Osceola
Overview
 
Osceola, also known as Billy Powell (1804 – January 30, 1838), became an influential leader with the Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

 in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

. He was of Creek, Scots-Irish
Scots-Irish
Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish may refer to;* Ulster Scots people, an ethnic group in the Ulster province of Ireland which ultimately traces its roots back to settlers from Scotland and northern England....

 and English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 parentage, and had migrated to Florida with his mother after the defeat of the Creek in 1814.

Osceola led a small band of warriors in the Seminole resistance during the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

, when the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 tried to remove the Seminoles from their lands.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Osceola, also known as Billy Powell (1804 – January 30, 1838), became an influential leader with the Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

 in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

. He was of Creek, Scots-Irish
Scots-Irish
Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish may refer to;* Ulster Scots people, an ethnic group in the Ulster province of Ireland which ultimately traces its roots back to settlers from Scotland and northern England....

 and English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 parentage, and had migrated to Florida with his mother after the defeat of the Creek in 1814.

Osceola led a small band of warriors in the Seminole resistance during the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

, when the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 tried to remove the Seminoles from their lands. He exercised a great deal of influence on Micanopy
Micanopy
Micanopy , also known as Micco-Nuppe, Michenopah, Miccanopa, Mico-an-opa and Sint-chakkee , was the leading chief of the Seminoles who led the tribe during the Second Seminole War...

, the highest-ranking chief of the Seminole.

Early life and education

Osceola was named Billy Powell at birth in 1804 in the Creek village of Talisi, now known as Tallassee, Alabama
Tallassee, Alabama
Tallassee is a city on the Tallapoosa River, located in both Elmore and Tallapoosa counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2000 census the population was 4,934...

, around current Macon County
Macon County, Alabama
Macon County is a county in the U.S. state of Alabama. Its name is in honor of Nathaniel Macon, a member of the United States Senate from North Carolina. Developed for cotton plantation agriculture in the nineteenth century, it is one of the counties in Alabama within the Black Belt of the South.As...

. "The people in the town of Tallassee...were mixed-blood Native American/English/Irish/Scottish, and some were black. Billy was all of these." His mother Polly Coppinger was the daughter of Ann McQueen, whose mother was mixed-race Creek
Creek people
The Muscogee , also known as the Creek or Creeks, are a Native American people traditionally from the southeastern United States. Mvskoke is their name in traditional spelling. The modern Muscogee live primarily in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida...

 and whose father James McQueen was Scots-Irish. Ann was likely the sister or aunt of Peter McQueen
Peter McQueen
Peter McQueen was a Creek Indian chief, trader and warrior from the tribal town of Talisi He was one of the young men, known as Red Sticks, who supported a revitalization of traditional practices and opposed European-American settlement...

, a prominent Creek leader and warrior.

Many sources, including the Seminole, say that Osceola's father was William Powell, an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 trader. While the Creek had intermarried with European Americans as part of their strategic alliances, the Seminole, formed later as a tribe, forbade intermarriage with whites.

Osceola's maternal great-grandfather was James McQueen, who was Scots-Irish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 and in 1714, the first European to trade with the Creek in Alabama. He stayed in the area as a trader, married into the Creek tribe, and became closely involved with the Creek. He is buried in the Indian cemetery in Franklin
Franklin, Alabama
Franklin is a town in Macon County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 145.-History and Educational Legacy:Franklin School was in operation as early as the 1890s teaching grades 1-11. By the mid 1930s it was downsized to grades 1-6...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 near a Methodist Missionary Church for the Creek Indians.

Because the Creek are a matrilineal culture, McQueen's children were absorbed into their mother's clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

 and reared as Creek. They gained their status from their mother's people. His son Peter McQueen
Peter McQueen
Peter McQueen was a Creek Indian chief, trader and warrior from the tribal town of Talisi He was one of the young men, known as Red Sticks, who supported a revitalization of traditional practices and opposed European-American settlement...

 became a warrior and leader of the Red Sticks
Red Sticks
Red Sticks is the English term for a traditionalist faction of Creek Indians who led a resistance movement which culminated in the outbreak of the Creek War in 1813....

 in the Creek War. His daughter Ann McQueen married Jose Coppinger. Their daughter Polly became the mother of Osceola, from her marriage with an English trader, William Powell.

