The Natchez Democrat reported that the watch was given to McGillivray to help convince him to sign the 1790 Treaty of New York in which the Creeks ceded a significant portion of their hunting ground to the United States and the U.S. granted the Creeks the right to punish non-Indian trespassers on their land.
McGillivray, also known as Hoboi-Hili-Miko, was the son of a Scottish trader named Lachlan McGillivray. His mother was Sehoy, a member of the Creek Wind Clan. “Alexander spent his first six years fully immersed in the matrilineal Creek society, under the guidance of his mother and other members of her clan,” says the Encyclopedia of Alabama. “In addition to learning the Muskogee language, he also was immersed in the daily customs and seasonal rituals that defined Creek society.”