1715-1828 - Native American Occupation and Cessation
Prior to the arrival of white settlers, the area of south Fulton County was primarily populated by the Creek, which were a part of a loose confederation of Muskogee speaking tribes that descended from the southeastern Mississippian (900 A.D. – 1550) culture.
With the outbreak of the Yamasee War in 1715 near the Savannah River, many tribes of what were collectively known as the Lower Creeks, moved into central Georgia near present day Macon and west, throughout the Chattahoochee River valley along the Georgia - Alabama border. Further displacement brought about by white encroachment, the Red Stick Uprising (a pan-nationalist Indian revolt inspired by the eloquent Shawnee leader, Tecumseh) and the ensuing Creek Wars of 1813 – 1814, flooded west Georgia with a collection of refugee Creek tribes from the Coweta and Hillabee clans.
To the immediate north and east of these Creek lands was Cherokee country. The Chattahoochee River, a natural boundary that was often a focal point of dispute between the nations, historically separated the two tribes.
Upon their mass arrival into the area, the Creek quickly established two frontier towns, just north of the study area (Chattahoochee Hills) along the Chattahoochee River. These served as trading centers between the Creek, Cherokee and early white settlers. The first was Standing Peachtree, located at the convergence of the Chattahoochee and Peachtree Creek. It later became the foundation for Fort Peachtree (also known as Fort Gilmer) near the present day Montgomery Ferry Road in Atlanta. The other site was Sandtown (Oktahasasi). Named by its Creek founders after a town of the same name on the Tallapoosa River along the Alabama-Georgia border, Sandtown was situated just to the south of Utoy Springs near Buzzard’s Roost (Sulecauga), an island in the middle of the Chattahoochee River.
By the beginning of the nineteenth century the cultural and political clamor calling for the end of Indian occupation in Georgia and throughout the southeast began to grow. Under the auspices of the Compact of 1802, there was a stipulation that Georgia would relinquish its claim of the lands comprising Alabama and
Mississippi in exchange for the federal government’s removal of all Indians in the state to the west of the Mississippi. Rapid population growth, discovery of gold in the north Georgia mountains and general distrust of the Cherokee and Creek following their failed alliance with the British during the War of 1812, were all factors contributing to the strong desire throughout Georgia for the removal of the tribes and the opening of Indian land for white settlement.
Realizing the inevitability of white encroachment, Chief William McIntosh, leader of the Coweta Clan and of mixed Creek and Scottish ancestry, signed a treaty with the United States at Indian Springs in 1821. In the agreement, McIntosh and the Lower Creeks ceded land from the Hightower Trail in the northeast and the Chattahoochee River in the northwest, to the Flint River in the west (a diagonal line that ran through Campbell and is know as the Treaty Line) from the Ocmulgee River in the east – five million acres in all. The state legislature quickly divided the treaty land into Dooly, Fayette, Henry, Houston and Monroe counties. The counties were divided into land lots, 2021/2 acres in size. These were distributed by lottery later that year.
Four years later, in 1825, McIntosh agreed to negotiate again, this time with acting U.S. commissioners James Meriwether and Duncan G. Campbell. In this second treaty, the State of Georgia secured all of the remaining Creek land in Georgia between the Flint River in the east and the Chattahoochee River from the north, and west to the Tallapoosa and Coosa Rivers in Alabama.8 With this agreement, the Lower Creeks gave up their land in Georgia and were forced to move west; beyond the Mississippi River into what is now Oklahoma. By signing the treaty, Chief McIntosh also sealed his own fate. Warriors of the Upper Creek, who had long opposed McIntosh’s calls for negotiation and relocation, killed him less than three months later at his home near present day Whitesburg, Georgia. Carroll and Coweta counties were drawn up from the land handed over in the second treaty and the lots were surveyed and distributed by state lottery in 1825.
Above History is from South Fulton Scenic Byways - Historic Context By: Patrick Sullivan & Jessica Lavandier.