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William McIntosh and the Betrayal of the Creek People – Part One

William McIntosh and the Betrayal of the Creek People – Part One

The official history of the Southeastern Indians between 1785 and 1840 is essentially a cartoon, meant to hide the truth.  It is one of the biggest lies that history teachers still tell their students throughout North America.  Though “politically corrected” in recent years to be more sympathetic to indigenous peoples, history books still lump the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Alabamas, Creeks, Koasatis, Seminoles and Miccosukees into the same category as hunter-gatherer peoples elsewhere. 

In an effort to produce what they consider is “balanced history,” academicians explain the forced deportation of Muskogean peoples from the Southeast by stating that it would take several generations for the primitive indigenous peoples to acquire the attributes of “civilization,” before they could live peacefully side by side with their Caucasian neighbors.

These historians define civilization as the ownership of plantations and African slaves; the abandonment of neatly-planned towns with streets, blocks, plazas and courtyards; the accumulation of excessive wealth combined with general poverty among the majority and the disenfranchisement of the political and economic rights of Muskogean women.   Somehow, that does not sound very civilized.

Having her students read such drivel used to infuriate my late mother, who was a much-honored school teacher.  Her family was mixed-blood Creek from Northeast Georgia and has always been civilized, thank you . . . plus had been that way long before the Europeans arrived. She found that her students, who were often in families transplanted from other parts of the nation, were shocked when they found out that the Creeks didn’t live in teepees and run around the countryside half naked with animal skins draped over their shoulders.

One man, whose heritage was mostly Scottish and Jewish, with, at most, 1/8th of his DNA being Creek, played a key role in assisting the dark waters of ethnic cleansing to sweep the majority of the Muskogeans from the Southeast.  His name was William McIntosh.  He was a complex man, whose motivations are typically labeled “enigmatic” by most academicians, but in the light of the full facts of history, clearly was mainly focused on promoting his own welfare . . . to the extreme detriment of the people he claimed to lead.

(Photograph Above) This is the house that was reconstructed after the original one built by William McIntosh was partially burned in 1825. In the foreground is McIntosh’s official US Army grave. He was the first Native American to hold the rank of Brig. General in the US Army.  However, this house was also burned in the 1970s and completely destroyed.  In 1987, a similar structure in Alabama was moved to the McIntosh Reserve at the original house’s location. 

McIntosh-POOF

ROGER_KENNEDYIn 2009 and 2010, the late Roger G. Kennedy discovered highly concealed facts that put the official history of the Texas War of Independence, the Creek Red Stick War, plus the expulsion of the Creeks from Georgia and then from Alabama and Florida in a whole new light.  They challenge the official history of the era, which students are taught and also clearly expose William McIntosh’s motivations during those sad times.  Kennedy was the Director of the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institute) prior to being appointed Director of the National Park Service by President Bill Clinton.

During those years of service to our nation, Roger became an extremely astute researcher and one of the most knowledgeable persons about America’s true history. Politically, he was a non-partisan moderate, which enabled him to be an effective administrator of two of the United States most respected institutions.

The Cherokee Chief Vann House (1805) was the first example of Greek Revival Architecture outside the Atlantic Coastal Plain.

The home of Cherokee Chief James Vann (built in 1805) was the first example of Greek Revival Architecture outside the Atlantic Coast.  In the 1820s,  affluent mixed blood Creek families in West Georgia simplified this design to a common form of Plantation Plain Greek Revival.

Roger was doing research for his landmark book on Greek Revival Architecture, when he discovered an astonishing series of facts that were completely left out of the architectural history courses . . . at least those I had at Georgia Tech.   The earliest form of Greek Revival began in the South Carolina Low Country and Savannah then the 1805 plantation of Cherokee Chief Vann, before evolving to the classic form that we think of today in middle and western Georgia. That is BEFORE the Creeks were expelled from Georgia.  However, it then jumped all the way to east Texas before then filtering back into the Mississippi Valley and the rest of the Southeast.

This style of house is mainly found in West Georgia and East Texas.

This style of house is  found in West Georgia and East Texas.

