Published on February 29, 2012 by Amy
Koasati, An Upper Creek tribe speaking a dialect almost identical with Alibamu and evidently nothing more than a large division of that people. The name appears to contain the word for ‘cane’ or ‘reed’, and Gatschet has suggested that it may signify ‘white cane’. During the middle and latter part of the 18th century the Koasati lived, apparently in one principal village, on the right bank of Alabama river, 3 miles below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, where the modern town of Coosada, Ala., perpetuates their name; but soon after west Florida was ceded to Great Britain, in 1763, “two villages of Koasati” moved over to the Tombigbee and settled below the mouth of Sukenatcha creek. Romans and other writers always mention two settlements here, Sukta-loosa and Occhoy or Hychoy, the latter being evidently either Koasati orAlibamu.
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The Witumka Alibamu moved with them and established themselves lower down. Later the Koasati descended the river to a point a few miles above the junction of the Tombigbee and the Alabama, but, together with their Alibamu associates, they soon returned to their ancient seats on the upper Alabama. A “Coosawda” village existed on Tennessee river, near the site of Langston, Jackson county, Ala., in the early part of the 19th century, but it is uncertain whether its occupants were true Koasati.
In 1799 Hawkins stated that part of the Koasati had recently crossed the Mississippi, and Sibley in 1805 informs us that these first settled on Bayou Chicot but 4 years later moved over to the east bank of Sabine river, 80 miles south of Natchitoches, La. Thence they spread over much of east Texas as far as Trinity river, while a portion, or perhaps some of those who had remained in Alabama, obtained permission from the Caddo to settle on Red river. Schermerhorn (Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 2d s., 11, 26, 1814) states that in 1812 the Koasati on Sabine river numbered 600, and in 1820 Morse gave 350 on Red river, 50 on the Neches, 40 miles above its mouth, and 240 on the Trinity, 40 to 50 miles above its mouth. Bollaert (1850) estimated the number of warriors belonging to the Koasati on the lower Trinity as 500, in 2 villages, Colete and Batista. In 1870 50 were in Polk county, Tex., and 100 near Opelousas, La. They were honest, industrious, and peaceful, and still dressed in the Indian manner. Powell (7th Rep. B. A. E., 1891) says that in 1886 there were 4 families of Koasati, of about 25 individuals, near the town of Shepherd, San Jacinto County, Tex. As part of the true Alibamu were in this same region it is not improbable that some of them have been included in the above enumerations. Those of the Koasati who stayed in their original seats and subsequently moved to Indian Territory also remained near the Alibamu for the greater part, although they are found in several places in the Creek Nation, Okla. Two towns in the Creek Nation are named after them.