Sunday, September 25, 2011

Facts about My Life

Tomochichi, chief of the Yamacraw Indians was an important person of early Georgia history. He helped to create peaceful relations between the Georgia settlers and the Yamacraw Indians. Historians know little about Tomochichi as a boy. He was a Creek indian and participated in their early activities with Englishmen in South Carolina. In 1728, Tomochichi created his own tribe of the Yamacraws because of a disagreement with his old tribe. His group of two hundred people settled on the banks of the Savannah River because the location was the resting place of his ancestors and was close to English traders.

How did I help Georgia?

When General James Oglethorpe and his settlers landed in February 1733, he knew he needed to make friends with the Indian tribes or risk war. Among Oglethorpe's entourage was Mary Musgrove, daughter of a Creek mother and an English father, who served as interpreter between the general and the chief. Tomochichi had contact with English colonists, and he wasn't afraid of the Europeans. He gave Oglethorpe permission to build Savannah in order to trade with the settlers. One year after Oglethorpe's arrival, the Indian chief went with Oglethorpe to England along with a small number of family and Lower Creek tribesmen. He politely followed English customs in his public appearances while pushing for demands for education and fair trade. Upon his return to Georgia, Tomochichi met with other Lower Creek chieftains to convince them of the honesty of these new Englishmen and convince them to fight with the English.

Life after Georgia was Founded

Tomochichi wanted Christian education for his tribe, but John Wesley refused to teach them. Tomochichi and Oglethorpe led an expedition to find the southern boundaries of Georgia. During the summer of 1739, Oglethorpe went on a trip to Coweta to help his connections with the Lower Creeks. Tomochichi couldn’t take part directly in Oglethorpe's negotiations; instead, he lay at home in his village fighting a serious illness. Tomochichi died on October 5, 1739, and historians agree that he was in his late 90s. His impacts on the colony of Georgia were celebrated with an English military funeral, and the grave site has a marker of "a Pyramid of Stone" The mound of stones honoring his final resting place in Savannah were removed in the early 1880s, and a large granite boulder with a decorative copper plate was installed southeast of the original.