Cherokee Phoenix and Indians' Advocate
Vol. III No. 3
Saturday, May 8, 1830
Pg. 1 Col. 4a- Pg. 2 Col. 3a
Relating to the boundary line between the Cherokee and Creeks.
We have in our possession, we believe all the testimonies which General Coffee, collected on his late visit to this nation, relating to the unfounded claim of Georgia, and on which the President has made a strange decision. These documents we shall lay before our readers. We shall begin with the statements made on the part of Georgia.
Executive correspondence and documents relative to the boundary lines between the Creeks and Cherokees, furnished by the Governor of Georgia to General Coffee.
28 January, 1829.
Sir- I herewith communicate all the testimony I have been able to collect in relation to the boundary line between the Creeks and Cherokees as understood by those tribes prior to the year 1821. By the treaty of 1818 with the Creeks, the President was authorized to have a line run to designate the boundary of land ceded by said treaty. And the Honorable Wilson Lumpkin, who was appointed for that purpose,run a line from a Locust Tree on the west side of the Chattahoochy,and some distance from the river. By the treaty of 1817, the Cherokees ceded land on the east side of the Chattahoochy, north of this line, and by the treaty of 1818 the Creeks ceded lands on the east side of the Chattahoochy south of it. The conclusion therefore is a rational one, apart from any testimony on the subject, that the dividing line between the two tribes crossed the Chattahoochy River at Sawanah Old Town. The western point of boundary between the two tribes as proved by treaties, and admitted by both tribes, is the mouth of Will's Creek on Cosa River. The line of division then between the two tribes, subsequent to the treaties of 1817 with the Cherokees, and of 1818 with the Creeks, & prior to the year 1821 was a line the easter end of which was Sawanah Old Town on the Chattahoochy River. By the testimony of James Gilbert, Robert Venable, Isham Williams,and Elisha Winns, it appears that the line from Sawanah Old Town run on to the Hightower River in the neighborhood of the Six's Old Town.- And by the testimony of Major Brooks, from thence down the river to the mouth of Wills Creek.- The testimony of Major Montgomery, George M. Grisham, and also that of Major Brooks, proves that the land on the south side of this line, and on the north side of the line run by the two tribes in 1821, was Creek land- the conclusion then is irresistible, that the dividing line between the two tribes prior to the year 1821, was a line commencing at Sawanah Old Town on the Chattahoochy River, and running to the Six's Old Town, on the Hightower, thence down said river to the mouth of Will's Creek. It is generally reported, in the neighborhood of Sawanah Old Town, and o f the Buzzard Roost, that the line run by the two tribes in 1821, was in consequence of an arrangement of an agreement between them, to which the Government of the United States was not a party. The agreement therefore by which this line was established according to its Constitution and its Laws is not binding upon the United States. And by the treaty of 1827 the Creeks have ceded all the land in their occupancy * within the chartered limits of Georgia, to the United States for the use of Georgia,it follows undeniably that the land south of the line running from Sawanah Old Town on the Chattahoochy River, thence down said river to the Alabama line,and now in the possession of the Cherokees,is the legal right of Georgia.
S. A. Wales
His Ex. John Forsyth
Governor of Georgia.
* All the land in their occupancy. This acknowledgement of col. S. A. Wales, authorized commissioner of Georgia, is full of import, and places in its true light the nature of the claim contended for by him and by the State. Georgia now claims the land by virtue of the treaty of 1827, in which treaty, Col. Wales says the Creeks "ceded all the land in their occupancy within the chartered limits" of the State. We grant it. But does it undeniably follow that the land south of Sawanah Old Town and the Hightower River was purchased of the Creeks and is therefore, the rightful property of Georgia.. By no means. Why? Because this very same land now in dispute was not at the tie of the treaty, and for aught any man can prove, has never been in the occupancy of the Creeks. The reasoning of Col. Wales is a remarkable instance of false conclusions from correct premises.
Ed. Cher. Ph.
GEORGIA, GWINNETT COUNTY .
