Brigadier General Alexander McGillivray, Sr

Brigadier General Alexander McGillivray, Sr

Male 1750 - 1793  (42 years)

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  • Name Brigadier General Alexander McGillivray, Sr 
    Title Brigadier General 
    Suffix Sr 
    Nickname Hipp-ilk-micco , Good Child King 
    Born 15 Dec 1750  Coosa River, Elmore County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 17 Feb 1793  Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Garden of Panton Cemetery Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I616787786  Eby/Aebi and Bernethy Family
    Last Modified 21 Sep 2012 

    Father Lachlan McGillivray,   b. Abt 1719, Dunmaglas, Strath Nairn, Inverness, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Nov 1799, Isle of Skye, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 80 years) 
    Mother Sehoy II Marchand,   b. Apr 1722, Wetumpka, Elmore County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1799, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 76 years) 
    Married 1740  Wetumpka, Elmore County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location 

    • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 about Lachlan Mcgillivray
      Name: Lachlan Mcgillivray
      Gender: Male
      Birth Place: SC
      Birth Year: 1719
      Spouse Name: Sehoyi II Windclan
      Spouse Birth Year: 1722
      Year: 1740
      Number Pages: 1
    Family ID F546595688  Group Sheet

    Family Elise Moniac Manaque,   b. Abt 1760, Creek Nation, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1793, Creek Nation, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 33 years) 
     1. Alexander McGillivray, Jr,   b. 1780, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1802, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 22 years)
     2. Elizabeth McGillivray,   b. Unknown
     3. Margaret McGillivray,   b. 1782, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 23 Jul 2012 
    Family ID F546697911  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 15 Dec 1750 - Coosa River, Elmore County, Alabama Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 17 Feb 1793 - Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Garden of Panton Cemetery Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Alexander McGillivray, Brigadier General
    Alexander McGillivray, Brigadier General
    From "tsportyoung' in Ancestry

  • Notes 
    • Frances Thornton Smith

      DOB and DOD found in Family Data Collection - Individual Records

      Bet. 1770 - 1793 Chief of the Creek Nation for twenty-three years,1770 to 1793 5
      Was of a tactiturn nature (speaking little) unless in engaged in conversation.
      1790 Sent out by Washington from New York to the Creek Nation in Alabama (see pg. 7. of theDr. M.E. Tarvin' Book).
      1790 Made a Brigadier General by President George Washington,with full pay of that office.
      Educated Man of towering intellect and vast information.
      Per Frances:
      Alexander was one of the most important persons ever to be born in the state of Alabama. He had been taken to Charlston when he was 14 to be educated. There he learned latin, Greek, French and Spanish. But he turned his back on the white mans ways and went back home to Coosa river and his Indian people. He became their leader and helper. His power lay in diplomacy.
      McGillivray--Weatherford--White Family History says Alexander only 1/4 indian yet elected Chief of the Creek Nation by the tribal council. Well-educated, well-versed in ways of white man. Sided with British during the Revolution and was instigator of many border raids. In 1790 he visited NY and made a peace treaty on behalf of his tribe.

      Printed under the caption: Marriages and Deaths of considerable Persons," in the issue of August, 1793, London, Vol. LXIII, p. 767

      Obituary Notice in the Gentleman's Magazine

      Feb. 17. At Pensacola, Mr. McGillivary, a Creek chief, very much lamented by those who knew him best. There happened to be that time at Pensacola a numerous band of Creeks, who watched his illness with the most marked anxiety; and when his death was announced to them, and while they followed him to the grave, it is impossibel for words to describe the loud screams of real woe which they vented in their unaffected grief. He was, by his father's side a Scotchman, of the respectable family of Drumnaglass, in Invernesshire. The vigour of his mind overcame the disadvantages of an eduaction had in the wilds of America; and he was well acquainted with all the most useful European sciences. In the latter part of his life he composed, with great care, the history of sevearl classes of the origianl inhabitants of America; and this he intended to present to Professor Robertson, for publication in the next edition of his History. The European and the American writer are no more; and the MMS of the latter, it is feared, hjave perished, for the Indians adhere to their custom of destroying whatever inanimate objects a dead friend most delighted in. It is only since Mr. MacGillivray had influence amongst them, that they have suffered the slaves of a deceased master to live.

      Panton to Lachlan McGillivray, April 10, 1794
      Printed in Pickett, "History of Oklahoma, 430-31, from a document found in the papers of the District Court at New Orleans.

