Mvskoke Country

field notes ➤ Johann Burckhard, 1811

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September 3.

We took advantage of the dry spell to visit Creeks in the low land. Br. Petersen set out on September 3, and in the forenoon visited seven families in their homes, amongst them the family of the Big King. He, however, was not at home. From here I rode two miles up the river to the first Indian town where I found Big Chief (or in Indian Micco Thlucco) and twenty chiefs, who had gathered in the town house for a “Little Talk.” We had now traveled twelve miles, crossed the river three times for visits on either side of the river and permitted my mare to graze. I shall now discuss how kindly they received me in Indian fashion at their town house. The so-called Micco Thlucco had me sit next to him. He then got up, shook my hand violently and the other chiefs followed suit. When this process was concluded Big Chief got up and handed me some of his tobacco; in return, I gave him some of mine. The other chiefs followed suit. It is understood that, once the different kinds of tobacco have been blended, the smoking begins. Then the “Black Drink” or cleansing tea was served. One of the Indians went from man to man more than twenty times singing, while all were drinking. The Indians immediately ejected it, but it did not affect me that way. Then the Big King had a bundle of 451 small sticks of wood, the size of matches, delivered to him, corresponding to the total number of warriors living up the river who belonged to the town house. The old Micco Thlucco told me that I was not to leave until he returned, as he wanted to go home and fetch watermelons. He said he had a mile and a half to go and that he would [not] stay. I loaned him my mare. He seemed concerned lest the melons might be gone before I again returned. He then said, “I promised that should you visit me you were to eat watermelon with me and I want to keep my promise.” He brought a blanket full of melons, then had saffkee and baked pumpkins brought to the town house where, according to custom, I had the honor to lie down to eat with him and Chief Toshege. After we had finished he called the other chiefs to dine. At sundown they brought wood for a fire at which they danced into the night. I set out by moonlight, traveled up the river with a white man and camped in the woods for the night.

September 4.

I continued the trip and visited a number of families in their homes. All were friendly and immediately offered me saffkee. ❞

Partner’s in the Lord’s Work: The Diary of Two Moravian
Missionaries in the Creek Indian Country, 1807-1813

edited and translated by Carl Mauelshagen and Gerald H. Davis
(Georgia State College, 1969)

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Written by James Treat

August 31, 2011 at 12:00 am

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