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Chief William McIntosh
The McIntosh Road
Chief William McIntosh was born near Wetumpka, Georgia (now Alabama) in 1775. He was the son of
William McIntosh, a Scotsman and Senoya (He-Na-Ha), a Creek Indian. His father's lineage goes back to
colonial Georgia and included Lachlan MacIntosh a Revolutionary War general and George Troup a governor
of Georgia in the 1820's. McIntosh became the principal chief of the Lower Creek Nation in the early 1800's
and was described as elegant, intelligent, and brave. He fought with General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of
Horseshoe Bend in Alabama (1814). His service with the United States military merited him the rank of
general. McIntosh's Georgia land holdings included property along the Chattahoochee River (Carroll and
Coweta County), Indian Springs (Butts County), and along the Ocmulgee River (Butts County). He also
maintained a home in Alabama at Coweta, below current day Columbus, Georgia, and another on the
During a meeting in 1805 President Thomas Jefferson discussed the benefits of providing provisions and
lodging for travelers with McIntosh, and shortly after he improved a section of the ancient trail from near
Monticello, GA. to the Coosa River in Alabama to accommodate wagons and allow Americans to pass through
the Creek Nation. The existing Indian trail that ran between his Georgia properties and on into Alabama became
known as the McIntosh Road.
That existing foot/horse trail - from the Ocmulgee River to the Chattahoochee River and on to Kimulgee on the
Coosa River in Alabama - was one section of a ancient Indian trail that ran from near Charleston, South
Carolina, to Mississippi. A statement posted by McIntosh in the New Georgia Journal Dec. 14, 1819, A new
road, leading from Monticello, Georgia to the Black Warrior, Alabama State; beginning at Monticello,
leading on by Scott's Ferry by the Mineral Springs, then on by my house on the Chattahoochee, then from
there to Coosa River, just above Ft. Williams. I intend keeping public Entertainment for man and horse.
The trail across Georgia, estimated to be 118 miles long, became a well traveled route used by McIntosh, other
Indian tribes, traders, and pioneer settlers. A newspaper reported, Not long since 3 wagons have traveled this
road, heavy loaded, and came through with the greatest of ease. McIntosh built stores, inns, and ferries along
the road, and became a very wealthy man. We have found the location of several of these.
The Georgia 1821 Land Lottery opened the portion of Georgia between the Ocmulgee and Flint River/Line
Creek for settlement. This tract was ceded to the United States by the Creek Indian Nation led by William
McIntosh on January 8, 1821, at the Treaty of Indian Springs. By an Act of the Georgia General Assembly on
June 9, 1821, the state would dispose of and distribute the lands lately acquired by the United States for the
use of Georgia. The lottery was held between November 11, 1821 and December 12, 1821.
The Upper Creeks had been reluctant to sign the 1821 treaty but were convinced by McIntosh to do so as the
whites would eventually take the land anyway. They later vowed not to sell anymore of their land and said, We
will die on our land and the world would see how much we loved it. On February 7, 1825 another large parcel
was signed over at the Treaty of Indian Springs which the Upper Creeks rejected and refused to sign. They
were highly displeased with McIntosh for the sale of this land, denounced him as a traitor, and vowed
revenge. McIntosh also sold his 1000 acres at Indian Springs and his 640 acre tract on the Ocmulgee River.
Opothleyoholo, a spokesman for the upper Creeks called McIntosh, a double-tongued devil and warned him
that your own blood shall wash out the memory of this hated treaty. Chief McIntosh had signed his own death
warrant.The Red-Stick faction of the Creek nation lived up to their threat. On April 30, 1825, at three in the
morning about 170 warriors under the leadership of a brave called Menewa crept quietly up to McIntosh home
in Carroll County and torched the house. One son, Chilly McIntosh, escaped through an open window and fled
to Fayette County. Two of McIntosh's wives also escaped, but not before witnessing what happened to their
husband and his property. Chief McIntosh held the warriors at bay with four guns he had in the house until he
could no longer stand the heat from the fire. It was then that he was forced to exit into a spray of bullets from
the marauding band. He was instantly killed, dragged out in the yard and scalped (beheaded according to one
son's account). The plantation was then ravaged, the livestock killed and all buildings burned. The warriors left
as quickly as they had come, taking the scalp of McIntosh with them as a trophy. He was buried at the site.
