Hopoie Tustunnuggee, Far Off Warrior

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Hopoie Tustunnuggee, Far Off Warrior

Birth
Death
30 Aug 1813 (aged 64–65)
Tensaw, Baldwin County, Alabama, USA
Burial
Lost at War. Specifically: Killed in the Massacre at Fort Mims. Buried in an unmarked mass grave with other Red Stick warriors near the site. Add to Map
Memorial ID
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Biography researched and written by Evelyn Park Blalock. Please do not publish elsewhere without providing full and proper credit. Thank you.
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Introduction
HOPOIE TUSTUNNUGGEE, known to settlers as FAR OFF WARRIOR, was a Head Man of the Thlotlogulgua (Fish Ponds) community of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. He was married to Hannah Hale, a white woman who had been taken prisoner by Creek warriors when she was a child. He was killed at Fort Mims in 1813.

Far Off Warrior's Community
The earliest purported record of Far Off Warrior occurs during a meeting between Creek leaders and British agents in 1766. Big Mortar, then recognized as King of the Okchai tribe (part of the Creek Confederacy), mentioned a young warrior named Hopoie living in one of the Okchai villages. From this reference to Hopoie being a young warrior in 1766, his birth year can be estimated as 1748. Despite some narratives attempting to assign parents to Hopoie (Far Off Warrior), no documentation exists. His parents are not known and likely never will be.

Over time, some Okchai Muscogees wanted separate representation and they petitioned for a separate community. Their request was granted, and the Okchai leaders provided them with land and promises of protection. Thus began the ancient community of Taskigi, located in modern day Elmore County, Alabama (roughly 32.503733, -86.259323). From Taskigi, three new communities emerged: Asilanabi, Okchaiutci, and Thlotlogulgua. Hopoie (Far Off Warrior) lived in Thlotlogulgua, which was commonly called the "Fish Ponds" by white traders in the area (roughly 32.86787, -86.02531). In print, the community was also referred to as Laloklaka, which appears to be an attempt to phonetically write how the original name was spoken in the Muscogee language.

Far Off Warrior's Name
In the writings of Benjamin Hawkins, Indian Agent to the Creeks from 1796 until 1816, he referred to Far Off Warrior as Hopoie of Taskigi (identifying him by his affiliation) or as Hopoie Tustunnuggee (which literally identifies Hopoie as the Head Man of his community). Hawkins alternately referred to Hopoie, husband of Hannah Hale, as Far Off. On the Creek Treaty of 1802 (see image), Far Off Warrior's signature is affixed by his Muscogee name, Hopoie Tustunnuggee. In historical documents discussing the Massacre at Fort Mims, Far Off Warrior is referred to by both names, Hopoie Tustunnuggee and Far Off Warrior. And, in the guardianship papers for his two sons after Hannah's death in 1816, they are designated as his sons through the addition of "Faroff" as their surname.

Many online narratives attempt to provide additional aliases for Far Off Warrior. However, in truth, only those names mentioned above have been used to reference Far Off Warrior, husband of Hannah Hale, in any historical documents. The signature pages for the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson), attached to this memorial, include many of the other names that have been erroneously ascribed to Far Off Warrior. His mark as a signatory is highlighted with a red arrow, and the other chiefs and head men made their marks separately. Clearly, these names all refer to different men.

Finally, order matters. Just as the name Davis Samuels is not the same as Samuel Davis, the same is true with Hopoie Tustunnuggee (known as Far Off Warrior) and Tustunnuggee Hopoie (known as Little Prince). Little Prince emerged later as a Muscogee leader, signing the Treaty with the Creeks 1826 (Indian Springs), thirteen years after the death of Far Off Warrior. So, clearly, the names Hopoie Tustunnuggee and Tustunnuggee Hopoie are referencing two different people.

Far Off Warrior's Wife, Hannah Hale
In his book "The Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1806," Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins wrote that "Hannah Hale, taken from Ogeechee, near Rogers Fort, is within four miles of Isaac Thomas (a local white trader), now at the Fish Ponds. She is the wife of the Far-Off, a head man of that town, and has 4 children, one boy and three girls; has a good stock of cattle; has purchased a negro boy; has plenty of corn, butter, and milk; and is industrious. I sent her harness, slay and shuttle, and cards; the order dated 18th September 1797."

Hawkins elaborated a bit further in his book, "Sketch of the Creek Country", where he wrote this concerning Hannah Hale and the village of Fish Ponds: "Hannah Hale resides here. She was taken a prisoner from Georgia, when about eleven or twelve years old, and married the head man of this town, by whom she has five children. This woman spins and weaves, and has taught two of her daughters to spin; she has labored under many difficulties; yet by her industry has acquired some property. She has one negro boy, a horse or two, sixty cattle, and some hogs; she received the friendly attention of this agent for Indian affairs, as soon as he came in the nation. He furnished her with a wheel, loom, and cards; she has an orchard of peach and apple trees."

Drury Rogers' Fort was the fortified home of a settler named Drury Rogers, surrounded by a ditch and log pickets. From an application for land made before the Ceded Lands Commission on 15 October 1773, combined with tax records, its location can be estimated on the west side of the Ogeechee River, east of the forks of the Oconee River, in Capt. Buckley's District in Georgia (roughly 33.442970, -82.852038). Rogers and his family were documented Patriots, and the population found at the Fort were fellow settlers seeking protection from hostile Creeks along with a small Patriot militia. Warriors, led by Efau Haujo, first attacked Drury Rogers' Fort in 1777. The Fort did not fall during this attack, but did fall two years later, when the Patriot militia abandoned the structure in the face of approaching Creek warriors. The structure was reportedly burned to the ground and no trace of it remains today. There is no evidence that British forces participated in either attack.

