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In Their Own Words

February 14, 1736

Tomochichi and Family Visited Oglethorpe

Francis Moore recorded in his journal of a visit from Tomochichi, and his family, to James Oglethorpe:

“…Toma Chi Chi, Scenauky his Wife, Tooanahowi his Nephew, and several Attendants, came down to visit Mr. Oglethorpe on board the Symond, carrying with them Venison, Milk, Honey, and other Indian Refreshments. Toma Chi Chi acquainted Mr. Oglethorpe…That the Uchee Indians complain’d that Cattle were pass’d over unto their Country, contrary to the Capitulation; and that Planters had come and settled Negroes there. Part of these Cattle belong’d to the Saltzburgers, who had pass’d over the Ebenezer River into the Uchee Lands; and the rest, as also the Negroes, belong’d to some of the Inhabitants of South Carolina. … This Day Mr. Oglethorpe sent up the Act, intituled, An Act for maintaining the Peace with the Indians in the Province of Georgia, prepared by the Hon. Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia in America, and approved by his most Excellent Majesty King George the Second in Council, on the 3d Day of April, in the Year of our Lord 1735, and in the 8th Year of his Majesty’s reign, to Savannah Town and from thence to every Trader amongst the Indians, and Notice was given them to conform thereunto. Scenauky presented the Missionaries two large Jars, one of Honey, one of Milk, and invited them to come up to their new town at Yamacraw, and teach the Children there…”

Source: Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), pp. 105-106.

Benjamin Ingham, who had come to Georgia on the same ship - along with John Wesley and James Oglethorpe - also recorded the encounter. He mentioned the interpreter - Mary Musgrove:

“…A little in the afternoon, some Indians came to make us a Visit, we put on our gowns and Cassocks, spend some time in prayer, and then went into the great Cabin to receive them. At our Entrance they all rose up, & both Men and Women shak’d hands with us. When we were all seated, Tomo Chachee their king, spoke to us to this effect, (his Interpreter was one Mrs. Musgrove who lives about 5 Miles above Savannah, she is descended of a white man by an Indian woman. She understands both languages, being educated amongst the English, she can read and write, and is a Sensible well civiliz’d woman. She is likewise to teach us the Indian tongue.)

Ye are welcome. I am glad to see you here. I have a desire to hear the great word: for I am ignorant. When I was in England I desired that some might speak the Great Word to me, our nation was then Willing to hear: Since that time we have been in trouble, the French on one Hand, and the Spaniards on the other, and the Traders that are amongst us have caus’d great Confusion, and have set our people against hearing the great word, their tongues are useless; Some say one thing and some another. But I am glad Ye are come; I will assemble the great men of our Nation, and I hope by degrees to compose our differences, for without their Consent I can not hear the great word. However in the mean time, I shall be glad to see You at my town, and I would have You teach our Children, but we would not have them made Christians as the Spaniards make Christians, for they baptize withour Instruction; but we would hear & be well instructed first; and then be Baptized when we understand.

All this he Spake with great earnestness and with much action both of his head and hands.

Mr. John Wesley made a short answer, ‘God only can teach You Widsom, & if You be sincere, perhaps he will do it by us.’ We then shak’d Hands with them, and so withdrew.

The Queen made us a present of a Jar of Milk, and another of Honey: ‘that we might feed them,’ she said, ‘with Milk, for they were but Children, and that we might be sweet to them.’ …”

Source: Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), pp. 175-176.