Lott Warren and the Arrest of Obed Wright

When Georgia militia troops attacked  the friendly Aumuculee  (Chehaw) Indian village in 1818, the nation was scandalized.

Let not the “star spangled banner” of our country be for a moment polluted with so foul a blot – Augusta Chronicle, May 16, 1818

The friendship of Aumuculle had been long known.  During the Red Stick War (1813-1814), the Aumuculle chiefs had repeatedly demonstrated their friendship and loyalty to the U.S., and to the state of Georgia.  Aumuculle had provisioned troops during the construction of Fort Early and sent 40 of their warriors to join the command of Andrew Jackson in his campaign against the Seminoles, who in the Creek language were called the Iste-Semole – the wild men.  Despite this record, the village was massacred by Georgia militia, under the supposed justification that the attack was a reprisal for earlier Indian depredations.

The attack itself was widely publicized with contradicting reports and a running dispute between General Andrew Jackson and Georgia governor William Rabun. Their dispute over military jurisdiction became so controversial, President James Monroe was required to furnish Congress with a complete set of the correspondence relating to the incident.

 

 

Lott Warren was the presiding judge on the Southern Circuit at the Lowndes County Grand Jury Presentments of 1833.

Lott Warren was the presiding judge at the Lowndes County, GA Grand Jury of 1833.

Lott Warren, who had  been present at the massacre and who followed orders to loot and burn the Indian houses, now had a small role to play in the capture of the perpetrator of the attack, Captain Obed Wright.  Warren would go on to serve as Solicitor-General  of the Southern Circuit, including Lowndes County, GA.  In 1826 Warren prosecuted two Indians before Judge Fort in Thomas County, GA for murder, securing a conviction and sentence that they  be “hung by the neck until they were dead. The judge omitted to invoke the usual blessing, – “May God have mercy on their souls!” – for the reason that the prisoners did not understand English.”  Warren became an ardent supporter of the “States Rights” cause. Among the state rights he was most concerned with were the right of Georgia to incarcerate Native Americans without interference from the Federal Government, and the right of Georgians to retrieve fugitive slaves from other states.  Lott Warren was a slave owner, as shown in the 1860 Census of “Slave Inhabitants” of Albany, Dougherty County, GA.  Elected to the Georgia state legislature, he supported Indian Removal and Georgia’s defiance of U.S. Supreme court rulings that favored Native American rights.  Warren supported the expulsion of sympathetic missionaries from the Indian Territory, and the execution of Corn Tassels for a crime committed in the Indian Nation.  He was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives where he vehemently defended the character of Governor William Rabun and his assertion states rights.

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Following the attack on Aumuculle (Chehaw), Obed Wright, commanding officer at the Chehaw Massacre,  and the militia companies under his command had been discharged at Hartford and had returned to their homes. Lieutenant Lott Warren returned to Dublin, GA and resumed his work as a clerk in the store of Amos Love.  Warren’s employer, Amos Love, was the father of Peter Early Love who became a leading statesman of Georgia, serving as a solicitor general, superior court judge and U.S. Congressman. Peter Early Love, was a judge on the Southern Circuit; Judge Love was a former Solicitor General serving old Lowndes County, GA, and presided at the first session of the Superior Court held in Berrien County in 1856. He was elected as a U. S. Congressman and was among the southern representatives who walked out of Congress when Secession was declared.  Amos Love’s grandaughter, Mattie Love, would marry during the Civil War to Private Robert Hamilton Harris of the Thomasville Guards, Company A, 29th Georgia Regiment.

Meanwhile, pursuant to orders from General Andrew Jackson, Major John M. Davis commenced tracking down Captain Obed Wright to secure his arrest.

Arriving in Hartford in mid-May, 1818 Major Davis found Captain Wright had already departed for Savannah, GA. Davis pursued, first going by way of Fort Hawkins and Milledgeville.  Major Davis finally tracked Wright to Dublin, GA. There, Davis sought out Lieutenant Lott Warren. In a statement to the U.S. Congress, Lott Warren later recounted, “Major Davis called upon me, and in great confidence disclosed his business, and inquired for Capt. Wright, to whom in a few minutes I introduced him…” – Georgia Journal, 26 Apr 1842

Major Davis… stated that he had orders from Gen. Jackson to arrest Capt. Wright. Lieut. Warren accompanied him to the hotel, where he introduced him to Capt. Wright, who at once submitted. It may as well be remarked here that Capt. Wright had not been mustered into the service of the United States, and was, of course, not subject to the orders of Gen. Jackson. His arrest, by the authority of the latter, was therefore regarded by Gov. Rabun and the justices of the Inferior Court of Baldwin county, as a usurpation of power.

 

Major Davis presented Captain Wright with an official, written letter of arrest.

Capt. Obed Wright, Georgia militia

Dublin, Georgia, May 24, 1818

Sir,
I am directed by major general Jackson, commanding the division of the south, to arrest you and conduct you to fort Hawkins, where you are to remain, until the pleasure of the President of the United States, be known on your case.
You will therefore, consider yourself in arrest, and proceed accordingly.

I am, respectfully yours, &c.

JNO. M. DAVIS
Ass’t inspr. gen. U.S. army;

 

Having taken Captain Wright into custody, Major Davis proceeded with his prisoner toward Fort Hawkins, at Macon, GA.  Wright prevailed upon Davis to go by way of the state capitol at Milledgeville, where he said he had papers important to his defense.  At Millegeville, however, Wright attempted to escape… or at least to delay the march long enough for his attorney to file legal proceedings.

Extract of a letter from a gentleman in Milledgeville to his friend in Raleigh, (N.C.) dated June 4.

Our metropolis has been in considerable commotion for several days past. Captain Obed Wright, the murderer of the friendly Indians, was arrested by order of gen. Jackson, the first of last week below this, and at his request was permitted to come to this place [Milledgeville], for the purpose of procuring some papers which he said would be necessary at his trial. On Thursday morning last, when the officer [Major John M. Davis] was about to proceed on his journey, the prisoner broke ground, and moved with such velocity that he succeeded in reaching the top of one of our longest hills before he was overtaken by persons on horseback. His conduct so enraged the officer, that he looked as if he intended severing the fellow’s head with his sword, which he “waved in fiery circles” (as Weams would say) above the trembling prisoner, who looked as if he expected every moment to meet old Howard in another world. This affair afforded time enough for a friend of Wright to procure a writ of habeas corpus, which was served on the officer, and he notified to attend a court called to try the case, in a few hours. The court decided that the orders of gen. Jackson were informal, as they contained no charge for which the prisoner was arrested, or to be tried – Jackson simply directs the officer to arrest and confine him until instructions can be received from the president. The prisoner was discharge, and the officer went off, cursing our governor and the whole state and threatening us with vengeance, to tell gen Jackson how he had been treated, who has never shewn much courtesy towards our chief magistrate. Jackson considered Wright in the service of the United States, and our governor thinks he was in the service of this state. There is much difference of opinion on the subject. The governor is censured, generally – perhaps justly too.  – The New York Evening Post, 25 Jun 1818

Wright’s attorney, Seaborn Jones, filed the writ of habeas corpus with the Inferior Court of Baldwin County, Milledgeville;

Chambers, May 28, 1818
Present: Their honors Robert Wynn, William Bevin, and James Fleming, Justices.
The court met for the purpose of hearing Obed Wright, who was brought up before them upon a writ of habeas corpus, which is as follows:
Georgia, Baldwin county.
To any Justice of the Inferior Court.
The petition of Obed Wright showeth: That he is detained in confinement by Major Davis, an officer in the United States service, and he therefore prays the benefit of a habeas corpus, to inquire into the cause of his confinement and detention.
Seaborn Jones
Attorney for petitioner.

Pursuant to the petition a writ of habeas corpus was issued by the court.

Habeas corpus, by the Constitution of the United States, and of the State of Georgia.
To Major Davis,
an officer in the United States service.

Georgia, Baldwin county:
It appears, from the petition of Obed Wright, that he is now kept in custody by you, and he having prayed a writ of habeas corpus, you are, therefore hereby commanded, that you bring before me, at the court-house of the county, by the hour of 11 o’clock of the forenoon of the day, the body of the said Obed Wright, by whatever title he may be known to you, together with the cause of his commitment and detention, that he may be dealt with according to law. Fail not, and have you then and there this writ.
Given under my hand and seal, the 28th of May, 1818.

William Bevin, J. I. C.

Major Davis produced Obed Wright in court in Milledgeville, GA

Milledgeville, May 28, 1818
I have the said Obed Wright in court, together with the cause of his commitment and detention.
John M. Davis,
Ass’t Inspector General U.S.A.

After hearing the case, the court ordered the immediate release of Obed Wright.

Major John M. Davis, assistant inspector general of the United States’ Army, in obedience to a writ of habeas corpus, this day served on him, having produced the body of said Obed Wright, mentioned in the habeas corpus, before the court, together with the cause of his commitment and detention:
And the court, on consideration, deeming that no sufficient cause is shown for his detention: on motion, ordered, that he be discharged forthwith.
Robert Wynn.
William Bevin.
James Fleming.

 

Upon reaching Fort Hawkins, Major Davis wrote a letter to Gen. Jackson explaining the circumstances of Wright’s release:

Fort Hawkins 30th May 1818

Sir,
By express I hasten to communicate to you, that in pursuance of your order to me of the 7th inst. I came up with Captain Obed Wright of the Georgia Militia, in Dublin on the 24th Inst. I arrested him, and brought him on with me as far as Milledgeville, where civil authority interfered and discharged him. A copy of the proceedings is herewith enclosed to you – I also enclose you copies of my letters to the Secy. War, & Govr. of Georgia, together with a copy of your order to me (which you kept no copy of) – and a copy of Wright’s arrest.
So far as I have had an opportunity of discovering, the minds of the Georgians is much agitated on this occasion, and many of them warmly advocate Wright’s conduct – I had to brook several insults while I had him in custody – The General impression of the rable was that Wright would be delivered up to the Indians – The enlightened class new better, & said that you were incapable of doing such an act – I did not let the court know the extent of my orders -I only shew my first order, which directs him to be delivered over to the military authority at Fort Hawkins there to be kept in close confinement untill the will of the President be known. The Govr. of Georgia is absent at present, whether he will on his return order him to be delivered over to me on my application, or not is uncertain, I dont expect he will.
I deem it necessary & therefore have communicated the facts as herein related to the Secy. War, I have enclosed him a copy of the proceedings of the court, and a copy of Wrights arrest – I notified him that I have communicated the circumstance to you.
I have the honor to very Respectfully your Obt Sert
Jno. M. Davis
Asst Ins. Genl

Augusta Herald

Friday June 5, 1818
Milledgeville, June 2.
Capt. Wright —Major Davis, of the United States army, in compliance with orders from General Jackson, arrested Captain Obed Wright in Dublin, a few days ago, for the purpose of carrying him to Fort Hawkins, and securing him until instructions could be received from the President. Whilst in this place, on Thursday last, the prisoner was released from custody by a writ of habeas corpus, before a Court called to determine the case. The Court, after suitable investigation, decided that the orders of Gen’l Jackson were informal, as they contained no specific charge against the prisoner, who was accordingly released from custody. We understand Capt. Wright has been arrested by order of Gov. Rabun, and is now on parole in this place, waiting the organization of a court-martial.

Meanwhile, among the Creeks over there was growing resentment over the attack…

Milledgeville Reflector
June 2, 1818

The Chehaw Indians estimate the property lost by the late attack on their town, at $8000. We understand that there will be a general meeting of the Creek Nation at Fort Mitchell on the 7th instant, for the purpose of investigating the late affair.

On June 28, 1818, President James Monroe finally wrote,

An officer of rank should be ordered to visit the Chehaw town in the name of the executive of the United States, to examine into the loss and damage that indemnity may be made and to console the survivors.

Chief William McIntosh

Chief William McIntosh

In a letter dated July 8, 1818 Nashville, Tennessee  Major General Andrew Jackson informed Creek leader General William McIntosh that he had ordered the arrest of Captain Obed Wright for the “wanton outrage and murder” at Chehaw, but that Wright had been released by civil authorities in Milledgeville. Jackson wrote that he was awaiting President Monroe’s instructions on how to proceed further in the matter.

Head Quarters
Division of the South
Nashville 8 July 1818
General William McIntosh.
Friend and Brother

Shortly after the capture of Pensacola, I was taken very ill which prevented my writing you; I have continued indisposed ever since & on my return to Nashville was taken seriously ill, — From this attack I have just recovered sufficiently to write you —

On my march from Fort Gadsden to Pensacola I received the disagreable  intelligence of the wanton and outrageous attack by Capt Wright, commanding a detachment of Georgia Militia, on the Chehaw Village — I immediately sent the Chehaws a talk which you have seen, and ordered Capt Wright to be apprehended & confined for trial. Major Davis executed this order, arrested Capt Wright, and in passing through Milledgeville, Capt Wright was released from his confinement by the Civil Authority. I am awaiting the instructions of your Father the President of the United States on this subject. That Capt Wright ought to be punished for this wanton outrage and murder all good men agree, and I have no doubt Your Father the President of the U. States will have ample justice done in this case —

Your Friend & Brother
Andrew Jackson
Major Genl Comdg

After the discharge of Capt. Wright, upon Habeas Corpus, at Milledgeville, the Governor had him immediately arrested for disobeying orders, in not destroying the Hoponee and Philemi towns, as well as Chehaw,… Portraits of Eminent Americans.    However, Wright  while still officially under arrest was soon released on a “parole of honor” pending instructions from the President on the disposition of the case.

Secretary of State John Quincy Adams followed up with another letter to Governor Rabun, telling him that “The President of the United States has directed that Captain Obed Wright should be prosecuted for the murder of friendly Indians.” – Massacre of American Indian Allies, 1818

The Savannah Republican reported the instructions from President Monroe; Captain Wright would be tried before justices of the Supreme Court, and if convicted, would be executed.  In a second article The Savannah Republican explained to the legal authority to prosecute Wright in federal court.

Savannah Republican
July 14, 1818

The President has issued orders for the arrest of captain Obed Wright, which the marshal of this district will execute forthwith. A special court has also been ordered for the trial of Wright, to be held in September next, in this city, or Milledgeville, at which two of the judges of the supreme court are to preside. Wright is charged with having committed murder, and the destruction of the Chehaw town.

Savannah Republican
Milledgeville, July 23.

The law of Congress passed in 1802 to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the frontiers, under which Captain Wright is to be tried, enacts, that “if any citizen, or other person, shall go into any town, settlement, or territory belonging to any nation or tribe of Indians, and shall there commit murder, by killing any Indian or Indians, belonging to any nation or tribe of Indians in amity with the United States, such offender, on being thereof convicted, shall suffer death.”
“And when the offender shall be apprehended or brought for trial into any of the United States, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States to issue a Commission to any one or more Judges of the supreme court of the United States, and the judge of the district in which such offender may have been apprehended, or shall have been brought for trial; which Judges, or any two of them, shall have the same jurisdiction, in such capital cases, as the Circuit Court of such district, and shall proceed to trial and judgement in the same manner, as such circuit court might or could do.”
For the immediate attainment of the objects of the general government in relation to captain Wright, the acting attorney of the United States for the district of Georgia, (Mr. Davies having temporarily left the state for the benefit of his health, which has been considerably impaired by an incessant devotion to business) has written to the Creek agent for Indian Affairs, we are informed, requesting him to pursue such steps as will authorize the Marshal to take captain Wright into custody; and the Governor has been desired to cause him to be delivered to any judicial officer of this county, whenever he shall be demanded by virtue of a warrant from the proper authority, and to detain him, till then, under his present military arrest. – Journal.

