Letters Pertaining to Lost Slaves in the Creek and Seminole Nations
SOURCE: National Archives Publication M271 Roll 1
Contributed by Lance Hall, Creek Researcher
St. Augustine the 4th Sept. 1801
I never did expect; I should be obliged -- troublesome to you in your high station & bring to your encumbrance an old man who had only a very short acquaintance with you, when you did the honor to this Town of a visit with General Green. I had pleasure to read in the American Newspapers your appointment of Superintendent General of the Indians in the S. District of the United States and to you as such I have recourse, to solicit your assistance to be able to recover thirty eight Negroes, a large party of the Hichitis Indians have plundered at my plantation the 31st August last. Five of these Indians are particularly known to me & my family; they did live for many years on the west of St. Johns f--ing n-- Switzerland & were always well treated by us.
I have offered a reward of 500 dollars to our Seminole Indians, to be paid by me on the recovery & delivery of the said 38 Negroes or in proportion for any number. Mr. Jack Forrester a partner and attorney of the house of Panton Leslie & Co. has offered as much and I have the promise of H. E. our Governor that he will give a handsome present for the same purpose.
Amongst these 38 Negroes my great anxiety is for twenty children big & little, these savages have carried off, which made great sore to my feelings, and I lament much to have lost my dairy maid, my wash woman with 10 of her children, it is a severe blow to me in my old age now in my 78.
The Governor has been so kind, too write you, sir, and recommend me to your protection. I will esteem it a great favor if upon due information in your department you will make a favorable report to H. E. The President of the US, to whom our minister will communicate the official letter of our Governor on this affair. I have ordered my youngest son, to attend close to these negotiations as he is as yet Secy of legat--n at the Congress, till his successor arrives; being named Consul for his C. M. at Philadelphia my son would be very proud if he could show you my gratitude & his. I offer him at your disposal - His name is Philip.
I trust that by your kind interposition I shall be able to recover this great loss for my large family of children & grandchildren.
I have the honor to be with respect & due regard
Your most obt & hum. servt
F. P. Fatio
* * * * * * * * * *
Creek Nation 27th Sept 1801
His Excellency Henry White
I received your Excellys letter this day directed to Col. Hawkins, agent of Indians Affs by the hands of Mr. James Akin, sent on by James Seagrove Esqr express. Col. Hawkins being at this time called away from this quarter to the northwest, on Business, thought proper in this case to peruse your Excellency's letter, & shall pay due attention to the contents, have enquired strictly into the business respecting the violation committed on Mr. Fatio by the Indians, robing him of his Negroes. Your Excellys it appears have been informed, that the Indians of the Hitchetaw Town, who reside on the American side [of] the line are concerned in this roberry. I thought at first it might have been so, as your Excelly was informed, but after strictly enquiring into the business, am fully convinced that none of that Town on this side [of] the boundary line have been concerned in it, there was it seems one Hitchetaw man amongst them but he is one that has resided a length of time amongst the Miccosukee people, a large town only thirty miles distant from St. Marks Garrison except this one man all the rest of the Indians that were at the committing [of] this robery on Mr. Fatio were all from that said town, it appears from information by a very intelligent Chief from Miccosukee resident of that Town who came up to Kenards and returned a few days ago and informed Mr. Kenards that the principal of the taking [of] those Negroes of Mr. Fatio is in consequence of one of the Chiefs of their town being for a long time past kept close confined in St. Marks Garrison and that those that took the Negroes are determined not to return them on any other terms but on having this chief released from confinement, and delivered up to them, hope you Excelly will excuse my taking the liberty to inform you that since the confinement of that Indian Chief, that it has not in the smallest degree retained the Indians from committing hostile acts near the St. Marks. One matter I can take upon me to make known to your Excelly respecting this man from good information, that is, that, he has not been a mischievous man against St. Marks and that he was the last man that stood out against Bowles and would not agree to commit murder on the Subjects of his Catholic Majesty and I expect the releasing of this man lays a good deal in the power of your Excellency and if you should see cause on account of the great loss of Mr. Fatio has sustained to comply with these red peoples demand by sending back Mr. Akins & any other confidential man through the interference of Mr. Kin-- who has promised that in case of a compliance by you Excelly on the business that he will go forward in person and have every one of the Negroes in his charge before he will ask for the man to be sent out, and take upon himself to have them safely conducted to their owners. I hope what I have wrote will be sufficient to convince your Excellency that this Business is out of the line of Col. Hawkins Agency under whom I have the honor to serve, never the less shall be at all times ready to execute any lawful requisitions made by your Government in Col. Hawkins absence, shall in about twelve days from this have an opportunity by express to forward your Excellency's letter on to Col. Hawkins to which I make no doubt he will reply by first convenient conveyance.
I have the honor with due
respect to Subscribe myself
Your Excellency's most humble
& obt Servt
Agt & Intr U.S.
Contributed by Lance Hall, Creek Researcher