Combined, Hawkins' narratives establish that Hannah Hale was taken from near Rogers Fort at the age of 11 or 12 years old, but they do not designate a year or a specific location for her abduction. An approximate year can be inferred, however, from a letter written by Samuel Alexander to the Governor of Georgia in 1792, where he proposes a trade of six captured Creeks in exchange for Hannah Hale and several other white women identified as captives, who had been living among the Creeks for about 15 years (placing their year of abduction as about 1777). These narratives also help approximate a year of birth for Hannah's youngest child, Samuel, as he is enumerated in the second narrative by Hawkins, but not in the first.

Hannah's Parents
Note that neither narrative purports that Hannah was taken during or after a battle at Drury Rogers' Fort. This is likely a romantic embellishment that was erroneously added to Hannah's story. Attempts to identify the parents of Hannah Hale as a British soldier and his wife also are not based in fact.

Regarding the specific claim that Samuel Hale and Elizabeth Hopkins of Gloucestershire were Hannah's parents, this is simply not true. This couple did have a daughter named Hannah who was baptized in Gloucestershire in 1868, but their Hannah remained in England. She was married to Robert Allen on 18 March 1789 in Hill (Gloucestershire), had nine children with him, and died on 29 January 1849. She is buried in Berkeley (Gloucestershire). Also, Samuel Hale and Elizabeth Hopkins never came to America, and he was not a soldier.

The parentage of Hannah Hale is unknown. However, significant DNA evidence acquired through Phase III of the Cherokee DNA Studies, conducted by DNA Consultants, appears to indicate that her mother was part Cherokee. Descendants of Hannah Hale, through both her daughter Mary Polly Hale and her daughter Jennie Hale, match a very rare haplogroup, U3, as well as an equally rare haplotype. These participants carrying the Wotan gene (as it was dubbed by researchers) have mitochondrial findings that seem to very dramatically indicate an ancient Scandinavian type crossed the ocean and established a branch among the American Indians, resulting in a very rare U3 variant, which was passed to the descendants of these two daughters by the mother of Hannah Hale. The variant has predominantly appeared in descendants of Cherokee and later Muscogee populations. This ongoing research is fascinating, and gives glimpses into the ancient past of Native Americans; but, unfortunately, it does not help place a name on Hannah's mother.

Given that Hannah was kidnapped from the area near Drury Rogers' Fort, it is probable that her father was a white settler with a part Cherokee wife, who had aligned (either formally or informally) with the Patriots seeking protection at or near Drury Rogers' Fort. Unfortunately, the aforementioned letter from Samuel Alexander to the Governor of Georgia in 1792 also does not offer any familial relationships for Hannah.

Hannah in the Village
While some narratives claim that Hannah was living with the Creek Indians at the Fish Ponds as early as 1778, no credible reference supports this claim. Additionally, some narratives claim that Hannah is specifically listed on a Census taken in the Fish Ponds in 1792 which showed 140 residents. The claim appears to be an embellishment of a statement found in many credible references, stating "In 1792, Marbury gives 140 in Thlotlogulgua." This is merely a scholarly estimate of the population, not a Census or list of community members.

In truth, no known documents name Hannah prior to the letter of Samuel Alexander in 1792, and there was no formal census of the Creek population before 1832. These claims appear to be a complete fabrication. There is no way to know whether Hannah was immediately taken to the Fish Ponds after her abduction, or if she arrived there at some later time. Therefore, no specific timeline can be assigned regarding when Far Off Warrior and Hannah Hale met or married.

Far Off Warrior's Children
The writings of Benjamin Hawkins, detailed above, provide evidence that Far Off Warrior and wife Hannah Hale had at least five children, including three daughters and one son who were born prior to September 1797, and a fifth child who was born thereafter. Further, from guardianship documents affirmed in 1817, the births of David and Samuel can be placed as about 1797 and about 1799, respectively. These five children can be identified as follows:
--Mary Polly Hale, wife of John E. Miles/Myles;
--Jennie Hale, wife of Simeon Strickland Sr.;
--unnamed daughter Hale, and possibly the wife of William Jones;
--David Hale, born about 1797, and husband of Milly Ehlert/Elliott;
--Samuel Hale, born about 1799, and husband of Rebecca Ehlert/Elliott.

Documentation can also be found within testimony submitted by later descendants in their applications to unite with the Creek Nation.

Far Off Warrior's Signature on Treaties
Though numerous online narratives claim that Hopoie Tustunnuggee, known to settlers as Far Off Warrior, was a signatory for the Treaty with the Creeks 1790 in New York, his name does not appear on the document. However, he did sign the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson) as a Head Man of his community. For his cooperation, and through the efforts of Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins, land was reserved in the names of Far Off Warrior's children (and others) on the survey of Monroe County, Alabama, drawn in 1806. This land had been promised by Benjamin Hawkins as an inducement during negotiations, and it was reserved on the 1806 survey, but it was not specifically addressed in the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson). Families settled upon the land and made improvements, but they were unable to obtain title. This is the only Treaty upon which Hopoie Tustunnuggee (Far Off Warrior) placed his mark.

Did Far Off Warrior Have A Second Family?
The writings of Benjamin Hawkins indicate that he appointed Hopoithle Haujo, another member of the Fish Ponds community, to act as an advocate and guardian for Hannah beginning in 1799. Some online narratives have claimed that Hopoithle Haujo was actually another name for Hopoie Tustunnuggee (Far Off Warrior), but as both of these men were signatories on the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson), it is clear that they were two different men. While it is not surprising that a man known by the name Far Off might frequently be far from home, some online narratives have attempted to explain these absences with claims of a second family. There is no evidence to support that Far Off Warrior had established a second household elsewhere, but this claim cannot be disproven either. The more likely explanation is that Far Off Warrior's increasing activities as a leader in the Muscogee nation and later with the Red Stick Warriors (named for the red wooden war clubs they carried) kept him far from home. Additionally, from the accounts of Benjamin Hawkins, it is obvious that Hannah and her neighbors had adopted the ways of white men for farming, owning property and more. Far Off likely found his loyalties torn between his family and the Red Stick faction, who preached adherence to traditional Indian practices and advocated death to any Indians who allied with the Americans.

Far Off Warrior's Fate (Massacre at Fort Mims)
Hopoie Tustunnuggee, known to settlers as Far Off Warrior, was killed in the Massacre at Fort Mims on 30 August 1813.

As the attack relates specifically to Far Off Warrior, the following is known. The Creek Nation disintegrated into civil war in mid-1813, often with Creek families divided in their loyalties. A group referred to as the White Indians advocated for peace and diplomacy with the settlers, while the Red Sticks advocated for disruption and destruction in an effort to eradicate the settlers. Far Off Warrior chose the side of the Red Sticks.

In addition to continuing encroachment on Native lands by the settlers, encounters such as the Battle of Burnt Corn motivated the Red Stick Warriors to embark on a path of war, with the first major attack occurring at Fort Mims. William Weatherford, Far Off Warrior, and the prophet Paddy Walsh, planned the attack and led a group of approximately 700 Warriors through the fort's open gate at noon on 30 August 1813. Interestingly, both William Weatherford and Paddy Walsh were half breeds, and all three had family members who were at least partially white. William Weatherford later claimed to even have family members who were seeking safe haven at Fort Mims at the time of the assault. Far Off Warrior was killed in the initial assault. Fierce fighting continued on both sides for at least four hours, until the Red Sticks began setting fire to the buildings where the settlers had sought refuge. At this time, slaughter began. William Weatherford reportedly attempted to stop the Red Sticks from massacring women and children, and when his attempts at stopping them were unsuccessful, he left the scene of battle.

Historians estimate that over 200 Red Stick Warriors died during their attack on Fort Mims on 30 August 1813. However, the Fort Mims Restoration Association has only identified fourteen of the Red Stick participants by name. Of these fourteen, only one was confirmed as killed during the battle: Hopoie Tustunnuggee (Hopvyç Tustunuke), who was known to settlers as Far Off Warrior. Approximately 250 occupants of the Fort (including militia, settlers, slaves and "friendly" Creeks) were massacred during the attack, with at least 100 more taken captive as slaves.

A burial detail, sent by the militia, returned to Fort Mims about three weeks after the massacre. There, according to Major Kennedy, they found an unmarked mass grave in the woods near the fort that contained the Red Stick warriors who had fallen during the battle. The bodies of slaughtered militia, settlers, slaves, and mixed breed "friendly" Creeks remained unburied, but their condition prevented individual identification. The detail buried them in two additional unmarked mass graves. The settlers and militia were memorialized later with a plaque at the site, placed by their descendants.

As tales of the massacre spread throughout the area, calls for retaliation began, and a battle cry emerged: "Remember Fort Mims!"

Hannah's Fate
In "Sketch of the Creek Country," Hawkins writes this about Hannah Hale: "Having made her election at the national council, in 1799, to reside in the nation, this agent appointed Hopoithle Haujo to look out for a suitable place for her, to help her to remove to it with her stock, and take care that she receives no insults from the Indians."

From this, it is clear that Hannah was living at the Fish Ponds in 1799, but Benjamin Hawkins instructed another member of the Fish Ponds community to act as her advocate and protector while removing her (along with her stock and belongings) to a more suitable location. There is some inconclusive evidence on early land surveys that perhaps Hannah removed to a location within the Huntsville Meridian at this time, prior to removing to the St. Stephens Meridian to settle upon land reserved for her sons. However, from the guardianship papers filed in 1816 and affirmed in 1817, it is clear that she was living in Monroe County at the time of her death.

A Muscogee burial ground was located about five miles southwest of Claiborne (Monroe County), containing forty to fifty graves covered with shells and rocks interspersed among a handful of shade trees. During the early 1800s, Muscogees in the area began to adopt the settlers' method of burial. However, some tools and weapons that belonged to the deceased were also placed in the graves, so that the spirit could furnish himself with food and clothing in the Great Beyond. This burial ground sat on or near the land reserved for Hannah's children in the 1806 survey, and it is believed that she was buried there. An article written by local historian George "Buster" Singleton, and printed in The Monroe Journal (Monroeville, Alabama) on 12 March 1972, states that traces of the burial ground were still detectable at that time, although the graves had been plowed under to plant fields in the early 1900s.

Land for Far Off Warrior's Children
Documentation shows that Far Off Warrior's children were provided with land on the 1806 Survey for St. Stephens Meridian, T6N R5E. On this survey, the property is marked as "Reserved" and was intended to fulfill the oral promises of Benjamin Hawkins when negotiating the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson). This survey designates land for David and Samuel Hale in Section 21 plus Section 16 south of the river (Centroid 31.4715545, -87.5732754); for William Jones and his heirs (likely the husband of Hopoie Tustunnuggee's unnamed daughter) in Section 16 north of the river plus the southern half of Section 9 (Centroid 31.4820364, -87.5763227); and for John E. Miles/Myles and his heirs (the husband of Mary Polly Hale) in Section 22 east of the Alabama River (Centroid 31.4715614, -87.5547536). Contiguous to the land reserved for the children of Hopoie Tustunnuggee and Hannah Hale, this survey shows land reserved for Charles Ehlert/Elliott, brother of Milly and Rebecca Ehlert/Elliott (the wives of David and Samuel Hale). This land is approximately 5 miles southwest of modern day Claiborne "as the crow flies"... and about 6-1/2 miles southwest if travelling by modern day roads.