We are talking about the late 1820s, when Tejas was a state in the Estatdos Unidos Mexicanos . . . that is when West Georgia’s simplification of Greek Revival first appeared several hundred miles to the west.  That is why today, there is very little difference in the appearance of the historic neighborhoods and downtowns of Marshall, TX, Nocodoches, TX,  Newnan, GA and LaGrange, GA.  Roger wanted to know who these people were, who transported a new architectural style to Texas?  To his astonishment, they were mixed blood Creeks, who had been booted out of Georgia by the Treaty of Indian Springs.   They moved to Texas rather than Alabama, because the Creeks were hated by the Alabama Crackers and a little bit of money would buy a whole lot of land in East Texas.  In Texas, the physical features of mixed blood Creeks would look little different than most of the locals.

Hundreds of Middle Class Georgia Creek families never moved to Alabama when the United States said they had to.  By studying their tribal town affiliations, I was later able to figure out that almost all these families were Muskogee Creeks.  The Itsate (Hitchiti) Creeks and Uchees, such as my family, apparently elected to either assimilate with their white neighbors or else move to Florida.

At that point, Roger Kennedy started looking for me.  Unfortunately, by that time I was living in a tent in the Smoky Mountains of Graham County, NC.  While living in Virginia, I was on the Citizens Advisory Panel of the American Battlefield Protection Program. Somehow, 12 years later, Roger not only remembered me, but remembered that I was originally a mixed blood Creek Architect from Georgia.  He never would reveal how he found me, but he also knew the circumstances of why I was there.

In 2000, the county I lived in was one of the fastest growing counties in the nation that had a booming downtown with 12 new restaurants.  However, between 2000 and 2001, an alliance of Neo-nazi’s, drug dealers and occultists took control of the region . . . quickly driving the moderate Republicans and Democrats out of office.

During the 2000 fall election campaign, the politically moderate head of the county’s Republican Party died in a mysterious one car accident, when his brakes suddenly failed on a mountain road.  Two weeks later the 38 year old woman, who led the local Democrats, had a massive, chemically induced stroke, as she stepped out of a restaurant after a meeting with party officials.  That county’s Democrats would not even meet for another four years.

I refused to have anything to do with these scumbags.  They shut me out from any local work, so I had to develop a professional practice that was national in scope.   To make example of what happens to people, who won’t submit to scumbags, they broke a bunch of laws to pull off an illegal foreclosure.  When I was approved for a FannieMAE low interest loan, they arranged for me to be given three days notice before being evicted on Christmas Eve 2009.  FannieMAE later claimed it was a paperwork mistake.  Now that particular county is an economic pit hole with a nearly abandoned downtown.

So . . . not only did Roger pay me for assisting him into the further research into Greek Revival architecture and the development of the South’s plantation economy, but he also hired me to prepare the drawings, maps and photographs for his book, plus overpaid me so I could do research into the 1500s and 1600s in the Lower Southeast . . . ultimately resulting in the discovery of the Track Rock ruins and many other things.  During that period, I was still living in a tent or later a chicken house, but still had plenty of food until Roger came down with an aggressive type of cancer and could no longer do research.

Roger somehow did finish the book.  Greek Revival Architecture by Roger G. Kennedy is available at all major book outlets.

Southeastern tribes were puppets on a stage after 1794

The cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney on Cumberland Island GA in 1793.  The patent for this device was granted in 1794, but was not validated until 1807.   What Roger Kennedy and I found out was that the Red Stick War, the Trail of Tears and of course, the Civil War would not have occurred, if this invention had never happened.  It is an amazing facet of history that has been completely left out of most history books.  Instead both white historians and Southeastern indigenous tribes have created their own mythologies, which completely ignore King Cotton.

Eli Whitney's patent drawing for the first cotton gin

Eli Whitney’s patent drawing for the first cotton gin

The Washington, Adams and Jefferson administrations sought to encourage the Southeastern Indians to culturally assimilate via provision of European technology and ultimately intermarry with their neighbors.  The Jefferson Administration ended in 1809.  During the last two years of Jefferson’s office, the fully patented cotton gin went into mass production and overnight changed the South’s economy.  However, already in 1805, a vast chunk of prime cotton land had been pressured from the Creeks between the Ocmulgee and Oconee Rivers.

All along the Southern aristocracy and the elected officials they controlled had another strategy. They picked out men, usually of mixed racial heritage, to be the “big shots” of their tribes.  There was constant pressure on the tribes to relegate women and less affluent males to the politically impotent status of white women.  Once gaining disproportionate wealth and political power, these big shots could then act as stooges for the white planters and federal government.