      1794, April 10 Pensacola

      .... Your son, sir, was a man that I esteemed greatly. I was perfectly convinced that our regard for each other was mutual. It so happened that we had an interest in serving each other, which first brought us together, and the longer we were acquainted, the stronger our friendship.

      I found him deserted by the British, without pay, wothout money, without friends, and withouit property, saving a few negroes, and he and his nation threatened with destruction by the Georgians, unless they agreed to cede them the better part of their country. I had the good fortune to point out a mode by which he could save them all, and it succeeded beyond expectation.

      ... He died on the 17th February, 1793, of complicated disorders -- inflamed lungs and the gout on his stomach. He was taken ill on the path coming from his cow-pen on Little River, where one of his wives, Joseph Cornell's daughter, resided, and died eight days after his arrival here. No pains, no attention, no cost was spared to save the life of my friend. But fate would have it otherwise, and he breathed his last in my arms.

      .... He died possessed of sixty negroes, three hundred head of cattle, with a large stock of horses.

      .... I advised, I supported, I pushed him on, to be the great man. Spaniards and Americans felt his weight, and this enabled him to haul me after him, so as to establish this house with more solid privileges than, without him, I should have attained. This being the case, if he had lived, I meant besides, what he was owing me, to have added considerably to his stock of negroes. What I intended to do for the father, I will do for his children. Thos ought not to operate against your making that ample provision for your grandson, and his two sisters, which you have it in your power to make. They have lately lost their mother, so that they have no friends, poor things, but you and me. My heart bleeds for them, and what I can I will do. The boy, Aleck*, is old enough to be sent to Scotland to school, which I intend to do next year, and then you will see him

      * There are a few letters in the Panton papers that mention Aleck's schooling at Banff. John Innerarity of London acted as his guardian; Innerarity wrote to Wm. Panton in 1798, about Aleck, "he bids fair to make a good scholar and what is better a good man." Four years later John Leslie wrote to Forbes that "poor Aleck McGillivray labours under a consumption, " and that the doctor gave the young man only three months to live. (Florida Historical Society Quarterly, XIV, 116-19)

      Description by Benjamin Hawkins, 1799, of Hickory Ground, 6 years after the death of Alexander McGillivray (and printed in Swanton's Early History of the Creek Indians):

      O-che-au-pe-fau: from Oche-uh, a hickory tree, and po-fau, in or maong, called by the traders, hickory ground. It is on the left bank of the Coosa, two miles above the fork of the river, and one mile below the falls, on a flat of poor land, just below a small stream; the fields are on the right side of the river, on rich flat land; and this flat extends back for two miles, with oak and hickory, then pine forest; the range out in this forest is fine for cattle; reed is abundant in all the branches.

      The falls can be easily passed in canoes, either up or down; the rock is very different from that of Tallapoosa; here it is ragged and very coarse granite; the land border on the left side of the falls is broken or waving, gravelly, not rich. At the termination of the falls there is a fine little stream, large enough for a small mill, called from the clearness of the water, We-hemt-le, good water. Three and a half miles above the town are ten apple trees, planted by the late General McGillivray; half amile further up are the remains of Old Tal-e-see, formerly the residence of Mr. Lochlan and son, the general. Here are ten apple trees planted by the father, and a stone chimney, the remains of a house built by the son, and these are all the improvements left by the father and son.

      Three people are, some of them, industrious. They have forty gunmne, nearly three hundred cattle, and some horses and hogs; the family of the general belong to this town; he left one son and two daughters; the son is in Scotland, with his grandfather, and the daughters with Sam Macnack [Moniac], a half-breed, their uncle, the property is much of it wasted. The chiefs have requested the agent for Indian affairs to take charge of the property for the son, to prevent its being wasted by the sisters of the general or by their children. Mrs. Durant, the oldest sister, has eight children. She is industrious, but has no economy or managemnet. In possession of forteen working negroes, she seldom makes bread enough, and they live poorly. She can spin and weave, and is making some feebnle efforts to obtain clothing for her family. The other sister Sehoi, has about thirty negroes, is extravagant and heedless, neither spins nor weaves, and has no government of her family. She has one son, David Tait [Tate?] who has been educated in Philadelphia and Scotland. He promises to be better.
      LifeNotes: Born into the Wind Clan of the Creeks, he was sent to school in Charleston, SC under the tutelege of his father's cousin Rev. Farquhar McGillivray. His sister Sophie also was sent to school in Charleston; she didn't stay as long as Alexander. Alexander mastered of Latin, and Greek and grew to be a man. He missed his family and his home in the Wild. He was needed by his people and they let him know. So Alexander decided to return west.


    • From the Encyclopedia of Alabama:

      A controversial eighteenth-century Creek leader, Alexander McGillivray (c. 1750-1793) pushed to centralize Creek authority, negotiated treaties, alliances, and trade with Great Britain, Spain, and the United States, signed secret diplomatic deals that augmented his private holdings, and helped control much of the Indian trade in the Lower South. As a result, he amassed a tremendous fortune in slaves, cattle, and land and became one of the most powerful Creek Indians of his era, arousing the animosity of a large Creek opposition.

      McGillivray, also known as Hoboi-Hili-Miko, was born around 1750 in the Creek village of Little Tallassee, located near present-day Montgomery. His mother, Sehoy, belonged to the powerful Creek Wind Clan, and his father, Lachlan McGillivray, was a prominent Scottish trader. Alexander spent his first six years fully immersed in the matrilineal Creek society, under the guidance of his mother and other members of her clan. In addition to learning the Muskogee language, he also was immersed in the daily customs and seasonal rituals that defined Creek society.

      Colonial Society and the Revolution

      Although Creek cultural norms marginalized the parenting roles of biological fathers in favor of matrilineal uncles, Lachlan also helped raise McGillivray, physically moving him into colonial society in Augusta, Georgia, for several years. There, he learned firsthand many of the details of plantation life. Lachlan introduced Alexander to the privileges of colonial wealth, as his land holdings exceeded 10,000 acres and his mercantile firm profited from the sale of African slaves and various commodities. In 1773, Alexander moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where he studied under his cousin Reverend Farquhar McGillivray and then briefly took an apprenticeship at the countinghouse of Samuel Elbert in Savannah, Georgia.

      McGillivray returned to Little Tallassee in 1777, shortly after his Loyalist father's property was confiscated by pro-Revolutionary leaders in South Carolina. By this time, McGillivray, also a Loyalist, was fluent in the ways of both Creek and colonial society. He quickly began to make use of his diverse social and political skills. With the ability to communicate with the British and Spanish at a premium, McGillivray increasingly inserted himself in inter-colonial affairs. For example, while representing the interests of Creek society as an offical negotiator, he also obtained a commission as a colonel in the British army, which charged him with helping to secure a British-Creek alliance. He obtained supplies for the Creeks and organized war parties to protect British and Creek interests against the United States. McGillivray rarely participated as a warrior, and he experienced few military successes. In 1781, with the support of approximately 2,000 Creek warriors, McGillivray helped defend Pensacola against American troops, but he would later protest British West Florida's policy of offering bounties for Indian leaders. McGillivray also worked for John Stuart and Thomas Brown?two successive British superintendents of Indian Affairs?providing information and further securing the British-Creek alliance.

      At the Center of Creek Diplomacy

      When the American Revolution ended, McGillivray maintained his place at the center of Creek diplomacy as he sought to secure the Creek's sovereignty in the Lower South. McGillivray's strategy relied on a series of controversial nationalist reforms. He believed that successful diplomacy required the Creeks to have a more centralized form of government. This meant an end to the traditional political decentralization of Creek society, a system that allowed individual villages to sign autonomous treaties, wage war, and make trade arrangements. Despite opposition from various village and clan leaders, McGillivray sought to formalize and strengthen the Creek National Council. Through successful negotiations with the United States and by playing U.S., British, and Spanish interests off one another, McGillivray emerged as an accepted Creek leader. The resources that he received through his various connections to European-Americans further strengthened his position among the Creeks. He subsequently created and imposed laws and regulations that permeated all villages, and he pushed for an authoritative national leader like himself to negotiate with the imperial powers.

      Centralized power also helped McGillivray secure an atypical economic position in Creek society. An active merchant in the deerskin trade, McGillivray was unlike the majority of Creek men in his capacity as a seller rather than a supplier of raw-goods. McGillivray also owned African slaves, plantations, cattle, and various other forms of private property, such as mattresses and books, that were of types unevenly embraced in Creek society and he used new laws to protect these interests. As much as he embraced elements of white society, McGillivray remained a part of Creek society. He participated in the annual Green Corn Ceremony, followed the unwritten expectations of his matrilineage and clan, and like some other prominent Creek men had multiple wives.

      McGillivray spent much of his years after the American Revolution as a Creek diplomat. Immediately after the war, he opposed Georgia's attempt to seize three million acres of Creek land and in 1784 negotiated the Treaty of Pensacola with Spain to secure rights to that land. This treaty, which guaranteed Creek land only in Florida, helped McGillivray convince Georgia and the United States that they needed to respect Creek territorial claims and sovereignty elsewhere. The treaty also guaranteed that the Creeks would continue to have access to the British trading firm of Panton, Leslie and Company, and it made McGillivray an official representative to the Spanish, an appointment that carried with it a $50 monthly salary. McGillivray soon became an employee and partner of Panton, Leslie and Company and used his connections to expand his personal authority.