In 1814, after the Creek were defeated by forces of General Andrew Jackson, Osceola and his mother moved from Alabama to Florida, together with other Creeks. In adulthood he was given his name Osceola (icon or ˌ). This is an anglicised form of the Creek
Creek language
The Creek language, also known as Muskogee or Muscogee , is a Muskogean language spoken by Muscogee and Seminole people primarily in the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Florida....

 Asi-yahola ; the combination of asi, the ceremonial black drink
Black drink
Black drink was the name given by colonists to a ritual beverage called Asi, brewed by Native Americans in the Southeastern United States...

 made from the yaupon holly
Yaupon Holly
Ilex vomitoria, commonly known as Yaupon or Yaupon Holly, is a species of holly that is native to southeastern North America. The word yaupon was derived from its Catawban name, yopún, which is a diminutive form of the word yop, meaning "tree". Another common name, Cassina, was borrowed from the...

, and yahola, meaning shout or shouter.

Resistance and war leader

In 1832, a few Seminole chiefs signed the Treaty of Payne's Landing
Treaty of Payne's Landing
The Treaty of Payne's Landing was an agreement signed on 9 May 1832 between the government of the United States and several chiefs of the Seminole Indians in the present-day state of Florida.- Background :...

, by which they agreed to give up their Florida lands in exchange for lands west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

. Five of the most important of the Seminole chiefs, including Micanopy of the Alachua Seminoles, did not agree to the move. In retaliation, Native American agent Wiley Thompson
Wiley Thompson
Wiley Thompson was a United States Representative from Georgia.Born in Amelia County, Virginia, Thompson moved to Elberton, Georgia, and served as a commissioner of the Elbert County Academy in 1808...

 declared that those chiefs were removed from their positions. As relations with the Seminoles deteriorated, Thompson forbade the sale of guns and ammunition to the Seminoles. Osceola, a young warrior beginning to rise to prominence, was particularly upset by the ban, as he felt it equated Seminoles with slaves.

Osceola had two wives and at least five children. One of his wives was a black woman, and he fiercely opposed the enslavement of free peoples.(Katz 1986) In spite of this, Thompson considered Osceola to be a friend, and gave him a rifle. Later, though, when Osceola quarreled with Thompson, Thompson had him locked up at Fort King
Fort King
Fort King was a United States military fort in north central Florida. It was named after Colonel William King, commander of Florida's Fourth Infantry and the first governor of the provisional West Florida region. The fort was built in 1827, and became the genesis of the city of Ocala...

 for a night. The next day, to get released, Osceola agreed to abide by the Treaty of Payne's Landing and to bring his followers in. On December 28, 1835 Osceola and his followers ambushed and killed Wiley Thompson and six others outside of Fort King while another group of Seminoles ambushed and wiped out
Dade Massacre
The "Dade Massacre" was an 1835 defeat for the United States Army that started the Second Seminole War, which lasted until 1842.On December 23, 1835, two U.S. companies of 110 troops under Major Francis L. Dade departed from Fort Brooke , heading up the King Highway on a resupply and reinforce...

 a column of US Army troops marching up from Fort Brooke
Fort Brooke
Fort Brooke was a historical military post situated on the east bank of the Hillsborough River in present-day Tampa, Florida. The Tampa Convention Center currently stands at the site.-Fort Brooke as a military outpost:...

 to Fort King
Fort King
Fort King was a United States military fort in north central Florida. It was named after Colonel William King, commander of Florida's Fourth Infantry and the first governor of the provisional West Florida region. The fort was built in 1827, and became the genesis of the city of Ocala...

. These near-simultaneous attacks began the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

.

Captured by deceit

On October 21, 1837, on the orders of U.S. General Thomas Sidney Jesup, Osceola was captured when he arrived for supposed truce negotiations in Fort Payton. He was imprisoned at Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is a city in the northeast section of Florida and the county seat of St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United...

. Osceola's capture by deceit caused a national uproar. General Jesup and the administration were condemned. That December, Osceola and other Seminole prisoners were moved to Fort Moultrie, South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

. They were visited by townspeople.

George Catlin
George Catlin
George Catlin was an American painter, author and traveler who specialized in portraits of Native Americans in the Old West.-Early years:...

 and other prominent painters met him and persuaded him to pose. Robert J. Curtis painted an oil portrait of Osceola as well. These pictures inspired a number of other prints, engravings, and even cigar store figures
Cigar store Indian
The cigar store Indian or wooden Indian is an advertisement figure, in the likeness of an American Indian, made to represent tobacconists, much like: barber poles advertise barber shops; Show globe for an apothecary; or the three gold balls of the pawn shop. The figures are often three-dimensional...

. Afterward numerous landmarks, including Osceola Counties in Florida
Osceola County, Florida
Osceola County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2000, the population was 172,493. The U.S. Census Bureau 2006 estimate for the county is 244,045, making it the 17th fastest-growing county in the United States. Its county seat is Kissimmee.- History :Osceola County was...

, Iowa
Osceola County, Iowa
Osceola County is a county located in the U.S. state of Iowa. It is named for Seminole war chief Osceola. The population was 6,462 in the 2010 census, a decline from 7,003 in the 2000 census. The county seat is Sibley, named for H. H. Sibley of Minnesota....

, and Michigan
Osceola County, Michigan
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 23,197 people, 8,861 households, and 6,415 families residing in the county. The population density was 41 people per square mile . There were 12,853 housing units at an average density of 23 per square mile...

, were named after him, along with Florida's Osceola National Forest
Osceola National Forest
Osceola National Forest is an American National Forest located in Florida.Osceola National Forest was created by President Herbert Hoover's proclamation, on July 10, 1931...

.

Osceola died of malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 on January 30, 1838, less than three months after his capture. He was buried with military honors at Fort Moultrie.

Relics of Osceola

After his death, army doctor Frederick Weedon persuaded Seminoles to allow him to make a death mask
Death mask
In Western cultures a death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face following death. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits...

 of Osceola, as was a custom at the time. Later he removed Osceola's head and embalmed
Embalming
Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for public display at a funeral. The three goals of embalming are thus sanitization, presentation and preservation of a corpse to achieve this...

 it. For some time, he kept it and a number of personal objects Osceola had given him. Captain Pitcairn Morrison took the mask alongside other objects that had belonged to Osceola and sent it to an army officer in Washington. By 1885, the death mask and some of the belongings ended up in the anthropology collection of the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

, where they are still held. Later, Weedon gave the head to his son-in-law Daniel Whitehurst who, in 1843, sent it to Valentine Mott
Valentine Mott
Valentine Mott , American surgeon, was born at Glen Cove, New York.He graduated at Columbia College, studied under Sir Astley Cooper in London, and also spent a winter in Edinburgh. After acting as demonstrator of anatomy he was appointed professor of surgery in Columbia College in 1809...

, a New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 physician. Mott placed it in his collection at the Surgical and Pathological Museum. It was presumably lost when a fire destroyed the museum in 1866.

In 1966, Miami businessman Otis W. Shriver claimed he had dug up Osceola's grave and put his bones in a bank vault to rebury them at a tourist site in the Rainbow Springs. Shriver traveled around the state in 1967 to gather support for his project. Archaeologists later proved that Shriver had dug up animal remains; Osceola's body was still in its coffin. Some of Osceola's belongings remain in the possession of the Weedon family, while others have disappeared.

The Seminole Nation bought Osceola's bandolier
Bandolier
A bandolier or a bandoleer is a pocketed belt for holding ammunition. It was usually slung over the chest. In its original form, it was common issue to soldiers from the 16th to 18th centuries. This was very useful for quickly reloading a musket....

 and other personal items from a Sotheby's
Sotheby's
Sotheby's is the world's fourth oldest auction house in continuous operation.-History:The oldest auction house in operation is the Stockholms Auktionsverk founded in 1674, the second oldest is Göteborgs Auktionsverk founded in 1681 and third oldest being founded in 1731, all Swedish...

 auction in 1979. Because of his significance, people have created forgeries of Osceola's items, and rumors persist about his head.

In literature

  • Light a Distant Fire
    Light a Distant Fire
    Light a Distant Fire is a 1988 historical novel by Lucia St. Clair Robson that fictionalizes the story of the Second Seminole War, Andrew Jackson, and the charismatic leader Osceola, warchief of the Seminole tribe..-Plot introduction:...

    (1988) by Lucia St. Clair Robson
    Lucia St. Clair Robson
    -Literary biography:Lucia St. Clair Robson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida. She has been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Venezuela, a teacher in New York City, and a librarian in Annapolis, Maryland. She has also lived in Japan, South Carolina, and Arizona...

