& Ball: THE CREEK WAR of 1813 and 1814
(Kindly contributed by William C. Bell)
1. The Great Mississippi Panic. 296
2. Names from court records. 300
3. High Head Jim or Jim Boy. 300
4. Death of Pushmataha. 301
5. Christianity and the Creeks. 304
6. Mrs. Robertson's Letters. Extracts. 305
7. Old St. Stephens. 307
8. Indian Names. 311
9. Indian Border Wars. 312
10. Population of the Five Indian Nations. 316
11. A card of Thanks. 316
12. Historical Paper. 320
The various passions and propensities of human nature give rise to singular events, some of them grotesque, some of them grand, some of them disastrous. About 1716 a scheme of wild speculation was started in France, which became known as the "Mississippi Bubble," after it burst in ruin, deep and pitiless, to multitudes. In the fall of 1813 took place, in Mississippi itself, connected with this Indian Creek war, what is called "THE GREAT MISSISSIPPI PANIC OF 1813."
It was not a financial panic, but a panic arising through fear of Indian atrocities. There lies before me now a manuscript copy, fourteen pages of foolscap, of a full account of this alarm, written by Colonel John A. Watkins, born in Jefferson county, Mississippi, dated, New Orleans, April 10, 1890. The style is so pleasing I should like to reproduce the account entire, but only some statements and a quotation or two can here be given Alluding to the attack upon Fort Mims, of which he says "as it was negligently protected, nearly all the inmates * * * were put to death,"--he knew too much, evidently to say "strongly garrisoned,"--he says: "The news of this massacre spread rapidly in Mississippi. * * * The danger was so threatening that Governor Holmes * * * called for volunteers to form a battalion of mounted men, to be composed of one company from each of the counties of Adams, Wilkinson, Amite, and Jefferson." These soon reported for duty "and at once hurried to the seat of war." He says: "This was the famous Jefferson Troop, designated at the War Department as Dragoons, commanded by Major Thomas Hinds, which subsequently became prominent in the Indian war, and at the battle of New Orleans in 1815." And now Colonel Watkins comes to the panic. "Rumors that an advance had been made by the Creeks, and that in their progress they had been joined by the Choctaws, began to be whispered around, at first so vague that they could be traced to no reliable source, but in a few days assuming a form, to which fear gave an impulse, that resulted in a panic that I can only attempt to describe from the recollections of more than seventy five years ago." He then mentions the preparations made to send the women and children to the town of Washington, (which the reader will find on this little map of the southwestern corner of the Territory), and adds: "By the time the non-combatants were ready to move the Indians were said to be at the Rocky Springs, eighteen miles above Port Gibson, and the next breeze had wafted them to the Grindstone Ford; some farsighted people could even see the smoke of Colonel Burnett's house, a distance of seven miles. How these vague reports originated will never be known. Like the 'three black crows,' they grew as they proceeded, until the alarm became universal. * * * Runners were despatched in every direction, warning the inhabitants, and directing them to seek safety in flight." At the door of the school house where as "a small boy" he then was, the announcement was made that the Indians were upon them, and, he says. "we all hurried home to find our mothers in tears and tribulation." They were packing up for a hasty flight. The families there, he says, were rich in "pigs, poultry, and children," and into the wagons baggage and children were tumbled "promiscuously, and without any regard to the comfort of the latter; horses received their cargo of live stock, two or three being mounted on each, and now the cavalcade is under way--if I may use that term when applied to oxen." These drew the wagons. "At the 'Raccoon Box"'--a distance of two miles from his home where two roads met--"our party was joined by twenty or more families, all on their way to headquarters. Carts, wagons, children, horses, and dogs, were so promiscuously thrown together that the elderly dames found much difficulty in keeping together their numerous offspring. After much confusion and any amount of loud talking, the caravan finally began to move." "The scene was ludicrous beyond description. Here three white haired urchins were pelting an old plowhorse into a fast walk; while there, a young mother, similarly mounted, was carrying a child in her lap, while two others were holding on desperately to avoid a fearful tumble; while further on, a rickety old cart, drawn by two stalwart oxen, was loaded with beds, boxes and children, thrown together by chance,--the latter crying lustily to be released from their vile imprisonment, while the rod was occasionally applied to keep them quiet. Being a good walker then, as in later years, I avoided the ills to which many of my own age fell heir." At length, as this "caravan" was moving on, a deputation was sent to Port Gibson to learn the facts about the Indians, if possible. This scouting party found that place "almost deserted," but one of the principal merchants was still there, Mr. B. Smith, who "did not believe that there was a shadow of truth in the report" about the Indians; and who invited them to help themselves to such as he had, "powder and lead" and "good old bourbon." I quote one more sentence and then must leave this account. "With their whisky and ammunition our party, fully satisfied that there were no hostile Indians on this side of the Alabama River, took leave of Mr. Smith and hurried to overtake their families, and just at sundown came up with them near Greenville." All of those from Colonel Watkins neighborhood turned back; but others continued on till they reached Washington, and thus ended with them a memorable day.
Claiborne in his "Mississippi" says that the Fort Mims tragedy "spread consternation through the Territory," "that a coalition of the Creeks and Choctaws was generally apprehended," and that "the alarm penetrated to Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, Natchez, Port Gibson, Winchester, and Walnut Hills." He quotes from a public record the proceedings of a meeting held at Port Gibson, September 18, 1813, of which Colonel Daniel Burnett was chairman, at which a committee was appointed, on motion of H. Blennerhassett, to inquire into the foundation of the late alarm and to report means for defense. The committee reported the alarm to have been "groundless and unfounded," but they recommended the erection of three stockade forts and made other suggestions. Evidently the "Mississippi panic" was no trifling affair, although with the whole breadth of Mississippi and the friendly Choctaws between these settlers in Jefferson, Adams, Wilkinson, and Amite counties and the hostile Creeks, there was no cause for alarm. But panics are always unreasonable.
When obtaining material for the history of Clarke county, published in 1882, I had free access given me to the court records of Washington county, an early county in Mississippi Territory, which included what was afterwards Clarke; and among thirty-six names there found for jurors on the venire facias, "at a superior court held for the district of Washington at McIntosh Bluff on the fourth Monday in September," 1802, the following I give here as familiar names now, showing that they were citizens of the territory then: Tandy Walker, Nathan Blackwell, Moses Steadham, Joseph Stiggins, John McGrew, and Samuel Mims. On the first grand jury were Tandy Walker and Samuel Mims. The next term of this court was held in May, 1804, and additional names were Thomas Bassett, John F. McGrew, John Callier, and James Caller. T. H. B.
HIGH HEAD JIM OR JIM BOY
In prosecuting their researches into the history of the Creek War of 1813, the writers of this work found some difficulty in determining whether the Jim Boy who commanded at the battle of Burnt Corn was the same man as the Jim Boy who figured in the Florida War of 1835. The inference could be drawn from the sketch of Jim Boy in McKenny and Hall's large work that they were two separate and distinct characters. But the authors of that work seem to be strangely benighted or bewildered as to the facts in the early life of Jim Boy. To determine the truth of this matter--the identity of the Jim Boy of Burnt Corn and the Jim Boy of the Florida war--a correspondence was opened with Mrs. A. E. W. Robertson, in the Creek nation. The matter was brought by her to the especial attention of ex-Governor Ward Coachman, Colonel William Robison, and Judge N. B. Moore. These highly intelligent Creeks, after consulting the oldest men among the Creeks, gave it as their deliberate verdict that the Jim Boy of Burnt Corn and the Jim Boy of the Florida War was one and the same man. That the oldest Creeks had never heard of but one Jim Boy. Jim Boy then must have been quite a young man in the war of 1813, as he was in active military life in 1835. He died near Wetumka, Creek nation, about 1851. The wife of Jim Boy, Ni-het-ho-ye, was the aunt of Colonel William Robison. Rev. William Jim Boy, a well known Methodist minister in the Creek nation, is a grandson. H. S. H.
DEATH OF PUSHMATAHA.
As a matter of interest to our readers we publish a letter written from Washington by Captain David Folsom to Rev. Cyrus Byington, Mayhew, Choctaw Nation, which gives some particulars of the death of Pushmataha. The original letter is in the possession of Mrs. C. Robb, of the Choctaw Nation. Captain Folsom attended the delegation to Washington in the three-fold character of delegate, treasurer, and interpreter. Notwithstanding his imperfect education--he had attended school only six months in his life--Folsom became a great and influential man among his people. He was chief for many years, and was considered one of the first orators of his day. He died about 1847, and was buried at Doaksville, Indian Territory. His dwelling house in Mississippi is still standing, on the Robinson road, in Oktibbeha county. Mrs. Robb, mentioned above, Captain Folsom's neice, is a prominent Baptist in the Choctaw Nation, the author of a number of Choctaw hymns. She edited a Choctaw hymn book.
WASHINGTON, December 24th, 1824.
"DEAR FRIEND:--I take up my pen to you inform that Chief Pushmataha is no more. He died last night about 12 o'clock. He has complained almost ever since he has been here of a scabby spot in his throat. But when he did not drink much strong drink, he felt better. But his drink was great, and I noticed whenever he drank too much, he was worse. I finally concluded that he would never see home. Two nights before he died, he wheezed very much and struggled very much in his sleep. But notwithstanding all this, he would expose himself in every line of exposure, and finally on the 23d instant, about 9 o'clock A. M., he was attacked out on the street. He could hardly get his breath. Two doctors were immediately called, and efforts were made, but done no good. He died about 12 o'clock P. M. He had every attention and friendship shown him by the citizens of this place, besides strangers, who here came and visited us at this, our great trial moment. I was unable to do anything about his burial. However, it was conducted by others.
"December 25th.--I am much better to-day, and feel quite well. It was agreed that our chief should be buried with the honors of war, and several companies turned out, as well as the marine of the Navy Yard, and two bands of music, and with a great procession, we took the body of our departed friend, in presence of several thousand people. We marched in company of and in the way of these people to the burial ground. He was laid in the grave; he was covered with cold clay, and we left him in the midst of many hundred people.
"I assure you, my dear friend, I am thankful there was so much honor paid to our departed chief and towards us. Many of these Congressmen treated us as well as General Jackson. I can truly say, I have and we have received every mark of friendship and brotherly love towards us amongst the whites since we have been amongst them; more particularly since the death of the two chiefs.*
* In addition to Pushmataha, reference here is made to Puckshenubbee, who died on the way to Washington.
"I can truly say, as for myself, I feel my love towards the American people. Some say it was a croup or quinsy that killed Chief Pushmataha. But I am induced to believe he was completely burned out by hard drinking. I have noticed him particularly, and I am fully satisfied to say, it is strong drink has finally killed him. I must say, beware of the hard drinkers of the Choctaw people. * * *
"We are still here doing nothing. That is all, have done nothing as yet. And I do not know when we will start for home. But I think our negotiation will come to a close soon. I am sorry to inform you that I cannot be useful to the delegation, because they will have their own way and will not have an ear for such a poor person as I am. But I set very independent before them, but kind and affectionate towards them. It will be a wonder to me if they all get home in safety. Pitchlyn, Moshulitubbee, McDonald, and McCurtain are all well, but the rest are not very well; but it is all on account of their wickedness. I must not write much more. God is not for us. But he is against us on account of our wickedness. God is just and right in taking those chiefs from among the people, so that there may be better men raised up in their places. We have been and have done all those things which would justify our Maker to cut us all off; and he would be right in saying to us wicked delegation of the Choctaw Nation--Why should they cumber the ground any longer? I am fearful that four of our number will never reach home. Don't read my letter to every one.
The 26th:--I am thankful to my Maker that I am as usual, and that my health is good. excepting a little deafness. I am so much confined and compelled to stay with the delegation that I have no chance to become acquainted with the great men of this city. The clergymen and some of the congressmen I should have been glad to become acquainted with them. I hope I have done a little good in the cause of schools and the Gospel in my Nation by coming here; which is not convenient to mention here. My best respects to all my friends of the mission family. If my life is spared, I hope to see them some time in February.
"From your friend, "DAVID FOLSOM."
After the death of Pushmataha, his nephew, Oklahoma, succeeded him in the chieftain's office. But on account of his dissipated habits, Oklahoma was soon deposed, and another nephew, Nettacarchee, was elected Mingo in his stead. Oklahoma died at Coosha, about 1845.
The statement in Claiborne's life of Sam Dale that Pushmataha was six feet two inches high, is an error into which, in some manner, Colonel Claiborne has drifted. At intervals, in bygone years, in regard to this matter, I have interrogated a number of aged persons, both whites and Choctaws, who knew or had seen Pushmataha, and all concurred in stating that he was a man of middle stature, about five feet nine or ten inches high, and of portly build. E. S. H.
