Creek Removal

  • <p>A great deal of land was ceded to the U.S. in the aftermath of the Creek War from 1813-1814.</p>

Detachments of Creeks arrived by land from south Alabama to complete their journey west by water from Tuscumbia Landing. While the Cherokee were transported from the east, seven groups of Creek travelled northwest from their lands in Georgia and Alabama to board boats at Tuscumbia Landing. Numerous detachments of Creeks used the landing to travel via a water route to Memphis (using the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to do so).Most then walked the rest of the distance to Oklahoma.

  • <p>William McIntosh, Scottish-Creek chief and signer of the Treaty of Indian Springs. Illustrated by Charles Bird King, 1838.</p>

The Creek’s transportation was not without difficulty. While he signed the Treaty of Indian Springs (1925), which ceded all Creek land in Georgia and three million acres in Alabama, William McIntosh was not a leader of the entire Creek people. He was the chief of a group known as the Lower Creek, and although he was a regional leader, he signed the Treaty of Indian Springs as an unauthorized representative of all Creek. His signing of the Treaty of Indian Springs was seen by those of the Upper Creek as a capital offense according to Creek National Council law. A contingent of Upper Creek razed his home and executed him. Chilly, his son and fellow signer of the treaty, escaped the attack and after a short self-exile among the Cherokee, he assumed leadership of the Lower Creek faction. While many Creeks were against the Treaty’s terms and were then forced by the government to make the trek to Oklahoma against their will in the 1830s, Chilly McIntosh led his own people to Oklahoma, through Tuscumbia Landing on a path of self-removal in 1827.

Describing their five days in the area during November 1827, McIntosh stated, "Here we have remained several days, and have received all kind of hospitality and good treatment. The citizens of Tuscumbia have treated us like brothers, and our helpless women were furnished by the good women of the town with clothing...As long as our nation remains upon this earth, we will recollect Tuscumbia."


Map: NPS

McIntosh: Wikimedia Commons