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Volume 47 Number 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Editor's Page. Brent R. Weisman 2
Their Final Years: The Apalachee and Other Immigrant Tribes on the Red River, 1763-1834. Donald G. Hunter 3
Early Florida Decorated Bone Artifacts: Style and Aesthetics From Paleo-Indian Through Archaic. Ryan J. Wheeler 47
Sam's Cutoff Shell Mound and the Late Archaic Elliott's Point Complex in the Apalachicola Delta,
Northwest Florida. Nancy M. White and Richard W. Estabrook 61
John Wallace Griffin (1919-1993). Brent R. Weisman 79
Howard and Levine, Choctaw Music and Dance. Reviewed by Jason Baird Jackson 83
Marquardt (ed.), Culture and Environment in the Domain of the Calusa. Reviewed by John W. Griffin 85
Announcement: Change in Back Issue Sales to Graves Museum 87
Cover: Aboriginal pottery vessel forms from the historic Apalachee component, Zimmerman Hill site, Rapides Parish, Louisiana
(see article by Hunter).
Copyright 1994 by the
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
EDITOR'S PAGE: THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST VOLUME 47 (1) MARCH 1994
Brent R. Weisman
The story of the final years of the Apalachee as told in
this issue by Donald G. Hunter reminds us once again how
complex is the history of relations between native Americans
in the Southeast and the colonial powers of France, Spain, and
Great Britain and the emergent United States. For those with
even a casual interest in Florida history, it is important to
know that a small remnant of the Apalachee continued to be
recognized as a tribal entity through 1834, although they long
had been displaced from their Florida lands. As the Apalachee
were making their way west to their final destination on the
Red River in central Louisiana in the decades following the
shattering of the Florida mission system, bands of Creeks,
Yuchi, and related tribes of the lower Southeast were finding
their way south to settle in the richest lands of the former
Apalachee and Timucua territories. By 1834, the final year of
the Apalachee, the Florida Creeks (referred to generally by this
time as Seminoles) were one year away from armed conflict
with the U.S. government. Bullets proved less lethal than
disease; the Seminoles, despite a heavy toll, survived. The
Apalachee did not.
White and Estabrook report on another productive season
of the continuing University of South Florida archaeological
project in the Apalachicola Valley. Having been to Sam's
Cutoff I can appreciate the effort and determination required to
attempt the controlled recovery of archaeological materials
from the site. There are wet sites, and then there are wet sites.
Sam's definitely falls in the latter category. I wonder how
many similar sites were overlooked in typical surveys of the
past because they lack surface visibility and resist ready
accessibility. We tried for several days, without result, to find
another Sam's in the Apalachicola marshes, only to be cut to
ribbons by (appropriately named) sawgrass.
I am pleased in this issue to publish, after several
unfortunate delays, a review of Bill Marquardt's remarkable
edited volume on the Southwest Florida archaeological project.
The first portion of the review was written by the late John W.
Griffin, with the remainder completed posthumously by the
Editor as noted. Although the review is comprehensive, and
overwhelmingly positive, the reader should be aware that some
topics of possible debate are not specifically addressed. One
such topic is the interpretation of shell plummets which
Marquardt suggests are "sinkers" while other scholars believe
them to be "pendants"--for example, see articles in this journal
by John Reiger (December 1990) and by Robert Austin
(December 1993). For those scholars out there who hold
views different from those published in The Florida
Anthropologist and can reasonably put forth alternative
explanations or interpretations, consider this an invitation to do
so in future issues.
Finally, some words about manuscript submissions to the
journal. First, the happy news is that eight manuscripts have
come across my desk since the beginning of the year, while
last year at this time I had logged in only three. With this
prosperity, however, has come the realization that the editorial
staff (those few dedicated souls) simply cannot, nor should
they be expected to, process manuscripts that do not conform
to the journal style. In the future, all prospective authors are
strongly encouraged to contact me to request a current style
guide, and are even more strongly encouraged to refer to the
guide when preparing the manuscript. From now on,
manuscripts not submitted in house style will be returned
unread to the author for revision. Ultimately this should better
serve the interests of the author, editor, and reader in
producing a quality product.
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Vol. 47 No. 1
THEIR FINAL YEARS: THE APALACHEE AND OTHER IMMIGRANT TRIBES ON THE RED
Donald G. Hunter
Over the past several decades, the Apalachee have
been the subject of several articles and monographs which have
primarily dealt with their early history in Florida. Here They
Once Stood: The Tragic End of the Apalachee Missions written
by historian Mark F. Boyd and archaeologists Hale G. Smith
and John W. Griffin (Boyd et al. 1951) presented primary
sources relating to the demise of the Spanish mission system in
Apalachee, as well as archaeological evidence concerning the
Apalachee in Florida. More recently, historian John H. Hann
(1988) published Apalachee: The Land Between the Rivers.
This work uses available historical documents to delineate a
concise ethnohistory of the Apalachee in Florida with a final
chapter devoted to the dispersals of the Apalachee after
Governor James Moore invaded the province in 1704 and
destroyed the Florida mission system.
In 1972, historian James W. Covington wrote
"Apalachee Indians, 1704-1763" which appeared in the Florida
Historical Quarterly. This article discussed the Apalachee
movements into the Carolinas, to Pensacola, Mobile, Cuba,
and Veracruz after Moore's raids. Earlier, Covington (1964)
published "The Apalachee Indians Move West" in the Florida
Anthropologist. This article relates to the immigration of
remnants of the tribe to Pensacola and Mobile where they
remained until the British gained control of the region after the
French and Indian War.
John R. Swanton discussed the Apalachee in three of
his monographs. In his Early History of the Creek Indians and
Their Neighbors, he devoted nearly 20 pages to the Apalachee
during the early exploration and mission periods in Florida and
their subsequent dispersals after British-inspired raids
devastated that region in the early 1700s (Swanton
1922:109-129). His later works, The Indians of the
Southeastern United States (Swanton 1946) and Indian Tribes
of North America (Swanton 1952) contain sketches on the
Apalachee that represent synopses of his earlier work.
But the history of the Apalachee did not end at Mobile
in 1763; rather, a remnant band would continue to be
recognized as a distinct tribal entity for at least another 70
years on the banks of Red River in what is now central
Louisiana. In previous studies, there have been only a few
paragraphs devoted to this final, yet important, segment of
Apalachee history. This paper examines Apalachee life on Red
River during the period between the autumn of 1763 and the
early summer of 1834 in an effort to add another, yet final,
chapter to Apalachee ethnohistory.
In 1762, the last year of the French and Indian War,
Spain joined France and Austria against England, and that year
Spain lost several of its New World possessions, including
Havana (Table 1). France, with its treasury drained from the
long conflict and suffering numerous defeats over the last
years, was anxious to end the hostilities. Spain, however, was
eager to regain what the British recently had taken from it. As
an inducement for the Spanish monarchy to end its
involvement in the war, France secretly ceded Spain all of
Louisiana west of the Mississippi River with the signing of the
Treaty of Fountainebleau in November 1762. This cession
also included the Isle d'Orleans, which encompassed that
portion of Louisiana east of the Mississippi south of the
Iberville River (Bayou Manchac) and the valuable port city of
New Orleans (Figure 1) (King and Ficklen 1893:110-112;
Martin 1975:189-193; Schlesinger 1983:97).
The conclusion of the war, culminated by the signing
of the Treaty of Paris of 1763, brought about many changes in
the Southeast. Havana reverted back to Spanish control, the
British gained Florida, and France forfeited that portion of
Louisiana east of the Mississippi to England. As a
consequence of this and her losses in Canada, France's role as
a colonial power on the North American continent ended (King
and Ficklen 1893:112; Martin 1975:193).
The transfer of that part of Louisiana ceded to Spain
would not be known to French colonial administrators until the
early fall of 1764, and Spain did not attempt to take control of
her new province until March 1766 when Governor Antonio de
Ulloa y de la Torre Guiral arrived in New Orleans. Soon after
the signing of the Treaty of Paris, however, England occupied
her new territories recently gained from France and Spain
(King and Ficklen 1893:113-114; Martin 1975:196-200).
With the French evacuation of Mobile and the British
occupation, many of the small tribes residing in that area
petitioned French administrators in Louisiana to move west of
the Mississippi River. The British and their Indian allies,
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Vol. 47 No. 1
Klometers 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Figure 1. Portions of Lower Louisiana and West Florida during the second half of the eighteenth century.
10 20 30 40 50
especially the Tallapoosa, were old enemies of many of these
small bands. With the French gone from Mobile, there would
be no one to stop Indian reprisals or prevent the enslavement
of those bands who had supported them.
The Apalachee were one of the first groups to petition
Louisiana's Director General Jean-Jaques Blaise d'Abbadie and
Governor Louis Billouard de Kerlerec to immigrate to
Louisiana. On September 6, 1763, a deputation of Apalachee
arrived in New Orleans and met with the two administrators.
D'Abbadie noted that these Indians were afraid of reprisals
from the Tallapoosa, because they had assisted the Spaniards in
apprehending one of that tribe. He observed that they were
both good farmers and hunters who would be able to support
New Orleans. Both men agreed that it would be desirable to
have this band settle in Louisiana and to place them on Red
River where they could also assist boats ascending the river to
Natchitoches. The Apalachee returned to Mobile with a letter
written by d'Abbadie instructing the French commandant there
to allow the Indians to move (Brasseaux 1981:100-101; Villers
du Terrage 1904:61).
On September 25, 1763, the Apalachee, who
numbered about 80 persons, returned to New Orleans and
again met with d'Abbadie and Kerlerec. In a meeting held the
same day the Indians departed for Red River-on September
27--the Apalachee elected a new chief named Martin, because
their current chief was believed too old for the position. That
day the French provided them with boats and guides, and they
left for the area known as Rapide (Brasseaux 1981:102).
Rapide (later to become Rapides Parish) derived its
name from a set of large siltstone shoals or rapids in Red River
near the present city of Alexandria, Louisiana. In the fall of
1763, it was a sparsely settled area located approximately
midway between the mouth of the Red and Natchitoches. The
French had made no establishment there before that time, and
the district was devoid of any substantial Indian or European
settlement (De Ville 1985:6-8).
Little has been learned of the Apalachee during their
first four years on Red River, primarily because there was no
colonial administrator there until 1767. That year Governor
Ulloa established a post at Rapide under a civil and military
commandant, Etienne Marafret Layssard (Archivo General de
Indias, Seville [AGI], Papales de Cuba, legajo 206, f.
105-106). Layssard held this position until his death in 1793
at which time his son Valentine was appointed as his father's
successor and the district Indian agent (Lowrie and Franklin
When Layssard arrived in December 1767, he found
in his new district only two other white men, one family of
bohemes ("Gypsies"), the Apalachee, and some Alabama (AGI,
Cuba, legajo 206, f. 105-106). The Apalachee, however, did
not welcome Layssard, perhaps because they did not relish the
idea that they and their new home were now back under
Spanish control. An incident that occurred the following April
illustrates the contempt that the Apalachee had for the new
district commandant. It started when the Apalachee helped a
band of Alabama clear some land below their village. A
Frenchman named Vincent tried to stop them, because he
claimed the land by virtue of a 1764 purchase. Layssard took
no direct action to resolve this conflict and merely instructed
Vincent to continue his planting until he had time to consult
the governor. However, before Layssard could address Ulloa,
the Apalachee chief Martin came with his entire village to
Layssard's house and stopped his slaves from clearing his land.
The Apalachee then began felling timber as if to clear the land
for their own use. When Layssard demanded to know why
they were taking his land, Martin replied that since Vincent
had taken some of their land, they could take some of
Layssard's (AGI, Cuba, legajo 187-A, f. 388-389).
The Apalachee seem to have maintained this contempt
for the new government during the first decade of Spanish
control. Layssard attempted on several occasions to get the
Indians to go to New Orleans to meet the governor, but the
Apalachee refused, noting that the governor considered them
"dogs." Perhaps these feelings reflected an old hatred for the
Spanish stemming from their treatment in Florida and, in part,
from agitation from local French inhabitants who would
support a rebellion against the new government in 1768. The
Apalachee had left Mobile once more seeking the protection of
the French. Instead, they unexpectedly found that they were
again under the dominion of Spain. But Rapide was never
heavily influenced by Spanish culture. It remained, instead,
dominated by the character of the social and political systems
that Frenchmen, such as Layssard, introduced there. In time,
the Apalachee came to respect Layssard, his family, and the
new colonial government of Louisiana.
Within a few years, Layssard's district began to grow.
But these new inhabitants were mainly other immigrant Indian
groups who started moving into Rapide because of threats of
Creek and Choctaw raids into British West Florida and Lower
Louisiana (Figure 2). In September 1772, Layssard received
between 12 and 14 Mobilians who had obtained permission
from the governor to settle in his district (AGI, Cuba, legajo
188-C, f. 154-155). Perhaps they desired to settle near the
Apalachee, because they had lived near one another at Mobile.
A year earlier, the Mobilians had been living on the north side
of the Amite River, near present Head of Island in Livingston
Parish, Louisiana, which was then a part of British West
Florida. The English Surveyor-General, Elias Durnford, who
mapped the Amite River during the spring of 1771, visited the
Mobilian village on April 30 and noted that by that time most
of them had moved to the Mississippi River. Their neighbors
on the Amite were the "Chocteau" and the Pascagoula Indians
who abandoned their villages near Lake Maurepas in the early
part of June 1771 to move to the Mississippi because they were
afraid of the Creeks.
The Pascagoula and Chacato also moved to Rapide
sometime in late 1772 or early 1773. But the immigration of
these bands caused much concern for Spanish officials because
Table 1. Calender of Events Relating to the Apalachee and Other Immigrant Tribes on Red River.
November 3: Under the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau, Louis XV deeds Spain all French territory west of the
Mississippi River and the Isle d'Orleans as an inducement to end the French and Indian or Seven Years War.
February 10: The Treaty of Paris of 1763 ends the Seven Years War. Under its provisions Spain forfeits East and West
Florida (with the exception of the Isle d'Orleans) to England. All of French possessions east of the Mississippi not
ceded to Spain are forfeited to the British.
September: Prior to the British occupation of Mobile, the Apalachee request and are granted permission to move west
of the Mississippi. Interim French officials assist them in establishing a village on Red River at Rapide. An
Apalachee named Martin is named as their chief.
The Parish of St. Louis des Appalages is established to serve the Apalachee on Red River. Father Pierre Valentine
serves as pastor.
The Taensa move from Mobile and settle on the west side of the Mississippi some 20 leagues above New Orleans.
March 6: Don Antonio Ulloa, the first Spanish Governor of Louisiana, arrives in New Orleans to take possession for
December: Etienne Marafret Layssard assumes duties as Spanish military and civil commandant at Rapide. In addition
to the Apalachee, there is a small band of Alabama in the district.
November 1: Ulloa is forced to flee New Orleans during a revolt by French loyalists.
August 18: Governor Don Alexander O'Reilly arrives in Louisiana and takes possession for Spain.
An Apalachee named Pierre assumes the position of chief after the death of Martin.
September: A small band of Mobilian Indians moves to Rapide from West Florida.
April: The Pascagoula and Chacato are settled in Rapide. Rumors spread through the interior districts that English-
allied tribes will invade Louisiana and destroy all the tribes that do not return to British soil.
May: Many of the Pascagoula, Biloxi, and Choctaw flee Rapide and settle on the east side of the Mississippi River
slightly below the mouth of Red River.
August: Spanish officials convince the Pascagoula to return to Rapide.
September: The Biloxi under their chief, Matha'a, return to Rapide.
May 1775: English-allied Chickasaw and Choctaw threaten to raid southeastern Louisiana and approach the Alabama
and Tiensa about joining them.
January: The Taensa are now established on the west bank of the Mississippi near the fort at Pointe Coup6e.
The Choctaw establish a village in Rapide on Bayou Boeuf.
January: The Apalachee chief, Pierre, dies and is succeeded by Denis.
Table 1 (continued)
May 8: Spain declares war on England in support of the American Revolution. During the war, the Spaniards under
Louisiana Governor Bernardo de Galvez take Ft. Bute at Manchac (September 7, 1779) and Baton Rouge (September 21-
22, 1779) from the British. Indians from Rapide led by Valentine Layssard join in these expeditions.
January: Rumors spread throughout Louisiana that English-allied tribes were planning to strike the interior districts.
The Biloxi abandon their village in Rapide and flee to Avoyelles.
March 9-14: Galvez lays siege and captures Mobile.
June: Rumors spread throughout Louisiana that Chickasaw war parties were planning to strike Rapide, Natchitoches,
and Opelousas. The Choctaw in Rapide disperse their villages and take refuge in the woods.
April 22-May 4: British loyalists retake and hold the fort at Natchez.
May 9-May 10: Galvez lays siege and captures Pensacola. All of West Florida is now under Spanish control.
May: Rumors again spread through the interior districts that Choctaw and Chickasaw war parties were planning raids.
Choctaw emissaries visit the villages in Rapide and threaten the Choctaw, Pascagoula, Alabama, and Apalachee.
June 28: Spanish forces recapture the fort at Natchez and restore colonial rule. This expedition is accompanied by
Apalachee, Alabama, Pascagoula, and Choctaw warriors from Rapide led by Valentine Layssard.
October: Rumors spread through Rapide that a combined British and Indian force had actually been seen crossing into
Louisiana. Most of the Indians in the district scattered their villages. Some of the Biloxi fled to southeastern coastal
Louisiana and sought refuge among the Ouacha.
September 3: The Treaty of Paris of 1783 ends the American Revolution. The same day Britain signs a treaty with
France and Spain in Versailles in which Spain gets back the Floridas and obtains control of both banks of the
Mississippi River below 31 North Latitude.
September 12: The Pascagoula receive permission to establish a village on Red River above the Apalachee.
The Ttensa are now established in Rapide, living near or with the Apalachee.
Etienne Layssard dies. His son Valentine is appointed as military commandant and Indian Agent for Rapide.
May: The Apalachee chief, Denis, dies and is given a military funeral by Valentine Layssard. A small medal chief
named Etienne assumes the leadership of the tribe.
The Biloxi move back into Rapide and establish a village on Bayou Boeuf.
March: A band of Coushatta from the Opelousas District approach Valentine Layssard and request permission to settle
near the Apalachee.
The Pascagoula establish another village on Bayou Boeuf near the Choctaw and Biloxi.
September 6: The Coushatta are formally granted permission to settle with the Apalachee, although they had done this
October 1: The secret Treaty of San Ildefonso gives Louisiana back to France.
May : The Choctaw, Biloxi, and Pascagoula enter into negotiations for sale of their lands on Bayou Boeuf in payment
of debts to Miller and Fulton. These sales will be approved by the Spanish governor in July.
Table 1 (continued)
May 2: The United States purchases Louisiana from France. The treaty approving the sale will be ratified by the Senate
on October 20, 1803.
August: The Apalachee approach Valentine Layssard about selling their lands to Miller and Fulton.
A portion of the Apalachee under their chief Etienne leaves Rapide and moves with the Coushatta to form a village on
Red River above present-day Shreveport, Louisiana. Louis Tensa assumes the apparent leadership of the village in
November 30: Spain formally completes the cession of Louisiana to France as mandated by the Treaty of San
December 16: Louis Tensa sells the Apalachee lands on Red River to Miller and Fulton.
December 20: The United States assumes control of Louisiana from France.
January: Valentine Layssard seeks permission for the Apalachee and Tiensa to settle in Texas.
March-May: Spanish officials coordinate the immigration of the Apalachee and Tiensa into Texas; however, these two
bands will decide to remain in Louisiana.
Fall: Spanish officials in Texas attempt to establish strong alliances with the Choctaw, Alabama, and Coushatta
because of borderland disputes with the United States. Attempts will also be made to induce other immigrant bands into
eastern Texas to form a cordon against westward Anglo-American expansion.
January-May: A nephew of one of the principle Coushatta chiefs is killed by an American at the saltworks above
Natchitoches. In apparent reprisal an American trader is killed by a young Coushatta warrior. These events spark new
concerns that the Coushatta will move into Texas and join in hostilities against the Americans.
June: The Coushatta abandon their village on the Sabine River and move into Texas. They unsuccessfully attempt to
persuade the Apalachee and Pascagoula to move with them and join in war against the Americans.
January 20: The Apalachee approach former U.S. Indian Agent John Sibley and register complaints against the Miller
and Fulton sale. This event sparked land disputes that will never be resolved.
June: Through the efforts of Indian Agent John Jamison, President James Monroe authorizes the purchase of the
residual Apalachee and Pascagoula lands in Rapides Parish in exchange for other unoccupied lands further up Red River.
Jamison meets with the Indians, but they reject the offer.
January: Isaac Baldwin acquires the Miller and Fulton claim to the Apalachee lands on Red River. Through the
assistance of Valentine Layssard, Jamison attempts to settle the boundaries separating the claim from the residual
Indian lands. Jamison tries to convince these bands to relocate further up Red River. Jamison dies later that year
before an agreement could be reached.
June 22: Isaac Baldwin unsuccessfully attempts to have the War Department remove the Indians from his land.
October 6: Isaac Baldwin approaches U.S. Senator Josiah Stoddard Johnston about getting Congressional assistance
in the removal of the Indians from the disputed land.
April 3: The Pascagoula, who are still living above the Apalachee on Red River, approach U.S. Indian Agent George
Gray and complain about recent encroachments on to their lands.
October 1: U.S. Indian Agent George Gray approaches the Caddo chief about the possibility of relocating several of
the small Louisiana tribes to Caddo lands.
Table 1 (concluded)
August-December: On several occasions George Gray receives complaints about Isaac Baldwin encroaching on the
residual Apalachee lands. These complaints include destruction of crops and fields, intimidation by Baldwin's Negro
slaves, and burning houses. The Indians are represented by William Wilson, an attorney, who recommends settling the
disputes in court.
Nothing definitive is done on the part of the government to settle the land disputes.
January-March: George Gray attempts to get a survey to settle the boundaries between the residual Apalachee lands and
Baldwin's claim. Josiah Stoddard Johnston tries to secure funds to relocate the Apalachee and Pascagoula and
compensate them for their losses.
June: Attempts are again made to secure permission from the Caddo chief to allow the Apalachee and Pascagoula to
move onto Caddo lands. Gray dies before these arrangements could be finalized. Since 1825 some of the Indians had
been moving into Texas.
The last known baptisms were conducted at the Apalachee village in Rapide.
During these three years there would be two different Indian Agents, Thomas Griffith and Jehiel Brooks. Both would
have to learn of the previous events in the land disputes and basically recommence the process of settling them. By
this time there are only a few Apalachee and Pascagoula living on Red River.
Spring-Early Summer: A dreadful cholera epidemic spreads through central Louisiana. Many of the local planters are
effected; Isaac Baldwin loses as many as 40 slaves and succumbs as a result of the disease. Many of the local Indians
undoubtedly suffered as well.
June 3: The Apalachee and Taensa petition the President of the United States, noting that they are owed large sums of
money for the loss of their lands through questionable sales. They want the government to appoint them an agent to
represent their claims in court.
July 29: The War Department responds to the Indians' petition, noting that they are unable to appoint such an agent
without the sanction of Congress.
of their associations with the English and their doubtful loyalty
to Spain. Writing to the governor on April 22, 1773, Layssard
The Chief of the Mobilliens is a bad subject, he comes
from machac [Manchac] where he received a present
from the English and has held here many [bad] talks.
However all his people listen little to them. He brought
two Tchactas who cause much worry among the
Apalaches, Chactos, Alibamons, pascagoulas, and
Biloxis who are in this part; Regarding the Chacto who
has received [the title of] Chief from the English, [he] is
a young man who does not stand out at all and the
others prove it not in the least. And their chief Gaspar
came to tell me that the English threaten to destroy all
the small nations that I name if they do not come over
to their land (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1084-1085,
translation by the author).
These rumors caused so much worry among these
small bands that many of the Biloxi, Choctaw, and Pascagoula
left Rapide by May and fled into English territory, settling a
little below the mouth of Red River. The chief of the
Mobilians had been directly involved with this ploy to get
these small tribes back on English soil, because the Choctaw
and Biloxi chiefs said he had come to them with a Chickasaw
in April. They brought 26 sticks, indicating the number of
days after which "all the large nations of the English coast"
would come and kill all the Indians they found on Spanish soil.
The Mobilian chiefs involvement with the English
undoubtedly led to his death in early July 1773 at the hands of
an Ofogoula from Pointe Coupee (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f.
941-942, f. 959-960).
It is evident that the Pascagoula and Biloxi left Rapide
in 1773, because they are not mentioned among other Indian
groups in a census conducted by Layssard for Governor Luis
Unzaga y Amezaga. By August 1773, the Spaniards had been
(abnd. ca. 1774)
Kilometers 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0 10 20 30 40 50
Figure 2. Locations of some Indian villages in portions of Lower Louisiana and West Florida during the late eighteenth century.
successful in persuading the Pascagoula to move back into
Rapide; however, the Biloxi had not returned. Governor
Unzaga planned to remove the Biloxi from the sphere of
English influence and settle them on "the prairie of the
Catahoula" (the area around Catahoula Lake some 15 miles
east of Red River in Rapide), but Layssard opposed the idea.
He observed that the Biloxi would exhaust the abundant
wildlife in that area upon which the Apalachee and Pascagoula
and both the posts of Rapide and Natchitoches depended.
Furthermore, he feared that much of the livestock that
normally wintered there would either be taken or eaten and that
the Biloxi would attract a number of undesirable traders to that
area (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1089-1090).
Layssard alternatively proposed that the Biloxi be
established near the Apalachee where the soil was suitable for
cultivation and where the Indians could be near one another to
protect themselves against their enemies. The Biloxi were still
in Pointe Coupee in April 1774 but were then planning to
move into Rapide. By September they had arrived in
Layssard's post under the leadership of their chief, Matha'a
(AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1020, f. 1102-1103). For the
Apalachee, however, immigration to British lands was not a
consideration, especially after the destruction of their
homelands some 70 years earlier at the hands of the English
and their Indian allies.
It was understandable why the Spanish were so
anxious to attract the Pascagoula away from the English. In
1774 this band consisted of 100 individuals: 33 men, 28
women, 23 boys, and 16 girls. It was the largest Indian group
in Rapide at that time, and the Pascagoula could provide a
substantial body of warriors for the defense of the province.
Little is known of the Pascagoula chief; however, Capina, the
second chief, had much power among his people and had many
dealings with Layssard (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1105).
Capina exemplified some of the troubles that Layssard
faced in securing the loyalty of the Indians who moved into his
district from British West Florida. Prior to coming to Rapide,
Capina had received an English commission and medal which
Layssard did "not like seen in the lands of his majesty."
Layssard requested that Capina give up his medal, and the
Pascagoula agreed to his solicitations. But Capina did not
readily forfeit these badges of rank, and to prompt him,
Layssard requested the governor grant him a Spanish
commission of second chief and a medal. He represented that
Capina appeared to be a good man with good sense and "only
susceptible of seeing himself without the mark of authority."
