The Creek Indian Mission at Fort Mitchell, Alabama (1821) was the second mission ever established by the Methodist Church

The first mission was among the Wyandot, also in 1821.

This eye witness account clearly states that the Creek capital of Coweta was where downtown Columbus, GA is now located. It was NOT in Alabama as both Alabama and Georgia academicians now state.

The third Methodist mission was originally an open air preaching ground next to a “sacred spring” in the Cherokee village of Pine Log. [Bartow County, GA] Throughout the remaining occupation of that region by the Cherokees, the Methodist mission building was primarily a school for the more affluent, mixed-blood Cherokee children, not a church. That location is now Pine Log United Methodist Church and Campground. The relatively small number of adult Cherokee converts continued to worship at the nearby spring.

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

The following excerpt is from History of Methodism in Georgia . . . 1786-1865 [pub. 1877) by the Rev. George G. Smith. I was consulting this book in preparation for the next article on the Hiwassee River, when I also learned that my mother’s Creek and Uchee ancestors were members of one of the oldest Methodist congregations in the lower Southeast (1786). It was not a mission, since many Northeast Georgia and Savannah River Creeks & Uchees had been converted to Christianity from the quite similar Apalache monotheistic religion in the late 1560s by survivors of Fort Caroline . . . who intermarried with them.

In our family’s oral history, it was remembered that Creek and Uchee ancestors at Palachikora (Palachicola) listened to the Rev. John Wesley preach in 1737 . . . but was also “remembered” incorrectly that they were converted to Methodism at that time. This is impossible since the Methodist Church did not exist in the United States until after the American Revolution.

It is recorded in the Georgia Colonial Archives that my ancestors asked Wesley after the sermon, “Why are you here? We believe the same things that you do . . . but we prefer to worship in the open, not in buildings.” In other words, in reality, Wesley did not make a very good impression on the Creeks and Uchees. He didn’t “convert” anyone there.

5 Comments

  1. Wow! What interesting discoveries you have made! As usual… Now the writer does speak of watching ball play the next day. Might I assume that the ball ground he speaks of would be the one on the Alabama side of the river at the Ft. Mitchell site preserved and maintained, I believe, by the State of AL? I must take a look at Mr. Wm Winn’s book, “The Old Beloved Path: Daily Life Among the Indians of the Chattahoochee River Valley” to see what he has to say, if anything. His map definitely shows Coweta on the Alabama side with an archaeological site on the east side. Also many other villages in the area on both sides.

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  2. Richard, my great-grandmother was born in Coweta Town. Her son, my grandfather said ,”Our people are from the Oglethorpe area. ” I saw documents my cousin had that included information transcribed from my great-grandmother’s adoption papers. The papers state that she was adopted “from the Indian village across the river.” The Pace family that adopted her lived in Seale, AL area. Seal lies west of the Chattahoochee and the village was across the Chattahoochee which lands it in the area of Columbus, Muskogee County, GA which is also my birthplace. The village was gone. I was born in St Francis Hospital in Columbus, GA.

    BTW My parents are buried at Ft Mitchell Cenetery.

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    1. A lot of my Christian Creek ancestors are buried in a pit at Moundville State Historical Park in NW Alabama. They were in the cemetery of an old Methodist Church, whose land was purchased for Lake Russell by the Corps of Engineers. Archaeologists were used to unearth the burials. White remains went to a new cemetery on dry land near the lake. The Creek skeletons were first offered to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (I have no clue why) The Cherokees refused them so their bones were dumped into a mass burials at Moundville. I also don’t have a clue why the bureaucrats did not bury the Creek members of the church with the white members.

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