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William McIntosh (1775 – April 30, 1825), also known as Taskanugi Hatke (White Warrior), was one of the most prominent chiefs of the Creek Nation between the turn of the nineteenth century and the time of Creek removal to Indian Territory. He was a leader of the Lower Towns, the Creek who were adapting European-American ways and tools. In 1817 he was implicated with David Brydie Mitchell, former Georgia governor and US Indian agent to the Creek, of smuggling African slaves in from Spanish Florida, in violation of US law against the international slave trade. (SOURCE needed)
For decades, European-American historians attributed McIntosh's achievements and influence to his Scots/European ancestry; more recently, historians have understood how his power related to the Creek matrilineal culture and his heritage.
Early life and education
Taskanugi Hatke (White Warrior) was born in the Lower Towns in present-day Georgia to Senoya (also spelled Senoia and Senoy), a member of the Wind Clan, which was prominent in the Creek Nation. As the Creek had a matrilineal system of property and hereditary leadership, his mother's status determined that of White Warrior. Also called William McIntosh, the boy had a Scots-American father, Captain William McIntosh, connected to a prominent Savannah, Georgia family. Captain McIntosh, a Loyalist, had worked with the Creek to recruit them as allies to the British during the American Revolutionary War. His mother was Jennet (or Janet in some sources) McGillivray, believed to have been a sister of the Scot Lachlan McGillivray, a wealthy fur trader and planter in Georgia, who was of the Clan MacGillivray Chiefs Lineage). After the war, Captain McIntosh moved to Savannah and married his cousin, Barbara McIntosh.
White Warrior gained his status and place among the Creek from his mother's clan. Benjamin Hawkins, first appointed as United States Indian agent in the Southeast and then as Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the territory south of the Ohio River, lived among the Creek and Choctaw, and knew them well. He commented in letters to President Thomas Jefferson that Creek women were matriarchs and had control of children "when connected with a white man." Hawkins further observed that even wealthy traders were nearly as "inattentive" to their mixed-race children as "the Indians". What he did not understand about the Creek culture was that the children had a closer relationship with their mother's eldest brother than with their biological father, because of the importance of the clan structure.
Through both his mother and father, McIntosh was related to numerous other influential Creek chiefs, many of whom at the time were of mixed race. They were descendants of strategic marriages between high-status Creek women and the mostly Scots fur traders in the area. The most prominent was Alexander McGillivray, the son of Sehoy, a Wind Clan mother, and Lachlan McGillivray; and William Weatherford (better known in history as Red Eagle or Lamochatta), also born to the Wind Clan. Both men became well established as Creek chiefs and wealthy planters but Weatherford became aligned with the traditionalist Red Sticks of the Upper Towns.
Marriage and children
McIntosh married a Creek woman named Susanna Coe, and they had several children, including a son named Chilly. Two of their daughters married the brothers Samuel and Benjamin Hawkins.
William McIntosh was of mixed Creek and European descent, chiefly Scots. As his mother was Creek, he was raised as a member of her clan within the Creek nation, which was matrilineal. His father was Captain William McIntosh, part of the powerful McGillivray family of Savannah. The son McIntosh became a wealthy planter and slaveholder; he was influential in both Creek and European-American society. This pattern was similar to that of several of his high-ranking, mixed-race Creek relatives. For generations, Creek chiefs had approved their daughters' marriages to fur traders in order to strengthen their alliances and trading power with the wealthy Europeans.
McIntosh used his influence to improve a route from Talladega, Alabama to his ferry on the Chattahoochee River, which was a source of revenue. Parts of it are still referred to as the McIntosh Road. He also developed a plantation and owned black slaves.
The Creek were forced to cede lands to the United States in the early 1800s. While influential, McIntosh was said to have collaborated with the US Indian Agent Mitchell on defrauding the Creek of annuity monies from their land cessions. After the United States prohibited the international slave trade in 1808, he arranged to smuggle African slaves into the Mississippi Territory from Spanish Florida.
The Creek Nation struggled with internal tensions after the American Revolutionary War and during the War of 1812, when both sides tried to engage them as allies. The Lower Towns, which comprised the majority, were adapting some elements of European culture, as had been encouraged by the British and later Americans. This included education in English; for some, adoption of Christianity; as well as forms of European dress and houses - to show they were equally "civilized". They expanded their farms and some of the elite purchased chattel African slaves to work their plantations.
