(Kindly contributed by William C. Bell)
WEATHERFORD, WILLIAM, Indian chief and planter, was
born near Coosada in 1765, and died March 4, 1824, on his plantation
in Baldwin County; son of Charles and Sehoy (McGillivray) Weatherford,
the former a Scotch trader who came from Georgia and established
himself on the bank of the Alabama River, built a store and constructed
a race-track, and brought blooded horses into the Indian country, the latter
who, prior to her marriage to Mr. Weatherford, was first married
to Col. Tate, a British officer at Fort Toulouse; grandson
of a Tuckabatchee chief and Sehoy Marchand, who lived at the
Holy Ground, the latter who afterward married Lochlan McGillivray,
a Scotch adventurer and trader to whom she bore three children, Alexander
McGillivray, who became a great chief, a daughter who married LeClere
Milfort, a French officer, who resided in the Indian nation twenty
years as a war chief and on the death of his wife returned to Paris
to become a brigade general under Napoleon, and another daughter
who married Benjamin Durant, a Huguenot trader from South
Carolina, and became the common mother of the family of that name in
Baldwin which gave the name to Durant's Bend in Dallas
County; Great-grandson of Capt. Marchand, a French officer
in command of Fort Toulouse on the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers,
who was murdered at the fort in 1822 by his
mutinous men, and his Indian wife, Sehoy, a Muscogee princess of the noble tribe of the Wind.
The Cornells, Tates, Baileys, Monicos, Tunstalls,
Durants and Weatherfords are all connected
by ties of consanguinity. Opothleyoholo was a Cornell. William Weatherford cared little for
education, refusing to learn read or write, yet he acquired a good knowledge of the English language. He was a proficient horseman and athlete, and gained great influence among the Indians by his eloquent speeches and his wild life. He established a large plantation on the Alabama River, in what is now Lowndes County. Influenced by the talents and prowess of Tecumseh, he became convinced of the necessity of checkin// brothers on Little River as to his course, and was dissuaded by them from countenancing the Indian war, but when he returned to his home, the war party had been to his plantation, had taken his negroes and stock to the Hickory Ground, and threatened to retain them and kill him if he joined the peace party. He entered into their scheme and took part in the massacre of Fort Mims, leading the Indian forces to the assault. He was unremitting in his efforts to make the attack a victory, but, tried in vain to prevent the subsequent butchery. On his return from that expedition, he was made "tustenuggee," or war chief, of the tribe.
During the various engagements of the war, among
them those of Talladega, Hillabe, the Holy Ground,
and of Tohopeka or the Horse Shoe, called Weatherford's "Thirty Battles," some four thousand
warriors were killed. He led his men in, the fight at Econachaca and when they fled, made his famous plunge from a bluff ten or fifteen feet in height into the Alabama River, and escaped. After the battle of Tohopeka, "Red Eagle", as Weatherford was known, went to Jackson's tent and surrendered himself, demanding that the Indian women and children be brought in from the woods and protected. Because of his courage, Gen. Jackson protected him from the infuriated relatives of the victims of Fort Mims and treated him with courtesy. He was with Jackson for a year at the Hermitage, then returned to Monroe County, collected the remains of his former wealth, and moved with his family to Little River, where in a civilized home, he remained as a peaceful farmer until his death. Married: (1) to Mary Moniac, daughter of Sam Moniac, who was an Indian half-breed, and lived at the Holy Ground; (2) to Mary Stiggins. Among his children was: Charles, b. 1800, deceased, m. Elizabeth Stiggins, children, Charles, William and Elizabeth. He has descendants in Baldwin and Monroe Counties. Last residence: Baldwin County.
WOLF KING, Creek Chief, lived in
Muklasa, an Upper Creek town. The first notice of this chief
is in 1749, when he appears under a somewhat comical aspect. At some time
in that year, the noted author and trader, James Adair, was traveling
on official business from the Chickasaw nation to Charleston.
