covered their pole next; then the Atilamas; but the Obikaws did not cover their pole higher than the knee.

"'At that time, there was a bird of large size, blue in color, with a long tail, and swifter than an eagle, which came every day and killed and ate their people. They made an image, in the shape of a woman, and placed it in the way of this bird. The bird carried it off, and kept it a long time, and then brought it back. They left it alone, hoping it would bring something forth. After a long time, a red rat came forth from it, and they believe the bird was the father of the rat.

"'They took council with the rat, how to destroy its father. Now the bird had a bow and arrows; and the rat gnawed the bow-string, so that the bird could not defend itself; and the people killed it. They called this bird the King of Birds. They think the eagle is also a great King; and they carry its feathers when they go to War or make Peace: the red mean War, the white, Peace. If an enemy approaches with white feathers and a white mouth, and cries like an eagle, they dare not kill him.

"'After this, they left that place, and came to a white foot-path. The grass and everything around were white; and they plainly perceived that people had been there. They crossed the path, and slept near there. Afterward, they turned back to see what sort of path that was, and who the people were who had [Pg 248]been there, in the belief that it might be better for them to follow that path. They went along it, to a creek, called Coloosehutche, that is Coloose-creek, because it was rocky there and smoked.

"'They crossed it, going toward the sunrise, and came to a people and a town named Coosaw. Here they remained four years. The Coosaws complained that they were preyed upon by a wild beast, which they called man-eater or lion, which lived in a rock.

"'The Cussitaws said they would try to kill the beast. They digged a pit and stretched over it a net made of hickory-bark. They then laid a number of branches, crosswise, so that the lion could not follow them, and going to the place where he lay, they threw a rattle into his den. The lion rushed forth, in great anger, and pursued them through the branches. Then they thought it better that one should die rather than all, so they took a motherless child, and threw it before the lion, as he came near the pit. The lion rushed at it, and fell in the pit, over which they threw the net, and killed him with blazing pinewood. His bones, however, they keep to this day; on one side, they are red, on the other, blue.

"'The lion used to come every seventh day to kill the people. Therefore, they remained there seven days after they had killed him. In remembrance of him, when they prepare for War, they fast six days and start on the seventh. If they take his bones with them, they have good fortune.

"'After four years, they left the Coosaws, and came to a River which they called Nowphawpe, now Callasihutche. There, they tarried two years; and as they [Pg 249]had no corn, they lived on roots and fishes, and made bows, pointing the arrows with beaver teeth and flint-stones, and for knives they used split canes.

"'They left this place, and came to a creek, called Wattoolahawka hutche, Whooping-creek, so called from the whooping of cranes, a great many being there. They slept there one night.

"'They next came to a River, in which there was a waterfall; this they named the Owatuaka-river.

"'The next day, they reached another River, which they called the Aphoosa pheeskaw.

"'The following day, they crossed it, and came to a high mountain, where were people who, they believed, were the same who made the white path. They, therefore, made white arrows and shot them, to see if they were good people. But the people took their white arrows, painted them red, and shot them back. When they showed these to their Chief, he said that was not a good sign; if the arrows returned had been white, they could have gone there and brought food for their children, but as they were red they must not go. Nevertheless, some of them went to see what sort of people they were; and found their houses deserted. They also saw a trail which led into the River; and as they could not see the trail on the opposite bank, they believed that the people had gone into the River, and would not again come forth.

"'At that place, is a mountain, called Moterell, which makes a noise like beating on a drum; and they think this people live there. They hear this noise on all sides, when they go to War.

"'They went along the River, till they came to a [Pg 250]waterfall, where they saw great rocks; and on the rocks were bows lying; and they believed the people who made the white path had been there.

"'They always have, on their journeys, two scouts who go before the main body. These scouts ascended a high mountain and saw a town. They shot white arrows into the town; but the people of the town shot back red arrows.

"'Then the Cussitaws became angry, and determined to attack the town, and each one have a house when it was captured.

"'They threw stones into the River, until they could cross it, and took the town (the people had flattened heads), and killed all but two persons. In pursuing these, they found a white dog, which they slew. They followed the two who escaped, until they came again to the white path, and saw the smoke of a town, and thought that this must be the people they had so long been seeking. This is the place where now the tribe of Palachucolas live, from whom Tomochichi is descended.

"'The Cussitaws continued bloody-minded; but the Palachucolas gave them black drink, as a sign of friendship, and said to them: Our hearts are white, and yours must be white, and you must lay down the bloody tomahawk, and show your bodies, as a proof that they shall be white.

