Lachlan McGillivray

A trader and diplomat among the Upper Creek Indians in Georgia and Alabama, Lachlan McGillivray played an important role in British-Indian relations on the southern colonial frontier. Born in Inverness, Scotland, McGillivray immigrated to Georgia in 1735 and established relations with the Creeks through his family’s trading company. He soon mastered the Creek language and by 1741 was interpreting for British diplomatic agents. He successfully gained Creek alliances for the British against both the Spanish in Florida and the French in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. McGillivray received a license to trade among the Creeks in 1744, which led to his successful career as a trader among the Creek villages throughout the region, and as an Augusta and Savannah merchant and land speculator. He married a Creek woman, Sehoy Marchand; their son Alexander McGillivray (b. 1750) was the famous Creek chieftain.

After the Choctaw Revolt (1746-49), McGillivray served as ambassador of the South Carolina Commons House to the Choctaws, weakening French ties to the Choctaws and strengthening British ties with Choctaws and Chickasaws, as well as the Creeks. He was instrumental in the formation of the Creek and Chickasaw alliance against the Cherokees, preventing the Creeks from joining the Cherokee uprising against Fort Loudoun in Tennessee in 1759-60. McGillivray assisted in the negotiations for the Treaty of Augusta (1763), which extended the northern border of Georgia, the Chickasaw land cessions in 1763 and 1773, and the boundary line of 1763 against the Cherokees. Lachlan McGillivray later returned to Scotland and died at Dunmaglass in 1799.

Suggested Reading

Edward J. Cashin, Lachlan McGillivray, Indian Trader (1992)

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Lachlan McGillivray
  • Author
  • Website Name Tennessee Encyclopedia
  • URL
  • Access Date July 14, 2024
  • Publisher Tennessee Historical Society
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 1, 2018