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Biography: Captain Aleck or Elick born 1715

CAPTAIN ALECK or ELICK

BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY

CREEK CHIEF

(ca. 1715 – after 1768)

Lower Alabama

The few general facts of the early life of this Lower Creek chief, as given by himself, are that he had lived so long among the white people that he looked upon himself as much a white as a red man; that the white people had given him the name he bore, Captain Aleck, and that he had always lived in friendship with the English.


“He was a Cussitai headman and was an influential “doctor” who claimed English ancestry and proved to be one of Britain’s closest allies during the French and Indian War and established his own settlement in colonial territory. Though his origins, are obscure, he inhabited a plantation called Sancta Sevilla located near the Georgia coast on the south side of the Altamaha River.”

Some of his origins are recounted by Anthropologist John Swanton (1984) “In 1729, a Kasihta chief named Captain Elick married three Yuchi women and persuaded some of the Yuchi Indians to move over among the Lower Creeks, bu Governor Oglethorpe of Georgia guaranteed them their rights to their old land until after 1740, and the final removal did not, in fact, take place until 1751. Captain Elick or Aleck lived on the Altamaha River prior to moving to the Chattahoochee River.”

The headmen of Kasita did not allow Alleck to settle in Kasita, because of his marriage to the Yuchi women, so he chose to settle on the river terrace opposite Yuchi town. “The residential choices made yb Captain Aleck and those Cussetas and Yuchis who were closely associated with him were strategically determined. When he was encouraged to relocate with some Yuchis to the Savannah River in 1729, that move served to strengthen ties between the Cussetas and the Bristish Georgians, while simultaneously removing the Yuchis from the Chattahoochee River, which was the homeland of the Cussetas. But the 1750s, and possibly earlier, Captain Aleck had relocated to the lower Altamaha River at Sansavilla Bluff.

Those traveling with him probably included his Yuchi wives, brother Will and Will’s Yuchi wife, as well as other Cussetas (or other Lower Creeks) and Yuchis. There they resided until the early 1760s when that land was ceded to England. When the Georgia Boundary was run by William McGillivry in 1768, Captain Aleck had already reestablished his settlement several mile north of Sansavilla Bluff. Later in his life, Captain Aleck relocated to the Chattahoochee River area. Captain Aleck’S move to Sansavilla Bluff may have transpired shortly after the 1742 attack on Fort Mount Venture, and the date of his removal from the Sansavilla Bluff area was probably prior to 1763. During the 20 year period from 1743-1763, any settlements on Sansavilla Bluff were likely associated with this Cusseta headman or his cohorts. Any settlement dating after 1766, however, is most likely associated with the Georgians.”

Apart from these statements, an evidence of Captain Aleck’s association with white people is the letter A, the first letter of Aleck, which he adopted as his mark in signing his name. That Captain Aleck had always been a true friend of the English is borne out by all the recorded facts extant of his history. He showed his loyalty by his actions. The first notice of him is in 1754, when all things pointed to rupture between England and Spain.

On November 11, accompanied by a few followers, he called on Governor John Reynolds in council in Savannah and informed him that the French had persuaded some of the Upper Creeks to come to Mobile and receive presents, and the Spaniards had done likewise in persuading some of the Lower Creeks to come to Pensacola for the same purpose. That he had not learned the objects of the French and Spaniards in these matters, but if he succeeded in doing so, he would inform the Governor. Captain Aleck’s talk agreed with the reports that had already come to the ears of the Governor that the French and Spaniards were very busy in endeavoring to win the Creeks over to their respective interests. Some presents were the next day presented to Captain Aleck and his followers, with which they were well pleased.

On May 11, 1757, Captain Aleck and his brother Will, accompanied by twelve men and women, had a talk with Governor Ellis of Georgia in the council chamber in Savannah. After a conversation on several topics, the Governor told Captain Aleck that the Creeks should join no party to the prejudice of the English, to which Captain Aleck gave his full assent.

The Governor then expatiated largely upon the cruelties of the French in all their proceedings, and instanced a recent attempt by them to induce the Choctaws and Cherokees to exterminate the Chickasaws, which attempt proceeded solely from this desire to get possession of the lands of the Chickasaws. That the Great King expected the Creeks to join the English and assist them in driving back the French, who were daily encroaching on the Indians’ lands, and who, if they should grow stronger, would treat the Creeks as they had lately tried to treat the Chickasaws.

On the contrary, the English had honestly paid for the lands which they got from the Indians. But the policy of the French was to become masters of the Indians’ lands, after murdering the Indian inhabitants: and their present designs were either to cut the Indians off entirely, or to reduce them, their wives and children, to a state of slavery.