Wright heard that rather than facing a military courtmartial he was  to be tried before a federal court as soon as federal charges could be preferred. He petitioned Governor Rabun for immediate release from his arrest, but receiving no reply decided to flee from justice.

ESCAPE OF CAPTAIN WRIGHT.
From the Milledgeville Journal, 4th instant.
Capt. Wright, of noted memory, has broken his parole of honor, and absconded. On the 26th ult. [July 26, 1818] (the day previous to his dissappearing) he addressed the following note to the governor;-

“Sir – On the 28th of May last, I was arrested by order of your excellency. Since that time I have waited in the expectation, that a courtmartial would be ordered for my trial. No charge has yet made its appearance against me. I therefore pray that your excellency would withdraw the arrest. If you should think proper not to do so, suffer me to call and see you, as I have business of importance. (signed) Obed Wright.”

To this communication no answer was returned. His fears, we understand, were considerably excited by the statement in the Savannah Republican, of the determination of the president of the U. States to have him tried before the federal court for murder. Dreading a long and loathsome imprisonment in gaol [jail], and probably apprehending, from the “hue and cry” which had been raised against him, that his conduct would not be impartially investigated, he took the fatal resolution to flee from justice.
A reward of 500 dollars has been offered by the executive for his apprehension. The deputy marshal and assistant agent for Indian affairs, arrived here on Thursday with a warrant to take him into the custody of the civil authority- but the “bird had flown.”  – Savannah Republican, Aug 8, 2018

Governor Rabun then informed Secretary of State John Quincy Adams that Wright had fled.

Executive Department of Georgia
Milledgeville, 29th July, 1818

SIR
I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 30th ultimo, containing the determination of the President of the United States relative to the case of Captain Obed Wright; and was highly gratified that the affair should be brought before the civil authority of the United States, where, I have no doubt but ample justice would have been administered.
I had determined to detain him agreeably to your request, and would have cheerfully submitted him to the custody of the marshall, whenever he might have appeared; but the President’s instructions to the District Attorney were unfortunately made public in the newspapers of Savannah, and from them copied into others, and were thereby improperly communicated to captain Wright, who, being alarmed at the prospect that awaited him, (on the night of the 27th inst.) made his escape from the custody of the Adjutant General of this state, *who had been instructed to arrest and detain him) and I have received no information of him since.
I shall use every possible exertion to cause him to be arrested again, and hold him subject to the proper authorities of the United States.
I have the honor to be, Sir, very respectfully, your most obedient and very humble servant,
WM. RABUN
Hon. John Quincy Adams, Sec’y. of State.

Governor Rabun issued a proclamation offering a reward of $500 for the apprehension of the fugitive Obed Wright.

July 30, 1818 Proclamation of Governor William Rabun offering $500.00 reward for the capture of Captain Obed Wright.

July 30, 1818 Proclamation of Governor William Rabun offering $500.00 reward for the capture of Captain Obed Wright.

A proclamation, by his excellency William Rabun, governor and commander in chief of the army and navy of the state of Georgia, and of the militia thereof-
Whereas, captain Obed Wright, late of the Georgia militia, was on the 29th day of May last, arrested and confined by the executive authority of this state, for a violation of orders, in the commission of an outrage on the friendly Indians of the Chehaw village, in order that the president of the United States with regard to the manner in which he should be tried for said offence should be known: And whereas I have received information, that the said Obed Wright did on the night of the 27th inst. break his said arrest, and abscond from the place of his confinement and probably from this state: I have therefore though proper to issue this proclamation, hereby offering a reward of five hundred dollars, to any person or persons, who may apprehend the said Obed Wright, and deliver him into the custody of the deputy marshall of the United States, for the district of Georgia, residing at Milledgeville.- And I do moreover, hereby require and command all officers, civil and military, to be found within this state; and to give all aid and assistance in their power, to any person or persons, who may apprehend him for confinement, in order that he may be brought to trial for the crime of which he is charged.
Given under my hand and the great seal of the state, at the state house in Milledgeville, this thirtieth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen, and of the independence of the United States of America the forty-third.
WM. RABUN
By the governor,
AB. HAMMOND, sec. of state.

Obed Wright is supposed to be about 30 years of age, 5 feet 11 inches high, slender, trim built, said to be very active, fair complexion, light blue eyes, and light brown hair. – Lancaster Intelligencer, 22 Aug 1818

In plotting his escape, Wright turned to Jacob Robinson, who had been his second in command at the Chehaw massacre. Robinson would later be court-martialed for falsifying the payroll report for the service of his men at Chehaw, keeping the excess pay for himself. “And in that trial his loyalty to Wright and his part in effecting his escape was brought out. A witness testified that Wright had gone to Robinson’s home in Laurens County and informed him that the Governor had “released him from under arrest,” and told him “that he had to fly his country,” and that Robinson helped. A third witness testified that Robinson had told him that he had “hope” Wright along by giving him “a wooden horse [canoe]” in which to float down the Ocmulgee River, and that by now he was in Florida or “gone on to South America.” A fourth witness stated that Wright had said that a United States marshal was going to arrest him and keep him in jail in irons and that his health would not stand it, but that he was willing to be tried if at once. Robinson, himself, testified that Wright called at his home “on his way to the low country,” stating that his arrest had been withdrawn, “and that a different course would be pursued and to contend with the ilnature and influence” of Jackson he could not, “that being destitute of friends and money, that confinement in a common jail would be death,” and that his health could not stand it, he had decided to leave. Robinson said, “I treated the man with that hospitality honest men at all times receive in my house. I permitted him to take a canoe of mine which I felt willing to spare.” – The Chehaw Affair

From Dublin, GA Wright could have canoed down the Oconee River some 50 miles to where the river merges with the Ocmulgee River near Lumber City, GA to form the Altamaha River. The Altamaha then flows some 130 miles to Darien, GA at the mouth of the river.  By land or sea, Wright made his way to Spanish Florida. In a story that was picked up by national newspapers, The Savannah Republican reported that Wright had been spotted at St. Augustine, FL.

Savannah, Sept. 8

From the South. – We have just seen a gentleman from St. Augustine, who informs us…that he saw captain Obed Wright in St. Augustine – that he had taken a Spanish protection, and intended in a few days to go to the Havana. -The United States Gazette, 19 Sep 1818

President Monroe consulted with Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, and Attorney General William Wirt regarding the propriety of issuing a proclamation offering a reward for the apprehension of Obed Wright. The Attorney General advised that the President should instead seek an indictment from the next grand jury for the circuit court of Georgia. If Wright was indicted a federal warrant would be issued and the president could offer a reward for his arrest. U.S. marshals and federal authorities would be instructed that “if Wright should make his appearance anywhere within the United States, to cause him to be arrested according to law.” – Washington Daily Union, May 26, 1850

Probably reflecting on Andrew Jackson’s lack of respect for the sovereignty of the Spanish government in Florida, Obediah Wright decided to place a little more distance between himself and the U.S. authorities. By November Wright was spotted in Havana, Cuba.

From Havana. – Mr. Topliff’s correspondent at Havana writes him as follows, under date of Nov. 21 [1818]:… Capt. Obed Wright, late of the U. S. army, arrived here a few days since from St. Augustine. Capt. Wright was of the Georgia militia. – New York Evening Post, 14 Dec 1818.

National Intel.
A resolution has passed both branches of the Georgia Legislature, without a dissenting voice, exculpating the Governor from any blame on account of the unfortunate attack on Chehaw town, and the escape of Obed Wright. – Vermont Intelligencer, 21 Dec 1818 

Wright was never heard from again, and no one was ever held legally responsible for the massacre of the Chehaws.

In 1912, the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a monument  commemorating the Chehaw Massacre.

 

Chehaw Monument dedicated June 14, 1912 by the Americus Chapter of the DAR. The Atlanta Journal said the monument commemorated "the bloody massacre of innocent tribesmen, women and children by Captain Obed Wright, commanding a company of Georgia Militia, in 1818. The memorial is intended asa slight reparation for the great wrong thus done against a tribe of friendly Indians, and at a time when the men of the tribe were fighting in the ranks of Gen. Andrew Jackson;s two regiments sent against the Seminoles in the Florida Everglades in 1818."

Chehaw Monument dedicated June 14, 1912 by the Council of Safety (Americus) Chapter of the DAR. The Atlanta Journal said the monument commemorated “the bloody massacre of innocent tribesmen, women and children by Captain Obed Wright, commanding a company of Georgia Militia, in 1818. The memorial is intended as a slight reparation for the great wrong thus done against a tribe of friendly Indians, and at a time when the men of the tribe were fighting in the ranks of Gen. Andrew Jackson;s two regiments sent against the Seminoles in the Florida Everglades in 1818.” The inscription reads: Large Indian town, home of the Chehaws, a friendly agricultural people of the Creek Tribe, who aided our early settlers. They contributed men, food and horses to subdue the hostile Seminoles; Here Andrew Jackson rested with his starving army and was given help in 1818. Here also in 1818, through misunderstanding, were massacred seven of this tribe by Georgia troops, for which all possible amends were made. Erected in 1911 by Council of Safety Chapter, D. A. R.

 

Council of American Safety [Chapter of the DAR]. (Americus, Ga.) – Chehaw monument, near Leesburg, Ga., erected by the Chapter, was unveiled June 14th, 1912. The picture shows a scene after unveiling, and those of the rostrum who took part in the exercises on this occasion, follows from left to right: Mr. J.E.D. Shipp, orator; Miss Anna Caroline Benning, a former State Regent; Miss Annie May Bell; the three children who unveiled the monument: Lucy Simmons, Frank Harrold, Jr., Louise Dudley; Mrs. William Lawson Peel, Vice-President General; Mrs. Charles A Fricker, Chapter
We have done other good work, but erecting this monument by our Chapter is the greatest accomplishment since our organization five years since. Chehaw was an Indian town on the DeSoto Trail. The people were agricultural and friendly to our settlers. They were of the Creek tribe of Indians, and were of superior intelligence and civilization. In thus perpetuating the memory of this tribe, in recognition of their aid to our country, we emphasize the fact that Andrew Jackson, on his march in 1818, to subdue the uprising Seminoles in Florida, rested at Chehaw, and to him were contributed by the natives, shelter, food and horses for his starving army.
This monument is located exactly where stood the great “Council Oak” of the Chehaw Indians, a tree famous for its great size. The trunk was 8 feet in diameter, covering a space of 120 feet across, the outer circumference being clearly defined by a circle of oaks of perfect symmetry, sprung from the acorns dropped from the outspreading branches of the old tree, making one of the loveliest spots in Georgia. – Mary Charlton Fricker, Regent

Related Posts:

The Chehaw Massacre and Lott Warren

In April, 1818,  Native Americans at the Chehaw Indian village of Au-muc-cul-le near present day Leesburg, GA were massacred by soldiers of the Georgia militia.  Aumucculle (meaning “pour upon me”) was located on Aumuculle Creek [Muckalee Creek], ten or fifteen miles above its junction with Kinchafoonee Creek  (meaning Mortar Bone Creek). Captain Obed Wright, commanding the expedition, claimed his militia justifiably shot or burned to death more than 40 people.

Lott Warren was the presiding judge on the Southern Circuit at the Lowndes County Grand Jury Presentments of 1833.

Lott Warren was the presiding judge on the Southern Circuit at the Lowndes County Grand Jury Presentments of 1833.

A young lieutenant, Lott Warren, led the burning of the Indian houses.  Warren later became the judge on the Southern Circuit Court of Georgia, and presided over superior court trials at Troupville, GA and other county seats across Wiregrass Georgia.

The fact that the massacred Chehaw Indians were friendly to the American government and to General Andrew Jackson only deepened the tragedy.

Just a month before Wright’s attack, General Jackson was back in south Georgia to put an end to Indian depredations…

General Jackson’s weary soldiers had sojourned in the Chehaw village while traveling from Tennessee to Florida. The local chief, known as “Major Howard” among the whites, fed and provisioned the men. Subsequently, many Chehaw warriors joined Jackson’s troops to help pursue the Seminoles. – Gilder Lerhman Institute of American History

The Lower Creeks had settled along the Chattahoochee River watershed after the defeat of the Creeks in the Yamasee War 1715-1717.  Among the villages they eventually established was Aumucculle (later known as Chehaw) on a tributary of the Flint River. However, there was  another Indian town in early historical accounts and maps also known as “Chiaha” or “Chiaja”, and sometimes called Chehaw, on the Chattahoochee River about thirteen miles below present day Columbus, GA.  This town is represented as “Chiha” on John Mitchell’s 1755 Map of the Southeastern United States. The town was known to early traders in the region, and when the colonial government of Georgia regulated the Indian Trade in 1761, Chehaw [Chiaha?]  was assigned to  George Mackay and James Hewitt. “Cha-hah” is mentioned among the six principal Creek towns in Adair’s 1775 History of the American Indian.  This town also appears to be the one William Bartram passed upon crossing the Chata Uche [Chattahoochee River] at Chehaw about January 4, 1788 as he was traveling to Augusta with a company of traders.  In the 1790s, this town was know for raiding white settlers to steal their slaves, and for harboring a community of “free and maroon negroes, from the Americans and a a few from Pensacola, [who were] forming a type of palisade. They number more than 110.”

<br /> Southeastern part of the present United States : from the Mitchell map of 1755, showing Chiha (Chehaw) on the Chattahoochee River.

Southeastern part of the present United States : from the Mitchell map of 1755, showing Chiha village on the Chattahoochee River. Full map image in the Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections.

 

Aumuculle, the site of the Chehaw Massacre, appears as Amohkali in John R. Swanton‘s study of the distribution and movement of the tribes and towns of the Creek Confederacy.

John R. Swanton map showing Amohkali (Aumucculle; Chehaw) near the Flint River.

John R. Swanton map showing Amohkali (Aumucculle; Chehaw) near the Flint River.

Aumucculle (pour upon me) was described in 1799 by Benjamin Hawkins, General Superintendent of Indian Affairs.  Hawkins was known to the Creek Indians as Iste-chale-lige-osetate-chemis-te-chaugo: The beloved man of the Four Nations:

Aumuccullee. On a creek of that name, 60 feet wide, on the right bank of Thlonotiscauhatchee [Flint River]. The village is 15 miles up the creek, on the left bank; it is 45 miles below Timothy Barnard’s. There are 60 gun men in the village; they belong to Cheauhau. The lands are poor; limestone springs in the neighbourhood. The swamps are cypress, in hammocs, some water oaks and hickory. The pine lands are poor, with ponds and wire grass. This creek is a main branch of Kitchonfoone [Kinchafoonee Creek], which it joins 3 miles from its mouth (pg 172)…Cheauhau Village, situated on the river a pine barren surrounding it. There is a ford here opposite the town (pg 172).

In  A Sketch of the Creek Country, Hawkins added the village “is in some places well fenced; they have cattle, hogs and horses, and a fine range for them, and raise corn, rice and potatoes in great plenty.”

