Apalatchukla: A Lower Creek Town
Apalatchukla, a Lower Creek town on the west bank of Chatahuchi river,1.5 miles below Chiaha. In Hawkins’time it was in a state of decay, but in former times had been a white or peace town, called (even now) Talua ‘lako, ”large town,” and the principal community among the Lower Creek settlements. The name was abbreviated into Palatchukla, and has also been transferred to the Chatahuchi river; that river is now called Apalachicola below its confluence with the Flint river.
Cf.Sawokli-udshi. Bartram (Travels, p. 522) states: The Indians have a tradition that the vast four square terraces, chunkey yards, etc, at Apalachucla, old town, were “the ruins of an ancient Indian town and fortress.” This “old town” lay one mile and a half down the river from the new town, and was abandoned about 1750 on account of unhealthy location. Bartram viewed the”terraces, onwhich formerly stood their town-house or rotunda and square or areopagus,”and gives a lucid description of them. About fifty years before his visit a general killing of the white traders occurred in this town, though these had placed themselves under the protection of the chiefs (Travels, pp. 288- 390).
Concerning the former importance of this “white” town, W. Bartram (Travels, p. 387) states that “this town is esteemed the mother town or capital of the Creek confederacy; sacred to peace; no captives are put to death or human blood spilt there; deputies from all Creek towns assemble there when a general peace is proposed.” He refers to the town existing at the time of his visit, but implicitly also to the “old Apalachucla town.” The ancient and correct form of this name is Apalaxtchukla, and of the extinct tribe east of it, on Apalache bay, Apalaxtchi.
Judge G. W. Stidham heard of the following etymology of the name: In cleaning the ground for the town square and making it even, the ground and sweeping finally formed a ridge on the outside of the chunk-yard or play-ground; from this ridge the town was called Apalaxtch -ukla.
More upon this subject and upon the “Apalachicola Fort” on Savannah river will be found iu Migration Legend, Vol. I, 2U.