The principal leaders of the Chickamauga Hostile Cherokees almost overnight after the Battle of Etowah Cliffs in 1794, changed their attitude from total obstruction of European cultural values to totally adopting them for their own lifestyles.  The great warrior, Kah-nung-da-tla-geh, became the planter and slave owner, Major Ridge.  Ridge was actually of Natchez ancestry, so perhaps that made him more desirable for big shot status even though he did not have a great amount of white ancestry.

The mixed blood Vann, Ross, Hughes and Hicks families were also anointed as big shots.  Their heritage was mostly a mixture of Scottish and Jewish.  Blue-eyed John Ross was at most 1/8th Native.  John Hughes was either 1/16th or 1/32nd.   Recent DNA testing suggests that the Vanns had no Native American ancestry, but were of mixed Scottish-Sephardic Jewish heritage.

In the further research, what we learned was that there was an intentional scheme after the Jefferson Administration to harass and anger the Creeks living in Alabama with the assumption that they would eventually explode with anger.  These activities were planned by wealthy land speculators and plantation owners, who wanted large tracts land for developing large cotton plantations with numerous African slaves doing the work.

Had not the cotton gin been invented, it is quite likely that slavery would have hardly existing outside the coastal and tobacco raising sections of the Southeast.  It probably would have disappeared by the mid-1800s.

The invention of the cotton gin changed everything.  Vast wealth was soon coming to those, who could buy large tracts of cheap land and slaves.  The planters wanted a war with a manageable number of Creek hostiles, not with the whole Creek Confederacy, which was then the largest Indian tribe in North America.  This war would be used to break the unified military power of the Creek Confederacy and as justification for stealing most of the Creek’s land.

Because so many Georgia Creeks were Protestant Christians, often intermarried with white families and were usually highly respected in their communities, a vast land theft could not take place otherwise.   The Georgia Creek approach of Creek families intentionally intermarrying with their immediate white neighbors was working well, while also causing the white neighbors to assimilate the Creek version of civilization.   Their neighbors were learning to love fried chicken, fried catfish, hushpuppies, brunswick stew and grits!

Many Native Americans revere Tecumseh, especially his Shawnee People.  However, there is no doubt that were unknowingly the pawns of the people they viewed as their enemies.  The land speculators and politicians wanted Tecumseh and his brother to stir up wars in justifiable response to constant abrogation of treaties.  Otherwise, their lives would have been much shorter.

Indian wars were quick ways to gobble up large expanses of land that had been granted to the tribes forever.  However, the powers that be did not want Tecumseh to unite all the tribes.  Therefore, their “big shots” or stooges within the more powerful tribes made sure a United States of Native Americans would never happen.   When Tecumseh visited the Cherokees,  the Ridges, Vanns, Hicks, Hughes and Ross’s of the tribe made sure that he was made to feel unwelcome.  The Cherokees might be needed to fight smaller tribes that went on the warpath.

When Tecumseh came south, he was quickly made aware that he would be a dead man, if he came into Georgia, so after visiting the Cherokees in North Carolina, Tecumseh’s party steered clear of the Cherokee plantations in Northwest Georgia and the Creeks farther south.  However, he was allowed to stir up Creek towns more farther removed from white plantations in Alabama.  At that point in time, the dominant Georgia Creeks could have easily dispatched a company of Creek Lighthorse and quickly ended his career.  They frequently did just that to Creeks or Cherokees in Georgia, who tried to stir up trouble or committed serious crimes.   McIntosh and his cronies held the Creek Lighthorse back.

The massacre of frontier farmsteads in Alabama was of no consequence to the planter aristocracy.  News of such atrocities would cause the frontiersmen to become outraged and enlist in the militia to fight the hated Injuns on the planters’ behalf.  Once the Redskins had cleared the landscape of poor whites and afterward had themselves been crushed, all their lands could be seized and acquired for a pittance to develop cotton plantations.   It seems that few people were anticipating a war with Great Britain.

The Red Stick War (1812-1814)

The people in the Lower Southeast were lukewarm toward Mr. Madison’s war (aka the War of 1812) until the British Navy began sacking and burning plantations on the Georgia Coast, while British agents, based in Pensacola, began supplying the Alabama Creeks with free munitions.  With the help of the British, it seemed that Tecumseh’s dream of a coordinated attack on the white towns and plantations might become a reality.  The people on the frontier of Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina became terrified.  Many Tennesseans, include Andrew Jackson, remembered that the Upper Creeks were ferocious soldiers, who displayed the discipline of white troops.  They came very close to capturing Nashville in 1794.  Jackson later stated that it took 40 white soldiers to have an even match with one Creek.

