Captain Elick: Lower Creek Chief


Creek Chief. The few general facts of the early life of this Lower Creek chief, as given by himself, are that he had lived so long among the white people that he looked upon himself as much a white as a red man; that the white people had given him the name he bore, Captain Aleck, and that he had always lived in friendship with the English.

Apart from these statements, an evidence of Captain Aleck’s association with white people is the letter A, the first letter of Aleck, which he adopted as his mark in signing his name. That Captain Aleck had always been a true friend of the English is borne out by all the recorded facts extant of his history. He showed his loyalty by his actions. The first notice of him is in 1754, when all things pointed to rupture between England and France and between England and Spain. On November 11, accompanied by a few follow- ers, he called on Governor John Reynolds in council in Savannah and informed him that the French had persuaded some of the Upper Creeks to come to Mobile and receive pres- ents, and the Spaniards had done likewise in persuading some of the Lower Creeks to come to Pensacola for the same purpose. That he had not yet learned the objects of the French and Spaniards in these matters, but if he succeeded in doing so, he would inform the Governor. Captain Aleck’s talk agreed with the reports that had already come to the ears of the Governor that the French and Span- iards were very busy in endeavoring to win the Creeks over to their respective interests. Some presents were the next day presented to Captain Aleck and his followers, with which they were well pleased.

On May 11, 1757, Captain Aleck and his brother Will, accompanied by twelve men and women, had a talk with Governor Ellis in the council chamber in Savannah. After a conversation on several topics, the Governor told Captain Aleck that the Creeks should join no party to the prejudice of the English, to which Captain Aleck gave his full assent. The Governor then expatiated largely upon the cruelties of the French in all their pro- ceedings, and instanced a recent attempt by them to induce the Choctaws and Cherokees to exterminate the Chickasaws, which attempt proceeded solely from this desire to get pos- session of the lands of the Chickasaws. That the Great King expected the Creeks to join the English and assist them in driving back the French, who were daily encroaching on the Indians’ lands, and who, if they should grow stronger, would treat the Creeks as they had lately tried to treat the Chickasaws. On the contrary, the English had honestly paid for the lands which they got from the In- dians. But the policy of the French was to be- come masters of the Indians’ lands, after mur- dering the Indian inhabitants; and their pres- ent designs were either to cut the Indians off entirely, or to reduce them, their wives and children, to a state of slavery. The Eng- lish, on the other hand, were a people fond of trade and sent their ships laden with merchandise to all parts of the world; that wherever they went, their study was to make people free and happy; and when they talked, their tongues and hearts went fast together; that the Great King showed the love he bore his red children by presents and by frequent and friendly talks. The French too gave presents, but these presents, like the rum drank by the Indians, however sweet it might be at first, always made them sick in the end. After other remarks, by no means compli- mentary to the French, the Governor closed his talk by saying that every Indian who went to war against the French, should receive for every French scalp a reward equal in value to eight pounds of deer skins; and for a French prisoner a reward equal in value to sixteen pounds of deer skins, which he would much rather pay for than for the scalps. For, although the English were known to be warriors, it was likewise known that they took no pleasure in shedding human blood. Captain Aleck in reply said that the Governor’s talk was very true and just, that he had come down to hear a good talk and not for pres- ents, and so was not disappointed; that his brother would set off to the nation in a few days, and there was a beloved day approach- ing and his brother there would declare this talk before all the people, and no one could say that he had never heard it. Captain Aleck then applied for a grant of a piece of land or small island on which he was settled, but as he could not satisfactorily give its location, the consideration of his request was postponed, but he was told that if the land was vacant, or if the proprietor of it would accept other land in its place, he should have a grant for it. This matter settled, the Gov- ernor invited Captain Aleck and his brother to dine with him.

Nothing further is on record about Captain Aleck until January, 1763, when he sought the good offices of Governor James Wright to recover his wife, who had been stolen from him by some Yuchee Indians and carried into the province of South Carolina. Governor Wright wrote to Governor Boone of South Carolina desiring him to use every effort to secure the return of Captain Aleck’s wife.

Captain Aleck was present as Speaker of the Upper and the Lower Creeks at the Great Congress in Augusta in November, 1763. On one occasion during the six days in which the Congress was in session he spoke of the fre- quent stealing of horses by white people and Indians and proposed that some means should be adopted to prevent it for the future. These words speak high for Captain Aleck’s desire for peace and order on the frontier, the crime of horse stealing being promotive of frequent murders and killings by both white people and Indians, often culminating in wars. Captain Aleck also attended the Pensacola Congress in May, 1765. During its six days sessions he made several appro- priate talks and was one of the signers of the treaty. A part of Captain Stuart’s talk on May 30 to one of Captain Aleck’s is here given as it bears witness to the moral worth of the Muscogee chief: “I am glad to find you in the same good disposition in which I left you at Augusta, of which you have given so many proofs, during the course of your life; the white people must always put a value on your friendship, as the Governor and I ever will. We are very sensible of the effect and influence your talks have had on your nation and we desire you may continue them.” All the facts preserved in historic records, relative to Captain Aleck are favorable to his character as a man and a leader of his people.

The last historical notice of Captain Aleck occurs January 10, 17 68. There having been a disagreement between the Georgians and the Creeks with regard to the boundary line which, separated the two, on that day, Gov- ernor Wright and Captain Aleck, represent- ing the Creek Confederacy, came to an agree- ment that the dividing line should “commence at the Ogeechee river where the lower trad- ing path leading from Mount Pleasant on Savannah river to the Lower Creek Nation crosses the said river Ogeechee, and thence in a straight line cross the country to that part of the river Alatamaha opposite to the entrance or mouth of a certain Creek on the south side of the said river Alatamaha com- monly called Fen-hollow or Turkey Creek, and that the line should be thence continued from the mouth of the said Creek across the Country and in a southwest course to the St. Mary’s river, so as to reach it as far up as the tide flows or swells.”

Bibliography. — The Colonial Records of Georgia, vol. vii, pp. 33, 34, 566-569; Ibid, vol. IX, pp. 17, 18; The Colonial State of North Carolina, vol. XI, pp. 179, 184, 185, 188-190, 194, 203; Mississippi Provincial Archives, (1911), vol. I, pp. 190, 197, 198, 200, 203, 204, 207, 210; Jones’ History of Georgia, vol. II, pp. 80, 81.