While many narratives speculate that Hannah's third daughter was the wife of William Jones, it is also possible that she was the wife of Charles Ehlert/Elliott, meaning that three of the Hale siblings had married three of the Ehlert/Elliott siblings. Unfortunately, though Census records do show a wife in the household of both of these men, the names of their wives are not documented.

No land was reserved for daughter Jennie Hale, her husband Simeon Strickland Sr, or her children, because they had removed to Jackson County, Georgia, prior to the drawing of this survey. The Stricklands later removed to Wayne County, Mississippi.

Unfortunately, though land had been promised by Benjamin Hawkins, and was reserved on the 1806 survey, it was not specifically addressed in writing within the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson). Families settled upon the land and made improvements, but they were unable to obtain title. David and Samuel Hale attempted to rectify this situation through Congress, first in 1817. Unfortunately, since Benjamin Hawkins had died in 1816, he was unable to provide testimony regarding any previous oral promises. So, the petition brought before Congress instead tried to establish standing by relying upon the Treaty with the Creeks 1814 (Fort Jackson). The 1814 Treaty provided land for chiefs, head men and warriors who were considered "friendly" during hostilities. Without additional questioning, a certificate was issued in favor of David and Samuel Hale for the land on 12 April 1820. However, they were only granted a life estate, meaning that the property was theirs to use for a lifetime, as long as they occupied the land and worked it. However, the land was not theirs to sell and it would not pass to their heirs.

The brothers attempted to gain title again in 1826, petitioning Congress through the General Land Office. Once more, they based their request on the Treaty with the Creeks 1814 (Fort Jackson) that provided land for "friendly" chiefs, head men and warriors. This time, the strategy proved problematic. Congress responded to their second petition with questions to the General Land Office on 18 December 1826. These questions sought to verify the brothers' eligibility to receive land based on the 1814 Treaty, including this first query: "Were Samuel and David Hale chiefs, headmen, or warriors, in their proper persons, or are they the representatives of any chief, headman, or warrior? And if so, of whom?"

Given the fact that David and Samuel were minors in 1814, their standing would be based on their father, who certainly was not considered a friendly Creek. The answers returned to Congress were vague and dishonest, and their petition for title was denied. However, the certificate that had been issued to them for a life estate was not revoked.

Paperwork and laws surrounding the land awarded to the Creeks were confusing to many, and this led to cloudy title transfers and challenges in the years to come. Despite not having title to the land, the brothers illegally sold it to Adam Carson in 1828, who then sold it to James M. Lindsey. When Lindsey was unable to provide clear title when attempting to sell, he requested an Act of Relief from Congress in 1855. This relief was granted to him on 23 August 1856.

The Creek Removal and Beyond
Distrust and calls for removal of the Creeks continued to grow among settlers after the hostilities of the Creek War ended in 1814. A concerted effort to move them west of the Mississippi River began in 1825, when additional Native lands were ceded to the United States in exchange for lands in Oklahoma. The U.S. government had some success with encouraging Upper Creeks to move willingly, but the Lower Creeks continued to resist.

In 1836, a small band of Lower Creeks revolted against white encroachment and started a new war. This gave the U.S. government an excuse to remove all Creeks to land west of the Mississippi River. However, despite this removal order, some Creek families in the Tensaw community were able to escape expulsion during the Trail of Tears. Those who had been loyal to the U.S. government or had worked as scouts and traders were allowed to remain. Surprisingly, even William Weatherford avoided removal. While most lost their original land grants, some were granted new parcels in Escambia County, Alabama.

There is evidence that only one of Far Off Warrior's children was part of the forced removal. Son David Hale and his family were part of the group that was held at Pass Christian in 1837, where he succumbed to illness and died. After David's death, his wife Celia (nee Elliott) and her children somehow left the group in Pass Christian and returned to Alabama, settling in Pike County. There, she married widower James Henderson. Celia remained in Pike County until her death, but her children by David Hale removed to Holmes County, Florida.

Mary Polly Hale and her children were living in Autauga County, Alabama, on the Creek Census of 1832. Her husband John Myles had already died. Her family avoided removal and affiliated with the Poarch Band of Creeks in Escambia County.

As mentioned previously, Jennie Hale had married trader Simeon Strickland in 1803, living first in Jackson County, Georgia, and removing to Wayne County, Mississippi, in 1811. Their family remained in Mississippi.

The history of the unnamed daughter is not documented, but both suspected husbands were shown living in Autauga County on the Creek Census of 1832. No determination can be made about whether her family was included in the removal. However, at least one son of William Jones was still located in Alabama in 1860.

The fate of Samuel Hale is unknown. He is found in Monroe County, Alabama, in 1820, but had removed to Walton County, Florida, by 1830. There, he is shown on the U.S. Census with his wife, her mother, and 11 slaves. But, he had returned to Alabama by 1832, where he is enumerated along with his family on the Census taken in Autauga County. Many online narratives claim that he was included in the Removal and that his family still lives in Oklahoma, but no specific evidence supports that claim. The tribal rolls provide evidence of members with the surname Hale living in the Nation in later years, some of whom later changed the surname to Hill, but a genealogy to Samuel, son of Far Off Warrior, has not been proven. More research is required. Any specific documentation that can demonstrate the fate of Samuel would be welcomed and may be submitted through the "Edit" button.