James Gilbert being sworn saith,that he has lived at the upper part of Sawanah Old Town, on the Chattahoochy River since the year 1819, at that time he understood the dividing line between the Cherokee and Creek tribes of Indians was a trail called the Hightower path,crossing the river at Sawanah Old Town, and running on to the Hightower River-and that this trail was understood by all to be the line that divided the two tribes, until there was another line made, commencing as this deponent is informed at a point on the Chattahoochy River, some distance below Sawanah Old Town called Buzzard Roost-and this deponent further saith, that he has understood from the Cherokees, that the point where the Hightower path crossed the Chattahoochy River at Sawanah Old Town was also called the Buzzard Roost before the line was made.
GEORGIA, GWINNETT COUNTY.
Robert Venable being sworn saith,that he had lived on the frontier of Georgia for 28 years, and that he has frequently been in the Cherokee Nation and understood from the whites who had married in the Cherokee Nation , that the old and original line between the Creek and Cherokee tribes of Indians was a line crossing the Chattahoochy River at Sawanah Old Town, and running on striking the Hightower in the neighborhood of the Six's Old Town.
GEORGIA, GWINNETT COUNTY.
Elisha Winn, being sworn, deposeth and saith, that he was living on the frontier of Jackson County at the time of the treaty of 1818, with the Creek Indians, and at the time of the treaty of 1817, with the Cherokee Indians; at the time of said treaties the dividing line between the two tribes was what was called the Hightower path,running from the High Shoals on the Apalachee River to Sawanah Old Town, on the Chattahoochy River, & from thence to Six's Old Town on the Hightower River,and this deponent further saith that John Rogers, who married a Cherokee claimed a reserve immediately south of said path as a Cherokee land under the treaty of 1817, and that the Gen . Government would not have him to claim it because he had taken it upon Creek lands.
GEORGIA, GWINNETT COUNTY.
Isham Williams being sworn, saith that for sometime prior to the treaty of 1817, with the Cherokees, he was living at the Hog Mountain (now) in the County aforesaid--and that he has understood from those who had become citizens of the Cherokee Nation by marriage,that the dividing line between the Creek and Cherokee tribes of Indians was an old trail crossing the Chattahoochy River at Sawanah Old Town,and running on and striking the Hightower River at a place called Six's Old Town.
GEORGIA, GWINNETT COUNTY.
George M. Grisham being sworn, saith that Parker Collins who intermarried with a Cherokee,and who was living a short distance below Sawanah Old Town, on the west side of the Chattahoochy River and below the old trail that was said to be the dividing line between the Creek and Cherokee tribes of Indians, a few years since moved and settled above said trail, and that it was reported that the object of his removal was to get off from Creek land upon Cherokee land.
GEORGE M. GRISHAM.
GEORGIA, DEKALB COUNTY.
Jacob R. Brooks swears that he has resided permanently on the Chattahoochy River since February 1819, and had a transient residence for some time previous,and that he distinctly recollects of conversing wit sundry natives and citizens of the Cherokee nation respecting their boundary,and always, until 1821, understood that the line commenced at Sawanah Old Town on the Chattahoochy River, and ran on to a creek called Alahkulseh, ( S.E. dividing line) thence down said creek to the Hightower River near Sixes Old Town on said river, thence down said river to the mouth of Will's creek and this deponent further saith, he has understood that in the year 1821, an arrangement was made between the Chefs of the two tribes, by which their dividing line was removed,so as to commence at a point fifty miles lower down on the Chattahoochy River called the Buzzard Roost, and from thence to the mouth of Will's Creek, that there was no white man in company when the last line was run, and that he never has understood that the last line was ratified or recognized by the Government of the United States.--And further this deponent saith,that one John Woodall,by permission of the Cherokees, cultivated a farm and built a mill on the west side of the Chattahoochy River a short distance below the line commencing from the Buzzard Roost, and that Rolly McIntosh at the head of a party of Creek Indians,came up and destroyed the mill and crop of said Woodall.
JACOB R. BROOKS.
GEORGIA, DEKALB COUNTY.
