Alabama Indian Villages, Towns and Settlements
Table of Contents
When Alabama was first established as part of the Mississippi Territory in the early nineteenth century, the vast majority of the land belonged to the American Indian Creek Indian Confederacy, and most of the Native American towns and villages in Alabama were inhabited by the Creeks.
Indian towns and settlement patterns were recorded in the accounts of travelers who visited them.
Much of the information here has been gleaned from:
(1)Aboriginal Towns In Alabama, Handbook of the Alabama Anthropological Society, 1920, and
(2)Swanton, John R., Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors. Pub. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 73. Washington, 1922.
The Creek Nation was divided among the group known as the Upper Creeks, who occupied territory along the Coosa, Alabama, and Tallapoosa rivers in central Alabama, and the Lower Creeks, who occupied the areas along the lower Chattahoochee, Ocmulgee, and Flint rivers in southwestern Georgia.
Histopolis – Bollaborative Genealogy & History
Geoff Mangum’s Native America Project
Vicki Roema, Footsteps of the Cherokees (2007)
W. Stuart Harris, Dead Towns of Alabama (1977)
Aboriginal Towns in Alabama, Handbook of the Alabama Anthropological Society, 1920
Swanton, John R., Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors. Pub. Smithosian Institution, Bureau of American Enthnology, Bulletin 73. Washington, 1922.
Abihka was an Upper Creek Indian town east of the Coosa River and south of Tallassehatchee Creek. The first record of the town is found on Delisle’s map of 1704, where they are “les Abelkas,” and are noted on the east side of the Coosa River, apparently just above the influx of the Pakantalahassi.— Winsor.
Abikakutchee was another Upper Creek Indian town located in Talladega County. The site was first recorded on maps in 1733 and a census in 1760 listed 130 Indian warriors living there. Those living there were later reported to have a few cattle, hogs and horses and to assist the white people who lived among them. The site of the town is a mile from where the Sylacauga Highway goes over Tallassehatchee Creek. It was located on the right bank of the creek.
An Upper Creek town on the right bank of Natche (now Tallahatchi) Creek, five miles east of Coosa River, on a small plain. Settled from Abika, and by some Indians from Natche, q. v. Bartram (1775) states, that they spoke a dialect of Chicasa; which can be true of a part of the inhabitants only. A spacious cave exists in the neighborhood.
A town in the De l’Isle map of 1703, located on the headwaters of Coosa River. The name may be intended for that of the Pakana.
Alkehatchee or Alkohatchi
De Brahm, writing in the eighteenth century, gave this as the name of an Upper Creek town. It perhaps refers to Łałogalga on Elkhatchee Creek.
A group of towns near the site of Montgomery. See Migration Legend, I, pp. 85-89.
Alkohatchi was an upper Creek town on Tallapoosa river upon the Alko hatchi, or “Alko stream” which joins Talla poosa from the west, four miles above Okfuski.
Amakalli, Lower Creek town, planted by Chiaha Indians on a creek of that name which is the main water-course of Kitchofuni creek, a northern affluent of Flint river, Georgia. Inhabited by sixty menin1799. The name isnot Creek;it is Cheroki and seems identical with Amacalola creek, a northern affluent of Etowa river, Dawson county, Georgia. The derivation given for it is: ama water, kalola sliding, tumbling.
Located along Anatitchapko Creek about 10 miles north of Pikneyville, Alabama in Clay County, Alabama. Pinckneyville is in the south west part of Clay County near the Tallapoosa County line on County Road 18.
Anati tchapko or “Long Swamp,” a Hillabi village, ten miles above that town, on a northern tributary of Hillabi creek. A battle occurred there during the Creek or Red Stick war, January 24th, 1814. Usually written Enotochopko. The Creek term anati means a brushy, swampy place, where persons can secrete themselves.
A Lower Creek town on the west bank of Chatahuchi river, 1.5 miles below Chiaha.
