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American History
Creek Indian Chief William McIntosh

William McIntosh, son of (Scottish) Captain William McIntosh and Senoia Henneha of the Coweta-Cussitta Towns of the Lower Creeks, was born about 1775 near Tuetumpla (now Alabama). McIntosh was raised by his mother's brothers, who taught him the life skills necessary to survive in the wilderness on his own.

McIntosh also spent much time with his father and stepmother in the Savannah area. It was here that he learned to read, write and speak English. He learned his business skills from his father as well. Feeling comfortable with both his mother's people and his father's people helped McIntosh to gain the confidence necessary to become a leader.

His mother was of the Wind Clan, the clan from which leaders are usually chosen. McIntosh became a Micco (king) of the Lower Creek villages. That is, he was elected orator, or chief spokesman for these loosely aligned villages.

White's Historical Collections of Georgia, an early Georgia history, described McIntosh as intelligent and brave. In person he was tall, finely formed, and of graceful and commanding manners. His first cousin was George Troup, who served as Governor of Georgia.

McIntosh's military rank was earned by fighting with American forces under the command of Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. He fought well at the battles of Autossee, the Battle of Horse Shoe and in the Florida campaign. His rank was Brigadier General.

An astute businessman, McIntosh amassed considerable wealth. His plantation in Carroll County was the home of 40 slaves, many head of cattle, and sheep, as well as much land under cultivation. McIntosh was married three times: to Susanna Coe (a Creek woman), Peggy (a Cherokee), and Eliza. Each lived in her own home on a nearby plantation.

By 1823 when the first of the treaties for land in Georgia was being signed, McIntosh was aware that the Americans were going to acquire more and more land. Having fought along side them, McIntosh felt strongly that the Creeks should sell their land and take the money and land promised in the West. It was to this end that he signed the Treaty of 1825 at the Indian Spring Hotel. Unfortunately, McIntosh was unable to convince the leaders of the Upper Creek villages or the Cherokee at New Echota. He wrote to his cousin, Governor Troup asking for support, but the promised troops never arrived. While the treaty was being signed on the bar, leaders of the Upper Creek villages stood outside the hotel and swore revenge on McIntosh.

McIntosh was traced to his home in Carroll County where he was found and killed. His slaves were run off, his crops burned, and his cattle slaughtered. His plantation was burned. McIntosh fought valiantly but was mortally wounded and driven by fire from his home. After falling, McIntosh was scalped. His wife Susanna threw herself over his body and protected it for three days until troops arrived and buried McIntosh on the spot.

The Hotel is being restored to the 1823-1833 time period under the direction of an historic consultant. Already completed is an 1830's garden with summerhouse dedicated to Georgia First Lady Elizabeth Harris in 1990.

Thanks to The Americana SmorgasBoard for this story



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