James M. C. Montgomery saith on oath, that he was Superintendent of Artificers in the service of the United States in the year 1824, and stationed at the Standing Peach Tree on the Chattahoochy River, for the purpose of erecting public boats to transport provisions down the Chattahoochy River; that while in service at said place,he understood from Indians in that vicinity, who were chiefly or entirely Cherokees, that the land on both sides of said river belonged to the Creeks. And this deponent further saith, that some years prior to 1814, he had obtained a decree of the Cherokee nation against a certain Cawdry, who was then at the head of an Indian family-that he was informed by the Cherokee Indians, that said Cawdry run his property to the Standing Peach Tree. On enquiring whether the land there was Creek or Cherokee, this deponent was informed by several who were leading men in the Cherokee nation,that it belonged to the Creeks, and that any claim or title the Cherokees had to the lands then,was by permission of the Creeks and that it was common for the two tribes (being connected with each other by marriage,) to occupy each others land. And this deponent further saith that the Standing Peach Tree is from ten to twelve miles below the Buzzard Roost, the point from whence the temporary line between the two tribes now starts. And further this deponent saith,that one John Woodall was permitted by the Cherokees to erect a mill &c. on the west side of the Chattahoochy, immediately below the Peach Tree, and that Rolly McINtosh at the head of a party of Creek Indians as this deponent understood,came up and destroyed said Woodall's crop and mill, and this deponent has often seen the ruins of the same.
Laurenceville, 22 Jan. 1829.
Sir- At the request of Col. Wales, in conformity wit instructions received by him from your Excellency some time since, relative to the procuring testimony to establish the original boundary line between the Creek and Cherokee nations, I have accompanied him to this place, and a few days since I left him in this county in pursuit of testimony required, with the expectation of meeting again at this place on today. I have since I left here, visited the nation in the neighborhood of Six's Old Town and Hightower River. The Cherokee Indians residing in that neighborhood,do not pretend to deny that the original line between the two nations of Indians, commenced and run as is contended by Georgia, to wit: beginning at the Sawanah Old Town on the Hightower. From what I have seen in the nation,I am induced to believe that the act of the last Legislature of Georgia extending the civil jurisdiction of the state over the nation, has had the effect designed by Georgia. The Indians appear to be satisfied,that it will be impossible for them to remain where they are any length of time as a nation--and I am now fully convinced, that if the General Government could be prevailed on to appoint one or more special agents to go into the nation and explain to the Indians (which I believe has never yet been done) fully the intentions and wishes of that Government in relation to their removal and permanent settlement beyond the Mississippi, a majority of the Indians would be now willing to leave the Nation and settle in Arkansas; and by proposing to them a treaty upon the plan or terms suggested by your Excellency,to wit: providing for the removal of such as were disposed to remove,and granting to the half-breeds and whites who have intermarried with the Indians, the right to claim their reserves and become citizens of the State, the same might be immediately effected for the w hole of the territory in their possession within the limits of Georgia.
WM. B. WAFFORD.
To His Ex. John Forsyth.
Newton County Jan 26, 1829
Sir- In compliance with the request of Mr. S. A. Wales I transmit to your Excellency all the information I am in possession of relative to the old boundary line between the Creek and Cherokee Indians. In the fall of 1818, I was called on by Mr Wilson Lumpkin, U. S. Commissioner, to accompany him as surveyor in running & marking the lines of the purchase recently obtained from the Creek Indians, bounded on the south by the Hightower path or trail, and on the north by a line running from the head of the Apalachie to Sawanah Old Town on the Chattahoochy. The two last named points having been designated as a dividing line between the creeks and Cherokees so in the last treaties made with them,Mr.Lumpkin and myself had a wish to know what direction it was understood by the Indians the line dividing the two nations would run from the Sawanah Old Town. To obtain this information, we applied to a Mr. John Rogers who had a Cherokee wife, and who lived on the Chattahoochy River near the mouth of Sawanah Creek; having found him to be a man of some intelligence and respectability of character, and who had also been for some years an inhabitant of the Cherokee Nation, we thought it most likely to obtain correct information from him. In reply to our enquiries on that subject,he stated that the line from the Sawanah Old Town would run westwardly, but whether he named any particular point on the Hightower or Coosa River, I do not now recollect, but gave it as his opinions from his knowledge and understanding of the country, that the line which was then run from the head of the Apalachie to the Sawanah Old Town,lying on the west side of the Chattahoochy,the course of which was nearly due west, would be continued on the west side of the Chattahoochy,as the dividing line between the two Nations. I am informed that Rogers yet lives near the Sawanah Old Town; if he was interrogated his answer might throw some light on the subject.
His Ex. John Forsyth.
[To Be Continued]