Historic Markers Across Georgia

Cusseta: A Center for International Diplomacy

Marker ID:  
Location: 3535 South Lumpkin Road, Columbus, GA
County: Muscogee
Coordinates: N 32° 23.196    W 084° 57.522
  32.3866    -84.9587
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Cusseta: A Center for International Diplomacy
—Creek Heritage Trail—

Cusseta was both an important political center for the Lower Creeks and a critical place for interaction with European colonial officials and later, American settlers. Occupying a strategic position in a vast trading network stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to as far away as the Great Lakes, Cusseta naturally became a destination for some of the earliest European explorers and traders to venture into the Southeast.

Spanish colonial officials from Florida began establishing with Cusseta in the late 1600s. The English, led by Henry Woodward of Charleston, were trading extensively with the Cussetas by 1685. Records show they were visiting the Chiefs of Cusseta and neighboring Coweta to support these flourishing trade relations at that time. In exchange for a range of manufactured items such as weapons, tools, and clothing, the Creeks provided enormous quantities of deerskins for the Europeans.

In 1739 British General and founder of Georgia James Oglethorpe met with Creek representatives from Cusseta, Coweta, Eufaula, Chehaw and other talwas (tvlwv) on the banks of the Chattahoochee. He sought official permission for the establishment of the colony of Georgia on Creek land and to forge a British-Creek alliance. The treaty forbade any further settlement by Europeans onto Creek lands west of Savannah.

Mary Musgrove (Coosaponakeesa) was James Oglethorpe's guide and interpreter when he visited her birthplace of Coweta in 1739. An important interpreter and cultural liaison, she later became Georgia's largest landowner by royal grant.

Description of Cusseta's Setting
Botanist William Bartram traveled this area in 1775-1776 and recorded this description of the region in which Cusseta lay:
"I sat out down the river on a visit to the Cusseta; the lands for 20 miles level, pine, oak and hickory, black jack, the soil dark and apparently rich; enter here the cornfields belonging to the town, an oblong mound.. farther another mound near the river..surrounded on the north with mulberry and on the south with evergreens, some of them large..This is the most beautiful I have ever seen, from the top is a view of the river above, the flat lands on the right bank, and all the fields, of about one hundred acres, these fields have been long under culture and yet they are rich, there is no where a stump to be seen."

The Cession of Creek Lands in Georgia
The controversial Treaty of Indian Springs (originally signed in 1825 and later replaced by the 1826 Treaty of Washington) gave the state of Georgia title to all
remaining Creek lands within its borders, including the area surrounding Cusseta. Negotiated by the state of Georgia with a faction of the Creek Nation led by Chief William Mclntosh, the treaty resulted in the expulsion of all the Creeks from the area around Cusseta. The compact paved the way for American settlement of what is now Muscogee County and much of central western Georgia.

Photo captions
Top right As a result of his role in the cession of Creek land, Chief William McIntosh was later executed by fellow Creeks for illegally ceding land without majority council approval.

Georgia Governor George M. Troup forcefully advocated for acceptance of the Treaty of Indian Springs and the acquisition of former Creek lands in Georgia. At one point, he even threatened open conflict between state and federal forces over the area. Troup was actually a cousin of McIntosh. From The Life of George M. Troup, by Edward Jenkins Harden.

Bottom right map Map of Georgia and Alabama, 1825, showing Lower Creek territory ceded by the Treaty of Indian Springs. By J.А.С. Buchon, H.C. Carey, and I. Lea.
Bottom right A transcription of the Treaty of Indian Springs

Erected 2014 by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Columbia State University.

A photo of this marker can be found on HMDB.org