Hawkins described the buildings that would have been typical in a Creek Town:

Choocothlucco, (big house,) the …public square, consists of four square buildings of one story, facing each other, forty by sixteen feet, eight feet pitch; the entrance at each corner. Each building is a wooden frame, supported on posts set in the ground, covered with slabs, open in front like a piazza, divided into three rooms, the back and ends clayed, up to the plates. Each division is divided lengthwise into two seats; the front, two feet high, extending back half way, covered with reedmats or slabs; then a rise of one foot, and it extends back, covered in like manner, to the side of the building. On these seats, they lie or sit at pleasure.

The rank of the Buildings which form the Square.

  1. Miculgee intoopau, the Micco’s cabin.
    This fronts the east, and is occupied by those of the highest rank;
    the centre of the building is always occupied by the Micco of the town; by the agent for Indian affairs when he pays a visit to a town; by the Miccos of other towns, and by respectable white people.
    The division to the right is occupied by the Micugee, (Miccos, there being several so called in every town, from custom, the origin of which is unknown,) and the counsellors. These two classes give their advice, in relation to war, and are in fact the principal counsellors.
    The division to the left, is occupied by the Enehau Ulgee, (people second in command, the head of whom is called by the traders, second man.) These have the direction of the public works appertaining to the town, such as the public buildings, building houses in town for new settlers, or working in the fields. They are particularly charged with the ceremony of the a-ce, (a decoction of the cassine yupon, called by the traders black drink,) under the direction of the Micco.
    The Micco of the town superintends all public and domestic concerns; receives all public characters; hears their talks; lays them before the town, and delivers the talks of his town. The Micco of a town is always chosen from some one family. [The Micco of Aumuculle (Chehaw) was Cochamicco, know by the traders as Old Howard]. After he is chosen and put on his seat, he remains for life. On his death, if his nephews are fit for the office, one of them takes his place as his successor; if they are unfit, one is chosen of the next of kin, the descent being always in the female line…
    When a Micco, from age, infirmity, or any other cause, wants an assistant, he selects a man who appears to him the best qualified, and proposes him to the counsellors and great men of the town, and if he is approved of by them, they appoint him as an assistant in public affairs, and he takes his seat on this cabin accordingly.
  2. Tustunngulgee intoopau, the warriors’ cabin.
    This fronts the south; the head warrior sits at the west end of his cabin, and in his division the great warriors sit beside each other. The next in rank sit in the centre dividion, and the young warriors in the third. The rise is regular, by merit, from the third to the first division. The Great Warrior, for that is the title of the head warrior. He is appointed by the micco and counsellors, from among the greatest war characters.
    When a young man is trained up and appears well qualified for the fatigues and hardships of war, and is promising, the Micco appoints him a governor, or as the name imports, a leader, (Istepuccauchau,) and if he distinguishes himself, they give him a rise th the centre cabin. A man who distinguishes himself, repeatedly , in warlike enterprises, arrives to the rank of the Great Leader, (Istepuccauchau thlucco.) This title, though greatly coveted, is seldom attained; as it requires a long course of years, and great and numerous in war.
    The second class of warriors is the Tussekiulgee. All who go to war, and are in the company, when a scalp is taken, get a war name. The leader reports their conduct, and they receive a name accordingly. This is the Tussekiochifco, or war name. The term leader, as used by the Indians, is the proper one. The war parties all march in Indian file, with the leader in front, until coming on hostile ground; he is then in the rear.
  3. Istechaguculgee intoopau, the cabin of the beloved men.
    This fronts the north.

    There are great men who have been war leaders, and who although of various ranks, have become estimable in a long course of public service. They sit themselves on the right division of the cabin of the Micco, and are his counsellors. THe family of the Micco, and great men who have thus distinguished themselves, occupy this cabin of the beloved men.
  4. Hutemauhuggee intoopau, the cabin of the young people and their associates.
    This fronts the west.
  5. Choocofau thlucco, the rotunda, assembly room [or Council House].
    Called by the traders, “hot-house.” This is near the square, and is constructed after the following manner: Eight posts are fixed in the ground, forming an octagon of thirty feet diameter. They are twelve feet high, and large enough to support the roof. On these, five or six logs are placed, of a side, drawn in as they rise. On these, long poles or rafters, to suit the height of the building are laid, the upper ends forming a point, and the lower ends projecting out six feet from the octagon, and resting on posts five feet high, placed in a circle round the octagon, with plates on them, to which the rafters are tied with splits. The rafters are near together and fastened with splits. These are covered with clay and that with pine bark; the wall, six feet from the octagon, is clayed up; they have a small door into a small portico, curved round for five or six feet, then into the house.
    The space between the octagon and the wall, is one entire sopha, where the visiters lie or sit at pleasure. It is covered with reed, mat or splits. 
    In the centre of the room, on a small rise, the fire is made of dry cane or dry old pine slabs, split fine, and laid in a spiral circle. This is the assembly room for all people, old and young; they assemble every night, and amuse themselves with dancing, singing, or conversation. And here, sometimes, in very cold weather, the old and naked sleep.
    In all transactions which require secrecy, the rulers meet here, make their fire, deliberation and decide. When they have decided on any case of death or whipping, the Micco appoints the warriors who are to carry it into effect; or he give the judgement to the Great Warrior, (Tustunnuggee thlucoo,) and leaves to him the time and manner of executing it.

During the Red Stick War (1813-1814), the Aumuculle chiefs had repeatedly demonstrated their friendship and loyalty to the U.S., and to the state of Georgia.

In August, 1814 , the Chiefs from Aumuculle warned white settlers on the Ocmulgee River of impending danger from hostile Indians, and gave assurances that neither their people nor the Hitchiti Indians were responsible for the trouble. The Chiefs reported that a party of hostile Indians had joined the British. A Chehaw man encountered four of the hostile warriors on August 1, 1814 headed towards Hartford, GA who admitted that they were on a raid to steal horses and commit mayhem.

 

redsticks

Red Stick warriors depicted in “Four American Indians

The Chiefs had set their men to try to recover any stolen property.  The Aumuculle Chiefs went on to warn that the British had landed “300 negroes as soldiers and 300 white troops” at the mouth of the Apalachicola River, and were building forts there and at the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers.  This intelligence was conveyed by letter from Timothy Barnard, an Indian trader and sometimes assistant agent to the Creek Indians:

Flint river 5th Augt  1814
Mr. Mumford
Sir

I write you this in consequence of some allarming news got late last Evening from two of the Aumauculle Cheifs. They say Mr Kenerd sent them on to bring me the information and also to request of me to write down Express to the Citizens of Hartford to put them on there gaurd and also that if any mischeif is done on Ockmulgee [river] that their friends the white people in that Quarter may not suspect the Aumuculle people or Hitchetaus for [illegible]. Its the report the Chiefs being [illegible] as follows – four men from the hostile partey that has Joined the Brittish was seen by a Chehaw man crossing Flint river at the old feild were the old Chehaw town
was formerly. The Chehaw man asked him were they were goeing. There answer was to ockmulge. They were asked if there business was to steal horses. There answer was that was not the whole they meaint to do. The man that saw them he sayes he Said Every thing he could to Stop them but to no purpose. They crossed the river and pushed [on].
Yesterday was the fourth day since they crossed flint river. Therefore I fear before this they have commited some murder or stole of some horses, perhaps both. The Aumauculle Cheifs  has appointed Sevin men to way lay the river and if they return back the same way and bring horses to take them from the robbers and have them Sent to Hartford.
It is time our Citizens on all our frontiers were better prepar’d to meet hostilities, as from the Brittish warriors we must Expect ravage and murders. The Chiefs here present also inform me that a red man that has been down at the mouth of these rivers — were the Brittish are landing Says they have landed 300 negroes as soldiers and 300 white troops wich he saw on the shore and that they are busey building a fort and are also comeing up to the Junction of the two rivers flint river and Chattahoche and build another fort there wich is 70 or 80 miles from the mouth of the two rivers. The Indian report is that they counted 70 Ships layeing near the mouth of these rivers and that they have landed Sheep hogs turkes geese ducks wich is a proof of they mean to trye to hold that countrey. I have give you here an account of Every thing I think necessary to put my friends in Hartford or on any parts of frontiers of Georgia [on] there gaurd wich appears to me to be too much Exposed in the present Situation of affairs. If you and the other Gentlemen in Hartford see cause you may send this information on to His Excly the governor of Georgia, as its rite he should know the present situation of his frontiers. If my Sons has not left you that went down with Mr Harris, plese send me a Quire or half a Quire of paper by them. If I hear any more bad news Shall rite you again

remin Sir your most Obdt Sert
[Signed] Timy [Timothy] Barnard

ps if any mischief has been done before you receive this plese write me T B

After finishing the talk the Cheif recolected something more that his Cheifs that sent him on here had told him to communicate wich is as follows —
That the Citizens of georgia from a few miles below Hartford on the west Side of ockmulge [Ocmulgee River] are setling thick from that down to the Allattamahau [Altamaha] and the woods full of cattle and hogs. Some White people the Cheifs say are also setled of[f] some distance from the river. The Cheifs say that they considered and heard by the conclusion of the treaty respecting the line that they, the red people, were to hold possession of all the land above the line they [therefore] beg of the goverment of the U. States to see justice done them as they say they have been alway freindly to their freinds, the white people, on the frontiers and neaver wish to doe them any injurye.

[Signed] Timy Barnard

In November 1814, the Aumuculle chiefs again provided intelligence on the actions of the British and the Red Stick Indians. The report was conveyed by Timpoochee Barnard to his father, Timothy Barnard, who relayed the information to Colonel Benjamin Hawkins, U. S. Agent to the Creeks.

Timpoochee Barnard, son of Timothy Barnard, conveyed intelligence from Aumuculle (Chehaw) village on the movement of hostile Red Stick Indians.

Timpoochee Barnard, son of Timothy Barnard, conveyed intelligence from Aumuculle (Chehaw) village on the movement of hostile Red Stick Indians.  History of the Indian Tribes of North America

Flint river 3d Novr 1814
Colo. B. [Colonel Benjamin] Hawkins

Sir

My Son Timpuge [Timpoochee Barnard] arrived here yesterd[ay] from his route to Chehaw and old — Kenerds. Old Kenerd told my Son that he had an Express come to him that the War Indians wer on there march wich allarmed him a good deal wich caused him to have an Express Sent on to you. Kenerd relates that the day after this happ[ened] five of the Aumanculle Cheifs that had been down at the mouth of the rivers were Perriman lives arrived at there [their] town and informed Kenerd that the war partey had stoped comeing on in consequence of wich Kenerd requested of my Son to proceed on up to Your house and give you the information. Catchaw micko hatke [Cochamico; Old Howard] of aumancule [Aumuculle] requested of my son to inform Colo [Colonel] Hawkins that all the people in his town take no part with the red Stiks [Red Sticks] but meain to hold the Americans there freinds [their friends] by the hand. Join the Cowetaws there [their] friends the red people. The Aumnucule [Aumuculle] Cheifs are all determined if the red Stick will begin to Spill blood that they meain [mean] to move there [their] Quarters up this way Somewer were [Somewhere where] they can Join there freinds [their friends], one thing the Catchaw micco says when he and his people moves they have large familyes and does not know what way he has to support them without his — freinds the white people will assist them —
One of the aumuculle Chiefs that went on to Perriman known by the name of hitchufulawa [Hitchiti Lawa?] wich I have always known to be a man of truth, if any of the [illegible] deserves the name in this land, was the man that stoped the red Stick from comeing on this Expedition wich has been a good thing.

It may give our frontier inhabitants time to be better prepard [prepared]. It seems the brittish officer that was up at perrimans at the time urging the red Stick on was much offended at the Red people not proceeding on the route he and perriman pushed on down to the Stores at the mouth of the river. Should not have Wrote you so much as my Son was goeing [going] up by request of the Chiefs to tell you all the news but Expected you might be gone in to fort Hawkins. Am still in so low a state am scarcely able to set up to rite or to walk aboute. My son can tell you aboute your runaway black. He says when he got down to Aumaucule that there was but very few red people in the town. The Wolfe Warrier at the time was laying very sick. The first and only news he could hear of them was that they were seen ten miles of[f] from the East Side of the river twenty miles below Obaunes. If you should be at home when my son gits up plese write me a few lines and if you have a late paper that you can spare plese send me one or two.

remain Sir with respect your most most Obdt &c &c
[Signed] Timy Barnard

A letter dated November 15, 1814 from Colonel Benjamin Hawkins, U.S. Agent to the Creeks, to Peter Early, Governor of Georgia (1813-1815), included extracts from other letters regarding appearances of “hostile” Creek and Seminole Indians along the Georgia frontier.  The excerpts  include testimony relating to the involvement of the British in inciting the Seminoles,  and information on the enrollment of “friendly” Creeks to fight against the Seminoles and “hostile” Creeks.

Information of hostile appearances among the Simenolies [Seminoles] and Hostile Creeks.

11th. novr.  from low down Flint river

“Two of the war or predatory parties had been turned back, one by the Aumucculle chiefs and the others by the chiefs in the neighborhood of Kinnards. The King of Micco Sookee dos what he can to restrain his young people. They are impudent and eager for mischief.  A man who called himself a British officer and Tom Perriman visited the King and urged him to war and to go out with the Warriors offering him 100 dollrs.  for every trader, cowbuyer or other American found in their country and the like sum for captured negros. The King answered, begin you first the war and you will then see what the Red people will do. The headquarters of the encouragers of mischief is Perrimans. Ten negros arrived almost perished from Pensacola and 100 expected to join the British.””

14 nov.  From three confidential people examined in presence of Colo. Jones, at Mr. Barnards, interprited by him

“The first movement of the Hostiles was from Perrimans. The Aumucculle Chiefs prevailed on them there to halt. A party of them came on and stole six horses from Mr. Barnard and family and four from the agency. The second ground movement was stoped  again on the adoption of a new plan which was to be kept secret under pain of death. This however has leaked out, from one in the secret, to his Uncle, who sent it to the agent.  When the Georgia army marched and shall have passed through to Jackson, they [the hostiles] are to attack and plunder the frontiers Eastward of F. [Fort] Hawkins for horses for the British officers who will want many, and for negros. When the Miccosookee King and the officer had the conversation related above, The latter said if the Simonolies would not go against the Americans as he had given them munitions of War for that purpose, he would take his negros and march through their country to St. Marys to mischief and bring the Georgians on them. He would give 40 dollrs. for the Scalp of every man brought to him. Where this second movement was charged two parties come on to mischief below fort Hawkins and about Mr. Barnards sons. One of them was stoped by the Aumucculle people and the other by Obaune.  A third party supposed to be one seen near Hartford must have gone round about; Its return trail was seen as supposed by one of the informants; a large one all moc,a,sin trailes [moccasin trails] no horse tracks and he thinks they were either called back by runners or that they discovered the scout of Horsemen coming out from Hartford, got alarmed and returned.”