Georgia Creeks were asked to help defend the state’s coast.  The regular army Creek Regiment was mustered, trained and sent to the Georgia Coast to fight the British Rangers and Marines. Some of my ancestors were in this unit.  However, the US Army’s Creek Regiment would later refuse to become involved in fratricidal warfare.

Never mentioned in history books is that fact that fighting had been going on intermittently between the Georgia Creeks and the Upper Creeks since the early days of the American Revolution.   Muskogee-speaking Creeks from present day Alabama staged several invasions of Northeast Georgia in the 1780s and early 1790s to attack pro-American Hitchiti-speaking Creeks.  During that era, my Creek ancestors are listed as joining white militiamen in the defense of forts against Upper Creek invaders in what is now Wilkes, Madison, Washington and Elbert Counties, GA.

By the time of the War of 1812, at least 22,000 or more Creeks in Georgia had disassociated with the Creek Confederacy because of the intermittent raids by Upper Creeks.  Some moved to Florida and became Seminoles.  Mixed-bloods typically stayed in place, surrounded by their white relatives.

So, while Creeks today remember the Red Stick War as a sudden convulsion within the Creek Confederacy, it was actually a continuation of hostilities going back centuries . . . and these fratricidal rivalries would continue to erupt until the apocalyptic depopulation of the Oklahoma Creeks during the American Civil War.

There were some skirmishes between hostile Red Stick Creeks and white militiamen in 1812.  However, for several more months the Red Stick War would remain a civil war between two Creek factions – Pro-American and Pro-British.  This guerilla warfare between small bands of Alabama and Georgia Creeks did not concern officials farther east until the Fort Mims Massacre on August 13, 1813.  In a defeat, far exceeding Custer’s Last Stand, the Red Sticks killed or captured 517 occupants of the fort.  At that point, the United States declared war on the Red Stick Creeks.

WilliamMcIntoshInitially, the war did not go well at all for the United States.  Companies of volunteer militiamen from Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee suffered severe casualties in a series of small battles.  The federal government then appointed Andrew Jackson in command of three armies that were to invade Red Stick Territory from all sides.  Initially, that effort did not go well either.  Jackson then appointed William McIntosh as a brigadier general to command an all Indian regiment that would hopefully be better suited for guerilla warfare against their fellow Indians.

McIntosh’s soldiers primarily came from Georgia Creeks and North Carolina Cherokees.  The leaders of the Cherokees and majority Creek faction were promised that their people could stay in the Southeast forever, if they helped their country in this time of need.  It is highly questionable that despite Jackson’s modern reputation as “the Napoleon of the South” that he could have defeated the Red Sticks without McIntosh’s regiment.  The Uchee officer, Timpoochee Barnard saved Jackson’s life in one battle.  There is no doubt that the Battle of Horseshoe Bend would have ended in a draw or an American defeat without the heroics of the Cherokee officer, Junaluska, and again, Timpoochee.

Despite their heroic performance in the Red Stick War, many of the Georgia Creek warriors were betrayed by General Jackson, even as they were laying their lives on the line for the United States.  Jackson sent word back to Georgia, that he would not interfere, if Creek families were “encouraged” to relocate out of Georgia.

While their farmsteads were undefended because the Creek Lighthorse, plus their fathers and sons were in Alabama fighting the Redsticks, many Creek families were attacked by wandering bands of militiamen and bushwhackers.  Houses and barns were burned.  Livestock and crops were stolen.  Women and girls were raped.  This is also when Georgia white trash started the tradition of intentionally choosing especially pretty Creek teenage girls to be raped and then hung from trees along roads entering a Creek community.  The tradition would continue to the early 20th century.  One of these horrific events was accurately portrayed in the movie, True Women.  There is no record of Brig. Gen. McIntosh stating one word of protest concerning what was done to the families of his own soldiers.

Here is where the secret history of the Southeast comes into play.  Roger Kennedy discovered that even before the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Andrew Jackson had been in frequent communications with experts on geography, geology and agriculture in regard to the development potential of Creek lands.  Immediately after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Jackson hired four agronomists to travel to his headquarters with all the maps available to determine where the best lands for growing cotton were in Georgia and Alabama.  At this time, Brig. Gen. McIntosh was stationed with Jackson.  He had to have known what was going on.