An Upper Creek town, called Oselanopy in the Census list of 1832. It probably lay on Yellow Leaf creek, which joins Coosa River from the west about five miles below Talladega creek. From it sprang Green-leaf Town in the Indian Territory, since láni means yellow and green at the same time. Green is now more frequently expressed by páhi-láni.
Atagi, a Tawasee Indian town, was located on the Alabama River at the mouth of Autauga Creek, in the southeastern corner of Autauga County. The first county seat of Autauga County was established at Washington, Alabama on the site of the town of Atagi, in 1819.
Atagi is an Alabama tribal name, referring to both a traditional Alabama Indian village and the band of people who lived there. The village name comes from the Alabama word Aatooka, which means “ballcourt.” Other variants of the same name include Autauga and Atagi.
An Upper Creek town on the east side of Tallapoosa River, below and adjoining Kalibi hátchi Creek.
Given on the Purcell map (pl. 7) as a town on Tallapoosa River not far below Tulsa. It may be intended for Hatcheechubba, but if so, it is not properly located.
On the east bank of the Tallapoosa River, in Randolph County, Alabama, near the mouth of Cedar Creek was another Upper Creek village Atchinalgi. The community was destroyed on November 13, 1813 by General James White and his troops from Tennessee.
Near present-day community of Sprott, Alabama. Large town covering a square mile.
Royce 4 gives this as a town in the northwestern part of Coosa County, Alabama. The first part of the name is probably atcina, cedar. It is evidently the Cedar Creek Village of Owen 5 and may be the Authinohatche of the Popple map (pl. 4).
Swan has this in his list of Creek towns immediately after Autauga. It is possible that it was merely a synonym of Autauga.
Near mouth of Autauga Creek, Autauga County, on north bank.
The census of 1761 mentions this, but states that it was already said to be broken up. See, however, note 1 on page 418.
Chananagi (Chunnenuggee), Lower Creek Town
(“Long ridge”). A Creek town which Brannon places “in Bullock County, just south of the Central of Georgia Railroad, near Suspension, Alabama. “14 Woodward represents the people of this town as being allied with the Tukabahchee when the Creek-American war broke out. There is a modern village of this name east of Montgomery, in Russell County, Alabama.
Coweta is one of the four mother towns of the Muscogee people along with Kasihta, Abihka, and Tuckabutche. The town of Coweta was the capital of the Creek Confederacy between 1717 and 1755.
Coweta was located in an area now in the modern state of Alabama. It was a central trading city of the Lower Creeks. Members of the tribal town were also known as Caouitas or Caoüita.
The Cherokee language name for all the Lower Creeks is Anikhawitha.
The exact location of Coweta is still in dispute. For the full story, Richard Thornton has a superb article on the matter. You can read it here.
On Alabama River, three mile above Montgomery.
A Lower Creek town on the eastern bank of Chatahuchi River, two and a half miles below Kawíta Talahássi; Kasíhta once claimed the lands above the falls of the Chatahuchi river on its eastern bank. In this town and tribe our migration legend has taken its origin. Its branch settlements spread out on the right side of the river, the number of the warriors of the town and branches being estimated at 180 in 1799; it was considered the largest among the Lower Creeks. The natives were friendly to the whites and fond of visiting them; the old chiefs were orderly men, desirous and active in restraining the young “braves” from the licentiousness which they had contracted through their intercourse with the scum of the white colonists. Hawkins makes some strictures at their incompetency for farming; “they do not know the season for planting, or, if they do, they never avail themselves of what they know, as they always plant one month too late” (p. 59). A large conical mound is described by him as standing on the Kasíhta fields, forty-five yards in diameter at its base, and flat on the top. Below the town was the “old Cussetuh town,” on a high flat, and afterwards “a Chicasaw town ” occupied this site (p. 58). A branch village of Kasíhta is Apata-i, q. v. The name Kasíhta, Kasíχta, is popularly explained as “coming from the sun” (ha si) and being identical with hasíhta. The Creeks infer, from the parallel Creek form hasóti, “sunshine,” that Kasíhta really meant “light,” or “bright splendor of the sun;” anciently, this term was used for the sun him self, “as the old people say.” The inhabitants of the town believed that they came from the sun. Cf. Yuchi. A place Cusseta is now in Chatahuchi County, Georgia, 32° 20 Lat.
