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The Story of Creek Warrior - "The Far Off Warrior" and his wife Hannah Hale

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1The Far Off Warrior also called the Bird Tail King, after a sketch by Trumball in 1790.

     What little information we have on Far Off Warrior comes from the Journals of Creek Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins. Tustunnuggee Hopoie whose name translates as "Far Off Warrior" was probably born in the Creek Indian village of Okchai in about the year 1731. Benjamin Hawkins, the Creek Indian agent makes mention of Far Off Warrior several times in his Journals. From these journals we learn that Far Off Warrior was the son of Creek Indian Chief Mad Dog who was Principal Chief of the Creek Indian nation for many years. Hawkins refers to him by several different names; Tustunnuggee Hopoie, meaning Far Off Warrior; Micco Thlucco, meaning Little Prince, and also Bird Tail King.

     The Creek Indians were subsequently divided into two different groups, the Upper Creeks, consisting primarily of three sub-groups: the Alabamas, Abeikas, and Tallapoosas, and the Lower Creeks. The Alabamas were divided into about seven different sub-tribes, one of which was the Okchais. The Okchais were commonly called the "Fish Ponds" by the fur traders. Hawkins suggests that their town of Okchai had three distinct villages, or settlements: Lalogalga, Asilanabi, and Pochusehatche, (or Hatchet Creek as it was called).

     Perhaps the earliest mention made of Far Off Warrior occurred in a meeting with representatives from the British government in the year 1766. The Principal Chief of the Creek Nation at that time was Big Mortar, then known as the Okchai King. At this particular meeting with British agents, Big Mortar mentioned a young warrior living in the Okchai village named Hoboyie Haujo (this being the interpreter's spelling) whom he had given a small medal sent by the British.

     Sometimes following this meeting, the Okchai village divided itself and one group from this village formed the village of Thlotlogulgua. This village was commonly called the "Fish Ponds" by traders. As Headman of the Fish Pond village, Hopoie Haujo later became chief of this village and held the title of Micco which was a shortened form for Miculneggee and literally meant Chief.

     In May of 1777, a head warrior of the Tiger clan and nephew of Ishenpoaphe, chief of the Cowetas (a Creek subtribe), was killed in a horse stealing raid in the Ogeechee country of Georgia. Ishenpoaphe sent up from Coweta to the Upper Towns for his kinsman of the Tiger clan, the Mad Dog of Tuckabatchee, to raise up his relatives among the Okchais and among the Alabamas to come down and join him against Georgia. The Okchais, as mentioned earlier, were the progeniter of the Fish Pond tribe who surely would have joined the Okchais in this venture. How Ishenpoaphe and Mad Dog were related through their Tiger clan is unknown, for Mad Dog was Micco or Chief of the Cussitas and chiefdom in the Cussitas was hereditary from the Bear clan. Perhaps Mad Dog's wife was of the Tiger clan, thereby making Mad Dog a brother-in-law of Ishenpoaphe. Both Mad Dog of Tuckabatchee who was chief of the Cussitas, and Mortar who had been "King" of the Okchais were kinsmen from their Bear Clan.

     In 1777, Tustunnuggee Hopoie, the Far Off Warrior of the Fish Ponds, and his father, Mad Dog of Tuckabatchee, led an attack on Fort Roger's which was on the Ogeechee River in present-day Taliaferro County, Georgia. This was apparently the vengeance taken for the death of the head warrior of the Tiger clan and nephew of Ishenpoaphe. In the ensuing attack on the fort, the tribe captured a young girl named Hannah Hale, who was about 11 or 12 years old. In all likelihood, her father was a soldier stationed at the fort.

     Young Hannah Hale, and probably several other captives, were taken to the Far Off Warrior's village known by traders as the "Fish Ponds" and located on the Coosa River situated in present-day Coosa County, Alabama. Hannah Hale would later marry the Far Off Warrior, Tustunnuggee Hopoie, and by him have five children.

     Information concerning the Okchai Indians from which the Lalokalka settlement evolved can be found in John R. Swanton's book "The Indians of the Southeastern United States." Both the Okchai Town and its settlement Lalokalka, or the "FishPonds", were commonly called the FishPonds by the fur traders. From Swanton's book, this is found:

     "The earliest known location {of the Okchai} Muskogee town and tribe was on the west side of Coosa River some miles above its junction with the Tallapoosa. By 1738 a part had moved to a branch of Kowaliga Creek, an affluent of the Tallapoosa, where their principal settlement seems to have been located until the removal to Oklahoma, though a part remained near their former home for a considerable period.****The Okchai are often called Fish Pond Indians, and as early as 1791 there was a distinct settlement of the tribe called Thlathlogalga, (sic.), or `Fish Pond,' on a small affluent of Elkhatchee, a western branch of the Tallapoosa." In 1792, the Thlathlogalga population is listed as 140, among these being the Far Off Warrior and Hannah Hale.

     "In 1796 the traders stationed there were John Shirley and Isaac Thomas, the first an American, the latter of German parents." Shirley apparently caused much trouble within the village for on May 27, 1798 Benjamin Hawkins recorded in his Journal: "Hopoie (The Far Off Warrior) of Thlotlogulgau informed that John Shirley, a trader in that town, was a troublesome lying man, that he almost daily brought some report of murder or battles into the square which were not true, and that by this conduct he constantly disturbed the peace of the town." The very next day on May 29, the tribal council met and ordered that Shirley be banished. The Mad Dog, the Far Off Warrior’s father, spoke on behalf of all the Creeks to Government agents and declared that no families would again be permitted to pass through Creek lands. and that only "honest men of good characters who have business in the land or to pass thro’ it may be permitted to pass."

     In the year 1799, the Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins had plans to bring the Creek Indians closer to peace with whites as well as introduce them to a white form of government. Hawkins wanted to introduce modern farm implements such as the plough and the wheel. He also wanted to promote the raising of cattle, hogs and horses. This was done with good intentions and was received well among many of the villages. With this in mind, Hawkins set out in on a journey which would take him throughout the Creek nation. At the village of Thlotlogulgau, commonly called the Fish Ponds, he met Hannah Hale, the wife of Far Off Warrior. She was probably thirty-four years old by this time, judging that she was 11 or 12 at the time of her capture in the year 1777. It is apparent from Hawkins writings that the Far Off Warrior was not with Hannah Hale at this time. In fact, the Far Off Warrior by this time had moved to another village on Auhegee Creek where he had a second family living. Creek Indian custom permitted a Creek husband to take more than one wife, granted that his first wife give permission.

     Hawkins had probably known Hannah Hale for many years and had helped her as well as he could. He recored in his journal how Hannah had learned to spin and weave, and had taught two of her daughters to spin. " She has labored under many difficulties; yet by her industry has acquired some property. She has one negro boy, a horse or two, sixty cattle, and some hogs; she received the friendly attention of the agent for Indian affairs, as soon as he came in the nation. He furnished her with a wheel, loom, and cards; she has an orchard of peach and apple trees. Having made her election at the national council, in 1799, to reside in the nation, the agent appointed Hopoithle Haujo to look out for a suitable place for her, to help her to remove to it with her stock, and take care that she receives no insults from the Indians."

     At the village on Auhegee Creek, the Far Off Warrior was known by his other name Micco Thlucco, "The Bird Tail King." Hawkins arrived here after several days and after visiting other Creek Villages. Hawkins recorded in his journal:

     "On Auhegee Creek, called at its junction with the river, Hitchiti Creek, there is one settlement which deserves a place here. It belongs to Micco Thlucco, called by the white people, "The Bird Tail King." The plantation is on the right bank on good land in the neighborhood of pine forests. The creek is a fine flowing one margined with reed. The plantation is well fenced and cultivated with the plough. This Chief has been on a visit to New York and seen much of the ways of white people and the advantages of the plough over the slow and laborious hand hoe, yet he had not firmness enough till this year to break through the old habits of the Indians. The agent paid him a visit this spring, 1799, with a plough completely fixed and spent a day with him and showed him how to use it. He had previously, while the old man was in the woods, prevailed on the family to clear the fields for the plough. It has been used with effect and much to the approbation of a numerous family, who have more that doubled their crop of corn and potatoes; and who begin to know how toturn their corn to account by giving it to their hogs. The Micco and his family have hogs, cattle, and horses and begin to be very attentive to them. He has some apple and peach trees and grape vines, a present from the agent."