Treachery and Division

A Virtual Exploration of the Creek Nation in Georgia

By Georgia Public Broadcasting

Upper and Lower Creeks Map (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The Creek Nation was divided into two regional groups known as the Upper and Lower Creeks.

Both societies became involved in the War of 1812 to to protect their land rights. However, they disagreed about whom to support, thereby landing on opposite sides of the conflict. The Upper Creeks allied with the British while the Lower Creeks allied with the United States.

Battle of Tohopeka--Death of Major Montgomery (1847) by The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of ArtGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Conflicting allegiances during the War of 1812 touched off the Creek War the following year.

This civil war within the Creek Nation drew in forces from Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee, including a unit under the command of future president Andrew Jackson.

Treaty of Fort Jackson Map (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The Treaty of Fort Jackson (1814) officially ended the brutal Creek War. Under Andrew Jackson, the United States dictated the terms of the agreement, which required the Creek Nation to cede 22 million acres of its land to the United States government.

Why the Creek Nation Joined Forces with the British (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Creek Chief William McIntosh (1837) by Charles Bird KingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Tustunnuggee Hutkee

William McIntosh was the son of a Scottish father and a Creek mother. He was related to several prominent Georgians on his father's side, including Governor George Troup (1823-1827). He was also a chief of the Lower Creeks, who trace their lineage through the mother's side. During the Creek War, McIntosh supported General Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Over the next decade, he negotiated several treaties with the United States on behalf of the Creeks, typically ceding Creek Nation land to the government while gaining private land for himself. For his part in the Second Treaty of Indian Springs in 1825, he was executed by the Lower Creeks.

Letter from William McIntosh's Wives (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

After their husband's execution, the wives of William McIntosh wrote to the United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs detailing the event and requesting help from the government.

Chief William McIntosh Sold All of His Tribe’s Land to the United States (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Treaty of Indian Springs, Article One (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The First Treaty of Indian Springs (1821), also known as the Treaty With the Creeks, was negotiated by representatives of the federal government, the state of Georgia, and the Creek Nation.

William McIntosh and 20 other Creek leaders ceded all Georgia land east of the Flint River, totaling four million acres, in exchange for $200,000 to be paid over 14 years.

Treaty of Indian Springs, Article Four (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

For his part in the negotiations, William McIntosh received 1,600 acres of land and $40,000 to disperse among his supporters.

Treaty of Indian Springs 1825 (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

After the First Treaty of Indian Springs, the National Council of the Creek Nation passed a law forbidding any representative from signing away Creek land.

However, in the second round of negotiations in 1825, a group of Lower Creek councilmen agreed to cede all remaining Creek land in Georgia as well as millions of acres in Alabama. McIntosh hosted the gathering at his plantation and likely received nearly $200,000 in exchange.

Treaty of Indian Springs 1825, Articles 1 and 2 (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

In response to what many Creek people believed to be an act of treason, the National Council ordered their police to execute those Creeks responsible for the treaty, including McIntosh.

The Final Removal (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Creek leaders rejected the 1825 Treaty of Indian Springs and renegotiated terms with the federal government after McIntosh's death. In the Treaty of Washington (1826), all remaining Creek land was signed away. This map demonstrates the gradual decline of Creek land holdings beginning in 1733.

Marker for William McIntosh (2016)Georgia Public Broadcasting

William McIntosh was a controversial figure in Creek and American history. As a savvy political leader, he achieved wealth and success by working closely with the United States government. However, his tactics were considered corrupt by many Creeks, and he was subsequently killed by his own people.

Trails to Indian Territory Map (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Like many other native groups that originally inhabited the American southeast, the Creek Nation was disenfranchised from its ancestral home through a series of treaties ceding land ownership.

After the final 1826 treaty, Governor George Troup of Georgia used state militias to forcibly remove the Creeks from the state.

Credits: Story

Encyclopedia of Alabama

Indian Springs State Park

New York Public Library

Credits: All media
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