Officers at Fort Gaines on the Chattahoochee were alarmed to learn 200 years ago today that a prominent Red Stick chief was on his way to the nearby town of Eufaula Talofa.
This article is part of a series that marks the 200th anniversary of the first year of the Seminole War. Please click here to access the entire timeline of stories.
The Eufaula were one of the most important Lower Muscogee (Creek) groups in 1818. In addition to a primary town near the site of today’s City of Eufaula, they were also settled in many other villages along the lower Chattahoochee River. The Perryman towns, for example, were populated largely by Eufaula. There was also a town of Eufaula among the Upper Creeks on the Tallapoosa River, but little is known of the relationship between it and the lower towns.
Maj. Enos Cutler of the 4th U.S. Infantry, in command at Fort Gaines, was well aware of the importance and strength of the Eufaulas, most of whom had remained neutral in the war thus far. This awareness made news that he received 200 years ago today all the more alarming:
The conduct of the Ufala King is very suspicious. Within the last few days not less than fifty old Red Sticks have passed this place to the neighborhood of his town and, as report says, by his invitation. It is also said that he has invited to his town the famous old Red Stick High Town Chief or Mico decox,ey, and that he is to come to his town so soon as the friendly Indians have passed down. If this is permitted there will be no security in this neighbourhood. He has in all cases refused to assist Honus Hajo in reconnoitering this place. [I]
The Mico Decoxey, as the whites spelled his name, was a principal Red Stick from the High Log Town, but is sometimes confused by historians with the Autossee (Atasi) Mico.
He had sided with the Prophet Josiah Francis against the forces of the Big Warrior during the Creek War of 1813-1814 and was reported to have been present at Fort Mims and on other important battlefields of that conflict. He fled to Spanish Florida with his surviving followers after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend and had remained there ever since. (To learn more about Fort Mims and the Creek War, please check out our free documentary Battle for Fort Mims on Amazon Prime).
Although he had allied himself with the British during the final year of the War of 1812, the extent to which Mico Decoxey engaged in the Seminole War is not known. His band would later come under attack from troops sent into the Florida Panhandle by Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, but there is no indication in surviving records that he had been involved in fighting against the whites prior to that time.
Like most of the groups west of the Apalachicola River in Florida, the chief and his followers mostly wanted to stay out of the way and be left alone. They had a loose alliance with the Red Ground villagers under Econchattimico as well as Homes’ (or Holmes’) Red Sticks on the Choctawhatchee River.
News that they were being invited to Eufaula was of concern to the U.S. Army, although it probably should not have been. Maj. Gen. Edmund P. Gaines, Lt. Col. Matthew Arbuckle and others had repeatedly told Muscogee (Creek) groups on the frontier to move up to within the new limits of the Nation or ally themselves with the U.S. forces. Otherwise, they were told, they would be attacked.
Mico Decoxey may have been trying to follow these demands and stay out of the war when he opened contact with the Eufaula Mico.
This series will continue tomorrow. To catch up on other articles before then, please visit Seminole War 200th Anniversary.
You can learn more about the Eufaula town by visiting the Creek Heritage Trail stop at the Yoholo Micco Creek Indian Trail in Eufaula, Alabama. It is at the intersection of East Broad Street and North Livingston Avenue. Use this map to help you find it:
[I] Maj. Enos Cutler to Col. David Brearley, February 22, 1818.