Malatchee, Malahchee or Majla-Chi: Creek Chief

Malatchee, Malahchee or Majla-Chi:
Creek Chief

Born about 1711, as in May, 1740, he claimed to be nearly thirty years old, was the son of Bream of Coweta, the head chief of the Muscogees. Bream had an elder son, named Auletta, who, in July, 1721, went to Charleston to hold a talk with Governor Nicholson, and to make up their differences. Malatchee was still a youth at the time of the death of Bream, his father. The chief power was then put into the hands of Chigillie, Chickeley or Chikilee, apparently a brother of Bream, until Malatchee should arrive at years of maturity.

In 1736 a school for the instruction of Creek children, under the charge of the Rev. Benjamin Ingham, was established on the Savannah River, near the town of Tomochichi. Chikelee and Malatchee visited the school, and became much interested in it, Malatchee saying that if he had twenty children he would have them all taught. This was a remarkable statement for an untutored Indian chief of that day, and shows that Malatchee was a man of very advanced ideas, far beyond most of his contemporaries. In the meantime, the young Malatchee had so signalized himself as a warrior, that he was looked upon as the greatest man in the Creek Nation. the young Malatchee had so signalized himself as a warrior, that he was looked upon as the greatest man in the Creek Nation. He was one of the party that concluded a treaty with General Oglethorpe, August 1, 1739, his uncle, Chigillie, being the principal. Ever after this treaty, Malatchee enjoyed the favor of General Oglethorpe, for just prior to his Florida Campaign, he ordered a number of presents to be given to him, among these a scarlet coat.

Malatchee, in May, 1740, joined General Oglethorpe in his expedition against the Spaniards, and, it seems, was present at the siege of San Augustine. A contemporary has left a sketch of him as he appeared at this period of his life: “His ability, as well as his good will to the English, is not to be questioned; so his person is very engaging; his stature is but little short of six feet, his make clean, and perfectly shaped from head to foot, as he appears when naked to the skin; and when he puts on a coat and hat, his behavior is such, that one would rather image from his complaisance, he had been bred in some European court, than among barbarians. At the same time, though the features of his face are interesting, and show tokens of good nature, yet there is something in his aspect which demands awe.”

In December, 1747. Malatchee, with sixteen chiefs of various towns of ihe Creek Confederacy, chanced to be on a visit to Frederica. He was then and there persuaded by the notorious Bosomworth to have himself acknowledged as the head or emperor of the Creek Nation, with full power to cede land, conclude treaties, and transact any other business connected with the royal administration of the affairs of his people. Malatchee was at once proclaimed and saluted Supreme Chief of the Creek Nation. A document setting fortn this act was immediately prepared by Bosomworth, signed by the chiefs and attested by some Englishmen present. Malatchee requested that a copy should be sent to the King of England and that due record should be made of the original. Bosomworth’s object in this matter, and its unpleasant results, are fully given by Colonel C. C. Jones in his History of Georgia.

In 1752 the Creeks had a quarrel with the Cherokees. in which the former committed some outrages, among others scalping an English trader. On Governor Glen’s demand for satisfaction, Malatchee with a hundred warriors visited Charleston. After a talk by the Governor, Malatchee made a talk in which he apologized for the conduct of the Creeks, and the whole affair was satisfactorily adjusted. Malatchee’s talk has been preserved by Hewatt, the South Carolina historian. On the fifth day of November, 1754, six days after he was inducted into office as Captain- General and Governor in Chief of the Province of Georgia, Governor John Reynolds sent a talk to Malatchee in which he assured him that he would use every means to preserve the good understanding that then existed between the King’s subjects of Georgia and the Creek Nation. That it would be a very great pleasure to him to have an opportunity of shaking hands with him, and talking with him face to face. That he would notify him when it would be proper for him to come to Savannah, where he would be able to give him a further testimony of his love and friendship. “In the meantime, I wish you, your wives and children health and prosperity, assuring you that I am your loving friend and brother.”

Malatchee died in 1755. This date is based upon a statement made by his son Togoulki or Thougoulskie (the Young Twin), at the Augusta Congress of 1763, that his father had been dead eight years. This fixes 1755 as the year of his death. The American Indians, from time immemorial, universally held to the custom of burying all movable property in the grave with the deceased. After long persuasion by the traders, the Cherokees, by the middle of the eighteenth century, had, in a great measure, given up this custom. Malatchee, whether influenced by white people, or whether it was the result of. his own thinking, certainly had advanced ideas on this subject. Adair writes: “Except the Cherokee, only one instance of deviation, from this ancient and general Indian custom occurs to me: which was that of Malahche, the late famous chieftain of the Kowwetah war-town of the lower part of the Muskohge country, who bequeathed all he possessed to his real, and adopted relations, — -being sensible they would be much more useful to his living friends, than to himself during his long sleep: he displayed a genius far superior to the crowd.” Malatchee was succeeded in the chieftainship by his son, Tougulki. or as frequently known, “Young Twin.” For a few years before actually assuming the office. Tougoulki’s uncle, Sampiaffi. acted as his guardian.

References. — Year Book of Charleston, S. C. (1894), p. 339; The Colonial Records of Georgia, vol. 4, pp. 565, 566, 567; Adair’s American Indians (1775), p. 178; Hewett’s History of South Carolina, vol. i, pp. 173-178; Jones’ History of Georgia, vol. i, pp. 327-331, 392, 399; The Colonial Records of Georgia, vol. 7, p. 24; Ibid, vol. 21, p. 22.