The Apalachees lived in and around Moblie, Mobile County, from about 1705 to 1765.
A part of this tribe lived for a time among the Lower Creeks and perhaps in this State. Another section settled near Mobile and remained there until West Florida was ceded to Great Britain when they crossed the Mississippi.
The Apalachees were an important part of the state’s colonial-era history and an important ally of the French during their occupation of the Mobile Bay area.
They were forced from their traditional homeland in northwest Florida by European incursions and disease and warfare. During Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713; the name given to the North American theater of the War of Spanish Succession), raids by the British and their Creek allies severely disrupted life in Apalachee communities. In a devastating series of raids that became known as the “Apalachee Massacre,” forces led by Gov. James Moore of the British Province of Carolina destroyed several towns, killing hundreds and forcing more than 1,000 people into slavery among the British and their Creek allies. Survivors of these attacks fled northern Florida in 1704 and 1705 to French Mobile.
French officials at their newly established colonial administrative center of Mobile encouraged the Apalachees from Mission San Luis (modern Tallahassee, Florida) to settle in the Mobile Bay area. Some established a village north of Mobile near present-day Mount Vernon, with others eventually moving across the Mobile-Tensaw Delta onto lands that are now part of Historic Blakeley State Park. The Apalachees became well integrated into life in colonial Mobile.
When many French colonists left this area following its cession to the British after defeat in the Seven Years War (1756-1763, known as the French and Indian War in North America), the Apalachees left as well. They established a new settlement along the Red River in central Louisiana, where a few hundred descendants remain today in Rapides Parish.
Although the Apalachees’ stay in Alabama was relatively brief, their legacy survives in the form of prominent place names. The Apalachee River, a stream in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta that empties into Mobile Bay, is named for them. Bayou Salome, which runs through Historic Blakeley State Park and empties into the Tensaw River, is named in honor of the wife of the chief of the Apalachees in the mid-1700s.
The Apalachee nation no longer exists as a recognized tribal entity, but some 300 people in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, identify as Apalachee.