Uchee Billy

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Uchee Billy or Yuchi Billy (unknown–November 25, 1837 St. Augustine, Fla.) was a chief of the Yuchi tribe who along with his band escaped forced relocation from Georgia to Indian Territory by moving to the area of what is now Volusia County, Florida in 1822. During the Second Seminole War Uchee Billy was an ally of the Seminoles, and was one of the principal war chiefs who fought the U.S. Army.

Early life[edit]

Uchee Billy was born in the state of Georgia. He may have been descended from John Hicks, a Mikasuki.[1]

Career and capture[edit]

Billy was mistakenly reported to have been killed during a major sweep by United States forces along the St. Johns River in 1836. He was captured by Brigadier General Joseph Hernandez, commander of the East Florida Militia, on the night of September 10, 1837. His brother Uchee Jack and most of his small band were also captured. Only one member of the band of 21 escaped. Hernandez was led to the site by a Seminole brave, Tomoka John, who had been captured along with Seminole Chief King Phillip two nights earlier at Dunlawton Plantation.[2]

During his capture, Uchee Billy slew one U.S soldier, 21-year-old Lieutenant John Winfield Scott McNeil. His grave marker in the St. Augustine National Cemetery states he was "killed by Uchee Billy".[3] Uchee Billy along with his band was imprisoned in Fort Marion in St. Augustine, where Coacoochee and Osceola were also being held.

Death[edit]

He died in the fort on November 25, 1837 in prison in St. Augustine, Florida. After his death his skull was defleshed by the attending physician Frederick Weedon from St. Augustine who kept it as a macabre curio. Weedon was also the attending physician for Osceloa, whom he decapitated after his death at Fort Moultrie in South Carolina, and kept his head in a jar of preservative.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson, Jason Baird (2012). Yuchi Indian Histories Before the Removal Era. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. p. 223. ISBN 978-0803240414. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Drake, Samuel Gardner. The book of the Indians, or, Biography and history of the Indians of North America. P. 141
  3. ^ Homans, Benjamin, ed. Army and Navy chronicle, Volumes 4-5. P. 203
  4. ^ Wickman, Patricia Riles. Osceola's legacy. P. 188
  5. ^ Mahon, John K. (1985) History of the Second Seminole War: 1835-1842. University of Florida Press. ISBN 0-8130-1097-7 Pp. 6, 8, 157, 212, 214