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In Their Own Words

May 11, 1737

Diary Entry on Indians

In his journal of Trustee proceedings, the Earl of Egmont recorded some interesting facts about Tomochichi and the almost universal practice of white traders having Indian wives:

“Mr. Tanner, a young gentleman of Surrey & neighbour of Mr. Oglethorpe (Since an Ensign in his Regiment) dined with Some of the Trustees. Who went for his amusement in the last embarkation with Mr. Oglethorpe to Georgia,and was employ’d by him in Several Services whilst there, & particularly among the Indian Nations, where he past 4 months … .”

“He Said the Indians are extreamly human to those in friendship with them, perfectly just in their dealings, & know not what it is to tell a lie… .”

That Tomachachi had a house of 3 rooms built like the rest of Clay, and cover’d with plank, that he keeps his parlour lock’d where is the picture of the Lyon [lion] we gave him, as also Mr. Oglethorpe’s picture, in whose arms he Said (when he was ill last year) he wish’d he might [die]. That when he Sees company, or calls Councils, he Sits in this room.

“That when he visited him, he gave him a very good dinner of rost [sic] and boiled Pork, Bufalo [sic] beef, fowl, & pancake, and Senawky his wife made tea for him.

“He Said further, that all the Indian Traders have wives among the Indians, being necessary for dressing their victuals, and carrying on their business, and he believed there were 400 children so begotten. That being left and bred up by their mothers, they Speak both Indian and English, enough to be understood: but what ever is the reason, they do not care to do it but when drunk.”

Source: Robert G. McPherson, The Journal of The Earl of Egmont: Abstract of the Trustees Proceedings for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1738 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1962), pp. 272-73.