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Creek Paths and Federal Roads

Indians, Settlers, and Slaves and the Making of the American South

Angela Pulley Hudson

Publication Year: 2010

Hudson examines travel within and between southeastern Indian nations and the southern states from the founding of the United States until the forced removal of southeastern Indians in the 1830s. She focuses particularly on the creation and mapping of boundaries between Creek Indian lands and the states that grew up around them the development of roads, canals, and other internal improvements within these territories and the ways that Indians, settlers, and slaves understood, contested, and collaborated on these boundaries and transit networks.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. vii

Figures and Maps

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p. ix

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pp. xi-xiii

I grew up on the road. Whether we were moving from one southern state to another or taking road trips to see family scattered from Louisiana to Virginia, Florida to Tennessee, I saw most of it from the window of my parents’ car. I came to know the South as a migrant and still don’t know exactly how...

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Introduction: Old Paths, New Paths

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pp. 1-9

In a 1774 talk to British Indian agent John Stuart, a party of Upper Creek leaders observed: ‘‘When a path is new made it does not at once become a great path.’’1 The path in question was a new north-south trading route between Upper Creek towns on the Tallapoosa River and the port of Pensacola...

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1. Territoriality and Mobility in Eighteenth-Century Creek Country

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pp. 11-35

On a bright sunny day in early November 1779, a Creek leader known to outsiders as the Tallassee King rose to speak to an assembly of Indians, traders, and American officials at the Savannah River plantation of trader and de facto Indian agent George Galphin. He took a white eagle feather in one...

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2. Settling Boundaries and Negotiating Access

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pp. 37-65

As a result of competing claims by state, federal, and indigenous interests, a shifting maze of boundary lines made figuring out whose side one was on a tricky proposition. Once boundaries were agreed upon in treaty conventions and the various documents delivered to each party, there still remained the...

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3. Opening Roads through Creek Country

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pp. 67-89

In the opening months of 1806, the Creek delegation returned from Washington to the fields and forests of their homelands during the height of the deer-hunting season. In their absence, many Creek men and women had proceeded with their winter tasks, largely unacquainted with the profound...

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4. War Comes to the Creeks

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pp. 91-120

When the dust finally settled from the New Madrid aftershocks, Creek people saw clearly that American travel through their homelands had increased since the end of 1811. The transformation of what was once a narrow post path to a broad wagon road meant that more people could enter the nation...

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5. A New Wave of Emigration

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pp. 121-144

On his journey through the southern states in 1817, writer James K. Paulding remarked, ‘‘I had heard much of the continued migration from the Atlantic coasts to the regions of the west. . . . I have now had some opportunity of witnessing the magnitude of this mighty wave which knows no retrograde...

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6. Remapping Creek Country

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pp. 145-166

Continued American expansion into former Indian homelands north and south of the Ohio River sparked a renewed passion for what American politicians called ‘‘internal improvements.’’ In addition to roads, canals seemed particularly promising. In 1825, the opening of the Erie Canal heralded a new...

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pp. 167-172

In mid-March 1830, a young man named Richardson turned up on the doorstep of one Mr. Harris, who lived near the Georgia-Creek border. He was covered in blood. He recounted a journey into the Creek Nation where an elderly Creek man overtook him on the road. To the old man’s remarks,...


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pp. 173-223


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pp. 225-242


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pp. 243-252

E-ISBN-13: 9781469604008
E-ISBN-10: 1469604000
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807833933
Print-ISBN-10: 0807833932

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 658198573
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Creek Paths and Federal Roads

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Creek Nation -- History.
  • Creek Indians -- Land tenure -- Southern States -- History.
  • Creek Indians -- Government relations.
  • Creek Indians -- Relocation.
  • Indian trails -- Southern States -- History.
  • Roads -- Southern States -- History.
  • Transportation -- Southern States -- History.
  • Creek War, 1813-1814.
  • Southern States -- Boundaries -- History.
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