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The origin of the name Creek is uncertain. The tradition is, that it was given by white people, from the number of Creeks and water courses in the country. The Indian name is Muscogce.*
The Creeks came from the west. They have a tradition among them, that there is, in the fork of Red river, west of the Mississippi, two mounds of earth; that at this place, the Cussetuhs, Conetuhs and Chickasaws, found themselves; that being distressed by wars with red people, they crossed the Mississippi, and directing their course eastwardly, they crossed the falls of Tal-lapoo-sa, above Took-au-bat-che, settled below the falls of Chat-toho-che, and spread out from thence to Oc-mul-gee, O-conee, Savannah, and down on the seacoast, towards Charleston. Here, they first saw white people, and from hence they have been compelled to retire back again, to their present settlements.
The country lying between Coosau, Tallapoosa and Chat-to-ho-che, above their falls, is broken. The sol is stiff, with coarse gravel, and in some places, stone. The trees are post oak, white and black oak, pine, hickory and chesnut, all of them sinall. The whole is well watered, and the rivers and creeks have rocky beds, clad in many places with moss greatly relished by cattle, horses and deer, and are margined with cane or reed, on narrow strips or coves, of rich flats. On the Coosau, sixty miles above its junction with Tallapoosa, there is limestone, and it is to be found in several places from thence up to Etowwoh, and its western branches.
* G is always hard in Creek. Mus-co-gee, a Creek Indian ; Mus-co-gul-gee, the Creeks. Che-lo-kee, a Cherokee. Che-loc-ul-gee, the Cherokees.
The country above the falls of Oc-mul-gee and Flint rivers, is less broken than that of the other rivers. These have their sources near each other, on the left side of Chattohoche, in open, flat, land, the soil stiff, the trees post and black oak, all small. The land is generally rich, well watered, and lies well, as a waving country, for cultivation. The growth of timber is oak, hickory, and the short leaf pine ; pea-vine on the hill sides and in the bottoms, and a tall, broad leaf, rich grass, on the richest land. The whole is a very desirable country. Below the falls of these two rivers, the land is broken or waving. The streams are, some of them, margined with oak woods; and all of them with cane or reed. The upland of Ocmul-gee is pine forest; the swamp wide and rich; the whole is fine for stock. On its right bank, below the old Uchee path, there is some light pine barren, with saw palmetto and wiregrass.
Flint river, below its falls, has some rich swamp, for not more than twenty miles. Its left bank is then poor, with pine flats and ponds, down within fifteen miles of its confluence with Chat-to-ho-che. These fifteen miles is waving, with some good oak in small veins. On its right bank there are several large creeks, which rise out of the ridge dividing the waters of Flint and Chattohoche. Some of them are margined with oak woods and cane ; and all the branches, for seventy miles below the falls, have reed; from thence down there are bay galls and dwarf evergreens, and cypress ponds, with some live oak. Between these rivers, there is some good post and black oak land, strewed over with iron ore, and the ridge dividing their waters has a vein of it, extending itself in the direction with the ridge. Within twenty-five miles of the confluence of the rivers, the live oak is to be seen near all the ponds, and here are limestone rocks. The land here is good in veins, in the flats and on the margins of the rivers. The trees of every description are small. The range is a fine one for cattle.
That exclusive body of land between Flint river, O-kefi-no-cau, A-la-ta-ma-ha and the eastern boundary of the creek claims, is poor pine land, with cypress ponds and bay galls. The small streams are margined with dwarf evergreens. The uplands have yellow pine, with dwarf
saw palmetto and wiregrass. The bluffs on St. Illas, are, some part of them, sandy pine barren ; the remainder is a compact, stiff, yellowish sand or clay, with large swamps; the growth is the loblolly bay, gum and small evergreens. The whole of these swamps is bogs. In the rainy season, which commences after midsummer, the ponds fill, and then the country is, a great part of it, covered with water; and in the dry season it is difficult to obtain water in any direction, for many iniles.
Bees abound in the O-ke-fin-a-cau and other swamps, eastward of Flint river. The wortleberry is to be found in the swamps, and on the poorest of the land bordering on the cypress ponds. When the woods are not burnt for a year or more, the latter are on dwarf bushes, grow larger, and in great abundance.
The dwarf saw palmetto, when the woods are not burnt, in like manner bears a cluster of berries on a single stem, which are eaten by bear, deer, turkeys and Indians. The berries are half an inch in diameter, covered with a black skin, and have a hard seed; they are agreeable to the taste, sweet, accompanied with bitter, and when full ripe they burst, and the bees extract much honey from them. The China briar is in the flat, rich, sandy margins of streams. The Indians dig the roots, pound them in a mortar, and suspend them in coarse clotii, pour water on them and wash them. The sediment which passes through with the water is left to subside; the water is then poured off, and the sediment is baked into cakes or made into gruel sweetened with honey. This briar is called Coonte, and the bread made of it, Coon-te-tuc-a-li-sa, and is an important article of food among the hunters. In the old beaver ponds, in thick boggy places, they have the bog potatoe (Uc-lau-wau-he-āhā) a small root, used as food in years of scarcity
The O-ke-fin-o-cau is the source of the St. Mary's and Little St. Johns, called by the Indians Sau-wau-na. It is sometimes called E-cun-fin-o-cau, from E-cun-nau, earth; and Fin-o-cau, quivering. The first is the most common amongst the Creeks. It is from Ooka a Chactau word for water, and Fin-o-cau, quivering. This is a very extensive swamp, and much of it a bog; and so much so,
that a little motion will make the mud and water quiver to a great distance. Hence the name is given.
Ho-ith-lepoie Tus-tun-nug-ge-thluc-co, an Indian who resided in it many years, says that, “ the Little St. John's may be ascended far into the swamp, and that it is not practicable to go far up the St. Mary's, as it loses itself in the swamp; that there is one ridge on the west side of the St. John's, and three on the east. The growth is pine, live and white oak; the soil good; the lakes abound in fish and alligators. On the ridges and in the swamps there were a great many bear, deer, and tigers. He lived on the ridge west of the St. John's, and was, with his family, very healthy. Being unwilling to take part in the war between the United States and Great Britain, he moved there to be out of the way of it, was well pleased with his situation, and should have continued to reside there, but for the beasts of prey, which destroyed his cattle and horses. He could walk round the swamp in five days."
The land between Chat-to-ho-che and Alabama, bordering on the southern boundary of the United States, is better than that on the east side of Flint river. The Ko-ene-cuh rises between these two rivers, and makes the bay Escambia at Pensacola. Between Ko-e-ne-cuh and Chat-to-ho-che, the land is broken or waving. The ridge dividing their waters, has high flats of light land, well set with willow-leaved hickory, and iron ore in places, and all the streams have reed or cane on their margins.
This country has the appearance of being a healthy one, and the range is fine for cattle, hogs, and horses. The pine flats have the wiregrass, and in some places, the saw palmetto. The soil of the waving land is, some of it, stiff and red, with stones on the ridges. The pine land is stiff, generally, and pretty good for corn.
The Tal-la-poo-sa from its falls to its confluence with the Coosau, about thirty miles, has some good flat land. The broken land terminates on its right bank, and the good land spreads out on its left. There are several pine creeks on this side, which have their source in the ridge dividing these waters from Ko-e-ne-cuh. The land bordering on them is rich; the timber large, and cane abundant. This good land extends to the Alabama, and down it for thirty miles, including the plains, (Hc-guc-pul-gee.)
These are seventeen miles through, going parallel to Alabama south 20° west. They are waving, hill and dale, and appear divided into fields. In the fields the grass is short, no brush; the soil in places is a lead color, yellow underneath, within the abode of the ants, and very stiff. In the wooded parts the growth is generally post oak, and very large, without any under brush, beautifully set in clumps. Here the soil is a dark clay, covered with long grass and weeds, which indicate a rich soil. One observation applies to all the fields; in the centre the land is poorest, the grass shortest, and it rises gradually to the wooded margins, where it is tall, and the lind apparently rich. Four large creeks meander through the plains to the Alabama. They all have broad margins of stiff, level, rich land, well wooded and abounding with cane. There is, notwithstanding these creeks, a scarcity of water in the dry season, and all the creeks were dry in 1799, and not a spring of water was to be found.
The Alabama is margined with cane swamps, and these, in places, with flats of good land or poor pine flats. The swamps at the confluence with the Tombigby and below on the Mobile, is low and subject to be overflowed every spring. Above, it is of great width, intersected with lakes, slashes, and crooked drains, and much infested with musketoes. The people who cultivate this swamp, never attempt to fence it, as the annual freshes, always in the spring, rise from three to ten feet over it. The land, bordering on the swamp, and for a mile back, is a poor, stiff clay; the growth is pine and underbrush, back of this broken pine barren, there are cypress ponds, and veins of reeds in the branches. The range is said to be a fine one for cattle. The settlement of Ta-en-sau borders on the Mobile and Alabama, on the left side. On the same side of Alabama, fifty miles above its confluence with the Tombigby, the high broken lands commence and extend for sixty or seventy miles upwards, and abound in places with large, fine, tall cedar.
The land between Alabama and Ko-o-ne-cuh, below the plains, is broken or waveing; the soil is stiff, very red in places, and gravelly; for thirty miles then succeeds stiff pine barren. Limestone, a creek which enters the Alabama, has some good broken land, with limestone,