Collections › MESDA Collection › Mistippee

Mistippee

Artist/Maker:
Bowen, J. T. __Lithographer ||Inman, Henry __After ||King, Charles Bird __After ||Greenough, F.W. __Publisher ||McKenney, Thomas Loraine __author ||Hall, James __author
Place Made:
Philadelphia Pennsylvania United States of America
Date Made:
1842
Medium:
paper –ink
Dimensions:
HOA 19-13/16″; WOA 13-13/16″
Accession Number:
5507.1
Description:
In late 1825 a delegation of Creek headmen visited Washington, D.C., in an attempt to renegotiate the Treaty of Indian Springs. That treaty, negotiated by Tuntunnugee Hutkee (also called William McIntosh) (1775-1825), sold more than five-million acres of communal Creek land in what is now Georgia.

Among the delegates were Yoholo Micco and his son Mistippee. Yoholo Micco was the principal chief of Eufaula, an Upper Creek Town located on the Tallapoosa River. According to McKenney, his name was the result of, “(his) parents… having decided on rearing him after the fashions of their white neighbors, bestowed upon him the very ancient and respectable appellation of Benjamin, from which soon arose the usual abbreviation of Ben and Benny, which the young chief bore during the halcyon days of infancy. To this familiar name, respect for his family soon prefixed the title of Mr.; and, in the mouths of the Indians, Mr. Ben soon became Mistiben, and finally Mistippee the original Benjamin being lost in the superior euphony of that very harmonious word mister.”

Though the delegation succeeded in renegotiating aspects of the Treaty of Indian Springs, they could not forestall eventual white encroachment on their lands. Under Andrew Jackson the Creek were moved west to Oklahoma. During that journey many died, including Yoholo-Micco, Mistippee’s father.

For more information on the Treaty of Indian Springs and the 1825-1826 Creek Delegation to Washington see: Kathryn Braund, “McKenney and Hall Portrait Gallery: Creek Treaty Delegation to Washington, 1825-1826”, Auburn University, http://www.cla.auburn.edu/cah/assets/File/McKenney%20and%20Hall%20Booklet.pdf

During the nineteenth century native tribes routinely sent delegations to Washington, D.C., to negotiate with the American government. In 1816 Thomas Lorraine McKenney (1785-1859) was appointed the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. McKenney was eager to record the delegations and their distinctive dress for posterity. He engaged artists such as Charles Bird King (1785-1862), James Otto Lewis (1799-1858), and George Cooke (1793-1849) to paint portraits of these visitors to Washington.

President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was critical of McKenney and his sympathetic treatment of America’s native peoples. In 1830 he removed McKenney from office. Following his dismissal McKenney arranged to have the portraits secretly copied by the artist Henry Inman (1801-1846) and taken to Philadelphia for engraving. McKenney partnered with the author James Hall (1793-1868) and the first volume of “History of the Indian Tribes of North America” was published in 1836. Two more folio-sized volumes would follow.

Eventually the original portraits by King, Lewis, and Cooke, were be deposited in the Smithsonian Institution. A fire at the Smithsonian in 1865 destroyed the vast majority of the original works on which McKenney and Hall’s prints were based.

RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA owns the original portrait of Mistippee by Charles Bird King. This is one of the few paintings commissioned by McKenney to survive (3543). MESDA also owns three other prints from this book: Mistippee’s father Yoholo-Micco (5507.2); and Cherokee Chief Major Ridge (5507.3) and his son John Ridge (5507.4).

DESCRIPTION: Hand colored lithograph on paper of Mistippee; taken from original print by James Otto Lewis, and later painted by Charles Bird King. Three-quarter view of Mistippee standing with right elbow propped on a rock. He holds three arrows with red and white feathers, and his bow in his right hand. His dark hair is short with slight curls around his ears and neck. His face is painted with two rows of black dots running from his forehead to his jawbone; divided by a single row of red dots; having a central red dot between his eyes, surrounded by smaller blue dots; he has swatches of gray on his forehead and underneath his eyes. Mistippee is wearing a white collared shirt with ruffled sleeves, underneath his Native American shirt. The decorative shirt has yellow vertical stripes with blue and red decorative trim; also having a red and blue diamonds on the shoulders. The bottom has red triangular shaped trim. He is wearing a apron/sash-like garment, which is tied around his waist; predominately red with a navy and red trim and tie with navy tassels.

History:
This print was bound between pages 19-22 in volume 2 of Thomas Lorraine McKenney and James Hall’s “History of the Indian Tribes of North American” in 1842.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund