Pioneer Historical Society        
             McRae Helena, Georgia
                                  Established in 1976

    Pioneer Historical Society       McRae Helena Georgia        
Established in 1976

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The First Treaty of Washington, more formally known as the Treaty with the Creeks 1805, was an agreement between the U.S. government and the Creek Nation in which the latter ceded a large swath of territory in central Georgia. Any land west of the Ocmulgee River belonged to the Creek Nation, and the land east of the river was opened to settlers. The treaty also defined the fishing rights in the Ocmulgee for both Native Americans and settlers. A treaty is only as valid as the people desire it to be. Most of the damage to the relationship between the two cultures was caused by bad elements in both societies. The settlers would cross the river to the Creek side for hunting or other activities without getting a passport for entering another nation, causing the Creeks to raid the settlers’ side of the river in response to the violation.

The conflicts between the two societies increased during the War of 1812,and continued until the last major incident in 1818. With the Treaty of Mitchell, or Treaty of Creek Agency in January,1818, settlers crossed into lands west of the Ocmulgee. During the Spring of 1818, Creek Indians committed various harassing attacks on the settlers near the Ocmulgee River, including burning houses and driving off livestock. On March 3, Joseph Burch and his son, Littleton, crossed over to the Creek side of the Ocmulgee, and began building a shelter. Later that night, the two men were attacked by a band of Creek Indians and Joseph was killed and Littleton was wounded. Both men were scalped, but Littleton survived and managed to reach the home of John Willcox two days later.

The settlers along the river, primarily the communities of China Hill, Temperance, Hopewell, and Copeland, were alarmed and gathered at Fort Adams in the Temperance Community. On March 8, a force of 34 men under the command of Major Joseph Cawthon crossed the river and made camp for the night. Early next morning their “surprise breakfast attack” was not a big surprise to the 60 Indians camped near a spring on Breakfast Branch

During the 45-minute fire fight, 5 settlers and 4 Creek Indians were killed, including state senator from Telfair, Capt. Benjamin Mitchell Griffin. Griffin is buried in the Concord Methodist Church Cemetery at the site of Fort Adams on River Road in Telfair County. Numerous settlers were wounded, including Mark Wilcox, who recovered from his head wound and later became a Major General in the Georgia Militia. This fight proved to be the last major hostile encounter with the Native Americans in the vicinity of Telfair County, but it was one of the factors leading to the April 21, 1818, attack and massacre of friendly Chehaw men, women and children by Georgia militia outside of Leesburg in present-day Lee County.

. A historical marker (156-5 Georgia Historic Marker 1987) commemorating the event has been placed near the location of the Battle of Breakfast Branch in Wilcox County on U.S. Highway 129 at County Road 70 (American Legion Road.), south of Abbeville, Georgia