Though they were not included in the forced removal, at least one descendant of Hopoie Tustunnuggee requested admission to the Creek Nation in Oklahoma at a much later time. Patience Strickland Depriest, a daughter of Jennie Hale Strickland, was living with her family in Jasper County, Mississippi, in 1870. By 1880, they had removed to Logan County, Arkansas. In 1890, Patience is counted among the Muscogee population living in Bixby, Oklahoma, having applied for admission to the Nation.
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Biography researched and written by Evelyn Park Blalock. Please do not publish elsewhere without providing full and proper credit. Thank you.
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Introduction
HOPOIE TUSTUNNUGGEE, known to settlers as FAR OFF WARRIOR, was a Head Man of the Thlotlogulgua (Fish Ponds) community of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. He was married to Hannah Hale, a white woman who had been taken prisoner by Creek warriors when she was a child. He was killed at Fort Mims in 1813.

Far Off Warrior's Community
The earliest purported record of Far Off Warrior occurs during a meeting between Creek leaders and British agents in 1766. Big Mortar, then recognized as King of the Okchai tribe (part of the Creek Confederacy), mentioned a young warrior named Hopoie living in one of the Okchai villages. From this reference to Hopoie being a young warrior in 1766, his birth year can be estimated as 1748. Despite some narratives attempting to assign parents to Hopoie (Far Off Warrior), no documentation exists. His parents are not known and likely never will be.

Over time, some Okchai Muscogees wanted separate representation and they petitioned for a separate community. Their request was granted, and the Okchai leaders provided them with land and promises of protection. Thus began the ancient community of Taskigi, located in modern day Elmore County, Alabama (roughly 32.503733, -86.259323). From Taskigi, three new communities emerged: Asilanabi, Okchaiutci, and Thlotlogulgua. Hopoie (Far Off Warrior) lived in Thlotlogulgua, which was commonly called the "Fish Ponds" by white traders in the area (roughly 32.86787, -86.02531). In print, the community was also referred to as Laloklaka, which appears to be an attempt to phonetically write how the original name was spoken in the Muscogee language.

Far Off Warrior's Name
In the writings of Benjamin Hawkins, Indian Agent to the Creeks from 1796 until 1816, he referred to Far Off Warrior as Hopoie of Taskigi (identifying him by his affiliation) or as Hopoie Tustunnuggee (which literally identifies Hopoie as the Head Man of his community). Hawkins alternately referred to Hopoie, husband of Hannah Hale, as Far Off. On the Creek Treaty of 1802 (see image), Far Off Warrior's signature is affixed by his Muscogee name, Hopoie Tustunnuggee. In historical documents discussing the Massacre at Fort Mims, Far Off Warrior is referred to by both names, Hopoie Tustunnuggee and Far Off Warrior. And, in the guardianship papers for his two sons after Hannah's death in 1816, they are designated as his sons through the addition of "Faroff" as their surname.

Many online narratives attempt to provide additional aliases for Far Off Warrior. However, in truth, only those names mentioned above have been used to reference Far Off Warrior, husband of Hannah Hale, in any historical documents. The signature pages for the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson), attached to this memorial, include many of the other names that have been erroneously ascribed to Far Off Warrior. His mark as a signatory is highlighted with a red arrow, and the other chiefs and head men made their marks separately. Clearly, these names all refer to different men.

Finally, order matters. Just as the name Davis Samuels is not the same as Samuel Davis, the same is true with Hopoie Tustunnuggee (known as Far Off Warrior) and Tustunnuggee Hopoie (known as Little Prince). Little Prince emerged later as a Muscogee leader, signing the Treaty with the Creeks 1826 (Indian Springs), thirteen years after the death of Far Off Warrior. So, clearly, the names Hopoie Tustunnuggee and Tustunnuggee Hopoie are referencing two different people.

Far Off Warrior's Wife, Hannah Hale
In his book "The Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1806," Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins wrote that "Hannah Hale, taken from Ogeechee, near Rogers Fort, is within four miles of Isaac Thomas (a local white trader), now at the Fish Ponds. She is the wife of the Far-Off, a head man of that town, and has 4 children, one boy and three girls; has a good stock of cattle; has purchased a negro boy; has plenty of corn, butter, and milk; and is industrious. I sent her harness, slay and shuttle, and cards; the order dated 18th September 1797."

Hawkins elaborated a bit further in his book, "Sketch of the Creek Country", where he wrote this concerning Hannah Hale and the village of Fish Ponds: "Hannah Hale resides here. She was taken a prisoner from Georgia, when about eleven or twelve years old, and married the head man of this town, by whom she has five children. This woman spins and weaves, and has taught two of her daughters to spin; she has labored under many difficulties; yet by her industry has acquired some property. She has one negro boy, a horse or two, sixty cattle, and some hogs; she received the friendly attention of this agent for Indian affairs, as soon as he came in the nation. He furnished her with a wheel, loom, and cards; she has an orchard of peach and apple trees."

Drury Rogers' Fort was the fortified home of a settler named Drury Rogers, surrounded by a ditch and log pickets. From an application for land made before the Ceded Lands Commission on 15 October 1773, combined with tax records, its location can be estimated on the west side of the Ogeechee River, east of the forks of the Oconee River, in Capt. Buckley's District in Georgia (roughly 33.442970, -82.852038). Rogers and his family were documented Patriots, and the population found at the Fort were fellow settlers seeking protection from hostile Creeks along with a small Patriot militia. Warriors, led by Efau Haujo, first attacked Drury Rogers' Fort in 1777. The Fort did not fall during this attack, but did fall two years later, when the Patriot militia abandoned the structure in the face of approaching Creek warriors. The structure was reportedly burned to the ground and no trace of it remains today. There is no evidence that British forces participated in either attack.

