Tallassee History, By Steven Scurry, 2011
This essay is a history of of the Upper Oconee River Basin at the time of transition from Creek to British, Georgian/Federal rule. It refers to the importance of Shoals just below KR, that KR is on “beloved Land”, and to the Creek town of Tallassee that Roger refers to. Roger Collins’s essay (below) is a good introduction to Steve’s history.
The Tallassee-Glover Tract: Ecology, Topography, History, and Land Use, Compiled by Karen Porter, 2014
By Roger Collins, ca. 1998
“Tread softly here white man, for long ere
you came, strange races lived, fought and loved.”
–Inscription at Rock Eagle, author unknown
Before any English settlers set foot on this land, Tallassee King walked and hunted upon what is now Kenney Ridge. He was one of fourteen Creek Indian chiefs who signed The Treaty of Augusta of 1783 which gave the State of Georgia the land from which Franklin County (and later Jackson, Clarke and other counties) were created. And today Tallassee Shoals and Tallassee Road bear his name.
When the English first came, the Muscogee Indian tribes lived in this part of Georgia. The Cherokees lived just to the north and west. Because the Muscogee villages were usually along creeks and other streams where they hunted and grew corn and squash, the English came to call these tribes “Creeks.” The Creek Indians did not have a centralized government, but they did have chiefs among them, and the young Tallassee King was one. His Muscogee name was Hopoithle Mico (literally “Tame King”).
He lived very near here. Local history notes that he lived midway between Prospect Church and Gum Corner (the corner of John Collier Road). From there the land which is now Kenney Ridge lay out his front door.
Tallassee King placed his “X” upon a number of treaties giving land first to the British and then to the State of Georgia and the United States. During the Revolutionary War, he sided with the United States. But the new nation continued to need more land, and in 1783, with the Treaty of Augusta, Tallassee King was one of the leading chiefs who signed away the very land upon which he lived. In 1786 settlers established The Tallassee Colony on this bend of the Middle Oconee River.
The Treaty of Augusta was immediately disputed, and in 1790 the United States negotiated The Treaty of New York. Tallassee King, who now lived in Alabama, was among the delegation of chiefs and warriors who traveled by wagon to New York. They were received with much pomp and ceremony, and met with President Washington and others to negotiate the new treaty. The painter John Trumbull, who was doing his portrait of Washington at the time, sketched several of the Creeks including Tallassee King.
Tallassee King participated in later treaties, ceding further lands to the United States government. But he was already becoming “contrary,” resentful of the government’s efforts to “civilize” his people, and opposed to giving up more land. The Creek nation became divided between the “peaceful” Lower Creeks and the now “hostile” Upper Creeks. In August, 1813, the Creek War erupted in Alabama with Tallassee King as one of the main chiefs of the “Redsticks.” The Creek War ended in 1814, but Tallassee King was killed in November, 1813, in a battle at Calabe Creek, Alabama.
(Text by Roger Collins)
(Portrait by John Trumbull, 1790)