Internal Creek tensions resulted in the Creek War (1813-1814), when the Red Sticks of the Upper Towns attacked some Lower Creek settlements. McIntosh and other Lower Creek allied with United States forces against them after 1813. McIntosh fought with General Andrew Jackson and state militias in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, marking the defeat of the Red Sticks and the end of the Creek War. He was made a brigadier general.
After the wars, European-American settlers were increasingly migrating to the interior of the Southeast from the coastal areas.
First Seminole War
Remnants of Creek, other American Indian tribes, and fugitive slaves had migrated to Spanish Florida during the late 18th century, when they formed a new tribe, known as the Seminole. Georgia slaves had escaped and also taken refuge in Spanish-held Florida, where the Crown offered them freedom and land.
After the War of 1812, the British withdrew and turned over Fort Gadsden, on the lower Apalachicola River, to blacks in the area. It was occupied by about 300 black men, women, and children, 20 renegade Choctaw, and a few Seminole warriors, led by a black named Garcon. Georgia slaveholders called it the "Negro Fort," and worried that the independence of the blacks would encourage their slaves to escape or rebel. McIntosh fought for the United States in the First Seminole War and helped capture Fort Gadsden. When the Americans shot a heated cannonball into the fort, it struck the magazine and set off a huge explosion. Most of the people within the fort died immediately.
Letter to Madison
In 1817 McIntosh wrote to President James Madison, telling him that the more influential Cherokee leaders of mixed blood wanted to swap their land with the US government, which had been pushing for American Indian removal west of the Mississippi River. He wrote that the "not so much civilized" full bloods feared that the mixed-bloods would swap all the Cherokee land, leaving them "without any land to walk on."
African importation case of 1820
After President James Monroe came to office, in November 1817 his administration appointed David Brydie Mitchell as US Indian agent to the Creek. Mitchell had formerly been the governor of Georgia (1809-1813) (1815-1817), as well as holding other posts in the state. He and McIntosh became implicated in the African importation case of 1820, tried as Miguel de Castro v. Ninety-five African Negros (1819-1820) in Admiralty Court, because it was in violation of the US law, effective 1808, to end the international slave trade. The Africans had been taken by the privateer "Commodore" Aury from a Spanish ship bound for Havana, and transported to Amelia Island off Florida, for smuggling into the United States. McIntosh and Mitchell discussed accepting the slaves under Creek sovereignty independent of the United States.
Treaty of Indian Springs, 1825
Under pressure from the United States and the state of Georgia, some Creek chiefs had ceded land. The United States was trying to encourage the Creek and other Southeast tribes to cede their lands in exchange for payments and land west of the Mississippi River, in what was called Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma and Arkansas.) The National Council, including McIntosh, passed legislation making it a capital crime to alienate communal land.
On February 12, 1825, McIntosh and eight other chiefs, including his sons-in-law Samuel and Benjamin Hawkins, signed the Treaty of Indian Springs. They ceded all the Creek land in Georgia to the United States in exchange for $200,000. The fifth article of the treaty stipulated, "That the treaty commissioners pay the first $200,000 directly to the McIntosh party." Historians continue to argue over whether McIntosh ceded the land for personal gain, or because he believed removal was inevitable and he was trying to achieve some security for the Creek Nation.
The National Council ruled that the signatories had to be executed for ceding the land. On April 30, 1825, the Red Stick leader Menawa, and 120-150 Law Menders from towns in the ceded territory, set McIntosh's house on fire. McIntosh escaped from the house with Etommee Tustunnuggee, another Creek chief who signed the 1825 treaty. They were killed by gunfire. Later that day, the Law Menders found the Hawkins brothers; they hanged Samuel and shot Benjamin, but he escaped.
Members of the National Council, including Menawa, went to Washington to protest the 1825 treaty. The US government rejected the 1825 treaty as fraudulent, and negotiated the 1826 Treaty of Washington, which allowed the Creek to keep about 3 million acres (12,000 km2) in Alabama. In this new treaty, the Creek received an immediate payment of $217,660 and a perpetual annuity of $20,000. The state of Georgia ignored the new treaty and worked to evict the Creek from their lands before removal started in the 1830s.
- Hoxie, « McIntosh, William, Jr. »
- "American History: Creek Indian Chief William McIntosh". Electricscotland.com.