A Christian civilization, especially the Christian part of it--civilization without the Bible does not amount to much--has made great changes with the descendants of those brave and fierce and wronged Muscogees with whom the whites in Alabama and Georgia came into conflict. There is now before me a letterhead, the letter written in Indian Territory, December 24, 1894, which contains the words: "Wetumka National Labor School, Col. Wm. Robison, Supt.," and among the names of the faculty I find as matron, Miss Hannah Monahwee, who is a grand-daughter of that noted chief who commanded the Creek warriors at the great battle of Tohopeka. His name written by some Menawa, by some Monahwee. And a grandson of the noted High Head Jim, as mentioned elsewhere, is a highly respected Methodist minister in the Territory, the Rev. William Jimboy. The introduction of Christianity into the Creek, or as the educated Indians now write, the Muskogee Nation, opens an interesting chapter in the progress of the Gospel. No white missionaries first bore the Gospel to them, but "an old negro named Billy " taught it to a young Indian man in the Indian Territory, Joseph Islands, and they two commenced a work which, with the help of white missionaries, has been growing until now. See a little tract called "Joseph Islands, the Apostle of the Creek Indians," written by Dr. I. T. Tichenor, published at the Maryland Baptist Mission Rooms 10 E. Fayette street, Baltimore. Price, two cents. T. H. B.]
As connected with the real interests which it is hoped this history may promote, some extracts from letters written by a Presbyterian missionary in the Indian Territory, Mrs. Robertson, will certainly be appropriate in this Appendix. Some facts in regard to her I give first; and for these I am indebted, in part, to an interesting article in the Chaperone Magazine, of St. Louis, August, 1894, and in part to a letter written by herself in February, 1896. Mrs. A. E. W. Robertson, Ph. D., was the daughter of a distinguished missionary among the Cherokee Indians, Rev. S. A. Worcester, D. D., and was born near that noted Chicamauga River in 1826. She was educated as became a minister and a missionary's daughter, spending her years from sixteen to twenty in an academy in Vermont, where she learned the Greek language, and at the age of twenty, in 1896, became teacher at Park Hill, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, and in 1850, April 16, she was married to Prof. W. S. Robertson, A. M., Principal of a then new "Manual Labor Boarding School," at Tallahassee, among the Muscogees or Creeks. Since 1850 she has devoted herself, besides caring for her husband and children, to the language and interests of the Creek Indians in Indian Territory, among whom she has resided, her home now being at Muscogee. Her talents, her opportunities, and her devotion to her work have placed her high among the "famous women" of the land. The article in the August Chaperone is headed "Famous Women." From that article I quote the following: "The subject of this sketch, Mrs. Ann Elisa Worcester Robertson, of Muscogee, Indian Territory, has had the very highest honor ever conferred upon woman, bestowed upon her by the Trustees of Wooster University, Ohio, namely, the title of Doctor of Philosophy, in recognition of her scholarly attainments especially in linguistic studies she having just completed a translation of the New Testament from the original Greek into the Creek language. This work is the outcome of twelve years' labor." Much of her knowledge and skill, in translating, she gained while aiding her husband in his missionary work. She is an authority on the Creek language and is now translating the Old Testament. Some of the words of such a talented, noble, devoted, Christian woman, as written to her friend, H. S. Halbert, I am glad to have the privilege here to repeat. Under date of July 19, 1894, she says:
I am very glad you are giving Christian instruction to the Mississippi Choctaws. Nothing else will save the Indians, or, indeed, any people. Our "Five Tribes" here are in great trouble now on account of the persistence of the Dawes Commission in trying to get them to surrender their tribal rights in this Territory. The commission is giving special attention to the Choctaws, in the hope that they can do more with them than with the other tribes, but I think they make very little real headway, if, indeed, they are not causing, if possible, a stronger feeling against it than before: They understand full well that the United States cannot take the disposal of their lands into their hands (without their consent) without actual robbery, and the survivors of the emigration know by sad experience what it will be to have the Territory thrown open. I hope with all my heart they will persist in their refusal to have a hand in their own destruction, and leave the responsibility with the United States Government, if the breaking up must come.
"The poor Florida Seminoles are not faring so well as your Choctaws, and I do feel for them. I am glad that Mississippi has room for the remaining Choctaws, and seems likely to protect them until they may become a truly Christian people.
" But what is to become of our own great country? 'The Lord reigneth' is the one comforting reply.
"Sincerely your friend,
"A. E. W. ROBERTSON."
Under date of December 26, 1894, she wrote: "I suppose you see many of the exaggerated or false reports about our territory, and know enough about the covetousness of our people [the whites] in regard to these Indian lands to understand that 'the wish is father to the thought.' They want our Government to have an excuse for robbing these tribes of their own territory. I hope you will join in the prayer that such a calamity may be averted."
As late as January 28, 1895, Mrs. Robertson writes, after expressing her hope that covetous white people would not crowd in upon the Choctaws now in Mississippi. "Even the few Seminoles remaining in Florida are now suffering from the greed of white people; and it begins to look as if these Five Tribes are to be robbed of their possessions in spite of their earnest protests."
The work of spoliation still goes on. It has gone on since the days of the Pequods and Narragansets. And ere long the prospect is--although the New York millionaires may fit up their great parks like the European noblemen--that in all the broad area of these United States there will not be left one hunting ground where the American Indians can shoot the deer or spear the mink. But if our words could reach the halls of Congress we would implore our statesmen there, if any with true hearts are left, to do justice, full and complete, to the descendants of the Southern Chickasaws and Choctaws, Cherokees and Creeks and Seminoles, and let not the greedy white man despoil them of their latest homes.
ALABAMA'S FIRST CAPITAL.
Old St. Stephens
The State of Alabama, admitted into the Union in December of 1819, has had, with the present seat of government, four capitals, all situated on rivers. The first was St. Stephens on the Tombigbee. The second was Cahawba on the Alabama. The third was Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior. The fourth is Montgomery on the Alabama. Of the territorial and first State capital little is known by the youth of the present generation
South Alabama, once included in West Florida and still earlier in Louisiana, was first crossed by a band of European adventurers, (the Spaniards under DeSoto,) in October of 1540. It was next seen and taken into nominal possession by French explorers and colonists in about the year 1700, the year in which was born at Coweta on the Chattahoochee, which is now in Alabama and was then in Louisiana, that Indian princess, Consaponaheeso, better known as Mary, who became the friend of Oglethorpe and the Pocahontas of the Georgia colony.
In 1763 South Alabama passed into the ownership of Spain and then immediately was transferred to Great Britain. It came back into the possession of Spain as late as 1780, and in 1799 became a part of the United States as far south as the line of latitude 31 degrees.