In a “talk” dated December 27, 1816 from the Chiefs of the Chehaw Towns (Creek Nation) to David B. Mitchell, then Governor of Georgia (1815-1817), the chiefs complained of attacks made upon them by white settlers along the St. Marys River. They relate one incident in particular in which the settlers attacked a Chehaw hunting party, stole their horses, deer skins and other articles, and took one man prisoner. A similar attack was made on another party near the Okefenokee Swamp. The Chiefs remind the Governor of their long friendship with the white people of Georgia; and of their loyalty during the Red Stick War.  Despite these attacks on their people,  the Chiefs restrained their young warriors from seeking “satisfaction” from the settlers. Instead, they beseeched the governor to have their property restored and recover the man who was taken prisoner. The Chiefs also observe that white settlers are trespassing on Creek lands near the Altamaha [Ocmulgee] River. The letter is signed by Chefecksecoimmauthlau, as a representative of the Chehaw Chiefs, and Timothy Barnard, as interpreter.

Letter from Timothy Barnard esqr. dated 27th. Dec: [December] 1816.
Indian Affairs

A Talk Sent on by the Indian Cheifs who reside Sixty miles below this on flint river known by the name of the Chehaws to His Excellncy — David B. Mitchill,Governor and Commander of the State of georgia. Their talk is in consequence of depredations commited on them by the white people who reside on the river St maryes, Citizens of the United States. The Cheifs sent on to me three days past states there complaints as follows, that near two months past a party the red people were hunting near the St marys river at wich time a party of white people rushed on there camp and took on[e] red man a prisoner and took him of[f] and twelve hed of horses and Every thing Else that was movea[ble] at the dear Skins and many other articles. Since that not many days past a party of red people were in camp on the East side of the oconfenoga [Okefenokee] Swamp at wich time a party of white people rushed on them and robed [robbed] them of ten horses they say that they believe that if they had not run of[f] into Swamp that the white people meant to kill them as they were all armed — the Cheifs say they send this to his Excellency as freinds as its well known that they have neaver commited any hostile acts on the Citizens of georgia. The also say they neaver took no part with those called the red Sticks wich they say I know to be true and wich is true. They have been in all the last bad times in this countrey. They have behaved as well and better than any other tribe I know. The Chiefs therefore beg the favour of his Excellency as a freind to git there property restored to them and also the red man that was carrid of[f] a prisoner if he is Still liveing. The Cheifs say that a party of their young warriers had collected to goe down near were they were robed [robbed] and plunder property to the ammount of there loss but that they the Cheifs that Send this talk had Stopt them. They Cheifs therefore beg the favour of his Excellency as a freind to the red people to send them an answer to this communication directed to me that I may inform them if they may have any hopes of there property been [being] returned —

The above talk givein by the Cheif.
Sent on to me this 27th Decr 1816
Chefecksecoimmauthlau his X mark
Timy Barnard, Interpreter

After finishing [the] talk the Cheif recolected Something more that his Cheifs that sent him on here had told him to communicate wich is as follows —
That the citizens of georgia from a few miles below Hartford on the west side of ockmulgeare setling thick from that down to the Allattamahau [Altamaha River] and the woods full of cattle and hogs. Some white people the Cheifs say are also setled of[f] some distance from the river. The Cheifs say that they considered and heard by the conclusion of the treaty respecting the line that they the red people were to hold possession of all the land above the line. They beg the goverment of the U. States to see justice done them as they say they have been alway freindly to their freinds the white people on the frontiers and neaver wish to doe them any Injurye.

Thus it was that Aumuculle was well regarded as a friendly village and an ally, when Andrew Jackson came through the area in 1818 on his way to engage hostile Seminole Indians in Florida.

In early 1818, as he traversed the region, Andrew Jackson stopped at Aumucullee, now referred to as simply “Chehaw.” At this time, the town “consisted of fifteen or twenty cabins with a large Council house in the Centre” flying a white flag of peace ( GA Genealogy)General Glascock reported there was a ferry over the Flint River opposite the village.

FORT EARLY

Miniature portrait of Thomas Glascock, Jr.

Brigadier General Thomas Glascock, Jr. constructed and commanded Fort Early in 1818. He later served as a Georgia member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

To defend the Georgia frontier and in preparation for Jackson’s campaign,  Brigadier General Thomas Glascock had been sent in January of 1818 to oversee the reconstruction of Fort Early on the Flint River. His militia bivouac on the Flint above Chehaw village was called Camp Cumming.  A soldier wrote from Camp Cumming, “We arrived here after a fatigueing march of 12 days from Hartford, 10 of which rained. The whole of our march has been through a poor, flat, pine-woods glades, where I have seen eight horses frequently to a waggon, which they moved with difficulty. This detachment has had constant, various and almost insurmountable difficulties to encounter. We have had many false alarms, but no fighting; nor need there be any apprehension of an attack. A hostile party however is scouting in the neighborhood, consisting of about thirty men, and have rifled the house of a friendly Chehaw chief ( Raleigh Minerva, Jan 30, 1818).”   On January 10, 1818, Glascock wrote from Camp Cumming about hostile Indians from Fowltown (called Totalosi Talofa by the Native Americans) threatening the safety of his men and effectively cutting off their supplies from the friendly Indians at Chehaw.

In a letter written January 18, 1818 Glascock informed General Edmund Pendleton Gaines that sixty of his men were erecting blockhouses, and that he intended to bring up the rest of his force up to complete the works.  The log stockade was built near the site of an earlier breastworks originally constructed in the War of 1812.

 

August Herald Jan 30, 1818 reports construction of Fort Early

Augusta Herald Jan 30, 1818 reports construction of Fort Early

Augusta Herald
Jan 30, 1818

The LAST NIGHT’S MAIL from Milledgeville, brought us the following intelligence, being the latest received from the Georgia Troops now in service.

The Army.

An intelligent gentleman, who left the Army on the 18th instant, has favored us with the following particulars respecting the Georgia militia in service. The detachment is stationed on the east side of Flint river, 42 miles from Hartford, about 70 miles from Fort-Scott, and ten above the nearest settlement of Chehaw (a friendly Indian town) to which place a road has been opened. A new Fort is erecting on the site of old Fort-Early, selected by Gen. Blackshear, and considered very eligible—it is to be called Bloomfield. The adjacent country is open and glady, and the mud so extremely bad, that the troops have to be supplied by pack-horses. Boats are building at the Agency, to transport provisions down the river—they are to be shot-proof, and it is supposed are nearly finished. No difficulty is now believed to exist relative to crossing the Spanish line—and, it is understood, offensive operations, on our part, will soon be resumed—The army was expected to be reinforced in a few days, by three Companies of militia from the low-country, and 100 regulars. A party of thirty or forty hostile Indians were scouting about the lower part of Chehaw where they had rifled the house of a friendly Chief. When last beard from, they were only 12 miles from Camp, and were proceeding up the river to cut off a party that had been sent to Chehaw, which hastily and safely retreated. A volunteer corps was about forming to go in pursuit of them.
[Georgia Journal, Jan. 27. 

The new Fort Early would serve as a troop garrison, a bivouac point for federal troops and state militia, and as a depot for the shipment of army supplies from Hartford, GA to Fort Scott, sixty miles down the Flint River.

Style of blockhouse typically constructed along the Georgia frontier during the early 1800s.

Style of blockhouse typically constructed along the Georgia frontier during the early 1800s.

During the construction, Glascock’s detachment ran short on rations, “The Contractor’s Agent having failed to comply with the requisitions of Gen. Gaines, for subsisting the United States’ troops and the Georgia Militia under Gen. Glascock.”

We have now on hand about three days Rations of Flour, not more that two of meat, & scarcely any supply of corn. I am in expectation of procuring a further supply of meat from Chehaws, perhaps a little, but very little corn.

On January 22, 1818 Glascock received word that hostile Indians had attacked supply wagons four miles east of Fort Early, killing two men – decapitating  one and scalping the other. The attackers were presumed to be from the Indian village of Fulemmy (Philema, GA). A few hours later word was received that Fort Gaines, approximately 80 miles west on the Chattahoochee River, was under imminent threat of capture by hostile Creek Indians. Settlers in the area had been scalped and the small stockade was crowded with soldiers, men, women and children.   The next day,  Major Thomas Simpson Woodward took a detachment of  22 men from Fort Early and 14 warriors from Chehaw  (Aumuculle) village, the Indian chief Major Howard among them, to reinforce Fort Gaines.  A few days later, Woodward’s company was relieved by federal troops and returned to Fort Early.

Portrait of Andrew Jackson by Charles Wilson Peale, 1819

Portrait of Andrew Jackson by Charles Wilson Peale, 1819

General Jackson arrived at Fort Early about February 22, 1818, escorted by two companies of Kentucky militia.  But prior to  Jackson’s arrival, Glascock’s  Georgia militia men having completed their term of enlistment were discharged. Glascock went to Hartford to organize a new militia force called up by Governor Rabun.

Meanwhile, word had come from the commander of Fort Scott, GA that because of a lack of supplies and imminent threat of attack from hostile Indians gathering at Fowltown, he intended to abandon the post.  Jackson’s urgent mission was to “prevent such a disastrous movement.”  On February 25, 1818 General Glascock wrote of his return  to Fort Early with a fresh contingent of Georgia militia infantry and riflemen from Hartford, GA. The troops brought a drove of 1,100 hogs, but otherwise arrived without supplies, as excessive rains had made the roads impassable for their supply wagons. In a letter written from Fort Early, Jackson informed John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, “Eleven hundred men are now here without a barrel of flour or bushel of corn. We have pork on foot; and tomorrow I shall proceed for Fort Scott, and endeavor to procure from the Indians a supply of corn that will aid in subsisting the detachment until we reach that place.

The arrival of the militia and the urgency of the situation at Fort Scott, obliged Jackson to depart with the available force on February 27, expecting to supplement the swine with some provisions he hoped to secure from friendly Indians en route (M. A., vol. 1, p. 698). At Jackson’s order, Maj. T. S. Woodward of the Georgia militia, had sent a talk to the Chehaw town, proposing that their warriors join the army, to which appeal they promptly responded when the army passed by, unaware of the tragic fate in store for their town during their absence. … Some supplies of corn, potatoes, and ground peas were secured at this place [Chehaw]… –River Basin Surveys Papers

General Jackson’s force passed through Chehaw about February 28, 1818 marching south to Fort Scott.  At this time, the town “consisted of fifteen or twenty cabins with a large Council house in the Centre” flying a white flag of peace (GA Genealogy)  David Brydie Mitchell, United States Indian Agent to the Creek Nation and former Governor of Georgia, said of “the principal chief called Howard…There was not a better, a more friendly or a more intelligent Indian in the Nation.”  The old chiefs welcomed the Americans and provided them with corn and other supplies that could be spared (- GA Genealogy) . Capt. Hugh Young, topographer of Jackson’s army, credited Chehaw with “from 70-80 warriors under Old Howard or Cochamico, and rated them as friendly but unreliable. They were invited to furnish a force of auxiliaries to Jackson’s army and responded with enthusiasm. It is not known whether Young’s comment expressed a pre- or post-campaign opinion.The chiefs sent Jackson off to Spanish Florida with forty of their young warriors to fight their common enemy – the Seminoles, fugitive Upper Creeks, and renegade Lower Creeks (- GA Genealogy)

General Glascock recalled, “In passing through that town, we not only obtained a large quantity of supplies for the use of the army, but had to leave some of our sick under the protection of these very people.”  Jackson later wrote of Chehaw village:

On my march from Hartford,[Georgia] to fort Scott, the necessities of my army were first relieved at the Chehaw village, and every act of friendship characterized the conduct of their old chiefs. The young warriors immediately entered, and were mustered into the service of the United States; and under the command of colonel [Noble] Kennard, were esteemed one of the most efficient corps of friendly Indians.  – Military Affairs, Vol 1, pg 776

A “Muster roll of friendly Creek troops raised during the First Seminole Waris held in the Andrew Jackson Collection at the Tennessee Virtual Archives includes It lists the names, ranks, expiration of service, and remarks for  68 Creek warriors under the command of Captain Powas Hanjo [chief of the Chehaw village of Eufala].  Since the 1818 Florida incursion was a US regular army operation, these native allies were likely being paid by the Federal government. Jackson as a military commander used Native American allies in nearly all of his military operations.”

Related Posts:

Judge Lott Warren

Hamilton Sharpe and the Electoral College

Lowndes Grand Jury of 1833

An Antebellum Trial at Troupville

Roster of Levi J. Knight’s Independent Militia Company, 1838 with Notes on the Soldiers

 

Judge Lott Warren

Judge Lott Warren presided over the Lowndes County Grand Jury of 1833, at Franklinville, GA, the county seat of Lowndes which then included most of present day Berrien County.

Lott Warren was the presiding judge on the Southern Circuit at the Lowndes County Grand Jury Presentments of 1833.

Lott Warren was the presiding judge on the Southern Circuit at the Lowndes County Grand Jury Presentments of 1833.

 

According to the History of Bethel Association,

“His ancestors came from England, and settled in Virginia, from whence his father, Josiah Warren, removed to North Carolina during the Revolutionary war, and married Nancy Doty, in the county of Onslow. After the birth of two children, his parents settled in Burke county, Georgia, where Lott, the eleventh child, was born on the 30th day of October, 1797. From Burke they removed, in 1804, to a place four miles below Dublin, on the Oconee River, in Laurens county.

In his eighth year the subject of this memoir went to his first school, with six brothers and sisters, who walked daily upwards of three miles, to obtain what knowledge Mr. Matthew Burns, an Englishman, could impart during his sober intervals. The school lasted nine months; but, at the end of two quarters, Mr. Warren withdrew his children, owing to the intemperate habits of the teacher. Being a pious member of the Baptist Church, and a magistrate, Mr. Warren had a peculiar dislike to drunkards’, and, from his condemnation of that vice, his son, of whom it is our privilege to speak, no doubt imbibed that antipathy to alcoholic drinks which has since marked his career. Residing in a wilderness frontier, distant from other settlements, Mr. Warren was frequently called upon, as a justice of the peace, to unite persons in wedlock at his own house. On such occasions the visiting party brought their own wine or brandy, as the case might be, and used it among themselves; no member of the household participating.

In February, 1809, Mr. Warren and his wife both died. It is due to the memory of this excellent man to say, that he was an humble and zealous Christian, and a faithful magistrate. His very name was a terror to evil doers. He committed the guardianship of his sons Lott and Eli, (the latter now General Warren, of Houston county,) to the Rev. Charles Culpepper, who had married his eldest daughter. Mr. Culpepper was a minister of the Baptist Church, and brother of the Hon. John Culpepper, formerly a representative in Congress from North Carolina. After the season for working the crop was over, Lott passed a few weeks at school, under Mr. Joseph Culpepper, in 1809. His guardian removed to Wilkinson county in 1812, then a rough frontier settlement, and was sent to school to Mr. Elkanah Powell, (who was afterwards killed in Twiggs county, by a man named Summers.) During the six months under Mr. Powell’s tuition, our pupil learned to write, and made some progress in arithmetic. His next teacher was Mr. James Fitzgerald, (now a venerable citizen of Houston county.) and, after the usual labor on the farm, he again went to Mr. Powell’s school. While there an incident occurred, which, as it had a controlling influence on the mind of young Warren, is worthy of special notice.

