A Grant of Indian Territory from the Upper Creek Indians as also the Lower Creeks and Seminoles to Colonel Thomas Brown Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern District of North America
This document is an enclosure originally submitted by Henry Lee IV to Florida territorial judge Augustus Brevoort Woodward in September 1824. Lee sought Woodward’s assistance in securing claim to property purchased by his father, General Henry Lee, from Thomas Brown in 1817. On March 1, 1783, several “Kings and Warriors” representing Upper Creek, Lower Creek, and Seminole towns affixed their names and family marks to a document granting Thomas Brown, a British superintendent of Indian affairs, substantial territory west of Saint Augustine in what was then British East Florida. Brown had come to North America from England in 1774 to establish a plantation in the Georgia backcountry. He remained loyal to the British government during the Revolutionary War and led a mounted patrol, known as the King’s Rangers, in raids against the Americans along the southern frontier. Brown gained the support and assistance of several Creek and Seminole Indian leaders, who provided warriors to fight their mutual enemy, the Americans. In return, Brown kept their towns well-armed and provisioned. As the war neared its end in 1783, Brown and his men retreated to Florida. Sometime prior to March 1, a delegation representing Creek and Seminole towns visited Saint Augustine and met with Brown and other British officials. The land grant included here resulted from this meeting. The Indian delegation honored their “father and friend” for leading them into battle against the Americans, with a grant of land extending from the Amajura River, now known as the Withlacoochee, to the Saint Johns River. This document is a copy of the original, made on June 20, 1820, while Brown was living on Saint Vincent in the Caribbean. This document contains rare illustrations of southeastern Indian clan symbols. Many southeastern Native Americans practiced a form of social organization based on matrilineal clans, wherein they traced their lineages through their mothers’ families and were born into the same clan as their mothers. The symbols in this document represent several different clans. Some can be identified from their resemblance to known animals—such as alligator and bird—while others cannot. Clan names referred to mythical ancestors and often took the form of animals, plants, or forces of nature. Dozens of clans existed among the Creeks and Seminoles at the time this document was created. Also included on the document are titles belonging to leading men from Creek and Seminole towns. High-ranking men carried a war or diplomatic title and identified themselves with a town. For example Tallassee Mico was a Mico, or leading man, from the town of Tallassee.
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Last updated: October 17, 2014