In the early part of the eighteenth century, about 1714, Fort St. Stephens was probably established by the French. It was held by the Spanish, who themselves built a fort, a church and a parsonage, from soon after 1780 till 1799.
In 1802 an American trading house was there established by our government for the Choctaw Indians, the Spanish block house being used for a store room and the parsonage of the Spanish church for storing the fur and the hides purchased from the Indians
In December 1804, the place was visited by the gifted and eccentric Lorenzo Dow, then passing as a flying evangelist through the narrow American settlement seventy miles in length, which then skirted the "Tombeckbee." Dow says that at St. Stephens there was but one family, "but it will be a place of fame in time."
In 1807 town lots were laid off with streets over one hundred feet in width, inhabitants came in, a village and then a real town was formed, and in 1817 it became the territorial and afterward the State capital of the young Alabama. In 1818 it was visited by refugees from France, noted generals "who had won laurels on the proudest fields of European valor," and ladies "who had figured in the voluptuous drawing rooms of St. Cloud," then on their way to their own American settlement at Demopolis. These found St. Stephens "a place of some size, with refined and lively inhabitants." A number of the earlier most noted public men of Alabama, who became lawyers, judges, senators, congressmen, coming as young men from the older States began here their prosperous public career. But in 1820 Cahawba on the Alabama became the near capital, and St. Stephens remained only as a county seat, a place of trade and commerce, as being at the head of sloop navigation, and the seat of the United States land office. It is claimed that at this period it contained five thousand inhabitants. Others place the population at fifteen hundred. In 1821 decline began. The best buildings, built of brick, of stone, and of the characteristic fine white limestone of the region, were removed to Mobile. Another locality was selected even for the county seat, and about thirty years ago, as a dwelling place of the living, St. Stephens ceased to exist. As few state capitals in this broad land have become what this locality now is, let us look at this spot as it now appears.
In April of 1881, as a Southern tourist, it was my privilege to visit what is now called Old St. Stephens. The locality is on the west bank of the river, one hundred and twenty miles by water from Mobile, on the top of a large limestone bluff, one hundred or more feet in height, with walls of solid limestone down to the bed of the river. Honey bees for many years made their homes in the crevices of the rock, storing their honey out of the reach of man. Red cedar trees are abundant, skirting the edge of this rocky height, and back of these are pines and oaks, the locality of most of the old town being now well wooded. The following sentences are extracts from the journal record made in that solitude. April 12. "The flowers of spring are hero, even the yellow blossoms of the sorrel; the birds are here; the pleasant breeze, the sunshine and the shadows, for the day is not cloudless, the ever-flowing river, these all are here, as they were in the almost forgotten years; as in the years when on this height, where now I am alone, the youth and maidens walked in the cool of eventide; where but a little way from here were heard the merry voices of childhood, as boys and girls were playing in the now almost obliterated streets; where the hum of business from thirty stores was heard at midday and where at nightfall mothers gathered their little ones in, and heard their prayers, and laid them to rest on their white couches, and night settled down over the town and the stars above gave light. But now solitude grandeur, gloom, with the uncorrupted and undefiled magnificence and beauty of nature reign here."
"A pathway leads across the site of the old town. The long line of what was probably the principal street is yet distinct. The rock foundations remain of many buildings that were probably showy and imposing in their day. Nearly every trace of any wood work has disappeared."
Besides the yellow blossoms mentioned above I found in some places the rich green sward of the former streets and gardens and court-yards literally blue with some of the spring flowers of the South, and the warm, bright sunshine, then mantling everything with its own loveliness, made the day in those lone woods delightful
The old cemetery, where some distinguished and many nameless dead are sleeping, I found to be a place for instructive meditation. It is on a high broad ridge, a roomy spot, as was fitting for a city burial ground. Many memorial stones are there.
Five or six building spots can still be identified These are the localities of the Spanish fort, of the American fort and trading house, of the Crawford family mansion (the memorial monument standing near having cost five thousand dollars), of the old brick bank, and of the St. Stephens' Academy, the foundations of which I discovered in a field on a hill-top, a breezy and pleasant spot for study for the light-hearted and beautiful southern girls of seventy years ago
This was the first chartered academy in what became Alabama, having been chartered in 1811, the first American school in Alabama, so far as is known, having been opened in this chain of river settlements in 1799.
An extract from the journal, April 13, says: "The family homes and the business houses standing upon the rock foundations which I observed yesterday, and upon the little earth hillocks, and along the lines of those dimly outlined streets among the pines and cedars and deciduous trees, cannot be specified by names. Little remains here of the works of man above the surface of the earth except the hard, dark-gray limestone rock, the brick work, and the memorial marble. French, Spanish, British, and American, and the long Indian times, have passed over this apparently sightly and attractive spot, but no human being dwells here now." As I was waiting that day for a steamboat at the landing below the bluff, some hunters brought in two wild turkeys which they had just shot on the grounds of the old capital.
Such is old St. Stephens now. Once containing, probably, a French, certainly a Spanish, and a noted American fort; a center of trade, when the nineteenth century was opening, for the brown Choctaws; a commercial town and cotton market for the early American settlers in South Alabama; for a time a gay capital, where the second newspaper of the present Alabama was started in 1814, the first steamboat company incorporated in 1818, where was a bank, and an academy, and busy life; and now surrendered back to nature to be reclothed in all her new and fresh and ever beautiful forms.
Not soon shall I forget the physical and intellectual enjoyment of those two days in the cheerful solitudes of Old St. Stephens. T. H. B.
I had proposed to give here the meaning of a number of Indian names to be found in this book; but learning from a correspondence with Mrs. Robertson of Indian Territory, that, while many names have meanings easily recognized, the meanings of others, if they have any, elude careful study; and learning from the writings of Mr. George Catlin, the great Indian painter, (who visited forty-eight tribes and secured about six hundred paintings,) that "a great proportion of Indian names admit of no translation," I abandoned the attempt.
Referring to a number of "proper names of tribes," Mrs. Robertson says that the meaning is uncertain." And Mr. Catlin says that many names can no more be translated than can the English names of Jones, or Bailey, or Roberts, and other such names. He also says that interpreters often join to the names some qualifications for which the individuals are distinguished as Oondischta, the salmon-spearer, as we would designate in English, "Jones the shoemaker, or Jones, the butcher," etc. But these designations are not the meanings of the Indian names, as we know they are not of the English. Mr. Catlin farther says "that most Indians of celebrity have a dozen or more names, which they use according to caprice or circumstances." One statement may be of interest here in regard to general "Indian Nomenclature." Changes have been made in names of tribes since the published lists of names of 1822 and 1832, especially in the Office of Indian Affairs at Washington as names have been corrected and approved by Major J. W. Powell, chief of the Bureau of Ethnology. Major Powell says that a single name was often applied to different tribes, and he accounts for it, in part, from the fact that "the names for gentes, tribes, and confederacies were confounded." See Smithsonian Report for 1885. T. H. B.
