The Creek Confederacy
Creek, A confederacy forming the largest division of the Muskhogean family. They received their name form the English on account of the numerous streams in their country. During early historic times the Creek occupied the greater portion of Alabama and Georgia, residing chiefly on Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, the two largest tributaries of the Alabama river and on the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers. They claimed the territory on the east from the Savannah to St. Johns river and all the islands, thence to Apalachee Bay, and from this line northward to the mountains. The south portion of this territory was held by dispossession of the earlier Florida tribes. They sold to Great Britain at an early date their territory between Savannah and Ogeechee rivers, all the coast to St Johns river, and all the islands up to tidewater, reserving for themselves St Catherine, Sapelo, and Ossabaw Islands, and from Pipemakers Bluff to Savannah (Morse, N. Am., 218, 1776). Thus occupying a leading position among the Muskhogean tribes the Creeks were sufficiently numerous and powerful to resist attacks from the northern tribes, as the Catawba, Iroquois, Shawnee, and Cherokee, after they had united in a confederacy, which they did at an early day. The dominating tribes at the time of the confederation seem to have been the Abihka (or Kusa), Kasihta, Kawita, Oakfuskee, and some other tribe or tribes at the junction of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers. Nothing certain can be said of their previous condition, or of the time when the confederacy was established, but it appears from the narratives of De Soto’s expedition that leagues among several of these towns existed in 1540, over which head chiefs presided.
Creek Confederacy Languages
For more than a century before their removal to the west, between 1836 and 1840, the people of the Creek confederacy occupied some 50 towns, in which were spoken 6 distinct languages, viz, Muscogee, Hittite, Koasati, Yuchi, Natchez, and Shawnee. The first three were of Muskhogean stock, the others were entirely alien incorporations. About half the confederacy spoke the Muscogee language, which thus constituted the ruling language and gave name to the confederacy. The meaning of the word is unknown. Although an attempt has been made to connect it with the Algonquian maskeg, ‘swamp,’ the probabilities seem to favor a southern origin. The people speaking the cognate Hitchiti and Koasati were contemptuously designated as “Stincards” by the dominant Muscogee. The Koasati seem to have included the ancient Alibamu of central Alabama, while the Hitchiti, on lower Chattahoochee river, appear to have been the remnant of the ancient people of southeast Georgia, and claimed to be of more ancient occupancy than the Muscogee. Geographically the towns were grouped as Upper Creek, on Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, Alabama, and Lower Creek, on middle or lower Chattahoochee river, on the Alabama-Georgia border. While the Seminole (q. v.) were still a small body confined to the extreme north of Florida, they were frequently spoken of as Lower Creeks. To the Cherokee the Upper Creeks were known as Ani-Kusa use, from their ancient town of Kusa, or Coosa, while the Lower Creeks were called Ani-Kawita, from, their principal town Kawita, or Coweta. The earlier Seminole emigrants were chiefly from, the Lower Creek towns.
Creek Indian Clans
- Ahalakalgi (Bog potato),
- Atchialgi (Maize),
- *Chukotalgi (toad). An extinct Creek clan, closely affiliated with the Toad or Sopaktalgi clan.
- Fusualgi (Bird), The Forest Bird (?) clan of the Creeks
- Halpadalgi (Alligator),
- *Hlahloalgi (Fish), An extinct Creek clan.
- Hutalgalgi (Wind), A principal Creek clan.
- *Isfanalgi, An extinct clan of the Creeks, said by Gatschet to be seemingly analogous to the Ishpani phratry and clan of the Chickasaw.
- Itchhasualgi (Beaver), (itchhasua ‘beaver’, algi ‘people’). A Creek clan. Gatschet, Creek Migration Legends, i, 155, 1884
- Itchualgi (Deer),
- Katsalgi (Panther),
- Koakotsalgi (Wild-cat),
- Kunipalgi (Skunk),
- * Muklasalgi,
- Nokosalgi (Bear),
- * Odshisalgi (Hickory-nut),
- * Okilisa,
- *Oktchunualgi (Salt),
- Osanalgi (Otter),
- Sopaktalgi (Toad),
- Takusalgi (Mole),
- Tsulalgi (Fox),
- * Wahlakalgi,
- Wotkalgi (Raccoon),
- Yahalgi (Wolf).
Creek Confederacy Towns and Villages
Source: Listing of all the Indian villages, towns and settlements as listed in Handbook of Americans North of Mexico.
Below is a list of the Creek towns and villages. The smaller contained 20 to 30 cabins and the larger as many as 200. Tukabatchi, the largest, is said to have had 386 families in 1832. The towns were composed of irregular clusters of 4 to 8 houses, each cluster being occupied by the representatives of a clan.
Upper Creek Towns
Abihka – One of the oldest of the Upper Creek towns; exact location unknown, but it was near upper Coosa River, Alabama.