One day, about ten o'clock in the morning, somewhere on the trading path
between Flint River and Okmulgee, he met a party of hostile
Shawnees, from whom he managed to escape. About sun set on the same
day he met another party of Indians, whom he at first supposed were also
Shawnees. But, he writes,----"I discovered them to be a considerable
body oú the Muskohge headmen, returning home with presents
Charles-Town, which they carried on their backs. The wolf king ( as the traders termed him) our old steady friend of the Arnooklasah Town, near the late Alebahma, came foremost, harnessed like a jackass, with a saddle on his back, well girt over one shoulder, and across under the other. We seemed equally glad to meet each other, they, to hear how affairs stood in their country, as well as on the trading path; and I to find, that instead of bitter-hearted foes, they were friends, and would secure my retreat from any pursuit that might happen."
Apart from his pleasant meeting with Adair,
the first noteworthy appearance of Wolf King in
history is at the treaty made by the Creeks with Sir Henry Ellis, Governor of Georgia, and his board of council in Savannah, on November 3, 1757. The Governor had about August 1, sent Joseph Wright, a man familiar with the Creek language, into the Creek nation, which was then in ill mood, to invite the chiefs of the Upper and the Lower Creeks to a conference to be held with them in Savannah.
There the Indians would receive the King's
presents, and at the same time, an effort would be made to remove the ill
impressions they had conceived of the English. Wright was successful
in his mission in persuading many to go to Savannah. The Indians
arrived on October 27, and were received with imposing
guns of the fort. They represented twenty-one towns of the Upper and Lower Creeks. They were formally conducted into the council chamber and introduced to the governor, who holding out his hands, thus addressed them:
"My friends and Brothers, behold my Hands and Arms; our Common Enemies, the French, have told you they are red to the elbows; here view them; do they speak the Truth? Let your own eyes witness. You see they are white, and could you see my Heart, you would find it as pure, but very warm and true to you, my Friends. The French tell you whoever shakes my Hand will immediately be struck with disease and die; if you believe this lying foolish talk, don't touch me; if you do not, I am ready to embrace you."
Whereupon all the Indians approached and shook the Governor's hand, declaring that the French had lied and deceived them in this manner. The Indians then seating themselves, the Governor continued his talk, in which he first expressed the hope that they had left their brethren well in the nation, and that the were well themselves, and then referred to the hardships they must have endured in their long journey. That they had been told by bad people in the nation that the English had spread all over the Indian hunting grounds, and they could now see the falsity of this assertion. That it was only the lands that lie on the water's edge, that the English valued, where their ships could come with goods and carry away the skins sold by the Indians and the productions raised by the English out of the ground. That during their stay with him, it would be his particular care that they should be well supplied with everything the plantations afforded. That he had a large home erected where they could enjoy each other's company and be protected from the weather. Again warning them against the French and their emissaries, he told them that as they were very much fatigued he would not detain them; but after having rested and refreshed themselves, he would meet them again and deliver to them the King's talk. meanwhile, he advised that they get their guns and saddles repaired, which he had ordered his workmen to do, if they wished it. Again he expressed his satisfaction at seeing so many of his friends, under the same roof with himself. Wolf King, as speaker of both the Upper and the Lower Towns, arose and responded as follows to the Governor's talk:
"We have heard many good talks of you in our own country which were not lies, and I think myself extremely happy and thank God that this day affords us an opportunity of seeing you face to face----I and my countrymen have been accustomed to visit the Governors of the English Provinces but never had more satisfaction than we feel on this occasion. 'Tis true we experienced great hardships on our journey from the back lands being uncultivated, but as soon as we reached the Homes of our Friends, we received plenty of everything, and the kindest treatment possible. The length of our journey has greatly fatigued us. We therefore approve of taking the refreshments and the other steps you recommend to us; after which we shall hear the Great King's Talk."
Wolf King's talk was followed by a short one from Togulki, after which the Governor invited the headmen to dine with him in his own house, where they were delighted with the kind and friendly manner with which they were entertained. After taking a long and thorough rest, the epresentatives of a hundred and twenty-one towns, with, besides upwards of their countrymen, on November 3, were with the same ceremonies formally conducted again into the council chamber. After being seated, the Governor opened the conference with a short talk, and then read to the Indians a paper entitled, "A Letter from the great King George to his beloved Children of the Creek Nations." The letter was interpreted and explained, paragraph by paragraph, and at every period the Indians expressed aloud their approval. The Governor then resumed his talk he told the Indians that they had heard with their own ears the words of the Great King, how he loved them and entertal friendship. He then detailed at some length the advantages the Creek Indians, "the best beloved" of all the Indian nations, would have in their friendship and alliance with the English, who could do more for them than the French. After a reply by Sampiaffi, the treaty was produced, and thoroughly interpreted and explained. It was approved in every particular by the headmen, who then put their hands and seals to it before numerous audience. When the last man had signed, Wolf King, who was one of the signers, desired that he might be heard, which being granted he turned to his people and made a short and vehement talk:
"All of you have this Day freely confirmed your ancient Treaties with the English by a new one, in which some fresh articles are inserted; I know that it has been customary for you to deny in your own Towns the Contracts you have made in those of the White People; but remember how cheerfully and readily you all joined in this Act; which of you then will dare to deny it in your public square hereafter? If there is one of you that can be so base, I am the man that will call him a Liar, and the rest of you shall confirm it."
