Gayusuta and Washington

Gayusuta and Washington

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Captivity Narrative: Hannah Hale and the Far Off Warrior

Many captivity narratives have come down to us because the person chose to write about them, Mary Rowlandson or Mary Jemison, for instance.  Other stories endure because someone else thought them important.  In this case, the writer was Benjamin Hawkins, the United States Indian Agent to the Creek, whom we've already run across in a previous post.  It is in his writings and memoirs by descendants that we get a brief glimpse of a young woman who chose to make her life with her captors and raise a family with one of them, rather than return to White society.

The warrior in question was Tustunegge Hopayi, which means "Far Warrior" in Muscogee.  How he got this name or why remains unclear.  He also held the honorific Harjo, which was a testament to his recklessness in battle.  During the American Revolutionary War he was an implacable enemy of the Americans and fought on the side of the British.  During a raid in George in 1777 in which several American prisoners were taken, they included a young girl about 10 or 11 years old.  Her name was Hannah Hale and she was assigned to a Creek family.  A girl that age was too young to marry and Tustunegge Hopayi had other things on his mind.  He quickly rose through the ranks among the Muscogee, becoming leader of the Lower Creeks, who were more traditionally friendly with the Settlers.  He would come to know both Alexander McGillivray and Benjamin Hawkins very well. 

Years later, in 1799, Hawkins would visit Hopayi's village and meet his wife Hannah and her five children.  When and how she and Hopayi decided to marry, whether it was a love match or one of necessity, we will never know.  Likely, Hannah and Hopayi wouldn't have thought that anybody's business.  Her husband took part in the Creek War of 1813-14, fighting on the side of the Americans, as did her two sons, Samuel and David.  Later, they would petition for land allotments based on part on their service during the Creek War and having been the sons of a Creek head man.  Hopayi died in 1832 and Hannah remained with her family in his village, the Agent at that time giving orders that no one was to cause her any problems if she chose to stay.  Nevertheless, her family were removed during the Trail of Tears, with at least one of her sons, David, dying along the way.  Where Hannah herself died or was buried is uncertain. 


  1. I'm a descendent of their daughter, Jennie Hale Strickland. This is all very interesting.