William McIntosh (ca. 1778-1825)
William McIntosh Jr., also known as Tustunnuggee Hutkee ("White Warrior"), was born around 1778 in the Lower Creek town of Coweta to Captain William McIntosh, a Scotsman of Savannah, and Senoya, a Creek woman of the Wind Clan. He was raised among the Creeks, but he spent enough time in Savannah to become fluent in English and to be able to move comfortably within both Indian and white societies.
McIntosh was among those who supported the plans of U.S. Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins to "civilize" the Creeks. Slaveowning, livestock herding, cotton cultivation, and personal ownership of property were examples of changes to traditional Creek ways of life that McIntosh promoted. He himself owned two plantations, Lockchau Talofau ("Acorn Bluff") in present-day Carroll County, and Indian Springs, in present-day Butts County. Both are maintained today as historic sites. While McIntosh's support of civilization efforts earned him the respect of U.S. officials, more traditional Creeks regarded him with distrust.
In 1821 John Crowell replaced Mitchell as Indian agent. Crowell severed McIntosh's access to resources, weakening McIntosh's influence among the Creeks, who were compelled to sell some of their land to pay debts and to acquire food and supplies. However, for his role in the first Treaty of Indian Springs, in 1821, McIntosh received 1,000 acres of land at Indian Springs and another 640 acres on the Ocmulgee River.
After that treaty, Governor George Troup was determined to enforce the Compact of 1802 that called for the extinguishment of all Indian titles to land in Georgia. Despite the fervent opposition of many Upper Creeks, and with Troup's assurances of protection, Chief McIntosh, together with a small contingent of mostly Lower Creek chiefs, negotiated the second Treaty of Indian Springs, in 1825. This treaty provided for the cession of virtually all Creek land remaining in the state of Georgia in exchange for a payment of $200,000. A controversial article in the treaty provided additional payment to McIntosh for the lands granted to him in the 1821 treaty. On February 12, 1825, only six chiefs, including McIntosh, signed the document. McIntosh's motives have since been debated. His supporters suggest that he acted pragmatically, believing that the Georgians' relentless demand for Creek land made its loss inevitable. His detractors suggest that he acted to spite his enemies, flouting Creek law and profiting personally.
Andrew K. Frank, "The Rise and Fall of William McIntosh: Authority and Identity on the Early American Frontier," Georgia Historical Quarterly 86 (spring 2002): 18-48.
Benjamin W. Griffith Jr., McIntosh and Weatherford: Creek Indian Leaders (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1988).
Amos Wright Jr., The McGillivray and McIntosh Traders on the Old Southwest Frontier, 1716-1815 (Montgomery, Ala.: NewSouth Books, 2001).
Melissa Stock, University of West Georgia
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.