Ellisor’s Book Adds Context to Second Creek War

John EllisorCOLUMBUS, Ga. -- A  new book by a Columbus State University history professor contends the Creek War of 1836 was far more significant than it’s traditionally portrayed. 

John Ellisor’s The Second Creek War: Interethnic Conflict and Collusion on a Collapsing Frontier (University of Nebraska Press) demonstrates how the federal government’s relocation of Creek Indians from present-day Alabama to Oklahoma transcended what’s been commonly regarded as a “minor police action.”

The relocation was part of a prolonged, armed conflict extending to Georgia and Florida, with whites and blacks joining remaining Creeks in some cases to battle other whites. Generally, the Creeks’ motivation was native determination, while the whites competed with one another and-or government interests for prized land.

Ellisor will deliver a free, public lecture on “Columbus and the Second Creek War,” drawing from his book, at  6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18 at Columbus Public Library’s main branch. A reception and book-signing will close the program.

Second Creek War-book coverThe publisher touts the work as the “first book-length examination of the Southern Creek War,” demonstrating “how interethnic collusion and characterized Southern society during the 1830s.”

Just prior to the Indian removals, “many blacks, whites, and Natives lived in close proximity in what’s referred to as the Old Southwest,” wrote Ellisor in the book’s introduction. “In the Creek country, also called New Alabama, these ethnic groups began to develop a pluralistic society. When the 1830s cotton boom placed a premium on Creek land, dispossession of the Natives became an economic priority.”

However, Ellisor’s archival findings reveal an intense competition for land and resources that pitted whites, sometimes allied with Creeks, against other whites. Thus, the idea that white society united to round up and drive away the Creeks mischaracterizes Southern society in that era.

For more information about the book, go to http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Second-Creek-War,674662.aspx.

For more about Ellisor, read his CSU Department of History and Geography bio at http://history.colstate.edu/Ellisor.asp.