Collections › MESDA Collection › Tomochachi Mico (c.1644-1739) and his nephew Tooanahowi (c.1719-1743)

Tomochachi Mico (c.1644-1739) and his nephew Tooanahowi (c.1719-1743)

Faber, John __Engraver ||Verelst, William __After
Place Made:
London Great Britain
Date Made:
ink on paper
HOA: 13 3/4; WOA: 8 3/4
Accession Number:
When James Oglethorpe (1696-1785) landed in Georgia in 1733 he worked to quickly cement a friendship with the Creek Indians. Oglethorpe established a particularly close relationship with Tomo Chachi Mico, King of the Yamacraw, part of the Creek nation. Tomo Chachi Mico and his nephew Tooanahowi accompanied Oglethorpe back to London in 1734.

In London Tomo Chachi Mico and his nephew met the Trustees of the Georgia colony. That meeting is recorded in group portrait by the artist William Verelst now in the collection of the Winterthur Museum (acc. 1956.0567a). The pair also sat for a portrait, now lost, by Verelst.

The two Georgia natives were a sensation in London, and soon after the portrait was completed it was engraved by John Faber. Though we know the men dressed in both English and native clothing while in London, they are depicted here in native clothing against an tropical background. Tomo Chachi Mico wears a deerskin cape over his shoulder, perhaps a symbol of the valuable deerskin trade with the English that the Creeks were engaged in. Tooanahowi holds an American bald eagle, a native symbol of peace and an example of the fauna of the new world. The delegation brought such an eagle with them as a gift to the King.

Curator Margaret Pritchard has suggested that a contemporaneous print of Oglethorpe might have been based on a portrait by Verelst done at the same time as Tomo Chachi Mico’s. Pritchard speculates that there may be a symbolic relationship between the two images with Oglethorpe’s ermine cape echoing Tomo Chachi Mico’s one of deerskin. History records a close friendship between the men. When Tomo Chachi Mico died in 1739 he was given an English military funeral.

OTHER EDITIONS: A similar engraving appeared as the frontispiece of Samuel Urlsperger’s Ausfuhrliche Nachtricht von den Saltzburgischen Emigranten, published at Halle, Germany in 1744.

RELATED OBJECTS: Engraving of James Oglethorpe (MESDA acc. 2024.63)
A Map of the County of Savannah after James Edward Oglethorpe (MESDA acc. 3566)
A View of Savannah as it Stood… by George and Noble Jones (MESDA Acc. 5497)

British Museum (1902,1011.1905)
John Carter Brown Library (01623)
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (2004-42)
Yale University Art Gallery (1946.6.763)

DESCRIPTION: Mezzotint copperplate engraving of a man and a boy. Man wears a neck scarf, an earring, and a fur wrap. His face and chest have skin markings. The boy wears a neck scarf. The man faces front with his right hand on his hip. The boy faces front and holds an eagle in front of him.

Credit Line:
Purchase Fund