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In Their Own Words

February 18, 1797

Creek Indian Desciption of Okefenokee

While making a tour of the Creek Indian towns, Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins met a chief who gave him a description of the Okefenokee Swamp land:

“… This part of the country is sometimes so infested with musquetoes as to destroy horses, by runing and heating of them, when water is not to be had for them, but by getting it out of aligator holes for them. He had seen most of the border of the Okefinacau, and once attempted with some young lads to pursue a bear he had wounded; they went in several hours, and were compelled to return. The whole earth trembled under them, and at several places, where the surface was pressed with the foot, the water would spout out. One of his lads sunk in so deep that he called for help, and they took him out. There are some large cypress, but the growth mostly dwarf. Some of the Tallassee people had been in much farther than he had; they saw some ponds, many aligators, turtles and snakes, particularly a small snake with a button at the end of a tail like the rattlesnake; they saw considerable number of them, and some times 20 or 30 in one view, coiled up on the small grassy nobs; two of these people were killed by the bites of them. He knew of one man who attempted a settlement near this swamp, but he gave it up because the tygers killed his hogs, cattle and sometimes horses.”

Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. IX, Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1806 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1916), p. 86.