Born in the tribal town, Tuckabatchee, Alabama, in the late 1700s, Upper Creek Leader Opothleyahola demonstrated leadership as a youth, was later cited by three Presidents for his enduring struggle to win freedom for his people. Forced from Alabama and Georgia after the sale of Creek land by Lower Creeks, he led his people to Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears.
Yahola staunchly refused alliance with the Confederacy at the coming of the white man's Civil War. Encouraged by Union officials, he led thousands of dissidents with families toward free-state Kansas. Among the Union loyalists were Seminole, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Uchee, Quapaw, Keechi, So. Shawnee and So. Delaware, plus hundreds of Blacks, some of whom had been their slaves. Twice they repulsed attacks by pro-Confederate Indians and whites. Yahola and his followers proceeded in their Great Escape northward in bitterly cold December 1861. Defeated in the third attack at Chustenahal (Bird's Creek), they fled into Kansas leaving a trail of blood on ice, without adequate clothing, shelter, food or livestock. Winter was so severe, 10% of the refugees died within three
At LeRoy 1,000 Braves, including a significant number of Blacks, were inducted into the Union Army, the 1st Indian Home Guard Regiment. They marched four abreast to Humboldt's Camp Hunter, Allen Co., in spring 1862. White officers strongly opposed their service. To aid dialogue, some of the Blacks acted as interpreters. Failing to provide troop supplies humanely, Col. Weer was court-martialed in the field. Under new leadership, the Reg. fought border battles to the south. Supt. Coffin was told Indian troops had done more service, with less thanks, than any part of our army.
Yahola died a hero in 1863 and was buried with honors beside his daughter in Woodson Co. His impassioned speech to his followers in support of the Union remains an inspiration for us today.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Disasters • Native Americans • War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is December 1861.
Location. 38° 5.03′ N, 95° 38.012′ W. Marker is in LeRoy
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Founding of LeRoy, Kansas (within shouting distance of this marker); History of LeRoy, Kansas (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Coffey County Fair (approx. 9.2 miles away); Coffey County Fairgrounds (approx. 9.3 miles away); 8 Elements of Kansas Exploring (approx. 9˝ miles away); Coffey County Veterans Memorial Park (approx. 9˝ miles away); Burlington, Kansas (approx. 9˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in LeRoy.
Also see . . .
1. Opothleyahola. (Submitted on January 1, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Opothleyahola. (Submitted on January 1, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. "Chief Opothleyahola" article in Chronicles of Oklahoma (1931). (Submitted on January 1, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 1, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 449 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 1, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.