In 1773, the famous American naturalist William Bartram returned to the southeast portion of what is now the United States. The region was a more dangerous place than he realized. American “patriots” from Georgia were making troublesome border raids into East Florida. Many of the English plantations were owned in absentia, and the lives of the resident managers were, as Bartram knew from personal experience, isolated. Indian groups far outnumbered white residents in the Floridas, and they were becoming increasingly hostile. With an estimated 4,500 warriors, the Lower Creeks seriously impeded any colonial presence in the East Florida interior. In West Florida, the Confederacy of Muscogulges, the dominant force within the Upper Creeks, controlled the wide area from eastern Georgia to central Alabama. These bands of Creeks, feeling the pressures of European slavers, frontiersmen, and colonists, moved south to occupy the vacated territories of the Apalachee, Timucua, and other decimated north Florida cultures.1 As Bartram noted, these newly arrived Florida residents sometimes farmed sites occupied by earlier groups that were victims of European disease and slavery.2 Often they founded new towns proximal to the ancient earthworks of previous inhabitants.
Porter, Charlotte M.
"William Bartram's Travels in the Indian Nations,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 70:
4, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol70/iss4/4