Abikudshi – (‘Little Abihka’). A former Upper Creek town in North Talladega County, Alabama, on the right bank of Tallahatchee Creek, 5 miles east of Coosa River. It was settled by Abihka Indians and some of the Natchez. Bartram (1775) states that the inhabitants spoke a dialect of Chickasaw, which could have been true of only a part.
Anatichapko – (Anáti-chápko ‘long thicket’) . A former Creek village on a N. tributary of Hillabee cr., a branch of Tallapoosa r., Ala. A battle occurred there during the Creek or Red Stick war, Jan. 24, 1814. Gatschet, Creek Migr. Leg., I, 126, 1884.
Assilanapi – (yellow or green leaf tree). A former Creek town, probably on Yellowleaf cr., a tributary of Coosa r., Ala. There is a township of the same name in the Creek Nation, Indian Ter. Gatschet, Creek Migr. Leg., I, 128, 1884.
Atasi – (Creek: ă′tăssa, ‘warclub’. Gatschet) . An ancient Upper Creek town on the s. side of Tallapoosa r., in Macon co., Ala., adjoining Calibee cr., 5 in. above Huthliwathli town. In 1766 it contained about 43 warriors, and when seen by Hawkins, about 1799, it was a poor, miserable-looking place. On Nov. 29, 1813, a battle was fought there between the Creeks and Jackson’s troops. The name was later applied to a town in the Creek Nation, Indian Ter., the people of which are called Atasálgi. See Jefferys, French Dom. Am., 135, map, 1761; Bartram, Trav., 454, 1791; Gatschet, Creek Migr. Leg., I, 128, 1884; II, 185, 1888.
Atchinaalgi – (cedar grove people). A former small village of the Upper Creeks, on a tributary of Tallapoosa r. , probably in Tallapoosa co., Ala. It was their northernmost settlement in the 18th century, and was destroyed by Gen. White, Nov. 13, 1813. (A. S. G.)
Atchinahatchi – (cedar creek) . A former branch settlement of the Upper Creek village of Kailaidshi, on a small stream of the same name, a tributary of the Tallapoosa, probably in Coosa co., Ala. ( A. S. G. )
Aucheucaula – A former Creek town situated on the E. bank of Coosa r., in the extreme N. w. corner of Coosa co., Ala. Royce in 18th Rep. B. A. E., Ala. map, 1900.
Canjauda – Mentioned as a former Creek town in Cherokee co., Ala. Sen. Doc. 67, 26th Cong., 2d sess., 1, 1841.
Cayomulgi – An ancient Upper Creek town on a stream which joins Coosa r. at Coussa (Kusa) town, Ala. Possibly for Okmulgee, an ancient Creek town in E. Georgia.
Chananagi – (ridge of land, or hill ridge). A former Upper Creek town E. of the site of Montgomery, Ala.
Chatoksofki – Chatoksofki (Chát aksúfki, rock bluff ). A former Upper Creek town in Talladega co., Ala., with 143 families in 1833. Chatoksofki, Abikudshi, Niuyaka, and Oakfuskee were anciently considered one town whose people met at one place for their annual busk, q. v. In former times these were the greatest ball players of the Creeks. The few survivors are consolidated with the Eufaula in the Creek Nation, Ind. Ter., where a modern town known as Chatoksofki now exists. (A. S. G.)
Chatukchufaula – An Upper Creek town on Tallapoosa r., Ala., probably in Chambers co. , settled apparently by the Talasse.
Chegoli – A former town on the E. bank of Tallapoosa r., Ala. (Bartram, Trav., i, map, 1799). Not identified, but probably Creek.
Cholocco Litabixee – ( Chu-láko ili-tapíksi ‘horse’s flat foot’, A. S. G. ). A former Upper Creek village on a bend of Tallapoosa r., Ala., in the river bottom, where, on Mar. 27, 1814, the defeat of the Red-stick party took place at the battle of the Horseshoe. Pickett, Hist, Ala., ii, 341, 1851.
Hatchichapa – (half-way creek). A former branch settlement of the Upper Creek town Kailaidshi, between Coosa and Tallapoosa rs., Ala. Hawkins states that the Creeks hostile to the United States burned it in 1813, but it was probably rebuilt as it is mentioned in Parsons census list of 1832 as having 62 heads of families.
Hillabi – (pron. hi′-la-pi). A former Upper Creek town near the present Ashland, Clay co., Ala., in the “central district” between Coosa and Tallapoosa rs, on Koufadi cr., a branch of Hillabee cr. Most of the Hillabi people had settled before 1799 in the 4 villages called Hlanudshiapala, Anatichapko, Istudshilaika, and Uktahasasi. In the vicinity of Hillabi town its inhabitants, with other “Red Sticks,” or hostiles, were vanquished by Jackson s army, Nov. 18, 1813, when 316 of them were killed or captured and their town devastated. (A. S. G.)
