Chinnaby among signers of 1790 Treaty of York
Published 9:48 am Friday, February 10, 2006
Last week I told you a little bit about the Natchez/Creek Indian Chinnaby. I want to continue with that. There are so many in this area who can trace their ancestry back to the American Indian that I thought it might be interesting to see if anyone else besides Martha Waters Simmons can trace back to Chinnaby.
Chinnaby, his sons, and his brother, all signed the 1790 Treaty of New York between the Indians and George Washington. One of his sons, thought to be Matthews, was killed when the horse he was riding ran under a tree limb knocking him from the horse. He was buried at Chinnaby Village, which was later known as McEldery Station, nine miles east of Talladega. The McEldery family, who purchased Chinnaby's land, erected a marker on his grave. The other son, Selocta, played an important role with Andrew Jackson in the Creek War in Alabama at a later date.
On May 17, 1790, Col. Marinus Willet, George Washington's agent to the Creek Nation, made a speech to the assembled chiefs saying, “I have been sent an immense distance by our Chief, George Washington, to invite you to his council house at New York, where he, with his own hand, wishes to sign with Col. McGillivray, a treaty of peace and alliance.”
He further stated that the United States wanted none of their land and that Washington would take ‘measures to secure their territory to them' and that the treaty would be ‘as strong as the hills and lasting as the rivers.'
Willet, McGillivray and the representatives from the Creeks, including Chinnaby, set out on the journey to New York, which at the time was the Capital of the United States. They traveled by three wagons and on horseback with McGillivray and Willet riding a sulky until they reached Philadelphia, where they boarded a sloop that carried them to New York. There they signed the Treaty and, in return, received a medal and $100 each, except for McGillvray, who was made a Brigadier General with an annual salary of $1,200.
In 1796, Chinnaby was commissioned to help run the line between the state of Georgia and the Creek Nation. He served under Andrew Jackson in the Creek War from 1812 to 1815, as a Brigadier General of Indian Troops. In 1813, when he was very old, but still very active, Chinnaby built Fort Chinnaby at Ten Islands on the Coosa River. It was later transformed by Andrew Jackson into Fort Strother as a supply depot.
Selocta Chinnaby Fixico, the old Chinnaby's son, was present at the signing of the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814, ending the Creek conflict. He appealed to Andrew Jackson for the land west of the Coosa for the friendly Indians, but his request was turned down and the Indians were required to sign the Treaty that gave the United States some 14 million acres of land.
Haw, daughter of Chinnaby, was first married to a half-breed whose last name was Gray and she was called Nancy Gray. Her second husband was Joseph Stiggins who called her by her Indian name of Haw.
Joseph Stiggins was, according to historian Albert Pickett, of Scotch descent. He came to the Mississippi Territory in the days of the Revolutionary War. He established a trading post six miles north of the Indian town of Nauche, where he traded with the Indians and the Spanish. He and Haw had at least five children according to his will made Dec. 27, 1812, in Baldwin County, Mississippi Territory and executed on Feb. 3, 1813. (This will is on file in Bay Minette, Book A, pages 9-10.)
Joseph's name can be found on many other documents in Baldwin County and in Washington County. One rather interesting document dated Aug. 1, 1811, where Joseph presented a petition to the Mississippi Territory Legislature saying: “the humble petition of Joseph Stiggins showeth that having formerly resided in the Creek Nation amongst the Indians and marrying an Indian woman by whom I had children, that I moved to this country (Baldwin County) and educated and brought up to the Christian religion, and finding it disagreeable that by the law of our Territory that they can't have their oath though born of a free woman.
This petition was signed by Joseph Stiggins and 19 fellow citizens of Baldwin County.
The children were George Stiggins who married Elizabeth Adcock, Mary Stiggins who married William “Red Eagle” Weatherford, Susannah Stiggins who married first Henry Hathaway and second Absolem Sizemore, Nancy Stiggins, (who married a Coburn and died soon afterward, and Robert C. Stiggins.
Next week I will tell you something about the next generation.