The following day, McIntosh's son-in-law Sam Hawkins was murdered at his home on the McIntoah Road at
the Little Tallapoosa River. McIntosh's remaining family, including two of his three wives and two sons,
refuged to General Alexander Ware's home in Fayette County. Ware's home and property was on the eastern
side of Line Creek, near the border of Georgia and the Creek Nation, in the vicinity of present day Peachtree
City. With them came 120-150 other Creek Indians who feared for their lives. In a letter dated May 3, 1825 to
Governor Troup the wives poured out their anguish and pleaded for food and assistance for themselves, their
children, and the other indigent Indians at Ware's plantation. It was signed Peggy and Susannah McIntosh. For
whatever reason, Governor Troup, a first cousin of the slain chief, offered meager aide. General Ware and
friendly whites did what they could for the refugees. Ware reported to Troup, The road is covered with
refugees, and upwards of four hundred warriors of hostile party are feasting on McIntosh's cattle and would
be marching toward the settlement of whites in three days. I will prepare for an invasion of perhaps as many
as four thousand warriors. Whites, who have lived among Creeks a long time and know them, are sending
their families out of the Creek Nation. Near General Ware's home, in fear of a Creek up-rising, Fort Troup was
constructed to protect the settlers and friendly Indians, but the attack ever came.
By 1827 the Lower Creek had been completely removed from the state of Georgia under provisions of the
Treaty of Indian Springs. Alabama was next to finish the forced removal process. The Creeks were eventually
herded up and marched west on the Creek Trail of Tears. Prior to his being exiled to the west, Creek Chief
Eufaula addressed the Alabama Legislature at the State Capitol in Tuscaloosa: In these lands of Alabama,
which have belonged to my forefathers and where their bones lie buried, I see that the Indian fires are going
out. Soon they will be cold . . . I leave the graves of my fathers, for the Indian fires are almost gone.
When the power of the Creek Nation was broken, it was logical and inevitable that alternate routes would
develop and that, in the Old Southwest (Georgia and Alabama), the Creek Indians and McIntosh's Road would
become ghosts together. Both were bonded in history, leaving the land to pioneers moving over new
roads.And yes, the settlers came into the former land of the Creek Nation. As William Faulkner said, They
came in battered wagons and on muleback and even on foot, with flintlock rifles and dogs and children and
homemade whiskey stills and Protestant psalm books. They came from the Atlantic seaboard and before that,
from England and the Scottish and Welsh Marches, as some of the names would indicate. They brought no
slaves and no Phyfe and Chippendale highboys; indeed, what they did bring most of them could (and did)
carry in their hands. They took up land and built one-and two-room cabins and never painted them, and
married and produced children and added other rooms one by one to the original cabins and did not paint
Many stayed but the frontier restlessness eventually caught up with others. In large letters, they marked
G.T.T. on their cabin doors - meaning Gone to Texas. Such was life in the old Southwest.
Today, even though many current day roads follow the original trail, very little remains of McIntosh's Road.
Development, King Cotton, Mother Nature, and Father Time have seen to that.
Wearing my frontier garb, I have walked most of the segments that can still be seen. As I walked through the
undeveloped forest, I imagined the power of the bear and buffalo, interacting with free-roaming tribes, and
filling my spirit to the brim. Despite the enormous tragedy and the fate of America's free-living people, it was
one of the most romantic periods in the history of America's migration that took place in the living southwest -
one hundred and eighty years ago.
|Google Earth Maps
Note: Both maps below open in Google Earth.
For best viewing and to read notes, zoom in to
10,000 feet or lower.
Most of the old road meanders on or near current
day routes. In some cases, you will have to
bypass sections on private property.
|All Rights Reserved
It is my intent to display maps with reasonably accurate historical and geographic information. The author
makes no representation regarding the completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of any information, maps, or
data posted on this Site or that such information and data will be error-free. This map is for reference only.
Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information, errors and conditions
originating from historical sources used to develop the database may be reflected on this map. No level of
accuracy is claimed for the boundary lines shown hereon and lines should not be used to obtain coordinate
values, bearings or distances. Notification of any errors would be appreciated.
Most of the historical roads are drivable, however some dead-end at private property which will have to be
I suggest using a detailed road map such as the Delorme Gazetteers along with satellite navigation. I use the
Garmin GPSMAP 60 hand held unit, and a laptop loaded with Delorme "Topo USA" maps connected via
USB to a Delorme "Earthmate" GPS receiver which is placed on the dash of my vehicle. Google Earth files
can be downloaded to both of the above. Cell phones or I-Pads using cell towers are not advised.