“Some people are driven to seek great power by listening to their inner voice. They either become public servants or allow the fear of losing this power to control and enslave them. Once power is obtained, the true nature of their hearts is revealed.” Author Unknown
April 1775 – A child is born near the Chattahoochee River that divides modern day Carroll and Coweta counties. The child’s father is Scotch Irish. His mother is an Indian from the Creek Nation. Since he is not a full blooded Creek, he deals with skepticism from the Creek Indians his entire life. Yet, the boy has been given many talents and gifts from God. He is highly intelligent, a natural communicator, possesses a strong work ethic, and is ambitious to the core.
As William McIntosh, known as as Tustunnuggee Hutke (White Warrior), grows into a man, his quest for power grows strong; perhaps too strong.
His rise to power is swift. He is considered one of the most prominent chiefs of the Creek Nation between the turn of the nineteenth century and his execution in 1825. He becomes a large-scale planter, builds and manages a successful inn, builds a tavern, and operates a commercial ferry business.
McIntosh’s political influence stems more from his Creek upbringing and cultural standing than anything else. His mother’s prominent role as a leader in the Creek Nation smoothes his path to great power.
McIntosh was also considered a skilled orator and politician. He used his influence to improve a Creek trail connecting the Upper and Lower Towns that ran from Talladega, Alabama, to the Chattahoochee River. His plantation at “Acorn Bluff” in present-day Carroll County was at the eastern terminus of the McIntosh Road where he developed a ferry operation across the Chattahoochee River.
Chief McIntosh became one of the most powerful men in Georgia. But, his downfall was on the horizon.
February 1825 – Chief McIntosh leads a group that negotiates and signs the Treaty of Indian Springs, which cedes much of the remaining Creek lands to the United States in violation of Creek law. For the first time in history, the Creek National Council orders that a fellow Creek be executed for crimes against the Nation.
Specifically, the treaty ceded all the remaining Creek land in Georgia plus 3,000,000 acres in Alabama to the United States in exchange for $200,000 and annuities to be paid to the Creek nation. Allegedly, another $200,000 was paid directly to McIntosh. The fifth article of the treaty provided that McIntosh receive payment for lands he was previously granted in 1821. Historians continue to argue over whether McIntosh ceded the land for personal gain, or because he believed that his people being removed was inevitable, and he was trying to achieve some security for the Creek Nation.
April 30, 1825 – Long-time McIntosh political nemesis Menawa, with a large force of 120-150 soldiers in the Creek police force from towns in the ceded territory attack the McIntosh plantation, lighting bonfires around the buildings.
Then they set McIntosh’s house on fire. McIntosh, wounded by gunfire, is pulled from the burning house by several attackers. He takes his last breath as the mob of angry Creeks stab him in the heart. Other Creeks immediately shoot him more than fifty times. His burial site and part of his plantation have been preserved as the beautiful McIntosh Reserve in Carroll County, Georgia.
1826 – 1830 – The vast majority of Chief McIntosh’s descendants voluntarily move to Indian Territory in modern-day Oklahoma prior to the forced federal government removals under the direction of Democrat President Andrew Jackson. The brutal, inhumane, and deadly Trail of Tears begins in 1831.
Chief McIntosh spent much of his life trying to help the Creek Nation. His intentions were honorable. But, as the common saying goes, “Sometimes, the path to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
For some people, like Chief McIntosh, power can be addictive, change the character of a person, and enslave the one who possesses the power.
The life and actions of Chief William McIntosh clearly illustrate the devastating consequences of uncontrolled power. Uncontrolled power always leads to the downfall of an otherwise good person.