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In Their Own Words

May 02, 1825

Blood Stained Letter from McIntosh Wives

Following the murder of Creek Indian chief William McIntosh, his two wives - Peggy and Susan McIntosh - wrote U.S. Indian commissioners Duncan Campbell and James Meriwether requesting help. McIntosh’s two wives (one was Creek, the other Cherokee) reportedly were both attached to McIntosh and well as on good terms with each. Now, they had lost everything and were desperate. As indicated in the first sentence, the letter was actually stained with their husband’s blood:

“May 3, 1825. Line Creek Fayette County

“To Col. Duncan G. Campbell and Major James Meriwether U.S. Commrs

“Gentlemen,

“When you see this letter stained with the blood of my husband, the last drop of which is now spilt for the friendship he has shown for your people, I know you will remember your pledge to us in behalf of your nation, that in the worst of events you would assist and protect us. And when I tell you that at day light on Saturday morning last [April 30] hundreds of the Hostiles surrounded our house, and instantly murdered Genl McIntosh & Tome Tustennugge, by shooting near One-hundred balls into them (Chilly and Moody Kenneard making their escape through a window) they then commenced burning and plundering the most most unprincipled way, so there here I am driven from the ashes of my smoking dwelling, left with nothing but my poor little naked hungary [sic] children, who need some immediate aid from our white friends, and we lean upon you while you lean upon your government. About the same time of the morning that they committed the horrid act on the General another party caught Col. Saml Hawkins, and kept him tied until about 3 oclock when the Chiefs returned from our house and gave orders for his execution in the same way, and refused to leave his implements to cover his body up with, so that it was left exposed to the Fowls of the Air and the beasts of the Forest, and Jimmy and her child are here, in the same condition as we are - this party consisted principally of Oakfuskies, Talledegas, and Muckfaws, tho’ there were others with them. The Chiefs that appeared t head the party were Inlockunge of Muckfaw, Thlocco-cosco mico of Arpachoochee, Munnauho, but I know not where he was from, was said they were ordered to do it by the Little prince and Hopoethyoholo, and that they were supported and encouraged in it by the Agent and the Chiefs that were left after the Big Warriors death in a Council at Broken Arrow where they decreed that they would murder all the Chiefs who had any hand in selling the Land, and burn & destroy and take away all they had, and then send on to the President that he should not have the Land. I have not heard of the murder of any others but expect all are dead that could be catchd [sic]. But by reason of a great freshet in the Chattahoochee they could not get Col. Miller nor Hogey McIntosh nor the Darisaws, and they and Chilly are gone to the Governor. Our Country is in a most ruined state so far as I have heard (this by reason of the high waters word has not circulated fat) all have fled from their homes in our parts and takin [sic] refuge among their White friends, and I learn there are now at Genl. Ware’s (near this place) from 150 to 200 of them who are afraid to go to their homes to get a grain of what little Corn they have to eat, much more to try to make any more, and if you and your people do not assist us, God help us. We must die either by the Sword or the famin [sic] - this moment Genl. Ware has come in and will in a few minutes start with a few men and a few friendly Indians, to try to get a little something for us to heat. I hope so soon as you read this, you will lay it before the Governor and the President that they may know our miserable conditions, & afford us relief as soon as possible. I followed them to their Camp about 1/2 miles to try to beg of them something to cover the dead with, but it was denied me. I tryed also to get a Horse to take my little Children and some provisions to last us to the White Settlements which was given up to me and then taken Back, and had it not have been for some White men who assisted in burying the dead and getting us to the White Settlements, we should have been worse off than we were if possible - before I close I must remark that the whole of the party so far as I know them were hostile during the War.”

Source: Original manuscript in the collection of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.