The council now arose and the headman, by the Governor's
invitation, attended him to his house to dinner.
Wolf King, the chiefs of Coweta, and perhaps several others received copies of the King's talk to carry home and which could he read and interpreted in the public squares of their towns. History is silent as to the day on which the presents were distributed, and their quantity and quality.
A pleasing episode in the life of Wolf King occurred in May, 1760. On probably May 15 as he and his people were on the point of going to a ball play news came to them of the massacre of the traders the day before in some of the Upper Towns, and that those that escaped the massacre were seeking places of refuge. He at once received a number of the fugitives into his own house and treated them with the greatest kindness. Others were brought down to him by the chief of Okchaiyi. Wolf King had only forty warriors in his town, a small force with which to protect them against the large numbers of Indians in the French interest, and under the thorough control of the Great Mortar. He told the traders of the situation, supplied those among them that were unarmed with guns and ammunition, and then conducted them all into a place in a swamp, where he said, they could maintain themselves by their own valor against the French and the mad Indians.
The traders fortified the place so well that their enemies feared to attack them. Wolf King, in the meantime, secretly and at great risk to himself, supplied them with food, and after the lapse of some two weeks sent them to a friendly Lower Creek town where were gathered other fugitive traders from different places in the nation. This action of Wolf King, with his slender band of warriors in protecting the traders against his numerous enraged countrymen, shows that he was a brave and high-souled man. About six weeks after the massacre, Governor Ellis, in view to the protection of the traders in the future, sent Joseph Wright into the Creek nation with a written talk, in which he said that he expected to open trade with the Creeks as soon as it could be done with safety, but first the headmen in every town must meet and choose some powerful person who would take charge of the traders and be answerable for their persons and goods, otherwise the traders would not risk their lives nor the merchants their goods amongst them; and for this protection the traders must pay a yearly considera/// Wolf King and his people were and had always been friendly to the English, as soon as he received the Governor's talk, he appointed suitable persons in all the towns he controlled to be guardians of the traders and their goods.
Wolf King's action in saving the fugitive traders gave him great consideration with the Governors of Georgia and South Carolina, the latter sending him a written talk and inviting him to visit him in Charleston. Early in 1761 a talk from the Mohawks was received by Governor Wright, who sent it to the Creek nation by Wolf King, who, it seems, was in Savannah at that time. The talk seems to have been a friendly letter to Governor Wright and the Creek nation. On April 30, 1761, a council of twelve Upper Creek towns was held at Muklasa. Wolf King here replied to the Mahawk talk in the following letter to Governor Wright:
"The Governor of each Province desired me to have this talk in the Upper and Lower Nation, and for me to hold fast by the English and they to hold fast by us and now our meetings are over and done as I wanted, and its agreed to hold fast the English both here and the lower towns. When I was in Georgia and Carolina there was many bad reports about this Nation, now I am come home I see 'tis otherwise, and we hope everything will remain quiet. We have not thrown away the Governor's talk, and we shake hands with them, and all the towns hold fast by the English."
In October, 1763, Wolf King went to Pensacola
to see the military authorities in regard to the land there ceded for
the English garrison, which was the old Spanish cession. An
evidence of his presence there appears in Major Farmar's contingent
account, showing that on October 21, 1763, Lieutenant Hilton paid
for Wolf a large wine bill and a bill for mending guns, all amounting
to two pounds, three shillings and two pence. From Pensacola Wolf King
must have gone direct to the great congress which was held in Augusta
in November. He was the main factor on the side of the Creeks, in
fixing the boundary line there agreed upon appended to the treaty
as The Wolf. This name and Wolf King were often used interchangeably
or indifferently. Wolf King had such a clear understanding of what
should be the English
interest at this troublous time that he advised Major Farmar to defer relieving Fort Toulouse, until he, Wolf King, should inform him of the disposition of the Indians in the French interest who had not yet resolved upon a course of action. His advice was heeded. Although a firm and unswerving friend of the English, Wolf King evidently feared encroachments upon the lands of his people from Pensacola. The Creeks claimed all the lands for more than sixty miles above Pensacola, except the small plat granted the Spaniards around the fort, now occupied by the English. At some time in the winter of 1763-1764, while on a visit to Pensacola with a large band of his warriors, he intimated to Major Forbes, the commandant, that if the English should settle upon these lands, war would be declared against them by the Creeks.
Wolf King did not stand alone in this matter, for a general uneasiness continued to prevail among the Creeks in regard to possible encroachments upon their lands until the meeting of the congress in Pensacola, where everything was satisfactorily settled by a cession to the English. The evidence is lacking of the presence of Wolf King at this Congress. His name does not appear among the signers of the treaty, unless he signed under his Indian name, which has not been preserved.
The last notice of Wolf King is a brief reference to him ill a letter written by Will Struthers, a trader to Governor Johnstone, May 20, 1766. Struthers calls him the old Wolf King, an expression which shows that he was then advanced in years.
REFERENCES.----Adair's American Indians (1775), pp. 263~ 277; The Colonial Records of Georgia, vol. 7, pp. 648, 657-668, 704, 734; Ibid, vol. 8, pp. 333, 467, 469, 470, 542, 543; Ibid, vol. ix, pp. 148, 149; The State Records of North Carolina, vol. 11, pp. 160, 166, 203; Mississippi Provincial Archives, vol. i, pp. 12, 68, 72, 114, 142, 365, 414, 424, 460, 521.
YOHOLOMICCO, Creek Chief, born about 1788, died in 1838. Nothing has been recorded as to his parents, his early life, nor when he became chief of Yufala and Speaker of the Creek Nation. There were two towns named Yufala in the Upper Creek country; the one, of which Yoholomicco was chief~ was situated on the west bank of the Tallapoosa, two miles below Okfuskee. Yoholomicco served with General McIntosh in the Creek war of 1813 and bore an honorable part in all the battles in which the friendly Creeks were engaged against their insurgent countrymen. He was delegate from his nation to Washington in 1826. He was greatly instrumental in negotiating the treaty of November 15, 1827, by which the Creeks ceded the last of their lands in Georgia.
Note: He is shown here painted
by Charles Bird King
As Speaker of the Council convened to hear
the propositions of the government on that occasion, his demeanor is thus
described by Colonel Thomas L. McKenny. there present representing
the government, and a most competent eye witness: "Yoholo Micco
explained the object of the mission, in a manner so clear and pointed as
not to be easily forgotten by those who heard him. He rose with the unembarrassment
of one, who felt the responsibility of his high office, was familiarly versed
in its duties, and satisfied of his own ability to discharge it with success.
He was not unaware of the delicacy of the subject, nor of the excitable
state of the minds to which his arguments was to be addressed, and his harangue
was artfully suited to the occasion. With the persuasive manner of an accomplished
orator, and in the silver tones of a most flexible voice, he placed the
subject before his savage audience in all its details and bearings----making
his several points with clearness, and in order, and drawing out his deductions
in the lucid and conclusive manner of a finished rhetorician."
On account of his advocating the adoption by his people of the plans proposed by the government and by individuals to promote the civilization of the Creeks, Yoholomicco finally became unpopular, and was deposed from his chieftainship, the year not known. He was consistent in his private life in following the ways of civilized life, which he had vainly urged upon his people. He gave his children the best education the country afforded, and brought his sons up to the pursuits of civilized life. His example was followed by one of his married daughters, the wife of a Yufala chief, who gave all her children liberal educations. Yoholomicco is represented as a man of a mild, generous disposition. He died on his way to the new home of the Creeks from the fatigues incident to the emigration.
A Creek Chief from the Upper Nation.
REFERENCES.----McKenney and Hall's Indian Tribes of North America (1842), vol. iii, pp. 17, 18; Handbook of American Indians (1910), part 2, p. 998.