West of confluence of the Alabama River and Cahawba River. On north side of Alabama River.
A port and neighboring town, on the Gulf coast, either on Mobile or Pensacola Bay, in which the DeSoto fleet wintered, 1540. Thought to be the present Mobile Bay. (P. A. B.)
Opilłako (“Big Swamp”)
Besides the recognized tribes or towns of major importance and such of their offshoots as can be identified, the literature of this region contains many names of towns or villages which can not be definitely connected with any of those given. In some cases it may be that we have to deal with ancient divisions in process of decline which were never connected with the rest, but in at least nine-tenths of the cases they are nothing more than temporary offshoots of the larger bodies.
Opilłako (“Big Swamp”) seems to have been one of the most ancient and important of these. It appears as far back as 1733, on the De Crenay map. It appears also in the census lists of 1750 and 1760,4 but not in that of 1761. The trader located there in 1797 was Hendrik Dargin. Swan spells the name “Pinclatchas,” o and Hawkins has the following description:
O-pil-thluc-co; from O-pil-lo-wau, a swamp; and thluc-co, big. It is situated on a creek of that name, which joins Puc-cun-tal-lau-has-see on the left side. It is 20 miles from Coosau River; the land about this village is round, flat hills, thickets of hickory saplings, and on the hillsides and their tops, hickory grub and grapevines. The land bordering on the creek is rich, and here are their fields.?
The town does not appear in the census list of 1832, and seems to have vanished out of the memories of the living Indians. By his classification of Opillåko, Hawkins clearly indicates that he considered it a branch of one of the other towns. It is probably the Weypulco of the Mitchell map (pl. 6).
There is a tradition among the modern Creeks that the Pakana separated from the Abihka, but it is evidently due to the proximity of the two peoples in ancient times and the number of intermarriages which took place between them. Again, an old Hilibi man told me that this town was founded by a Wiogufki Indian named Bakna, who held the first busk in his own yard, and whose name became attached to the new town. But Pakana was in existence long before Wiogufki. Wakokai, the mother town of Wiogufki, and the Pakana town were, however, located near each other, and to the close relations thence arising we may attribute the tradition. It is confusing to find the name Pakan tallahassee [Påkån talahasi] (“Pakana old town”) used for these people in the very earliest mention of them, the De Crenay map of 1733. Since we hear shortly afterwards of a Pakana tribedistinct from the Pakan tallahassee, which first settled near Fort Toulouse and later migrated to Louisiana—a suggestion is raised whether the Pakan tallahassee may not have been Muskogee or other Indians who had occupied a site abandoned by the Pakana proper. We have something similar in the case of the Tukabahchee tallahassee, who were really an outsettlement of Okfuskee Indians.? While such an interpretation is possible I think the real fact was that a single tribe split in two after Fort Toulouse was established, one part locating near it as a convenient market. At that time the original body may have received the name “old town Pakana” to distinguish them from the emigrants. It is indeed strange that on the De Crenay map we find “old town Pakana” (Pakanatalaché), but no Pakana. Still, this is not conclusive, for Fort Toulouse had probably been in existence 18 years when the map was prepared and the Pakana in its neighborhood may well have been overlooked. Both bodies appear in the lists of 1750, 1760,3 and 1761, in which last year William Struthers and J. Morgan were the officially recognized traders. In 1797 the trader was “John Proctor, a half-breed.” 5 The division known as Pakan tallahassee appears also in the list of 1738o and those of Bartram, Swan, and Hawkins, and on the census rolls of 1832. In 1768, or shortly before, it was burned by the Choctaw.8 Hawkins derives the name “from E-puccun-nau, a may apple, and tal-lau-has-see, old town.” The first word signifies properly “a peach”-katabuya is May apple—but it is doubtful whether its original meaning was related to either. The name Pakana may have a long antecedent history and a totally different origin. Hawkins adds:
1 Plate 5; also Hamilton, Col. Mobile, p. 190.
* See p. 247.
