Between 1827 and 1837 approximately twenty-three thousand Creek Indians were transported across the Mississippi River, exiting their homeland under extreme duress and complex pressures. During the physically and emotionally exhausting journey, hundreds of Creeks died, dozens were born, and almost no one escaped without emotional scars caused by leaving the land of their ancestors.
Bending Their Way Onward is an extensive collection of letters and journals describing the travels of the Creeks as they moved from Alabama to present-day Oklahoma. This volume includes documents related to the "voluntary" emigrations that took place beginning in 1827 as well as the official conductor journals and other materials documenting the forced removals of 1836 and the coerced relocations of 1836 and 1837.
This volume also provides a comprehensive list of muster rolls from the voluntary emigrations that show the names of Creek families and the number of slaves who moved west. The rolls include many prominent Indian countrymen (such as white men married to Creek women) and Creeks of mixed parentage. Additional biographical data for these Creek families is included whenever possible. Bending Their Way Onward is the most exhaustive collection to date of previously unpublished documents related to this pivotal historical event.
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Christopher D. Haveman is an assistant professor of history at the University of West Alabama. He is the author of Rivers of Sand: Creek Indian Emigration, Relocation, and Ethnic Cleansing in the American South (Nebraska, 2016).
List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Part 1. The Voluntary Emigrations 1827-1836
1. The First McIntosh Party, 1827-1828
2. The Second McIntosh Party, 1828
3. The Third Voluntary Emigrating Party, 1829
4. Chilly McIntosh's Emigrating Party, 1833
5. The Fourth Voluntary Emigrating Party, 1834-35
6. The Fifth Voluntary Emigrating Party, 1835-36
Part 2. The Forced Removals, 1836
7. Removal of the First Detachment of Creek Prisoners, July 1836-August 1836
8. Second Detachment of Creek Prisoners
Part 3. The Coerced Relocations, 1836-37
9. Detachments 1-6
10. Detachment 1
11. Detachment 2
12. Detachment 3
13. Detachment 4
14. Detachment 5
15. Detachment 6
Part 4. The Refugee Removals, 1837
16. The Removal of the Refugee Creeks in the Cherokee and Chickasaw Countries
Part 5. The Voluntary Self-Emigrations and Reunification Emigrations, 1831-77
17. The Reunification Emigrations
"No such collection currently exists for the Creek Indians. Most histories of the removal era devote copious space to the historical context, while the actual process of removal seems to have attracted less scholarly attention. The documents themselves, however, are intrinsically interesting. The muster rolls will be of enduring value to demographers as well as to modern-day Muscogee (Creek) Indians interested in genealogy and history."-Steven C. Hahn, professor of history at St. Olaf College and author of The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670-1763 -- Steven C. Hahn "Bending Their Way Onward explores the messy day-to-day process of physically moving thousands of Indians off their lands and orchestrating the accompanying administrative challenge. These documents complicate and humanize the process without excusing or vindicating the agents involved or reducing the Creeks to passive victims. Many of the documents are eye-opening."-Andrew K. Frank, Allen Morris Associate Professor of History at Florida State University and author of Creeks and Southerners: Biculturalism on the Early American Frontier -- Andrew K. Frank
Dewey Decimal Classfication (DDC)