Hlanudshiapala – (láni ‘mountain’, udshi dim. suffix, apála ‘on the other side’: ‘on the other side of a little mountain’). A former Upper Creek settlement, one of the four Hillabi villages, with a town square, situated on the N. w. branch of Hillabi cr., Ala., 15 m. from Hillabi town. (A. S G.)
Hlaphlako – (Láp-láko, ‘tall cane’). Two former Upper Creek villages on or near Cupiahatchee cr., in Macon co., Ala., with 81 and 66 heads of families, respectively, in 1832.
Hlahlokalka – (Lá′lo-kálka: lá′lo ‘fish’, akálgäs ‘I am separated from’). A former Upper Creek settlement established by the Okchayi on a small river forming ponds, 4 m. above Oakfuskee, Cleburne co., Ala. (A. S. G.)
Huhliwahli – (to apportion war). A former Upper Creek town on the right bank of Tallapoosa r., 5 m. below Atasi, in Macon co., Ala. It obtained its name from the privilege of declaring war which was accorded to it, the declaration being sent from this town to Tukabatchi, thence to the other villages. (A. S. G.)
Ikanachaka – (ikana ‘ground’, atchaka ‘reserved, set apart, beloved, sacred). A former Upper Creek town, located by Meek (Romantic Passages in S. W. Hist, 278, 1857) on the s. side of Alabama r., between Pintlala and Big Swamp cr., in Lowndes co., Ala. It was built on “holy ground” and hence was thought to be exempt from hostile in roads. Weatherford and the “prophet” Hillis Hadjo resided there, and the Creek forces were defeated there Dec. 23, 1813, at which date it contained 200 houses and included some Shawnee. (H. W. H.)
Ikanhatki – (white ground). A former Upper Creek town on the right bank of lower Tallapoosa r., Montgomery co., Ala., immediately below Kulumi town. Swan, who passed there in 1791, says it had been settled by Shawnee, who had 4 villages in the vicinity, and they are called by him Shawnee refugees, but Bartram (1775) states that they spoke Muscogee. Under the name Ekundutske the village was said to contain 47 families in 1832. (A. S. G.)
Imukfa – ( Hitchiti: shell, also referring to a metallic ornament of concave shape; applied possibly in allusion to the bend in the river). A subordinate settlement of the Upper Creek town Oakfuski, on a creek of the same name, a short distance w. of Tallapoosa r., Ala. A battle was fought there Jan. 24, 1814, in the Creek war, and the celebrated battle of the Horseshoe Bend, on Mar. 25 of the same year, took place in the immediate vicinity. (A. S. G.)
Ipisogi – A subordinate settlement of the Upper Creek town Oakfuski, on a creek of the same name which enters the Tallapoosa from the E., opposite Oakfuski, Ala. According to Hawkins it had 40 settlers in 1799.
Istapoga – (isti ‘people’, apókita to ‘reside’). An Upper Creek settlement, not recorded in the earlier documents; but probably in the neighborhood of the present Eastaboga, Talladega co., Ala. Gatschet, Creek Migr. Leg., i, 133, 1884.
Istudshilaika – I′atudshi-läi′ka, where a young thing was found. Hawkins). One of the 4 Hillabi villages formerly on the left side of Hillabi cr., 4 m. below Hillabi, Ala.
Littefutchi, Lutchapoga, Muklassa, New Eufaula, Ninnipaskulgees, Niuyaka, Oakfuskee, Oakfuskudshi, Okchayi, Okchayndshi, Ooeasa, Opilhlako, Oselarneby, Otituchina, Pakan Tallahassee, Pinhoti, Potchushatchi, Sakapatayi, Satapo, Saugahatchi, Sukaispoka, Taladega, Talasi, Talasihatchi, Talapoosa, Taliposehogy, Tukabatchi, Tukabatchi Tallahassee, Tukpafka, Tukhtukagi, Tuskegee, Uktaliasasi, Ullibahali, Wakokayi Weogufka, Wetumpka, Wewoka, Woksoyudshi. (See also Alibamu. )
Lower Creek and Hitchiti Towns
Chiahudshi – (Chiahu′dshi, ‘little Chiaha’). A former dependent settlement of the Chiaha, about 2 m. w. of Hitchiti town, E. Ala.
Chiskatalofa – (chiski ‘post oak’, talofa ‘town’). A former Creek town on the w. side of Chattahoochee r., 4 m. below Wikaihlako, in Henry co., Ala.
Chukahlako – (great house). (1) A former Lower Creek town on Chattahoochee r., Ala. In 1799 the inhabitants had abandoned the place and moved to Oakfuskee, on the opposite side of Tallapoosa r. There is a Choccolocco post-office in Alabama on Choccolocco cr. Mentioned in a census of 1832 as an Upper Creek town with 109 families. Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, iv, 578, 1854. (A. S. G.)