and tribal names shown below are located at
will also find information regarding the formation of the Seminoles.
states that, "Seminoles
were not originally a single tribe but an alliance of Northern Florida and South Georgia natives
who banded together in the 1700s."
researchers agree on the history
and tribal grounds of early Native Americans in Florida
so read information on this issue from several sources to gain a deeper
of the issues.
groups particular to
our local area include: Euchee, Chickasaw, Muskogee Creek, probably
and the Alabamo, Coosada (Koasati), Chatas and Sawoki.
Americans in Northwest
tracing Indian ancestors in Okaloosa
County, search the counties
AL. and the Apalachicola
River, FL. During the later part of the 19th
century Creeks from
south Alabama and South Georgia migrated into West Florida, adding to
Indian population already present here. Some of
those who were
‘removed,' upon returning to their home area tried to
stay as close as possible to
their ancestral tribal grounds. Florida Indians tended to live together
small family groups, usually in remote areas to avoid undue attention
trouble. This way they could also move quickly to another
necessary. Creek country was from Pensacola, FL to the
River; Seminoles were generally from Apalachicola to the East and
Uchees favored Uchee Valley and down to Ft. Walton Beach, FL.
Creek/Seminole people, more connected to the Georgia Creeks, centered
Perry, FL. They were not particularly close to the other
tribal groups in
the Panhandle. Walton
was a center of gravity in the Creek wars of 1836-37. Understanding
happened in the Florida panhandle in those years is most significant.
The challenges of
tracing Native American ancestry can
be legion and complex so pace yourself and take the long view. Remember
the native peoples, as a rule, did not maintain a written tradition.
documentation was done by the white settlers via families named in land
treaties or on trading post ledgers or census records. Also, many
associations have been deeply affected by whether they were
‘unremoved’ from their native lands. More
recently, the search is further
convoluted by attempts to obtain tribal 'membership.'
very early years (late 1700s - mid 1800s),
peoples of the Southeast occupied territory as follows:
Occupied most of Alabama
from south of the Tennessee River
Occupied most of Georgia
and North Florida.
Breakaway" Creeks, Apalachees & Afro- American
slaves who relocated to South Florida.
are a few profiles of key people who have played a
role in the history of Native Americans in our general area:
- Andrew Ramsey,
of the Miccosukee Band of Apalachicola Creeks. Andrew
Ramsey was born in 1923 and is an Apalachicola River Creek Native
American living in Blountstown Florida. His family ancestors settled
Calhoun County in 1815. Andrew’s Indian name is Vntolv Harjo
and under this name he was Chief of the Miccosukee band of the
Apalachicola Creeks. The Creeks used to share a cultural history with
the Seminoles, but following the Treaty of Moultrie Creek in 1823 they
became a separate people. The government closed their Indian
reservation on the west side of the Apalachicola River in the late
- Calvin McGhee, Chief
of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Despite the
forced removal of Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama
in 1836, some Creeks in the Tensaw district of Alabama maintained a
distinct community around the small town of Poarch.
The federal government held a tract of land at Poarch in trust for the
Indians until 1924. In the 1940s the community began to organize
politically in its own interest, and from 1950 to 1970 tribal leader
Calvin McGhee spearheaded a campaign for recognition of Creek land
claims in the southeastern states. The Poarch Band raised funds largely
through an annual Thanksgiving Day Pow Wow. The Poarch Band
descends from Muscogee Creek Indians who sided with the United
War of 1813-1814.
Calvin McGhee Cultural Center. 5811 Jack Springs Rd.
- Muscogee Nation of Florida (formerly The
Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians) PO
Box 3028. Bruce, FL 32455, is recognized by the
House and Senate of the State of Florida. They reside in small
townships across north Florida interior; families represent the clans
of the Wind, Bird, Deer, Bobcat, Bear and Big House. (Google
them and look for the town name, Bruce, FL.)
- Santa Rosa County
Creek Indian Tribe, Inc. 4344 US Hwy 90 Suite
A. Pace, FL. located between Pensacola and Milton in northwest Florida
along Hwy 90 and Interstate 10, their mission is to
raise community awareness to the Native American cultures,
traditional and current issues. Surnames include:
Chessher, Elder, Muscogee Nation of Florida,
is our local authority on historical aspects of Native Americans in our
Okaloosa County area. The short list below is gleaned from
his article, "The Creek Nation in Okaloosa County,
Florida" See the
"Native American Research & Resources" section at this website
to locate this article and his article entitled, "Indian Traders
Migration to Our Area". See
more of his work in the Culture & Heritage section of this web
page and in the exhibits at the Baker Block Museum.
- There was a
significant Indian trail along the Blackwater River.
- Both the trail and
the river served as a dividing line between the Upper Creek and Lower
was (an Indian) Village near the Oak Grove Community on the
Yellow River at the Great Ford,
many refugee Indians joined
this group after the First and Second Creek Wars.
- In December, 1814,
the Old Alabamo King and 30 of his warriors were killed, and 75 people
prisoner. This occurred on the East side of
Yellow River, in present-day Okaloosa County, the exact
location is unknown.
were many paths – old Indian trails, animal migration
and supply routes and hunting paths. They came into prominence, fell
disuse, or took different forms and connections over the span of years.
existed at the same time and many were renamed or combined with other
routes. This sometimes confuses researchers who may forget to
right time frame with the correct usage of a particular path name.
Actually a series of paths, much of it was in Alabama.
The paths were known as the Pensacola
trade path because that was its destination. This trail preceded and
part of the early Three-Notch
and Old Spanish Trail systems. Settlers and native peoples
used the trail; settlers coexisted with the Creek Indians living along it. Path
changed over time as do our present-day streets and roads.
Red Ground/Jackson Trail. Also part of
this early system of trails
and paths, this trail took its name from Andrew Jackson and his travels
area. However, it was also known as the Red Ground Trail
because it was a
supply route between the Creek
Village of Econcate (meaning,
Red Ground), near the Apalachicola River
and Pensacola, FL.
Indianola Inn Hotel.
hotel was built just behind and
almost on a Shell Midden
which was originally considered to be an ordinary prehistorical
shell mound from the Woodlands Era, but archaeological work has
has a greater prominence. The Smithsonian records that the area of
Florida supported a fairly large Native American population.
mound was evident at present-day Fort Walton Beach
and two historic reports
relate the use of a shell mound by the Walton Guard as a high spot on which to mount a
during the early years of the Civil War. Built in
1912, the hotel
was destroyed by fire in 1962.
of the Euchee Peoples (Okaloosa-Walton Counties)
Sam Story and the Euchee
People. There were Euchee tribes in Tennessee and Georgia.
And, in the
early 1800s, Sam was Chief of a band of Euchee Indians in our area.
occupied lands on and to the west of the Choctawhatchee River -
(present-day) Walton County.
more about Chief Sam and
his people in the Culture & Heritage section of this
web page, and in
the Research & Resources section of this web page
where you will find additional information on the topic.
headstone was erected in the forest near the
confluence of the
Choctawhatchee River and its tributaries in
Walton County, FL.
Museum Educational Services. Corner Hwy 4 & Rt 189. Baker, FL