In 1834 the Pakana Muskogee Indians, a branch of the Muskogee or Creek Indian group, entered Texas and established a village near the site of present Onalaska in western Polk County. The Pakana Muskogees had lived near the Alabama and Coushatta Indians in the vicinity of Fort Toulouse, a few miles north of Montgomery, Alabama, and moved to Louisiana shortly after 1763. Dr. John Sibley, Indian agent for the United States, reported in 1805 that approximately 150 Pakana Muskogees were living on Calcasieu Bayou, forty miles southwest of Natchitoches, Louisiana. An early chief of the Pakana Muskogees, John Blount, received a silver medal for his services as a guide for Gen. Andrew Jackson during the Seminole War in Florida. After the death of John Blount while enroute to Texas in 1834, this medal was passed to subsequent chiefs of the tribe: David Ellett, Bill Blount, John Blount (grandson of the earlier chief with the same name), and Alex Davis. In 1834 the Pakana Muskogees moved to a site on Penwau Slough two miles east of its junction with the Trinity River in the area of present Polk County. This location was on a high hill, generally believed to be the peninsula that extends into Lake Livingston and is known as Indian Hill. John Burgess, a Frenchman who purchased 640 acres of land along Kickapoo Creek, married a member of the Pakana Muskogees and later invited the other tribal members to move to the Burgess Survey. This property was inherited by Burgess's wife and subsequently by other members of the tribe and became the permanent home of the Pakana Muskogees in Polk County. In 1859 Texas Governor Hardin R. Runnels appointed James Barclay to serve as agent for the Muskogees, as well as for the Alabamas and Coushattas who lived in Polk County. Responsibility for the Muskogees was included also in the duties of agents appointed for the Polk County Indians in 1861–65, 1867, 1868, and 1872. On November 12, 1866, the Texas legislature passed an act granting the Polk County Muskogees 320 acres of land. Unfortunately for the Muskogees, this land was never purchased, and they continued to live on the John Burgess Survey. The population of this Pakana Muskogee community declined slowly almost from the date of the tribe's first appearance in Polk County: fifty were counted in 1859; forty-two were reported in 1882. Illness and absorption by the nearby Alabamas and Coushattas probably were the main reasons for the Muskogee's decreasing population. In 1899, persuaded by Creek Indians from Oklahoma, John Blount and many of the Polk County Muskogees went to the Creek Nation in Oklahoma to live. Only a few-less than ten-Pakana Muskogees remained in their settlement on the John Burgess Survey.
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Ralph Henry Marsh, The History of Polk County, Texas, Indians (M.A. thesis, Sul Ross State Teachers College, 1941). John R. Swanton, Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 73 (Washington: GPO, 1922). John R. Swanton, The Indians of the Southeastern United States (Washington: GPO, 1946). John R. Swanton, The Indian Tribes of North America (Gross Pointe, Michigan: Scholarly Press, 1968). Dorman H. Winfrey and James M. Day, eds., Texas Indian Papers (4 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1959–61; rpt., 5 vols., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Howard N. Martin,
“Pakana Muskogee Indians,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 26, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 1, 1995