Combined, Hawkins' narratives establish that Hannah Hale was taken from near Rogers Fort at the age of 11 or 12 years old, but they do not designate a year or a specific location for her abduction. An approximate year can be inferred, however, from a letter written by Samuel Alexander to the Governor of Georgia in 1792, where he proposes a trade of six captured Creeks in exchange for Hannah Hale and several other white women identified as captives, who had been living among the Creeks for about 15 years (placing their year of abduction as about 1777). These narratives also help approximate a year of birth for Hannah's youngest child, Samuel, as he is enumerated in the second narrative by Hawkins, but not in the first.

Hannah's Parents
Note that neither narrative purports that Hannah was taken during or after a battle at Drury Rogers' Fort. This is likely a romantic embellishment that was erroneously added to Hannah's story. Attempts to identify the parents of Hannah Hale as a British soldier and his wife also are not based in fact.

Regarding the specific claim that Samuel Hale and Elizabeth Hopkins of Gloucestershire were Hannah's parents, this is simply not true. This couple did have a daughter named Hannah who was baptized in Gloucestershire in 1868, but their Hannah remained in England. She was married to Robert Allen on 18 March 1789 in Hill (Gloucestershire), had nine children with him, and died on 29 January 1849. She is buried in Berkeley (Gloucestershire). Also, Samuel Hale and Elizabeth Hopkins never came to America, and he was not a soldier.

The parentage of Hannah Hale is unknown. However, significant DNA evidence acquired through Phase III of the Cherokee DNA Studies, conducted by DNA Consultants, appears to indicate that her mother was part Cherokee. Descendants of Hannah Hale, through both her daughter Mary Polly Hale and her daughter Jennie Hale, match a very rare haplogroup, U3, as well as an equally rare haplotype. These participants carrying the Wotan gene (as it was dubbed by researchers) have mitochondrial findings that seem to very dramatically indicate an ancient Scandinavian type crossed the ocean and established a branch among the American Indians, resulting in a very rare U3 variant, which was passed to the descendants of these two daughters by the mother of Hannah Hale. The variant has predominantly appeared in descendants of Cherokee and later Muscogee populations. This ongoing research is fascinating, and gives glimpses into the ancient past of Native Americans; but, unfortunately, it does not help place a name on Hannah's mother.

Given that Hannah was kidnapped from the area near Drury Rogers' Fort, it is probable that her father was a white settler with a part Cherokee wife, who had aligned (either formally or informally) with the Patriots seeking protection at or near Drury Rogers' Fort. Unfortunately, the aforementioned letter from Samuel Alexander to the Governor of Georgia in 1792 also does not offer any familial relationships for Hannah.

Hannah in the Village
While some narratives claim that Hannah was living with the Creek Indians at the Fish Ponds as early as 1778, no credible reference supports this claim. Additionally, some narratives claim that Hannah is specifically listed on a Census taken in the Fish Ponds in 1792 which showed 140 residents. The claim appears to be an embellishment of a statement found in many credible references, stating "In 1792, Marbury gives 140 in Thlotlogulgua." This is merely a scholarly estimate of the population, not a Census or list of community members.

In truth, no known documents name Hannah prior to the letter of Samuel Alexander in 1792, and there was no formal census of the Creek population before 1832. These claims appear to be a complete fabrication. There is no way to know whether Hannah was immediately taken to the Fish Ponds after her abduction, or if she arrived there at some later time. Therefore, no specific timeline can be assigned regarding when Far Off Warrior and Hannah Hale met or married.

Far Off Warrior's Children
The writings of Benjamin Hawkins, detailed above, provide evidence that Far Off Warrior and wife Hannah Hale had at least five children, including three daughters and one son who were born prior to September 1797, and a fifth child who was born thereafter. Further, from guardianship documents affirmed in 1817, the births of David and Samuel can be placed as about 1797 and about 1799, respectively. These five children can be identified as follows:
--Mary Polly Hale, wife of John E. Miles/Myles;
--Jennie Hale, wife of Simeon Strickland Sr.;
--unnamed daughter Hale, and possibly the wife of William Jones;
--David Hale, born about 1797, and husband of Milly Ehlert/Elliott;
--Samuel Hale, born about 1799, and husband of Rebecca Ehlert/Elliott.

Documentation can also be found within testimony submitted by later descendants in their applications to unite with the Creek Nation.

Far Off Warrior's Signature on Treaties
Though numerous online narratives claim that Hopoie Tustunnuggee, known to settlers as Far Off Warrior, was a signatory for the Treaty with the Creeks 1790 in New York, his name does not appear on the document. However, he did sign the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson) as a Head Man of his community. For his cooperation, and through the efforts of Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins, land was reserved in the names of Far Off Warrior's children (and others) on the survey of Monroe County, Alabama, drawn in 1806. This land had been promised by Benjamin Hawkins as an inducement during negotiations, and it was reserved on the 1806 survey, but it was not specifically addressed in the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson). Families settled upon the land and made improvements, but they were unable to obtain title. This is the only Treaty upon which Hopoie Tustunnuggee (Far Off Warrior) placed his mark.

Did Far Off Warrior Have A Second Family?
The writings of Benjamin Hawkins indicate that he appointed Hopoithle Haujo, another member of the Fish Ponds community, to act as an advocate and guardian for Hannah beginning in 1799. Some online narratives have claimed that Hopoithle Haujo was actually another name for Hopoie Tustunnuggee (Far Off Warrior), but as both of these men were signatories on the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson), it is clear that they were two different men. While it is not surprising that a man known by the name Far Off might frequently be far from home, some online narratives have attempted to explain these absences with claims of a second family. There is no evidence to support that Far Off Warrior had established a second household elsewhere, but this claim cannot be disproven either. The more likely explanation is that Far Off Warrior's increasing activities as a leader in the Muscogee nation and later with the Red Stick Warriors (named for the red wooden war clubs they carried) kept him far from home. Additionally, from the accounts of Benjamin Hawkins, it is obvious that Hannah and her neighbors had adopted the ways of white men for farming, owning property and more. Far Off likely found his loyalties torn between his family and the Red Stick faction, who preached adherence to traditional Indian practices and advocated death to any Indians who allied with the Americans.