A man was charged with forging a note on Gov. Irwin, and his trial came on in Wilkinson Superior Court, before the Hon. Stephen W. Harris, Judge. The prosecution was sustained by Colonel Abednego Franklin, Solicitor-General, assisted by Colonel Moses Fort. The prisoner was defended by Colonel Seaborn Jones, now of Columbus. Gov. Irwin was sworn and examined as a witness. His praise was in all the land. By leave of his teacher, young Warren was present as a spectator, the first privilege he had ever enjoyed of witnessing a trial in court. Standing barefoot, a coarse, ungainly lad of fifteen, clad in homespun, with wool hat in hand, gazing with intense curiosity, from a window, on the scene before him, all silence to hear the Governor deliver his testimony, what was his astonishment to hear Colonel Jones cross-examine the witness with as much boldness and rigor as if he had been only a common man! Speeches of counsel and the charge of the court followed; the whole proceeding filled him with an irresistible desire to be a lawyer. On his return home at night, he mentioned the subject to his sister, who expressed surprise and sorrow, raising two principal objections: first, that he had not the means, (his patrimony being less than $500,) to prepare for the bar, and in the next place she did not consider lawyers sufficiently moral. He replied that he must have an English education in some way, and as to any supposed vices prevalent amongst lawyers, he would endeavor to be an exception. His sister was nothing convinced, and disposed of his request without even consulting his guardian. She lived to see him, in less than twenty years afterwards, Judge of the Southern Circuit.

His brother, Eli Warren,  also became a lawyer and a judge, as well as a planter, state representative and representative to two Georgia Constitutional Conventions.

In the spring of 1816, young Warren entered as a clerk in the store of Amos Love, a pious Baptist, to whom Mr. Culpepper ministered in, Dublin. Owing to bad health, he left Dublin in the fall, and became clerk to S. & B. Worrel, in Irwinton, near his sister, and shortly returned to Mr. Love. Within a few weeks he was drafted into the militia service for the Seminole war; and in February, 1818, was elected Second Lieutenant of the Laurens Company, commanded by Capt. Elijah Dean.

[This was during Andrew Jackson’s invasion of Spanish East Florida on an expedition against the Seminoles in 1818, the First Seminole War.]

This was his first promotion; and highly gratified, no doubt, was he with his martial honors on the eve of an expedition. Not for the purpose of showing any military talent or conspicuous deed in arms, to entitle Lieutenant Warren to public admiration, do we attempt a brief sketch of the campaign in which he served; but to preserve a few incidents, of which he is, perhaps, the best if not the only living witness, in relation to the burning of the Indian town of Chehaw, near the present site of Starkville, Lee county. It was the burning of this town that led to an animated correspondence* between Gen. Andrew Jackson and Gov. Rabun. 

After General Gaines retired from Amelia Island, he took command of the state troops which had been ordered out by the Governor, and among them a company of Chatham militia, together with the Laurens and Wilkinson Companies. They were ordered to the Big Bend of the Ocmulgee River, below Hartford, under the command of Major Clinton Wright, of the U. S. Army, to discover the course of the Indians, who had been committing murders and robberies on that frontier. After organizing the guard, Major Wright, pointing his sword towards him, said, “Lieut. Warren, I shall look to you for the discharge of the duties of Adjutant of this detachment. Come to my fire as soon as possible.” The young subaltern went accordingly, and in vain alleged his ignorance of duty as a reason why he should be excused from the task. But the reply was, “You have nothing to do except to obey orders.” Thus forced into the position, Lieut. Warren performed its labor actively, much to his own improvement, and to the satisfaction of a meritorious officer, who was drowned soon afterwards in attempting to cross Flint River on a raft.

From Big Bend, by way of Hartford, the command marched on the Blackshear road to Fort Early, where it crossed Flint River in the night, and proceeded to destroy the Hoponee and Philemi towns, fifteen or twenty miles west of the river. Evidence had been collected implicating these towns in the atrocities on the frontier. Arrived within a few miles of the Chehaw town, which was supposed to be Philemi [Now the site of Philema, Lee County, GA?], a council of war was called, and it was determined to send forty of the best mounted men to reconnoitre. They discovered large herds of cattle that had been stolen from the whites on the Ocmulgee, ahd an Indian minding them. Captain Obed Wright, of the Chatham militia, who had volunteered his services, had positive orders from the Governor to destroy the Hoponee and Philemi towns, which were known to be hostile. Captain Wright then formed the command into column, and gave express orders that the women and children should not be hurt, and that a white flag should be respected. Within half a mile of the main town a gate was opened by an aged warrior, and the troops passed in. Every thing was quiet. The children swung in their hammocks, and the women were beating meal. The cavalry in front fired several pistols to the left, killing the warrior who opened the gate. Capt. Dean ordered a charge, but Capt. Wright countermanded the order. Two Indians were seen loading their guns. About this time, Howard, a friendly chief, was killed, while holding up a white flag. The men dashed off in pursuit of the Indians, who fled in every direction. Lieut. Warren was ordered, with eighteen men, to burn the cabins. First removing whatever was valuable, two or three cabins only were burnt. The command then returned to Fort Early that night, sold the plunder next day, and divided the spoil. Lieut. Warren refused his portion.

It was the opinion of all concerned at the time, that it was Philemi town which had been destroyed. The chief Howard, and two other Indians who placed themselves in the power of the troops, were murdered in cold blood. But the error had been committed rashly, under excitement, and could not be repaired. The companies were soon discharged, and returned home. Lieut. Warren resumed his situation in Mr. Love’s store.

In a few days, Major Davis, of the U. S. Army, called on Lieut. Warren in Dublin, and stated that he had orders from Gen. Jackson to arrest Capt. Wright. Lieut. Warren accompanied him to the hotel, .where he introduced him to Capt. Wright, who at once submitted. It may as well be remarked here that Capt. Wright had not been mustered into the service of the United States, and was, of course, not subject to the orders of Gen. Jackson. His arrest, by the authority of the latter, was therefore regarded by Gov. Rabun and the justices of the Inferior Court of Baldwin county, as a usurpation of power. After the discharge of Capt. Wright, upon Habeas Corpus, at Milledgeville, the Governor had him immediately arrested for disobeying orders, in not destroying the Hoponee and Philemi towns, as well as Chehaw, but, being at liberty on his parole of honor, Capt. Wright escaped.

We close this part of the memoir by a few extracts from the correspondence between Gen, Jackson and Gov. Rabun, as relevant. Referring to the outrage on the Chehaw village, Gen. Jackson in his letter of May 7, 1818, says:

“Such base cowardice and murderous conduct as this transaction affords, has no parallel in history, and shall meet with its merited punishment. You, sir, as Governor of a State within my military division, have no right to give a military order while I am in the field; and this being an open and violent infringement of the treaty with the Creek Indians, Capt. Wright must be prosecuted and punished for this outrageous murder, and I have ordered him to be arrested and confined in irons, until the pleasure of the President of the United States is known upon the subject. If he has left Hartford before my orders reach him, I call upon you, as Governor of Georgia, to aid me in carrying into effect my order for his arrest and confinement, which I trust will be afforded, and Captain Wright brought to condign punishment for this unparalleled murder.”

In his reply of June 1st, after referring to the communication of Gen. Glascock, on which Gen. Jackson based his censure, Gov. Rabun says:

“Had you, sir, or General Glascock, been in possession of the facts that produced this affair, it is to be presumed, at least, that you would not have indulged in a strain so indecorous and unbecoming. I had, on the 21st March last, stated the situation of our bleeding frontier to you, and requested you, in respectful terms, to detail a part of your overwhelming force for our protection, or that you would furnish supplies, and I would order out more troops, to which you have never yet deigned to reply. You state, in a very haughty tone, that I, a Governor of a State under your military division, have no right to give a military order whilst you were in the field. Wretched and contemptible indeed must be our situation if this be the fact. When the liberties of the people of Georgia shall have been prostrated at the feet of a military despotism, then, and not till then, will your imperious doctrine be tamely submitted to. you may rest assured that if the savages continue their depredations on our unprotected frontier, I shall think and act for myself in that respect.”

We have introduced these pungent passages, not only as a part of history, but to prepare the way to a graceful scene in Congress, twenty-four years afterward, between Ex-President Adams and Judge Warren, which we shall describe at the proper time.

Not having relinquished his design of becoming a member of the legal profession, Mr. Warren applied himself six months to a grammar school, in 1819, kept by Doctor William A. Hill, at the residence of General David Blackshear. Soon thereafter he was employed as supercargo, or agent, on a flatboat, to keep the accounts of the commissioners of the Oconee River, to buy provisions for the hands at work in cleaning out the river, and to disburse money set apart for this and other purposes connected with the inland navigation of Georgia. Having frequent intervals of leisure, he read Blackstone’s Commentaries, through while on the river, and before retiring from his situation, in February, 1820.

 

Commentaries on the Laws of England, by William Blackstone, are an influential 18th-century treatise on the common law of England by Sir William Blackstone, originally published by the Clarendon Press at Oxford, 1765–1769. The work is divided into four volumes, on the rights of persons, the rights of things, of private wrongs and of public wrongs. " As an elementary book, however, it may be enough to say that the whole body of American lawyers and advocates, with very few exceptions, since the Revolution, have drawn their first lessons in jurisprudence from the pages of Blackstone’s Commentaries; and no more modern work has succeeded as yet in superseding it."

Commentaries on the Laws of England, by William Blackstone, are an influential 18th-century treatise on the common law of England by Sir William Blackstone, originally published by the Clarendon Press at Oxford, 1765–1769. The work is divided into four volumes, on the rights of persons, the rights of things, of private wrongs and of public wrongs. ” As an elementary book, however, it may be enough to say that the whole body of American lawyers and advocates, with very few exceptions, since the Revolution, have drawn their first lessons in jurisprudence from the pages of Blackstone’s Commentaries; and no more modern work has succeeded as yet in superseding it.”

He then entered the law-office of Daniel McNeel, Esq., in Dublin, and diligently applied himself to legal studies, not, however, with such entire devotion as to exclude matrimony from his thoughts. An attachment formed at school was crowned, October 19th, 1820, by his marriage with Miss Jane Desaubleaux, orphan of a French gentleman [Louis P. B. DeSaubleaux] who came to the United States during the Revolutionary War, and who constituted General Blackshear the testamentary guardian of his daughters. The patrimony of his bride for a long time was unproductive, but at length became valuable from the character of the property. 

At March term, 1821, of Laurens Superior Court, Mr. Warren was admitted to the bar. He immediately opened an office in Dublin, and attended several of the courts in the southern and middle circuits, with a fair prospect of business.

That same year he became the guardian of his wife’s younger sister, Penelope DeSaubleaux, who was still a minor. He acted as an administrator, along with William L. Mcree, for his father-in-law’s estate, liquidating DeSaubleaux’s slave holdings and Laurens county plantation for the benefit of the heirs.

Appointment of Lott Warren as an administrator of the estate of Louis P. DeSaubleaux and guardian of his minor child, Penelope DeSaubleaux

Appointment of Lott Warren as an administrator of the estate of Louis P. DeSaubleaux and guardian of his minor child, Penelope DeSaubleaux

In 1823, he was elected a major of battalion in the militia, and in 1824 a representative in the legislature from Laurens county. With a view to improve his situation he removed to the village of Marion, Twiggs county, in February, 1825.

Lott Warren was temporarily serving as Solicitor-General of the Southern Circuit during the presentments of the Grand Jury of Telfair County at the June term, 1825. Among the jurors at that term of court were Redden Wooten, John Lawson, and Daniel McDonald, the three of which would later move to Lowndes County, GA. The presiding judge was Thaddeus G. Holt who that same year presided over the very first session of the Superior Court of Lowndes County, convened at the home of Sion Hall, and where Levi J. Knight served as foreman of the Grand Jury.

In March of 1826,  Thomas D. Mitchell, Esq., Solicitor-General of the Southern Circuit, was killed in a duel with Dr. Ambrose Barber.  Governor Troup made a recess appointment to place Lott Warren as Solicitor-General of the Southern Circuit, the appointment being ratified by the Legislature in November, 1826.  While in office, it became his duty to prosecute several Indians in Thomas county, for murder. According to the Bench and Bar of Georgia,

That portion of Georgia was then on the Indian frontier, and the abode of a miserable population, such as the adjoining wilds of Florida had invited. Robberies and murders were frequent, sometimes perpetrated by white men and most generally shifted off on the Indians. The Hon. Moses Fort, Judge of the Southern Circuit, held the first court in Thomas county in 1826. Two Indians were convicted before him on the offence of murder. They had killed a man by the name of White as the latter and his friends were trying to recapture certain property which the Indians had stolen. The late William H. Torrance, Esq. was appointed by the court to see that the prisoners got a fair trial. His plea to the jurisdiction of the court, on the ground that the offence was committed in Florida, (within certain disputed lines,) having been overruled, very little could be said to the merits. The solicitor-general [Lott Warren] had the assistance of Mr. [Paul] Coalson, -if not in the argument, at least in the evidence. It is presumed, however, that the prosecution needed no very special aid, as there was no adverse public opinion to combat.
When the prisoners were brought before the court to receive sentence of death, they were told through an interpreter what was to be done with them, – hung by the neck until they were dead. The judge omitted to invoke the usual blessing, – “May God have mercy on their souls!” – for the reason that the prisoners did not understand English.”

He served in this capacity to April, 1828, inclusive.  He declined being a candidate for re-election.

About the time he retired from the office of Solicitor-General, the intellect and energy of Major Warren began to attract public observation. He was employed in almost every litigated case on the circuit. No one excelled him in zeal, and but few in strength, among his associates at the bar. He frequently came in collision with Shorter, Prince, Rockwell, Torrance, Strong, and other advocates of established reputation, and always sustained himself in argument. Mr. Warren was never eloquent, if flowery language, a cultivated voice, and classic gestures be indispensable to eloquence; but he was at all times interesting,—a close reasoner, with authorities well applied; and what was better still, he exhibited a degree of self-possession and common-sense which often secured him victory in the jury-box over a competitor far more astute and pretending.

In 1828, Lott Warren chaired a large public meeting held at the Twiggs County courthouse at Marion, GA to protest the “Tariff of Abominations” which had been enacted during Andrew Jackson’s administration. The tariff, which protected northern industry and was unfavorable to the Southern agricultural economy, would lead to the Nullification Crisis. On February 1, 1833 Lott Warren would play a prominent role in the formation of the Twiggs County Free Trade & State Rights Association; Thaddeus G. Holt served as the first chairman of that organization. The State Rights Party of Georgia would be launched in 1833 by prominent leaders of the Troup party, including William H. Crawford, John M. Berrien, George R. Gilmer,  William C. Dawson, and Augustin S. Clayton.  In Lowndes County, the effort to form a State Rights Association was led by William A. KnightLevi J. KnightHamilton W. SharpeJohn Blackshear, John McLean, John E. Tucker, and William Smith at Franklinville, GA, 1834.  At the Independence Day Celebration, 1834 at Franklinville, these men and other prominent citizens of Lowndes County repeatedly toasted Nullification in opposition to Federal authority.  Among the state rights Lott Warren was most concerned with were the right of Georgia to incarcerate Native Americans without interference from the Federal Government, and the right of Georgians to retrieve fugitive slaves from other states.  Lott Warren was a slave owner, as shown in the 1860 Census of “Slave Inhabitants” of Albany, Dougherty County, GA.

Lott Warren had always been a warm supporter of Governor Troup. In 1830  he was elected to the state Legislature as the senator from Twiggs County and was seated when that body convened, but the election was contested.  An investigation ensued in the Legislature, but ultimately his election was confirmed.