Layssard was careful in dealing with Capina because of the
large number of Pascagoula in his district and because Capina
was "well liked in his village & he is regarded like the chief"
(AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1109-1110).
Eventually, Capina did forfeit his English medal and
commission and received the small medal and rank of second
chief from the governor. This did not secure his allegiance to
the Spanish crown, however. Some years later, in 1782,
Layssard discovered that Capina had once more been trading
with the English, who had given him a "fitting out." This
infuriated Layssard to such an extent that he threatened to go
to Capina's village, "seize him, cut him to pieces, and give the
pieces to the women and children." These threats were made
known to the second chief, and they evidently had their desired
effect, because Capina stopped trading with the English and
was subsequently back in Layssard's favor. The following
year, the governor promised to give Capina the big medal
(AGI, Cuba, legajo 195, f. 792-793, legajo 196, f. 752-753).
But Capina did not trouble Layssard as much as
Matha'a, the Biloxi chief. Although Matha'a and his people
had returned to Layssard's district in 1774, the chief refused to
relinquish his English medal and commission, even as late as
1777. That year, Layssard expressed concern that Matha'a,
along with the Tunica chief, Mingo Falaya, continued to trade
with the English (AGI, Cuba, legajo 190, f. 420-421).
Matha'a's value as a Spanish ally was disproven in
1780 during the wake of one of many rumors that swept
Rapide that English-allied Indians were planning to strike the
interior of Lower Louisiana. Matha'a and his small band fled
into the sparsely settled region known as Avoyelles, which was
then under the jurisdiction of Pointe Coupee. Not only did
Matha'a move his people to Avoyelles, but he also attempted
to persuade the Choctaw to abandon their village and join him
there (AGI, Cuba, legajo 193-B, f. 654-656).
The young Choctaw chief in Rapide had married a
Biloxi woman, and the parents of this woman and Matha'a
wanted the Choctaw to join them in an effort to "enlarge their
village." Two small medal chiefs, Chatomabe and Ille Tasca,
came to see Layssard and asked that he write the governor for
them. They did not want their chief to leave their village and
"they would not be Biloxis." Layssard did write the governor
and related the details concerning Matha'a's and his attempts to
get the Choctaw to join him in Avoyelles. He stated "that it is
not natural that four [Biloxi] cabins, require twenty-five
[Choctaw cabins] to move." In response, the governor
directed that the chief remain in his village and not establish
himself among the Biloxi (AGI, Cuba, legajo 193-B, f.
In another instance, Matha'a attempted to incite the
Choctaw to take revenge on the Opelousa Indians of south-
central Louisiana for killing a Choctaw. Rumors also spread
that the Opelousa were planning a retaliatory raid into Rapide.
Layssard sent for the Choctaw. The brother of the former
chief, an old man named Imoquichastabe, came and spoke for
his people, noting that Matha'a had advised them badly. The
old Choctaw stated if the Opelousa had killed a man, justice
would be done and his people would allow time for things to
settle down (AGI, Cuba, legajo 193-B, f. 646-650).
But it was the Choctaw who gave Layssard and the
Spanish administrators of Louisiana and Texas the most
trouble. This tribe maintained a reputation of murder,
violence, and thievery during the entire Spanish administration
of Louisiana. There were constant complaints by both the
white and Indian inhabitants that wandering bands of Choctaw
from east of the Mississippi River commonly stole or killed
livestock and pillaged homes and fields. The Caddo, who had
always remained faithful allies of the Spaniards and the
French, were frequent targets of depredations committed by
the Choctaw, and a near state of war existed between the two
tribes during most of the Spanish period (Kinnaird and
Kinnaird 1980:349-370). The Choctaw situation was so bad in
Louisiana during the late eighteenth century that even some of
the other small nations started calling themselves "Choctaw" to
scare other Indian groups (Kinnaird 1945-1949:3:326).
Nearly every band that lived on Red River suffered to
some extent by the Choctaw presence. The Apalachee were no
exception, and on at least one occasion they became involved
in hostilities with the Yowani Choctaw. In a summary of a
meeting, which was held to convince the Choctaw chiefs to
prevent continued depredations against whites and other
Indians west of the Mississippi, Spanish commissioner Juan de
la Villebeuvre reported to Governor Luis Francisco Hector de
Carondelet the Yowani chiefs reasons for stealing horses in
Avoyelles. The chief stated:
You will remember that some time ago the Apalachees
killed one of my relatives and I left my house
afterward, at a certain time, to avenge this outrage,
going direct to Rapides, the location of this small
nation; I asked them for a head to replace that of my
relative; they made some objections, and the
commandant of that district, Lessar [Valentine
Layssard] intervened, telling me that it would be unwise
for a small nation such as that to give a head, but if I
wished I would receive seven horses, and he would
have them delivered the instant reparation was started.
I consented in order to please this commandant,
thinking at the same time that the Governor of New
Orleans, my father, would be satisfied with my act, as I
had done it to please my whites also (WPA
The Apalachee did not give the horses, and to placate
the Yowani, Layssard attempted unsuccessfully to secure them
merchandise at Avoyelles. Infuriated, the Choctaw stole 17
horses. De la Villebeuvre stated that Layssard had handled
this matter badly and gave the opinion that the Apalachee
should give the Choctaw the seven horses they had promised.
He concluded, "It will not surprise me if these Choctaws will
again go among the Apalachees and kill some of these,
especially if gifts are refused them at Mobile." Carondelet
ordered the Yowani's gifts not be withheld and directed that
Layssard "either pay the value of the seven horses or deliver
them to the said chief" (WPA 1937-1939b:11:451).
The Choctaw situation in Rapide prompted Spanish
officials to attempt to unite the scattered immigrant Indian
bands on Red River to resist Choctaw depredations. Then
Lieutenant Governor Carlos Boucher de Grand Pre, writing to
Carondelet in 1796, noted that the Apalachee, Taensa, and
Pascagoula were settled in small groups of "three, four, and
five families" along Red River between Natchitoches and
Rapide. He reported that these small groups frequently
attracted Choctaws who "remain some months consuming all
their food and finally [leave after] abusing them." Grand 1
stated that this situation disturbed many of the inhabitants f
each district, and he proposed establishing the Indians '
villages near the Choctaw, Biloxi, and Tunica on Bayou Boei
I explained to them that thus they would form a
respectable body to oppose the other nations and no
longer be exposed to attack or injury. At present, on
the contrary, they can not be considered a nation
because they are so scattered. They have all promised
to leave those lands and retire to the place indicated, but
it is difficult to be certain they will do so promptly. In
all, these six small nations have one hundred and
sixty-eight warriors (Kinnaird and Kinnaird 1983:193).
Unlike many of the other bands, the Taensa, who
came into Rapide during the 1780s, never seem to have given
Spanish officials any cause for concern. They had left Mobile
in 1764 and settled at Cabahannocer, located on the west bank
of the Mississippi River some 20 leagues above New Orleans.
In 1766, their village consisted of 21 warriors and an unknown
number of women and children. They were neighbors of the
post commandant, Louis Judice, and within his correspondence
to the various Spanish governors of Louisiana there is found no
complaint of their conduct nor any remarks of disloyalty to the
In 1768, the Taensa chief was Mingo Mestabe, and
Testolo was the honored or principal man considerr) in the
tribe (Table 2 [Document No. 1]). At that time, the band had
18 men, 12 women, 11 boys, and 10 girls. At Cabahannocer
the Taensa got along reasonably well with the other Indians of
the district and were considered important Spanish allies. In
1775, they brought news to Judice of a "Grand Council" at
Pensacola, which was held "in the presence of the english, and
a considerable number of Indians of different nations."
Probably agitated by English officials or traders, the council
resolved to launch a war on the Spanish and French in
Louisiana the following spring. The Taensa also reported that
the Choctaw and Chickasaw had sent emissaries to the
Alabama, who had by then moved their village to English
territory at Manchac. The Alabama welcomed "them, and the
speech, and the Collar of the deputies" in solicitation of war
against the Spanish and their Indian allies. These deputies next
planned to do the same among the Chitimacha, Atakapa, and
Opelousa who lived in the prairie and coastal areas of southern
Table 2. Document No. 1 (AGI, Cuba, legajo 187-A, f. 194).
Census of the Indians
Under the Jurisdiction of the Coast of Louis Judice,
The Taensas[,] small nation, on the Left Side of the river approximately 20
leagues from the city and neighbors of the said sir [Judice].
Mingo Mestabe[,] chief of the said nation
Testolo, highly esteemed considerede" ]
men ----------- ----------------------------- 18.
women ---------------------------------------- 12.
boys -------------------------------------------- 11.
The Pacana or alibamon nation on the right Side of the river approximately 22
and one-half leagues from the city.
Mingos Panebd[,] chief of the said nation
Calutt6[,] highly esteemed
men ---------------------------------------- 27.
women --------------------------------------- 28.
The hoctchianja or alibamon nation making their village with the pacana.
Mingo Jitab6[,] chief of the said nation
hachenoutch6[,] highly esteemed
men ----------------------------------- -- 23.
women -------------------------------------- 31.
boys -- 32.
boys ------------------------------------------- 32.
The houmas nation on the right Side of the river Established one-half League
from the Pacana.
Mingos atthanache[,] chief of the said nation
Calab[,] also chief
hilabatchier[,] highly esteemed
men ---------------------------------------- 40.
women -------------------------------------- 40.
boys ---------------------------------------- 60.
made at Kbahanos6 the 5th of September
1768. Louis Judice
Louisiana. But when the Alabama pressured the Taensa to join
them against the Spanish, they refused, despite threats of
reprisals, and responded that "if the Spanish and the French
would die that they would not regret to die also" (AGI, Cuba,
legajo 189-B, f. 270-271). The rumored war, that caused so
much concern among the white and red inhabitants of the
lower river did not occur, however.
The year 1775 was the last time that the Taensa were
mentioned in Judice's correspondence from Cabahannocer or
the adjoining district known as Lafourche des Chitimachas.
Evidently, they moved up river into Pointe Coupee, the first
reference to them being there is in a letter written by the
governor to post commandant Carlos Louis Boucher de Grand
Pre dated January 13, 1778 (AGI, Cuba, legajo 193-A, f.
It is not known exactly when or why the Taensa
moved upriver from Lafourche to Pointe Coupee. As early as
1767 there had been attempts to get the Taensa to move from
Cabahannocer, apparently because they held land that was
ideally suited for the large numbers of Acadian immigrants
who were being settled in that district. In addition to the
pressures exerted by the expanding white population, there was
considerable unrest throughout that region during the middle
1770s caused by rumors and threats of Chickasaw and Choctaw
raids. Both these factors evidently influenced the Taensa to
move to Pointe Coupee, where perhaps they felt more
comfortable near the fort (AGI, Cuba, legajo 187-A, f. 198,
legajo 189-B, f. 273-275).
At Pointe Coupee the Taensa were welcomed by
Grand Pre, and his high esteem for these people is summarized
in a letter written to Governor Bernado de Galvez in September
The carriers of this letter are the Tinsas, who compose
the best part of the Indians that I have with me. Their
zeal, their fidelity, and the demonstrations of obedience
and the courage that they gave, and which is together
above their Character, [and their] adoration by all
where they passed, writes them this recommendation for
your lordship (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-B, f. 560,
translation by the author).
Little has been learned of the subsequent history of
the Taensa in Pointe Coupee. No mention of them is found
among the commandants' correspondence that dates after 1780.
By the summer of 1788, however, they were established in
Rapide, as indicated by a letter written by Layssard in which
he noted that the Taensa chief had joined him in haranguing
the Pascagoula chief for misconduct. A census conducted by
Layssard during the following spring enumerated 25 Taensa in
this band, which was composed of 11 men, 9 women, and 5
children (AGI, Cuba, legajo 201, f. 837-838, legajo 202, f.
519). The Taensa settled among or very near the Apalachee,
and their histories would be intertwined for the rest of their
days on Red River.
The Apalachee also had close ties with the Alabama,
one of the immigrant Indian groups. As noted above, the
Alabama had settled near the Apalachee prior to Layssard's
arrival in Rapide, and they had helped the Alabama clear fields
near the Apalachee village. Also, in 1773 both were given an
annual present by the governor that was to be divided among
both groups. The fact that Layssard noted, "they thanked
Your Lordship [for the present] but continue to complain that
he has not distinguished their chief," also indicates that the
Apalachee and Alabama were either living together, or at least
very close to one another, at that time (AGI, Cuba, legajo
189-A, f. 1084-1085, emphasis added by the author).
There were additional bands of Alabama and
Coushatta who were displaced by American expansion east of
the Mississippi that entered Rapide and the nearby Opelousas
district. In March 1798, a group of Coushatta came to
Valentine Layssard and asked permission to settle in Rapide,
noting that they could not make a living from the poor soil at
their home in the Opelousas District. They expressed a desire
to settle near the Apalachee. Layssard responded that he could
not grant this without the consent of the governor. By June,
Layssard had not received a reply from Governor Manuel Luis
Gayoso de Lemos y Amorin, and the Coushatta chief, Soulier
Houma (Red Shoes), became somewhat distressed (AGI, Cuba,
legajo 215-B, f. 464, f. 468).
Seemingly without the approval of the governor, the
Coushatta settled with the Apalachee and Taensa, because no
mention of them is found in the examined documents until
September 1800 when Layssard wrote the governor and noted
that the Apalachee chief was the person primarily responsible
for getting the Coushatta to settle among them. However, the
Taensa and Apalachee chiefs then believed that they had made
a mistake by allowing such a large group to live at their
village. They stated that they lived so close to their white
neighbors that they feared the Coushatta might commit
depredations, and Layssard noted at the same time that the
Apalachee and Taensa "flatter themselves by never having
done [the whites] wrong" (AGI, Cuba, legajo 217-A, f. 528).
Evidently, there was an attempt to have the Coushatta
make their village on the Sabine River, but the Coushatta chief
complained that the land there was sandy and not suited for
farming. The Coushatta chief was determined to remain with
the Apalachee and Taensa. He finally received permission
from Governor Sebastian Calvo de la Puerta y O'Farril,
marque de Casa Calvo, in a letter dated September 6, 1800 in
which the governor noted, "I consent even more that being
united they may have more ability to defend themselves and
make crops and more profitable hunts" (AGI, Cuba, legajo
217-A, f. 522, f. 560).
For the Spanish government of Louisiana, the
administration of Indian affairs was a delicate task. Spanish
policy was aimed at using Louisiana and its Indian
populations, along with others in the Southeast, to form a
buffer between the Anglo-Americans and her rich provinces of
New Spain (Hall 1926:40-41, 55). The reliability of the local
Indians in the defense of Louisiana was often uncertain,
however. This was especially true in Rapide during Spain's
involvement in the American Revolution after Galvez had
ousted the British from West Florida.
In June 1780, Layssard received rumors from
Natchitoches that "some English Vagabonds" were planning to
lead a large party of Chickasaw and other Indians to strike
Rapide, Natchitoches, and Opelousas. In the wake of these
rumors, the Choctaw dispersed their villages and hid in the
woods. Admittedly, the Choctaw and the other inhabitants of
the district, both red and white, were not in a position to
adequately defend the post. Layssard noted, "I will represent
to Your Lordship, that our position here is not advantageous,
[of the] nearly Two Hundred Red men who are here, more
than half are without a shot of powder, nor balls. The
inhabitants [are] the same" (AGI, Cuba, legajo 193-B, f.
Nearly a year later, in May 1781, rumors again spread
throughout Rapide that Choctaw and Chickasaw war parties
were planning to cross over into Louisiana to strike the interior
districts. Layssard noted that there had been three Choctaws
who had recently visited their kinsmen in Rapide and brought
word that they must return to their old homes across the
Mississippi. Consequently, many of the Choctaw fled. The
same three Choctaw went next to the Pascagoula village where
Layssard's son found them "in a circle" with "one Chacta at
the center who had some big conversation." Evidently these
Choctaw threatened an Apalachee who was present that a war
party of some 140 men was at a moment's notice ready to
strike his village. Layssard was uncertain about the reliability
of these reports, but he was sure that the Apalachee and
Alabama would not confront the invaders on their own.
Writing to the governor on May 1, 1781, Layssard noted, "In
the event I am forced to retreat, I answer that the Apalaches
and Alibamons will flee, in that case, some Barbarians
accompanied by some vagabonds may arrive at Natchitoches
and Apeloussas [Opelousas] without being discovered" (AGI,
Cuba, legajo 194, f. 828-830).
No such attack by the English or their Indian allies
followed. In October, however, word spread throughout the
district that a party of 200 English and Indians had been seen
on the Tensas River, east of Catahoula. Layssard would later
learn that this large force had not actually been seen, but rather
two cajeaux, or rafts made from bundled cane, each reportedly
capable of transporting from 15 to 18 men. Regardless, the
news so frightened the Indians in Layssard's district that all
abandoned their villages. The whites of the post were so
scared that half of them, with their women and children, hid
themselves "in the cane." The Biloxi, under two of their
chiefs, fled to the swamps and marshes of the Lafourche
country of southeast Louisiana where they "saved themselves
at Barataria among the Ouachas" and were planning to make
their villages. For this cowardice, Layssard wanted to make
an example by demanding the return of the Biloxi chiefs'
medals. In a similar manner, he wanted to reproach the
conduct of the Pascagoula chief, whom he described as
"cowardly & more mischievous than his people" (AGI, Cuba,
legajo 194, f. 839-840, legajo 195, f. 747).
But the Indians had sometimes proven themselves to
be worthy allies of the Spaniards. In Galvez's campaigns,
groups of Choctaw and Atakapa aided him in successfully
ousting the British from West Florida (Caughey 1934:154-156;
Kinnaird and Kinnaird 1980:350; Swanton 1911:361). Indians
from Rapide, led by Valentine Layssard and a younger
brother, joined Galvez's expedition in the capture of Baton
Rouge from the English in 1779. In 1781, the Apalachee,
Pascagoula, Choctaw, and Alabama went with Valentine
Layssard to assist Esteban de la Morandiere in recapturing the
fort at Natchez that had been taken from Spanish commandant
Juan de la Villebeuvre by British loyalists under the command
of John Blommart. Some three years later, in June 1784, 30
Choctaw, Pascagoula, and Biloxi Indians from Rapide served
as scouts for a Spanish force that was dispatched to Lake
Borgne to apprehend St. Malo and 50 of his runaway slave
bandits. The Biloxi had been specifically requested for this
mission because of their knowledge of the lands around Lake
Borgne and Terre aux Boeufs. Also, the Apalachee had
provided men to join in reconnaissance trips into Catahoula
and Ouachita during the wake of rumors that English-allied
Choctaw were planning to enter the district to strike the
Pascagoula (AGI, Cuba, legajo 194, f. 831-834, f. 839-840,
legajo 197, f. 679-680, legajo 206, f. 718).
The Indians' efforts sometimes went unrewarded,
however. An incident involving Actayathy, the Alabama chief
in Rapide, serves to illustrate this point. In 1781, Actayathy
had joined in the expedition to recapture the fort at Natchez.
He also had been instrumental in convincing other Indians
from the district to take up their arms and join Layssard's sons
in this campaign. For this he received no recognition from the
governor. After almost 10 years Actaythy had not forgotten
this. He repeatedly had asked Layssard to write the governor
so that he would send him some simple presents in recognition
of his valor at Natchez and his loyalty to the Spanish crown.
Above all, he desired a frock coat, a shirt, and some small
trinkets, which were befitting the dress of a chief (AGI, Cuba,
legajo 202, f. 526, f. 626).
Layssard admitted being negligent in this, and in
protest Actayathy had given back his medal and commission.
Layssard, writing to the governor on July 28, 1790, noted,
"This man came to me two days ago, with his people, &
represented to me that since the Revolt of Natchez, where he
had been the first to carry the speech to march, he had not
received anything from his father [the governor]." Layssard
stated that the Alabama chief admitted that he had done wrong
in returning his medal and commission, but he had explained
"that his people today believe themselves abandoned, that his
heart has always been attached to the Government, & that he
would always be ready to march at your order." It is not
known whether Actayathy received his due recognition and the
presents he requested. The Alabama did receive gifts along
with the Apalachee and Taensa the following August, however
(AGI, Cuba, legajo 202, f. 626, legajo 203, f. 639, f. 644).
The Choctaw and the Red River bands also served as a
buffer between the Spaniards and hostile Plains tribes, notably
the Osage. The Osage raided as far south as the Natchitoches
district, and on at least one occasion they had killed a resident
of that post. On numerous occasions, they also had robbed
hunting parties of their horses and skins during their annual
hunts on the upper reaches of Red River. Fear of Osage raids
into Lower Louisiana was at its height during the latter part of
the eighteenth century, and this was probably why the
Spaniards tolerated Choctaw forays west of the Mississippi.
The Choctaw were bitter enemies of the Osage and one of the
few tribes that were not intimidated by them. The continued
depredations committed by the Choctaw on the small Red
River bands and the Caddoan tribes, however, led Spanish
administrators to question whether it was worth attempting to
use the Choctaw as a buffer between them and the Osage. On
several occasions the Spaniards tried to unify the Red River
tribes against both the Osage and the Choctaw, but most of the
small bands felt a greater fear of the Osage and possibly a
closer kinship to the Choctaw (Kinnaird and Kinnaird
Because the Indians were potential allies, there was
constant competition between Spain and England-and later
the Americans-for the allegiance of the southeastern tribes.
Frequently, Indians, such as the Choctaw, took advantage of
this situation and often sided with those who provided the
largest annual presents. It was, therefore, important that the
Spaniards deal carefully with these Indians to maintain their
loyalty and insure that they would not turn on them as a result
of external agitation or internal dissatisfaction (Hall
1926:40-66; Kinnaird and Kinnaird 1980:350).
One of the difficulties the Spanish faced with their
Indian policy was the growing white population in the
province. In 1783, the American Revolution ended, and
American expansion into the Ohio River Valley began. With
the influx of Americans into the western states and their
increasing dependence on the Mississippi River for
transporting their goods to market, Spain feared that the
United States would threaten its establishments in the Illinois
Territory. In 1784, Spain closed the lower river to American
navigation. Geographically isolated by the mountains on the
east, many Westerners felt cut off from their new government,
which seemed powerless to secure free navigation of the river
and protect them from local Indian hostilities. They also were
tired of high taxes levied to repay the war debt to France.
In 1787, the political atmosphere seemed right for
Spain to detach these western states and make them a part of its
New World possessions. That year General James Wilkinson
of Kentucky met with Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miro y
Sabater and disclosed his intrigues of insurrection in the
western states. This plan, however, was rejected by the
Supreme Council of Louisiana. In lieu of Wilkinson's
conspiracy, the Council adopted liberal immigration policies
and offered generous land grants to those Americans who
would come into Spanish Louisiana and swear allegiance to the
crown. This program was successful in attracting many
Americans into the province (Hall 1926:2-3, 15).
Many of the new settlers who entered Rapide found
some of the best agricultural lands occupied by the numerous
scattered bands of Indians. As early as 1789 there were
concerns about the Indian settlements in the district. Writing
Governor Miro in 1789, Louis de Blanc, then commandant of
Natchitoches, noted that he had convened a council with
Layssard and the Indians of Rapide. During that meeting he
explained to them the locations in which each group was
designated to live "so that in [the] future the chiefs of each
nation shall not be permitted to scatter their Indians along the
shore [of the river] with their habitations [a] considerable
distance apart" (Kinnaird 1945-1949:3:278-279).
De Blanc maintained that this plan would result in
reducing the Indians' opportunities to commit depredations and
steal horses, because their chiefs would be present in the
village. Additionally, he argued that "they will not ruin the
lands of this river, as they have done in other years, by
abandoning them and taking others after raising two or three
crops." De Blanc concluded, "It is not just that the families
whom Your Lordship has directed to come and settle in this
district shall find the best lands occupied or ruined by this sort
of people" (Kinnaird 1945-1949:3:278-279).
With the growing non-Indian population of the region
and apparent competition for the best agricultural lands came
the first earnest attempts on the behalf of Spanish
administrators to remove the bands established along the Red
and Ouachita rivers to more marginal areas. In March 1795,
Carondelet attempted to remove the Pascagoula from Red
River and settle them on unoccupied lands in the vicinity of
Catahoula Lake in present east-central Louisiana. Writing to
Valentine Layssard, Carondelet directed:
You will engage the Pascagoula Indians to assemble at
your house to elect a chief, to whom, on my being
notified, I shall forward the big medal and a
commission. You shall, in order to induce them to
assemble, promise them brandy and tobacco, and
engage them to establish an only village on Catahoula.
Inform them that they will receive annual presents more
considerable than heretofore (Lowrie and Franklin
Within a month of Carondelet's directive, the
Pascagoula entered into negotiations with one Colin La Cour
of Pointe Coupee for the sale of their lands on Red River.
Through attorney Louis C. De Blanc in Natchitoches, La Cour
purchased the Pascagoula village and fields for the sum of
$250 cash. Afterwards, the Pascagoula did not move to the
area around Catahoula Lake as Carondelet had wanted;
however, many relocated to nearby Choctaw lands on Bayou
Boeuf. It is evident that all of the Pascagoula did not leave
Red River at this time, and many remained there well into the
nineteenth century (Lowrie and Franklin 1834:648-650).
Grand Pre was successful to some degree in relocating
the Red River bands to Bayou Boeuf. By the end of the
Spanish period, the Choctaw, Biloxi, and Pascagoula had
settlements established there. The Alabama had a village
below these in the Opelousas district, and the Tunica had at
least two villages nearby on Avoyelles Prairie (Kniffen et al.
1987:90; Lowrie and Franklin 1834:654-661).
The Pascagoula were not the only Indians effected by
Spanish removal efforts. In 1800, the Choctaws' continued
untrustworthy and hostile reputation led Valentine Layssard to
seek permission to settle them in the province of Texas.
Layssard wrote Jose Miguel de Moral, then commandant at
Nacogdoches, asking his approval to relocate the Choctaw near
his post. Moral opposed the plan and noted that these Indians
had close ties to the other Louisiana tribes, as well as to the
Anglos. More importantly, he felt that the Choctaw would be
hostile to the native tribes of Texas, as they had been in
previous years. Initially, Layssard's plan was refused by
Texas Governor Juan Bautista Elguezabal. Through repeated
efforts, however, he was subsequently able to secure the
governor's permission for the Choctaw to settle in that
province. It is not known how many of the Choctaw actually
did emigrate, but scores of the tribe remained on the Ouachita,
at Catahoula, in Natchitoches, in Rapide, and in their
traditional homeland east of the Mississippi (Hatcher
Although the removal efforts were in part related to
competition for prime agricultural lands, many Spanish
officials desired to remove the Indians from the availability of
liquor and prevent depredations committed under its influence.
Louis De Blanc, writing to Carondelet in June 1796, noted the
The Pascagoula, Tinsas and Apalaches have difficulty in
leaving this river because of the tafia trade with the
Gaboteurs [river traders], found situated on the crossing
this side of the Pascagoulas, and of the Ecores [bluffs]
who [sic] form the lower part of the district of
Natchitoches and both very distant from the
commandant. These move about from day to day, so
that if one does not have the savages who are now
found living among the whites withdraw, some terrible
accidents will occur some day because of the
drunkenness of these first who voluntarily sell even
their ramrods for drink (Yerxa 1926:252-253).
