Creek - Creek Chiefs and Leaders
Opothleyaholo (properly Hupuehelth Yahólo: from hupuewa 'child,' he'hle 'good', yohólo, 'whooper,' 'halloer,' an initiation title. G. W. Grayson). A Creek orator. He was speaker of the councils of the Upper Creek towns, and as their representative met the Government commissioners in Feb., 1825, at Indian Springs, Ga., where they came to transact in due form the cession of Creek lands already arranged with venal Lower Creek chiefs. Opothleyaholo informed them that these chiefs had no authority to cede lands, which could be done only by the consent of the whole nation in council, and Macintosh he warned ominously of the doom he would invite by signing the treaty. Opothleyaholo headed the Creek deputation that went to Washington to protest against the validity of the treaty. Bowing to the inevitable, he put his name to the new treaty of cession, signed at Washington Jan. 24, 1826, but afterward stood out for the technical right of the Creeks to retain a strip that was not included in the description because it was not then known to lie within the limits of Georgia. After the death of the old chiefs he became the leader of the nation, though not head-chief in name. When in 1836 some of the Creek towns made preparation to join the insurgent Seminole, he marched out at the head of his Tukabatchi warriors, captured some of the young men of a neighboring village who had donned war paint to start the revolt, and delivered them to the United States military to expiate the crimes they had committed on travelers and settlers. After holding a council of warriors he led 1,500 of them against the rebellious towns, receiving a commission as colonel, and when the regular troops with their Indian auxiliaries appeared at Hatchechubbee the hostiles surrendered. The United States authorities then took advantage of the assemblage of the Creek warriors to enforce the emigration of the tribe. Opothleyaholo was reluctant to take his people to Arkansas to live with the Lower Creeks after the bitter contentions that had taken place. He bargained for a tract in Texas on which they could settle, but the Mexican government was unwilling to admit them. After the removal to Arkansas the old feud was forgotten, and Opothleyaholo became an important counselor and guide of the reunited tribe. When Gen. Albert Pike, at the beginning of the Civil war, visited the Creeks in a great council near the present town of Eufaula and urged them to treat with the Confederacy, Opothleyaholo exercised all his influence against the treaty, and when the council decided after several lays of debate and deliberation, to enter into the treaty, he withdrew with his following from the council. Later he withdrew from the Creek Nation with about a third of the Creeks and espoused he cause of the Union. Fighting his way as he went, he retreated into Kansas, and later died near the town of Leroy, Coffey County.
McGillivray, Alexander. A mixed blood Creek chief who acquired considerable note during the latter half of the 18th century by his ability and the affection in which he was held by his mother's people. Capt. Marchand, in command of the French Ft Toulouse, Ala., in 1722, married a Creek woman of the strong Hutali or Wind clan, from which it was customary to select the chief. One of the children of this marriage was Sehoy, celebrated for her beauty. In 1735 Lachlan McGillivray, a Scotch youth of wealthy family, landed in Carolina, made his way to the Creek country, married Sehoy, and established his residence at Little Talasi, on the east bank of Coosa river, above Wetumpka, Elmore county, Ala. After acquiring a fortune and rearing a family he abandoned the latter, and in 1782 returned to his native country. One of his children was Alexander, born about 1739; he was educated at Charleston under care of Farquhar McGillivray, a relative. At the age of 17 he was placed in a counting house in Savannah but after a short time returned to his home, where his superior talents began to manifest themselves, and he was soon at the head of the Creek tribe.
Later his authority extended also over the Seminole and the Chickamauga groups, enabling him, it is said, to muster 10,000 warriors. McGillivray is first heard of in his new role as "presiding at a grand national council at the town of Coweta, upon the Chattahoochie, where the adventurous Leclerc Milfort was introduced to him" (Pickett, Hist. Ala., 345, 1896). Through the advances made by the British authorities, the influence of Col. Tait, who was stationed on the Coosa, and the conferring on him of the title and pay of colonel, McGillivray heartily and actively espoused the British cause during the Revolution. His father had left him property on the Savannah and in other parts of Georgia, which, in retaliation for his abandonment of the cause of the colonists, was confiscated by the Georgia authorities. This action greatly embittered him against the Americans and led to a long war against the western settlers, his attacks being directed for a time against the people of east Tennessee and Cumberland valley, whence he was successively beaten back by Gen. James Robertson. The treaty of peace in 1783 left McGillivray without cause or party. Proposals from the Spanish authorities of Florida through his business partner, Win. Panton, another Scotch adventurer and trader, induced him to visit Pensacola in 1784, where, as their "emperor," he entered into an agreement with Spain in the name of the Creeks and the Seminoles. The United States made repeated overtures to McGillivray for peace, but he persistently refused to listen to them until invited to New York in 1790 for a personal conference with Washington. His journey from Little Talasi, through Guilford Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Philadelphia, was like a triumphal march, and the prospective occasion for such display was a strong inducement for the shrewd chief to accept the invitation. According to Pickett (p. 406) there was, in addition to the public treaty, a secret treaty between McGillivray and Washington which provided "that after two years from date the commerce of the Creek nation should be carried on through the ports of the United States, and, in the meantime, through the present channels; that the chiefs of the Okfuskees, Tookabatchas Tallases Cowetas Cussetas and the Seminole nation should be paid annually by the United States $100 each, and be furnished with handsome medals; that Alexander McGillivray should be constituted agent of the United States with the rank of brigadier-general and the pay of $1,200 per annuls; that the United States should feed, clothe, and educate Creek youth at the North, not exceeding four at one time." The public treaty was signed Aug. 7, 1790, and a week later McGillivray took the oath of allegiance to the United States. Nevertheless he was not diverted from his intrigue with Spain, for shortly after taking the oath he was appointed by that power superintendent-general of the Creek nation with a salary of $2,000 a year, which was increased in 1792 to $3,500.
