Seminole Leaders

OSCEOLA
Black Drink Singer

His name was Osceola, or Asi-Yaholo, which came from asi, a drink containing caffeine, and Yaholo, a cry shouted by men who served asi during tribal ceremonies. He was born in a Creek Indian village near the Tallapoosa River in what is now eastern Alabama.

Osceola was among many Creeks who retreated to Florida after the Creek War (1813-1814) and joined the Seminoles. During the 1820s, Osceola became known as a successful hunter and war leader. His warriors defeated U.S. troops in several battles early in the Second Seminole War.

In 1837, Osceola met U.S. troops under a flag of truce to discuss peace. But Gen. Thomas Jesup ordered his capture and imprisoned him. Osceola died soon afterward in Fort Moultrie near Charleston, S.C.

Many Americans were outraged by Jesup's trickery and the Army's reputation fell sharply. Osceola, however, won widespread respect, and several towns and counties were named after him.

Although he was not a chief, Osceola's ability and fiery spirit made him the symbol of resistance and a key leader in the Second Seminole War. He was captured while under a "flag of truce". Osceola died in 1838 while imprisoned at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina.

TUKO-SEE MATHLA (John Hicks)

This Seminole chief once saved a number of white men from being killed after they had been taken prisoner. When he supported the plan to move the Native Americans west he was killed by dissenting Seminoles.


MICANOPY (Head Chief)

As one of the most important chiefs in Florida, Micanopy fought against removal until the pressure of thousands of troops, disease, and starvation wiped out his band of warriors.


NEAMATHLA

Neamathla, considered a man of eloquence and influence among the Seminoles, advised his people not to accept the government plan to move. Governor William DuVal deposed him by refusing to recognize him as a chief of the Seminoles.


BILLY BOWLEGS AND HIS WIFE

Billy Bowlegs was the principal Seminole leader in the Third Seminole War (1855-1858). Bowlegs and his war-weary band surrendered on May 7, 1858. Thirty-eight warriors and eighty-five women and children, including Billy's wife, boarded the steamer, Grey Cloud, at Egmont Key to begin their journey to Indian territory. Bowlegs died soon after his arrival.