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FAR OFF WARRIOR

By Chris Clark 1998 ©

Tustunnuggee Hopoie whose name translates as Far Off Warrior was probably born in the Creek Indian village of Okchai in about the year 1731. Benjamin Hawkins, the Creek Indian agent makes mention of Far Off Warrior several times in his Journals. From these journals we learn that Far Off Warrior was the son of Creek Indian chief Mad Dog who was Principal Chief of the Creek Indian nation for many years. Hawkins referrs to him by several different names; Tustunnuggee Hopoie - meaning Far Off Warrior - Micco Thlucco - meaning Little Prince - and also Bird Tail King.

Perhaps the earliest mention made of Far Off Warrior occurred in a meeting with representatives from the British government in the year 1766. The Principal Chief of the Creek Nation at that time was Big Mortar, then known as the Okchai King. At this particular meeting with British agents, Big Mortar mentioned a young warrior living in the Okchai village named Hoboyie Haujo (this being the interpreter's spelling) whom he had given a small medal sent by the British.

Sometimes, following this meeting, the Okchai village divided itself and one group from this village formed the village of Thlotlogulgua. This village was commonly called the "Fish Ponds" by traders. As Headman of the Fish Pond village, Hopoie Haujo later became chief of this village and held the title of Micco which was a shortened form for Miculneggee and literally meant Chief.

In May of 1777, a head warrior of the Tiger clan and nephew of Ishenpoaphe, chief of the Cowetas (a Creek subtribe), was killed in a horse stealing raid in the Ogeechee country of Georgia. Ishenpoaphe sent up from Coweta to the Upper Towns for his kinsman of the Tiger clan, the Mad Dog of Tuckabatchee, to raise up his relatives among the Okchais and among the Alabamas to come down and join him against Georgia. The Okchais, as mentioned earlier, were the progeniter of the FishPonds who surely would have joined the Okchais in this venture. How Ishenpoaphe and Mad Dog were related through their Tiger clan is unknown, for Mad Dog was Micco or Chief of the Cussitas and chiefdom in the Cussitas was hereditary from the Bear clan. Perhaps Mad Dog's wife was of the Tiger clan, thereby making Mad Dog a brother-in-law of Ishenpoaphe. Both Mad Dog of Tuckabatchee who was chief of the Cussitas, and Mortar who had been "King" of the Okchais were kinsmen from their Bear Clan.

In 1777, Hopoie Haujo, the Far Off Warrior of the Fish Ponds, and his father, Mad Dog of Tuckabatchee, led an attack on Fort Roger's which was on the Ogeechee River in present-day Taliaferro County, Georgia. This was apparently the vengeance taken for the death of the head warrior of the Tiger clan and nephew of Ishenpoaphe. In the ensuing attack on the fort, the indians captured a young girl named Hannah Hale, who was about 11 or 12 years old. She was taken to the Far Off Warrior's village known by trader's as the "Fish Ponds" and located on the Coosa River situated in present-day Coosa County, Alabama. Hannah Hale would later marry the Far Off Warrior, Hopoie Haujo, and by him have five children.

Information concerning the Okchai Indians from which the Lalokalka settlement evolved can be found in John R. Swanton's book "The Indians of the Southeastern United States". It must be pointed out that both the Okchai Town and its settlement Lalokalka, or the "FishPonds", were commonly called the FishPonds by the fur traders.

From Swanton's book, this is found:
"The earliest known location {of the Okchai} Muskogee town and tribe was on the west side of Coosa River some miles above its junction with the Tallapoosa. By 1738 a part had moved to a branch of Kowaliga Creek, an affluent of the Tallapoosa, where their principal settlement seems to have been located until the removal to Oklahoma, though a part remained near there former home for a considerable period.****The Okchai are often called Fish Pond Indians, and as early as 1791 there was a distinct settlement of the tribe called Thlathlogalga, (sic.), or `Fish Pond,' on a small affluent of Elkhatchee, a western branch of the Tallapoosa." In 1792, the Thlathlogalga population is listed as 140, among these being the Far Off Warrior and Hannah Hale.

"In 1796 the traders stationed there were "John Shirley and Isaac Thomas, the first an American, the latter of German parents." In the year 1799, the Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins began his travels through the Creek Indian country. Along the way, he stopped at the village of Laloakalka, commonly called the FishPonds, and there he met Hannah Hale. She was probably thirty-four years old by this time (She had been captured in 1777 when she was 12 or 13-years old). Hawkins stated that at the National Council held that year - 1799 - the agent appointed Hopoithle Haujo to look out for a suitable place for her, to help her to remove to it with her stock, and take care that she receives no insults from the Indians."