The versatile character of McGillivray was perhaps due in part to the fact that there flowed in his veins the blood of four different nationalities. It has been said that he possessed "the polished urbanity of the Frenchman, the duplicity of the Spaniard, the cool sagacity of the Scotchman, and the subtlety and inveterate hate of the Indian." Gen. James Robertson, who knew him well and despised the Spaniards, designated the latter "devils'' and pronounced McGillivray as the biggest devil among them" half Spaniard, half Frenchman, half Scotchman, and altogether Creek scoundrel." That Alexander McGillivray was a man of remarkable ability is evident from the consummate skill with which he maintained his control and influence over the Creeks, and from his success in keeping both the United States and Spain paying for his influence at the same time. In 1792 he was at once the superintendent-general of the Creek nation on behalf of Spain, the agent of the United States, the mercantile partner of Panton, and "emperor" of the Creek and Seminole nations. As opulence was estimated in his day and territory, he was a wealthy man, having received $100,000 for the property confiscated by the Georgia authorities, while the annual importations by hire and Panton were estimated in value at .£40,000 (Am. St. Papers, Ind. Aff., 1, 458, 1832). Besides two or three plantations, he owned, at the tine of his death, 60 Negroes, 300 head of cattle, and a large stock of horses. In personal appearance McGillivray is described as having been six feet in height, sparely built, and remarkably erect; his forehead was bold and lofty; his fingers long and tapering, and he wielded a pen with the greatest rapidity; his face was handsome and indicative of thought and sagacity; unless interested in conversation he was inclined to be taciturn, but was polite and respectful. While a British colonel he dressed in the uniform of his rank; when in the Spanish service he wore the military garb of that country; and after Washington appointed him brigadier-general he sometimes donned a uniform of the American army, but never when Spaniard were present. His usual costume was a mixture of Indian and American garments. McGillivray always traveled with two servants, one a half-blood, the other a Negro. Although ambitious, fond of display and power, crafty, unscrupulous in accomplishing his purpose, and treacherous in affairs of state, the charge that he was bloodthirsty and fiendish in disposition is not sustained. He had at least two wives, one of whom was a daughter of Joseph Curnell. Another wife, the mother of his son Alexander and two daughters, died shortly before or soon after her husband's death, Feb. 17, 1793, at Pensacola, Fla. He was buried with Masonic honors in the garden of William Panton, his partner.
________________________________________Weatherford, William (known also as Lamochattee, or Red Eagle). A halfblood Creek chief, born about 1780; noted for the part he played in the Creek war of 1812-14, in which Gen. Jackson was leader of the American forces. There is some uncertainty as to his parentage. Claiborne (quoted by Drake, Inds. N. Am. 388, 1860) says his "father was an itinerant peddler, sordid, treacherous, and revengeful; his mother a full-blooded savage of the tribe of the Seminoles." Another authority says that a trader, Scotch or English, named Charles Weatherford (believed to have been the father of William), married a half-sister of Alexander McGillivray (q. v.), who was the daughter of an Indian chief of pure blood. In person he was tall, straight, and well proportioned, and nature had bestowed upon him genius, eloquence, and courage, but his moral character was far from commendable. He led the 1,000 Creeks at the massacre of Ft Mimms, Aug. 30,1813. Gen. Jackson having entered the field, the Creeks were driven from point to point until Weatherford resolved to make a desperate effort to retrieve his waning fortunes by gathering all the force he could command at the Great Horseshoe bend of the Tallapoosa. The signal defeat his forces suffered at this point ended the war, and Weatherford, to save further bloodshed, or perhaps shrewdly judging the result, voluntarily delivered himself to Jackson and was released on his promise to use his influence to maintain peace. He died Mar. 9, 1824, leaving many children, who intermarried with the whites. It is said that after the war his character changed, and he became dignified, industrious and sober.
Consult Red Eagle, by G. C. Eggleston, 1878