[Congressional Record Volume 150, Number 65 (Tuesday, May 11, 2004)]
[House]
[Pages H2741-H2742]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                  TOMOCHICHI UNITED STATES COURTHOUSE

  Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 2523) to designate the United States courthouse located at 
125 Bull Street in Savannah, Georgia, as the ``Tomochichi United States 
Courthouse''.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                               H.R. 2523

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. DESIGNATION.

       The United States courthouse located at 125 Bull Street in 
     Savannah, Georgia, shall be known and designated as the 
     ``Tomochichi United States Courthouse''.

     SEC. 2. REFERENCES.

       Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, paper, 
     or other record of the United States to the United States 
     courthouse referred to in section 1 shall be deemed to be a 
     reference to the ``Tomochichi United States Courthouse''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Ohio (Mr. LaTourette) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Honda) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. LaTourette).
  Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 2523 was introduced by the gentleman from Georgia 
(Mr. Burns), a distinguished member of the Subcommittee on Economic 
Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, and it 
designates the United States courthouse located at 125 Bull Street in 
Savannah, Georgia, as the Tomochichi United States Courthouse.
  Tomochichi was a Creek Indian leader, living in what we now know as 
the Savannah River basin in the early part of the 18th century. In 
1733, when General James Oglethorpe arrived leading a group of English 
settlers at what was to become the new colony of Georgia, they were 
offered friendship by the Creek chief and assistance in the creation of 
the new English colony of Savannah. In 1734, Tomochichi traveled with 
Oglethorpe to England to approve a treaty between the Creek and the 
English. The friendship between Oglethorpe and Tomochichi endured until 
Tomochichi's death in 1739 and is regarded by historians as being the 
key reason for the survival of the Savannah colony. Tomochichi was laid 
to rest in what is now Wright Square in the city of Savannah.
  I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution 
honoring an important person in the history of Savannah.

[[Page H2742]]