•MSS., Ayer Lib.; Miss. Col. Arch., 1, p. 95.
• Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 523.
• Hawkins in Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., Ix, p. 169.
* MS., Ayer Lib.
? Bartram, Travels, p. 461; Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, iv, p. 578; v, p. 262; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., III, p. 25; Senate Doc. 512, 23d Cong., 2d sess., IV, pp 285-286.
8 Eng. Trans., MS., Lib. Cong.
It is in the fork of a creek which gives name to the town; the creek joins on the left side of Coosau, forty miles below Coo-sau town.’
After the removal they settled in the southern part of the Creek Nation near Hanna, Oklahoma, and have maintained their square ground in the same place ever since.
The Pakana who settled near Fort Toulouse probably never rejoined their kindred. From a letter written by M. d’Abbadie, governor of Louisiana, April 10, 1764, we know that they emigrated to Red River at the same time as the Taensa and Apalachee. He calls them “Pakanas des Alibamons,” either from the name of the French post or from the fact that they were supposed to be related to the Alabama Indians. The former supposition is, I believe, correct, since in the census of 1760 we find them classed as “Alybamons,” not merely with the Koasati and Tuskegee, but also with the Okchai, some Coosa Indians, and some Indians called “Thomapas”; while, on the other hand, the Muklasa, Tawasa, and part of the Coosa are put among the “Talapouches,” 3 Indians on Tallapoosa River. Evidently the classification is geographical, not linguistic. Later these Pakana settled upon Calcasieu River in southwestern Louisiana, as shown in the following account given by Sibley:
Pacanas, are a small tribe of about thirty men, who live on the Quelqueshoe (Calcasieu) River, which falls into the bay between Attakapa and Sabine, which heads in a prairie, called Cooko prairie, about forty miles southwest of Natchitoches. These people are likewise emigrants from West Florida, about forty years ago. Their village is about fifty miles southeast of the Conchattas; are said to be increasing a little in number; quiet, peaceable, and friendly people. Their own language differs from any other, but speak Mobilian. 4
Still later some or all of these Pakana united with the Alabama living in Texas, where they are still remembered. The last survivor was an old woman who died many years ago. Her language was said to be distinct from Alabama, which would naturally be the case if it was Muskogee.
Tukabahchee was not only considered one of the four “foundation sticks” of the Creek Confederacy, but as the leading town among the Upper Creeks, and many add the leading town of the whole nation. During later historic times it was the most populous of all the upper towns, and is to-day the most populous without any exception. Like the other head towns, it has a special ceremonial title, Spokogi, or Ispokogi. Jackson Lewis thought this meant that Tukabahchee brooded over the other towns like a hen over her chickens. Another old Creek was of the opinion that it meant “to hold something firmly,” since it was this town that held the confederacy together. Gatschet interprets it as “town of survivors,” or “surviving town, remnant of a town.” 1 It can not be said, however, that any of the suggested interpretations has great probability in its favor.
Pin-e-hoo-te; from pin-e-wau (pinwa)
Hawkins thus describes another branch village:
Pin-e-hoo-te; from pin-e-wau (pinwa), a turkey, and ehoo-te [huti), house. It is on the right side of a fine little creek, a branch of E-pe-sau-gee. The land is stiff and rich, and lies well; the timber is red oak and hickory, the branches all have reed, and the land on them, above the settlement, is good black oak, sapling, and hickory. This and the neighboring land is fine for settlement; they have here three or four houses only, some peach trees and hogs, and their fields are fenced. The path from New-yau-cau to Cow-e-tun-tal-lau-has-see passes by these houses.
i Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 46.
