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Coushatta Connections

Redbone connections to the Coushatta’s and a small band of Muskogee Creek Indians of Texas. Reportedly Elizabeth Burgess who is my Great Grandmother was the daughter of a full blooded French man and a Coushatta wife. Elizabeth Burgess was the wife of Leonard Covington Sweat of the notorious & bloody Rawhide Fight, in Louisiana, and the parents of Matilda “Tilly” Sweat who married Emanuel Command Nash. Here is my favorite pic of out of all the pics of my ancestors I am fortunate to have.
Elizabeth Sweat Mason Nash, my great-great Grandmother holding her son, my great grandfather Guide Emanuel Nash.
 

PAKANA MUSKOGEE INDIANS. In 1834 the Pakana Muskogee Indians, a branch of the Muskogee or Creek <http://www.rra.dst.tx.us/c_t/indians/CREEK%20INDIANS.cfm> Indian group, entered Texas and established a village near the site of present Onalaska in western Polk County. The Pakana Muskogees had lived near the Alabama <http://www.rra.dst.tx.us/c_t/indians/ALABAMA-COUSHATTA.cfm> and Coushatta <http://www.rra.dst.tx.us/c_t/indians/COUSHATTA%20INDIANS.cfm> Indians in the vicinity of Fort Toulouse, a few miles north of Montgomery, Alabama, and moved to Louisiana shortly after 1763. Dr. John Sibley <http://www.rra.dst.tx.us/c_t/Rivers/red/SIBLEY.cfm>, Indian agent for the United States, reported in 1805 that approximately 150 Pakana Muskogees were living on Calcasieu Bayou, forty miles southwest of Natchitoches, Louisiana. An early chief of the Pakana Muskogees, John Blount, received a silver medal for his services as a guide for Gen. Andrew Jackson during the Seminole War in Florida. After the death of John Blount while enroute to Texas in 1834, this medal was passed to subsequent chiefs of the tribe: David Ellett, Bill Blount, John Blount (grandson of the earlier chief with the same name), and Alex Davis. In 1834 the Pakana Muskogees moved to a site on Penwau Slough two miles east of its junction with the Trinity River <http://www.rra.dst.tx.us/c_t/Rivers/TRINITY%20RIVER.cfm> in the area of present Polk County. This location was on a high hill, generally believed to be the peninsula that extends into Lake Livingston and is known as Indian Hill. John Burgess, a Frenchman who purchased 640 acres of land along Kickapoo Creek, married a member of the Pakana Muskogees and later invited the other tribal members to move to the Burgess Survey. This property was inherited by Burgess’s wife and subsequently by other members of the tribe and became the permanent home of the Pakana Muskogees in Polk County. In 1859 Texas Governor Hardin R. Runnels <http://www.rra.dst.tx.us/c_t/people/hrRUNNELS.cfm> appointed James Barclay to serve as agent for the Muskogees, as well as for the Alabamas and Coushattas who lived in Polk County. Responsibility for the Muskogees was included also in the duties of agents appointed for the Polk County Indians in 1861-65, 1867, 1868, and 1872. On November 12, 1866, the Texas legislature passed an act granting the Polk County Muskogees 320 acres of land. Unfortunately for the Muskogees, this land was never purchased, and they continued to live on the John Burgess Survey. The population of this Pakana Muskogee community declined slowly almost from the date of the tribe’s first appearance in Polk County: fifty were counted in 1859; forty-two were reported in 1882. Illness and absorption by the nearby Alabamas and Coushattas probably were the main reasons for the Muskogee’s decreasing population. In 1899, persuaded by Creek Indians from Oklahoma, John Blount and many of the Polk County Muskogees went to the Creek Nation in Oklahoma to live. Only a few-less than ten-Pakana Muskogees remained in their settlement on the John Burgess Survey.
map15_earlytrailsoftejas
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ralph Henry Marsh, The History of Polk County, Texas, Indians (M.A. thesis, Sul Ross State Teachers College, 1941). John R. Swanton, Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 73 (Washington: GPO, 1922). John R. Swanton, The Indians of the Southeastern United States (Washington: GPO, 1946). John R. Swanton, The Indian Tribes of North America (Gross Pointe, Michigan: Scholarly Press, 1960. Dorman H. Winfrey and James M. Day, eds., Texas Indian Papers (4 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1959-61; rpt., 5 vols., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966).
Howard N. Martin
Recommended citation:
“PAKANA MUSKOGEE INDIANS.” The Handbook of Texas Online. <<http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/PP/bmp97.html>>
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Notes
  BATTISE TRACE. The Battise Trace was one of the trails radiating from the village of Long King,qv the principal chief of the Coushatta Indians in Texas during the first three decades of the nineteenth century. This trace connected Long King’s Village in southern Polk County with Battise Village, near the mouth of Kickapoo Creek on the Trinity River in San Jacinto County. From Long King’s Village the Battise Trace extended northwestward on the east side of the Trinity River in Polk County, went across Garner’s Prairie south of Blanchard, led through the headwaters of Penwa Slough, and then crossed Caney Creek, Sandy Creek, and Kickapoo Creek. Next, the trail turned southeast near Onalaska, crossed the Trinity River near the mouth of Kickapoo Creek at a point where Duncan’s Ferry (later Patrick’s Ferry) was established, and proceeded to Battise Village in San Jacinto County. The Coushatta Traceqv crossed the Trinity at the same place, and Patrick’s Ferry continued to be used until the development of automobiles and a state system of roads and bridges.
The trail between Long King’s Village and Battise Village is mentioned six times in surveyors’ field notes for land surveys in western Polk County. A typical entry related to the Battise Trace may be found in the field notes for the Thomas Burrus Survey, which refer to “a road leading from the Long King’s Village to the Baptiest (Battise) Village.”
KICKAPOO TRACE. The Kickapoo Trace was a trail leading from the village of the Kickapoo Indians in the area of present Frankston in northeastern Anderson County to the John Burgess survey in the area of western Polk County. The trail followed a route southward near the site of present Neches and Slocum in Anderson County, across present Houston County fifteen miles east of Crockett, through the area of Trinity County eight miles west of Groveton, and then across the present western boundary of Polk County to merge with the Coushatta Traceqv in the John Burgess survey on Kickapoo Creek. The length of the Kickapoo Trace was ninety miles. The trail was apparently used by the Kickapoo Indians to contact Coushatta Indians along the Trinity River and to get to the Coushatta Trace for travel to the interior of Texas. Although a creek in western Polk County was named Kickapoo Creek, there is no evidence that members of the Kickapoo tribe ever established a village in this area.