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Ar-pi-uck-i (Sam Jones)

Ar-pi-uck-i (Sam Jones)

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Ar-pi-uck-i, also known as Sam Jones, (born ca. 1760, Georgia, died ca. 1860, Florida) was a powerful spiritual alektca (medicine chief
Medicine man
"Medicine man" or "Medicine woman" are English terms used to describe traditional healers and spiritual leaders among Native American and other indigenous or aboriginal peoples...

) and war chief of the Miccosukee
The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida are a federally recognized Native American tribe in the U.S. state of Florida. They were part of the Seminole nation until the mid-20th century, when they organized as an independent tribe, receiving federal recognition in 1962...

, a Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

-Muscogee Creek tribe of the Southeast United States. Ar-pi-uck-i successfully defied the U.S. government and refused to remove to the Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

 west of the Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and his influential leadership in the Second Seminole War
Seminole Wars
The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were three conflicts in Florida between the Seminole — the collective name given to the amalgamation of various groups of native Americans and Black people who settled in Florida in the early 18th century — and the United States Army...

 (1835–1842) resulted in the permanent Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 presence in Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...



The phonetic spelling of his name varies to include: Aripeka, Aripeika, Opoica, Arpeika, Abiaka, Apiaka, Apeiaka, Appiaca, Appiacca, Apayaka Hadjo (Crazy Rattlesnake). The name is derivative of the Muscogee word, Abihka, the name of an ancient Muscogee town near the upper Coosa River
Coosa River
The Coosa River is a tributary of the Alabama River in the U.S. states of Alabama and Georgia. The river is about long altogether.The Coosa River is one of Alabama's most developed rivers...

, meaning "pile at the base" or "heap at the root." The name was conferred on the town because "in the contest for supremacy its warriors heaped up a pile of scalps, covering the base of the war-pole."


The treaties
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 with the U.S. to which Ar-pi-uck-i was a signatory
A signature is a handwritten depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a signature is a signatory. Similar to a handwritten signature, a signature work describes the work as readily identifying...

 were Treaty of Payne’s Landing
Treaty of Payne's Landing
The Treaty of Payne's Landing was an agreement signed on 9 May 1832 between the government of the United States and several chiefs of the Seminole Indians in the present-day state of Florida.- Background :...

 (Treaty with the Seminole, 1832), May 9, 1832, and Treaty of Fort Gibson, On The Arkansas River With The Seminole (Treaty with the Seminole, 1833) March 28, 1833 signed by proxy through Tokose Mathla (aka John Hicks), the representative of Ar-pi-uck-i, who traveled to view the proposed relocation lands in the Indian Territory. Signatures were coerced by force of threat. Ar-pi-uck-i was opposed to the relocation.

Second Seminole War 1835-1842

Battle of Lake Okeechobee
Battle of Lake Okeechobee
The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was one of the major battles of the Second Seminole War. It was fought between 800 troops of the 1st, 4th, and 6th Infantry Regiments and 132 Missouri Volunteers and between 380 and 480 Seminoles led by Billy Bowlegs, Abiaca and Alligator on December 25, 1837...

- Col. Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

 led 1032 troops against the Creek and Miccosukee, December 25, 1837, near the mouth of Taylor Creek and Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee , locally referred to as The Lake or The Big O, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest freshwater lake contained entirely within the lower 48 states...

 and suffered a defeat. Taylor lost 26 killed and 112 wounded. Ar-pi-uck-i was the leading war chief for the Miccosukee and he carefully formulated and executed his battle plan wisely, entrenched on dry, treed ground, pressing the attack, and losing only 8 (11) and 14 wounded. Then he and his men retired into the swamp. Taylor chose to charge across open water. After the battle Col. Zachary Taylor and the U.S. claimed victory and then fell back a considerable distance towards Tampa. The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was Florida’s most significant and bloody battle of the Second Seminole war and a major victory for the Seminoles.

The battlefield was listed in the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in the 1960s, later became a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

, and is recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation
National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is an American member-supported organization that was founded in 1949 by congressional charter to support preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods through a range of programs and activities, including the publication of Preservation...

 as one of the top endangered historical sites in the U.S.

Battle of Jupiter Inlet
Battle of Jupiter Inlet
The Battle of Jupiter Inlet was fought in Florida at Jupiter Inlet on January 15, 1838. A United States Navy led boat expedition to the Everglades was defeated by Seminole warriors in a small battle. It began when the expedition of 200 soldiers, sailors and marines under Lieutenant Levin M. Powell...

