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In Their Own Words

March 12, 1733

Report on Agreement with Yamacraw Indians

Six weeks after arriving in Georgia, James Oglethorpe wrote the Trustees that the Yamacraw Indians had concluded a peace treaty with him giving English colonists rights to settle at Yamacraw Bluff and other lands not reserved to the Indians. Oglethorpe further noted that he had drawn on the Trustees account for £400, and that he personally had paid the remainder. Thus began his practice of using personal funds to support the colony when sufficient Trustees funds weren’t available. Ultimately, Oglethorpe would mortgage his entire estate back in Surrey on behalf of Georgia:

“I have been obliged to make many expenses here. The rice given by the [South Carolina] Assembly not being near sufficient, I was forced to buy a considerable quantity of provisions as also to make up the arms which was burnt in the fire and also the tools, many of which were so bad as to be useless, besides which I have thought it necessary to make several expenses in gift to the Indians for intelligence, rewards for taking outlaws, and spies… .”

“I have drawn upon you for £400, part of which I have paid and the rest I have by me… .

“There are in Georgia on this side of the mountains three considerable Nations of Indians, one called the Lower Creeks consisting of nine towns or rather cantons making about 1000 men able to bear arms. One of these is within half a mile of us and has concluded a peace with us giving up their right to all this part of the country, and I have marked out the lands which they have reserved to themselves. The king [Tomochichi] comes constantly to church and is desirous to be instructed in the Christian religion and has given to me his nephew, a boy who is his next heir to educate.

“Our people still lie in tents, there being only two clapboard houses built and three sawed houses framed, our crane, our battery of cannon and magazine finished. This is all we have been able to do by reason of the smallness of our number, of which many have been sick and others unused to labour, though thank God they are now pretty well and we have not lost one soul since our arrival here… .”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe’s Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), Vol. I, pp. 7-8.