"'Nevertheless, they were for the tomahawk; but the Palachucolas got it by persuasion, and buried it under their beds. The Palachucolas likewise gave them white feathers; and asked to have a Chief in common. Since then they have always lived together.

[Pg 251]

"'Some settled on one side of the River, some on the other. Those on one side are called Cussetaws, those on the other, Cowetas; yet they are one people, and the principal towns of the Upper and Lower Creeks. Nevertheless, as the Cussetaws first saw the red smoke and the red fire, and make bloody towns, they cannot yet leave their red hearts, which are, however, white on one side and red on the other.

"'They now know that the white path was the best for them. For, although Tomochichi was a stranger, they see he has done them good; because he went to see the great King with Esquire Oglethorpe, and hear him talk, and had related it to them, and they had listened to it, and believed it.'"



[1] Quotation, ad sensum, from Bernal Diaz' "Historia verdadera."

[2] Reprint of 1860, pp. 97. 100. 101. 383.

[3] Cf. B. R. Carroll, Histor. Collect. of S. C., II, p. 243. Lawson states that the Congaree dialect was not understood by the Waterees and Chicarees.

[4] Margry, Découvertes, V, 477.

[5] The present Satilla river; falsely written St. Illa, Santilla, St. Tillie.

[6] Extract from Rev. B's Journal; London, 1734, 12mo, p. 37.

[7] Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, vol. III, part first, pp. 61-63 (Savannah, 1848).

[8] See below: List of Creek Settlements.

[9] Cf. Gallatin, Synopsis, p. 95.

[10] Chas. C. Jones, Tomochichi, pp. 58. 83.

[11] Published Philadelphia, 1791.

[12] Cf. List of Creek Settlements, and Pénicaut, in B. French, Hist. Coll. La., new series, p. 126; Force, Some Notices on Indians of Ohio, p. 22.

[13] Le Page du Pratz, Hist. de la Louisiane, II, p. 208 sq. (Paris, 1758): "A l'est des Abé-ikas sont les Chéraquis."

[14] The Mountain Cheroki are centering around Quallatown, Haywood county, N. C., and an United States agent is residing in their country. Their population is about 1600; others live in Northern Georgia.

[15] H. Hale, "Indian Migrations, as evidenced by language." American Antiquarian, vol. V, pp. 18-28 and 108-124 (1883).

[16] The name Keowe is taken from a narcotic plant used for catching fish, which grew in the vicinity of that village.

[17] Lieut. H. Timberlake, Memoirs (London, 1765), pp. 70. 71. Urlsperger, Nachricht, I, p. 658, where they are called "Tzerrickey Indianer." D. Coxe calls them Sulluggees.

[18] The term for poplar, tsíyu, is also the term for canoe and for trough.

[19] Cf. Ind. Affairs' Report, 1864, p. 120.

[20] Margry, P., Découvertes et Etablissements des Français dans l'ouest et dans le Sud de l'Amérique Septentrionale, Paris, 1876, etc., V, 402.

[21] cf. D. Coxe, Carolana, pp. 11. 13.

[22] Grammaire et Voc. Taensa, Introd., pp. xii. xiv. Compare also Margry, Déc. et Etabl., I, 556-557, 566-568, 600-602, 609-610, 616; IV, 414. Their temple, described by le Sieur de Tonty (traveling with la Salle in 1682) in French, Hist. Coll. of La., I, pp. 61. 64.

[23] Margry I, 610. Mosopolea, ibid. II, 237; Monsopela, on the map in D. Coxe, Carolana.

[24] At that time they were warring unsuccessfully against the Huma (1713); Pénicaut (in Margry V, 508. 509) saw them at Manchac.

[25] T. Jefferys, Hist. of French Dominions in America; London, 1761; I, p. 162, sq.

[26] Literally, "a hurrying man." In the sign language of the Mississippi plains, the sign for fighting or battle is the same as for riding a horse.

[27] The handwriting of this name is indistinct, but in the sequel, wherever this name is mentioned, Margry prints it Théloël. There can scarcely be any doubt of its identity with Thoucoue, the seventh village in the list.

[28] Cf. Adair, History, p. 354 sqq. On Fort Tombigbee, ibid., pp. 285, 291.

[29] It is stated that the Thioux were a small body of Indians, reduced in numbers by the Chicasa, and then incorporated by the Naktche; their language possessed the sound R. If this latter statement is true, their language was neither of the Naktche nor of the Maskoki or Dakota family. In conversation the Grigras often used this word grigra, which also implies the use of the articulation R. Cf. Le Page du Pratz, IV, chap, ii, sect. 1; Jefferys, French Dom. in America, p. 162, and what is said of the Sháwano under Yuchi, p.

