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 months. Survivors continued into the Verdigris and Fall River valleys where help was promised at Fort Row in Wilson Co. Others were directed to Ft. Belmont in Woodson Co. Disease claimed many. Word
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.
Location. 38° 5.03′ N, 95° 38.012′ W. Marker is in LeRoy, Kansas, in Coffey County. Marker is on Main Street north of Kansas Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in the Opothleyahola Memorial Building in the City Park. Marker is in this post office area: Le Roy KS 66857, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as
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.)
Categories. • Disasters • Native Americans • Patriots & Patriotism • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 1, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 238 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 1, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.