Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Jackson County's Indian Reservations
This field on the shore of Lake Seminole north of Sneads has been farmed since it was first cleared by Native Americans more than 180 years ago. In around 1818 or 1819, a party of Creeks led by Econchatimico ("Red Ground King") moved to a new village site here on the Chattahoochee River after their town at present-day Neal's Landing was destroyed during the First Seminole War.
By 1823, they had managed to clear fields, build homes and settle in at the new location, about 10 miles north of Sneads. In the Treaty of Moultrie Creek, signed that year, the U.S. Government reserved a four square mile piece of land surrounding the new village for Econchatimico and his people. A second, smaller reservation was also established on the Apalachicola River near the present Jackson County Port Authority site for a second chief, Mulatto King, and his followers.
The rest of the land in Jackson County, however, was opened to settlement and the last few hundred Native Americans living there were confined to the reservations.
Econchatimico remained on his land until 1838 when, based on prior agreement, he and his followers were removed by U.S. Army troops commanded by future President, Colonel Zachary Taylor.
The reservation was immediately occupied by white settlers, who began farming the newly abandoned fields and the communities of Brown's Ferry, Port Jackson and Butler Landing eventually grew here. Most of the old reservation was flooded when Lake Seminole was created during the 1950s, but a few small portions remain above water level and can still be seen in the vicinity of the Apalachee Wildlife Management Area along River Road north of Sneads.