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Tomochichi Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Claire DeSaussure

Claire has worked in behavioral programs at the Elementary Level and has an MLS with a focus on Creative Writing.

Tomochichi was a Native American leader of the Yamacraw people. He gave land to James Oglethorpe, and that land is where Savannah, Georgia, sits today.

Tomochichi a Peacemaker

Could you imagine being told to leave your town and you could never come back? How would it make you feel? Feeling sad or angry would probably be a normal reaction, right? Well this is what happened to Tomochichi! But, instead of being angry about being asked to leave his tribe, Tomochichi created a new tribe and decided to help others lead peaceful lives. Let's learn more about Tomochichi's life!

Tomochichi's Life

Tomochichi was born in about 1644, although no one really knows for sure, because it was such a long time ago and Native American tribes didn't keep those kind of records. Historians also don't know what kind of problem caused Tomochichi to be told to leave the Creek tribe, but they think it might have been an argument about how to get along with the Spanish and English who were moving into Georgia.

Tomochichi had a following of people in his tribe who had also been exiled (told to leave), and people from the Yamasee tribe who had disagreed with their chiefs. With about 200 people, he formed a new tribe called the Yamacraw and created a home on the banks of the Savannah River. Tomochichi could have been angry and waged war on the other tribes, but he chose peace instead.

A Drawing of Tomochichi

Choosing Peace

In 1733, an English general named James Oglethorpe arrived in the area where the Yamacraw lived. Oglethorpe immediately knew that this place would make an ideal place for his group to build a town, but he was afraid of how the Native American people would feel about it. He decided to try to treat the people fairly and went to talk to Tomochichi.

Tomochichi did not speak English, but James Oglethorpe had Mary Musgrove with him. Mary's mother was a member of the Creek tribe and her father was English, because of this Mary was able to translate. Tomochichi and Oglethorpe both wanted to live peacefully. Tomochichi allowed Oglethorpe to build the town of Savannah and helped the English establish their colony.

Tomochichi Goes to England

I don't know if you've ever been on an airplane, but the journeys are often bumpy and there isn't much room. In about 1735, Tomochichi went with Oglethorpe to England on a sailing ship. At this time, Tomochichi would have been about 90 years old.

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