 In his senatorial career of only one session, he was active in the preparation and advocacy of measures which he deemed for the public good. He exerted considerable influence in debate, and returned to his constituents with praise. The organization of the Cherokee Territory, which led to the imprisonment of the Missionaries, and the fruitless mandate of the Supreme Court to enjoin the execution of the Indian Tassels, was the leading topic of the session, and received the cordial support of the Senator from Twiggs.

In November, 1831, Mr. Warren was elected by the legislature, Judge of the Superior Courts of the Southern District, for a term of three years. Although his manner of presiding was not altogether as affable and patient as some members of the bar desired, his decisions were in general satisfactory, from the sound reasoning on which they were based. Occasionally, when a question was raised, he embarrassed counsel by an intimation of his mind, yet seldom declined hearing the argument in full. It was evident, however, from his countenance, which he rarely attempted to control for effect, that his opinion had been formed, and that it was a useless consumption of time to combat it. In such emergencies, if counsel, gathering courage and fresh ideas from the necessity of the case, could succeed in impressing the Judge that his hasty conclusion was adverse to recognized authorities, a very patient hearing was accorded; and if he was really convinced of error, he always had the frankness to correct it in proper time. It has happened, that older members of the bar, entertaining a very liberal estimate of their own qualifications, and no extraordinary respect for those of the Judge, owing, no doubt, to his want of polish and urbanity,—have ventured to argue a point, contrary to rule, after the court had pronounced its decision. To such experiments, he promptly gave a quietus by reminding counsel that the protection which the Rules of Court afforded the Bench, after a question had been decided, was not altogether nominal in his court. On a few occasions, when even this hint was unavailing, and the attempt to argue was further persisted in, he has been known to order counsel to their seats.

Judge Warren never pretend[ed] to forget the obscurity and adversities of his youth; and while he manifest[ed] a due respect for the rights and feelings of others, he never permitted any infringement of his own to escape rebuke. Soon after he settled in Marion, a gentleman, who felt himself aggrieved by the testimony of Mr. Warren before a committee of the House of Representatives, made a very conspicuous and disrespectful allusion to him, in his absence, at a public dinner. As soon as he was informed of it, Mr. Warren dispatched a note by a gallant friend, opening the way to explanation, or, that failing, to another resort usual among gentleman who recognized the code of honor. Mutual friends interposed, and the affair was honorably adjusted. We mention this circumstance merely to show that Judge Warren [had] warm passions. His temperament [was] essentially sanguine. [From 1833], however, he [was] a pious member of the Baptist Church, and kept his constitutional ardor more in subjection.

In the 1830s, Lott Warren became a prominent member of the Twiggs County Temperance Society. On July 28, 1832 he was present at the constitution of this organization and was elected its first president.  He was a member of Richland Church. He served on the church committee organizing the protracted meeting of the United Effort Company held at Richland Church which commenced on the Friday before the second Sunday in May, 1835.

At the expiration of his judicial term, in 1834, without having placed himself in the power of a legislative majority opposed to him in politics, Judge Warren resumed the practice of the law.

In December 1834, in order to pursue his business interests, Lott Warren offered his Twiggs County property for sale; “577 and 3/4 acres of land, lying near Marion, most of it good planting land, finely timbered and well-watered; 200 acres in cultivation and in a good state for making a crop – also, a few hands, stock of horses, cattle, hogs, &c.”

In January 1836.  Lott Warren moved from Marion County to Americus, GA. Following the Battle of Chickasawhatchie Swamp in the summer of 1836, he was among those presiding at a testimonial dinner at Americus, GA given in honor and gratitude for the “arduous service” of the Sumter County Volunteer Militia in the campaign “against the Creek Indians.”  The Native Americans, resisting the forceful removal to the West and fleeing to Florida, also passed through Lowndes County where local militia companies engaged them at several locations including the Skirmish at Bill Parker’s Place, the Battle of Brushy Creek, actions on Warrior Creek, Skirmish at Cow Creek, actions on Little River and at Grand Bay, and the skirmish at Troublesome Ford.

In 1837, Lott Warren was a trustee of The Georgia Baptist Institute, at Talbotton, GA.  “Talbotton is situated on the ridge of country dividing the waters of the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers, and directly on the daily stage rout from Washington City to New Orleans.”   That same year he went into partnership with William H. Crawford, with  offices in Americus, GA and providing legal services in Muscogee, Marion, Stewart, Randolph, Early, Baker, Lee, Sumter, Houston, Twiggs, Pulaski, Lowndes, Thomas Decatur and Dooly counties. In December, 1837, at a Convention of the State Rights Party, Lott Warren was nominated as a candidate for the United States Congress. In the election of 1838, he won a seat in the the U.S. House of Representatives; Julius C. Alford, who led actions against the Indians in Lowndes in Lowndes County in 1836, was also elected to the House. Although Warren did not seek the nomination, at the Anti-Van Buren Convention held June 1, 1840 at Milledgeville, he was again advanced as a candidate in the election of 1840. Subsequently , he was duly elected.

On his motion, the one-hour rule was adopted. He had seen such unnecessary waste of time for the sake of notoriety in discussion, and for selfish purposes on the part of members of Congress, that he resolved to correct the evil. Guided by a strong will of his own, against the persuasion of many friends, he moved in the matter, and the one-hour rule was incorporated into the forms of the House. Though much complained of by longwinded talkers, the rule continues still unrepealed, and will remain a proof of the sagacity and nerve of the mover…

While absent in Congress, Judge Warren was ably represented at the bar by his partner in the practice, William H. Crawford, Esq., son of the former distinguished Secretary of the Treasury—Georgia’s candidate for President in 1824. From Americus he removed to his farm in Lee county, and from thence to the town of Albany, [then] in Baker county…. In 1843 he was elected Judge of the Superior Courts of the South-Western District, and re-elected in 1847 for a term which …expire[d] in December, 1852.

For many years the Judge has acted a prominent part in the affairs of his church, frequently officiating in the pulpit, and is ever foremost in the promotion of Sunday-Schools, Bible Societies, and other benevolent institutions. He has tender sympathies and a charitable heart. Avarice forms no part of his nature. His property, though not large, renders him independent. Much of his income has been expended in a generous hospitality. Preachers, religious persons of all denominations, and his friends generally, feel quite at home under his roof.

In person, the Judge is fully six feet high, and weighs about one hundred and ninety pounds. His forehead is large and round, eyes blue, and complexion fresh and sandy. He steps quick, and is a little restless when sitting, unless his attention is much engaged. Owing to his kind feelings, which are manifest in his countenance, he does not always preserve that order in Court which a more austere visage and deportment would command. When the noise amounts to an interruption of business, he frequently alarms the bailiffs by threats of a fine for a neglect of duty. Perfect silence then reigns for a moment, but soon the uproar is renewed, the Judge himself setting the example by some pleasantry with the bar.

As the style of “Lott Warren Division, No. —,” in Sumter county, would indicate, the Judge is a son of Temperance. His lectures on that subject are very interesting. In fact, his whole time is occupied, in some way, in trying to benefit his fellow-beings. In politics, he is strictly conservative, and prefers the Union as it is, to any change which might be proposed as a remedy for real or imaginary grievances.

We have endeavored to exhibit the character and qualities of Judge Warren with that fidelity which an acquaintance of twenty-five years enables us to exercise. His example ought to stimulate poor and friendless youth to strike bravely, and bear up with fortitude, in the contest of life. If such shall be the tendency of this memoir, the writer will have accomplished his object.

In politics Lott Warren was a Whig, and he, along with his brother, General Eli Warren, and nephew Judge James Jackson Scarborough all attended the 1852 Scott Convention, the Whig state convention held at Macon, Georgia to nominate General Winfield Scott as the Whig candidate for president, with his running mate William A. Graham.  James Jackson Scarborough was trained in law under the supervision of his uncles; In 1848, Judge Scarborough would preside at Troupville, GA in the Lowndes County trial of Manuel and Jonathan Studstill for the murder of William Slaughter.

The  1934 History of Bethel Association adds the eulogy of Lott Warren by the Albany church:

“Our beloved brother, Lott Warren, departed this life on Monday, 17th of June, 1861. Such was his prominence as a citizen, a Christian, and an able and active member of this church, that it becomes highly proper that a brief memorial of his life and character should be entered upon our record.

He was born in Burke County, Georgia, October 30th, 1797. After an energetic and noble struggle with many difficulties in his early years, he at length entered upon the practice of law, which he prosecuted, with some short intervals, with much ability and success to the hour of his death. He was called by his fellow citizens to many important positions of trust and honor. He was for a time a member of our State Legislature (of the House in 1824, and of the Senate in 1830); and also Solicitor-General (from 1826 to 1828), and Judge (from 1831 to 1834), of the Southern Circuit. [It was during this period that he presided over the presentments of the Lowndes County Grand Jury.]

But it was as a decided Christian and Baptist that Brother Lott Warren became entitled to a special and honorable place upon our church records. He was baptized by the Reverend Joseph R. Hand, and became a member of the Richland Church, Twiggs County, GA in 1834. Subsequently removing to southwestern Georgia, he united with the Baptist Church in Americus. In 1845 he united with the work of the Gospel ministry, and by his occasional fervent labors in the pulpit, he rendered much useful service to the cause of Christ.

Brother Warren was remarkably exemplary in all the relations of life. He was a man of warm, earnest and unquestioned piety, decided in his opinions, of whatever he believed to be right. He was a conscientious, decided and uncompromising Baptist, though kind and affectionate in his feelings towards all whom he believed to be good men. He was the advocate of strict discipline, contributed liberally of his substance to the support of his pastor, and other pious objects. He was a friend of the poor, a bold and able champion of the cause of temperance, and an unwearied and enthusiastic supporter of the Sabbath School enterprise. For many years he labored with indefatigable zeal as a teacher in the Sunday School connected with the Albany Church. He was a lover of gospel truth, a lover of the gates of Zion, and remarkably punctual in the discharge of his duties as a church member. It deserves a special place upon our records that the Hon. Lott Warren, the able Representative, lawyer, statesman and Judge, was emphatically the humble doorkeeper of our church. On days of public worship his watchful, affectionate and gentlemanly service was ever tendered where needful, to friends and strangers, to rich and poor, that they might be provided with comfortable seats in our worshiping assemblies. His humble, cheerful conduct in this particular was a delightful comment upon the expression of the Psalmist, ‘I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.’

Brother Warren had his faults, but they were such as we might naturally expect to see in one of his ardent temperament, strong impulses and great force of character. The grace of God shone conspicuously in his life; his frailties were overshadowed by bright, prevailing virtues. He died suddenly when making a speech in the courthouse at Albany, in the defense of the life of a slave, who was on trial for commitment. He was smitten with apoplexy, sunk suddenly to the floor, and without a word, breath or struggle, passed into eternity. On the following day a large concourse followed his remains to the tomb, where they sleep in hope of a blessed resurrection.

 

From the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress:

Lott Warren, born in Burke County, near Augusta, Richmond County, GA, October 30, 1797.  He attended the common schools in the area. At the age of 19 he moved to Dublin, Laurens County, GA.  He served as a second lieutenant of Georgia Militia Volunteers in Andrew Jackson’s invasion of Spanish East Florida on an expedition against the Seminoles in 1818 (First Seminole War).   After the war he studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1821 and commenced practice in Dublin, Laurens County, GA. ; was also a regularly ordained Baptist minister, but never filled a definite charge; moved to Marion in 1825; elected major of the State militia in 1823; member of the State house of representatives in 1824 and 1831; served in the State senate in 1830; solicitor general and judge of the southern circuit of Georgia 1831-1834; moved to Americus, Sumter County, in 1836; elected as a Whig to the Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Congresses (March 4, 1839-March 3, 1843); was not a candidate for renomination in 1842; moved to Albany in 1842; was judge of the superior court of Georgia 1843-1852; resumed the practice of his profession; died in Albany, Dougherty County, Ga., June 17, 1861; interment in Riverside Cemetery [Oakview Cemetery].

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Grand Jury Presentments of 1845, Old Lowndes County, GA

In June of 1845, The Grand Jury of Lowndes County, Georgia convened for its 20th year.

Judge Carlton B. Cole presided, with Peter E. Love as Solicitor General,  and Duncan Smith served as clerk of the Court.

1845 Grand Jury Presentments, Lowndes County, GA

1845 Grand Jury Presentments, Lowndes County, GA

Milledgeville Federal Union
June 24, 1845

Presentments

Of the Grand Jury of Lowndes county, June Term, 1845.
We the Grand Jurors, sworn, chosen and selected for the county of Lowndes, make the following presentments:

We have examined the conditions of our Court-house, and find it to be rather in bad condition, and would recommend some action to have it kept in a more cleanly situation.

We have also examined the condition of our Jail, and find it to be in a very unsafe condition, and would recommend good and sufficient repairs.

We have examined the Clerk’s books of our Superior and Inferior Courts, and find them kept in good order.

We have had under our consideration, the situation of the Public roads of our county, and would especially recommend the Inferior Court, to have them placed in a good condition as early as possible.

We have had under consideration, and have thoroughly examined the books and papers of the Treasurer of the Poor School Fund of said county, and find that the Notes are not taken in accordance with the rules and regulations, and furthermore, would recommend a speedy renewal or collection of said Notes; and we specially recommend further, a collection of sufficient amount to settle all the accounts that are yet unpaid.

We further recommend our Inferior Court, to levy a tax for county purposes.

In taking leave of his Honor Judge Cole, the Grand Jury render to him their thanks, for the prompt discharge of the duties of his office, and the courtesy he has extended to this body, during the present term of the Court – also to the Solicitor General, for his courtesy and prompt attention to business, during this term.

And before closing our duties, we would earnestly recommend to our citizens generally, and more especially to the persons who may represent this county in the general assembly of the State, to use their endeavors at the approaching election, for a Judge of this Circuit, to continue in office, the individual who now fills and has for some time filled the office. During the whole period of his services, his administration has been distinguished by the most eminent legal abilities, and a stern and impartial desire to execute the laws without fear of favor. We therefore deem it not only expedient, but necessary that one who has proved himself a good, faithful and able servant, should be continued in an office to which he adds so much dignity.

We the Grand Jury, request that our presentments be published in the Southern Recorder and Federal Union.

Robert Micklejohn, Foreman.

Judge Carleton Bicknell Cole (1803-1876)
Carlton B. Cole twice served as judge of the Southern Circuit and later presided over the courts of the Macon Circuit. In 1848, he was defense attorney for  Manuel and Jonathan Studstill, in the September 7, 1843 murder of William Slaughter, facing Augustin H. Hansell, solicitor general, for the prosecution. About Carlton Bicknell Cole: son of George Abbott Cole and Emmeline (Carleton) Cole. Born in Amherst, MA, August 3, 1803. Graduated Middlebury College, VT, in 1822. Taught and studied law in North Carolina. Admitted to the bar, 1826, and in 1827 removed to Macon, GA. Married Susan Taylor, September 6, 1827. (Children: Ann Eliza; Emmeline Carleton; John Taylor; George Abbott; Carleton Bicknell.) Incorporator and stockholder of The Commercial Bank at Macon, 1831. Judge of the Southern Circuit Court of Georgia, 1833-1847. Chairman of the Convention of Judges of the Superior Courts of Georgia, 1840. Operated a private law school at Midway, GA, 1844-1845. Opened a law practice in Milledgeville, GA, 1846. Admitted to practice before the Georgia Supreme Court, 1846. Chair of the Democratic Republican party of Twiggs County, 1847; A pro-Union Democrat in politics. Professor of Law, Oglethorpe University, 1847-1854. Resumed his law practice in Macon, 1854. Delegate to the State Constitutional Convention, 1865. Judge of the Macon Circuit Court, 1865-1873. Professor of Law, Mercer University, 1875-1876.  Died in Macon, GA, January 23, 1876.