INDIAN BORDER WARS
The list of Indian wars here given is not complete, but the principal ones are probably named. Those only are mentioned that were within the present United States. When the first settlements were made by the whites on the Atlantic coast, of course the "border" line was then there. As settlements have gone across to the Pacific. the line has been constantly changing.
1. The Virginian Indian War, commencing at noon, March 12, 1622, when three hundred and fifty whites were massacred, and continuing till the Virginia Indians were exterminated.
2. The Pequod or Pequot War, 1637, ending in their extermination.
3. King Philip's War, 1675, lasting three years
4. The Tuscarora War, 1712, in North Carolina, beginning, as did the war in Virginia, with a massacre of whites.
5. The French and Indian wars, or Indian wars, instigated by the French, from 1688 till the Revolution, particularly in New Hampshire, extending with some intervals of peace, through a period of eighty years. Says Ramsey: "The colony of New Hampshire was among the greatest sufferers from Indian wars."
6. The Maryland Indian War, commenced in 1642 and lasted for several years.
7. The Janodoa Indian War, also in Maryland, in 1662.
8. The Yamassees War in South Carolina from 1715 to 1718, commencing with a massacre.
9 . Cherokee wars in South Carolina from 1755 to 1763. Also 1776.
10. The general French and Indian War, 1755. Says Ramsay: "These wars took place, more or less, along the whole western frontier of the colonies, from New Hampshire to Georgia, and from the year 1690 to the peace of Paris, 1763. Through that wide range, and for that long period of seventy-three years, with occasional intermissions, Indian hostilities, fomented by the French in the north and the Spaniards in the south, disturbed the peace and stinted the growth of the English colonies. And Venable says:
"In these early French and Indian wars 30,000 colonial soldiers perished, and $16,000,000 were expended."
11. Pontiac's War, 1763.
12. Expeditions in 1779 destroying the Onondago settlements in April; in August and September ravaging the Mohawk country--"the quantity of corn destroyed was immense," orchards were out down, gardens laid waste;--and, also in August, an expedition from South Carolina against the Indians on their frontier, destroying the corn of eight towns and driving further back the Indians. Also, in August and September an expedition against the Mingo, Munsey, and Seneca Indians, destroying "five hundred acres of corn."
13. Another Cherokee War, 1781; General Pickens leading three hundred and ninety-four horsemen burned thirteen towns and villages in fourteen days.
14. Massacre of the Moravian towns by the whites, cruel and unprovoked, in 1782. Avenged in part by the Delawares, Wyandots, and other Indians, who met the whites on their way to destroy the Indian towns near Sandusky.
15. Kentucky Indian War in the days of Daniel Boone, from 1769 to 1782.
16. The Shawnee and Miami Indian War, General Harmar and General Arthur Saint Clair defeated, General Wayne victorious, 1790 to 1795.
In these various and constantly recurring wars there was much cruelty manifested on the part of Indians. And, says Ramsay, "On the other hand, there have been instances of justice, generosity, and tenderness, daring these wars, which would have done honor to a civilized people." "They would sometimes carry children on their arms and shoulders; feed their prisoners with the best of their provisions; and pinch themselves rather than their captives should want food. When sick or wounded, they would afford them comfort and means for their recovery. But the most remarkably favorable circumstance in an Indian captivity was their decent behavior to women. There is no evidence that any woman who fell into their hands was ever treated with the least immodesty; but testimonies to the contrary are very frequent. Whatever may be the cause the fact is certain; and it was a most happy circumstance for female captives that, in the midst of all their distresses, they had no reason to fear from a savage foe the perpetration of a crime which has too frequently disgraced, not only the personal, but the national character of those who make large pretences to civilization and humanity."--Ramsay, Vol. I., page 289.
The same kind of testimony is given by Luzerne Ray in "Indian Miscellany," page 292. He says: "During the wars which he so frequently and fiercely waged against the whites, many of their wives and daughters were taken captive and carried into his own country. Although these prisoners were entirely at his disposal; although they were subject to insult and injury of every other kind; there is yet no instance recorded of the perpetration of that violence which female virtue reckons worse than death."
We now enter the nineteenth century.
17. Tecumseh's War, 1811.
18. The Creek War of 1813 and 1814.
19. The First Seminole War, 1817.
20. The Black Hawk War, 1832.
21. The Second Seminole War, from 1834 to 1842. In this war Osceola became noted.
22. The Creek War of 1836.
23. The Indian War or "Indian Trouble," in Oregon and Washington, 1855, 1856.
24. The Modoc War of 1872 and 1873.
25. The Sioux War of 1876.
The raid of the Cheyennes or Shiyans of 1878 in Kansas and Nebraska, and troubles with other Indians in these later years are not here enumerated.
Thus, for a hundred and fifty years of colonial times, and through a hundred years of national life, wars with the Indians have been carried on; and the end is not yet. The origin of the aborigines or Red Men of these United States, so different in some respects as they are from all the other great divisions of the human family, is vet unknown; but their extermination seems to be written all over the land in characters of blood. Nothing, apparently, can save the scanty remnants of the broken tribes that yet remain but the protection, the mercy, the grace of God. In a Christian civilization rests their only hope of avoiding a complete and utter extinction in the broad land of their forefathers. T. H. B.
Population of the Five Indian Nations, furnished by Mrs. A. E. W. Robertson, of Muscogee, Indian Territory, February, 1895.