Far Off Warrior's Fate (Massacre at Fort Mims)
Hopoie Tustunnuggee, known to settlers as Far Off Warrior, was killed in the Massacre at Fort Mims on 30 August 1813.

As the attack relates specifically to Far Off Warrior, the following is known. The Creek Nation disintegrated into civil war in mid-1813, often with Creek families divided in their loyalties. A group referred to as the White Indians advocated for peace and diplomacy with the settlers, while the Red Sticks advocated for disruption and destruction in an effort to eradicate the settlers. Far Off Warrior chose the side of the Red Sticks.

In addition to continuing encroachment on Native lands by the settlers, encounters such as the Battle of Burnt Corn motivated the Red Stick Warriors to embark on a path of war, with the first major attack occurring at Fort Mims. William Weatherford, Far Off Warrior, and the prophet Paddy Walsh, planned the attack and led a group of approximately 700 Warriors through the fort's open gate at noon on 30 August 1813. Interestingly, both William Weatherford and Paddy Walsh were half breeds, and all three had family members who were at least partially white. William Weatherford later claimed to even have family members who were seeking safe haven at Fort Mims at the time of the assault. Far Off Warrior was killed in the initial assault. Fierce fighting continued on both sides for at least four hours, until the Red Sticks began setting fire to the buildings where the settlers had sought refuge. At this time, slaughter began. William Weatherford reportedly attempted to stop the Red Sticks from massacring women and children, and when his attempts at stopping them were unsuccessful, he left the scene of battle.

Historians estimate that over 200 Red Stick Warriors died during their attack on Fort Mims on 30 August 1813. However, the Fort Mims Restoration Association has only identified fourteen of the Red Stick participants by name. Of these fourteen, only one was confirmed as killed during the battle: Hopoie Tustunnuggee (Hopvyç Tustunuke), who was known to settlers as Far Off Warrior. Approximately 250 occupants of the Fort (including militia, settlers, slaves and "friendly" Creeks) were massacred during the attack, with at least 100 more taken captive as slaves.

A burial detail, sent by the militia, returned to Fort Mims about three weeks after the massacre. There, according to Major Kennedy, they found an unmarked mass grave in the woods near the fort that contained the Red Stick warriors who had fallen during the battle. The bodies of slaughtered militia, settlers, slaves, and mixed breed "friendly" Creeks remained unburied, but their condition prevented individual identification. The detail buried them in two additional unmarked mass graves. The settlers and militia were memorialized later with a plaque at the site, placed by their descendants.

As tales of the massacre spread throughout the area, calls for retaliation began, and a battle cry emerged: "Remember Fort Mims!"

Hannah's Fate
In "Sketch of the Creek Country," Hawkins writes this about Hannah Hale: "Having made her election at the national council, in 1799, to reside in the nation, this agent appointed Hopoithle Haujo to look out for a suitable place for her, to help her to remove to it with her stock, and take care that she receives no insults from the Indians."

From this, it is clear that Hannah was living at the Fish Ponds in 1799, but Benjamin Hawkins instructed another member of the Fish Ponds community to act as her advocate and protector while removing her (along with her stock and belongings) to a more suitable location. There is some inconclusive evidence on early land surveys that perhaps Hannah removed to a location within the Huntsville Meridian at this time, prior to removing to the St. Stephens Meridian to settle upon land reserved for her sons. However, from the guardianship papers filed in 1816 and affirmed in 1817, it is clear that she was living in Monroe County at the time of her death.

A Muscogee burial ground was located about five miles southwest of Claiborne (Monroe County), containing forty to fifty graves covered with shells and rocks interspersed among a handful of shade trees. During the early 1800s, Muscogees in the area began to adopt the settlers' method of burial. However, some tools and weapons that belonged to the deceased were also placed in the graves, so that the spirit could furnish himself with food and clothing in the Great Beyond. This burial ground sat on or near the land reserved for Hannah's children in the 1806 survey, and it is believed that she was buried there. An article written by local historian George "Buster" Singleton, and printed in The Monroe Journal (Monroeville, Alabama) on 12 March 1972, states that traces of the burial ground were still detectable at that time, although the graves had been plowed under to plant fields in the early 1900s.

Land for Far Off Warrior's Children
Documentation shows that Far Off Warrior's children were provided with land on the 1806 Survey for St. Stephens Meridian, T6N R5E. On this survey, the property is marked as "Reserved" and was intended to fulfill the oral promises of Benjamin Hawkins when negotiating the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson). This survey designates land for David and Samuel Hale in Section 21 plus Section 16 south of the river (Centroid 31.4715545, -87.5732754); for William Jones and his heirs (likely the husband of Hopoie Tustunnuggee's unnamed daughter) in Section 16 north of the river plus the southern half of Section 9 (Centroid 31.4820364, -87.5763227); and for John E. Miles/Myles and his heirs (the husband of Mary Polly Hale) in Section 22 east of the Alabama River (Centroid 31.4715614, -87.5547536). Contiguous to the land reserved for the children of Hopoie Tustunnuggee and Hannah Hale, this survey shows land reserved for Charles Ehlert/Elliott, brother of Milly and Rebecca Ehlert/Elliott (the wives of David and Samuel Hale). This land is approximately 5 miles southwest of modern day Claiborne "as the crow flies"... and about 6-1/2 miles southwest if travelling by modern day roads.