Peter E. Love  (1818 – 1866)
Peter Early Love, Solicitor General of the Southern Circuit of Georgia, served at the Lowndes Superior Court of 1845.  He was born near Dublin, Laurens County, Ga., July 7, 1818; graduated from Franklin College (now a part of the University of Georgia), Athens, Ga., in 1829 and from the Philadelphia College of Medicine in 1838; practiced medicine while studying law; admitted to the bar in 1839 and commenced practice in Thomasville, Thomas County, GA; solicitor general of the southern district of Georgia in 1843; member of the State senate in 1849; elected judge of the State Superior Court for the Southern Circuit in 1853; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-sixth U.S. Congress and served from March 4, 1859, until his retirement on January 23, 1861; resumed the practice of law in Thomasville, Ga.; member of the State house of representatives in 1861; died in Thomasville, Ga., November 8, 1866; interment in the Old Cemetery.  His daughter, Martha “Mattie” Love, married Robert Harris Hamilton, who was Captain of the Thomasville Guards; this company served in the 29th Georgia Regiment, along with the Berrien Minute Men.

Duncan Smith (1816-1852)

Duncan Smith was born 1816 in Scotland. He moved to Lowndes County, GA some time before 1838, and by 1844 he had acquired 245 acres in the 10th Land District. Some time prior to 1846 Duncan Smith acquired Lot No. 72 in the town of Troupville. He was a member of the Democratic Republican party of Georgia. Justice of the Lowndes Inferior Court, 1840-44.  From January 16, 1844 to his death in 1852 Duncan Smith served as Clerk of Lowndes County Superior Court.

Grand Jurors
The jurors were Samuel E. Swilley, John W. Spain, John Carter, Sr., Enoch Hall, Matthew M. Deas, James Wade, Jesse Hunter, Mathew Young, James McMullen, John McMullen, James Sowell, A. S. Smith, William H. Devane, Sampson G. Williams, William Folsom, Thomas B. Griffin, David Matthis, Ezekiel W. Parrish, Dennis Wetherington, Joshua Limeberger, and Henry Strickland, with Robert Micklejohn serving as foreman of the Jury.

 

An Antebellum Trial at Troupville

In 1932, James Nicholas Talley, a son of Berrien County, GA and member of the Macon Bar, published a dramatic account of court proceedings  that occurred in the 1840s in Troupville, county seat of old Lowndes County, Georgia.  Samuel Mattox, son of Aaron Mattox,  was charged in the September 7, 1843 murder of William Slaughter. The Studstill brothers,  Jonathan and Emanuel “Manny” Studstill, sons of Rachel Sirmans and Hustus Studstill (aka Eustus Studstill), were also implicated in the crime. In 1836, Samuel Mattox had been the first to discover Indians were active in then Lowndes county near Ten Mile Creek, prior to the Battle of Brushy Creek.  Ten Mile Creek, the locality of the Slaughter murder, lies slightly northeast of present day Ray City, GA.

Talley’s narrative of the murder of the Slaughter boy and the trials that ensued are transcribed below, along with contemporaneous news clippings of the events and other supplemental information.

AN ANTEBELLUM TRIAL AT TROUPVILLE

By J. N. TALLEY, of the Macon Bar

Late in the afternoon of September seventh, Eighteen Forty-three, a fifteen-year-old boy, William Slaughter, rode through the pine woods near Ten Mile creek. He was driving up a herd of cattle, for it was milking time at his father’s pioneer settlement in the upper part of Lowndes.

At a distant clearing, the calves having been rounded up and penned, Samuel Mattox and his wife, Rachel, the milker, stood at the pasture bars. With them were two young men of the neighborhood, Jonathan Studstill and his brother, Manuel, who had come over to see Mattox and make plans for an early deer hunt. While they were waiting somewhat impatiently for the cows, Manuel displayed a gun which he had brought along, a rifle  so rusty and antiquated in pattern that he declared, to the amusement of the group, it wouldn’t kill a steer at fifteen steps. They were “all in a laugh,” when the straggling herd, guided by the mounted boy, came into sight a quarter of a mile away.

The ford was soon reached, but there horse and rider stopped and, scattering out over a wiregrass level, the cows began to graze.

Observing from the calf lot this delay at the ford, Jonathan with a loud halloo ordered the boy to “come on.” William doubtless did not hear the command, for he continued to await the arrival of a brother from across the creek. From his stand by the fence, possibly actuated by the instinct of the hunter, perhaps-for no reason at all, Mattox closely contemplated the distant youthful figure in the fading light dimly outlined against the dense foliage of the swamp. While Mattox was so engaged, Manuel handed him the rifle and suggested that he shoot. Jonathan likewise said “shoot,” adding that the old firearm wouldn’t hit the side of a house. “Moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil”, as was afterwards charged, Mattox took aim and sighted, first however, it is said, deliberately resting the rifle barrel on a heap of brush. “Stop” screamed Rachel, but the shot rang out, and through the clearing smoke the unoffending lad was seen to fall from his saddle.

Dropping the gun and leaving Rachel at the pasture bars, the men ran to the ford and found the stricken boy. Horrified they discovered that the ball, speeding with unexpected force and accuracy, had penetrated his skull. ­Realizing that the report of the gun had carried far and thinking to avert suspicion, Jonathan and Mattox roughly pressed a pine stick through the open wound into the substance of the brain. Upon receiving this shock, the prostrate and apparently lifeless form arose and for one awful moment stood, face distorted by pain and wide unseeing eyes fixed upon Jonathan. Seizing the horse, which had remained standing by its unconscious master,  Manuel rode away to summons help. Later when Samuel Slaughter, the brother, and [Captain John] Sanderson, a neighbor arrived, and the mother came up in her cart, they were told by Mattox and Jonathan how a random shot fired from across the creek had frightened the horse, how the boy had been violently thrown, and how in falling his head struck a pine knot. Pointing to the stick, Jonathan declared to the mother, “that snag proved your son’s death.”

Early next morning young Slaughter died. The locality where he was shot is still known locally as Slaughter’s Ford and is some five or six miles from the present town of Nashville in Berrien county.

 

Cause of Death Revealed by Hole in Hat.

The remote rural community had been thoroughly aroused. Samuel Slaughter, who heard the shot, maintained that it came from the direction of the calf pen, for at the time he himself had been “across the creek.”  The Studstills, Mattox and Rachel did much talking, and after several days Mattox acknowledged that it was he who fired the “random shot” which frightened the horse. The theory of accidental death was being generally accepted until one day Moses Slaughter at home took down his son’s hat and found a hole, clear cut and evidently made by a bullet. Then Sanderson, who had removed the stick, remembered that instead of being jammed it was loose and moved with the pulsations of the brain. The body was disinterred, a post-mortem made by Dr. Briggs of Troupville, and a rifle ball found imbedded in the left side of the head.

 A Warrant issued for the arrest of Mattox, who promptly sought refuge in the thickets about a secluded pool, afterwards called “the Mattox pond,” and now crossed by State Highway No. 11.


At this point in J. N. Talley’s story we can add that Samuel Mattox was captured and taken to Troupville, GA where he was incarcerated in the county jail. During this time the Jailor in Troupville was Morgan Swain, who was also a blacksmith and innkeeper.  Swain’s Hotel was favored by courtgoers, amicus curiae, and the just plain curious who flocked to town on court days.

As it happened, Mattox was held with cellmates Tarlton Swain and John Strickland.  Tarlton “Talt” Swain was the brother of Morgan Swain, and whereas Morgan represented law and order, Talt Swain and his posse were the community Bad Boys.  It is said that Talt  not being of a mind to take chances with a court trial, effected an escape.  The Milledgeville Federal Union reported the fugitives’ flight and the Governor’s offer of reward for their capture:

Samuel Mattox escapes from Troupville, GA jail, 1843.

Federal Union, Nov. 21, 1843 — page 1

GEORGIA:

A Proclamation

By Charles J. McDonald, Governor of said State.

Whereas, official information has been received at this Department, that SAMUEL MATTOX, charged with the offence of murder, and TARLTON SWAIN and JOHN STRICKLAND, charged with the offence of aiding prisoner to escape from Jail, in the county of Lowndes, have made their escape from the Jail of said county.  Now in order that the said Samuel Mattox, Tarlton Swain and John Strickland, may be brought to trial for the offence of which they stand charged; I have thought proper to issue this my Proclamation, hereby offering a reward of ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS, for the apprehension and delivery of either, or THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS for all three, to the Sheriff or Jailer of said county; and I do moreover, charge and require all officers, civil and military in this State, to aid and assist in apprehending and securing said fugitives.
Given under my hand, and the Great Seal of the State, at the Capitol in Milledgeville, this the 7th day of November, 1843, and of the American Independence the sixty-eighth.

CHARLES J. McDONALD.

By the Governor,

J. W. A. Sanford, Secretary of State,

Nov. 7 1843.

The Governor’s offer of a reward was issued by Georgia Secretary of State John William Augustine Sanford.  Sanford had been prosecutor Augustin H. Hansell‘s commanding officer in the Indian Wars of 1836.

It is interesting to note that the legal classified advertisement following the reward announcement  above was for the law offices Samuel Spencer and H. S. Stewart.  Spencer’s presence in Troupville, or the lack thereof, would figure prominently in later court proceedings during the trial of Jonathan Studstill.

Mattox was apparently captured in a timely manner and remanded back to the jail at Troupville to stand trial.

Resuming the account by J.N. Talley:

Mattox Convicted

At Troupville, Mattox was put on trial for his life, convicted, and sentenced to death. The many vital questions argued by counsel were finally decided by the then highest judicial authority, a superior court judge, for there was no supreme court, and no appeal.

New York Herald, June 24, 1844. Samuel Mattox convicted of murder in Lowndes County, GA.

New York Herald, June 24, 1844. Samuel Mattox convicted of murder in Lowndes County, GA.

The execution took place in July (probably 1844) on a hill just east of the Withlacoochee river, and was conducted by sheriff John Towels, who happened to be an intimate friend of the victim. The hanging was witnessed by a crowd said to have been the largest, with one exception, ever assembled at Troupville, the exception being a circus in the late 50’s which for all time set an attendance record at Lowndes’ antebellum capital.

1844 Hanging of Samuel Mattox at Troupville, GA was reported in the Milledgeville Southern Reporter, August 13, 1844 edition.

1844 Hanging of Samuel Mattox at Troupville, GA was reported in the Milledgeville Southern Reporter, August 13, 1844 edition.

Milledgeville Southern Reporter
August 13, 1844

Troupville, Lowndes Co.,
July 30, 1844.

Messrs. Editors:  – Samuel Mattox was found guilty of the murder of William Slaughter, at the last term of our Court, and sentenced to be hung on Friday last, which was done in presence of one thousand persons, as we suppose; and the very next day, (last Saturday.) Alexander McFail killed Ebenezer J. Perkins, by stabbing him. Thus it is among us: one scene of murder succeeds another in such rapid succession, that it is alarming and distressing. McFail has fled.

Truly yours, &c.

J. N. Talley noted in his narrative that, “The records of the Mattox trial were destroyed when the courthouse burned in June, 1858.” From later news clippings, we know that one of the jurors was Ajaniah Smith, who later moved to Baker’s Mill, FL.

Tifton Gazette, March 8, 1901 clipping indicates Ajaniah Smith served on the jury at the trial of Samuel Mattox in 1844.

Tifton Gazette, March 8, 1901 clipping indicates Ajaniah Smith served on the jury at the trial of Samuel Mattox in 1844.

Tifton Gazette
March 8, 1901

Mr. A. Smith, of Baker’s Mill, Fla., is one of the old-timers in this section and was the first sheriff that Brooks county had.  He also fought the Indians in this section, and served on the jury which hanged Samuel Mattox for the murder of a son of Moses Slaughter, in Berrien county many years ago. – Valdosta Times.

Talley documents that  in the matter of the murder of William Slaughter the legal proceedings were an incredibly drawn out affair, stretching over a seven year period. His narrative picks up in 1848 with the trial of Jonathan Studstill, who allegedly aided and abetted the murder of Slaughter.

The Studstill Case

The Studstill brothers had been indicted for murder in the second degree, a capital felony. The charge against them was not tried until 1848, five years after the crime had been committed. Throughout this long period Jonathan languished in Troupville’s little jail near the banks of the Withlacoochee. In the meantime Rachel Mattox had become Rachel Bailey. This comely, young woman seemed dogged by the spectre of crime. Her second husband [Burrell Hamilton Bailey] some years later was also tried for murder, but found not guilty.  (SEE Showdown in Allapaha and  The State vs Burrell Hamilton Bailey)

Troupville in 1848, boasted of three hotels and four lawyers. The resident bar, normally adequate for local needs, was more or less eclipsed by the semi-annual advent of the circuit riders. These perambulatory dignitaries, traveling in gigs and sulkies or on horseback, that year had begun their ­”Fall’ riding at Dublin on the first Monday in September.

An Old Indictment

The following indictment had been returned against Jonathan and Manuel Studstill:

GEORGIA, LOWNDES COUNTY.

The Grand Jurors, etc., in the name and behalf of the citizens of Georgia, charge and accuse Manuel Studstill and Jonathan Studstill, both of the County and State aforesaid, with the offence of murder, as principals in the second degree. For that one Samuel Mattox, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil, on the 7th day of September, 1843, with force and arms in the County aforesaid, in and upon one William Slaughter, in the peace of the State then and there being, feloniously, unlawfully, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, then and there did make an assault, and that he, the said Samuel Mattox a certain rifle gun of the value of twenty dollars, the property of Manuel Studstill, then and there being found, the said rifle gun being then and there charged with gunpowder and a leaden bullet, which rifle gun he, the said Samuel Mattox, in both his hands then and there had and held at, against and upon him, the said William Slaughter, then and there feloniously, unlawfully, and of his malice aforethought, did discharge and shoot off; and that he, the said Samuel Mattox, with the leaden bullet aforesaid, by force of the gunpowder aforesaid, so by him, the said Samuel Mattox as aforesaid, discharged and shot off, him, the said William Slaughter, in and upon the left side of the head of him, the said William Slaughter, then and there feloniously, unlawfully, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, did strike and wound, giving to the said William Slaughter, then and there, with the leaden bullet aforesaid, out of the said rifle gun, so as aforesaid discharged and shot off, in and upon the said left side of the head of him, the said William Slaughter, one mortal wound of the breadth of one inch and depth of two inches, of which said mortal wound he, the said William Slaughter, on and from the said 7th day September, in the year aforesaid, until the 8th day of September, in the year aforesaid, at the house of one Moses Slaughter, in the County aforesaid, did languish, and languishing did live, on which said 8th day of September, in the year aforesaid, about the hour of nine o’clock, in the morning, he, the said William Slaughter, at the house of said Moses Slaughter, in the County aforesaid, of the mortal wound aforesaid, died.