      Playing Powers Against Each Other

      In the ensuing years, McGillivray continued to resist American efforts to confiscate Creek lands and obtain trading privileges in Creek country. He also played the European powers off of one another and ensured that Creek hunters continued to have access to the deerskin market. Occasionally, this required military action; between 1785 and 1787, for example, he sent war parties into the Cumberland settlements in Tennessee to clear the hunting grounds of squatters and other illegal settlements. Most of his efforts, however, rested on his diplomatic skills. In 1788, when Spanish officials informed McGillivray that they would have to reduce their assistance to the Creeks, McGillivray opened up communication with the United States. These talks began in 1789, as U.S. commissioners appointed by Pres. George Washington proposed a boundary on Creek land that cut deep into well-established Creek lands in Georgia. McGillivray and other Creeks protested, and the commissioners returned home empty-handed.

      In 1790, at the invitation of President Washington, McGillivray and a delegation traveled to New York City to meet with Secretary of War Henry Knox about Creek land rights. The resulting Treaty of New York established a boundary between Georgian and Creek lands near the Altamaha River and established American sovereignty over Creek lands within the United States. The treaty also secured the private interests of McGillivray, who received a commission in the U.S. Army as a brigadier general and a salary of $100 a month.

      After 1790, McGillivray attempted to strengthen the Creeks' position through his various roles and continued negotiations with the Spanish, British, and Americans. In 1792, he met with Spanish officials in Louisiana to conduct his final treaty. In this treaty, Spain promised to respect Creek sovereignty within its borders. On February 17, 1793, McGillivray died in Pensacola, Florida. Although there is an early drawing that has been widely circulated as being a depiction of McGillivray, many scholars believe that it is unlikely to be him.

      Additional Resources

      Caughey, John Walton. McGillivray of the Creeks. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1938.

      Frank, Andrew K. Creeks and Southerners: Biculturalism on the Early American Frontier. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005.

      Green, Michael D. "Alexander McGillivray" in American Indian Leaders: Studies in Diversity, edited by R. David Edmunds, pp. 41-63. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980.

      Saunt, Claudio. The New Order of Things: Property, Power, and the Transformation of the Creek Indians, 1733-1816. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

      Andrew K. Frank
      Florida State University
    • From

      Abram Mordecai, a contemporary of McGillivray, told Albert Pickett years later that McGillivray had been poisoned by the Spanish. (Pickett does not repeat the claim in his book, however.) Amos Wright points to two letters by Spanish colonial officials that seem to support this contention. The first is from Governor Carondelet to McGillivray himself, dated 14 Dec 1792. In it he offers to send a powder which he thinks will ease McGillivray's "Rheumatism" but only on the rather odd condition that the prescription is "not displayed to any physician." The second is from Pensacola Commandant, Arthur O'Neill, to Carondelet about 2 weeks prior to McGillivray's death. In it, he claims "[t]hey are now free from McGillivray's policies." Others also carried premature news of McGillivry's death. On 6 Feb 1793, Cherokee Chief John Watts told Southwest Territory Governor Blount that the Creek Chief was dead. Wright speculates mercury vapor poisoning likely contributed to McGillivray's demise. [10]
    • From

      Partner, Panton, Leslie & Company. This firm maintained European trade in the Creek Nation and McGillivray's ability to license white traders in the nation gave him considerable leverage over village chiefs and, consequently, the Spanish. His position was reduced to that of a silent partner as Spanish suspicions grew that he had gone over to the British-- rumors were circulated in Pensacola that he had made common cause with adventurer, William Augustus Bowles (1763-1805)-- and then the Americans.

    • From

      Present day location and original burial site. (Wright erroneously reports this as the Santa Rosa County Courthouse.) According to Pickett, McGillivray was buried in his benefactor's garden. He was reburied at Choctaw Bluff, Clarke County, Alabama. Lower Creek Chief Timothy Bernard penned these words, 26 March 1793: "He was interred in Mr. Panton's garden, as the Dons would not admit his being laid in their burying ground." This would, no doubt, be St. Michael's cemetery. In one of the many ironies afforded by time, James Tunstall Bryars (the forth great grand-nephew of McGillivray) married Maggie Moreno (great grand-daughter of don Francisco Moreno, the last Spanish Consul in Pensacola).

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