  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HONDA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  H.R. 2523 is a bill to designate the U.S. courthouse located at 125 
Bull Street, Savannah, Georgia, as the Tomochichi United States 
Courthouse. The bill was introduced by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. 
Burns).
  In 1650, Chief Tomochichi was born in the small village of Coweta 
along the Chattahoochee River to the Creek Indian tribe. While he was 
the chief of the Yamacraw Indians he became a friend of James 
Oglethorpe, the English settler and leader of the settlers of the 
fledgling colony in Georgia. He supported Oglethorpe's plan for a new 
English colony in Georgia to be called Savannah.
  Tomochichi was a great warrior, possessing both good judgment and 
wisdom. As repayment for his sound advice and trusted friendship, 
Oglethorpe took Tomochichi, his wife, his nephew. And other Indian 
chiefs to England for 4 months. When Tomochichi died in 1736, 
Oglethorpe was one of his pallbearers. He is buried in Wright Square, 
the site of the courthouse to be named in his honor. Tomochichi's 
actions helped ensure the successful settlement of Georgia and earned 
him a place in Georgian history. His hospitality is legendary even 
today. It is most fitting his contributions to American history are 
honored by this designation.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to yield such time as 
he may consume to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Burns), the author of 
this resolution.
  Mr. BURNS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his support of this 
legislation.
  There are many Members of this body that deserve my State's 
appreciation for bringing this long overdue bill to the floor, honoring 
a great American, a great Native American and a great Georgian, 
Tomochichi. The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. LaTourette), chairman of the 
Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency 
Management, and subcommittee ranking member, the gentlewoman from the 
District of Columbia (Ms. Norton) were both instrumental in helping 
this bill advance quickly to the floor. I thank them for their 
bipartisan support. The gentleman from Alaska (Mr. Young) and the 
gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Oberstar) should be credited with moving 
the legislation swiftly so that we can bring closure to a long overdue 
need in my State and in my district. I believe unanimous approval by 
this body to be of particular importance to the nature of this bill.
  This bill renames the Federal courthouse in my district the 
Tomochichi United States Courthouse. A glance at who this leader was 
will indicate his accomplishments and quickly demonstrate why his name 
deserves the eternal respect of his fellow Georgians and Americans.
  Mr. Speaker, I believe Chief Tomochichi, the Mico, or chief, of the 
Yamacraw nation to be the cofounder of my State of Georgia. This bill 
will do much to reawaken the memory of a great man in the hearts of 
both Georgians and all Americans for restoring our honor by recognizing 
his service to the beginnings of our great Nation.
  The English general, James Oglethorpe, first launched Savannah on the 
Savannah River in 1733. He founded the British colony there and he met 
Tomochichi as he came up the bluff at what is now the city of Savannah. 
Unlike the tragic history of conflict between settlers and Native 
Americans in other colonies, Tomochichi brought lifelong friendship to 
the infant colony, granting the settlers permission to peacefully 
settle in the Savannah region. Among Savannahians, as has been pointed 
out, the hospitality that Tomochichi showed these young settlers is 
legendary. But Tomochichi's gifts to our State were just beginning.
  Thanks to his diplomatic skills, this Yamacraw leader was 
instrumental in convincing the other Creek tribes in the immediate 
vicinity to accept the fledgling colony of Georgia. Without his 
political leadership, Georgia may well have perished in its infancy, 
with a hostile Spanish administration in what is now Florida, intent on 
turning Native Americans against English settlers.
  Tomochichi and his family then traveled to England where they met 
with the King and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Upon his return to 
Georgia, Tomochichi successfully lobbied his new neighbors to establish 
the first missionary school among the Lower Creeks, recognizing that 
education was the key to the future as these two cultures became 
intertwined.
  Tomochichi passed away at around 93 years of age on October 5, 1739, 
at what we used to call the Yamacraw Indian Village, just upstream from 
Savannah. But before he died, he requested that his body be buried in 
Savannah among his new friends. He was buried with full military honors 
in the largest public ceremony of the day, with cannons firing a final 
salute and his old friend General Oglethorpe serving as a pallbearer. 
His body was laid to rest in the center of the city's main square at 
the time, later to become Wright Square, with a traditional Indian 
burial mound atop his grave. A century and a half later in the 1880s, 
some shortsighted city officials allowed the mound to be removed and 
another statue placed on the site. Admirers of the great chieftain 
responded by placing an inscribed granite boulder in honor of 
Tomochichi a few feet from his remains, but to this day many believe 
that we owe our old friend much more.
  Today this body can help restore the honor and respect due this great 
American by renaming the Federal courthouse in Savannah, Georgia, as 
the Tomochichi Federal Courthouse. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 
2523.
  Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 2523, a bill to 
designate the United States Courthouse located at 125 Bull Street in 
Savannah, Georgia as the Tomochichi United States Courthouse.
  Chief Tomochichi was born to the Creek Indian Tribe in 1650 in the 
small village of Coweta, along the Chattahoochee River. He became the 
Chief of the Yamacraw Indians and was integral to the success of the 
Georgia Colony.
  Tomochichi enjoyed a reputation as a great warrior who possessed 
sound judgment and wisdom. In 1773, Chief Tomochichi encountered James 
Oglethorpe, the English settler who founded the Georgia colony. 
Tomochichi and the Yamacraw greeted the English settlers warmly, and 
Tomochichi supported Oglethorpe's plan to settle a new English colony 
in Savannah, Georgia. He aided the plans for the settlement and 
smoothed relations with the Creek and other nearby Indian Tribes. 
Tomochichi also warned Oglethorpe about unfriendly tribes. As repayment 
for his advice and good counsel, Oglethorpe took Tomochichi, his wife, 
his nephew, and other Indian Chiefs to England where they stayed for 
four months.
  When Tomochichi died in 1739, he was buried at Wright Square in 
downtown Savannah. Oglethorpe served as one of the pallbearers and gave 
Tomochichi full military honors at his funeral. The Federal courthouse 
to be named in Tomochichi's honor is located in this same square.
  Tomochichi's friendship with the English settlers helped the Georgia 
colony develop in peace, and his hospitality is legendary even today. 
It is most fitting that his contributions to Georgia and to American 
history are honored by this designation. I urge my colleagues to 
support H.R. 2523.
  Mr. HONDA. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Speaker, I urge the passage of this important 
resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. LaTourette) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 2523.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor 
thereof) the rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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