Two men in particular were instrumental in the
removal of many of the Indians from Rapide. Alexander
Fulton and Robert Fulton were both Americans who had come
into Louisiana during the late Spanish period. In July 1801,
Alexander Fulton, who was then listed as a "Merchant of the
Post of Rapide," sold William Miller his interest in the firm of
Miller and Fulton, which included "Merchandise, Negroes,
Horses, Cattle, Ginns [sic], Land, and tenements, and every
kind of stock soever." Both men, however, maintained close
ties in subsequent years. One stipulation in the sales
agreement was that Fulton would assist his former partner in
collecting debts that were due the company. Among the
outstanding debts were those of several of the Indian tribes
residing in Rapide. These debts allegedly resulted from the
Indians being allowed extensive lines of credit, which was the
"nature of the trade." Miller and Fulton reportedly held
exclusive rights to the Indian trade of the district, dealing in
such lucrative items as skins and bear oil (Lowrie and Franklin
1834:555-565, 661-662; WPA 1937-1939a:7-12).
This privilege had been granted Fulton by the
governor in November 1800. As represented, it was an
attempt on the behalf of Valentine Layssard and the alcaldes of
Rapide to halt the illicit liquor trade within the villages of the
district, which caused the Indians to commit depredations on
one another and on the neighboring whites. Layssard believed
that by giving Fulton the exclusive trading rights with the
Indians, he would be able to stop the liquor trade carried on by
the pacotilliers (traders in shoddy merchandise) (AGI, Cuba,
legajo 217-A, f. 523-524, f. 526).
A contract between Fulton, Layssard, and the alcaldes
of the post was drawn and signed on October 15, 1800. This
document clearly stated its purpose was to stop the illegal trade
among the Indians of the district and thereby maintain the
"peace and tranquility between the nations of Rapide," a feat
that Layssard and the alcaldes admitted that they had not been
able to accomplish. Fulton was granted the exclusive right to
trade with the Indians under several conditions. First, he
would have to place a trustworthy trader in each village who
would be responsible for the conduct of the Indians. Second,
Fulton would insure that the traders would make the necessary
advances to anyone wishing to trade, and that he would comply
with established rates. Third, the trader would advise the
Indians of what they owed him on making any collection, and
if a dispute arose, it would be settled in the presence of
Layssard. Finally, Fulton would charge the Indians the same
rates used in trading with the whites to insure that the Indians
would be satisfied. This contract was conditionally approved
by Casa Calvo on the stipulation that Fulton's rates matched
the currently acceptable prices for merchandise (AGI, Cuba,
legajo 217-A, f. 526).
Probably under considerable pressure from their
creditors, the Choctaw on Bayou Boeuf were the first to
approach Miller and Fulton about the settlement of their debts.
On May 14, 1802, almost a year after Miller and Fulton
dissolved their partnership and less than two years after Fulton
received his exclusive trading privilege, the Choctaw sold their
lands on Bayou Boeuf to these men for $3,724. Two months
later, on July 19, 1802, the Pascagoula and Biloxi followed
suit by selling their Bayou Boeuf lands to these merchants for
$1,500 in merchandise. In all, Miller and Fulton claimed
approximately 46,800 arpents (41,284 acres) of land on Bayou
Boeuf as a result of these sales (Lowrie and Franklin
A year later, in August 1803, a group of Apalachee
and Taensa approached Valentine Layssard and stated that they
had sold their lands on Red River to Miller and Fulton for
$2,600, which was owed the company in debts, and an equal
amount in merchandise. Layssard stated that neither he nor the
Indians could sell their lands without the sanction of the
governor. It is interesting to note in light of subsequent events
that Layssard stated, "The Indians expressed considerable
warmth at the refusal and returned home" (Lowrie and
Some six weeks later the Indians approached
Ennemond Meullion, the civil commandant of Rapide (and
William Miller's father-in-law), to assist them in obtaining the
governor's permission to make the sale. Meullion made the
Indians' representations known in a letter to Governor Manuel
Juan de Salcedo. The Indians delivered the letter to New
Orleans and returned in the late fall with a letter dated
November 9, 1803, which was signed by Salcedo:
There is not the least objection that the chief of the
Tinzas[,] Louis[,] sells with the consent of his nation
the lands which belong to them, and that they pass
afterwards to establish themselves in the Internal
Provinces, but for this it is necessary that they have first
the consent of the commandant general of said Province
who may consider them some land[, it] not being in my
power to do so[.] since I am not able to give him the
above orders-I will give them however a letter of
recommendation because they merit it for the
attachment which they constantly had to the Spanish
nation and to the governors of the province- We do not
have here knowledge of the titles that the tinsas Chief
claims & if they were sent to the previous Alcaldes of
the post, they must be responsible for them, and I
implore you to inform yourself where they were
deposited to give them back to the said chief (AGI,
Cuba, legajo 220-A f. 214-215).
On December 16, 1803, Layssard, accompanied
by the surveyor Peter Walker, Willing Wells, William Christy,
and Alexander Fulton, went to the village and explained the
terms of the sale. There, they liquidated the debts owed Miller
and Fulton and agreed to the terms of the sale, which were set
down in writing:
On the 16th December, 1803, before Ennemond
Meullion, commandant of the post at Rapides, came in
person, Louis, chief of the Tensaw nation, and
Valentine Layssard, verbally authorized by Etienne,
chief of the Appalachie nation to sell the land of this
nation; said Louis and Valentine have sold to Miller and
Fulton the land where their villages are situated, also
the lands which are this day occupied by the Indians of
the Conchatte [Coushatta]; the said lands taking their
boundary on the left bank of Red river [sic], in
ascending, at the mouth of the bayou Jean de Tear
[Jean], and on the right, ascending, opposite to the said
bayou; the upper boundary being the bayou [sic]
D'Arrou, on the right of said river, in ascending, and a
line opposite thereto, including, on both sides of Red
river, the quantity of eleven thousand two hundred and
thirty arpents, for the consideration of five thousand
two hundred dollars, of which the sum of two thousand
six hundred dollars is acknowledged to be due by the
Indians to the house of Miller and Fulton for
merchandise. The balance, two thousand six hundred
dollars, to be paid in February ensuing the sale, at the
house of Daniel Clark, in the city of New Orleans
(Lowrie and Franklin 1834:661).
A month later, on January 11, 1804, a "more
formal sale," or ratification of the sale, was made and "signed
by the contracting parties, and sixteen other warriors of several
nations." The only difference in the original sale and the
ratification was that the $2,600 to have been paid in
merchandise was to be paid in coined money four months after
the date of the ratification (Lowrie and Franklin
Several months after the alleged sales, Valentine
Layssard requested permission to settle the Apalachee in Texas
and at the same time be appointed commissioner for the
immigrant bands who wished to move into Spanish territory.
Layssard's involvement with the Indian land sales in Rapide
may have aroused Spanish officials' suspicions that his requests
were a ploy for personal gain. His petitions were denied in the
latter part of February 1804 by the governor of Texas, Juan
Bautista Elguezabal, until a more formal investigation of his
requests could be made (Bexar Archives, University of Texas
Archives, Austin, roll 32, f. 47).
Louisiana Governor Salcedo, who had approved the
sale of the Taensas' interests to the lands on Red River, wrote
the Spanish commandant general of the Internal Provinces,
Nemesio Salcedo, on March 13, 1804, concerning the
possibility of the Taensa immigrating into Spanish territory.
Manuel Salcedo noted that the chief of the Taensa was
distressed about the transfer of Louisiana to the United States
and that he desired to settle his people, who numbered nearly
300, among the Spaniards. He also noted that the tribe was a
peaceful nation and requested that they be given land where
they might establish themselves (Bexar Archives, roll 31, f.
Nemesio Salcedo forwarded this request to the
governor of Texas with a recommendation that it be approved.
He noted that the Taensa were Catholic and very attached to
the Spaniards. He asked that the governor consider what
conditions would be set if the request was approved. Salcedo
suggested that the Taensa be required to maintain friendly
relations with the other tribes and that they be instructed to
report any hostile movements along the borderlands. He
cautioned, however, that the governor also consider the
negative aspects of their being allowed to immigrate,
specifically if there would be a break in peaceful relations and
the number they would add to the Spaniards' enemies in the
event of war (Bexar Archives, roll 32, f. 188-189).
The following month, the military commandant of
Nacogdoches, Jose Joaquin Ugarte, addressed Elquezabal
concerning the request of "Louis Tensas, General of the
Apalachee nation established in Rapido [Rapide]" to immigrate
into Texas. Ugarte noted that the Indians were not satisfied
with the American government and were then ready to move
into the Spanish province. He stated that Louis Tensas was
one of the most civilized Indians that he had ever known and
that he and most of the tribe were Catholic. To illustrate this
point, Ugarte noted that Louis Tensas had a son who was then
with Don Luis de Penalver, the Bishop of Guatemala.
Apparently the young Taensa was being educated by the bishop
and possibly receiving training in the priesthood (Bexar
Archives, roll 32, f. 231).
Ugarte noted that the Indians requested lands in the
vicinity of Nacogdoches. They also desired to build a chapel
and have a priest assigned to instruct them in the Christian
doctrine. Ugarte also stated that the Indians already had many
of the church furnishings and ornaments that would be required
and that they were willing to do much of the work themselves
to defray the costs of such an establishment. Ugarte
maintained that their presence in Texas would benefit the
Spaniards by aiding in the conversion of the neighboring tribes
(Bexar Archives, roll 32, f. 231).
The following day Elquezabal addressed Nemesio
Salcedo concerning the immigration of the Taensa into Spanish
territory. Elquezabal noted that they were peaceful and shared
many customs with the Spanish to whom they were attached
and that their means of subsistence, including their fields and
tools, were very similar to those of the Spanish. He stated that
they maintained close ties to the Biloxi, Choctaw, Pascagoula,
Apalachee, and Alabama of Louisiana who together numbered
between 500 and 600 souls living near the posts of Opelousas,
Avoyelles, and Rapide. Regardless, Elquezabal maintained
that they were strikingly different from these other bands
because of the nature of their livelihood and their civilized
customs (Bexar Archives, roll 32, f. 46-47).
On May 8, 1804, Nemesio Salcedo again wrote the
Governor of Texas and forwarded Casa Calvo's orders
concerning the immigration of the Taensa into Texas. Calvo
directed that the request of the Taensa be approved and that
they be assigned lands between the coast, the Sabine, and the
Trinity rivers. He cautioned, however, that they should not go
farther than the Trinity. He also stated that the band be placed
under the jurisdiction of Nacogdoches, but they were not to
demand help in their subsistence. Calvo maintained they
would be able to adequately support themselves by farming,
hunting, trading, and other permitted activities. The Taensa
also were expected to provide information concerning hostile
movements along the borderlands. Calvo ordered that his
directive be forwarded to the commandant at Nacogdoches and
that the Taensa provide an enumeration (relative to the ages
and sexes) of the people who wished to immigrate (Bexar
Archives, roll 32, f. 313-314).
All seemed ready for the immigration of the
Apalachee and Taensa into Texas, but by August this had not
happened. Ugarte notified Elquezabal of this, stating that he
had still not received Louis Tensas, who he referred to as the
"General of the Apalachee nation." Ugarte maintained that he
was ready to comply with Calvo's directive, that he would
notify the proper church officials, and assist the Indians with
the construction of the chapel. The immigration, however,
would not occur. Even in November 1805, when Spanish
officials received rumors from the Attakapas district that
several French and Spanish families from Louisiana were
planning to settle around the abandoned presidio of
Orcoquisac, they still expected that the Apalachee and Taensa
would settle there (Bexar Archives, roll 32, f. 545-546).
Some of the Apalachee and Taensa apparently left
their village above the rapids at that time. There is an
indication that some moved among the Biloxi, Pascagoula, and
Choctaw near Bayou Boeuf (Sibley 1832:721-725). Evidently,
others left around the time of the alleged land sales and moved
with the Coushatta among them to a point higher up the river
above present-day Shreveport (Flores 1977:58). This
movement up Red River is suspected, because the new United
States Indian Agent, John Sibley, noted in 1807 that he had
received several groups of Indians who had come to
Natchitoches to receive provisions. That Sibley made a clear
distinction between the Apalachee and the Apalachee from the
"upper village" suggests that a portion of this band had joined
the Coushatta (Sibley 1922:39). It is interesting to also note
that the Americans rendered the Coushatta chiefs name as
"Echean," which was very similar to "Etienne," the name of
the Apalachee chief who supposedly left Rapide at the time of
the land sales. Because the Apalachee language seems to have
been very similar to Alabama and Coushatta (Haas 1978),
some confusion as to the tribal identity of these groups may
have arisen among the Americans. Regardless that there was a
movement of some of the Apalachee and Taensa from Rapide,
a sizable portion of these groups remained there after the land
With the change of governments came new concerns
for the Indian and white inhabitants of Louisiana, most of
which centered on the disputed western boundary of Louisiana.
Throughout the early nineteenth century tensions between the
United States and Spain were frequently strained because of
these borderlands. Spain justly feared Anglo-American
expansion into her eastern provinces; Louisiana-a former
possession-was now under American control, and the
American population of Territory of Orleans was growing at
an alarming rate. Intrigues designed by both domestic and
foreign agents to end Iberian control in New Spain plagued the
province throughout this period. Claims concerning disputed
lands and borders frequently led to a show of military strength
on behalf of both the United States and Spain. Each side
competed for the allegiance of the numerous Indian groups,
and both the American and Spanish governments feared the
other would incite the tribes to commit depredations on their
settlers and establishments (Haggard 1945:1010-1089).
An active competition for the allegiance of the Indian
tribes continued. By the latter part of 1806 the Coushatta,
Alabama, and Choctaw living either within Texas or along its
disputed eastern boundary appeared ready to take up arms and
join the Spaniards and some of the native Texas tribes against
the Americans (Figure 3). Concurrently, the Spaniards granted
permission for the Pascagoula and additional Choctaw bands to
cross the Sabine River and settle in Texas. These groups and
other bands would be settled in east Texas to form a cordon to
check Anglo-American intrusions into the province (Hatcher
In 1807, two incidents occurred which sparked new
tensions along these southwestern borderlands. The first was
the killing of the nephew of one of the principal Coushatta
chiefs at the saltworks above Natchitoches. The American
who killed the Indian fled and was not captured by local
authorities. The second was an apparent reprisal killing of an
American trader named O'Neal by a young Coushatta warrior
called Siache (Flores 1977:65-66; Sibley 1922:12-13).
Fearing retaliation in the wake of the murder of
O'Neal, the Coushatta on the Sabine started abandoning their
village to move into Texas. Their chief, Pia Mingo, actively
attempted to persuade most of the other immigrant bands in
Louisiana to move into the Spanish province and join them in
reprisals against the Americans. On June 9, 1807, Sibley
Joseph Gillard Esquire came to Natchitoches and Said
he had been informed that in Consequence of the
Murder which 'twas Said [to] have been committed on
the Bayau [sic] Cossachie by a Conchetta Indian, that
they were Cutting their corn at their Village On the
Sabine and were going to abandon it & remove all off
into the Dominions of Spain and that they had Sent to
the Appelaches & Pascagolas a Belt & War Talk, to
Induce them to Join them in going to war Against the
Americans (Sibley 1922:31).
For Sibley the allegiance of the other small bands was
uncertain. Rumors spread that the Apalachee and Taensa were
planning westward migrations, and Sibley feared that Pia
Mingo might be successful in influencing them into hostile
relations against the Americans. He was especially concerned
after receiving the information from Joseph Gillard that the
Coushatta chief had sent them a belt and war talk to secure
their allegiance. In October 1807, Sibley noted:
In Consequence of Information received a few days Ago
from Joseph Gillard esquire, (viz) that Louis[,J
Commonly called Louis Tensa the Appaelaches Chief[,]
had lately returned from the Spanish Country where he
had been Invited, and that Since the Murder of Oneal by
the Conchetta Indian, who are of the Same Nation, that
Most of the Conchettas had withdrawn themselves into
the Dominions of Spain, that they had been sending
War talks amongst the Several of the Small & friendly
tribes the object of which was to procure a Union
Amongst them with Views Hostile to the United States
Sibley sent William Rollings to the Apalachee village
to ascertain whether Gillard's reports were true and to
determine the Apalachees' feelings on these matters. Rollings
returned to Natchitoches with Flootka (one of the principal
men of the village), his son-in-law, and an Indian called "the
Gunstocker." Flootka's comments were recorded in Sibley's
there was Some truth in the reports I [Sibley] had heard,
Blam'd Louis Tensa, & Accus'd him of Acting
dishonestly, that An Attempt had been made to draw
them off into the Dominions of Spain, & that the
Village had been divided in Opinion about it, but that
Since Rolling's arrival at the Village with my [Sibley's]
Message the Opinion was nearly Unanimous Against it,
that they were now more than ever Convinced of Our
friendliness towards them and that for the future I might
rely on it they should shut their ears Against all Such
Talks from Any quarter whatever (Sibley 1922:85-86).
Sibley was thus successful in securing the friendly
attitudes of the Apalachee and preventing them from joining
some of the other tribes in their exodus into Texas.
The years following 1807 seem to have been relatively
peaceful for many of the small immigrant bands in Louisiana.
During these years, tensions between Spain and the Americans
Figure 3. Locations of some Indian villages in Louisiana and Texas during the early nineteenth century.
over these southwestern borderlands seem to have been
somewhat more relaxed. Incidents, such as the Hildalgo
Revolt in 1811, would create concerns among Spanish officials
that the Indians in Texas and along the Sabine would become
involved in foreign and domestic intrigues to end Iberian
control in New Spain. The Spaniards, therefore, attempted to
maintain friendly relations with the tribes, especially the
Alabama, Coushatta, Biloxi, Choctaw, and the Caddoan
groups. When war erupted between the United States and
England in 1812, Sibley advised these bands not to get
involved with this struggle or the ongoing revolution in
Mexico. He altered his views, however, when New Orleans
was threatened by British invasion in the early part of 1815.
This is clearly indicated by the fact that he employed 150
Indians as foragers and scouts to accompany an American
expedition from Natchitoches to New Orleans to fight against
the British (Garrett 1946:602-603,610-611; Hatcher
The history of the Apalachee during the early
American period becomes somewhat vague from this point on.
Except for disputes concerning the validity of the Apalachee
and Taensa land sales, the Apalachee seemed to have had a
relatively peaceful existence on Red River. During most of the
time that Miller and Fulton owned their Red River claim, they
made no earnest attempt to force the Apalachee from their
village, and the property was never developed. In 1.818
Alexander Fulton died. That same year his former partner,
William Miller, left Louisiana and moved first to Philadelphia
and later to Cincinnati where he lived for the remainder of his
life (Stafford 1976:173, 343).
At about that same time, Isaac Baldwin, an attorney
from Opelousas, purchased the Miller and Fulton claim and
began to establish his Village Plantation there. Baldwin had
been the lawyer for Miller and Fulton, and had represented
their Red River claims before the Board of Land
Commissioners. The Apalachee and Taensa were still
occupying the land at that time, and remnants of the
Pascagoula remained a short distance upriver above Joseph
Gillard's plantation. Baldwin initially tried to get the War
Department to remove the Indians from his land, but this ploy
was unsuccessful. Through the assistance of U.S. Senator
Josiah Stoddard Johnston, he also tried unsuccessfully to have
the Indians removed by an act of Congress. Through
continuous depredations, including burning cabins and
destroying crops, he eventually forced many of the remaining
Apalachee and Taensa from their lands (Hunter 1990).
In 1832, a dreadful cholera epidemic spread through
Rapides Parish and took the lives of numerous planters and
slaves as well (Whittington 1970:118-119). Isaac Baldwin lost
as many as 40 of his slaves that spring (Pennsylvania Historical
Society, Josiah Stoddard Johnston Papers, 1821-1839 [PHS],
John Sibley to Johnston, August 12, 1832). He died shortly
thereafter, possibly as a result of the epidemic (St Mary Parish
Courthouse, Franklin, Louisiana, 1833, Succession No. 248).
The few remaining Apalachee and Taensa probably suffered as
much as, if not more than, either the planters or their slaves.
Although many of the Indians may have died during
the cholera epidemic of 1832, enough remained above
Alexandria in 1834 to address the president for relief. In a
petition signed by the principal men of the village, the
Apalachee and Taensa stated that they were owed considerable
amounts of money, and they had no agent to represent their
claims in court (National Archives, Washington, Letters
Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880 [LROIA],
roll 31, f. 275). The War Department responded that it did
not have the authority "to appoint an Agent to represent
Indians, who seek to establish rights or to recover debts in
Courts of justice. Such an appointment cannot be made
without the sanction of Congress" (National Archives, Letters
Sent by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880 [LSOIA], roll
13, f. 283-284). On this final note ended the history of the
Apalachee as a recognized tribal entity.
Population Size and Culture
The available evidence indicates that the Red River
band was never very large, and at any one time it probably had
less than 100 members. This statement is based on several
documents pertaining to the Apalachee that date as early as the
mid-eighteenth century. In some instances these sources give
only figures for the number of men, families, or houses, so
that it is impossible to state the actual number of individuals
present at a given time. However, using these figures it is
possible to make an estimate of the total population of the band
by first establishing an average number of individuals
represented by each man (meaning warrior), household, or
family. In general, the use of these terms is assumed to be
synonymous; that is, there was only one "man" per family and
only one "family" per "house." Available population figures
for the Apalachee and other Muskhogean-speaking groups in
the Lower Mississippi Valley during the eighteenth and early
nineteenth centuries indicated an average of one man per 3.26
individuals in each village (Table 3). For the sake of
convenience, the factor of three will be used in the total
population estimates discussed herein. The census information
for the Apalachee on Red River and population estimates are
presented in Table 4.
Five years before the Apalachee left Mobile,
Governor Kerlerec reported that the Apalachee there numbered
about 30 warriors; the decline in population was attributed to
alcohol addiction (Swanton 1922:128). Using the ratio of
three individuals per household, or in this case per "warrior,"
the total population of the Apalachee at Mobile in 1758
Table 3. Ratios of Men, Houses, Families, etc. to Total Population Figures for Some Eighteenth- and Early-
Nineteenth-Century Indian Groups in Louisiana, West Florida, and Texas.
Date & Tribe Source Men, Houses, etc. Total Population Ratio
1770 Apalachee Nugent & Kelley 21 (h) 44 1:2.10
1773 Apalachee E. Layssard 19 (h) 48 1:2.53
1773 Alabama E. Layssard 10 (h) 26 1:2.60
1774 Apalachee E. Layssard 22 (h) 45 1:2.05
1774 Mobilian E. Layssard 6 (h) 16 1:2.67
1774 Pascagoula E. Layssard 33 (m) 100 1:3.03
1768 Taensa Judice 18 (m) 51 1:2.83
1768 Pacana Judice 27 (m) 87 1:3.22
1768 Hoctchianaja Judice 23 (m) 117 1:5.09
1768 Houma Judice 40 (m) 230 1:5.75
1796 Biloxi, Pascagoula Grand PrM 168 (m) 672 1:4.00
Tunica, Chacato, Apalachee,
1820 Texas Tribes Morse 1:3.50
Average Ratio 1:3.28
* See text for specific references.
(h) designates houses or family groupings.
(m) designates men or warriors.
appears to have been around 90 individuals. This figure
correlates well with d'Abbadie's 1763 estimate that the
Apalachee who wished to move into Louisiana from Mobile
consisted of about 80 persons (Brasseaux 1981:102).
The earliest known population information
specifically relating to the Apalachee on Red River was found
in a 1766 census of the Indians in Louisiana (Mills 1981:21;
Voories 1973:16). This document lists the Apalachee as
having 20 men, indicating that the population consisted of
approximately 60 individuals. If this is correct, it would
reflect a rather astonishing 25 percent decrease in their number
within a three-year period. No reasons for this apparent
population decline have been found in the historical documents
examined. Perhaps, it was induced by stress on the very
Table 4. Population Figures for the Apalachee from 1758 to 1825.
Date Families Houses Men Women Children [Factor]* Total Comments Reference**
1758 30   At Mobile Kerl&ec
1763 80 New Orleans d'Abbadie
1766 20   At Rapide Ulloa
1770 21 26 18 44 At Rapide Nugent & Kelley
1773 20 19 15 15 49 At Rapide E.Layssard
1774 22 21 13 11 45 AtRapide E.Layssard
1789 14 11 9 34 Apalachee E. Layssard
9 11 5 25 T'ensa
1793 14 15 16 45 Apalachee E.Layssard
16 18 10 44 Titensa
1796 135 Apalachee/flensa Grand Pr6
1803 50 Identity uncertain Clark
1804 300 Probably too high Manuel Salcedo
1805 15   Apalachee Sibley
25   Thensa Sibley
25   Pascagoula Sibley
1814 25   Apalachee Valentine King
1819 150 Apalacheefllensa V.Layssard
1820 150 Apalachee Morse
1825 20 25 45 Apalachee Gray
* Estimated number of individuals per family or household (See text for discussion).
[ ] Brackets denote estimated numbers.
** See text for specific references.
young and extremely old members of the band as a result of
the long trip from Mobile and the rigors associated with
establishing a new village in an unfamiliar land.
Several months after his arrival-in November
1769-Spanish Governor Alexander O'Reilly dispatched
Captain Don Eduardo Nugent and Lieutenant Don Juan Kelley
to the districts of Attakapas, Opelousas, Natchitoches, and
Rapide to secure information on the new province and take the
oaths of fealty from the inhabitants. The small size of the
Apalachee village and Layssard's post is evidenced in the
report of these officers. Returning to New Orleans in January
1770, the two agents reported on their task and noted the
following about Rapide:
This place is composed of eight houses belonging to a
like number of poor inhabitants who cultivate tobacco
and corn, and keep a few cows for their subsistence.
The soil is of the same quality as that of Natchitoches,
and can produce the same products, if adequately tilled.
A small village of Apalache Indians is established there,
composed in all of twenty-one houses of little stability,
twenty-six men and about eighteen women, of all ages.
They live by hunting and on the scant amount of corn
which they roast (Bjork 1924:20-39?).
The total of 44 inhabitants is a 27 percent reduction in
the estimated number of individuals inhabiting the village some
four years earlier. This seems to substantiate that the
population of the Apalachee declined at a fairly consistent rate
during their first seven years on Red River.
One of the unique documents found during the current
research is a 1773 census (Table 5) that gives the names of the
Apalachee men and their spouses and provides an enumeration
of their livestock (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1069). It is the
most detailed and possibly one of the most accurate of the
enumerations and lists a total population of 47 individuals-18
men, 13 women, and 16 children (8 boys and 8 girls). This is
an increase of only three individuals since the 1770 census,
which suggests that both were probably accurate records. It
appears that the information was grouped by individual
households or families, with the head of the household listed
first. If this interpretation is correct, then 20 houses comprised
the Apalachee village in 1773, as compared to 21 in 1770.
