The Creek War(1813-1814), Part Three: Leaders of the Settlers

William McIntosh

When Captain William McIntosh, a Loyalist, rode into Georgia’s Lower Creek Territory to escape the wrath of Savannah’s Patriots during America’s Revolution, he met and married a prominent Creek woman named Senoya. Senoya, from the tribe’s high-status Wind Clan, gave birth to the younger William McIntosh around 1775. Destined to become a leader in the war against the Red Sticks, young William learned to read and write. Also, he spoke fluent English.

He gained prominence in his own right and formed various alliances with important people such as Indian agents like Benjamin Hawkins and deerskin traders. His influence among his people grew wider and stronger. He owned a plantation, traded in slaves, and kept an inn for weary travelers.

Among his own people, he soon became controversial. He gladly signed treaties with the white man and ceded lands to them. He became chief of Coweta and the leader of the law menders—the Creek police. These warriors enforced the Creek National Council’s laws and carried out sentences. In the past, before the National Council was established, Creek towns executed their own justice on criminals. He would play an important role in the war’s last big battle, at Horseshoe Bend.

In 1825, McIntosh was murdered by his own people, but that is a story for a later post.

Ferdinand L. Claiborne

Ferdinand L. Claiborne, born into a prominent family from Sussex County, Virginia, served as a junior officer under General Anthony Wayne in the Old Northwest Territory (Ohio and Great Lakes region) during the Indian war there. At the Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794), he earned a promotion to lieutenant. After the war, he returned east where he became an Army recruiter and in 1802, he resigned from the service with the rank of captain.

His brother, William C.C. Claiborne, was governor of the Mississippi Territory, so he moved to Natchez, the territory’s capital. Here, he became a planter. In 1805, he joined the territorial militia as a major. As a colonel serving under General James Wilkinson, he participated in the first arrest of Aaron Burr, but Burr was released on bond and when he didn’t respond to a summons he was arrested again.

When the Creek War began, Claiborne commanded the territorial militia. Headquartered at Fort Stoddert on the Mobile River in 1813, he commanded this region when Weatherford’s Red Sticks attacked nearby Fort Mims. He also led the war’s first offensive, an invasion of the Upper Creek Nation, defeating the Red Sticks at the Battle of the Holy Ground in present-day Lowndes County, Alabama.

His poor health forced him to return to Natchez, where he died in 1815. I couldn’t find any picture of him.


In the early 1800s the Choctaw nation consisted of three geographical districts. To the northeast: the Ahepyt, or Potato Eaters District. To the west: Okla Falaya, or Long People District. And in the nation’s southern region: Okla Hannali, or Six Towns District. Within each of these districts were Choctaw towns and villages, most of them in present-day Mississippi.

Pushmataha, greatest of all Choctaw chiefs, led the Six Towns. Although not much is known about his ancestry and childhood, historians generally agree that he was born in 1764 in what is now Macon, Mississippi. He gained a reputation as a brave warrior and great fighter against other tribes, which led to him becoming the principal chief of Six Towns in 1800. However, he never fought the white man.

When the Shawnee leader Tecumseh visited the Mississippi Territory in 1811 to form an alliance with the Old Northwest’s tribes against the white settlers, he tried to get the Choctaws to join it. Although Tecumseh was a great orator, he met his match with Pushmataha’s eloquence and persuasiveness. The chieftain followed Tecumseh to different Choctaw towns and spoke against him at council meetings. In the end, the Choctaws made Tecumseh leave their nation. Tecumseh then went to the Creeks, many of whom listened to his words.

With the American military rank of lieutenant colonel, and later brigadier general, Pushmataha fought in twenty-four battles, some of them under Andrew Jackson. He died in 1824 and is one of only two Native Americans buried in Washington, D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery.

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson led the Tennessee militia during the Creek War and broke the back of Red Stick power at the famous Battle of Horseshoe Bend. This victory vaulted him to national prominence and eventually, the White House. Also participating in this battle were two future heroes of the Texas Revolution, Sam Houston and David Crockett.

At Fort Jackson, in present-day Wetumpka, Alabama, he received the surrender of the Red Stick leaders, including William Weatherford.

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