- Griffith (1998), McIntosh and Weatherford, p. 3
- Griffith, Jr., Benjamin W. McIntosh and Weatherford, Creek Indian Leaders, Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 1998, pp. 10-11 online edition
- John Bartlett Meserve, "The MacIntoshes" [sic], Chronicles of Oklahoma 10 (1932): 310-25, accessed 4 October 2011
- Winston Skinner (March 30, 2009). "McIntosh descendant pens story about chief's son Chilly". The Newnan Times-Herald. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- "Using Primary Sources in the Classroom: Creek Indian War, 1813-1814". Alabama Department of Archives. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- Larry Worthy. "North Georgia Creek History". ngeorgia.com. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- Griffith (1998), McIntosh and Weatherford, p. 1
- Royce Gordon Shingleton, "David Brydie Mitchell and the African Importation Case of 1820," Journal of Negro History 58 (3) (July 1973): 327-340, accessed 14 February 2012
- Michael D. Green, The Politics of Indian Removal: Creek Government and Society in Crisis, University of Nebraska Press, 1985, pp. 96-97, accessed 14 September 2011
- Snyder, Christina (3 June 2011). "Second Treaty of Washington (1826)". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Auburn University. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- « McIntosh, William, Jr. » in Hoxie, Frederick E. Encyclopedia of North American Indians Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996. ISBN 978-0-585-07764-2
- Adapted from Carole E. Scott, "Chief William McIntosh", Rootsweb ©, with permission of the author.
- Benjamin W. Griffith, McIntosh and Weatherford, Creek Indian Leaders (University of Alabama Press, 1998) ISBN 0-8173-0340-5 (Page 238, 248, 249)
- "Captain William McIntosh", Floripedia
- George Chapman, Chief William McIntosh: A Man of Two Worlds (Atlanta, 1988).
- R.S. Cotterill, The Southern Indians: The Story of the Civilized Tribes before Removal (Norman, Okla., 1954). This book introduced the idea of the Creek War as a civil war within a divided Indian nation (rather than a red-white race war).
- Ebenezer H. Cummins, A Summary Geography of Alabama, One of the United States (Philadelphia, 1819). This short book includes an example of the praise heaped on McIntosh during his lifetime by white admirers.
- Andrew K. Frank, Creeks and Southerners: Biculturalism on the Early American Frontier (Lincoln, Neb., 2005).
- Michael D. Green, The Politics of Indian Removal: Creek Government and Society in Crisis, Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1982
- Michael D. Green, "William McIntosh: The Evolution of a Creek National Idea", in The Human Tradition in the Old South, ed. James C. Klotter (Wilmington, Del., 2003).
- Benjamin Griffith, McIntosh and Weatherford, Creek Indian Leaders (Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1988).
- Bert Hodges, "Notes on the History of the Creek Nation and Some of Its Leaders," Chronicles of Oklahoma 43 (1965): 9-18.
- Joel Martin, Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees’ Struggle for a New World (Boston, 1991). An interesting take on the Creek War as a religious struggle.
- John Bartlett Meserve, "The MacIntoshes" [sic], Chronicles of Oklahoma 10 (1932): 310-25.
- Royce Gordon Shingleton, "David Brydie Mitchell and the African Importation Case of 1820," Journal of Negro History 58 (3) (July 1973): 327-340. (McIntosh and Mitchell's activities as slave smugglers).
- Claudio Saunt, A New Order of Things: Property, Power, and the Transformation of the Creek Indians, 1733-1816 (Cambridge, 1999).
- Thomas S. Woodward, Woodward's Reminiscences of the Creek, or Muscogee Indians (Montgomery, 1859). Includes an admiring portrait of McIntosh's generalship by one who served under him.
- Betty Collins Jones, Clouds across the Moon (Carrollton, Ga., 1991), romance novel.
- Billie Jane McIntosh, Ah-ko-kee, American Sovereign (Flagstaff, Ariz., 2002). (Written by a descendant, it is an imaginative romance novel starring one of William McIntosh's daughters, and should not be mistaken for history.)
- William Gilmore Simms, "The Broken Arrow," in The Book of My Lady: A Melange. By a Bachelor Knight (Philadelphia, 1833). A poem about McIntosh.
- "William McIntosh", Encyclopedia of American Indians; password required.
- "William McIntosh", New Georgia Encyclopedia
- "William McIntosh", Encyclopedia of Alabama
- "McIntosh grave/marker"
- "McIntosh, William". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900