In June 1835, Indian Agent Wiley Thompson imprisoned Osceola, a leader of the Seminoles who opposed relocation. Having decided to resist the plans of Emathla and his supporters to leave for Oklahoma, Osceola pretended to change his position. He asked Emathla to intercede for him. Emathla, convinced of Osceola's sincerity, agreed to help. Osceola was released only after he promised to use his influence in favor of emigration.
Instead, Osceola met with other chiefs who were hostile to the move, and all agreed that death was the only appropriate penalty for any Seminole who sold his stock or otherwise prepared to leave. At this news, four hundred and fifty Indians who had agreed to emigrate fled to Fort Brooke for protection. Emathla continued to defy Osceola and openly sold his possessions. As Emathla was returning from the sale with his money, on December 18, 1835, he was ambushed and killed by Osceola's band. Some accounts say that Osceola threw the cattle money over Emathla's dead body as he awaited burial. Others say that he scattered the money to the four winds.
Osceola's faction then killed Agent Thompson on December 28, while another party massacred a military command under Major Francis Dade, after whom Dade County, Florida, is named. Their actions provoked the Second Seminole War (1835–1842).
Bruce E. Johansen
Bland, Celia. 1994. Osceola, Seminole Rebel. New York: Chelsea House Publishers.; Covington, James W. 1993. The Seminoles of Florida. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.; Mahon, John K. 1967. History of the Second Seminole War, 1835–1842. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.