In September 1774, Layssard again provided
Governor Unzaga several lists that enumerated the Indians
living in Rapide. At that time the Apalachee numbered 45: 21
men, 12 women, 8 boys, and 4 girls (Table 6). This was a
decrease by only two in the number reported a year earlier, and
this decline was mainly in the number of female children. The
arrangement of this document suggests that the village then
consisted of 22 households or families. Unlike the 1773
census, the 1774 list does not provide an enumeration of the
Apalachee livestock (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1108).
By 1789, the Apalachee had decreased in number to
34 individuals (14 men, 11 women, and 9 children) (Table 7).
This represents a decline of approximately 25 percent over the
previous 15 years. The neighboring Taensa then had 9 men,
11 women, and only 5 children for a total population of 25
(AGI, Cuba, legajo 202, f. 519).
The next available population figures for the
Apalachee date to 1793 (Table 8). At that time the number of
villagers had increased to 45 (14 men, 15 women, and 16
children). The Taensa also increased in number with 16 men,
18 women, and 10 children for a total of 44 individuals (AGI,
Cuba, legajo 207-A, f. 492).
In 1796, then Lieutenant Governor Grand Pre
provided the church with an enumeration of the Indians
inhabiting present central Louisiana. It included "138
Pascogoulas; 144 Chocteaux [Choctaw], 144 Viloxis [Biloxi];
111 Tonikas [Tunica]; and 135 Apalaches and Tensaes" (Notre
Dame Archives, Notre Dame, Indiana, roll 1, f. 10). On first
consideration the figure of 135 Apalachee and Taensa seems
much too high. Considering that both groups had increased
their numbers by a third during the three-year period between
1789 and 1793, this figure may not be unreasonable, however.
In 1803, Secretary of State James Madison directed
Daniel Clark, then the American Consul in New Orleans, to
secure information on the Indian groups inhabiting Louisiana.
Clark's "Account of the Indian Tribes in Louisiana" provides
little information on the Apalachee or Taensa in Rapide (Carter
1934-1942:10:61-62). In fact, his narrative only mentions
"about 8 or 9 leagues higher up the Red River [from the Biloxi
village] is a Village of about 50 souls; all these are
occasionally employed by the settlers in their neighborhood as
Boatmen." It is interesting to note that the total population of
this unidentified village corresponds well with the
eighteenth-century figures for the Apalachee on Red River.
Also, the Apalachees' ability to assist boats ascending the river
toward Natchitoches was one of the primary reasons that the
French placed them in Rapide. Clark's figures obviously did
not take into consideration the Taensa and Pascagoula who
continued to reside in that area, however.
In 1804, when Louis Tensas petitioned Spanish
administrators to allow his people to immigrate to Texas,
Manuel Salcedo estimated that the Taensa numbered around
300 individuals (Bexar Archives, roll 31, f. 781). In most of
the examined correspondence dating to the last years of
Spanish control, the names Apalachee and Taensa seem to have
been used interchangeably to refer to either or both of these
bands. This certainly evidences their close relationship at the
turn of the nineteenth century. Regardless, the number
provided by Salcedo is obviously too high, possibly
representing twice the number of people who actually
comprised both groups at that time.
In 1805, Agent John Sibley provided the Secretary of
War with enumerations and discussions of the tribes inhabiting
Louisiana and the adjoining regions (Sibley 1832:721-725).
Table 5. Document No. 2 (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1069).
1773 Census of Rapide.*
Indians men women boys girls horses cattle pigs
Apalache Piere, chief Therese 4 1 2
Denis Catherinne 7 3 4
Nassia Marianne 25 4 6
Jouan Cicille Maire 15 8
Bissinte Francoise. 1 2 20 6 2
Pascoil Helenne 1 1 5
Mistichico Catherinne 4
Farasco Manuelle 3 2
Marie Joseph 3 5
Touchoup6 Louise 1
Sosepa Lorince 3 6 5
Salomon 1 1 6 10
Batista Catherinne 4
Louis Marie 1 4 1
Lorince 1 2
Alabamons Antoine Ch6mince 6
Charlo Lorince 1 3 4
Valentin Jeaneton 1 2
Panthiabe Marie Jeanne 3 4
Yaolimantela one woman 2 1
Aclayath6 one woman 2 4
one woman 2
one woman 2 boys
One cannot Give an Enumeration of This Nation
which will make its village half a league below
this Post, they already have thirty or so horses
But they are not Constant residents of this arish.
At Rapide 1 st. of Februay
This is only a portion of a much larger document that also ennumerates the white inhabitants.
Table 6. Document No. 3 (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1108).
Census of the Apalache
for the Year 1774.
At Rapide the first of December 1774
Sibley gives only warrior counts (i.e., number of men). The
Apalachee, represented by 15 men, probably numbered around
45 individuals. This figure correlates well with most of those
found in eighteenth-century censuses conducted in Rapide.
The Taensa, who had a warrior population of about 25 men,
then probably numbered around 75 individuals. It is
interesting to note that the combined figures for the two groups
(i.e., 120 individuals) compares favorably with Grand Pre's
1796 total of 135 Apalachee and Taensa. Together with the
Pascagoula, there were probably about 200 Indians living on
Red River in central Louisiana during the early nineteenth
Some nine years later, in 1814, the Register of the
Land Office at Opelousas reported that the Apalachee village
consisted of approximately 25 families (Lowrie and Franklin
1834:666). A population figure of nearly 75 individuals for
the Apalachee seems rather high in light of previous census
information. In 1819, however, Valentine Layssard stated that
the Apalachee and Taensa together then numbered around 150
souls (National Archives, Letters Received by the Secretary of
men women boys girls
Chief Pierrot Terese
Bissinte Francoise Celestin Catherine
Pascoil Helenne 1
Antoine Francoise Denis
Joseph Lorince 3
Salmon 1 1
Louis Hanriette 1
Table 7. Document No. 4 (AGI, Cuba, legajo 202, f. 519).
Census of the Nations
23 boys between 12 and 16 years
51 women or girls
At Rapide 18 April 1789
War Relating to Indian Affairs, 1800-1823 [LRSW], roll 3, f.
In 1820, Jedediah Morse, relying on information
secured from Colonel William A. Trimble (the commander of
the military in the vicinity of Natchitoches), recorded 150
Apalachee residing about 160 miles above the mouth of Red
River. That figure seems too high; however, if the Taensa
were included, then the estimates provided by Trimble
correspond with Layssard's numbers and may not be
unreasonable. Additionally, Morse noted the Pascagoula, who
numbered around 80 souls, continued to live near the
Apalachee (Morse 1972:373).
The final population figures for the Apalachee are
found in U.S. Indian Agent George Gray's "A List of Indian
Table 8. Document No. 5 (AGI, Cuba, legajo 207-A, f. 492).
Census of the Indians
18 boys between 12 and 16 years
59 women or girls
6 children of both sexes
15 women or girls
16 children of both sexes
20 women & children of both sexes
18 women & girls
10 children of both sexes
of the Nations of Rapide
27 116 Individuals
At Rapide 23 January 1793
Tribes Belonging to the Red River Indian Agency, Sulphur
Fork" (Table 9), which was forwarded to the War Department
in 1825 (LROIA, roll 727, f. 23). The Apalachee, who
resided about 200 miles below the agency in what had by then
become Rapides Parish, were listed as having 20 men and 25
women for a total population of 45. It is not known whether
Gray's figures included the number of children present in each
band. The Pascagoula, living above the Apalachee, then
numbered approximately 121, with 50 men and 71 women.
The Taensa were not listed. Perhaps, Gray included their
number with the Apalachee. If that was the case, Gray's
figures would indicate a rapid decline in the number of Indians
inhabiting this Red River village.
The rapid decline in the population of this Indian
community during the second half of the 1820s is also
substantiated by correspondence of that period. For the
Apalachee and Taensa, this was related to Isaac Baldwin's land
encroachments and his alleged depredations committed on the
Indians residing on or near his Village Plantation. In 1827,
George Gray affirmed that Baldwin's depredations had driven
off as many as ten families who had moved into Texas
(LROIA, roll 727, f. 294-297). A year earlier, Baldwin
Table 9. Document No. 6 (LROIA, roll 727, f. 23).
A List of Indian Tribes belonging to the Red River Indian Agency. Sulphur Fork .
Names of No of No of Total Where Manner distance Remarks
No. Tribes Men Women population Living of Life from the Agen-
45 near Rapides
27 Bayou Pires
180 Red River
110 Sulphur Fork
26 Sulphur Fork
1323 Total Amount
25 E by S.
50 S. by E.
30 S by E.
Louisiana on Red River
reside on Red River & Washitaw River
cultivate the Soil and Hunt
reside among the Shawneys
himself admitted that he had been successful in getting all
except five or six families to leave his lands (PHS, Baldwin to
Johnston, October 5, 1826). At that time, Baldwin claimed
there were "not more than thirty souls" living within the limits
of his confirmation (PHS, Baldwin to Johnston, November 23,
1826), and by 1828 most of the Apalachee and Taensa had left
his plantation. Although several families remained, many had
either moved above Baldwin's upper line or left central
Louisiana. Baldwin's prophetic statement seems to have
proved accurate: "If they are not removed it is my opinion that
ten years hence, there will not be 20 of the tribe existing
within 10 miles of the Village" (LROIA, roll 727, f. 396-398).
I have not found any living descendant of the
Apalachee band that moved to Red River. As late as 1922
Swanton, relying on information provided by Dr. Milton Dunn
of Colfax in Grant Parish, Louisiana, noted that "At present
time there are said to be two or three persons of Apalachee
blood still living in Louisiana, but they have forgotten their
language and of course all of their aboriginal culture"
What made the Apalachee different from most Indians
in Louisiana was their ongoing devotion to their Catholic faith.
By the time of their arrival on Red River in the autumn of
1763, the Apalachee had been Catholics for almost 150 years,
and the available records demonstrate their continued
association with the church in Louisiana during the Spanish
and early American periods.
Soon after the Apalachee settled on Red River, French
Capuchins under Father Dagobert de Longuory established the
Parish of St. Louis des Appalages to administer to their
religious needs. Father Pierre Valentine served as their pastor
and also cared for inhabitants of Attakapas, Opelousas, Pointe
Coupee, and Natchitoches. Little is known of the early
missionary efforts of Father Valentine with the Apalachee, and
no records specifically relating to this parish are known to
exist. It is doubtful, however, that he spent much time among
the Apalachee because of the amount of traveling required to
serve parishioners in the surrounding districts. But it appears
that Father Valentine's insistence that these Indians continue to
have religious instruction as they had had in Mobile led to the
founding of the parish on Red River named after their patron
saint (Baudier 1972:76, 151, 172-173).
After Governor O'Reilly assumed control of
Louisiana, the Parish of St. Louis des Appalages faded from
the historical record; however, the Parish of St. Jean Baptiste
(later to become the Parish of St. Francois) in Natchitoches
frequently served the Apalachees' religious needs. But
throughout the colonial period, Natchitoches was often without
the services of a priest. When a priest was in residence there,
he usually spent much of his time traveling throughout the
adjacent parishes administering to the needs of whites, slaves,
The Apalachee desired to have their own priest as they
had at Mobile. On at least one occasion, in March 1773, they
came to Layssard and requested that he write the governor and
ask that he send them a priest. They specifically requested the
Reverend Father Barnabe, a French Capuchin who was then
serving as a pastor on the German Coast above New Orleans.
Barnabe had served as parish priest both in Natchitoches and
Pointe Coupee some years before the Apalachee came to
Louisiana. How these Indians became aware of Barnabe has
not been determined, but they maintained that he was able to
speak their language. Layssard noted that the Indians
complained that they were "distressed to see their women and
children die without baptism or confession," and the Apalachee
maintained that the governor had not sent them a priest,
because he regarded them "as dogs" (AGI, Cuba, legajo
189-A, f. 1080).
Numerous baptismal records relating to the Apalachee
are found in the Catholic registers of Natchitoches. The
earliest baptismal entry was for Luis, an "Apalacho Indian,"
born in 1770 to Joseph Manuel and Maria Lorensa. The
location at which this sacrament was administered was not
given, but two whites, Martin Gutierrez de Lana and Maria
Gregoria de Santa Cruz, were listed as godparents. The
registers indicate that he had been baptized previously by a lay
person (ondonyer). The clerical baptism of Luis was made on
January 16, 1777, some 14 years after the Apalachee arrived in
Rapide (Mills 1977:201).
Throughout the remainder of the Spanish period, 48
Apalachee baptisms were recorded. On several occasions the
successive chiefs stood as one of the godparents. For example,
in 1785, Denis (Dionisio) who was listed as the Apalachee
chief, stood as the godfather for Marie Joseph, the
two-year-old daughter of Vicense and Catherina. On another
occasion in 1799, Etienne, who was then chief, acted as the
godfather for an Apalachee boy named Jacques. Most
commonly, Indians served as godparents; however, in was not
uncommon for at least one to be white. Seldom were both
white (Mills 1977:251-253, 291, 294, 316, 327, 338-339).
In November of 1796, Bishop Luis Ignacio Maria de
Penalver y Cardenas, the first bishop of the newly created
Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas, visited the Apalachee
village while on a tour of his parishes. Records indicate that
the bishop's arrival was previously announced to Luis Tensa.
He was considered as one of the chiefs, a "Christian," as well
as being able to speak French. He was instructed to make the
other Indians aware of the Bishop's visit. After arriving, the
Bishop baptized six children and one adult, and confirmation
was given to ten while Father Antonio Sedella served as the
French interpreter and Don Carlos Leduc acted as the Indian
interpreter. Several other adults requested baptism; however,
the Bishop felt that they lacked adequate religious instruction.
He, therefore, directed that Francisco, a "Christian Indian"
who was considered an expert in the Catholic doctrine, teach
them prior to their receiving the sacrament. Although the
records of Penalver's visit have been found, those of the actual
baptisms and confirmations have not (Notre Dame Archives,
roll 5, f. 771-779).
Some of the baptismal ceremonies conducted at the
Apalachee village were large events. A total of 20 children
received this sacrament from an unknown priest during the
two-day period of October 17 and 18, 1799. Approximately
40 Indians participated in these ceremonies, although less than
half that number were white. Although the registers are
frequently unclear as to the ethnic or tribal identity of the listed
individuals, it appears that two white children also were
baptized at that time. These were Valentin and his
two-year-old sister Marie Rose, the children of Jean Baptiste
Dubois and Rose Cheletre, who were listed as residents of the
nearby Cotile community (Mills 1977:338-341).
Of special interest during the 1799 ceremonies are two
entries concerning Pierre Valleri. The baptismal records note
that Pierre Valleri, aged 25 years, was baptized at the
Apalachee village on October 17, 1799. His parents were
Carode and Marie Anne, while Valleri and Marie Joseph stood
as godparents. In a separate entry in the register of marriages
is the marriage of Pierre Valleri to Catherine:
October 17, 1799, marriage, after the baptism of the
groom, of Pierre Valleri of the Apalaches village, son
of Carode and Marie Anne...and...Catherine, legitimate
daughter of Louis and Marie Jeanne. The sacrament of
penance was first administered to Catherine, and their
child, Fortune, aged three, was legitimized.
Godparents and witnesses were Antoine Tinsa, Louis,
and Jean Baptiste Valleri. All parties were Indians of
the Apalaches nation, where the ceremonies took place
The above entry is the only known record of an Apalachee
marriage on Red River.
Sixty-one baptisms relating to the Apalachee during
the early American period have been noted in the examined
records. There are, however, no known baptisms recorded for
the Apalachee during the first 12 years of the nineteenth
century. This, again, is primarily related to the lack of a
resident priest in Natchitoches from the fall of 1806 until 1815
when Bishop William Dubourg appointed Father Francisco
Maynes as pastor. Shortly after his arrival at Natchitoches,
Father Maynes baptized 39 children on July 2, 1815 at the
Apalachee village. The identities of the parents are given
merely as "Indian," but because the ceremonies were
conducted "at Apalache," it is presumed that most were of
Apalachee descent (Baudier 1972:252,281; Mills 1980:
This was a fairly large event. The 39 children
baptized ranged in age from two months to 12 years, the
average age being slightly less than four years. They belonged
to 20 sets of parents. At least 51 other individuals served as
godparents, making a total of 130 participants. The ethnic
identity of the godparents was not given. Many appear to have
been Indians; however, some, such as Jean Baptiste Gillard are
known to have been white.
The last known Apalachee baptisms were conducted in
1828. Of the eight Indian baptisms conducted in Rapides
Parish during that year, six were specifically identified as
Apalachee. These are some of the last recorded names of the
Apalachee on Red River, so their presentation here is
important. They included Marie Louise Stiova, the daughter
of Stiova and his wife, Francoise; Aspasie Pierre, the child of
Pierre and Constance; Celestine Etienne, the child of Celestin
and Celeste; Cecile Baptiste, the child of Baptiste and Marie;
Jeanne Jacob, the child of Jacob and Constance; and Susanne
Lusan, the daughter of Sostene and Emelie (Ducote
Although there is no known documentation to
substantiate that the Apalachee had a church at their village,
there is some evidence to suggest that they did, in fact, have a
chapel and possibly a baptismal font. This is first indicated by
the fact that when Louis Tensa petitioned Spanish
administrators to immigrate to Texas in 1804, he requested that
they be allowed to construct a chapel. Additionally, it was
noted that at that time the Indians had many of the church
ornaments that would be required for such an establishment. It
is possible that these were the same furnishings they had at
Mobile, and it would be interesting if these articles had been
the same ones used at their mission at San Luis de Talimali in
Florida. Regardless, the fact that the Apalachee village was
the frequent scene of mass baptisms of Indians, and
occasionally whites, would lend additional evidence to suggest
that a chapel with a font was built at the village after the
Apalachee settled there.
The Apalachee did have a cemetery at the village that
was typically Catholic in configuration; that is, it was arranged
around a centralized wooden cross on the summit of a hill.
This cemetery was recorded in 1825 when Bishop William
Dubourg made a visit to Natchitoches:
After remaining with [Father E.J.] Martin for a
few days, the bishop's suite moved on, with the pastor
accompanying them as far as Les Rapides, beyond
which the route northwest to Natchitoches began. Now
their journey was through thick pine forests constantly
cut up by valleys and hills. It was there in the
wilderness that they had a most moving
experience....From a distance they glimpsed a huge
wooden cross....The cross was planted in a lonely
Indian cemetery. There were no individual inscriptions,
only the one on the cross: "They are no longer here."
This bishop dismounted to recite the De profundis and
then he gave absolution for the repose of the souls of
"our brothers of the desert". They learned later that the
cemetery belonged to two tribes, the Apalaches and
Paskagoulas who had united their interests (Melville
That the Apalachee on Red River maintained
continued ties to the Catholic church is clearly indicated by the
historical record. The general impression arises, however, that
Catholic influence on the Apalachee and the Indians' religious
participation declined during their tenure in Louisiana. This
can be primarily attributed to the frequent lack of a priest at
Natchitoches. Although St. Louis des Apalages, named after
their patron saint, was established to serve their needs shortly
after the Apalachee immigrated to Red River, reference to the
parish by this particular name disappears from the historical
record shortly thereafter. Also, there is no indication that the
Apalachee continued to honor St. Louis on his feast day, which
fell in late August, as they had at Mobile.
To further illustrate the declining influence of the
Catholic church on the Red River Apalachee, there is no
evidence to suggest that they retained the ability to use Latin in
their religious ceremonies. And, with the exception of the
visit of Bishop Don Luis Penalver in 1796, no other
confirmations are known to have been recorded for the
Apalachee. Similarly, there are no records of Apalachee
deaths or burials among the Catholic registers in Louisiana.
Perhaps Bishop Dubourg best described this situation when he
noted, "They were all Christians, but deprived of instruction
they remembered only two things, baptism and prayer"
In Louisiana, the Apalachee political structure was
similar to those maintained by other tribal groups in the
Southeast. Although this system may have had a traditional
native basis, it appears to have been highly influenced or
structured by the French in their dealings with the Indians.
Regardless, the system was continued by the Spanish and,
later, by the Americans. A letter written by Carondelet to
Florida Governor Don Luis de las Casas in 1795 illustrates the
intratribal political structure of many Southeastern tribes as
sanctioned by the Spaniards:
Every village of an Indian nation has a chief with a
large medal, one with a small one and two
captains.... The chiefs are elected mainly with regard to
birth and title, being passed from father to son, thence
to brothers or nephews of the deceased chief. At times
they also choose from among themselves the bravest of
them all or the one who is more gifted in public
speaking, or the wealthiest who can give more pomp
and finery to his warriors, with only greed keeping
them faithful to their choice.
The chiefs with the small medals serve somewhat
in the capacity of lieutenants to those with the large
ones, the captains following them in rank, the latter
being named by the chiefs, although many times these
ranks are bestowed by the government as a reward for
some special deed, as is also done in the case of those
given small medals, though we refer regularly to
suggestions made by the Indians in such matters, our
only aim being to keep them both contented and
satisfied (WPA 1937-1939a:5:84-87).
The Apalachee political structure in Spanish Louisiana
functioned in this manner, and most of the petitess nations" of
Rapide had their "grande medaille" and "petite medaille"
chiefs and "capitans." There is no clear indication from
available sources that any of the successive Apalachee chiefs
were directly related, but in small tribes, such as those
inhabiting Rapide, there was probably some kindred relation
between all members of the band.
Little is known of Martin who was elected chief in
New Orleans prior to the departure to Red River in September
1763, and who in all likelihood served in this capacity until
sometime around 1770. Martin was mentioned only once in
Layssard's letters to the various governors. In the 1773
census, Piere (Pierre) was noted as being the Apalachee chief
and may have served in this role until 1778. That year,
Layssard wrote the governor and noted that the old chief of the
Apalachee had recently died; he questioned if the governor
wished that his medal be given to the Alabama chief (AGI,
Cuba, legajo 191, f. 801).
Denis, who succeeded Pierre as chief, first appears in
the historical record in March 1775. At that time, he was a
second chief who had evidently not yet received the small
medal and commission. Layssard described him as "frank,
sincere, and attached [to the Spaniards]" (AGI, Cuba, legajo
189-B, f. 567-568). Denis became chief soon after the death
of Pierre. Although this was not specifically mentioned in any
of the commandant's correspondence, Denis was listed as the
chief in a 1779 census of Rapide (AGI, Cuba, legajo 192, f.
In 1782, Denis had fallen into disfavor with Layssard.
The reason for this has not been established, but as
punishment, Layssard publicly harangued him in front of the
Pascagoula, Alabama, and some Choctaw. This humiliation
was effective, because Denis was soon back in the
commandant's good graces, and Layssard, noting that Denis
had recognized his mistake, recommended that he be given the
big medal and commission (AGI, Cuba, legajo 196, f.
752-753, legajo 202, f. 607).
Denis (sometimes listed as "Dionisio"), who was
considered a devout Catholic, appears in several baptismal
records. Listed as gefe or chief, he acted as godfather in two
baptisms in 1785 and on three occasions in 1793 (Mills 1977:
251, 291, 294, 316).
Denis was a wealthy man, not only in comparison to
the other Apalachee, but also to many of the white inhabitants
of the post. In a 1783 enumeration of livestock in Rapide,
Denis was noted as personally owning 30 horses and 100
cows, which is more than any single individual in either the
white or Indian communities of the post. In 1791, Denis was
personally credited with the production of 2,000 "good quality
& well made" carrots of tobacco, which was more than the
amount collectively produced by the Taensa. His wealth and
social standing within these communities is also demonstrated
by the fact that he owned black slaves (AGI, Cuba, legajo 196,
f. 747, legajo 204, f. 692; Mills 1977:316).
Denis was very influential among the other tribal
groups in Rapide. At least on one occasion in 1788, Denis,
along with the Taensa and Alabama chiefs, aided the
commandant in reprimanding the Pascagoula for misconduct,
and Layssard specifically acknowledged his participation in a
letter to the governor. At his death in late May 1795, Denis
was so much respected by Valentine Layssard that he insured
that Denis received a funeral accompanied by a detachment of
militia, an act of honor and respect that the Layssards never
extended to any other Indian under their jurisdiction (AGI,
Cuba, legajo 201, f. 837-838, legajo 211-A, f. 798).
Again, it was the second chief--this time a man
named Etienne-who assumed the leadership of the Apalachee
upon the death of Denis. There is some indication that
Valentine Layssard had a certain amount of influence in the
decision of who would receive this office. In a letter to the
governor dated June 1, 1975, Layssard noted, "I...named to
receive [the position of] chief the one named Ethienne [the]
second chief for whom I ask his Lordship [for] the Big Medal
and a Commission and clothing for the said chief and a present
for his nation" (AGI, Cuba, legajo 211-A, f. 798).
Etienne, who was described as being a young,
"peaceful and meek man," did not soon receive his commission
and medal. In March 1797, Layssard again wrote the governor
and noted that Etienne, accompanied by Nicolas, the petit chef,
had been to see him and requested an audience with the
governor. Etienne desired the grande medaille because, as
Layssard noted, he conducted all of the functions of the grand
chef and was "the only one in the village for speaking to us of
the nation." Etienne also requested that his small medal be
given to an Apalachee named Fouloutque, because he was
much respected in the village. He additionally asked that the
village be given two flags and noted that for two years they
had not received presents from the governor (AGI, Cuba,
legajo 215-B, f. 455-456).
Etienne also appears in the baptismal records of the
parish of St. Jean Baptiste in Natchitoches. During three
baptisms conducted along with 17 others at the Apalachee
village in a two-day period of October 17 and 18, 1799,
Etienne, who was designated as chief of the tribe, served as
godfather for Indian children (Mills 1977:338, 340). Like the
other Apalachee chiefs, little is known of Etienne. As noted
above, Etienne apparently left the village sometime around
1803 and evidently moved with the Coushatta to a new village
located on the Red above present-day Shreveport.
Louis Tensas assumed the leadership of the village
around the turn of the nineteenth century. He was the key
Indian involved with the land sales. Many of the Apalachee
denounced his right to dispose of tribal lands because he was a
Taensa who had only married an Apalachee woman. There
also was some question whether or not he was actually a medal
chief, because some maintained he had only received a
captain's commission (LROIA, roll 727, f. 329-333, f.
357-360). That some Spanish officials would refer to him as
"the General of the Apalachee nation" would, however, imply
that he had received a high-ranking commission from the
Spaniards (Bexar Archives, roll 32, f. 231, f. 545-546).
It is known that Louis Tensas spoke French, and he
was probably also fluent in Mobilian, Apalachee, and Taensa.
He was considered a "Christian Indian" and a devout Catholic.
Some Spanish officials considered him as one of the most
civilized Indians that they had ever known (Bexar Archives,
roll 32, f. 231; Notre Dame Archives, roll 5, f. 771-779).
Possibly under considerable pressure from the other inhabitants
of the village because of his involvement with the land sales,
he evidently left the village in 1819 and joined the Yowani
with whom he then had a son living (LRSW, roll 3, f. 18-19).