NAMES Indians Freedmen Total
Creeks 9,291 5,341 14,632
Choctaw 9,996 4,401 14,397
Chickasaw 3,464 3,718 7,182
Cherokee 26,357 4,242 29,699
Seminoles 2,539 22 2,561
50,647 17,724 68,371
CARD OF THANKS
Having had the responsibility and also the mental pleasure of seeing this book "through the press," of aiding in the proof reading, and of seeing to the "make up," as well as bearing a part of the responsibility of authorship, I wish here to recognize some special obligations and to return some special thanks. First of all I may mention the great courtesy and kindness shown by the different ones connected with the large printing establishment of Messrs. Donohue & Henneberry, who are not only publishers, but who carry on one of the very largest printing and binding houses of the country and of the world. I return thanks to them. And I return special thanks to the astronomer of the Harvard College Observatory, to Mr. H. W. Beckwith, to Mrs. B. B. Cheshire, to General T. J. Morgan and his officials in the Indian Bureau, to Mr. Charles Weatherford, to Mrs. Peebles, to Mr. Barron of Montgomery, to Mrs. A. E. W. Robertson, to Judge H. Austill, to Mr. Isaac Grant, to Rev. J. H. Creighton, and to my nephew, young Jamie Chapman, of Jackson, Alabama, the last one named having procured for me the likeness of Mr. Isham Kimbell. Also I return thanks to the postmaster at Burnt Corn for the use of a history of Conecuh county and to Capt. P.D. Bowles of Evergreen. Also to Col. J. W. Portis of Suggsville. For special courtesies I return thanks to the Librarian of the State Library at Indianapolis, the Librarian of the Illinois Historical society, and to the lady in charge at the Newberry Library of Chicago. Some of these may possibly not be living when this book passes out from the hands of the binders, but so far as I know, at the date of this writing, they are all where words of recognition and of thanks can reach them. T. H. BALL.
The Following ADDRESS or PAPER is placed here for Citizens of Alabama.
PREPARED FOR THE ALABAMA HISTORICAL SOCIETY JUNE, 1883.
I closed up my last work as a teacher in Clarke county, Alabama, in the summer of 1883. I was hoping to attend the annual meeting of the Historical Society at Tuscaloosa that summer, and so prepared a paper or an address which I expected to have the privilege of reading. I was disappointed in regard to attending that anniversary; so the address was laid away and ten years have passed along. I have not been able to revisit Alabama since, but having received many courtesies and kindnesses there, and feeling that I have much interest In common with the historical writers and literary men of Alabama, I take the liberty to place this historical paper here, as a prepared but unread address, hoping that it will prove an acceptable contribution to the interests which it was designed to promote.
T. H. B.
NOTE.--I find on a final reading of electrotype proof the word Maubila printed Manbila. Please read all through this paper Maubila.
Not far from the center of the county of Clarke, in the State of Alabama, is a beautiful landscape.
Born as I was in the must fertile portion of the Connecticut River Valley, in the heart of New England, nine miles south of Mount Tom, amid the historic towns of North-Hampton and Springfield, Westfield and Chicopee, in what is now the Indian named town of Agawam, a descendant of Puritans and Huguenots, with ancestral homes going back to 1640,--it is quite possible that this landscape possesses more attractions for me because it includes what was the Bassett's Creek Valley home from 1835 to 1855, of an Alabama maiden, whose destiny thence forward was to be linked in with mine for life, and, perhaps, in some sort, forever.
Nevertheless, that landscape view is beautiful, aside from all personal or all historical associations. And as I have stood on its western height, near the site of the old Fort Sinquefield, in spring time, in summer, and in autumn, and hare looked eastward over the two slopes, and along the Bassett's Creek valley, looking upon the varied green hues of longleaf pine and short-leaf pine, of the rich vegetable growth of the creek bottom, especially when an October sun was pouring its warmth and brightness down upon every growing and living thing, and upon the sand and gravel and clay beds and rock that characterize this region, mantling everything with the brightness and beauty of sunlight,--I have thought of the historic interest connected with this then bright landscape; a landscape amid the scenes of which there dwelt three hundred and fifty years ago the sisters of the beautiful dancing girls who fought and fell at old Manbila; within eight of the eastern crest of which passed in 1540 Spanish invaders; where afterwards came French traders; then Creek and Choctaw Indian strife reddened the hillsides; and at length came children of American pioneers, whose young hearts were upwards drawn "by influence sweet," and who learned to send their fervent prayers upward to the eternal throne: but where, especially in September of 1813, soon after the horrible massacre at Fort Mims, Indian atrocities were experienced and peculiar incidents occurred.
But before we examine the spots reddened in 1813 with blood, let us look away in thought from the eastern height toward the blue line of the winding Alabama. Between us and that not very distant bluish-green wood, in October of 1540, there might have been seen strange looking bands of warrior men loitering and hastening southward. Who and what were they? De Soto, Hernando or Ferdinand De Soto, of Spain, and Tuskaloosa, the Alabama Tuskaloosa, and their followers.
To introduce the few statements which I wish to make concerning the great battle of 1540, allow me to present a few words from some historical writers.
Quackenbos, in his school history, a work used in Alabama, says of De Soto, page 56, "Landing at Tampa Bay with six hundred chosen men clad in complete armor, he marched boldly into the wilderness in search of gold and slaves." On page 67 he says, "In the fall of 1540 the invaders found themselves on the site now occupied by the city of Mobile." And here Quackenbos says that the great battle took place in which twenty five hundred natives were killed. And this is taught to many of the children of Alabama as true American history.
That De Soto and his men were not in the fall of 1540 where is now the city of Mobile it is needless at present to attempt to show. The question with which I am now concerned is, Was that battle of 1540 in the present limits of Clarke county?
Charles Gayarre says, referring to "two ponderous volumes" in which "the historian relates the thousand incidents of that romantic expedition," "one thousand men of infantry and three hundred and fifty men of cavalry fully equipped were landing in proud array under the command of Hernando De Soto" at Tampa Bay, May 31, 1539.
It is a little singular that from the same authorities, if authorities there are, writers should differ so widely in regard to the number of that invading force. But they differ also in regard to the death of De Soto, Quackenbos stating that he died on the bank of the Mississippi among the Natchez Indians, and that "The surviving Spaniards wandered as far south as the forests and plains of Texas, turned their course north and * * * reached the Mississippi River near the mouth of the Red." Here, he states, they built some boats and went down the river; and T. B. Thorpe asserting that De Soto himself embarked in the "rude brigantines" already constructed further up, and died at the mouth of Red River. Gayarre agrees with Thorpe in representing De Soto's death as taking place at the mouth of Red River, but whether before or after the boats were built he does not say. Is it not possible for historians to reach something more accurate than such conflicting accounts? And shall we, rejecting both these, accept the representation of our own Pickett that De Soto having reached the Mississippi River in May, 1541, returned to the river from his western wanderings in the latter part of May, 1542, below the mouth of the Arkansas River, that engaging in the construction of two brigantines he there died, and that Morcoso with the remaining troops left the river June 1, in order to reach Mexico through the western wilderness, and failing in that returned to the Mississippi in December 1542, fifty miles above where DeSoto died, and building there seven brigantines departed down the river in July, 1543.