While many narratives speculate that Hannah's third daughter was the wife of William Jones, it is also possible that she was the wife of Charles Ehlert/Elliott, meaning that three of the Hale siblings had married three of the Ehlert/Elliott siblings. Unfortunately, though Census records do show a wife in the household of both of these men, the names of their wives are not documented.

No land was reserved for daughter Jennie Hale, her husband Simeon Strickland Sr, or her children, because they had removed to Jackson County, Georgia, prior to the drawing of this survey. The Stricklands later removed to Wayne County, Mississippi.

Unfortunately, though land had been promised by Benjamin Hawkins, and was reserved on the 1806 survey, it was not specifically addressed in writing within the Treaty with the Creeks 1802 (Fort Wilkinson). Families settled upon the land and made improvements, but they were unable to obtain title. David and Samuel Hale attempted to rectify this situation through Congress, first in 1817. Unfortunately, since Benjamin Hawkins had died in 1816, he was unable to provide testimony regarding any previous oral promises. So, the petition brought before Congress instead tried to establish standing by relying upon the Treaty with the Creeks 1814 (Fort Jackson). The 1814 Treaty provided land for chiefs, head men and warriors who were considered "friendly" during hostilities. Without additional questioning, a certificate was issued in favor of David and Samuel Hale for the land on 12 April 1820. However, they were only granted a life estate, meaning that the property was theirs to use for a lifetime, as long as they occupied the land and worked it. However, the land was not theirs to sell and it would not pass to their heirs.

The brothers attempted to gain title again in 1826, petitioning Congress through the General Land Office. Once more, they based their request on the Treaty with the Creeks 1814 (Fort Jackson) that provided land for "friendly" chiefs, head men and warriors. This time, the strategy proved problematic. Congress responded to their second petition with questions to the General Land Office on 18 December 1826. These questions sought to verify the brothers' eligibility to receive land based on the 1814 Treaty, including this first query: "Were Samuel and David Hale chiefs, headmen, or warriors, in their proper persons, or are they the representatives of any chief, headman, or warrior? And if so, of whom?"

Given the fact that David and Samuel were minors in 1814, their standing would be based on their father, who certainly was not considered a friendly Creek. The answers returned to Congress were vague and dishonest, and their petition for title was denied. However, the certificate that had been issued to them for a life estate was not revoked.

Paperwork and laws surrounding the land awarded to the Creeks were confusing to many, and this led to cloudy title transfers and challenges in the years to come. Despite not having title to the land, the brothers illegally sold it to Adam Carson in 1828, who then sold it to James M. Lindsey. When Lindsey was unable to provide clear title when attempting to sell, he requested an Act of Relief from Congress in 1855. This relief was granted to him on 23 August 1856.

The Creek Removal and Beyond
Distrust and calls for removal of the Creeks continued to grow among settlers after the hostilities of the Creek War ended in 1814. A concerted effort to move them west of the Mississippi River began in 1825, when additional Native lands were ceded to the United States in exchange for lands in Oklahoma. The U.S. government had some success with encouraging Upper Creeks to move willingly, but the Lower Creeks continued to resist.

In 1836, a small band of Lower Creeks revolted against white encroachment and started a new war. This gave the U.S. government an excuse to remove all Creeks to land west of the Mississippi River. However, despite this removal order, some Creek families in the Tensaw community were able to escape expulsion during the Trail of Tears. Those who had been loyal to the U.S. government or had worked as scouts and traders were allowed to remain. Surprisingly, even William Weatherford avoided removal. While most lost their original land grants, some were granted new parcels in Escambia County, Alabama.

There is evidence that only one of Far Off Warrior's children was part of the forced removal. Son David Hale and his family were part of the group that was held at Pass Christian in 1837, where he succumbed to illness and died. After David's death, his wife Celia (nee Elliott) and her children somehow left the group in Pass Christian and returned to Alabama, settling in Pike County. There, she married widower James Henderson. Celia remained in Pike County until her death, but her children by David Hale removed to Holmes County, Florida.

Mary Polly Hale and her children were living in Autauga County, Alabama, on the Creek Census of 1832. Her husband John Myles had already died. Her family avoided removal and affiliated with the Poarch Band of Creeks in Escambia County.

As mentioned previously, Jennie Hale had married trader Simeon Strickland in 1803, living first in Jackson County, Georgia, and removing to Wayne County, Mississippi, in 1811. Their family remained in Mississippi.

The history of the unnamed daughter is not documented, but both suspected husbands were shown living in Autauga County on the Creek Census of 1832. No determination can be made about whether her family was included in the removal. However, at least one son of William Jones was still located in Alabama in 1860.

The fate of Samuel Hale is unknown. He is found in Monroe County, Alabama, in 1820, but had removed to Walton County, Florida, by 1830. There, he is shown on the U.S. Census with his wife, her mother, and 11 slaves. But, he had returned to Alabama by 1832, where he is enumerated along with his family on the Census taken in Autauga County. Many online narratives claim that he was included in the Removal and that his family still lives in Oklahoma, but no specific evidence supports that claim. The tribal rolls provide evidence of members with the surname Hale living in the Nation in later years, some of whom later changed the surname to Hill, but a genealogy to Samuel, son of Far Off Warrior, has not been proven. More research is required. Any specific documentation that can demonstrate the fate of Samuel would be welcomed and may be submitted through the "Edit" button.

Though they were not included in the forced removal, at least one descendant of Hopoie Tustunnuggee requested admission to the Creek Nation in Oklahoma at a much later time. Patience Strickland Depriest, a daughter of Jennie Hale Strickland, was living with her family in Jasper County, Mississippi, in 1870. By 1880, they had removed to Logan County, Arkansas. In 1890, Patience is counted among the Muscogee population living in Bixby, Oklahoma, having applied for admission to the Nation.
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