In Life and Legend
—Creek Heritage Trail —
"Chief Eufaula," the man often referred to in the historical record as "Yoholo Micco," was a Creek chieftain from the Upper Creek town of Eufaula. Born in the late 1700s, he fought alongside allied Creeks with United States forces against his Red Stick Creek brethren in the Creek War of 1813-14. Following the war, Chief Eufaula rose to assume a variety of leadership positions including helping negotiate treaties between the creeks and the U.S. He died in Arkansas in 1838, shortly after being forcibly removed from his homeland.
The ceremonial title Yoholo Micco is closely associated with an
important Creek ritual. During meetings in their town square grounds, Creek chiefs, or miccos, commonly drank a tea made from yaupon holly leaves known as "acee" (or "asi"). The drink was believed to be both a stimulant and purifier. As it was consumed, a "yaholo", or "shouter," frequently sang ceremonial chants. Hence, a leader who sang these traditional songs might be referred to as the "Yahola (or Yaholo) Micco."
Yoholo Micco is believed to have been the "Chief of Eufaula" who presented an emotional address to the Alabama legislature at the state capitol in Tuscaloosa in 1836. Reputedly, the speech was given while the chief was on his way west to Indian Territory after forced removal. While his exact words are lost
to history, accounts of the words he delivered have become a part of our memory of the process of Creek Removal. This may be in no small part due to the fact that they sound as if he accepted removal with resignation. Although Chief Eufaula was known as an advocate of accommodation with Americans so as to avoid war, his true thoughts on the course his people were forced to take will likely never be known.
What's in a Name?
The names "Eufaula" and "Yoholo Micco" are the subject of much confusion. The place name "Eufaula" for which the legendary chieftain was known appears often in Creek history, and multiple towns carried that name. While there was a Lower Creek town known as Eufaula, the name is actually most closely identified with the Upper Creeks of the Tallapoosa and Coosa valleys,
where there were two towns known as Eufaula. Multiple Creek leaders from these towns were sometimes referred to as "of Eufaula," further adding to the confusion. The name has proved to be an enduring one as there is a town of Eufaula in Oklahoma within the modern Muscogee Creek Nation named in honor of these historic communities.
"I come here brothers, to see the great house of Alabama, and the men who make the law, and to say farewell in brotherly kindness before I go to the far West, where my people are now
going...In these lands of Alabama, which have belonged to my forefathers and where their bones lie buried, I see that the Indian fires are going out. Soon they will be cold. New fires are lighting in the West for us, and we will go there. I do not believe our Great Father means to harm his red children, but that he wishes us well...We leave behind our good will to the people of Alabama who will build the great houses and to the men who make the laws."
Bottom left map: 1818 map by Eleazer Early showing Upper Creek town of Eufaula
Courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection
Middle top portrait: Yoholo Micco
Courtesy of the Alabama Department of Archives and History
Middle photo: The Alabama capitol in Tuscaloosa
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Top right print: Southeastern Indians consuming acee
Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory