Centered by the 1810s in the Alabama River Valley, the Upper Creeks were led by the determined Opothleyahola. Though not engulfed in the Yamasee War of a century before, they held conservative, traditionalist beliefs with little interest in assimilating into American culture or embracing American institutions. To the east in Georgia along the Chattahoochee, Ocmulgee, and Flint Rivers, lived the Lower Creeks, who had their own strong leader, William McIntosh. Ironically, though desperate foes of the English and proto-Americans in the Yamasee War, they now possessed a more “progressive" philosophy and favored adoption of most American ways, including education, commerce, technology, and the Christian faith.The philosophical divide between the Upper and Lower Creeks exploded into violent civil war in the Red Stick War (1813-14).
Influenced by the great Shawnee chief and war captain Tecumseh, Opothleyahola simultaneously led the Upper Creeks (Red Sticks, for their red war clubs and their shamans’ supposed magical red sticks) into a disastrous alliance with the British during America’s second war with Britain, the War of 1812. The Lower Creeks, meanwhile, sided with the American colonists. This conflict, incited by atrocities such as the Upper Creek massacre of nearly 250 white settlers and Lower Creek men, women, and children at Fort Mims, near Mobile, Alabama, culminated in the Upper Creeks’ bloody defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. The victorious American forces in that famous fight included General and future President Andrew Jackson, future “Father of Texas” Sam Houston, the Cherokees, the Choctaws, and most of the Lower Creeks.
After their landmark pummeling at Horseshoe Bend, the Upper Creeks retreated to a more subtle rejection of American ways. But their anger and bitterness at those—and the Lower Creeks support of them-simmered, to flash into bloodshed again later. The United States government The Creeks voted in a death did more
penalty for any tribesman than simmer. who attempted to sell Creek They forced land to white settlers. the Creeks to cede twenty-two million acres of land in Alabama and Georgia and then pressured them to move west.
All this triggered long-term as well as shortterm consequences for the tribe. It turned the majority of Creeks so strongly against further land cessions, including an exchange for lands out west, that they determined to give up no more land to the Americans. They also voted in a death penalty for any tribesman who attempted to sell Creek land to white settlers. Sadly, opinions on the land issue were not unanimous within the tribe.
“Red Stick” Upper Creeks massacring white settlers, Lower Creeks, and militia in 1813 at Fort Mims, near Mobile, Alabama. Such bloodshed led to the Upper Creeks’ crushing defeat by the U. S. and its Indian allies at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814
Read the entire Oklahoma story in John J. Dwyer's Media
The Oklahomans: The Story of Oklahoma and Its People
volume 1 of a 2-part series on the 46th state and the people who make this state very special.
John Dwyer's Oklahoma History
Author John Dwyer takes us on a voyage through time, to discover Oklahoma is ways we've never fully understood.
The hardbound pictorial of volume 1 is available for a limited time at up to 40% off, using this link.
Novelist and Oklahoma native Ralph Ellison said, "You have to leave home to find home", an apt description of the journey of John Dwyer, author and general editor of The Oklahomans. The Dwyer family roots were firmly transplanted from Ireland to Oklahoma by John's great-grandfather and grandfather, the latter who settled in Oklahoma City in 1909, just two years after Oklahoma achieved statehood. Although born in Dallas, TX, John was relocated to Oklahoma when his widowed mother returned to her home when he was two years old.
It would be on Oklahoma soil that his mother instilled in him his love for history, and coupled with his unusually creative imagination, it soon became apparent that John not only liked to hear great stories of legend and history, but to make up his own as well. It would be out of a sense of divine purpose that he would use that creativity in response to a higher calling in the years to come.
John began a career in journalism during his high school days when he served in a variety of roles, including news and sports reporter, for the Duncan Banner, a daily newspaper in his small Oklahoma hometown. He was the youngest sports editor in the newspaper's history by the time he attended the University of Oklahoma on a journalism scholarship. He graduated in 1978 with a bachelor of arts and sciences degree in journalism.
Dwyer further developed his journalistic skills in radio as a play‐by‐play football and basketball announcer for several radio stations. He won the coveted position of sports director for the University of Oklahoma's 100,000 watt KGOU‐FM radio station. For seven years, he provided live, on‐air reports to America's largest radio networks of University of Oklahoma college football games.
Except for a year in England during 6th grade, John lived in the Sooner State for 28 years before returning to Dallas in 1986 to attend Dallas Theological Seminary where he earned his Master of Biblical Studies. While there, Dwyer worked part time on the sports staff of The Dallas Times Herald, which at the time owned one of the five largest circulations of any daily newspaper in Texas. It was in Texas that he also met and married his wife Grace in 1988 and settled down to start his family.
In the spring of 1992, Dwyer and his wife founded the Dallas‐Fort Worth Heritage newspaper, which would grow to a circulation of 50,000 per month at the time of its sale, after nearly a decade, to new owners. The Heritage pioneered innovative features such as full color photography and graphics, an expansive web site, a cluster of informative daily radio programs, and an aggressive, uncompromising brand of investigative news reporting unprecedented for contemporary news publications holding an
orthodox Christian worldview.
In 2006, at the urging of his family and the Oklahoma Historical Society, John returned to Oklahoma to tackle the colossal task of writing "The Oklahomans," which was endorsed as an official project of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission. He has completed volume 1 (Ancient‐Statehood) and a portion of volume 2 (Statehood‐Present), which releases in November 2018.
He is now an Adjunct Professor of History and Ethics at Southern Nazarene University. He is former history chair at Coram Deo Academy, near Dallas, Texas. His books include the non‐fiction historical narrative "The War Between the States: America's Uncivil War" (Western Conservatory), the novel "When the Bluebonnets Come" (Bluebonnet Press), the historical novels "Stonewall" and "Robert E. Lee" (Broadman & Holman Publishers), and the upcoming historical novels "Shortgrass" and "Mustang" (Oghma Creative Media).
John and Grace have one daughter and one grandson and live in Norman, Oklahoma. They are members of the First Baptist Church of Norman, where they serve in a variety of teaching, mission, and other ministry roles.