The village site once occupied by the Apalachee was
situated on Red River approximately 23 miles above
Alexandria, Louisiana, near the small Boyce community. The
site was first identified by archaeologists Charles E. Pearson,
David B. Kelley, and James Patrick Whelan while conducting
a cultural resources investigation for the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, Vicksburg District. These researchers recovered a
small amount of late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century
European ceramics from a site known as Zimmerman Hill
which corresponded to the village location as depicted on Peter
Walker's 1804 survey (Figure 4) (Whelan and Pearson
The Zimmerman Hill site is located on the western
margin of the Red River's alluvial flood plain, a short distance
north of the river's confluence with Bayou Jean de Jean. The
site is situated on a high bluff and Pleistocene terrace remnant
on the left ascending side of the river. Covered with large,
scattered pines and hardwoods, the hill provides an impressive
view of the bluff below, the river, and the agriculturally rich
valley to the north and east.
There is no question as to why the Apalachee selected
this ecologically advantageous location for their principal
village. High and free from flooding, the hill and the bluff
provided a suitable site for habitation during the periodic
overflows of the Red River. Yet, the river, which supplied
water, an abundance of aquatic life, and easy transportation,
S. /. .. ';
Figure 4. A portion of Peter Walker's 1804 survey of the Miller and Fulton claim (Lowrie and Franklin 1834).
was not far away. Across the river, the fertile natural levee
and pointbar deposits were (as they remain) ideally suited for
pasturage and growing a wide variety of crops.
In terms of floral and faunal populations, the site is in
an environmentally diversified setting. In addition to the river,
there are several large tributary streams nearby, including
Bayou Jean de Jean, Bayou Darrow, and Bayou Labourne. A
large cypress and tupelo gum-covered backswamp lake lies a
short distance to the south and west of the site. These
topographical features in combination with the pine-covered
hills and hardwood bottomlands must have provided the
Apalachee with a wide variety of both plants and animals that
could have been exploited with relative ease.
The Pascagoula village, above that of the Apalachee,
was in a similar environmental setting. Several archaeological
sites that can be attributed to the Pascagoula have been located
on the left ascending side of the river some three to five miles
above Zimmerman Hill. The most notable of these is the
Colfax Ferry site which was investigated by the late Clarence
H. Webb and others. Excavations conducted there in the
1960s produced historic Indian burials and associated grave
goods, some of which date to the second decade of the
nineteenth century (Gregory and Webb 1965; Webb 1962).
Not only does this verify the historical record that the
Pascagoula resided above the Apalachee, but it also
substantiates that all did not abandon their village after the land
Peter Walker's 1804 survey (see Figure 4) shows the
location of the Apalachee village on the left ascending bank at
a hard bend in the river. The village is depicted as a series of
triangles, obviously representing houses or other structures,
occupying a point of high pine-covered land fronting the river.
No other houses are shown on the remainder of the property.
The Apalachee village on Red River was not,
however, a tightly nucleated concentration of houses and
buildings. Rather, it consisted of scattered clusters of houses
and their associated fields situated along both sides of the
river. For the Pascagoula, the Taensa, and the Coushatta, the
patterns probably were the same, and there is ample historical
evidence to support a dispersed settlement pattern for these
people during both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Perhaps the earliest evidence of this is found in Louis de
Blanc's 1789 report to Governor Miro concerning a meeting
held with the commandant of Rapide:
I went to the post of Rapide in regard to the matter of
the demarcations of the boundaries which Your
Lordship was pleased to fix between that post and this
one under my command. In the presence of Don
Etienne Layssard I called a meeting of all the nations of
Indians of that district in order to make them acquainted
with [the] place they are assigned so that in [the] future
the chiefs of each nation shall not be permitted to scatter
their Indians along the shore [of the river] with their
habitations [a] considerable distance apart (Kinnaird
Some years later, in 1796, Grand Pre also noted the
scattered nature of the Indian communities in present central
Between the post of Natchitoches and that of Rapido,
the small nations of the Pascagoulas, Apalaches, and
Tinsas are settled on both banks of the Red River.
Scattered in groups of three, four, and five families,
they occupy an excellent and large territory where many
good farmers could be advantageously placed....At
present, on the contrary, they can not be considered a
nation because they are so scattered (Kinnaird and
The Apalachee maintained this dispersed settlement
pattern well into the nineteenth century. As late as 1826, Isaac
Baldwin complained that the Indians who occupied his lands
"were settled a considerable distance from each other on the
bank of the River" (PHS, Baldwin to Johnston, December 28,
1826). A sketch map of the Village Plantation made by
Baldwin (Figure 5) additionally shows several Indian houses
scattered along both sides of the river. The locations of two of
these houses have been verified archaeologically. Across the
river from Zimmerman Hill, Whelan, Pearson, and Kelley also
identified two small scatters of late-eighteenth- to
early-nineteenth-century European ceramics in association with
historical shell-tempered aboriginal pottery (Whelan and
Pearson 1983:36-38). The locations of these two scatters
correspond with two Indian houses shown on Baldwin's sketch
Throughout much of the nineteenth-century
correspondence relating to the Apalachee, their houses were
usually referred to as "cabins." Baldwin described what may
have been a typical Indian residence when he wrote U.S.
Senator Josiah Stoddard Johnston concerning the burning of an
Apalachee house on his plantation:
The building burned is called a cabin. It was made of
logs hewed [sic] square of about thirty or a few feet
long & fourteen or fifteen feet wide, covered with
cypress bark, having two mud chimnies [sic] (PHS,
Baldwin to Johnston, December 28, 1826).
These houses with their livestock pens and fences
were probably located near an associated field or garden plot.
In all instances, these fields were referred to as being relatively
small. One particular field was described as encompassing
from two to three arpents, or slightly less than two or three
acres (PHS, Baldwin to Johnston, November 23, 1826).
However, an "Indian Field" depicted on an 1819 survey by
Kenneth McCrummen (Figure 6) seems to have been
I -* .
Okw c~ .
i j r ^
-- --- -
*r '** L~O ..^ .
hr b -
Figure 5. A ca. 1826 sketch map of Isaac Baldwin's Village Plantation showing the locations of Indian houses (National Archives,
Washington, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880).
----' IL.-----. CY-II*I~C~ICIII~ICll*x--1111~111~/5
__ _. ._^_ -^ ^ ^y
MO o tta .. r 4. .
o a w fl'_ 4 --
M^l~r R~ ^^^^^j8^,^|
x?^^^~wdC~u ^^<0y~xJ AN^b~
,1 4 *f (mto (CJ'
\ (f//f__ f< VI.up'c
S fA y'
. .. ..... . .
/^r/,ln 4 //<^ (%I
Figure 6. A portion of Kenneth McCrummen's 1819 survey of the Miller and Fulton claim showing the location of Indian
settlement, and Indian field, and the location of the Apalachee cemetery (National Archives, Washington, Letters Received by the
Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880).
211Y i i ("I -C
substantially larger. If that field was drawn to scale, then it
would have contained about 11.5 acres and may have been a
communal plot for several families or households.
There also were several French families who resided
in the village. What particular relationships these individuals
held with the Apalachee and the Taensa have not been
established. One, named Bertrand Maillouche, purchased land
below the village from the Apalachee in 1796. There, he
established a store for the purpose of trading with the Indians
I believe that the "village" location depicted on
Walker's survey was the site of ceremonial, religious, and
political activities for the Apalachee. It is possible that the
houses of the chief and influential leaders of the community
were located there. The Apalachee cemetery ("Indian Burying
Ground") was depicted in that locale on McCrummen's survey
(see Figure 6).
If the Apalachee had a chapel, it was probably located
on the hill near the cemetery. This is suggested by the fact
that, as described by Andre Penicaut, their graveyard at
Mobile also featured a large cross and was situated to the side
of their church (McWilliams 1953:134-135). There is no
indication from available historical sources that the Apalachee
on Red River, or at Mobile, had a council house, which was an
important feature of the Indian mission centers in Florida.
Perhaps, during the eighteenth century, the church building or
chapel replaced this structure as the location for important
civic or ceremonial activities, just as the Congregationalist
Church served the Coushatta at Elton, Louisiana, for many
years prior to the construction of their present tribal center
The Apalachee on Red River were both hunters and
farmers. It is difficult, however, to determine which of these
activities played the dominant role in their overall economic
pursuits. Shortly after this band settled on Red River, Nugent
and Kelley reported that the Apalachee "live on the game in the
woods and the small quantity of corn which they roast" (Bjork
The 1773 census (Table 5), which also provides an
enumeration of the Apalachees' livestock, indicates that all
except one of the families raised livestock-primarily horses.
Three individuals, Nassia, Jouan, and Bissinte, owned 25, 15,
and 20 horses, respectively, possibly indicating that these three
men were actively engaged in the horse trade. Ten of these
households had swine, whereas only four maintained cattle.
The fact that nearly half of the listed families did not have
large domestic animals that were normally maintained for
consumption may suggest that hunting (both for direct
consumption and as a part of the deer skin trade), fishing, and
gathering were a large part of the Apalachee subsistence
strategy (AGI, Cuba, legajo 189-A, f. 1069).
During the Freeman and Custis Red River expedition
of 1806, Thomas Freeman noted that the Apalachee "appear to
be rapidly advancing towards civilization; they possess horses,
cattle and hogs; dress better than Indians generally do, and
seem to derive a considerable portion of their support from the
cultivation of the earth" (Flores 1984:112). A year later,
however, Sibley noted that the Apalachee were hunting buffalo
with the Alabama above the Caddo village (Sibley 1922:15).
This and other information contained in both the Spanish
commandants' correspondence and several letters written by
some of the U.S. Indian agents indicate that the Apalachee
made annual hunting trips up the Red to the Caddo Prairie, as
their neighbors the Pascagoula frequently did.
In 1826, William Wilson, who acted as the
Apalachee's lawyer in the land disputes, wrote to Congressman
William Leigh Brent and noted that the Apalachee and Taensa
commonly raised corn, poultry, and hogs. Wilson stated that
the Indians usually were employed on neighboring plantations,
but he did not specify in what capacity. Although Wilson's
statements may have been biased because he was assuredly
arguing for the civilized nature of the Indians, he noted that
they were not given to hunting as the basis of their subsistence
(LROIA, roll 727, f. 96-99). A year earlier, however, Agent
George Gray had noted that the Apalachee were primarily
hunters (LROIA, roll 727, f. 23).
The historical record indicates that the Apalachee on
Red River raised corn, peaches, cotton, and tobacco. Judging
from the relative small size of their fields mentioned above,
many of their agricultural endeavors probably were related to
direct subsistence. However, cotton was grown, and there is
substantial documentation that the Apalachee, along with other
Indians in Rapide, grew large amounts of tobacco, which may
have been sold to the government or some of the local traders
(AGI, Cuba, legajo 203, f. 664).
In addition to the historical record, a limited amount
of archaeological information can provide insights to the
Apalachees' economy and subsistence strategies that are not
reflected in the historical record. In the fall of 1985 and the
spring of 1986, I conducted limited archaeological testing at
the Zimmerman Hill site, assisted by faculty and students of
Northwestern State University of Natchitoches, Louisiana.
During those investigations, the remains of two refuse pits
were excavated. Apparently they were associated with one or
more Apalachee houses situated on the west bank of the river
Among the recovered materials was a relatively large
amount of faunal material. The analysis of these bones
identified both domesticated and wild species. Among the
former were only cow and chicken. Wild species were more
numerous and included black bear, white-tailed deer, fox
squirrel, alligator, box turtle, freshwater drum, catfish, and
freshwater mussel. Also, many of the larger bones had been
split lengthwise, indicating marrow extraction for possible
consumption or tallow production-both common aboriginal
practices (Hunter 1990:105-110).
Certainly the Apalachee were more acculturated to
western society than many of the other Indians living in
Louisiana. This is obviously due to the two centuries of
continuous cultural contact that they experienced with
Europeans beginning with the establishment of the Spanish
mission complex in Florida. It was there that the Apalachee
first were introduced to European domestic animals and crops.
In Florida, they mastered European carpentry techniques,
learned new agricultural skills, and acquired knowledge of
managing livestock. Through the Franciscan missionaries,
their society, culture, and religious beliefs were restructured.
Many of the old traditions, such as the ball games, dances, and
religious practices were abandoned, though frequently with
reluctance, if not direct hostile opposition. Some elements of
their traditional society, including language, ceramic arts,
weaponry, and architectural styles, were maintained, but these,
too, probably received varying degrees of stimulus from
European ideology and technology (Hann 1988).
After fleeing Florida and settling near the French at
Mobile, this Apalachee band continued to have close contact
with Europeans and numerous native groups, such as the
Mobilians, Taensa, Chacato, Tohome, and Choctaw. Penicaut
commented at length on the civilized nature of the Apalachee
and their devotion to the Catholic Church. His statement "that
the only thing savage about them is their language, which is a
mixture of Spanish and Alibamon" gives an insight to the
extent this group of Apalachee had acculturated to European
ways (McWilliams 1953:134-135). Their carpentry skills
acquired in Florida also were used to aid in the construction of
Fort Louis at the head of Mobile Bay (Higginbotham
Close contact with other native groups residing in that
region also altered Apalachee culture. It was probably while
living in the vicinity of Mobile Bay that the Apalachee adopted
the use of Mobilian-the lingua franca spoken by many of the
Indians of the Northern Gulf Coastal Plain and the interior.
There is also some evidence to suggest that interaction with
these other tribes drastically altered the Apalachees' ceramic
arts, which they continued to produce in quantity until the
early nineteenth century. At Mobile the Apalachee first came
into contact with the Taensa, whose history would become
intertwined with theirs throughout the late eighteenth and early
On Red River, the Apalachee continued to speak their
traditional language, although the language had most certainly
undergone substantial change since the establishment of the
Florida missions. Many apparently had learned Spanish and
French during their tenures in Florida and Mobile. After the
Apalachee moved to Rapide, they appear to have retained the
ability to speak Spanish, because Nugent and Kelley reported
to O'Reilly that "many speak our language" (Bjork 1924).
Perhaps the most definitive statements concerning the
Apalachee language and this band's multilingual nature during
the early nineteenth century are found in the correspondence of
the U.S. Indian agents. In 1805, John Sibley noted that the
Apalachee "have their own language, but speak French and
Mobilian" (Sibley 1832:724). That the Apalachee language
survived as a recognizably distinct dialect as late as 1833 is
clearly evidenced by Indian Agent Jehiel Brooks when he noted
that "the Caddos, Quapaws, Pascagoulas and Apalachies speak
distinct primative [sic] tongues, but the last two communicate
with me uniformly through Mobilian" (LROIA, roll 31, f.
Although the historical record indicates that the
Apalachee were highly acculturated to western society,
archaeology paints a somewhat different picture. Specifically,
the archaeological data suggest that even though the Apalachee
were considered highly acculturated, they retained many
aspects of native culture; that is, they continued to hunt and
fish, manufactured their own ceramics, and probably dressed
(judging from the beads and brass bracelet fragments found
during the excavations) very similar to many of the other
groups that came into Louisiana during the late eighteenth and
early nineteenth centuries.
The two trash pits excavated at Zimmerman Hill also
contained a large number of aboriginal ceramics (Figure 7).
Most of the sherds were from small, simple bowls that were
apparently used as serving vessels (Figure 8). Vessel
fragments from large cooking and storage pots were rare,
probably evidencing the use of their more durable European
counterparts. Additionally, some of the native ceramics appear
to represent copies of European forms, such as shallow
brimmed bowls and pitchers. European ceramics, including
French faience and English creamwares, were limited to only a
handful of sherds. The paucity of non-native ceramics could
relate to several factors: the economic status of a particular
household; the value and availability of European ceramics; the
durability of European ceramics as compared to their native
counterparts; or the use of European ceramics only for special
occasions. Regardless, native ceramics were important as
evidenced by the fact that the aboriginal sherds outnumbered
the European ones more than 50 to 1 (Hunter 1990).
The assemblage of aboriginal ceramics recovered from
Zimmerman Hill also provides insights into the degree of
cultural influence that the Apalachee and Taensa received from
other Indian groups after moving to Mobile during the early
eighteenth century. Almost all of the pottery from
Zimmerman Hill is shell tempered. The Leon-Jefferson
ceramics characteristic of the Apalachee mission centers in
Florida are grit tempered. Furthermore, the vessel styles and
decorative treatments found in Florida are not found at
Zimmerman Hill (Shapiro 1987:159-169). The Red River
I I I I
Figure 7. Selected aboriginal ceramics from the Zimmerman Hill site, Rapides Parish, Louisiana: a-d, grit-tempered
Chattahoochee Brushed probably associated with the Coushatta occupation of the site; e-f, interior red-filmed (Old Town Red, var.
Rapides); g-h, coarse shell-tempered (Mississippi Plain, var. Knight); i, interior black-filmed (Zimmerman Black, var.
Zimmerman); j-k, plain shell-tempered (Bell Plain).
Figure 8 Represented aboriginal vesselforms at the Zimmerman Hill site, Rapides Parish, Louisiana: a-d, fine shell-tempered
bowls (includes Bell Plain, Old Town Red, and Zimmerman Black); e, brimmed bowl (includes Bell Plain and Old Town Red);f-g,
coarse shell-tempered (Mississippi Plain) bowls; h, coarse shell-tempered (Mississippi Plain) jar.
assemblage features primarily small, simple bowls generally
lacking decoration with the exception of red or black filming.
In all, the native ceramics from Zimmerman Hill closely
resemble those recovered from eighteenth-century sites in the
vicinity of Mobile (Mueller 1991:115-131; Spies and Rushing
1983). This seems to indicate that the Apalachee pottery on
Red River was greatly influenced by the ceramic traditions of
the Indians once residing near Mobile. The fact that similar
ceramics have been found at Pascagoula, Biloxi, Alabama, and
Coushatta sites in Louisiana suggests that close interaction was
being maintained between these groups throughout the
eighteenth and possibly nineteenth centuries.
Summary and Conclusions
For the 70 years that the Apalachee lived on Red
River, they maintained peaceful relations with the whites and
many of the small immigrant tribal groups that settled in
present central Louisiana. During the Spanish period they
served along with the other Indians of the district as important
allies to repel raids by the English and their Indian allies.
Through their hunting and farming, they provided important
economic commodities, such as large quantities of deer skins
and tobacco. They were also the only tribal group in the
region that was considered "Christian" and were regarded as
"highly civilized," in comparison to the other Indian groups.
But regardless of the amount of acculturation that they had
received, they remained Indian and were always regarded as
After the Americans assumed control of Louisiana,
the Apalachee, like all of the other groups in Rapide, lost title
to their land through questionable sales. Some would dispute
the sales and cling to their land at least until 1834. But the
government did not protect their rights, and many whites felt
that Indians in general were an impediment to their economic
developments. As these groups declined in size, they were no
longer considered a real threat, but rather a nuisance because
they occupied prime agricultural lands. With the growing
white population of the region and more stable political
relations during the 1820s, the Apalachee and the remaining
Indians were not considered important in the defense of the
region. Dispersed into other areas and absorbed into other
groups, the fate of the Apalachee on Red River is like that of
many North American tribal groups who were once regarded
as nations in their own right and who are no longer with us.
I would like to express my gratitude to a number of
individuals who have encouraged me throughout this study.
These include Dr. Hiram F. Gregory, Aubra and Dayna Lee,
Dr. David B. Kelley, and Dr. Charles E. Pearson. Thanks are
also extended to the kind staffs of the following institutions
that have allowed use of the materials housed in their archives:
the Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania; the Camie G. Henry Research Center, Watson
Library, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches,
Louisiana; and the Hill Memorial and Middleton libraries at
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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1972 The Catholic Church in Louisiana. Louisiana Library
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Natchitoches, 1769-1770. Louisiana Historical Quarterly
Boyd, Mark F., Hale G. Smith, and John W. Griffin
1951 Here They Once Stood: The Tragic End of the
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1762: The Journals of Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and
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Hall, Gladys Harriet
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from 1790-1800, with an Appendix of Original
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EARLY FLORIDA DECORATED BONE ARTIFACTS: STYLE AND AESTHETICS FROM PALEO-
INDIAN THROUGH ARCHAIC
Ryan J. Wheeler
Florida is well known for impressive art work found in
the ceramics of the Weeden Island culture and the wood
carvings of Key Marco. Our state holds other opportunities to
study pre-Columbian art, however. Objects executed in shell
and bone are usually small and provide poor subjects for
museum exhibits. Yet they possess many of the qualities of
the large wooden carvings and modeled ceramic effigies.
Research conducted for my M.A. thesis, as well as for several
papers delivered at Southeastern Archaeology Conference
meetings, provides the basis for this study of decorated bone
artifacts (Wheeler 1991, 1992a, 1992b).
Decorated bone artifacts have been recovered from most
of the temporal and spatial cultural divisions of Florida.
Figure 1 illustrates the locations of sites mentioned in the text.
Temporal periods discussed follow definitions by Griffin
(1967). In an attempt to order the material so that it can be
used in future studies of symbolic and thematic content, I
provide several accounts, beginning with the earliest known
artifacts. This article is limited to the discussion of decorated
bone from Paleo-Indian and Archaic time periods. The
beginning of much of Florida's decorative art traditions can be
traced to developments during this era, including the formal,
geometric style of the St. Johns River Basin, as well as the
naturalistic carvings of southern Florida.
Chronology of Bone Art Styles
Paleo-Indian (13,500-9,900 B. P.)
Perhaps the mammoth ivory foreshaft illustrated in Figure
2 is the earliest artistic endeavor known from Florida. Similar
objects of ivory and bone are known from the river bed
deposits of Paleo-Indian and Archaic sites in Florida and other
parts of the country, including New Mexico (cf. Dunbar et al.
1989; Painter 1985; Simpson 1948). The cross-hatching at the
base was probably involved in hafting, but the zigzag design
that runs the length of the piece appears to be purely
decorative. Reichel-Dolmatoff (1951) and Grieder (1982:27)
both note the early presence of this motif in the Americas, and
suggest a relationship with serpents and serpent imagery.
Early Archaic (9,900-7,000 B.P.)
Decorated bone objects of the Early Archaic are known
from the Windover site in Brevard County (Doran and Dickel
1988; Purdy 1991). Included as burial items along with
objects of wood, fabric, shell and stone, three decorated bird
bone tubes were preserved in the anaerobic muck. The central
theme encountered is rectilinear, and essentially revolves
around the manipulation of a diamond motif (Figure 3).
Zoned-hatchure is employed as a shading technique on two of
the tubes. The diamond motifs are complex, especially in the
way they wrap around the tubular bone pieces. Yet despite
their intricate nature, the execution is crude; hatchure marks
are unevenly spaced and the incising is very light (Figure 4).
Three of these incised bone tubes were recovered with the
burials of two adult females (Glen Doran, personal
Middle Archaic (7,000-4,000 B. P.)
The designs found on the Windover bone tubes also are
found on a decorated antler hair ornament (Figure 5) recovered
at the Gauthier site (Jones in Carr 1981). Related both in
design and mode of execution to the Windover pieces, the
Gauthier antler artifacts were recovered with the burial of an
adult male and appear to have been worn, in conjunction with
raccoon baculum bones, as barrettes (Figure 6). The slight
bulb at the head of the piece illustrated in Figure 5 may
represent a serpent or phallus. Jones (in Carr 1981:86)
suggests that the second ornament from Gauthier is carved to
represent a stylized hand (Figure 7).
A collection of decorated antler artifacts was recovered
from the Middle Archaic Republic Groves site (Wharton et al.
1981). General morphology is similar to the Gauthier
specimen, and the designs on several of the pieces are based on
diamond forms (Figure 8). Unlike the specimens from
Windover and Gauthier, the manner of execution is superb.
Whereas the Gauthier specimens demonstrate some attempt at
manipulating mass, the Republic Groves artisan created a
series of interlocking rectangular panels that are raised above a
series of dots or close hatching, carved in bas relief (Figure
9a). One of the decorated antler beams is carved to resemble a
serpent or phallic image much like the Gauthier artifact (Figure
9b); cross-hatching and the diamond motif encountered on
these artifacts may also be an attempt to represent the
rattlesnake. The cross-hatchure found on artifacts from Adena
and Hopewell contexts appears to symbolically connote the
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Vol. 47 No. 1
TICK ISLAND COTTEN
BONE ART SURVEY
Figure 1. Archaeological sites mentioned in the text
Figure 2. Mammoth ivory foreshaft, Aucilla River, c. 30 cm, Florida Museum of Natural History. Zigzag motif is present on the
obverse and reverse sides.
rattlesnake (cf. specimens from Turner Mound, Hamilton
County, Ohio in Willoughby 1922:70-71), where serpents and
composite serpent beings are adorned with zoned cross-
hatchure (Willoughby 1922:70-71). All of the decorated antler
sections from Republic Groves exhibit a great deal of wear,
and in some cases portions of the design surface have been
completely obscured. The best preserved specimen is a section
of antler beam with a central perforation (Figure 10). Wharton
et al. (1981:66) describe the fine incising of this piece as "an
array of complex motifs, including nested chevrons, cross-
hatched rectilinear bands and triangles, nested triangles, and a
combination nested triangle-rectangle design."
Recent excavations at the Old Enterprise Mound have
produced several examples of decorated bone from a Mount
Taylor period refuse deposit. Two of these (Figure 1 la, 1 lb)
were recovered from the same stratum, but in different
portions of the site, and bear a similar design. Nested triangles
and rectangles, comparable to those motifs from Republic
Groves, are found on both specimens. Despite being rather
fragmentary, the overall design appears to be formal and well
organized. A fragment of a decorated bone pin, reworked into
a perforated pendant, was recovered from the deepest stratum
at Old Enterprise (Figure 1lc). This piece is encircled with a
series of closely spaced incisions, overlaid with a lightly
engraved diamond pattern.
Excavations into the basal portion of the Useppa Island
site recovered two decorated bone artifacts (William H.
Marquardt, personal communication 1992). Figure 12
illustrates a gorget from Useppa that bears a design composed
of nested triangles, bisected triangles and nested rectangles,
similar to those found at Lake Monroe (cf. Figure 11). Like
some other decorated bone artifacts, this pendant was reworked
from a larger object. A similar motif has been identified at
Useppa, Republic Groves, and Lake Monroe, therefore we
may be able to postulate a peninsular Florida design tradition
dating to the Early and Middle Archaic. The serpent themes
on antler from the sites discussed above tends to support this
Rouse (1951:292) illustrates a series of decorated bone
artifacts from Indian River area sites, including examples
dating to the Mount Taylor and Orange periods (Figure 13c
and 13d). The artifact in Figure 13c dates to a prepottery
horizon of the Palmer-Taylor site, and bears the nested
triangles already observed on other incised bone from this era.
The Palmer-Taylor site contained extensive deposits dating
from Mount Taylor though St. Johns II periods, including
some Orange period material as well. The object in Figure
13d bears a checkerboard design similar to some patterns
illustrated by Waring (1977:Figure 63n) for the Bilbo site,
Late Archaic (4,000-2,500 B.P.)
The largest collection of decorated bone objects from the
Late Archaic is known from Orange period deposits on Tick
Island. The bulk of this assemblage is now in private hands,
though many pieces are illustrated by Jahn and Bullen (1978).
The designs include rectilinear themes, simple lines, diamonds,
frets, chevrons, zigzags, spirals, ticking, positive and negative
shading, and fine parallel or crosshatch shading. Figures 13d,
14, 15 and 16 demonstrate the widespread distribution of Tick
Island forms in Florida. Similar designs also are reported for
the Stallings Island Culture of Georgia and the Riverton
Culture of Kentucky (Waring 1977:168,170-171; Webb
1946:318). The overall decoration of pieces dated to the Late
Archaic presents a complicated, yet flamboyant organization
that is found in neither previous nor subsequent periods. Some
decorated bone from Orange period sites exhibit a sense of
symmetry (see Figure 17), but most pieces are incised with
unbounded motifs that have no beginning or end. The use of
registers to group designs, like those on the Republic Groves
ornament and pieces from the post-Archaic, are generally
absent. Innovations noted for decorated bone during the Late
Archaic include the use of cut wolf mandibles and raccoon
baculum bones as appropriate surfaces for incising, and a
considerable increase in the manipulation of bone mass (see
Figures 18 and 19).
Post-Archaic (2,500 B.P. to European Contact)
The post-Archaic sees the continued development of
decorated bone art; however, immediately following the Late
Archaic there are few specimens. Those decorated artifacts
known from Transitional period contexts tend to exhibit
characteristics of either the earlier or later periods, and no
distinctive decorative style for this time can be defined. In the
Figure 3. Incised bird bone tube, 8 cm, Windover (8BR246), Florida State University 103.17. Diamond
Figure 4. Incised bird bone tube, 10.3 cm, Windover (8BR246), Florida State University 121.45. Three
panels with diamond motif and negative cross-hatch shading.
Figure 5. Antler hair ornament, 17 cm, Gauthier (8BR193), Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research.
Five panels with diamond motif and negative cross-hatch shading. Note the "stray" bands offine parallel
Figure 6. Drawing of Native American male wearing antler hair ornaments from Gauthier (based onm a
drawing by Ron Jones, in Carr 1981:87, and facial reconstruction by Betty Pat Gatliss).
Figure 7. Antler hair ornament, 9.2 cm, Gauthier (8BR193), Florida Bureau of Archaeological
Research. Note that the design is the result of surface morphology manipulation.
.-i ?~"~ ~~ ~.~_zp;lp~p~-. L i.-l
~;-~ : ;v. i
I.: C' ;r
-:: ,:/: ~. 5 a-r_.
0 1 2 3
Figure 8. Engraved antler fragment, obverse and reverse, 4.7 cm, Republic Groves (8HR4), Florida
Museum of Natural History 93-18-25. Complex engraving with bas relief panels and fine parallel line
0 1 2 3 4 5
Figure 9. a) engraved antler beam, 12.1 cm, Republic Groves (8HR4), Florida Museum of Natural
History 93-18-51. Complex engraving with bas relief panels, cross hatch and parallel line shading, and
diamond pattern; b) engraved antler beam, 10.9 cm, Republic Groves (8HR4), Florida Museum of
Natural History 93-18-50. Note the carved phallus or serpent's head.
Figure 10. Engraved antler, 5.6 cm, Republic Groves (8HR4), Florida Museum of Natural History 93-
18-26. Overall design is a highly symmetrical arrangement of nested triangles, rectangles, joining and
Figure 11. Incised bone from Old Enterprise (8V02601). a) 3 cm, University of Florida LM93-445; b)
3.3 cm, LM93-1008; c) 3.2 cm, LM93-751.
Figure 12. Incised bone gorget, 3.5 cm, Useppa Island (8LL51), Florida Museum of Natural History.
Nested triangles and nested rectangles form the basic pattern (cf. Figures lla, lib). Note that finer
lines are used to create smaller triangles in the corners of the larger ones.
Figure 13. Decorated bone, Indian River area. a,b,e) from post-Archaic sites in the area; c) decorated
bone, Palmer-Taylor (8SE18), Yale Peabody Museum 128524 (redrawn from Rouse 1951:22), nested
chevrons; d) ckeckerboard design from Palmer Taylor, Yale Peabody Museum 128526 (redrawn from
Rouse 1951:229, copyright 1951, Yale University Press, used with permission).
Figure 14. Engraved bone pin and turtle carapace, Cotten (8V083) (redrawn from Griffin 1952: Figure
178, copyright 1952 by the University of Chicago, used with permission). These artifacts exhibit classic
Orange period motifs and were recovered in association with Orange Incised ceramics.
Figure 15. Incised bone pin fragment, 6.9 cm, Alandco (8BD1448), Broward County Archaeological
Society. This artifact was recovered from a Glades II/III occupation site, but exhibits the classic Orange
period meander motif. This object may have been curated, a practice known from Florida archaeological
~,~~~~r~ l---IBIYBBPL~-- ~ ~ ~BW--mu~plw=sa
0 2 4 6 8
Figure 16. Engraved pins, Tick Island (8V024) (redrawn from Jahn and Bullen 1978, courtesy of the
Florida Museum of Natural History).
0 1 2 3
Figure 17. Engraved bone pin head, 5.2 cm, Old Enterprise (8VO2601), University of Florida LM93-
1064. This object was recovered during a surface collection, but the spiral motif would place it within
the Tick Island style. The symmetrical arrangement of the design is rather unusual for this time period.
C -~7 rr
_~______ ___ _______________ ____ __
ITT! = =&
_ _~__ __ _________ ____ ~~~~_ ____.~,~rr
I I I I -
Figure 18. Cut and incised wolf mandibles, Tick Island (8V024) (redrawn from Jahn and Bullen 1978).
The use of cut wolf mandible and imitation mandibles is well known for the Transitional period, to which
these items may actually date (see Bullen and Benson 1967for a discussion of cut wolfjaws).
Figure 19. Carved bone pins, Tick Island (8V024) (from Jahn and Bullen 1978). Note that the
principal design feature is carving, not incising.
,,;--- ~PT~:nFlr`.'"L-) TIPII~IIII~Lb(-LI*~
*, N ~U--~~- L~~1~- ---^1 ~-14119~ ~ **I~. .................... ICLLI
northern St. Johns region, a decorated bone pin fragment from
the Summer Haven site exhibits the unbounded design
characteristics so often found in Orange period carvings
(Figure 20). (Randy Bellomo of Janus Research provided a
photograph of the bone pin recovered from the Summer Haven
site. The original work at the site is discussed in Bullen and
Bullen .) One Transitional period decorated bone
artifact that engenders the naturalistic effigy tradition in wood
and bone art of post-1200 B.P. southern Florida was recovered
from Peace Camp (Figure 21). The use of animal imagery in
southern Florida increases dramatically during the post-
Archaic, and several periods of florescence will be discussed in
a future paper.
Discussion and Conclusion
Despite the small collection of decorated bone artifacts
known from the Paleo-Indian and Archaic periods, there is
considerable information to be gleaned. Art transcends
aesthetic variables, and is generally achieved when virtuosity
(technical skill) and meaning are integrated. Carvings of the
Archaic period present an exciting body of data because many
of the aesthetic considerations that embody later traditions are
evolving and being perfected in this work. When some
understanding of the meaning of these images is achieved, it
becomes evident that technical virtuosity and selection of
media are an integral element in the production of post-Archaic
Aesthetic Development of Early Bone Art
The most significant developments in early decorated
bone from Florida primarily center around increased technical
proficiency. The manifestations of expanding artistic
virtuosity include regularity of movement and manipulation of
mass. Better control of the carving and engraving implements
produce objects that have straight bold lines and highly
polished surfaces. Comparison of the carvings from Windover
and Gauthier with those from Republic Groves and Tick Island
reveal this passage from lightly incised, poorly joined lines to
deeply engraved, regular lines. Later pieces also exhibit
variation in line thickness for design effect. The apparent shift
from crude to finely executed designs has several possible
explanations. It is possible that changes in bone decoration
techniques are manifestations of an evolving tool kit and
mastery of control in using new tools (i.e., shark tooth
knives). This would account for less skilled design execution
in artifacts dated to earlier eras (i.e., the incised tubes from
Windover) and the highly polished, well-crafted objects from
later contexts (i.e., the Republic Groves carved antlers). An
alternative explanation for diversity in carving skill requires
the consideration of the virtuosity of specific artists or
craftspersons. It is possible that presentation of standard or
meaningful motifs on carved and incised bone took precedence
over the skill with which designs were rendered, suggesting a
different aesthetic than our own. Evidence for increasing skill
or quality in Late Archaic and post-Archaic bone art work
indicates some veracity for both of the above possibilities.
Manipulation of mass is evident in pieces from Gauthier
and Republic Groves where the morphology of the antler is
altered to accentuate incised detail, and perhaps also serve in
conjunction with the pattern as a metaphoric device. We have
also observed, however, that the Republic Groves artist altered
the surface of the antler in production of the design by creating
a series of bas relief dots and panels. The manipulation of
mass as a design technique is further cultivated in Tick Island
forms, where surface morphology becomes a distinct class of
Changes in design organization during the Archaic also
present some basic aesthetic concerns. As demonstrated above,
initial patterns of the Early and Middle Archaic are rather
complicated and generally symmetrical. It should be mentioned
that the symmetry of these designs is not always immediately
apparent, as the incising completely wraps around the artifact.
Changes in design organization are most marked in the Orange
period, where formal, symmetrical incising gives way to the
restlessness of the Tick Island style. The expansion of motifs
and techniques, united with a high point in technical virtuosity,
marks the bone carving of the Orange period as a climax in
Florida art. The most basic design elements of the Archaic,
principally the diamond motif, persist in the post-Archaic,
where there is an increased interest in more naturalistic
Interpretation of Early Bone Art
The designs and morphology of Archaic period bone and
antler carvings would at first appear abstract and
nonrepresentational; however, comparison with design patterns
utilized in other parts of the Americas, during coeval and
subsequent times, suggests preoccupation with serpent and/or
rattlesnake imagery. Brose et al. (1985:180,185) note the
protracted concern in Southeastern art and oral tradition with a
three-tiered universe of sky, earth, and underworld, each
populated by distinct beings. The horned serpent, sovereign of
the underworld, is portrayed in various styles and media from
the Archaic through contact periods, and may in fact be
depicted in the zoned cross-hatchure, diamond patterns, and
anguineus bone and antler carvings from Florida. Portrayal of
the horned serpent, especially in antler, continues in the post-
Archaic (Wheeler 1992a). The horned serpent is probably best
known from Lick Creek and Citico style shell gorgets and
Spiro Mound engraved shell cups of the Mississippian period,
as well as the uktena of Cherokee mythology (Muller 1966;
The use of antler, specifically for phalliform depictions of
the serpent, is an interesting characteristic of decorated bone
material from Florida, and may not be coincidental. The
!!11TR II1 IIII i ii iI 1 3 !
' METRIC 1 2 13
Figure 20. Incised bone pin fragment, Summer Haven (8SJ46), Janus Research (photograph courtesy
Randy Bellomo). The nested meander of this artifact is an Orange period motif. In this specimen the
meander almost resembles dermatoglyphic (fingerprint) patterns.
O 1 2 cm
Figure 21. Bone animal carving, Peace Camp (redrawn from Mowers and Williams 1972). This small
animal image prefigures a style known from post-Archaic southern Florida.
powerful association of antlers with the homed serpent or
uktena presents a point of conflict with the human race, for to
obtain one of these horns conveys great power (Hudson
1978:62-63). The use of antler in carving the image of an
uktena provides an additional metonymic referent to the horned
serpent, in which the part signifies the whole.
I have attempted to provide a general introduction and
outline of decorated bone artifacts from Paleo-Indian through
Late Archaic times. General trends in design and technique
demonstrate a fairly distinct and widespread repertoire of
representational geometric motifs. The depiction of serpents
and serpent-related imagery originates early in the sequence,
and establishes a design tradition that persists into the contact
era. This introductory study will provide a basis for future
contextual analyses that integrate art work in other media, as
well as oral and written sources from Florida and neighboring
areas. Expanding the context of an artifact from its
depositional situation, to include its placement within local and
regional art styles, and eventually encompassing direct-
historical analogies with ethnographic and ethnohistorical
sources will provide some understanding of the motifs and
themes and their significance.
Without the cooperation of the following individuals, and
their respective institutions, this paper would not have been
possible: Barbara A. Purdy (University of Florida), Glen
Doran (Florida State University), Louis Tesar and Calvin
Jones (Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research), Gypsy
Graves and Sheila Soltis (Broward County Archaeological
Society), Elise LeCompte-Baer and William H. Marquardt
(Florida Museum of Natural History), and Russ McCarty
(Florida Museum of Natural History). Brent Weisman and the
staff of The Florida Anthropologist provided constructive
suggestions and editorial advice. I would also like to
acknowledge the help and encouragement of my friend, Erica
Brose, David S., James A. Brown, and David W. Penney
1985 Ancient Art of the American Woodland Indians. Harry
N. Abrams, New York.
Bullen, Adelaide K., and Ripley P. Bullen
1961 The Summer Haven Site, St. Johns County, Florida.
The Florida Anthropologist 34:81-89.
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1967 Cut Wolf Jaws From Tick Island, Florida. The Florida
Doran, Glen H., and David N. Dickel
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Purdy, Barbara A.
1991 The Art and Archaeology of Florida's Wetlands. CRC
Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
1951 Los Kogi: Una Tribu de la Sierra Nevada de Santa
Marta, Colombia. Revista del Instituto Etnologica
Nacional 4 (1-2), Pt. 2.
1951 A Survey of Indian River Archaeology, Florida. Yale
University Publications in Anthropology 44. New
Simpson, J. Clarence
1948 Folsom-like Points from Florida. The Florida
Waring, Antonio J., Jr.
1977 The Bilbo Site, Chatham County, Georgia. In The
Waring Papers, edited by Stephen Williams, pp. 152-
197. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and
Webb, William S.
1946 Indian Knoll, Site Oh2, Ohio County, Kentucky. The
University of Kentucky Reports in Anthropology and
Archaeology 4(3), Pt. 1.
Wharton, Barry R., George R. Ballo, and Mitchell Hope
1981 The Republic Groves Site, Hardee County, Florida. The
Florida Anthropologist 34:59-80.
Wheeler, Ryan J.
1991 Time, Space and Aesthetics: Decorated Bone in Florida.
Paper presented at the 48th meeting of the Southeastern
Archaeological Conference, Jackson, Mississippi.
1992a Decorated Bone Artifacts, Florida Archaeology, and
the Greater Southeast. Paper presented at the 49th annual
meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference,
Little Rock, Arkansas.
1992b Time, Space and Aesthetics: Decorated Bone Artifacts
From Florida. M.A. thesis, Department of
Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Willoughby, Charles C.
1922 The Turner Group of Earthworks, Hamilton County,
Ohio. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American
Archaeology and Ethnology 8(3).
Ryan J. Wheeler
Department of Anthropology
1350 Turlington Hall
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611
SAM'S CUTOFF SHELL MOUND AND THE LATE ARCHAIC ELLIOTT'S
POINT COMPLEX IN THE APALACHICOLA DELTA, NORTHWEST
Nancy Marie White and Richard W. Estabrook
Several shell mounds in the lower Apalachicola Valley
wetlands have been investigated over the past several years as
part of the University of South Florida's continuing research
program in the prehistory of northwest Florida. These mounds
(Figure 1) are located in the river swamp and estuarine areas,
on creek banks, and often deep in the forest away from present
streams (Henefield and White 1986). Most of these shell
mounds are of Rangia freshwater clams, and the predominant
occupation is Early Woodland (Deptford), with some later
Woodland and Fort Walton components as well (White 1989,
1992). Modern higher sea levels have so far made it
impossible to sample the deepest cultural deposits, but at four
sites Late Archaic fiber-tempered pottery and chert microtools
have been located at or just above the water table. This article
describes these 3000- to 4000-year-old materials recovered at
several sites, and details recent brief investigations at a fifth
site, Sam's Cutoff shell mound, which produced similar
materials. Relationships with Louisiana's Poverty Point and
related complexes across the northern Gulf Coast are
suggested for all these Late Archaic components.
Furthermore, Late Archaic subsistence remains constitute
archaeological evidence that supports hypotheses about the
fluvial history of the delta.
The Apalachicola is the largest river in Florida in terms
of flow and discharge (Livingstone 1984; Donoghue 1993). It
is formed by the confluence of the Chattahoochee River, which
originates in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Flint River,
which begins on the south side of Atlanta. These two meet at
the Florida-Georgia border, where today there is the Jim
Woodruff Dam and Lake Seminole, from which the
Apalachicola flows south 107 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. In
the lowest part of the valley the river has formed a
considerable delta, a wilderness of tupelo swamps and
numerous tributaries and distributaries that empty into the bay
today famous for its oysters. Bayshore and Gulf shore shell
middens were investigated at the turn of the century by Moore
(1902, 1918) and later by Willey (1949) and others, but those
in the remote interior river swamp and estuary have only
recently been recorded.
Four sites already reported elsewhere (White 1992) have
produced good evidence for Late Archaic components,
The Depot Creek shell mound (8GU56), on the west side
of the delta, was tested in 1987. It is a Rangia midden with
less than 1 percent oyster shell, 120 m by 45 m in size, rising
1.5 m above the surrounding wetlands, and located 200 m
south of the present-day creek that it parallels. Under the 1.5
m of Early Woodland (Deptford and some Swift Creek)
deposits, the Late Archaic component was encountered in only
one 1 m x 1 m unit. It produced large, thick, simple-stamped
fiber-tempered sherds (Figure 2) and a tiny charcoal fragment
yielding an AMS radiocarbon date of 2970 +- 80, or 1020
B.C. (uncorrected; Beta 26899). In addition to the clams,
fauna associated with these materials were freshwater turtles
and sheepshead and drum fish.
Clark Creek shell mound (8GU60) was tested in 1988. It
is located in the middle of the delta, 800 m north of and
roughly parallel to a small creek. The mound rises 1.75 m and
is 110 m long and 35 m wide. Late Archaic materials were
recovered from both disturbed contexts and undisturbed
midden below the thick Early Woodland deposits. These
materials included fiber-tempered sherds, both plain (Figure 2)
and simple-stamped, chert microtools, and a spherical or
melon-shaped grooved clay ball (White 1992:Figure 8).
Charcoal from immediately below both varieties of fiber-
tempered pottery was radiocarbon dated to 3970 +- 160 years,
or 2020 B.C. (uncorrected; Beta 31785). The associated clam
shell matrix had occasional oysters and both freshwater and
more saltwater types of turtles and fishes. Other artifacts that
may be Late Archaic are a clay figurine fragment or vessel
adorno and a greenstone plummet.
Yellow Houseboat shell mound (8GU55) is a partially
submerged midden on the west side of the delta. The portion
above water averages 50 m long, 20 m wide, and rises only
0.5 m, although this changes seasonally and daily with tides.
This site contained Fort Walton (Mississippian) and Early
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Vol. 47 No. I
:: .,.: ., : !ili *
... ..-: ... .: -.'Apalachicola ..i'
rri: ~St. Vincent ~ ;. :
0 5 10
e 1. Ma o Apalachicola Delta region showing sites with Late Archaic Elliott's Point components.
Woodland materials and even a possible Early Archaic point in
the shallow deposits that were explored in 1988, as well as
four microtools from disturbed areas. Later, Florida Bureau of
."< "-" Archaeological Research archaeologist Calvin Jones (1993)
.,* o ^ reported that a collector picked up more than 100 microtools
a from this site. Jones and we agree that the microtools are
probably Late Archaic in cultural affiliation. A later visit to
the collector confirmed the abundance of microtools (Figure
3). Many in his collection are extremely small (just over 1 cm
long) and two are of quartz.
Van Horn Creek shell mound (8FR744), about 1.5 m
high, 30 m wide, and 90 m long, sits directly on the bank of a
tiny distributary creek on the east side of the delta. The 1987
testing recovered evidence of Fort Walton and perhaps Early
Woodland occupation as well as Late Archaic materials
including plain fiber-tempered pottery (Figure 2), fragments of
clay balls or "objects," and microtools, cores, and debitage
that comprises the largest microlithic industry of any of the
shell mounds we have investigated (Figure 4). Although the
later components were in a similar Rangia shell matrix with
associated freshwater fish and turtle bone, the Late Archaic
evidence from undisturbed context was just above the water
table in a matrix of nearly solid oyster and faunal remains of
other more saltwater species such as sea catfishes, horse conch,
and scotch bonnet.
This unusual subsistence assemblage required some
explanation. Evidence from geological coring had indicated
continual eastward movement of the Apalachicola River
p T channel across the delta over the last several millennia
(Donoghue 1993), probably related to late Holocene sea level
change. Thus it was hypothesized that, during the Late
Archaic, the river was still farther to the west and the
surrounding environment at Van Horn Creek more saline; later
fluvial shifts brought fresh water closer to the site and changed
the pattern of species exploited in the same vicinity. (This
assumes, of course, that people continually collect the species
that are closest and easiest to get.)
1991 Investigations at Sam's Cutoff
Background and Site Description
Figure 2. Fiber-tempered pottery from Apalachicola Delta
shell middens. Top, Van Horn Creek TU 1 L6 and TU 4 LI; To evaluate the hypothesis associating subsistence shifts
second row, simple-stamped from Depot Creek, TU CL7; third with the fluvial shift, a brief test was conducted in 1991 by the
row, Clark Creek, TU B L10; bottom row, Sam's Cutoff, TU 1 University of South Florida (USF) archaeological field school
L3 (rim sherd). at Sam's Cutoff (or Sam's Creek Cutoff) shell mound
Table 1. Artifacts from Sam's Cutoff Shell Mound, 1991.
Test Unit 1 Test Unit 3 Test Unit 4 Distuibed TOTAL
LI (.23 m) L 2 (.07 m) L 3 (.12 ) LI (.18 m) L 2 (.15 mn) L 3 (.06 m) LI (.10 mI L2( 15 ') L3 (.11 mi (Shovel Teat, Artifact by
(9 flot-13%) (7.3 I flo-6%) (7.8 I flot-5%) (8.8 I flot 15%) (5.7 I lot-4%) (13.5 I flo-12%) Sump) Type
Coun Wt(g) Count Wt(g) Court Wt(g) Count Wt(g) Count Wt(g) Count Wt(g) Count Wt(g) Count WI(g) Count Wt(g) Count Wt(g) Count WI(g)
Pottery I 45.5 1 45.5
Clay Lumps Crumb < 1 1 04 I 2.6 4 I 6 3.1
Microlithic Tooll 2 1.8 2 14 4 3.2
Primary I 3.4 2 2.0 3 5.4
Decotication Flakes 1 0.1 2 13 4 1 2.7 1 2.5 5 18.7
Secondary Flake 1 0.3 2 5.7 I 0.1 2 2.0 6 8.1
Sandstone Abnder? I 1509 I 1509
Busycon Columella I 10.5 1 10.5
TOTAL 1 0.1 1 0.3 3 47.3 / <.1 7 20.9 2 5.3 1 0.1 5 18.4 2 2.0 5 151.0 27 245.4
Table 2. Biotic remains from Sam's Cutoff Shell Mound, 1991 (weights in grams).
Tet Unit I Test Unit 3 Test Unit 4 Disturbed TOTAL
LI (.23 m) L 2 (.07 L L3 (.12 r) LI (.18 n) L 2 (.15 m) L 3 (.06 m) LI (.10 m) L 2 (.15 m) L 3 (.11 m) (Shovel Test, Artifact by
(9 I flot13%) (7.3 I flot=6%) _(7.8 1 flot=5) (8.81 fIlot=15%) (5.71 flot=4%) (13.5 flot-12%) Sump) Type
Rodentia (rodents) .7 _7
Te.tudines turtlee) .6 .4 .3 1.3 1.4 6.0 10.0
Fiah 2.6 1.9 4.0 1.3 1.5 11.6 5.5 28.4
Lrpiae ms (garfiah) .7 1.9 .3 1.0 4.7 8.6
Uniden. bone 1.3 .1 7.2 1.9 .9 6.0 6.9 24.4
Carripedia (batacles) .3 1.7 2.0 2.2 6.2
Mytilidae mussels ) .1 5.0 11.4 .1 17.7 1.9 16.3 .2 52.7
Casor.c a virginica 371.0 3036.4 3720.2 375.3 1648.4 4967.4 Present 1402.5 5360.5 1012.1 21893.8
Rangia cunear 4.7 6.0 87.1 8.3 26.2 41.8 38.3 77.5 4.4 22.5 316.8
Gastropod. (v. nal) 2.4 1.4 3.2 3.8 2.3 10.2 23.3
Charcoal .1 .3 1 1 .2 .4 1.2
Charged Seeds <<.< <.1 .1
TOTAL 375.9 3055.5 3826.6 384.1 1689.7 5038.3 39.2 1493.1 5423.0 1040.7 22366.2
Figure 3. Very small microtools from Yellow Houseboat shell midden, private collection. Note two clear quartz specimens at far
Figure 4. Lithic materials from Van Horn Creek shell mound, 8FR744. Top, 2 microcores (left and right, from TU 3 L3,; bottom,
needle, 2 side scrapers (all from TU 2 3).
(8FR754), a little farther to the east in the Apalachicola Delta.
This site is a small, partially submerged shell ridge aligned due
north-south, situated about 150 m north of its namesake
distributary creek, which empties eastward into East Bay. The
part above water was 56 m by 16 m and rose less than half a
meter during that relatively wet summer (Figure 5). Our core
tests revealed that the midden extends much farther into the
water on all sides, reaching at least 1 meter below the surface;
we were unable to map submerged portions. The mound is
composed of oyster shells, with hardly any Rangia. It is
thought to be nearly inundated because of rising sea levels
since its deposition. (Many partially or completely inundated
Late Archaic Poverty Point sites have been recorded in coastal
Louisiana and elsewhere [Webb 1968]). Thus it was
hypothesized to be older than the typical Rangia mounds and
of Late Archaic age.
Sam's Cutoff shell mound was discovered by a local
resident in the early 1980s during a fall (dry season) hunting
trip. He noted this slightly higher forested area surrounded by
much lower sawgrass marshlands. Though no shell was
evident on the surface, he noticed oyster shells that had been
uprooted by the wild hogs he and his dogs were chasing. He
recognized the site to be a prehistoric midden and kept the
location secret so that looters or people looking for
construction fill would not disturb it.
In 1985, our informant led a USF survey team to the site.
No surface artifacts were located. Two shovel tests at opposite
ends of the mound reached a depth of 25 cm before hitting
water. No artifacts were found in these tests either, but it was
clear that the deposits were intact and potentially significant.
A brief visit was made during late winter of 1991 to see if we
could relocate the site for Brent Weisman and Chris Newman,
Bureau of Archaeological Research archaeologists with the
state Conservation and Recreation Lands program. Another
shovel test at this time demonstrated the presence of a large
amount of other faunal materials within the shell matrix. We
also learned that heavy flooding over the last two years had
made access more difficult, as we had to wade in thigh-deep
marsh for 150 mjust to get to the site.
