This Day in Georgia History
October 05, 1739
Yamacraw Indian chief Tomochichi died near Savannah. There is no record of the place or date of his birth, but as a Creek, he probably was born in present-day Georgia or Alabama. Reports that Tomochichi was age 97 at the time of his death seem to be greatly exaggerated, for when painted from life during his visit to London in 1735 he has the appearance of a much younger man. At some point (probably in the 1720s), Tomochichi and his band of followers were banished from the Lower Creek Indians. They then moved to a location on the banks of the Savannah River, which came to be known as Yamacraw Bluff. It was here that James Oglethorpe requested permission from Tomochichi to locate Georgia’s first settlement in 1733. Subsequently, they became close friends. On several occasions, Tomochichi assisted Oglethorpe in negotiating land cessions with Creek chiefs for the growing colony. In 1734, Tomochichi and other Yamacraws sailed with Oglethorpe for England, where they visited the Trustees and King George II. Tomochichi also was important in the Creeks’ military assistance to the English colonists. After his death, Oglethorpe directed that his friend be buried in Percival Square in Savannah. In 1899, Georgia’s Colonial Dames had a large granite stone and brass plaque placed in Wright Square (formerly Percival Square) to mark Tomichichi’s grave site.