Returning to the expedition of DeSoto and the battle of 1540; I give one more quotation. Stephens says, in his Pictorial History of the United States, page 169, "The number of his followers is not definitely stated; Bancroft says, 'they were a numerous body of horsemen, besides infantry, completely armed; a force exceeding in number and equipments the famous expeditions against the empires of Mexico and Peru.'" Now, unless Bancroft had some idea of the actual number of DeSoto's men, how could he know they exceeded in number the followers of Cortes and Pizarro? And when Stephens says the number is not definitely stated, he means by whom? Surely Pickett states the number very definitely, and so do Quackenbos and Gayarre. And what was Pickett's authority? What was Bancroft's? I raise here two questions the examination of which will comprise all I may take time to say about the events of 1540. Is there sufficient evidence to authorize the historians of Clarke to claim that on her soil was fought the great battle of Manbila, October 18, 1540? And further, have we sufficient evidence that there ever was such a battle? ever an expedition headed by DeSoto? ever a discovery of the Mississippi before the days of the explorers from France? Some examination of the second question is needful in answering the first. I crave a little indulgence in repeating some foundation principles. History is written either by eyewitnesses or by those who get their knowledge from the same as eyewitnesses, at second, third, or fourth hand. There may be many removes, but all common history must go back at last for its authority to those who stood as actors or eyewitnesses of the events. An acknowledged, received Gospel history, even, speaks of the things most surely believed among the early Christians "even as they delivered them unto to us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses." Now, whoever proposes to give historic facts out of his own range of knowledge, or which took place before his own day, must have as his authority one or many between himself and the events which he records or transmits. Stephens refers to Bancroft. Bancroft had between himself and DeSoto one or more. Going no further in this line of thought I inquire, who are the eyewitnesses, or who give us the words of the eyewitnesses in regard to this Spanish expedition? Pickett tells us that he procured from England and France three independent accounts of that expedition. One was written by a Portuguese, who accompanied DeSoto, a second was written by Biedma, the commissary of DeSoto, and the third by a Peruvian Inca, Garcellano De La Vega, who obtained his knowledge from two journals kept by some followers of De Soto, and from the lips of a cavalier who was in the expedition. Two of these are original and one is a second hand account, one is Spanish and one is Portuguese testimony, and the third is Spanish collected and transmitted by a Peruvian Spaniard or a Spanish Peruvian. Had Stephens anything else? Had Bancroft anything else? Spanish records may exist in regard to the expedition when leaving Spain, when leaving Cuba, when the shattered remnant returned to Cuba, but of the expedition itself is it not clearly the testimony of these or nothing? The next question then would be concerning the credibility of these three documents. Are they entitled to our belief ? Are they, like the works of some American historians, colored, overdrawn? And, if colored, how much? There are particulars in which I think we may detect some Spanish and Peruvian coloring, but as these do not concern my main question I leave them undisturbed, with only the passing remark, that if this La Vega, when his statements were examined and sifted, was good authority for Prescott in regard to the conquest of Peru, he is equally good for us in regard to De Soto. I claim here and now, that there is sufficient testimony, making what allowance we may for coloring, if we believe that De Soto was ever here at all, to believe that he led here a thousand men, and the very definitely stated number of at least two hundred and thirteen horsemen.
While I should like to pursue this question further, I leave it now for the other, the question of locality. Did the battle of Manbila, according to the Spanish account transmitted to us by Pickett, occurring October 18,1540, take place in what is now Clarke county? Can we of Clarke lay full claim to this as one of our recognized, historic events?
That De Soto and his men were at Tallasse on the Tallapoosa September 18, 1540, seems from the account of his expedition to be beyond doubt, and this Tallasse is a locality well established, as on the opposite side of the river the Muscogees built their town of Tookabatchee, preserving the name of Tallasse until their removal in 1836. Remaining at this old Indian town some twenty days, the Spanish invaders crossed the Tallapoosa and marched for some days down the eastern side of the river and came to its bank again, now having become the Alabama, when they crossed to the western side. Pickett refers to Biedma as saying that the forces of De Soto spent two days in crossing this river, and the locality of the crossing is not certainly known. It can only be conjectured. But the invaders were now certainly on the west side of the Alabama, and judging from the time occupied on the march from Tallasse they must have been near or within the present county of Wilcox. They then marched southward three days, and on the morning of the fourth, October 18, they reached Manbila. And this large Indian town with an eastern and a western gate, was on a beautiful plain by the side of a large river, surely the same river which the Spaniards had crossed some four days before. And on this plain was "a large pool of delicious water fed by many springs." Where could this town have been, then, but in the present county of Clarke? The Spaniards were, as we now know, after they crossed the Alabama, between two quite large rivers, which finally coming together make a yet larger one the Mobile; and without crossing the Tombigbee or recrossing the Alabama, there was no possible advance southward beyond the limits of Clarke county. As the Spanish forces were thus shut in between two rivers, ignorant as they must have been of the geography of the region, we seem to be confined to the conclusion that Manbila was in the present county of Clarke, however ignorant we may be of its precise locality. It was near the river, and from its having an eastern and a western gate it may be inferred that it stood upon a northern bank. Such a bank it is not difficult to find on the winding Alabama. Can the plain, can the springs and the pool of water be found? Wells and water pools may remain in the Orient unchanged for thousands of years, but in this western world, where we talk sometimes about "forests primeval," we cannot expect to find an Indian pool as it existed three hundred years ago. This is a land of change. The large water courses change, and new springs burst forth. But the plain may remain, although now it may be covered with a forest growth. There is not much vegetation in Clarke that is venerable with the growth of three hundred years. Our large pines have been growing something more than two hundred years. Our cypresses and cedars may some of them be older.
Two special localities have been selected as the probable site of the old capital town of Tuskaloosa's dominions. In favor of one of these, the locality adopted by Pickett.
Known as Choctaw Bluff, there are mainly some Indian traditions, or, as he says, "representations of aged Indians and Indian countrymen," that there the great battle was fought. Such representations are not to be lightly set aside. But in favor of the other locality, where is found the name Manbila on the map of Clarke, some different considerations are urged. The distance of either locality from Pensacola on the south, from the place where the Spaniards crossed the Alabama on the north, makes very little difference in the comparative claims of each, as they are only about nine miles apart, and from each locality to Pensacola in a straight line it is not more than seventy-five miles. The Peruvian and Portuguese chroniclers of the expedition computed the distance from Manbila to the Bay to be eighty-five miles. In favor of the locality marked Manbila, known also as French's Landing, are these considerations, the springs and streams at the two places being very much alike. (1) Spanish bridle-bits, many arrow heads, and much pottery have been found here. (2) There is here an old burial ground. Bones have been washed out from the bank, and parts of bones and well-preserved teeth have been found. (3) A great many bullets have been found here, at one time more than a peck measure full were found. (4) There is an artificial mound here, called an Indian mound, circular, some forty feet in diameter. These facts I obtained from County Commissioner J. M. Jackson, of Clarke county, a very reliable man, who lived on this spot for some years, and whom I visited in his home at Gainestown three miles southwest of this supposed Manbila.