Most of the land that was suitable for growing cotton happened to be on lands controlled by the Majority Creek Faction, which was an ally of the United States.  What is interesting though is that the agronomists also showed lands in Northwest Georgia in the Cherokee Nation, which were suitable for cotton.

Nevertheless, at the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814 which officially ended the Redstick War, Jackson unveiled a map prepared by the agronomists . . . minus the huge chunk of the Cherokee Nation that was suitable for cotton and also the territory of Muskogee-speaking Creeks in west Georgia, who were friends of McIntosh.  Most of the land ceded in Georgia was occupied by Hitchiti, Uchee and Upper Creek speakers, who were allies of the United States.

That cotton map became the boundaries of the territory that the Creeks would have to cede to the United States.  About 18 million of the 22 million acres seized was in friendly Creek territory.  No problem . . . his Creek allies were told that they were being punished for allowing the Red Sticks to rebel.  The Muskogee-speaking mikkos from West Georgia signed the treaty because their lands had not been ceded.

It is very clear from the information unveiled by Roger Kennedy that even in 1814 Andrew Jackson planned to evict the Cherokees from Northwest Georgia.  Kennedy and I analyzed the old cotton map. We found that the map identified all lands that were under 1000 feet above sea level, but were not swampy.  Most people do not know that although the Great Appalachian Valley in Northwest Georgia is surrounded by mountains, its rich riverine bottomlands are well below 1000 feet in elevation.

Those river valleys became major cotton producing lands after the Cherokees were evicted.  Of course, the former Cherokee Nation was divided up into 160 acre lots distributed by a lottery.  However, the initial lottery winners did not know that the land was well-suited for cotton.  They were quickly bought up by planters from South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee, who were quite aware of the Jackson “Cotton” map.  So today, the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers are lined with plantation houses that look like they belong somewhere else, farther south.

McIntosh raced home with the money he was paid as a bribe for signing the Treaty of Fort Jackson.  He immediately developed a 1000 acre plantation on the Chattahoochee River in what is now the southern edge of Metro Atlanta. It is now called the McIntosh Reserve.  He also built the large house that you see above.

Three years later, Georgia Governor David Mitchell resigned to become merely the federal agent to the Creek Indians. Fort Mitchell is named after him.  His appointment to this position coincided with the agreement to provide the Creek allies of the United States during the War of 1812, additional subsidies and annual funds.  Mitchell took a share as a commission and then gave them to McIntosh, even though McIntosh was not the Principal Chief of the Creeks.  McIntosh took for himself a commission then dispersed the rest to those Creeks, who did what they were told.  Any political opponents got nothing.

Now you know!

PS:  While living in a tent, I rented a booth in the Valkyrie Computer Games Parlor in Robbinsville, NC and set up my computer.  That is how I was able to do sophisticated historical research and graphics for Roger Kennedy, while essentially being homeless.  The office of the chicken house near Track Rock Gap had a telephone-internet connection.

In Part Two, we will discuss the surprising ethnic heritage of William McIntosh, his general life story and how he used his connections with white cousins, including a governor, to maximize his own wealth and power.  Those activities eventually led to his violent death.

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

6 Comments

  1. Bagleycherokee@aol.com'

    To my knowledge Chief James Vann did not build the brick Vann House, it was built by his son Joseph Vann around 1820-21. Chief Vann did build a house about 1804-105, but it was wood.

    Reply
    • That’s interesting because my architectural history books, the New Georgia Encyclopedia, State of Georgia museum labels the house as being built in 1805 by Moravian craftsmen. Of course, as we know from many other situations, what the “authoritative” references state is not always the truth. I will contact the Vann House Historic Site to see if they know more than what the references state. The docents at the house even go into detail about how James Vann designed the corn cob motif on the wood work. That all could be mythology. We see so much of that too.

      Reply
    • Bobby, could it be that the brick veneer was applied to the original frame house around 1821? I can’t find anything in my architecture books that doesn’t say 1805 and that it was the first Greek Revival House in the interior of the Southeast.

      Reply
  2. kkakins@gmail.com'

    Fascinating and what a rich resource this is. Thank you! You need to write a novel about your life in the tent!

    Reply
  3. irishlass3911406@yahoo.com'
  4. wakefieldrising@gmail.com'

    I thought i was a Historian, now I am becoming one. I just got a new Professor! Thanks Richard for all that you do. Especially giving a voice to the silent, which is not always golden.

    Reply

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