Days Gone By - stories from the past

An old Native American legend from Coosa, Alabama about where they came from

LEGEND OF COOSA

During the 1930s, Great Depression era, many writers were employed to interview people around the United States, so their experiences and life history could be recorded. The program was named the U.S. Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers’ Project and it gave employment to historians, teachers, writers, librarians, and other white-collar workers. The following story about Coosa is an unedited, transcribed story written around 1936.


The Indians were sent down by the Great Father from the clouds. They had with them fire, and two medicines, the pasa and the mike_hoyanidjo and among them were seven mikes. At first there were two camps of the Indians but one of the camps decided they would return to the place from whence they came. They kept secret their intentions and waited until night had fallen, then they said “We are ready” and departed into the sky.

In the other camp were the seven mikes, seeing the other Indians leave they said “Tomorrow we will depart as night now steals over the land”. When tomorrow came one of their number was dead, they couldn’t leave him in the world, or could they take him with them, so they must remain on earth.

Let us travel

They staid in that place for some time and then said “Let us travel”. They journeyed towards the north some miles and then they stopped and set up a walking_stick into the ground. It turned towards the south, and they said this must be the way the Great Spirit wants us to go. So they moved towards the south, then set the walking_stick up in the ground again.

This time it remained straight and upright. Here they said “We will rest, here we will remain.”

So they settled there but their thoughts often turned to their friends, relatives and companions who remained in the place from whence they came.

The seven mikes who remained were to be the chiefs and kings of the land. This goodly country, hunting ground and well favored land they called Coosa. Their chiefs when installed were placed a buckskin which had been dressed by a virgin.

This legend was told me by Mrs. Mollie Henderson, who was reared near Childersburg, (Old Coosa).

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Confrontation: Lost & Forgotten Stories is a collection of lost and forgotten stories that reveals why and how the confrontation between the Native American population and settlers developed into the Creek-Indian War as well as stories of the bravery and heroism of participants from both sides.

Some stores include:

  • Tecumseh Causes Earthquake
  • Terrified Settlers Abandon Farms
  • Survivor Stories From Fort Mims Massacre
  • Hillabee Massacre
  • Threat of Starvation Men Turn To Mutiny
  • Red Eagle After The War

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Confrontation: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 4)


By (author): Donna R Causey
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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8 comments

  1. Similar story was in our Alabama History textbook in junior high school. Slightly different plot; told of how Alabama got its name. Native peoples from Georgia were seeking new hunting lands and living space away from encroaching European settlers, and after traveling west for many days, the people asked their leader how much farther did they have to travel. He stuck a pole in the ground and told them whichever way it was leaning in the morning would be the direction they would go. Morning came, and it was standing straight up. Their leader said “Alibamu”, meaning “Here we stay.” There was a tribe called the Alibamu somewhere in south central part of the state, encountered by the Spaniards.

  2. Reminds me of a legend I ran across while doing genealogy, and wrote a short paper for genealogical journal:

    A Grain of Truth: Tradition

    by Ward H. Oliver
    Those who dabble in genealogy soon come to realize that no source is perfect. Court records are perhaps the most reliable, but these are written by men and occasionally will contain an error. As someone once said, we depend on our parents for our own dates of birth. Perhaps the source which is least reliable is family tradition. As these stories are passed from one family member to another, they tend to change as memories fade. However, they are important clues – there is always at least a grain of truth to be followed.
    The same might be said for historical tradition. An interesting example: In 1670, Virginia Governor William Berkeley sent out an exploring party. Fearing an Indian attack, all soon turned back except John Lederer and an Indian guide. Lederer spent some time with an Indian tribe and wrote of his findings upon his return. His report is recorded in the book Charlotte County, Rich Indeed, pp 16-17.
    Quoting from Lederer’s report: “From four women, viz. Pash, Sepoy, Askarin, and Maraskrin, they derive the Race of Mankinde, which they therefore divide into four Tribes, distinguished under those several names.”
    This tradition becomes most interesting in light of an article found in the journal Science 1/. This article reports on the findings of scientists who have studied the DNA of American Indians, from Alaska to South America. Quoting from that article: “The researchers have found that all present-day American Indians can trace their descent to one of four maternal lineages originating in Asia – an important confirmation of the anthropologists’ long standing suspicion that the first Americans came from Asia.” Thus the Virginia Indians were correct, in that all their ancestors descend from only four women!

    Endnote

    1. Science, Vol. 259, Jan. 1993, p. 312

  3. Bill Roberts

    I think the “Mikes” are “Micco’s” Southeastern Native name for a leader

  4. Donna, once again, a very enjoyable article! As the young married women say, “You go, girl!”

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