- On January 15, 1838, Lt. Levin M. Powell of the U. S. Navy was sent by General Jesup
Thomas Jesup
Brigadier General Thomas Sidney Jesup, USA was an American military officer known as the "Father of the Modern Quartermaster Corps". He was born in Berkeley County, West Virginia. He began his military career in 1808, and served in the War of 1812, seeing action in the battles of Chippewa and...

 to explore the southwest fork of the Loxahatchee River. Powell's force of fifty-five sailors and twenty-five soldiers engaged Ar-pi-uck-i and his band at Jupiter Inlet. Powell lost five men killed and twenty-two wounded.

Battle of Pine Island Ridge - During the Second Seminole War (1835–1842) in the Battle of Pine Island Ridge, March 22, 1838, Ar-pi-uck-i led an unknown number of Seminoles against 223 Tennessee Volunteer Militia and 38 U.S. regular troops led by Major William Lauderdale. The Battle of Pine Island Ridge, in which the soldiers were forced to attack the Pine Island Ridge hammock through waist deep water while being fired upon from the cover of the island, was a victory for the Seminoles. This battle was U.S. retaliation for the Cooley Massacre of January 6, 1836, in which approximately twenty Seminoles attacked the home of William Cooley
William Cooley
William Cooley was one of the first American settlers, and a regional leader, in what is now known as Broward County, in the U.S. state of Florida. His family was killed by Seminoles in 1836, during the Second Seminole War...

 in the trading settlement on the New River, which was eight miles distant from the Pine Island Ridge hammock, and the killing Mrs. Cooley, the Cooley children, and another New River resident Joseph Flinton, the children's tutor. The Seminoles then looted and burned the Cooley farm, but did not attack other New River residents.

In 1841, the year before the close of the Seminole War, Aripeka occupied the region near the mouth of the Kissimee River and the eastern border of Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee , locally referred to as The Lake or The Big O, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest freshwater lake contained entirely within the lower 48 states...


Personal life

Arpiucki moved into the area of Big Cypress Swamp after the Third Seminole War of 1855-1858
Seminole Wars
The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were three conflicts in Florida between the Seminole — the collective name given to the amalgamation of various groups of native Americans and Black people who settled in Florida in the early 18th century — and the United States Army...

. His band included an estimated 17 warriors and a large number of women and children. He was less effective as a war leader in the Third Seminole War because of advanced age and possible senility.

Ar-pi-uck-i and his wife, Itee (half Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

, half Irish, born ca. 1790), had at least one daughter, Rebecca Jones. Rebecca was born in Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, on January 1, 1817 and died on January 21, 1893 in Shelby County, Texas
Shelby County, Texas
*Arcadia*Brooklyn*Center*Dreka *Huxley*Joaquin*Possum Trot*Shelbyville *Tenaha*Timpson*Weaver-Education:The following school districts serve Shelby County:*Center ISD*Excelsior ISD...


Statues, Memorials, and Placenames

  • A sculpture depicting Ar-pi-uck-i leading the women and children to safety and an exhibit dedicated to Ar-pi-uck-i (Sam Jones, “Abiaka”), on Pine Island Ridge, Tree Tops Park. A copy of this sculpture is also at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum at Big Cypress Reservation
    Big Cypress Indian Reservation
    The Big Cypress Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. It is located in southeastern Hendry County and northwestern Broward County in southern Florida in the United States. The reservation lies south of Lake Okeechobee and just north of Alligator Alley...

  • Aripeka, Pasco County, Florida
    Pasco County, Florida
    Pasco County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2000, the population was 344,765. The July 1, 2007 census estimate according to the U.S. Census Bureau for the county is 462,715. Its county seat is Dade City, Florida which is in the northeast part of the county - somewhat...

    – City named in honor of Ar-pi-uck-i (Sam Jones)
  • In a poem published in 1859 he is referred to as Arpeik
  • The Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki ("to learn") Museum on the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation is located near to where Abiaca is believed to be buried.
  • A bronze Sam Jones group statue which includes Sam Jones, a bear (Bear Clan), panther (Panther Clan), eagle (Bird Clan), rattlesnake (Snake Clan), otter (Otter Clan), toad (Toad Clan), deer (Deer Clan), and Wind Clan is located at the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation. This group statue monument, 1.5 lifesize, is one of the largest bronze in the southeastern U.S.
  • A rock outcrop area on Mars called "Seminole". The two targets on this outcrop named "Abiaka" and "Osceola" were probed and studied during the Thanksgiving weekend, 2005, by the Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit

External links