Image above: President James Monroe. Image right: Triumph, depicting eventual victory of Union, with reference to the Missouri Compromise. Created by Morris H. Traubel, 1861. Images courtesy Library of Congress.
February 12, 1825 - In the state of Georgia, the Creek Indian tribe give up their last lands to the United States government, leading to their move west.
Whether it be coercion or agreement and in a decade prior to both the Indian Removal Act or the subsequent Trail of Tears that ripped the remainder of most of the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi River and transplanted them in the western territories, the tribe of the Georgia Creek would be on the move. Four years earlier, on January 8, 1821, the First Treaty of Indian Springs, or the Treaty with the Creeks, had been completed between the Muscogee Creek and the United States. They'd given up four million three hundred thousand acres east of the Flint River in exchange for $200,000, to be paid in installments over fourteen years, as well as pay claims made by Georgia citizens which totaled $250,000 (only $100,000 was eventually paid). The Creek were amenable to giving up this land due to the lack of game still within the territory, as it had been driven away by white settlement. The Georgia government wanted land that would separate the Creek from the Cherokee and prevent a future alliance. The Creek National Council vowed that this was the last time they would make a concession of their lands. However, it was now four years later.
William McIntosh, a half Indian, half white member of the Lower Creek nation, had been at the forefront of the negotiations for the First Treaty. It had been held at his thirty-five room inn, the Indian Springs Hotel, and he had been the recipient of a transaction payment of $40,000, as well as the title to one thousand additional acres around his hotel and six hundred and forty acres around his plantation along the Ocmulgee River. Yes, you could say that he had a compromising position in the transaction. McIntosh had always been a controversial leader, leading raids in the First Seminole War against the Florida Seminoles, owning African slaves, and choosing the minority side against the Red Stick faction during the War of 1812. And he was not, apparently, against accepting bribes.
Since the appointment of Duncan Campbell and James Meriweather as Indian commissioners by President Madison in July 1824, the U.S. Government had been trying to get the Creek National Council to agree to more land concessions. They disagreed in December. Campbell and Meriweather were determined to acquire the land through any means and decided to work with McIntosh, who'd negotiated the prior treaty and was a Creek councilman, but was not a principal chief.
On February 12, 1825, McIntosh, was amenable, with a $200,000 bribe attached to a $400,000 payment to the Creek. Campbell, Meriweather, and McIntosh signed the Second Treaty of Indian Springs with fifty-two members of the tribe, although only one a member of the Creek National Council. He broke the Creek pledge not to sell off any additional land, granting the United States government control of an additional three million acres, reaching into Alabama. They would retain improved acreage, like that which he owned. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty one month later on March 7, 1825.
Although it seemed as if that would be the final blow for the Creek in Georgia, and in eventuality, the outcome of keeping their ancestral acreage would be lost in subsequent actions, the Second Treaty of Indian Springs would eventually be repealed. And the subsequent outcome for William McIntosh, who had gone against the edict of the Creek National Council would be addressed. It would not end well.
Text, First Treaty of Indian Springs
Articles of a treaty entered into at the Indian Spring, in the Creek Nation, by Daniel M. Forney, of the State of North Carolina, and David Meriwether, of the State of Georgia, specially appointed for that purpose, on the part of the United States; and the Chiefs, Head Men, and Warriors, of the Creek Nation, in council assembled.
ART. 1. The Chiefs, Head Men, and Warriors, of the Creek Nation, in behalf of the said nation, do, by these presents, cede to the United States all that tract or parcel of land, situate, lying, and being, east of the following bounds and limits, viz: Beginning on the east bank of Flint river, where Jackson's line crosses, running thence, up the eastern bank of the same, along the water's edge, to the head of the principal western branch; from thence, the nearest and a direct line, to the Chatahooche river, up the eastern bank of the said river, along the water's edge, to the shallow Ford, where the present boundary line between the state of Georgia and the Creek nation touches the said river: Provided, however, That, if the said line should strike the Chatahooche river, below the Creek village Buzzard-Roost, there shall be a set-off made, so as to leave the said village one mile within the Creek nation; excepting and reserving to the Creek nation the title and possession, in the manner and form specified, to all the land hereafter excepted, viz: one thousand acres, to be laid off in a square, so as to include the Indian Spring in the centre thereof; as, also, six hundred and forty acres on the western bank of the Oakmulgee river, so as to include the improvements at present in the possession of the Indian Chief General M'Intosh.