The mound itself is thickly covered by sabal palm,
yaupon holly, and a few cedars. It is surrounded by standing
water for much of the year, which is thick with tall sawgrasses
and a few small trees. Off the southwest edge of the mound
several swamp lilies with large white flowers were in bloom in
July. The elevation of the mound above water is affected by
tidal as well as seasonal fluctuations. Water level was higher
than usual during the summer of 1991 due to heavy spring
flooding. Remoteness and inaccessibility have helped to
protect this site, but also served to make archaeological
logistics more difficult. With help of personnel from the
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve we were
able to make the trip from the city of Apalachicola to the site
in about one hour (though it is only 8.8 km, or 5.5 miles, as
the osprey flies).
Test excavation was done from July 8-12, 1991, with a
crew of eight and a few volunteers. The site was mapped with
a transit and four 1 m x 1 m units were dug. Test unit location
strategy was dictated by where we could get a hole in the
ground without having it immediately fill with water (Figures
6, 7). The slightly higher north end of the mound became the
focus of investigation after Test Unit 2 (TU2), on the south
end, was abandoned when water appeared after the single
humus stratum had been removed. Three squares were dug on
the north end, to an average depth of between 30 and 41 cm.
Thus the total excavated volume of less than 1.5 cubic meters
probably represents at best a 0.3 percent sample of the dry
portion of the site and much less of the total midden.
Excavation strategy was a compromise because of the lack
of any defined cultural sequence. Except where hogs (and
later, archaeologists) had rooted, no shell was visible anywhere
on the site surface. The top layer of humus (Level 1) averaged
between 10 and 25 cm thick and consisted of matted roots and
black sand. Under the humus stratum was a thick matrix of
black, increasingly wet mucky soil and oyster shell. Rarely
did the shell rise up into the humus root mat. In the shell the
goal was to excavate in 15 cm arbitrary levels, though it was
difficult to level floors accurately. The deepest level of each
unit was thinner because water was hit. In Table 1, which lists
all cultural materials recovered, the volume excavated in each
level is indicated in cubic meters. From all shell levels, soil
samples were taken from the southwest corner area for later
flotation in the laboratory. As per the recommendation of
zooarchaeologists at the Florida Museum of Natural History,
these flotation samples were to measure 30 cm x 30 cm square
and 10 cm thick. (This volume should be the equivalent of 9
liters, or 6 percent of a 1 m x 1 m x 15 cm level.) Field
conditions resulted in less than accurate measurement of such
squares, however. (Table 1 also shows volumes of flotation
samples for each level; for future excavations under similar
conditions we now know to measure flotation samples in well
packed liters.) Finally, 1 liter soil samples also were taken
from each shell level for permanent storage and future study.
The limited field time and unpredictable weather posed
many challenges, and the crew's durability was thoroughly
tested. (For example, during the famous solar eclipse of July
11, 1991, we were huddled under the dining fly in the middle
of a raging thunder and lightning storm, and it was barely light
enough to take notes in the middle of the afternoon.)
Despite the arduous task of getting water-screening
equipment through the swamp, deposits were water-screened
through 1/4 or 1/8 inch mesh (Figure 8). This increased the
amount of material processed and speed of recovery. Attempts
at dry screening the shell and mud deposits while the
waterscreen was being set up were mostly futile. Despite
plenty of water, however, it was difficult at first to find
Contour Interval 10cm
To Sam's Cutoff (150m)
'AVERAGE WATER LEVEL
Figure 5. Contour map of Sam's Cutoff shell mound, 8FR754, showing 1991 excavations.
Figure 6. Graduate student Brian Parker fills liter bucket with soil sample at Test Unit 4 while field school students Tom West and
Heather Clagett record data on rainy day at Sam's Cutoff shell mound.
Figure 7. Test Unit 3 at Sam's Cutoff shell mound, showing shallow water table. Visible stratigraphy includes dense humus-topsoil
layer over oyster shell. Bucket contains last bit of Level 3 recoverable before water seeped in.
enough in one place to pump it into a screen. We dug a sump
off the northeast edge of the mound, which took a day for the
mud and debris to settle, but then was quite adequate. The
first minutes of water-screening produced artifacts (Table 1),
confirming the site as a single-component Late Archaic
The only ceramic evidence recovered was one large rim
sherd of fiber-tempered ware, very finely made, with surfaces
so smooth that the burned out fiber holes are only visible in the
broken edges (Figure 2, bottom; Figure 9, left). The rim is
plain, smoothed, and undelimited, the simple "direct rim"
described by Shepard (1971:245). The sherd is uniformly 13
mm thick. The single other clay item recovered was a small
clay chunk, perhaps a piece of daub or clay "object" fragment.
The lithic assemblage consisted of only 19 items (Table
1), but four microtools are diagnostic (see Figures 10-12).
These are tiny (2 to 2.5 cm long), unifacial "perforators"
(scrapers or gravers) with tapered points and heavy use wear.
The debitage includes 8 decortication flakes (3 primary and 5
secondary) and 6 secondary flakes, including one that is a 6.5
cm long simple lamellar blade with slight retouch. Only one
piece of chert shows signs of thermal alteration, a tiny, slightly
pinkish secondary flake with a potlid fracture. This flake also
has some retouch along one edge and may have been a very
small expedient tool or else the waste from sharpening another
tool. All the chert is of the local average quality whitish chert.
One final lithic specimen is a piece of grooved sandstone
probably used as an abrader. The entire lithic assemblage
suggests that primary manufacture of stone tools and even
maintenance of them were not significant activities at the site.
The other cultural remains recovered from Sam's Cutoff
shell mound were biotic materials, mostly faunal listed by
provenience in Table 2. (It should be noted that invertebrate
amounts show remains from flotation samples plus a few
representative or unusual shells from the screen. All other
shell was discarded, backfilled into the completed units.
Because all bone was saved, however, vertebrate remains in the
table are the combined totals from screen and flotation
recovery.) No formal zooarchaeological analysis has yet been
done, but gross identifications of faunal remains and some
general observations are possible.
The evenly distributed oyster shell suggests that the
prehistoric occupants were collecting this and other species
from a marine/bay environment, making a long midden pile of
their food refuse. Today the famous Apalachicola oyster is
harvested in the saltier waters of the bay and Gulf, some 8 to
10 km south of this shell mound, which is now surrounded by
fresh water. Occasional Rangia clamshells in the midden,
never more than 1-5 percent of the shell, nonetheless indicate
exploitation of more fresh or brackish water habitats. Rangia
often occurs where rivers empty into bays; it may have been
picked up on the way to or near the oyster. The other shells,
snails, mussels, and barnacles, may have been hangers-on, not
necessarily harvested for consumption (although it is
sometimes unwise to speculate on prehistoric food
preferences). The one shell artifact was a piece of Busycon
We are unsure whether any mammal bone is present
among the unidentified specimens, but there are easily
recognizable turtle shell, garfish scales, and many fish
vertebrae and otoliths, including some tentatively identified as
saltwater catfish. There are also several fragments of drum or
sheepshead pharyngeal tooth plates. The general picture
emphasizes the capture of aquatic species from both freshwater
and marine environments, not unexpected in an estuarine
setting. The faunal remains are generally consistent with those
for the other Late Archaic shell midden components described
The Late Archaic Assemblage in General
The Late Archaic remains from the five sites discussed
here represent only the tiniest sample of these components, all
of which continue below the water table (as evidenced in core
samples). Nonetheless some worthwhile comparisons can be
made with cultural manifestations of similar age across the
The fiber-tempered ceramics (Figure 2) range from plain
to simple-stamped in surface treatment, and from thick and
crude looking to fine and so smoothed that it is hard to see the
voids or vesicles from the burned temper at first glance. Little
or no sand is visible in the paste. Ethnobotanist Elisabeth
Sheldon from SITE, Inc., of Montgomery, has securely
identified large fragments of unburned plant fiber deep in two
sherds (Figure 9) as Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides).
Using a 10 to 70 power dissecting microscope, she compared
the fragments with cross sections of modern Spanish moss
stems, and saw only the smooth-edged structures of this plant
and none of the fuzzy fibers characteristic of palmetto or other
plants. One sherd was the rough simple-stamped variety from
Depot Creek (TU C, Level 7). The other was a chip broken
off the large smooth sherd from Sam's Cutoff (TU 1 L 3).
Both sherds averaged 1.5 cm thick.
One previous identification of the fiber in Late Archaic
Florida pottery has been done on Orange ware from the
Atlantic Coast; although Spanish moss was definitely
identified, the results were not conclusive enough to allow "a
full assessment of the tempering agent or agents" (Simpkins
and Allard 1986:115).
Fiber-tempered sherds at Apalachicola sites are relatively
scarce compared with ceramics from other time periods, as is
true elsewhere in the Southeast (Sassaman 1993). Much work
remains to be done to refine our understanding of these earliest
Figure 8 Nancy White, Jimmy Moses, and other fieldworkers at waterscreen station next to sump, with 3 hp. pump and thicket of
yaupon holly, Sam's Cutoff shell mound.
Figure 9. Unburned, undecayed fibers (white inclusions, at arrows) identified as Spanish moss in fiber-tempered sherds. Left, chip
broken off smooth-surfaced sherd (in Figure 2, bottom) from Sam's Cutoff TU 1 L3; right, simple-stamped sherd (interior shown)
from Depot Creek shell midden TU C L7.
Florida ceramics. The debate continues over nomenclature for
this pottery in the northwest Florida region. It has variously
been termed St. Simons Plain, Orange, and Norwood (Willey
1949; Bullen 1958; Phelps 1965, respectively). The first
archaeological synthesis of Florida archaeology refers to either
Norwood or Orange (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980), whereas
in neighboring Alabama, Orange is considered to be replaced
by Norwood within a temporal entity called the Gulf
Formational stage (Walthall 1980), and in southwest Georgia
these ceramics are considered to be in the Stallings Island
series (DePratter 1975). Milanch's (1994) latest Florida
synthesis points out the difficulty of naming plain fiber-
tempered pottery here and the need for technological analyses.
When Phelps established a Norwood Phase it was
supposedly based on the existence of a great deal of sand in the
ceramic paste, but the term is lately applied to any fiber-
tempered ware from the entire area, regardless of paste,
morphology, and other attributes. Type names are the least of
the problem; there is not yet enough evidence of a distinctive
cultural entity such as Norwood was intended to represent to
consider establishment of a discrete "phase." A recent
synthesis has suggested that Norwood is the most poorly
defined of several taxa of southeastern fiber-tempered
ceramics, and that all the taxa are products of local inspection
instead of consideration of a whole tradition (Shannon
1987:106, 156). Metric and other attribute studies of sherds
from the entire Apalachicola Valley are currently underway at
Estabrook conducted a preliminary analysis of the lithic
materials from the five Apalachicola delta shell middens,
examining them with a Bausch & Lomb Stereozoom Seven
binocular microscope. The assemblages consist of microcores,
waste flakes, discarded blades, and microtools consistent with
types established in the Poverty Point and Jaketown complexes
of Louisiana (Ford and Webb 1956; Ford, Phillips and Haag
1955). Table 3 shows the counts in the combined assemblages
of the four sites yielding microtools for each different type.
Jaketown perforators (Figure 10) and their expended-form
variant, blunt perforators, make up 15 of the 23 tools. Side
scrapers (Figure 11) comprise the next largest class of
microtool from the combined assemblages, with 5 specimens.
It is interesting to note that the side scraper is the tool type or,
more correctly, the tool use stage, that Ford and Webb
(1956:79) believed was the antecedent form of the Jaketown
perforator. Double-ended perforators and needles (Figure 12)
were minimally represented in the Jaketown and Poverty Point
assemblages (Ford and Webb 1956:81; Lehman 1982:33) and
are similarly few here.
All the microtools appear to be of locally available
silicified limestone, light brown to gray moderately
fossiliferous chert with tripoli voids (Upchurch et al. 1982),
that often appears to be of rather low quality. A few tools are
made from a well-silicified replacement limestone that might
be less common to this region. Although there is agatized
coral available as beach rock on the nearby barrier islands, this
chert may not be available any closer than 50 to 100 km to the
north-northwest in Calhoun and Jackson counties.
All the microtools have use wear, limited to intensive
step and hinge fractures. The damage extends up from the
ventral surface, with either more intensive damage on the edge
(Figure 13) or more extensive damage up the side of the tool
(Figure 14). This wear is the same as that described by Ford
and Webb (1956:80) on Jaketown perforators. The suggestion
is that these tools were being used for scraping or graving
activities, but not for drilling or perforating.
Because all the microtools are from shell middens, it
would be simplest to assume that they were shell-working
implements, as in the work of Yerkes (1983), and go on to
address some less explored aspects of shell midden lithic
technology (Estabrook and Williams 1992). Little evidence
for the well-developed bright polish described by Yerkes
(1983:504) was observed on any of the 23 specimens,
however. Furthermore, relatively few shell artifacts have been
recovered from any of the Apalachicola shell mounds, mostly
Busycon columellae or cut pieces, and only two shell beads
(White 1991:Figure 8). (Yerkes' discussion also emphasizes
microlithic industries dating much later in prehistory. There is
some evidence for later prehistoric microtools in northwest
Florida [e.g., Morse and Tesar 1974], but the materials
reported here are clearly Late Archaic.)
A reasonable hypothesis might be that the microtools are
for working bone, but supporting evidence is even more
scarce. Only four bone artifacts have been recovered in all of
USF's shell mound investigations so far: 2 points and a
fishhook from Depot Creek and an engraved pin fragment from
Van Horn Creek. Both experimental and archaeological
evidence from a Louisiana shell mound have indicated the
strong possibility that the microtools were for both bone- and
wood-working (Duke 1976). It is reasonable to suggest that a
large portion of the Late Archaic material culture was of wood;
it is close, abundant, easily worked, and floats, all important
qualities for inhabitants of the Apalachicola Delta wetlands.
Another suggested function of microtools is for
preparation of root or tuber foods, scraping or grating some
staple carbohydrate found in river bottomland, such as water
locust or smilax root (Webb 1991). These hypotheses might
be tested with experimental use-wear studies.
Another element that links these Late Archaic components
with Poverty Point-related materials is the clay ball or "clay
object." We have only one complete item, the finger-grooved,
melon-shaped object from Clark Creek. This variety is very
Figure 10. Jaketown perforators and blunt perforators from Apalachicola sites. Proveniences, left to right: top, two from Yellow
Houseboat TU 4 L2; Clark Creek TU A L4 and TU A L2; Yellow Houseboat, near flexed burial; middle, all from Yellow
Houseboat, near burial, surface SW of TU 4, TU 4 LI, TU 4 L2, surface; bottom, Yellow Houseboat surface, Clark Creek TU A
L4, Clark Creek TU A L2, Sam's Cutoff TU 1 L3, Sam's Cutoff TU 3 L2.
L4, Clark Creek TU A L2, Sam 's Cutoff 7TJ 1 L3., Sam 's Cutoff 7TJ 3 L2.
Figure 11. Side scrapers from Apalachicola Delta Late Archaic sites. Proveniences,
Van Horn Creek TU 2 L3, Clark Creek TU C L5 and TUA L3. Scale in cm.
from left: Sam's Cutof TU 1 L3, two from
Table 3. Classification of Microtools from Test Excavations at Apalachicola Delta Shell Mounds.
or Rod Scraper
Van Horn Creek
Sam's Creek Cutoff 2
common in Poverty Point assemblages and may even be
diagnostic of a particular temporal span within Poverty Point
(Webb 1977:29-31) although it is unclear if clay objects
predate or appear contemporaneously with pottery in the
Southeast (Sassaman 1993). There are many obvious
fragments of clay balls at the Apalachicola sites, as well as
chunks of clay that appear to be either daub, pieces of
irregularly shaped objects, or perhaps broken bits of clay oven
linings. No features such as clay-lined ovens or hearth pits
have yet been discovered in the Apalachicola Delta.
It is usually assumed that the clay objects were for
cooking. Lazarus (1971) mentions the "skin-lined, hole-in-the-
ground" method. Bunn (1974) mentions sling or bola stones
for hunting, fishing net weights, or even heating stones for
ceremonial sweathouses as possible explanations for these clay
objects, but favors a food preparation function. No one
mentions the possibilities that they were used for gaming
pieces, toys, or other activities that went out of fashion
millennia ago. Cooking does seem the best explanation at
Hunter (1975) experimentally demonstrated how clay
objects were clean, efficient, reusable means of roasting
unwrapped food. Sassaman (1993) makes a good case for their
use in dry cooking as opposed to "stone boiling." Hunter
(1975) notes that grooves in these objects made them stack
better and facilitated lifting with sticks. Irregular clay chunks
placed under and over the meat were just as good for roasting;
these either occurred naturally or when more shaped objects
fragmented. Clay chunks or lumps have been noted often at
Poverty Point sites; Hunter (1970:77) called them "squeezes"
and Calvin Jones refers to them in lively conversation as
"squeegees." They also could be daub fragments, though none
have reed or cane impressions.
Jones (personal communication 1993) has enormous
knowledge of the variation among clay objects in this time
period. He has suggested that the clay human effigy broken
from a figurine or pot, recovered from the disturbed surface of
Clark Creek shell mound, is similar to Poverty Point figurines.
This effigy (White 1991:Figure 9) is not radically different
from several illustrated by Webb (1977:Figures 15 and 17)
except that it has a pointed head.
Poverty Point and Elliott's Point Connections
The small size of the sample of Late Archaic materials is
nonetheless sufficient to indicate links with the rest of the
Elliott's Point complex, defined by Lazarus (1958) as the
extension of the Louisiana Poverty Point manifestation into
extreme northwestern Florida. Jones (1993) has now identified
90 sites with Elliott's Point components in the Florida
Panhandle, many with a diverse array of fired clay objects.
The Apalachicola Delta-Apalachee Bay area seems to be the
easternmost contiguous extent of this Poverty Point-related
adaptation, although clay balls have been collected from Tick
Island on the Atlantic Coast of Florida and from a Tampa Bay
site on the Gulf side (Small 1966; Milanich and Fairbanks
1980:62-63), as well as from the Georgia coast (Webb
1968:300). Almost 30 years ago Phelps (1966) described the
Late Archaic component of the Tucker site (a major Middle
Woodland burial mound complex) on the east side of the
Apalachicola Delta area. He recovered clay balls and fiber-
tempered sherds washing out of the site, and ground up the
sherds to get a date on the fiber of 2962+- 120 years, or 1012
B.C. (uncorrected), which he regarded as rather late.
There is continued and expanding interest in Poverty
Point since the earliest archaeological descriptions, and it is
moving in diverse directions, from artifact and site function
studies to economic analyses (Broyles and Webb 1970; Webb
1977; Webb and Gibson 1981; Byrd 1991). Florida
researchers are catching up (Thomas and Campbell 1991; Jones
0#I 9i t "' OZQS
t, HH N iU(l l
Figure 12. Double-ended perforator (left) from Sam's Cutof, TU 3 L2, and needle from Van Horn Creek TU 2 L3. Scale in cm.
Figure 13. Intensive damage (arrows) on microtool moving up from ventral surface; side scraper from Sam's Cutoff shell midden,
TU 1 L3. Scale in cm.
Figure 14. Extensive damage on the side of Jaketown perforator from Sam's Cutoff, Tu 1 L3. Note that this use wear is located
back from the tip of the tool. Scale in cm.
1993). Further research on the Apalachicola Delta components
will require more extensive investigation of the lithic debitage
and core fragments, raw material provenance analysis, and
high power magnification of use wear, as well as replicative
experimental study to expand the range of possible activities in
which the lithic tools played a direct role. We hope to get
more radiocarbon dates, including some on the fiber in the
pottery, if possible.
So far, other characteristic items of Poverty Point
material culture, such as jasper and other lapidary artifacts of
exotic stone, copper, galena, sandstone vessels, and earthen
mounds, horseshoe-shaped middens, or even large villages, are
not found at contemporaneous Apalachicola Delta sites. A
major research issue here will be to explore the nature of
socioeconomic interaction with Poverty Point adaptations in
the Mississippi Delta and elsewhere to the west, and define the
more localized aspects of the Late Archaic material record in
Issues of Environment and Culture
Sam's Cutoff shell mound can now be added to the list of
Late Archaic habitations in the Apalachicola Delta. The
evidence recovered there supports the hypothesis that the fresh
water of the river was farther to the west sometime around
3,000-4,000 years ago, then moved eastward. Late Archaic
populations at Sam's Cutoff and Van Horn Creek apparently
collected more oysters and saltwater fish than their
contemporaries on the west side of the delta. Sam's Cutoff is
the only shell mound so far known here to have no cultural
deposits later than the Late Archaic. This may be because its
original low elevation and proximity to the bay resulted in its
near inundation through the centuries, making it lower, less
attractive, or even less visible to later populations. At Van
Horn the later cultural components are clearly associated with
more freshwater species. Thus archaeological evidence for a
subsistence shift is tentatively associated with environmental
change toward a more freshwater system.
During the summer of 1993, with the support of a
historic preservation grant from the Florida Division of
Historical Resources, USF archaeologists continued to test
these two sites on the east side of the delta, with the aim of
discovering cultural remains from below the water table.
Dewatering efforts met with moderate success, and a great deal
more Late Archaic material was recovered, including cores,
microtools, clay chunks and objects, and fiber-tempered
pottery. A flexed adult burial also was encountered at Sam's
Cutoff. Data and materials analyses are still in progress, but
preliminary results support the conclusions in this article.
Ongoing investigation of other shell middens in the
general area has resulted in the recovery of Late Archaic
materials from other sites (Figure 1). Miller et al. (1981)
reported Late Archaic materials from St. Vincent Island. At
the Six Palms midden (8GU54, also known as Shell Point), a
Rangia mound on the west side of the delta, USF survey
archaeologists recovered fiber-tempered pottery and a local
Figure 15. Microtools from Six Palms shell midden (Shell
Point) 8GU54; private collection.
collector obtained chert microtools (Figure 15). Thank You
Ma'am Creek, 8FR755, a large oyster midden on higher
ground on the east side of the delta, has produced fiber-
tempered pottery, possible clay object fragments, and steatite.
It has Fort Walton and possibly some Weeden Island materials
as well, but they are apparently still associated with oyster, as
is the Late Archaic component.
Thus the picture of estuarine subsistence during the Late
Archaic may not be as simple as we have suggested. Our goals
for the next project will be to obtain a more accurate picture of
presumably contemporaneous adaptations represented by the
Late Archaic artifact and biotic assemblages at several sites,
perhaps obtaining insights into seasonal or other shifting
occupation strategies, not to mention patterns of social
organization and interaction more difficult to infer. We also
wish to be able to characterize better the relationships with
other Elliott's Point and Poverty Point adaptations and the
kinds of economic connections that might have existed three to
four millennia ago across the northern Gulf Coast.
Earlier versions of portions of this paper were presented
at the annual meetings of the Florida Anthropological Society
(March 1992, St. Augustine) and the Society for American
Archaeology (April 1993, St. Louis). We thank Richard
Meadows for data compilation and drafting the site map. He
and other field school students Heather Clagett, Chuck Jones,
Gerry Warren, and Tom West, were the intrepid crew at Sam's
Cutoff shell midden. Excavations there in 1991 were made
possible by the generous support of the Apalachicola National
Estuarine Research Reserve personnel, especially Jimmy
Moses, Pat Millender, and director Woody Miley. Brian
Parker, graduate student assistant at Sam's Cutoff, is currently
conducting analysis of Thank You Ma'am Creek shell mound
data for his USF master's thesis research. Calvin Jones
graciously shared information he is compiling on the Late
Archaic Elliott's Point cultural manifestations in northwest
Florida. Ethnobotanist Elisabeth Sheldon of SITE, Inc.,
Montgomery, Alabama, identified plant remains from all the
sites. Florida Museum of Natural History zooarchaeologists
Karen Jo Walker and Judith Fandrich identified faunal remains
from sites tested in 1987 and 1988, respectively. Florida State
University geologist Joe Donoghue provided information on
fluvial geomorphology. Apalachicola collectors have
generously allowed access to and photography of their
artifacts. Shell mound investigations in 1987 and 1988 were
supported by grants from the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, Marine and Estuarine
Management Division. Work at all sites described was
authorized under 1A-32 Archaeological Research Permits
issued by the Bureau of Archaeological Research, Division of
Historical Resources, Florida Department of State.
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1970 The Poverty Point Culture. Southeastern Archaeological
Conference Bulletin No. 12. Morgantown.
Byrd, Kathleen M. (editor)
1991 The Poverty Point Culture: Local Manifestations,
Subsistence Practices, and Trade Networks. Geoscience &
Man, vol. 29. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.
Bullen, Ripley P.
1958 Six Sites Near the Chattahoochee River in the Jim
Woodruff Reservoir Area, Florida. River Basin Surveys
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DePratter, Chester B.
1975 The Archaic in Georgia. Early Georgia 3:1-16.
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Midden Site (8Hi980), Tampa Bay, Florida. The Florida
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Papers 46, Pt. 1.
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1955 The Jaketown Site in West Central Mississippi.
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Apalachicola Valley, Northwest Florida, 1985. Report to
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edited by B. Broyles and C. Webb. Southeastern
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1993 The Late Archaic Elliott's Point Complex in Northwest
Florida. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the
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1958 A Poverty Point Complex in Florida. The Florida
Lazarus, Yulee W.
1971 Clay Balls from Northwest Florida. University of South
Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
Lehmann, Geoffrey R.
1982 The Jaketown Site Surface Collections from a Poverty
Point Regional Center in the Yazoo Basin, Mississippi.
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Livingston, Robert J.
1984 The Ecology of the Apalachicola Bay System: An
Estuarine Profile. Report to the National Coastal
Ecosystems Team, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.
Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
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of Florida, Gainesville.
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1981 Archaeological and Historical Survey of St. Vincent
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1918 The Northwestern Florida Coast Revisited. Journal of
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1974 A Microlithic Tool Assemblage from a Northwest
Florida Site. The Florida Anthropologist 27:89-106.
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1966 Early and Late Components of the Tucker Site. The
Florida Anthropologist 19:11-38.
1965 The Norwood Series of Fiber-tempered Ceramics.
Southeastern Archaeological Conference Bulletin 2:65-
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1993 Early Pottery in the Southeast, Tradition and Innovation
in Cooking Technology. University of Alabama Press,
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1987 A Reconsideration of Formative Cultural Development
in the Southeastern United States. Ph.D. dissertation,
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1971 Ceramics for the Archaeologist. Carnegie Institution of
Washington Publication 609. Washington, D.C.
Simpkins, Daniel L., and Dorothy J. Allard
1986 Isolation and Identification of Spanish Moss Fiber from
a Sample of Stallings and Orange Series Ceramics.
American Antiquity 51:102-117.
Small, James F.
1966 Additional Information on Poverty Point Baked Clay
Objects. The Florida Anthropologist 19:65-76.