[30] French, Hist. Coll. III, 16; cf. Margry V, 525. The names of these villages to be given under Chicasa, q. v.

[31] This was probably the place where Le Page du Pratz saw them (about 1720 or 1725): "vis-à-vis de la Rivière Rouge," II, 220-221.

[32] Cf. R. G. Latham, Opuscula, p. 400, who was the first to hint at a possible affinity of Caddo to Pani.

[33] Cf. Margry IV, 178. 313. 409.

[34] Pénicaut, in Margry V, 459-462.

[35] Of these Indians I have given an ethnographic sketch in: Transact. Anthropolog. Society of Washington, 1883, Vol. II, pp. 148-158.

[36] Pénicaut, in Margry V, 440.

[37] American State Papers, I, pp. 722-24.

[38] This is corroborated by the fact that the sound R did exist in the Koroa language: Jefferys (1761), I, 163.

[39] By this same name the Algonkins designated many other Indians hostile to them; it appears in Nottoway, Nadouessioux, etc.

[40] Prof. J. B. Dunbar, who composed an interesting ethnologic article on this tribe, thinks that Pani is a true Pani word: páriki horn, meaning their scalp lock; Magazine of American History, 1880 (April number), p. 245.

[41] Cf. Buck. Smith, Coleccion de Documentos ineditos, I, p. 15-19 (Madrid, 1857).

[42] Description of Carolina, London, 1707. The Yámassi then lived about eighty miles from Charleston, and extended their hunting excursions almost to St. Augustine.

[43] Gallatin, Synopsis, p. 84, recalls the circumstance that Poketalico is also the name of a tributary of the Great Kanawha river. This seems to point to a foreign origin of that name.

[44] Verbified in tchayámassïs: I am friendly, liberal, generous, hospitable.

[45] Cf. Jones, Tomochichi, p. 31.

[46] This adjective is found verbified in isimanōlăidshit "he has caused himself to be a runaway."

[47] Cf. Proceed. Am. Philos. Society of Phila., 1880, pp. 466, 478.

[48] Wm. Bartram, Travels, p. 97. 179. 190-193. 216. 217. 251. 379-380. The name Cuscowilla bears a curious resemblance to the Chicasa town Tuskawillao, mentioned by Adair, History, p. 353. Cf. also Okóni, in List of Creek Settlements.

[49] Perhaps from the Hitchiti term a-útilis "I build or kindle a fire."

[50] Anciently Coosa, Coussa river was a name given to our Coosa river, as well as to its lower course below the junction of Tallapoosa, now called Alabama river. Wright's Ch. Dictionary has: alua a burnt place.

[51] In the report of the Fidalgo de Elvas, Ullibahali, a walled town, is not identical with Alimamu. Ullibahali is a name composed of the Alibamu: óli village, town and the Hitchiti: báhali down stream, and southward, which is the Creek wáhali South.

[52] Oktchóyi is the Cha'hta term for living, alive.

[53] Gallatin, Syn. p. 105, proposes to read Nita-lusa, Black Bear.

[54] Relation of Pénicaut, in Margry V, 424-432.

[55] Margry IV, 180.

[56] Margry V, 433 sqq.

[57] The site once occupied by Fort Tombigbee is now called Jones' Bluff, on Little Tombigbee river. Cf. Dumont in B. F. French, Histor. Coll. of La., V, 106 and Note.

[58] Adair, History, p. 353, asserts that the real cause of the third Naktche-French war lay in the instigations of the Chicasa. On the causes and progress of the hostilities between the French and the Chicasa, cf. pp. 353-358. They attacked there his own trading house, cf. p. 357. Cf. also Naktche, in this vol., pp. 34- 39.

[59] Margry IV, 412 and 184.

[60] I have treated of some of these tribes (Tonica, Koroa) in separate articles. Moncachtape said to du Pratz, that the Yazoo Indians regarded the Chicasa as their elders, "since from them came the language of the country."

[61] A large northern affluent of Yazoo river, in northern parts of Mississippi State.

[62] Cf. Margry V, 401 and Note.

[63] Cf. article on Yuchi, p. 24.

[64] Claiborne, Mississippi, Appendix, I, p. 485. 486.

[65] Cf. B. Romans, E. and W. Florida, p. 86-89.

[66] B. Romans, p. 86. He describes education among the Cha'hta, p. 76. 77; the sarbacane or blow-gun, p. 77.

[67] B. Romans, p. 89. 90.

