Historic Figures in Georgia History

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Tomochichi (ca. 1644-1739)

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries

Tomochichi, chief of the Yamacraw Indians, was an important person in the history of early Georgia.

He was the main person that helped the Native Americans and the  English settlers when the colony first started.  This helped the colony of Georgia be a success.

Little is known about the youth of this warrior and chieftain because nothing was written down. Historians think he was Creek . About 1728 Tomochichi created his own tribe called the  Yamacraws. It was made from an assortment of Creek and Yamasee Indians. His group, of about two hundred people, settled on the bluffs of the Savannah River because the location was the resting place of his ancestors and was close to English traders.

When General James Oglethorpe and his fellow settlers got there in February 1733, they realized the need to make friends with the Indians. Among Oglethorpe's group was Mary Musgrove, daughter of a Creek mother and an English father. She new both languages and was able to help Genereal Oglethorpe and Tomochichi talk to each other. Tomochichi  decided to welcome the new arrivals and let them build Savannah.

During the first five years of English settlement, Tomochichi was very helpful to the new colony. One year after Oglethorpe's arrival, the Indian chief went  to England along with a small group of family and Lower Creek tribesmen. He learned many important things on his trip.

Tomochichi helped Oglethorpe make many important decisions and treaties with other tribes.

Tomochichi died on October 5, 1739, and most people think he was in his late nineties. His contributions to the colony of Georgia were celebrated with an English military funeral, and the grave site was commemorated with a marker of "a Pyramid of Stone". The most important thing he had done in his live was to be a fair counselor between the Indians and the English.







Courtesy of Edwin Jackson, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia
Tomochichi's Grave Marker



Source: New Georgia Encyclopedia