ART. 2. It is hereby stipulated, by the contracting parties, that the title and possession of the following tracts of land shall continue in the Creek nation so long as the present occupants shall remain in the personal possession thereof, viz: one mile square, each, to include, as near as may be, in the centre thereof, the improvements of Michey Barnard, James Barnard, Buckey Barnard, Cussena Barnard, and Efauemathlaw, on the east side of Flint river; which reservations shall constitute a part of the cession made by the first article, so soon as they shall be abandoned by the present occupants.
ART. 3. It is hereby stipulated, by the contracting parties, that, so long as the United States continue the Creek agency at its present situation on Flint river, the land included within the following boundary, viz: beginning on the east bank of Flint river, at the mouth of the Boggy Branch, and running out, at right angles, from the river, one mile and a half; thence up, and parallel with, the river, three miles: thence, parallel with the first line, to the river; and thence, down the river, to the place of beginning; shall be reserved to the Creek nation for the use of the United States' agency, and shall constitute a part of the cession made by the first article, whenever the agency shall be removed.
ART. 4. It is hereby stipulated and agreed, on the part of the United States, as a consideration for the land ceded by the Creek nation by the first article, that there shall be paid to the Creek nation, by the United States, ten thousand dollars in hand, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged; forty thousand dollars as soon as practicable after the ratification of this convention; five thousand dollars, annually, for two years thereafter; sixteen thousand dollars, annually, for five years thereafter; and ten thousand dollars, annually, for six years thereafter; making, in the whole, fourteen payments in fourteen successive years, without interest, in money or goods and implements of husbandry, at the option of the Creek nation, seasonably signified, from time to time, through the agent of the United States residing with said nation, to the Department of War. and, as a further consideration for said cession, the United States do hereby agree to pay to the state of Georgia whatever balance may be found due by the Creek nation to the citizens of said state, whenever the same shall be ascertained, in conformity with the reference made by the commissioners of Georgia, and the chiefs, head men, and warriors, of the Creek nation, to be paid in five annual instalments without interest, provided the same shall not exceed the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars; the commissioners of Georgia executing to the Creek nation a full and final relinquishment of all the claims of the citizens of Georgia against the Creek nation, for property taken or destroyed prior to the act of Congress of one thousand eight hundred and two, regulating the intercourse with the Indian tribes.
ART. 5. The President of the United States shall cause the line to be run from the head of Flint river to the Chatahooche river, and the reservations made to the Creek nation to be laid off, in the manner specified in the first, second, and third, articles of this treaty, at such time and in such manner as he may deem proper, giving timely notice to the Creek nation; and this Convention shall be obligatory on the contracting parties, as soon as the same shall have been ratified by the government of the United States.
Done at the Indian Spring, this eighth day of January, A.D. eighteen hundred and twenty-one.
Text, Second Treaty of Indian Springs
Articles of a convention, entered into and concluded at the Indian Springs, between Duncan G. Campbell, and James Meriwether, Commissioners on the part of the United States of America, duly authorised, and the Chiefs of the Creek Nation, in Council assembled.
WHEREAS the said Commissioners, on the part of the United States, have represented to the said Creek Nation that it is the policy and earnest wish of the General Government, that the several Indian tribes within the limits of any of the states of the Union should remove to territory to be designated on the west side of the Mississippi river, as well for the better protection and security of said tribes, and their improvement in civilization, as for the purpose of enabling the United States, in this instance, to comply with the compact entered into with the State of Georgia, on the twenty-fourth day of April, in the year one thousand eight hundred and two: And the said Commissioners having laid the late Message of the President of the United States, upon this subject, before a General Council of said Creek Nation, to the end that their removal might be effected upon terms advantageous to both parties:
And whereas the Chiefs of the Creek Towns have assented to the reasonableness of said proposition, and expressed a willingness to emigrate beyond the Mississippi, those of Tokaubatchee excepted:
These presents therefore witness, that the contracting parties have this day entered into the following Convention:
ART. 1. The Creek nation cede to the United States all the lands lying within the boundaries of the State of Georgia, as defined by the compact hereinbefore cited, now occupied by said Nation, or to which said Nation have title or claim; and also, all other lands which they now occupy, or to which they have title or claim, lying north and west of a line to be run from the first principal falls upon the Chatauhoochie river, above Cowetau town, to Ocfuskee Old Town, upon the Tallapoosa, thence to the falls of the Coosaw river, at or near a place called the Hickory Ground.