[68] Cf. Lawson, History of Carolina (Reprint 1860), p. 297. More information on Cha'hta burials will be found in H. C. Yarrow, Indian mortuary customs; in First Report of U. S. Bureau of Ethnology, 1879-1880; especially p. 185.

[69] Missionary Herald of Boston, 1828 (vol. xxiv) p. 380, in an article on Religious Opinions, etc., of the Choctaws, by Rev. Alfred Wright.

[70] Published New York, 1877. pp. 99. 162.

[71] Nahúllo, nahúnlo means: greater, higher race, eminent race; though the original meaning is that of "more sacred, more honorable." A white man is called by the Cha'hta: nahúllo.

[72] Custusha creek runs into Kentawha creek, affluent of Big Black river, in Neshoba county.

[73] Claiborne, Mississippi, I, p. 518.

[74] Missionary Herald, 1828, p. 181.

[75] Compare the poetic vision, parallel to this, contained in Ezekiel, ch. 39.

[76] Missionary Herald, 1828, p. 215.

[77] "Fish-eaters," from Cha'hta náni, nánni fish, ápa to eat. On Turner's map (1827), Nanihaba Island lies at the junction of Alabama with Tombigbee river, and Nanihaba Bluff lies west of the junction.

[78] Margry V, 457.

[79] Margry IV, 175: "des tambours chychycouchy, qui sont des calebasses."

[80] Thomas Hutchins, French America, Phila., 1784, p. 40.

[81] Pénicaut in Margry V, 395.

[82] Travels, p. 436: "the bloody field of Schambe"; cf. 400. 414.

[83] Margry IV, 594. 595. 602.

[84] Thom. Hutchins, French America, p. 83 (1784). B. Romans, Florida, p. 90.

[85] Published in Proceedings of American Philosoph. Society, 1870 (56 pages), 8vo.

[86] Wítumka (Great), Muklási, and the four Alibamu villages named by Hawkins. To these we may add Koassáti.

[87] Hawkins, p. 39.

[88] Cf. Yuchi, p. 22. At the time of the conquest of Mexico by Cortez, many of the interior towns of that country were whitewashed in the same manner, by means of a shining white clay coating.

[89] Dumont, Mém. histor. de la Louisiane, I, 181.

[90] The map appended to the French edition of Bartram identifies them with the Kúsa: "Abikas ou Coussas."

[91] Now called Talladega and Tallahatchi creeks.

[92] Now called Tallahatchi creek.

[93] Bartram, Travels, p. 54, gives the following particulars: "On the east bank of the Okmulgee this trading road runs nearly two miles through ancient Indian fields, the Okmulgee fields ... with artificial mounds or terraces, squares, etc." This horsepath began at the Rock Landing on Okóni river, a British post just below Wilkinson and about four miles below Milledgeville, Georgia, passed Fort Hawkins built upon the Okmúlgi old fields, then the site of Macon, on the shore opposite, then Knoxville, then the old Creek agency on Flint river, then crossed Patsilāíka creek, the usual ford on Chatahuchi river lying between Kasíχta and Apatá-i Creek.

[94] A similar distribution is observed in the villages, hunting and war camps of the Pani and Southern Dakotan tribes, and was very strictly enforced by them.

[95] Cf. Hawkins, p. 75.

[96] Milfort, Mémoire, p. 251.

[97] Tassikáya, contr. taskáya, pl. taskiálgi—in Cha'hta táska, in Apalache taskáya, etc.

[98] Milfort, Mémoire, p. 237: "Aujourd'hui il est le premier chef de la nation pour le civil et pour le militaire."

[99] 1791—Schoolcraft, Indians, V, 263.

[100] Adair, History, p. 278.

[101] Milfort, Mémoire, p. 41 sqq., 220 sqq. The council of the nation, assembled at Tukabatchi, conferred this charge on him in May 1780.

[102] E. Petitot, Tchiglit, preface p. xi.

[103] The Timucua of Florida declared war by sticking up arrows in the ground around the town or camp of the enemy on the evening before the attack (René de Laudonnière, "Histoire Notable").

[104] Milfort, Mém., p. 217. 218. Walking through watercourses necessarily destroyed all vestiges of a marching body of warriors.

[105] Swan, in Schoolcraft V, 280.

[106] Cf. Hu`li-Wá'hli, and the name of this town.

[107] Cf. his Sketch, pp. 51. 52. 67. 68.

[108] Hawkins says: Forty by sixteen feet, eight feet pitch, the entrance at each corner (p. 68).

[109] Hawkins: two seats.

[110] Adair, History, p. 421.

