A comprehensive collection of the most important sources on the late historic Creek Indians and their environment.
In 1795 Benjamin Hawkins, a former U.S. senator and advisor to George Washington, was appointed U.S. Indian agent and superintendent of all the tribes south of the Ohio River. Unlike most other agents, he lived among the Creek Indians for his entire tenure, from 1796 to 1816. Journeying forth from his home on the Flint River in Georgia, he served southeastern Indians as government intermediary during one of the longest eras of peace in the historic period.
Hawkins's journals provide detailed information about European-Indian relations in the 18th-century frontier of the South. His descriptions of the natural and cultural environment are considered among the best sources for the ethnohistory of the Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and, especially, the Creek Indians and the natural history of their territory.
Two previously published bodies of work by Benjamin Hawkins are included here-A Sketch of the Creek Country in the Years 1798 and 1799 and The Letters of Benjamin Hawkins 1796-1806. A third body of work that has never been published, "A Viatory or Journal of Distances" (describing routes and distances of a 3,578-mile journey through parts of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi), has been added. Together, these documents make up the known body of Hawkins' work—his talks, treaties, correspondence, aboriginal vocabularies, travel journals, and records of the manners, customs, rites, and civil polity of the tribes. Hawkins' work provides an invaluable record of the time period.