ART. 2. It is further agreed between the contracting parties, that the United States will give, in exchange for the lands hereby acquired, the like quantity, acre for acre, westward of the Mississippi, on the Arkansas river, commencing at the mouth of the Canadian Fork thereof, and running westward between said rivers Arkansas and Canadian Fork, for quantity. But whereas said Creek Nation have considerable improvements within the limits of the territory hereby ceded, /D/ and will moreover have to incur expenses in their removal, it is further stipulated, that, for the purpose of rendering a fair equivalent for the losses and inconveniences which said Nation will sustain by removal, and to enable them to obtain supplies in their new settlement, the United States agree to pay to the Nation emigrating from the lands herein ceded, the sum of four hundred thousand dollars, of which amount there shall be paid to said party of the second part, as soon as practicable after the ratification of this treaty, the sum of two hundred thousand dollars. And as soon as the said party of the second part shall notify the Government of the United States of their readiness to commence their removal, there shall be paid the further sum of one hundred thousand dollars. And the first year after said emigrating party shall have settled in their new country, they shall receive of the amount first above named, the further sum of twenty-five thousand dollars. And the second year, the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars. And annually, thereafter, the sum of five thousand dollars, until the whole is paid.
ART. 3. And whereas the Creek Nation are now entitled to annuities of thirty thousand dollars each, in consideration of cessions of territory heretofore made, it is further stipulated that said last mentioned annuities are to be hereafter divided in a just proportion between the party emigrating and those that may remain.
ART. 4. It is further stipulated that a deputation from the said parties of the second part, may be sent out to explore the territory herein offered them in exchange; and if the same be not acceptable to them, then they may select any other territory, west of the Mississippi, on Red, Canadian, Arkansas, or Missouri Rivers - - the territory occupied by the Cherokees and Choctaws excepted; and if the territory so to be selected shall be in the occupancy of other Indian tribes, then the United States will extinguish the title of such occupants for the benefit of said emigrants.
ART. 5. It is further stipulated, at the particular request of the said parties of the second part, that the payment and disbursement of the first sum herein provided for, shall be made by the present Commissioners negotiating this treaty.
ART. 6. It is further stipulated, that the payments appointed to be made, the first and second years, after settlement in the West, shall be either in money, merchandise, or provisions, at the option of the emigrating party.
ART. 7. The United States agree to provide and support a blacksmith and wheelwright for the said party of the second part, and give them instruction in agriculture, as long, and in such manner, as the President may think proper.
ART. 8. Whereas the said emigrating party cannot prepare for immediate removal, the United States stipulate, for their protection against the incroachments, hostilities, and impositions, of the whites, and of all others; but the period of removal shall not extend beyond the first day of September, in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-six.
ART. 9. This treaty shall be obligatory on the contracting parties, so soon as the same shall be ratified by the President of the United States, by and with the consent of the Senate thereof.
In testimony whereof, the commissioners aforesaid, and the chiefs and head men of the Creek nation, have hereunto set their hands and seals, this twelfth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five.
Outcome of the Treaty for McIntosh and the Creek
The National Council of the Creeks were not pleased with McIntosh, and sent the Law Menders, the police force of the tribe, to seek McIntosh and two of the conspirators in the treaty. On April 30, 1825, McIntosh, Etomme Tustannuggee, and Samuel Hawkins were killed by the force.
The Creek protested the Second Treaty of the Creek to President John Quincy Adams, who agreed to send General Edmund P. Gaines to investigate. The investigators and government eventually agreed with the Creek, nullified the treaty, and negotiated another. The Second Treaty of Washington, replacing the Second Treaty of Indian Springs, was signed on January 24, 1826. That treaty still required the Creek to leave their remaining Georgia lands, although they could retain the acreage in Alabama. The supporters of McIntosh would be sent west of the Mississippi River.
That compromise, however, would not last long. The authorities in Alabama disagreed, attempted to breach the territory and extend control on the Creek land. In 1832, after President Andrew Jackson had come to office and the Indian Removal Act was in place, all Creek land east of the Mississippi was sold to the United States in the Treaty of Cusseta.
The Indian Springs Hotel, site of the initial two treaty negotiations, is now a building in the National Register of Historic Places and open as a historic museum and hotel. Side note, Sherman's troops also camped there in 1864 during his Civil War campaign for Atlanta and the March to the Sea.
Image above: Montage of (inset left) William M'Intosh (McIntosh), 1836/1844, Thomas Loraine McKenney and James Hall. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons via University of Cincinnati Libraries Digital Collections; and (background) Indian Springs Hotel, 2014. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Image below: Portion of Map showing Indian Removal and Trail of Tears, 2007, Nikater/Demis/Handbook of North American Indians. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Source Info: Wikipedia Commons; Encyclopedia of Alabama; Treaties of Indian Springs courtesy https://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/ and the University System of Georgia; the Village at Indian Springs.
The Smithsonian Institution rises above the Washington, D.C. landscape. Courtesy National Archives.
ABH Travel Tip
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