By Dr. Gregory A. Waselkov Ph.D.
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In the wake of Britain’s recognition of an independent United States in 1783, thousands of loyalist families ®ed the thirteen former colonies to escape a per- 20 / Chapter 1. vasive climate of political intolerance and persecution. Many sailed to the British Isles (among them, Lachlan McGillivray), Canada, or the Bahamas. Loyalists from the Carolinas and Georgia, in particular, were tempted by a Spanish offer of lands near Mobile and Natchez. S. 10 Not every Americano (as Spaniards called all English speakers in the region) arrived as a political refugee.
42 To inform his administration of the “imperfectly known” settlements on the Tombigbee and Tensaw recently acquired by the United States, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Ephraim Kirby as commissioner of public lands and dispatched him to Fort Stoddert (Figure 5). Kirby would inspect recently organized Washington County, which encompassed all land in the territory north of 31º latitude from the Pearl River to the Chattahoochee and respond to the president’s queries on the region’s physical and human geography.
William’s great-grandmother, Sehoy (referred to as Sehoy I, in the modern literature, to minimize confusion with like-named descendants), grew to adulthood in the vicinity of Fort Toulouse aux Alibamons, Fort Toulouse among the Alabamas (Chart 1). Early abuses by British traders based in South Carolina convinced the Creeks that they needed an alternative, competitive source of the cloth, muskets, steel knives, and other European manufactured commodities they exchanged for deerskins, furs, and peltries.