PANTON, LESLIE & CO.
From Historic Tales of Talladega by E. Grace Jemison
"The largest trading posts were operated by Panton, Leslie & Co., which we should pause to consider, because they were the authorized traders and agents of the Creek country, and operated until the early part of the Nineteenth Century. The Company was composed of William Panton, John Leslie, Forbes and several other Leslies, all originally from Great Britain. The "Company" perhaps also included [Alexander] McGillivray, since his letters indicate that he was in partnership with them. Panton, Leslie and Forbes were conservative, peacealble men, paticularly fitted for the parts they played in the affairs of the nation. These traders had charge of the posts at St. Augustine in East Florida and Pensacola in West Florida; and later in Mobile and Savannah.
"There was little money handled. Salt and trinkets were the important mode of exchange. These seaboard posts were exchanges or clearing houses for the small traders of the interior. In return for the privilege of operating, the traders acted as agents or envoys for the nation granting the privilege. They reported regularly to the governors of East and West Florida, as well as to the acting emperor of the Indian country. Every small trader was known, as well as all the leading Indians. Gossip was common at the posts, and traders were in position to know the pulse of the nations.
"William Panton was the principal and dominating figure of the firm; a born diplomat and intellectual gentleman, who was instrumental on many occasions in calming troubled waters. He held the respect of the English, Spanish, and Indians throughout his life..."
from the Apalachicola, FL site. About Alexander McGillivray and the Panton, Leslie & Company