[111] Hawkins, Sketch, p. 71, Bartram, Travels, p. 448 sqq.

[112] Bartram states that the Creek rotundas were of the same architecture as those of the Cheroki, but of much larger dimensions: Travels, p. 449.

[113] Hawkins, Sketch, p. 79.

[114] Milfort, Mémoire, p. 211.

[115] Travels, p. 518.

[116] Remember well that Kasiχta is a white or peace town.

[117] The dance is called so, because the men fire off guns during its performance; another name for this dance is tapútska opánga; cf. tapodshídshās I am shooting.

[118] For further particulars of the medicine-plants, see the items in the Notes and in the Creek Glossary.

[119] Milfort, Mém., p. 251.

[120] Also practiced once a year upon the Shetimasha warriors, on their knee-joints, by men expressly appointed to this manipulation.

[121] Sketch of the Creek Country, pp. 78. 79.

[122] Maize pounded into grits.

[123] Slightly altered from the words given by Hawkins.

[124] Cf. what is said of the initiation of the ahopáyi and imísi, pp. 159. 165.

[125] Italisí, var. lect.

[126] For Casiste compare Kósisti, a term appearing in Creek war-titles; its signification is unknown.

[127] When stopping at Ullibahali, he was in the country of the Alibamu, for óla, úla is the term for town in their dialect. Cf. p. 85 (Note).

[128] Cf. Barcia, Ensayo, p. 37. The report is almost entirely devoid of local names, which alone could give indications upon the route traveled over.

[129] Cf. C. C. Jones, Tomochichi, pp. 113-119.

[130] John Haywood, the Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee (up to 1768). Nashville, 1823.

[131] Thus the Creek verbal ending -is, though short by itself, generally becomes -īs, when concluding a sentence; also the Hitchiti ending -wāts, -tawāts.

[132] Absolute case has to be regarded as a provisional term only. I call it absolute, because the natives, when giving vocables of the language not forming part of a sentence, mention them in that case in Creek, in Hitchiti, in Koassáti, etc. In the sentence this case often corresponds, however, to the status constructus of the Hebrew.

[133] "L'invincible vencido" is the title of the first conjugational system of Basque, as published by Larramendi.

[134] J. G. Swan, the Makah Indians, p. 56, in Smithsonian Contributions.

[135] Stephen Powers, Tribes of California, p. 156.

[136] Communicated by Dr. Walter J. Hoffman. Powers writes the name: Tin-lin-neh.

[137] The myth is given below in full; taken from E. Johnson, Legends, etc. pp. 43, sqq.

[138] "Quod non est in scriptis, non est in mundo."

[139] Prophet, in Cha'hta, is hopáyi and corresponds in his name to the ahopáya, hopáya of the Creeks, q. v.

[140] The Chicasa Old Fields were, as I am informed by Mr. C. C. Royce, on the eastern bank of Tennessee river, at the islands, Lat. 34° 35´ and Long. 86° 31´.

[141] aläíkita means totemic gens, imaläíkita one's own gens, or its particular gens.

[142] No such gens or division exists among the Creeks now.

[143] The present Creek word for shield is masanágita. The tupĕlúkso consisted of a round frame, over which hides were stretched.

[144] Tútk-itka hámkushi: of one town, belonging to one tribe; literally: "of one burning fire:" tútka fire, itkis it burns, hámkin one, -ushi, suffix: belonging to, being of.

[145] Family is probably meant for gens, or totem-clan.

[146] p. 262: "dans la direction du nord." Perhaps we have to add the words: "au sud."

[147] Better known as Neshoba river, State of Mississippi; neshóba, Cha'hta term for gray wolf.

[148] Cf. what is said of the wind gens in Milfort's migration legend.

[149] A Chicasa migration from Mexico to the Kappa or Ugaχa settlements, on Arkansas river, is mentioned by Adair, History, p. 195.

[150] Cf. Abiku′dshi, p. 125. Adair, History, p. 195.

[151] John B. Dunbar, The Pawnees; in Mag. of Amer. History, 1882, (3d article) § 10.

[152] London, 1762, vol. II, Art. Georgia; cf. Ch. C. Jones, Tomochichi, p. 74. Brinton, Ch.-M. Legend, p. 5.

[153] Brinton, Ch.-M. Legend, pp. 5. 6.

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious printer's errors have been repaired, other inconsistent spellings have been kept, including inconsistent use of diacritical mark (e.g. "Kawíta" and "Kawita") and hyphen (e.g. "folk-lore" and "folklore").

On page 114, word "of" added to sentence "...the destroying of the Tangipahoa town...."