And the jurors aforesaid, on their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the said Manuel Studstill and the said Jonathan Studstill, on the said 7th day of September, in the year aforesaid, in the County and State aforesaid, then and there feloniously, wilfully, unlawfully, and of their malice aforethought, were present, aiding helping, abetting, comforting, assisting and maintaining the said Samuel Mattox in the felony and murder aforesaid, in manner and form aforesaid, to do and commit, contrary to the laws of said State, etc.

This indictment language, convoluted and legally flawed as it was, became an exemplar of indictments, and was cited in legal forms encyclopedias for decades afterwards.  Although the Lowndes court records of this trial were also lost in the courthouse fire of 1858, we know from other court records that the foreman of the jury was Thomas M. Boston.

The Court Room

The State against Manuel and Jonathan Studstill, murder, was sounded for trial at the December term, 1848. The small scantily furnished court room was crowded. Within the bar a dozen or more lawyers occupied cowhide bottom chairs irregularly arranged behind plain pine tables. These tables supported sundry well-worn but highly prized volumes of law, a nondescript collection of ink wells and quill pens, and numerous resplendent stove pipe hats carefully deposited upside down. Trained under his uncles, Eli and Lott Warren, the presiding judge James Jackson Scarborough had become one of the outstanding lawyers of two circuits. His reputation at the bar, however, it is said, was surpassed by that which he attained while on the bench, and “there was a child-like simplicity about him which blended with his legal acumen and judicial ability made him a refreshing character.”  Augustin H. Hansell, solicitor general, appeared for the prosecution. The following year he was to succeed Scarborough as Judge of the Southern Circuit, a station which he occupied and conspicuously adorned during forty-three years. To assist in the prosecution had been retained Samuel Rockwell, rich in garnered experience and gifted in forensic oratory. On behalf of the Studstills appeared the learned Carlton B. Cole, twice judge of the Southern Circuit and destined in after years to preside over the courts of the Macon Circuit, and with Clifford Anderson and Walter B. Hill to form the first faculty of the Law School at Mercer University.

According to J. T. Shelton’s Pines and Pioneers, Carlton B. Cole was assisted by Peter Love, John J. Underwood, Clark, and Samuel Spencer.

Procedure Reviewed

The State being ready, the first motion came from the defendants who asked for a severance and that they be tried separately.  This granted, Hansell announced that Manuel’s case would be taken up first. Cautiously refraining from announcing that Manuel was ready for trial, Cole informed the court of a pending plea of autrefois acquit.  Issue being joined, there was a complete trial, which ended in a verdict against the plea. Thereupon Hansell announced that the State elected to put Jonathan on trial. This unexpected action was vigorously protested by Cole who insisted that the prosecution could not abandon the case on trial and take up that of Jonathan; Judge Scarborough held, however, that the disposition of the plea was merely the removal of an obstacle out of the way and not a part of the main trial, and directed Jonathan to plead. Cole now moved for a continuance of Jonathan’s case on account of the absence of Samuel Spencer, a member of the Thomasville bar, who was then at Tallahassee in attendance on a meeting of the Presidential Electors, the first to be held in the new state of Florida. In support of this motion it was shown that one [William] Holliday had been subpoenaed by the State for the purpose of proving that in a conversation Jonathan had confessed his guilt. Spencer was expected to testify that Holliday afterwards admitted being “so beastly drunk” on the occasion in question as to have been utterly incapable of understanding the conversation or anything else. The motion was overruled, but the prudent Hansell during the trial was careful not to call Holliday as a witness, thus avoiding the effect of a favorable ruling which might constitute reversible error.  These preliminaries disposed of, at a word from his attorney, Jonathan slowly walked to the prisoner’s dock and awkwardly stood there for arraignment and plea. Already knowing what the State held against him, the prisoner soon tired of listening to the verbose indictment, and turned his gaze straight to a window by the judge’s bench. There, beyond the moss draped trees fringing the Withlacoochee he saw the very hill where a few years before an enormous crowd had gathered to make of Mattox’ hanging a Roman holiday.

With jury in the box the stage was set for the trial of Jonathan’s case upon its merits.

The Trial Proceeds

The attention of all in the court room centered upon Augustin H. Hansell as he arose to open the case for the State. In appearance the young solicitor general was tall and strikingly handsome, clean shaven, his abundant hair worn rather long as was the fashion, and his dress, that affected by gentlemen of his profession – dark frock coat, trousers neatly fitting over high boots, waistcoat of gaily flowered silk, surmounted by the folds of a black stock sharply contrasting with his gleaming linen. The prosecuting attorney told the jury that if the State produced that proof the nature of which he had outlined, it would be their duty to find Jonathan guilty.

Before any evidence was submitted, the dignified Cole, addressing the judge, stated that even if the State’s proof should measure up to the expectations of the learned solicitor general, yet the jury would be bound to acquit the prisoner, and moved the court for a directed verdict of not guilty. It was pointed out by Cole that although the indictment charged Jonathan with murder in the second degree, it nowhere directly charged Mattox, the principal, with the offense of murder. While the offense had been described in the body of the indictment, nevertheless, argued Cole, there was at its conclusion no express allegation that Mattox had murdered the deceased, and that the omitted expression, technical though it was, could be supplied by no other. 2 Hawk. Pl. Cr. 224.

The attorneys for the State could not controvert the proposition that this objection to the indictment was fatal at common law. They contended, however, that the rule laid down did not apply to a principal in the second degree, but could find no authority. Driven from the principles and precedents of the cherished common law, the prosecution was reluctantly forced to fall back upon that section of the penal code of 1833, which provided that every indictment shall be deemed sufficiently technical which states an offense in the language of the code or so plainly that the nature of the offense may be understood by the jury. Prince 658.

Notwithstanding the indictment was an imperfect specimen of the draughtsman’s art, yet its meaning being understandable, the judge was constrained to overrule the motion.

Over the objection of the defendant, the indictment against Mattox, together with verdict and judgment and certain confessions made by him, were offered in evidence by the State, and then from the stand was narrated the story of how the boy while driving up his father’s cattle had been shot at the ford on Ten Mile Creek.

Rachel, the chief witness for the prosecution, and perhaps the only woman in the crowded court room, found herself in a trying situation. On the one side was fixed upon her the stern gaze of the unrelenting old pioneer settler, and on the other she beheld the kindly pleading eyes of Jonathan, friend of her former husband. Under these circumstances she clung to the anchor of remembered truth and testified that she heard Jonathan and Manuel tell Mattox to shoot, that the gun wouldn’t hit a boy at fifteen steps, but that she did not know whether her husband took aim or fired at random. Opposing her statement was that of Manuel who said he did not hand Mattox the gun, that so far as he saw or heard, his brother had nothing to do with the killing, and that he did not hear Rachel tell Mattox not to shoot,

The evidence concluded, on the law Cole argued that because of the great distance, the killing was not a probable consequence of the negligent act, therefore, the homicide was reduced to involuntary manslaughter as to which there could be no principal in the second degree. The State, however, contended that since the shooting itself was an unlawful act, the defendant was guilty, if the killing was even a possible consequence.

Argument Long and Loud

As soon as the first outburst of impassioned eloquence put the village on notice that jury speaking had begun, men came running from the square, the groceries, the taverns, and stables, and soon taxed the capacity of the courtroom. The anticipation of this probable consequence, it may be remarked without impropriety, did not prevent the aforesaid outburst from being made both early and loud, for it should be remembered that in those days the perambulatory attorney usually had in mind not only the case in hand but two others in the bush, and frequently also political preferment in the offing.

To most of those present, the jury speaking, which embraced argument, anecdote, pathos, oratorical flights, and sharp clashes between counsel, was the high point of the semi-annual entertainment presented by the court. The distinguished and resourceful antagonists no doubt made free use of all the material afforded by the case on trial, and we may imagine how in the disputation poor Rachel was bandied and buffeted back and forth – now thrown down as weak, simple, dominated, untrustworthy –  now exalted as a paragon of unswerving truth and womanly virtue. 

In his charge Judge Scarborough no doubt “summed up” the testimony as is still done in the United States Court, and may have expressed his opinion. Certain it is, the Judge stated to the jury if Rachel swore the truth the defendant was guilty. In view of the hard circumstances of this unusual case and the prominence given her testimony, it is not unlikely the jury conceived the practical question to their determination to be, Did Rachel swear the truth? Since an effort at her impeachment had miserably failed, it was perhaps, easy for them to conclude that she was a truthful witness, and, therefore, to decide, as they did, that Jonathan was guilty of murder.

The pageantry of the trial over, its excitement and suspense ended, a wave of sympathy appeared to move the hushed crowd of curious onlookers.  As they heard the fearsome pronouncement of the judge, interrupted only by the stifled sobs of Rachel, and saw Jonathan standing at the bar, with his staring gaze fixed upon the barren hilltop beyond the Withlacoochee.

Conviction Affirmed

The conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court sitting at Hawkinsville at the June Term, 1849. Studstill vs. State  7 Ga. 2. 

In sustaining Judge Scarborough’s ruling that the indictment was good, although it did not meet the technical requirements of the common law, Justice Joseph Henry Lumpkin used the following language:

 “The age is past for the civil and criminal justice of the country to be defeated by the absence or presence of one or more ‘absque hocs,’ ‘then and theres,’ videlicts,’ etc. And for one, I rejoice to see edifices built, although they may be ‘with the granite of Littleton, the cement of Coke, the trowel of Blackstone, and the Masonic genius of a hundred Chief justiciaries, and covered with the moss of many generations,’ swaying beneath the sturdy blows so unsparingly applied by the hand of reform. Why should the spirit of progress which is abroad in the World, and which is heaving and agitating the public mined in respect to the arts, sciences, politics and religion, halt upon the vestibule of our temples of justice? Why not penetrate tearlessly, the precincts of the Bar and Bench, and remodel the principles and practice of the old common law, to accommodate it to the enlightenment of a rapidly advancing civilization? Our courts should co-operate cordially with the Legislature in building up a modernized jurisprudence, upon the broadest foundations.” _­Studstill vs. State, 7 Ga. 2.

Jonathan Receives Pardon

By an act approved February 6, 1850, the General Assembly granted to Jonathan Studstill a pardon and declared him entirely exonerated and discharged from the pains and penalties of his conviction and sentence “as fully, freely and entirely as if such conviction and sentence had never taken place or the offense committed.”

After this disposition of Jonathan’s case, apparently the prosecution against Manuel was abandoned.

Pardon of Jonathan Studstill, Acts of the State of Georgia 1849-50.

Pardon of Jonathan Studstill, Acts of the State of Georgia 1849-50.

 AN ACT to pardon Jonathan Studstill of the county of Lowndes.

Whereas at a Superior Court held in and for the county of Lowndes, at December Term, 1848, Jonathan Studstill was convicted of the crime of murder; and whereas petitions from a large number of the citizens of said county of Lowndes have been presented to the General Assembly, asking the exercise of legislative clemency:
Be it therefore enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That from and immediately after the passing of this act, the said Jonathan Studstill be and he is hereby declared to be freely, fully and entirely pardoned, exonerated, and discharged from the pains and penalties of his said convictions and sentence as fully, freely and entirely as if such conviction and sentence had never taken place or the offence committed.
Approved, February 6, 1850.

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The Dumb Act

 It is significant that the same legislature passed a statute, approved February 21, known as “the Dumb Act of 1850,”which made it unlawful for any superior court judge in his charge to the jury to express or intimate his opinion as to what has or has not been proved or as to the guilt of the accused. There was at the time a considerable sentiment in favor of curbing the judiciary, but the Studstill case was probably one of the leading factors which crystallized that sentiment in Georgia.

The bill which became known as the Dumb Act was introduced by Richard H. Clark, then a senator living at Albany. Incidentally it is interesting to note that the author of the bill himself subsequently occupied the judicial station for twenty-two years. We are told this distinguished jurist would sometimes lose sight of the restraints thrown around the judge by our peculiar system of jurisprudence and appear to invade the province of the jury, and that most of the reversals of his judgment by the supreme court were based upon exceptions to alleged expressions of opinion before the jury. 99 Ga. 817

Judge Clark was familiar with the Studstill case, and in 1876 he referred to it as “one of the most interesting cases in the judicial annals of the State.” (58 Ga. 610).

 

Old Troupville

Lowndes County in 1843, when young Slaughter was killed, lay between Thomas and Ware, extended from the Florida line northward ninety miles, and was very sparsely settled. Its first county seat Franklinville, on the Withlacoochee two miles west of Cat Creek, had been abandoned ten years before and a permanent capital established at Troupville, a village situated in the angle formed by the confluence of the Little and Withlacoochee rivers, some six miles distant from the site of the present city of Valdosta.

At the time of the Studstill trial in 1848 Troupville was still a small village the next decade however, being a gateway to the new state of Florida, and supposed to be on the line of a projected railroad from Savannah, its growth was almost phenomenal.  At one time its bar consisted of thirteen members. Its newspaper The South Georgia Watchman, was the predecessor of the Valdosta Times.

When attending court, the judge and lawyers usually stopped at a tavern widely famed for its hospitality and presided over by a genial host, who was affectionately called “Uncle Billy Smith”. Across the street from the inn was the public square. On this was situated not only the court-house and jail, but also the stables belonging to the stage line and a convenient “grocery”.

The orderly decorum of the court room at Troupville was occasionally disturbed by energetic but short-lived fist fights on the square, but another disturbance occurring periodically had the more serious effect of halting the court. This was preceded by the shrill blasting of a bugle, followed by the measured“ beat of galloping horses and the loud, reverberations of the lumbering stage coach from Thomasville, as it rattled across the boards of Little River bridge. The forced recess continued until the stage with four fresh horses crossed over the Withlacoochee bridge and departed on its long journey through the pines to Waresborough.

A source of interruption within the court room itself was the practice of having grand jury witnesses sworn in open court. From time to time, more or less inopportune, a grand juror escorting two or three witnesses would appear at the bar, where upon the business in hand was suspended until the oath could be administered. These interjected proceedings were narrowly watched, and not infrequently a bystander, whose conduct was about to be investigated would be seen to make a hurried departure for the purpose of securing temporary immunity from punishment should the grand jury return a presentment.

The general complexion of a court crowd in those times differed somewhat from that of the post bellum period in that the black population remained at home, excepting the family coachman. These privileged and interesting characters contributed their bit to entertain the transients on the square, while their influential masters within the courtroom occupied chairs and hobnobbed with the dignitaries of bench and bar.

Court Week always attracted a great concourse of people. Some attended from necessity or compulsion, some to enjoy the feast of erudition and eloquence; others to trade, traffic or electioneer, but to many it was an occasion for much drinking and horse swapping, and for indulgence in cock fighting, horse racing, and other “Worldly amusements” for which Troupville became somewhat notorious. Indeed, among the Godly, it was regarded as a wild town – almost as wicked as Hawkinsville.

 

A Vanished Town

Now beneath a spreading oak that shades the old Stage road, a granite marker points out to passers-by the place where once stood Troupville – the far famed capital of Lowndes.

Only the rivers there remain, eternally the same –
Black waters, musically slipping,
Whose ripples sway the gray moss dipping
From hoary overhanging, trees
That murmur to the whispering breeze
Old tales of ancient memories.

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