Wednesday, October 12, 2005

On the long way home, I found

I took the old road which connects Dublin, in Laurens County, with Macon.

Among other things, I had thought that I found the site where the Creek Treaty was signed, giving away most of the Western Creek Lands. It seems I may be wrong, according to the editors of Roadside Georgia, in this web document;

For 20 years the Creek struggled to regain the land taken by Georgia and only the able handling of the situation by Indian Superintendent Benjamin Hawkins kept the radical factions of the Creek Nation from revolting. After Hawkins got an additional cession from the chiefs in 1805 the fort was built to protect the settlers. Hawkins personally selected the site for the fort that would bear his name.(1)

If I am wrong, I don't feel too bad, for several individuals, including neighbouring residents, business folk, and law enforcement all seemed to know nothing of the history of the fort. It was amusing for me to find that 3/4 of a mile downhill, the road teed out on an avenue, directly onto the Popeye's Fried Chicken opposite. How very much like an American military base!

Here's what I had actually been trying to place, the site of The Treaty of Indian Springs.

Chief McIntosh, Gov. Troup's first cousin, agreed to cede all Lower Creek land to Georgia in the Treaty of Indian Springs in 1825. He had been manipulated by both the federal and state governments to sign the treaty. McIntosh also had no clear mandate from his people. After signing the treaty, and prior to the removal, McIntosh and several other leaders were murdered by angry members of the tribe. The Treaty of Indian Springs was ratified in the U.S. Congress by a single vote.(2)

Another tragedy, albeit more recent than the defeat and loss of the Creek nation, was the apparent abandonment of a recreation facility by Fort Hawkins. It may have been for the soldiers, and it could be for the community now, but the pool is filled in with earth, and the four basketball courts lie in ruin, the hoops a pitiful remnant, devoid of the bouncing of balls and the shouts and grunts of hard and fast court play.
The surrounding neighbourhood seems to be struggling, midway between sinking into further poverty and decay, or reviving with its tire, auto sound system shops, and other workshops and retail businesses.

Somewhere on my other long way home I managed to make my way to S.R. 46, where I found a marker(3) indicating the proximity of Governor Troup's Tomb. Governor George Michael Troup is reputed to have announced to the federal government "We have exhausted the argument. We stand by our arms"." The plaque sums up the consequent history with these three words: "The Indians were removed."

I wonder if this is the same governor who refused Worcester v. Georgia (4) in 1832?) First the Creeks, and later the Cherokees were forced out of their rights and their lands. But there's so much more to that story, which I hope to examine in future posts.

4. Worcester v. Georgia, 6 Pet (31 US) 515 (1832)

History of The Creek Nation - American Indians in North Georgia


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