  • In the Wilds of Florida: A Tale of Warfare and Hunting (1880) by William Henry G. Kingston.
  • Freedom Land: A Novel by Martin L. Marcus. In Marcus's story, Osceola is born Billy Powell, the son of a respected British officer and his Creek consort.
  • Osceola (1858) by Thomas Mayne Reid
    Thomas Mayne Reid
    Thomas Mayne Reid , was an Irish-American novelist. "Captain" Reid wrote many adventure novels akin to those written by Frederick Marryat and Robert Louis Stevenson. He was a great admirer of Lord Byron...

    .
  • Nature Girl, by novelist Carl Hiaasen
    Carl Hiaasen
    Carl Hiaasen is an American journalist, columnist and novelist.- Early years :Born in 1953 and raised in Plantation, Florida, of Norwegian heritage, Hiaasen was the first of four children and the son of a lawyer, Kermit Odel, and teacher, Patricia...

     gives an abbreviated history of Osceola's capture and imprisonment.
  • The Patriot Chiefs (1993) A Chronicle of American Indian Resistance-page 177
  • Captive by Heather Graham
    Heather Graham Pozzessere
    Heather Graham Pozzessere is a best-selling US writer, who writes primarily romance novels...

     (1996) A historical fiction romance novel which features Osceola as one of the main protagonists.
  • War Chief of the Seminoles (1954) by May McNeer. Part of the Landmark Books series for children.
  • Osceola, Häuptling der Seminole-Indianer (1963) by Ernie Hearting, poignant novel in German based on historical sources.
  • Osceola His Capture and Seminole Legends (2010) by William Ryan, Old Kings Road Press, Flagler Beach Florida. New information on white flag capture site south of St. Augustine FL on Old Kings Road, new image of Osceola wife and son, based on historical sources, includes photographs and maps of locations.
  • Osceola was an early pen name used by Danish author, Karen Blixen ("Out of Africa," "Seven Gothic Tales," "Winter's Tales," et al.) who also published under the better known nom de plume, Isak Dinesen.

In film

  • In the mid-1930s Nathanael West
    Nathanael West
    Nathanael West was a US author, screenwriter and satirist.- Early life :...

     wrote a 17-page treatment entitled Osceola, but failed to sell it to a studio.
  • Naked in the Sun (1957), the life of Osceola and the Second Seminole War.
  • Osceola – Die rechte Hand der Vergeltung (1971) by Konrad Petzold, an East German western with Gojko Mitić
    Gojko Mitic
    Gojko Mitić is a Serbian director, actor, stuntman, and author. He lives in Berlin....

     as the Native American hero.
  • Dennis Cross
    Dennis Cross
    Dennis Cross was an American actor who was the lead star of the syndicated television series The Blue Angels, fictional stories of daredevil United States Navy pilots which aired from 1960-1961...

     (1924–1991) played Osceola in the film The Osceola Story.
  • Seminole
    Seminole (film)
    Seminole is a 1953 American western film directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Rock Hudson and Anthony Quinn. Much of the film was shot in the Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.-Plot:...

     (1953), Highly fictionalized American western film directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Rock Hudson and Anthony Quinn as Osceola.

In music

  • The song "Seminole Wind
    Seminole Wind (song)
    "Seminole Wind" is the title of a song written and recorded by country music artist John Anderson. It was released in August 1992 as the fourth single from the album of the same name. It peaked at #2 on the United States Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, and reached number-one on the...

    ", the title track of the album by John Anderson
    John Anderson (musician)
    John David Anderson is an American country music artist with a successful career that has lasted more than 30 years...

    , makes references to hearing the ghost of Osceola. The song has been covered by James Taylor
    James Taylor
    James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000....

    .

In Popular Culture

  • Chief Osceola and Renegade
    Chief Osceola and Renegade
    Chief Osceola and Renegade are the official symbols of the Florida State University Seminoles. During home football games at Florida State, Chief Osceola, portraying the Seminole leader Osceola, charges down the field at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium riding an appaloosa horse named...

     represent the Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State Seminoles
    The Florida State Seminoles are the men's and women's sports teams of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State participates in the NCAA's Division I . FSU joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1991, and competes in the Atlantic Division in any sports split into a...

     football team. Before every game a student, dressed as Osceola, rides out onto the field and plants a flaming spear at the 50-yard line. The use of Osceola and Renegade as a symbol is supported by the Seminole Tribe of Florida
    Seminole Tribe of Florida
    The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a federally recognized Seminole tribe based in the U.S. state of Florida. Together with the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, it is one of three federally recognized Seminole entities...

    .
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK