The Mayans and Creek Indians

Comments by Jeannette Holland Austin

Because of so much feed-back on the article concerning the Creek Document, I decided to write my own glimpses into the origin of the Creeks and Mayans.

No substantial proof until now has been discovered linking the Mayans to the Creek Indians in Georgia. Congratulations to Richard L. Thornton for his discovery of the Creek document in the hands of Thomas Christie. I spent years reading and researching the immigrants detailed in the Colonial Records of Georgia by Candler. Thomas Christie was appointed a Magistrate in Savannah while still onboard a vessel from England. He became quite a controversial figure in local politics. One of his most absurb moments was when he brought charges to court against John Wesley, the local minister in Savannah. Wesley was one of seven brothers in the ministry and came to Georgia with his brother Charles Wesley at the request of James Oglethorpe. Christie and his wife, Martha, had no children of their own. However, a niece from Carolina came to reside with them at their plantation west of Savannah “Ockstead”, which overlooked Augustine Creek. The niece, Sophie, accepted the Methodist religion from Wesley and accompanied him on his visits to the friend Creek Indians where he preached the gospel. The niece was anxious for Wesley to propose marriage but he refused to do so. Once, when he lay sick in bed, she visited him. Rejected by Wesley, a scandal ensued. The niece returned to relatives in South Carolina, where, two weeks, later, she married Mr. Williamson, a lazy sort. The couple returned to Savannah. The following Sunday they attended church, but Wesley refused to give Sophie communion. (The rule was that one should post notice that they wished to take communion). This matter blew out of purportion, and Sophie went to her uncle demanding satisfaction of Wesley. A petition listing some 22 silly items of discontent was prepared and Wesley was summoned to court where Christie read the charges. Wesley asked that he be able to go home without posting bail, with the understanding that he would be tried and sentenced the following day. Early the next morning, however, Wesley left Savannah onboard an outgoing vessel, and returned to England. The interesting Diary of John Wesley is located at the Savannah Historical Society.

Mary Musgrove, an Indian Princess born in Pon-Pon South Carolina who married a white trader acted as interpreter for General Oglethorpe. Musgrove, no doubt, interpreted the Creek document which Christie took to London. Suffice it to say that the interpretation of the Creek writing by her was rough, but we must agree that the Creeks had knowledge of their historical background.

Pictured is Mary Musgrove with her second husband, Thomas Bosomworth.

Also, we should remember that the Spanish were in South America and Georgia during 16th and 17th centuries and destroyed precious records written in pictorial formats and gliphs by the Mayans and other tribes. It is said by historians that the Aztecs and Mayans were more intelligent and better educated than the Spanish! Friars were were sent up from St. Augustine into Georgia was the sole purpose of teaching the Christian region. The Friars would return later, however, to discover that the church they caused to be erected was torn down and the Indians had returned to their savage ways.

So it was that a great history was lost of those on the South American Continent! Only 4 books survived, and today those books are somewhere in Europe.

A bit of a followup on Thomas Christie. About 1740 he was in trouble with his peers, having been accused of taking items from people’s estates, etc. So, he returned to England to “clear his name.”

Once in London, he waited around for his case to be heard before the Trustees (headed by the Earl of Egmont) of the Colony and it is not known whether his name was cleared. However, about 1742 he was in a vessel off St. Simon’s Island when it sank. Christie drowned.

The preservation of the Creek document (thanks to Prince Charles who kept it at Clarence House) is a break-through. It is unfortunate that the Historical Society of Savannah has not opted for a copy of this historical document.

During the 1970s, a fellow (Woodward, I think) was considered the expert as deciphering the hierglyphs written on the buildings around Guatemala. Later on, an interesting break-through was made when someone discovered that the “elephant” on the glyphs was not an elephant, rather represented a chieftain, or king. Typically, the glyphs would have like 2 horizontal lines on top of each other and 3 dots underneath. The horizontal lines represented math - “2” and the dots “3”. So, a total of “5”. Remember our old style of writing 4 vertical lines and crossing them with a line? (meaning the count of “5”). Thus, the year of the glyph can now be determined. Not to long ago, a new dig near Belize uncovered a dig dating to about 585 B. C.!

The Creeks in Georgia were friendly with white settlers. In fact Chief Tomochichi loved Oglethorpe and his last wish was to be buried in Savannah. The Savannah Historical Society has a collection of old newspapers wherein digs were made around the square, and the chief’s tomahawk found. When the Creeks left Georgia beginning about 1818 and moved westward, that opened up a new avenue of discovery. Old Indian maps show numerous villages from Georgia through Tennessee North Carolina and westward along the Mississippi River. One has but to look at the Cohokia Mounds in Illinois to note the similarities between ancient Mayans. The “mound builders” aroused curiosity which no one seemed to understand. Turns out, that the excavation at Cohokia was interpreted to be a city with a high area and wall overlooking a village, etc. The location of religious buildings in Guatamala seem to represent a place where leaders stood to make speeches, etc. Cahokia

Some historians seem to think that after the US sent the Indians to Oklahoma, that their villages were ordered destroyed by Andrew Jackson (unproven). However, we can imagine that the Mayans moved through Mexico into Georgia, and further West along the Mississippi River where they established communities of the various tribes, long before the US Treaties.