To review that fierce and terrible battle is not a part of the design of this paper, but only to look for the battle-field and to lay claim to it, in behalf of the county of Clarke, forever, that is, as long as Alabama and American history shall endure.
This being accomplished, let us return to the western slope of the sheltered and beautiful Bassetts Creek Valley. Here is some true Alabama historic ground. Here was the Kimbell-James massacre of September 1, 1813; and here was the heroic defence of Fort Sinquefield when attacked by Francis and his hundred warriors on the next day of that same memorable and bloody year. And although that massacre was but one of a thousand less or more of such atrocities committed by American Indians on frontier white settlers from the days of the Virginia colonists in 1609 to very recent times, extending over New England, along the Atlantic coast, in Kentucky when that was known as the dark and bloody ground, and in Minnesota and the far West, even over on the Pacific slope, yet, as one of a thousand, it has connected circumstances which give it individual interest in Alabama and Southeastern and American history. The historic incidents here may therefore now be briefly reviewed and re-set.* * *
It is true that this is but one among many Alabama historic spots. I do not propose to claim for it anything more than its real merit demands. It is not where was fought any of "the thirty battles" in that year of both British and Indian strife. It is not where any action was performed to make for men a Thermopylae or a Bunker Hill forever. I know the influence of such spots. In August, of 1881, alone in Charlestown, passing up the slope to the tall granite monument on that hill which is now called Bunker, I met a Massachusetts boy and talked with him about Warren and the British of 1775; and perhaps an hour afterwards I took a wistful little girl, a pleasant, winsome, stranger maiden, who needed an attendant, to the top of that tower among the throng of visitors, and enjoyed her emotion and delight as well as my own as we looked landward and seaward from that great height. I have walked on the green sward at Lexington and have read the names on the monumental stone of those who there fell on that historic 19th of April. And I have stood where the Kimbell and James families were massacred,* where now more fitting surroundings could not well be, and on the site of the stockade fort, and have walked up and down the long pathway to the Sinquefield spring, and I claim that here events transpired making this one of the true
* As the Kimbell-James massacre has been given in this work, it is omitted here.
historic spots of our land. The prophet Francis, leading a hundred warriors, was not like Weatherford with his thousand, nor like Xerxes with his million. But to the inmates of that stockade it meant death; and death by Indian barbarity, whether to many or to few, is no little thing. And right nobly, on the second day of September, 1813, was the Indian band repulsed. At Fort Mims there had been shameful neglect and recklessness. Here were the vigilant as well as the brave. And although the massacre of the two households was but one among a thousand, some of the incidents were certainly peculiar, and this was the only family massacre within this ellipse of fifty miles by thirty, as Sinquefield was the only one of these river settlement stockades attacked by the Indians after the fall of Fort Mims. Therefore, in Alabama annals, its name must be perpetually preserved. When a September, or still better an October sun, a few hours before nightfall, is shining over this landscape region, then is it a fitting time to go down the western slope, to cross the rippling brook still shaded as of yore with the native lowland growth, a foliage so rich in its semi-tropical luxuriance, listening for a moment to the flow of the cooling waters over the pebbles, and then going up near the elevation where stood the Creighton home, to look southward into the dark pine grove, where once was the dwelling of the Kimbells. And that sudden onslaught of the Indians there was--or will be when September comes--just seventy years ago. In only thirty years from now, in 1913, will be the first centennial of the events of that memorable year. I do not expect to be here then: but I have an only son who, if he lives, will be then just where I am now in life, not yet past its prime; and he, loving the beautiful, the good, the heroic the true historic will be ready to stand in his father's place in whatever may be in Alabama the celebrations of that year.
(Surely in thirty years from now we shall be a nation of Americans. We shall have learned anew what forty five years ago, in this place I think, Judge Meek so beautifully expressed in his poem, "The Day of Freedom," "To love alike all portions of our land." Dear to me is the favored region where I was born, in the old Bay State, in that rich valley of wealth and crowded cities; dear also to me is that milder southern valley where was born that maiden referred to in this paper;* and very dear to me is the Lake of the Red Cedars where my youth was spent, and where was born that only son: but on every spot of American soil I look with interest as a part of my country, my own native land, on every historic spot I tread with emotion, on every beautiful landscape I look with gratitude and love, a love which, I trust, for all the blessings we so richly share, goes in its fullness up to God.)
* Martha C. Creighton.
I repeat that in thirty years from now there will be for us a centennial year. And as there are very few living, even now, among us who can relate as eye witnesses the events of 1813, and soon there will be not one, what I propose for us of Clarke is: first, that we teach the children of the State that the great Indian battle of 1540, with its disastrous results, was fought, not where is now the city of Mobile, but in that triangular region known as the county of Clarke; and then, that some suitable granite monuments or marble slabs, something less perishable than wood, be placed where they may perpetuate the sad massacre, the brave repulse of September 1st and 2d, 1813, and the spot at Bashi where Colonel McGrew and his brave men fell, so that they may tell to the passing traveller and to the inquiring visitor, when there is no human tongue to speak, here is historic ground; here fell the helpless, and here fought and fell the brave.
And to the members of this Historical Society of Alabama I have only to add, that while we of Clarke do claim the battle-ground of certainly one of the most fierce and bloody and destructive conflicts ever waged with Indians in North America; and also claim to have made with our cordon of stockades and our pioneer soldiers a resolute and successful defense on the "edge of the storm," when Muscogee ferocity threatened the entire destruction of the Alabama River, Tombigbee, and Tensaw settlers; we are well aware that the fierce conflicts of 1813 were fought on other ground; and we trust that your efforts will result in securing and placing in imperishable form the records pertaining both to peace and to conflict, to suffering and to success, which are yet to be obtained in various parts of our great State; and thus you will transmit to the coming generations the worthy deeds of pioneers and faithful toilers through the first hundred years of Alabama American occupancy. Gentlemen of this society, citizens of Alabama, let not the memory of such deeds pass away into forgetfulness. For we are drawing nearer and nearer to the time when worthy human actions, instead of being buried in the dark night of oblivion forever, will be set forth before the intelligent universe in the bright light of an eternal day.
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