The English, on the other hand, were a people fond of trade and sent their ships laded with merchandise to all parts of the world; that wherever they went, their study was to make people free and happy; and when they talked, their tongues and hearts went fast together; that the Great King showed the love he bore his red children by presents and by frequent and friendly talks. The French too gave presents, but these presents, like the ram drank by the Indians, however sweet it might be at first, always made them sick in the end.

After other remarks, by no means complimentary to the French, the Governor closed his talk by saying that every Indian who went to war against the French, should receive for every French scalp a reward equal in value to eight pounds of deer skins; and for a French prisoner a reward equal in value to sixteen pounds of deer skins, which he would much rather pay for than for the scalps. For, although the English were known to be warriors, it was likewise known that they took no pleasure in shedding human blood.

Captain Aleck in reply said that the Governor’s talk was very true and just, that he had come down to hear a good talk and not for presents, and so was not disappointed; that his brother would off to the nation in a few days, and there was a beloved day approaching and his brother there would declare this talk before all the people, and no one could say that he had never heard it.

Captain Aleck then applied for a grant of a piece of land or small island on which he was settled, but as he could not satisfactorily give its location, the consideration of his request was postponed, but he was told that if the land was vacant, or it the proprietor of it would accept other land in its place, he should have a grant for it. This matter settled, the Governor invited Captain Aleck and his brother to dine with him.

Nothing further is on record about Captain Aleck until January 1763, when he sought the good offices of Governor James Wright to recover his wife, who had been stolen from him by some Yuchee Indians and carried into the province of South Carolina. Governor Wright wrote to Governor Boone of South Carolina desiring him to use every effort to secure the return of Captain Aleck’s wife.

Captain Aleck was present as Speaker of the Upper and Lower Creeks at the Great Congress in Augusta in November 1763. On one occasion during the six days in which the Congress was in session he spoke of the frequent stealing of horses by white people and Indians and proposed that some means should be adopted to prevent it for the future. These words speak high for Captain Aleck’s desire for peace and order on the frontier, the crime of horse stealing being promotive of frequent murders and killings by both white people and Indians, often culminating in wars.

Captain Aleck also attended the Pensacola Congress in May, 1765. During the six days sessions he made several appropriate talks and was one of the signers of the treaty. A part of Captain Stuart’s talk on May 30 to one of Captain Aleck’s is here given as it bears witness to the moral worth of the Muscogee chief:

“I am glad to find you in the same good disposition is which I left you at Augusta, of which you have given so many proofs, during the course of your life; the white people must always put a value on your friendship, as the Governor and I ever will. We are very sensible of the effect and influence your talks have had on your nation and we desire you may continue the.”

All the facts preserved in historic records, relative to Captain Aleck are favorable to his character as a man and a leader of his people.

The last historical notice of Captain Aleck occurs January 10, 1768. There having been a disagreement between the Georgians and the Creeks with regard to the boundary line which separated the two, on that day, Governor Wright and Captain Aleck, representing the Creek Confederacy, came to an agreement that the dividing line should “commence at the Ogeechee river where the lower trading path leading from Mount Pleasant on Savannah river to the Lower Creek Nation crosses the said rive Ogeechee, and thence in a straight line cross the country to that part of the river Alatamaha opposite to the entrance or mouth of a certain Creek on the south side of the said river Alatamaha commonly called Fen-hollow or Turkey Creek, and that the line should be thence continued from the mouth of the said Creek across the Country and in a southwest course to the St. Mary’s river, so as to reach it as far up as the tide flows or swells.”

 

SOURCES

  1. (Most of this information is derived from History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen -1921 -S. J. Clarke Publishing and
  2. Sansavilla Bluff: Survey at the Crossroads of the Colonial Georgia Frontier -Heritage Preservation Services National Park Service 1849 C Street NW (2555)
  3. Washington, DC 20240 American Battlefield Protection Program Grant No.GA-2255-03-010 Submitted by Daniel T. Elliott Principal Investigator & Author
  4. “The Cowetas, Chickasaws and Cussitas’ were three groups of several peoples “ who had anciently lived together in the west” in territory that became “so evil that they could find nothing pure in the world except the Sun.” Looking for a pure world in which to live, they “determined to travel eastward to find the place from whence the Sun came.” The first to group to find the Sun were called the Chickasaws, the second group was the “Kohasita, “ or “See the Sun,” from which is derived the town’s name Cussita.”The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670-1763 By Steven C. Hahnm University of Nebraska Press, 1968
  5. The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670-1763 By Steven C. Hahnm University of Nebraska Press, 1968

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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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