Thomas, Prentice M., and L. Janice Campbell
1991 The Elliott's Point Complex: New Data Regarding the
Localized Poverty Point Expression on the Northwest
Florida Gulf Coast, 200 BC-500 BC. In The Poverty
Point Culture, Local Manifestations, Subsistence
Practices, and Trade Networks, edited by K.M. Byrd, pp.
103-120. Geoscience & Man, vol. 29. Louisiana State
University, Baton Rouge.
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1982 Methods of Provenance Determination of Florida
Charts. MS on file, University of South Florida,
Department of Geography, Tampa.
Walthall, John A.
1980 Prehistoric Indians of the Southeast: Archaeology of
Alabama and the Middle South. University of Alabama
Webb, Clarence H.
1968 Extent and Content of Poverty Point Culture. American
1977 The Poverty Point Culture. Geoscience & Man, vol. 18.
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.
1991 Poverty Point Culture and Site: Definitions. In The
Poverty Point Culture, edited by K.M. Byrd, pp. 3-6.
Geoscience & Man, vol. 29. Louisiana State University,
Webb, Clarence H., and Jon L. Gibson
1981 Studies of the Microflint Industry at Poverty Point Site.
Geoscience & Man, vol. 22:85-101. Louisiana State
University, Baton Rouge.
White, Nancy Marie
1989 Archaeological Investigations at Six Sites in the
Apalachicola Valley, Northwest Florida. Submitted to
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
1991 Testing Remote Shell Midden Mounds in the Lower
Apalachicola Valley, Northwest Florida. The Florida
1992 Shell Mounds of the Lower Apalachicola Valley River
Swamp. Journal ofAlabama Archaeology Dec. 1992 [still
Willey, Gordon R.
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Miscellaneous Collections 113. Washington, D.C.
Yerkes, Richard W.
1983 Microwear, Microdrills, and Mississippian Craft
Specialization. American Antiquity 48:499-518.
Nancy Marie White
University of South Florida
Tampa, FL 33620-8100
Richard W. Estabrook
Piper Archaeology/Janus Research
P.O. Box 919
St. Petersburg, FL 33731
(Editor's note: After this article was ready for the printer
authors White and Estabrook wrote to report that in January
1994 an AMS radiocarbon date was returned on the organic
material, mostly unburned, undecayed Spanish moss, from the
sherd fragment pictured in Figure 9 [left] from the Sam's
Cutoff site. The uncorrected date is 3630 +- 60 BP, with a
C13 adjusted age of 3720 +- 60 BP [Beta 68513, CAMS
10472], or 1680 to 1770 B.C.)
JOHN WALLACE GRIFFIN
John Wallace Griffin died at his St. Augustine home on
September 3, 1993, after a struggle with cancer. With his
passing, Florida archaeology has lost the last of its pioneers.
His five decades of involvement brought much to the study of
Florida archaeology. His interest in culture ecology, culture
change, and a processual approach to archaeological data long
preceded their introduction into the mainstream, and his
substantive contributions to Florida mission archaeology, the
archaeology of the Everglades region, and the ceramic
chronology of the Volusia County vicinity stand today as
significant advancements in the field. His contributions to the
public service aspects of archaeology were many. A founding
member of the Florida Anthropological Society in 1947, John
was the first editor of The Florida Anthropologist and selected
the familiar metal tablet logo which still serves to identify the
publication. As the result of his long activity in public
archaeology and preservation efforts in St. Augustine, he was
awarded the Ripley P. Bullen Award by the Florida
Anthropological Society in 1984. In 1992 John was awarded
an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the
University of Florida. Although often identified with the field
of historical archaeology, John considered himself a
prehistorian interested in the history of changing lifestyles.
John Griffin was born in Connersville, Indiana, on
November 8, 1919, but moved to Daytona Beach at the age of
six. Here he developed an early interest in natural history but
leaned more strongly in the direction of archaeology as a
teenager. He watched the archaeological excavation of the
Ormond Mound in nearby Ormond Beach in 1933, and later
was impressed to learn that the work had been directed by the
renowned archaeologist Jesse D. Jennings. He entered the
University of Florida in 1937 in the hope of receiving
academic training in archaeology, and transferred to the
University of Chicago two years later to fulfill this goal. John
considered his training there under Fay-Cooper Cole to have
provided a strong foundation for his subsequent career,
particularly benefitting, he thought, from the approach of the
"Chicago School" to the analytical study of archaeological
In July 1946, with an A.M. degree in hand from the
University of Chicago, John was enticed back to Florida to fill
the newly created position of archaeologist for the Florida Park
Service. As the first professionally trained archaeologist hired
by the State of Florida, John was given a truck, basic
equipment, a roll of fencing, and an ample budget including
money to hire an assistant. Little was given in the way of
direction by the Florida Board of Forestry and Parks, however,
which preferred perhaps to leave the success of the program up
to John. He was proud but typically modest of the fact that his
program preceded by several years the archaeological surveys
established in the academic programs in anthropology at the
University of Florida and Florida State University.
What followed was a tremendously productive period in
the advancement of Florida archaeological knowledge. After
hiring Hale G. Smith, who had been a fellow student at the
University of Chicago, John decided that the goals of his park
service survey should be to look beyond the boundaries of
existing state property to see what might be added and to
perform salvage work at threatened or destroyed sites. In this
latter function he and Smith excavated the Goodnow mound,
not far from their office at Highlands Hammock State Park
near Sebring and there found a metal tablet, glass beads, and
other artifacts of European origin. Finding evidence of the
contact between European and Indian so early in the project
sharpened his interest in the direct historic approach and
acculturation studies, used so well in later studies at Nocoroco,
San Luis, St. Augustine, and in his work for the National Park
Service. Between 1946 and 1953, when the park service
program was terminated due to budget cuts, archaeological
testing was conducted by John at the Safety Harbor site, Lake
Jackson mounds, the San Luis mission, Green mound, and the
Cotten site, to mention only some. A major accomplishment
of the testing program was to provide archaeological signatures
of different site types. At all sites an attempt was made to
contribute to, by refinement or revision, the space-time
framework proposed by John M. Goggin. Although interested
in culture history as depicted in the standard space-time charts
of the day, what fascinated John more was "the line between
the boxes," those episodes of culture change that marked
In 1953, John resigned his position with the Florida Park
Service amidst cuts that had stripped his project of its staff and
a working budget. Particularly ridiculous, John thought, was
the firing of staff historian Mark F. Boyd, with whom he and
Hale Smith had coauthored in 1951 the classic mission
archaeology study Here We Once Stood: The Tragic End of the
Apalachee Missions, who was then being paid by the state a
salary of one dollar per year. The mission volume successfully
combined the use of archaeology and historical documentation
into one presentation, and set the standard for future treatments
of the subject.
After a stint as an assistant professor at Florida State
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Vol. 47 No. 1
John Wallace Griffin (1919-1993). (Photograph by Diana S. Edwards, used courtesy of the St. Augustine
University between 1953-1954, John moved to St. Augustine
to become Executive Historian for the St. Augustine Historical
Society. In this capacity he quickly demonstrated through
archaeological excavation that the so-called "oldest house"
actually was constructed after 1702. In 1958, he joined the
National Park Service as Regional Archeologist, stationed in
Richmond, Virginia. He stayed active in Florida archaeology
as much as possible. Excavations at the Cubo Line and sally
port areas of the Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, and a
survey of the Ten Thousand Islands region of Everglades
National Park were conducted during this period. Testing
occurred at three sites of a total 21 visited in the Everglades
survey. His 1962 excavation at the Russell Cave National
Monument, Alabama, led to the development of the concept of
the "cylinders of coexisting traditions" to explain the
stratigraphic recovery of projectile points from different lithic
traditions in the same archaeological column. In John's view,
the area of Russell Cave through time was an undulating
frontier of cultural traditions, thus the archaeological picture
reflected not a developmental sequence of point types but
instead the sequential deposition of types near the geographical
boundaries of their distribution. I found this concept very
interesting, and John later said he owed this type of thinking to
the Chicago School.
In 1966 John became chief of the Southeast Archeological
Center for the National Park Service, located in Macon,
Georgia. Among his more interesting projects was the
exhumation of Osceola's remains from the gravesite at Fort
Moultrie, South Carolina, in response to the false claim that
the grave had been dug and its contents removed to Florida.
John's excavation demonstrated that vandalism of the burial
site had occurred, but that the grave itself had not been
disturbed. Subsequent physical examination of the skeleton by
Smithsonian anthropologists positively identified it as
Osceola's. In 1969, excavations were undertaken at
Everglades National Park at the Bear Lake mounds, where
deep stratigraphic tests yielded radiocarbon dating of the
Glades ceramic sequence.
John again became a resident of St. Augustine in 1971,
and served as Director of the Historic St. Augustine
Preservation Board until 1976. After one year spent as the
Director of the Key West Preservation Board (1976-1977),
John worked as an archaeological consultant and managed his
own research firm until 1990.
John once remarked that he knew much about hunter-
gatherers and much about the historic period, but very little
about what went on in between. For once, he was less than
honest. No matter what the project before him, John always
wanted the complete picture, the whole "story of human
activity" as he said. In this regard he was perhaps the last of
our generalists. He could talk ceramic chronology better than
anyone I know (and with more authority), and in the next
breath address the implications of sea level rise on the
development of cultural complexity on the southwest coast
before moving on to discuss the significance of faunal
assemblages from Everglades sites. He was particularly proud
of his early Florida Park Service work in Volusia County
where sites were sampled that represented the entire time span
from the Orange period through the nineteenth century. John's
long fascination with cultural adaptations in the Everglades is
reflected in his 1988 study The Archeology of Everglades
National Park, which is, simply, the best synthesis of its kind
ever produced in Florida archaeology.
John's long association with many key figures in the
development of modern Florida archaeology placed him in the
forefront of shaping the field as we know it today. That Hale
Smith initially worked for John at the beginning of his Florida
career already has been discussed. Ripley P. Bullen replaced
Smith in 1948 as Assistant Archaeologist for the project, and
continued until the end of program. Bullen then went on to a
long and distinguished career as a curator with the Florida
State Museum (now the Florida Museum of Natural History).
John's Everglades book was dedicated to his colleague John
Goggin, whom he met in Florida in 1947 when Goggin was
home from graduate studies at Yale. In the summer of that
year Griffin, Goggin, W. W. Ehrmann, Hale Smith, Frederick
W. Sleight, and O. F. Quackenbush founded the Florida
Anthropological Society, with the purpose of serving both
professionals and non-professionals interested in the broad
study of Florida anthropology. Closely associated with this
event in August 1947 was the so-called Daytona Conference,
for which a number of leading archaeologists, among them
Gordon R. Willey, Charles H. Fairbanks, Hale Smith, Wesley
Hurt, Goggin, and Antonio J. Waring, Jr. gathered around
John to discuss the condition and direction of Florida
archaeology. Two years later, in April 1949, John again
gathered Goggin, Willey, and Fairbanks, and with the addition
of Irving Rouse, James B. Griffin, and Carl E. Guthe held the
Conference on the Florida Indian and His Neighbors at Rollins
College. John's substantive contribution to the conference,
beyond editing the proceedings for publication, was a concise
but complete summary of late prehistoric and historic period
occupations of the state in which he pointed out that European
items found in aboriginal sites had tremendous value for
studies of culture change.
Many of us now working in Florida archaeology
considered John to be a friend, mentor, and source of wisdom.
For several years beginning in 1989, John and his wife, Pat,
hosted the annual "Menendez conferences," informal meetings
among scholars generally working in the area of the First
Spanish period. He thoroughly enjoyed the vitality of these
exchanges between historians and archaeologists, and found it
encouraging that there were now so many where once there had
been so few. John noted many positive changes in Florida
archaeology since the beginning of his professional
involvement some five decades ago, and remained optimistic
about the ability of the younger generation to carry the
discipline forward to greater advancements. His wit, good
humor, and deep modesty marked many of his conversations,
but he was always careful to keep one honest when the talk
turned to archaeology. It is perhaps this integrity that will
remain as his strongest legacy.
Cited Publications by John W. Griffin
1948 (with Hale G. Smith) The Goodnow Mound, Highlands
County, Florida. State of Florida, Florida Board of
Forestry and Parks, Florida Park Service, Contributions
to the Archaeology of Florida, Number 1. Tallahassee.
1949 The Historic Archaeology of Florida. In The Florida
Indians and His Neighbors, edited by John W. Griffin,
pp. 45-54. Inter-American Center, Rollins College.
1951 (with Mark F. Boyd and Hale G. Smith) Here They
Once Stood: The Tragic End of the Apalachee Missions.
University of Florida Press, Gainesville.
1974 Investigations in Russell Cave. U.S. Department of the
Interior, National Park Service Publications in
Archeology 13. Washington, D.C.
1988 The Archeology of Everglades National Park. National
Park Service, Southeast Archeological Center.
Brent R. Weisman
Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research,
C.A.R.L. Project Office
714 NE 7th Avenue
Gainesville, Florida 32601
Choctaw Music and Dance, by James H. Howard and Victoria
Lindsay Levine, 1990, University of Oklahoma Press,
Norman, 143 pages. $19.95 (Cloth). ISBN 0-8061-2225-0.
Previous reviewers of the career and work of the late
anthropologist James Howard have noted that his studies ran
against the grain of a field that was increasingly occupied with
specialization and theoretical fascination. His previous
monographs on contemporary Southeastern people (Shawnee!
The Ceremonialism of a Native Indian Tribe and Its Cultural
Background  and Oklahoma Seminoles: Medicines,
Magic and Religion ) are wide-angled ethnographies,
combining ethnohistory with sensitive fieldwork. Driven by a
vast interest in the details of American Indian life, Howard
has produced works that cover a broad range of cultural
knowledge. From the technical detail of the manufacture of
stickball sticks to an insider's perspective on the supernatural
beliefs of his consultants, we are treated with an extensive
inventory of Native American beliefs and lifeways.
Choctaw Music and Dance was finished by Victoria
Levine after Howard's death and represents their collaboration.
Levine, an ethnomusicologist, prepared the musical
transcriptions that accompany the text. She also conducted
additional fieldwork and completed the project, following
Howard's death in 1982.
Unlike Oklahoma Seminoles, which looks exclusively at
the western Seminole, this volume explores the culture of the
Choctaw people in both the east and the west. As with the
eastern and western Creek, much of the preservation and
renewal of traditional activities has been a product of
interaction between groups. This is illustrated in the Choctaw
case, where the Mississippi Choctaw assisted in the revival of
Choctaw dances in Oklahoma. Choctaw Music and Dance is
the first ethnographic study of a Southeastern people to
document this contemporary, intratribal interaction.
The book begins with an examination of ethnohistoric
sources in a presentation of Choctaw cultural history. The
reasons for the survival of "traditional" culture in Mississippi
and the forces leading to cultural change and later traditional
renaissance in Oklahoma Choctaw culture are presented.
The instruments and dress appropriate to Choctaw dance
are discussed. Elements are compared with historical
accounts, allowing for comparison through time. Though
brief, the discussion of clothing represents the only complete
examination of the Choctaw national dress.
Dances are presented individually as recorded, with
photographs and a discussion of the variation observed
between groups. When ethnohistoric accounts exist, they are
compared with contemporary performance. The textual
description of the dances is very good, although contemporary
anthropological students of dance and those interested in
performance studies will likely find fault with the lack of
sophistication in Howard's presentation. Despite such
misgivings, the volume does contain the ethnographic detail
required by students of Southeastern Indian ethnology.
Although a sophisticated performance or choreographic
analysis were probably beyond the interests of both Howard
and his consultants, simple choreographic diagrams, like those
used by Speck and Broom in Cherokee Dance and Drama
(1951), would have made the Choctaw data more accessible.
The discussion of Choctaw music and its history is very
clear. The transcriptions come from a variety of sources and
cover more than a decade of Choctaw music. Unlike much of
Frances Densmore's work on Southeastern Indian music (1943,
1956), the transcriptions here include the important antiphonal
vocables sung by the dancers. Because some of the songs
transcribed and discussed are commercially available, use by
scholars and other students of native American dance is further
Although much has been written on the prehistory and
history of the Southeastern people, much of their culture, both
past and present, remains unexplored. Choctaw Music and
Dance is a clear and useful contribution to the literature on
Southeastern Indian culture. Perhaps it and Howard's other
works will inspire a new generation of ethnographers who will
complete his unfinished task of documenting the persistent
traditions of the other Southern native peoples.
1943 Choctaw Music. Bureau of American Ethnology
Bulletin 136. Government Printing Office, Washington.
1956 Seminole Music. Bureau of American Ethnology
Bulletin 161. Government Printing Office, Washington.
Howard, James H.
1981 Shawnee! The Ceremonialism of a Native Indian Tribe
and Its Cultural Background. Ohio University Press,
Howard, James H., (in collaboration with Willie Lena)
1984 Oklahoma Seminoles, Medicines, Magic and Religion.
University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Vol. 47 No. 1
Speck, Frank G., and Leonard Broom, (in collaboration with
Will West Long)
1951 Cherokee Dance and Drama. University of California
Jason Baird Jackson
Department of Anthropology
Student Building 130
Bloomington, IN 47405
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Culture and Environment in the Domain of the Calusa, edited
by William H. Marquardt, with the assistance of Claudine
Payne, 1992, University of Florida, Institute of Archaeology
and Paleoenvironmental Studies, Monograph No. 1,
Gainesville. viii + 440 pages, illus., biblio, index, $25
(Editor's note: This review was left unfinished at the
time of John Griffin's death in September, 1993. In an attempt
to make good use of one of John's last labors, and in the
interest of providing the readers with a timely review of this
book, I have taken the responsibility of completing this piece
for publication. Fortunately for all concerned, John and I had
several conversations about the book in the months before his
death. My portion of the text is based on these conversations.
John's words end with the statement "Of particular interest is
her discussion of net gauges." Although this approach to
authorship is, perhaps, somewhat unorthodox, I trust the
reader will understand the motivation.)
This massive, handsome, and important volume
documents the work of the Southwest Florida Project of the
Florida Museum of Natural History from its inception in 1983
through 1988. In a double-column format set in 10 point type
on 8.5 x 11 inch pages, it is a sizeable book. Thirteen authors
are represented in thirteen chapters, four of which are by
Marquardt while most of the papers have two or more authors.
Other volumes and papers will follow reporting the work done
In addition to the introductory and concluding chapters by
Marquardt, there are three chapters on material culture, five on
paleoenvironmental subjects, and two on human burials. In a
50 page chapter, Marquardt describes the sites involved and
summarizes the work being reported on, providing the
geographical and temporal framework for the volume. This is
certainly our best available summary of the archaeology of the
Charlotte Harbor area to date.
Ann Cordell provides a monograph-sized chapter on the
ceramics of the Caloosahatchee area, hitherto little considered,
or considered rather helplessly as an undifferentiated mass of
plain sand-tempered sherds with a few undecorated pieces
providing a minimal amount of chronological information by
cross-dating. Based on a sample of 4005 sherds (81 percent
sand-tempered; 95 percent undecorated) Cordell examines
paste variability, the clays used, the clays available, and
manufacturing origins. She then defines types and refines the
ceramic chronology of the area. A very important step
forward for Southwest Florida.
Marquardt describes and discusses the shell artifacts of
the Caloosahatchee area in terms of 52 types or categories. He
follows, when feasible, typologies inaugurated by Goggin and
others, but abandons Goggin's species distinctions in shell
picks and hammers, for example, and retains the hammer
category while changing the pick to "cutting-edge tool." I can
find no fault with trying to bring order into this artifact group,
and can suggest only that synonymy should be included along
with references to previous descriptions and illustrations in
order to clarify the terminology even further.
Concentrating on the material from three sites, Karen Jo
Walker examines the bone artifacts, which "have long
presented problems for archaeologists in terms of functional
interpretation." Walker opts for a description and discussion
of bone artifacts, rather than formal typological definition, and
when possible links them functionally with reference to the
dominant fishing economy of the area. Of particular interest is
her discussion of net gauges. Bone net gauges, along with
similar artifacts made from shell and wood, provide indirect
but compelling evidence of the use of net fishing as a mass
In perhaps the core piece of the volume, Walker
brilliantly combines the available ecological and archaeological
data from the Charlotte Harbor area to propose that midden
content will vary according to site location within the "salinity
gradient" of the shallow bay waters. She firmly places the
noted cultural evolution in the context of biological
productivity, and demonstrates particularly that the seagrass
meadow and mangrove fringe habitats are among the most
productive in the world and allow food yields that rival those
In the briefest but in some ways most ingenious
contribution, Elizabeth S. Wing and Irvy R. Quitmyer report
on a modem midden experiment conducted with the purpose of
comparing recovered remains versus deposited refuse. They
note large losses of uncooked fishes (particularly small, whole,
uncooked specimens) and little loss of mollusks. The primary
culprits seem to be scavenging shore birds. It is of interest that
some additions to the archaeological record were also noted,
mainly small mollusks.
C. Margaret Scarry and Lee A. Newsom provide the
archaeobotanical picture and conclude that aboriginal plant
gathering strategies likely were opportunistic, given the overall
scarcity of such foods in the region. No evidence of vegetable
staples such as roots or tubers has come to light (as of their
writing in the early 1990s), but the authors question whether
or not these items would have been preserved in the
archaeological record if present prehistorically.
In separate articles Michael J. Hansinger and Dale L.
Hutchinson address the limited amount of human skeletal
evidence available for study. Remains have come from both
midden and mound contexts and date from the third millennium
B.C. to the thirteenth century A.D. The better preserved
sample, from Buck Key, studied by Hutchinson, revealed no
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Vol. 47 No. 1
pathology but did indicate enamel hypoplasia, characteristic of
hunting-gathering populations that experience seasonal food
In the concluding chapter Marquardt writes that the
successful estuarine adaptation to which the archaeological
evidence attests was in place by the late Middle Archaic
period. He argues successfully here and throughout that
environmental history and culture history must be integrated
fully before an understanding of the Calusa and their ancestors
can be reached. This approach certainly has provided excellent
results in the Calusa domain and should be used as a model by
those approaching similar problems elsewhere. The site maps,
profile maps, and photographs are uniformly excellent and add
much to the overall presentation. This publication is an
outstanding contribution to Florida archaeology and will,
undoubtedly, became a standard reference for future studies.
John W. Griffin
Portion of cover illustration, Culture and Environment in the Domain of the Calusa
BACK ISSUES OF
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
For reasons of economy, it has been necessary to change the depository of back issues of The
Florida Anthropologist to the Graves Museum of Archaeology and Natural History at Dania.
Mickler's Floridiana, which has been agent for the sale of back issues for some years, still has
a stock of the more recent issues and will be able to meet demands for them for a time.
However, effective with the March 1994 issue, future back issue sales will be handled by the
Graves Museum, which is storing the bulk of past printings.
The Florida Anthropological Society expresses its thanks for the cooperation Mickler's has
extended in the past and appreciation of the Graves Museum's willingness to undertake the
Mickler's Floridiana, Inc.
P.O. Box 1450
Oviedo, FL 32765
The Graves Museum of
Archaeology and Natural History
481 South Federal Highway
Dania, FL 33004
FAX (305) 925-7064
Join the Florida Anthropological Society (FAS)!
A non-profit organization founded in 1947, with chapters throughout Florida
Dancer is the
of an attractive
the major tribes
that once in-
Available for a
to FAS, this 18 by
36-inch poster is
and purple on a
Anthropology is the study of people and their cultures. Join FAS and help
save and enjoy Florida's heritage! FAS holds an annual meeting and banquet
featuring renowned speakers. FAS members receive a newsletter and informa-
tive journal four times a year. The journal features interesting articles on
Florida archaeology, history, folklore, and preservation.
P.- ------ --------m------ ------ m .
SO YES! I want to join FAS!
I Membership is only $20 per year (individual) and is tax-deductible.
SOther rates: $20 institutional, $25 family, $35 or more, sustaining,
Patron $100, and life $500.
IO YES, I would like to donate an additional $6.50, also tax-deductible,
and receive a poster by mail (allow 3-5 weeks).
SCity: State: Zip:
SFAS Membership, c/o Terry Simpson, CGCAS, P.O. Box 82255,
I Tampa, FL 33682
Florida's history is long: it goes back 10,000
years to people who hunted mammoth with
It is colorful: 7,000 years ago, Florida's Native
Americans wove cloth as fine as a T-shirt.
It is unique in the world: around 800 years
ago, some Floridians had a civilization so
complex that they built long canoe-canals and
huge pyramid-shaped mounds of shells and
You can be part of it! New pages of this story
are being written every week. Teams of
amateur and professional archaeologists
together are making fascinating discoveries in
the field and in the lab.
You can help save it! Florida's rapid develop-
ment puts many valuable sites in jeopardy.
Amateur and professional archaeologists,
elected officials and planners, and just plain
concerned citizens are working together to
save this history in the soil.
How do you put yourself into this picture? By
joining the Florida Anthropological Society
(FAS) or one of its chapters, or both, as many
interested citizens do!
Each spring, an FAS chapter hosts a state-
wide meeting attended by members of FAS
and its chapters, and the public. Both pro-
fessionals and amateurs deliver papers about
their activities and investigations. A banquet
features a guest speaker who is usually
nationally-known in the field of archaeology
or anthropology. FAS elected officers are
instated at a business session.
During the year, the FAS Executive Board
holds several meetings. FAS chapters have
monthly meetings, field trips, and other
1. FAS publishes a scientific journal, THE
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST, four times a
year. Both professionals and amateurs con-
tribute articles about investigations in Florida
and nearby areas. These articles keep FAS
members up-to-date on many aspects of
Florida archaeology, history, folklore, and pre-
servation. Many libraries around the nation
and world subscribe to the journal.
2. FAS publishes a newsletter four times a
year which keeps FAS members abreast of
FAS chapter activities and of pertinent events
and news around the state and wider region.
FAS has chapters throughout Florida
which are open to the interested public. By
joining FAS and one of its chapters, citizens
can take an active part in helping to study and
preserve Florida's heritage. Activities include
meetings, field trips, and archaeological digs
supervised by professionals.
Write your area's chapter for membership informa-
Archaeological Society of Southern Florida
2495 NW 35th Avenue, Miami, FL 33142
Broward County Archaeological Society
481 S. Federal Hwy., Dania, FL 33004
Central Florida Anthropological Society
810 East Rollins Street, Orlando, FL 32803
Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society
P.O. Box 82255, Tampa, FL 33682
Indian River Anthropological Society
3705 S. Tropical Terrace, Merritt Island, FL 32952
Kissimmee Valley Arch. & Hist. Cons.
P.O. Box 970, Sebring, FL 33871
Northeast Florida Anthropological Society
10415 Skycrest Dr., Jacksonville, FL 32216
Pensacola Archaeological Society
P.O. Box 13251, Pensacola, FL 32591
St. Augustine Archaeological Association
P.O. Box 1987, St. Augustine, FL 32085
Southwest Florida Archaeological Society
P.O. Box 9965, Naples, FL 33941
Time Sifters Archaeology Society
P.O. Box 25642, Sarasota, FL 34277
Volusia Anthropological Society
P.O. Box 504, New Smyrna, FL 32170
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