2 Senate Doc. 512, 23d Cong., 1st sess., iv, pp. 243-
3 Plate 5; also Hamilton, Col. Mobile, p. 190.
* MS., Ayer Lib.; Miss. Prov. Arch., 1. p. 95.
5 Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, p. 170.
* Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, v, p. 262.
i Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., II, p. 50.
Another town of the same name was in Bibb County, Alabama, east of Cahaba River, opposite the mouth of Shuts Creek.?
Wehuarthly [Wi hīli] (sweet water)
Hawkins mentions a village belonging to Tukabahchee called Wehuarthly [Wi hīli] (sweet water) from a little creek of that name near which it stood.”
Tecumseh held most of his councils with the Creeks in this town. The name appears in the census of 1832 ? and often in later history. After the removal the Tukabahchee settled in the southeastern corner of their new territory, but later drifted westward, following the game, and at the present time their square ground is just north of Holdenville. This is still the most populous town in the nation and has the largest square.
According to tradition, Wiwohka was a made-up or “stray” town, formed of fugitives from other settlements, or those who found it pleasanter to live at some distance from the places of their birth. One excellent informant stated that anciently it was called Witumpka, but the names mean nearly the same thing, “roaring water” and “tumbling water.” Both designations are said to have arisen from the nature of the place of origin of these people, near falls, and these may have been the falls of the Coosa. From the preservation of a purely descriptive name and their comparatively recent appearance in Creek history it may be fairly assumed that they had not had a long existence. Their name appears on the De Crenay map, in the lists of 1738, 1750, 1760, and 1761.’ It is wanting from Bartram’s list, but reappears in those of Swan and Hawkins and in the census rolls of 1832. The census of 1761 couples it with “New Town,” and gives the traders as William Struthers and J. Morgan. The irregular nature of its origin may perhaps be associated with its later responsibility for the Creek war of 1813 and the Green Peach war in Oklahoma, both of which are laid to its charge. At the present time it has so far died away that but few real Wiwohka Indians remain. Its later relations were closest with the Okchai Indians with whom the survivors now busk.
I MSS., Ayer Lib.; Hamilton, Col. Mobile, p. 190; Miss. Prov, Arch., 1, p. 94; Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 523;
Bartram, Travels, p. 461; Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, v, p. 262; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., II, p. 25.
* Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, pp. 168, 195.
3 Ibid., III, p. 34.
* Plate 5; MSS., Ayer Lib.; Miss. Prov. Arch., 1, p. 95; Ga. Col. Docs., VII, p. 523.
Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, v, p. 262; Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., II, p. 25; Senate Doc, 512, 23d Cong., 1st sess., iv, pp. 282-283.
Ga. Col. Docs., op. cit.
The following is Hawkins’s description of this town as it was in 1799:
We-wo-cau; from we-wau, water, and wo-cau, barking or roaring, as the sound of water at high falls. It lies on a creek of the same name, which joins Puc-cun-tal-lauhas-see, on its left bank, sixteen miles below that town. We-wo-cau is fifteen miles above 0-che-au-po-fau and four miles from Coosau, on the left side; the land is broken, oak and hickory, with coarse gravel; the settlements are spread out, on several small streams, for the advantage of the rich flats bordering on them and for their stock; they have cattle, horses, and hogs. Here commences the moss, in the beds of the creeks, which the cattle are very fond of; horses and cattle fatten very soon on it, with a little salt; it is of quick growth, found only in the rocky beds of the creeks and rivers north from this.
The hills which surround the town are stony, and unfit for culture; the streams all have reed, and there are some fine licks near the town, where it is conjectured salt might be made. The land on the right side of the creeks is poor, pine, barren hills to the falls. The number of gun men is estimated at forty.?
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