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:

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.”

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. 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.”

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An Antebellum Trial at Troupville

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

 

Dr. Motte Arrives at Franklinville, GA, 1836

In the midst of the Second Seminole War young Dr. Motte, a Harvard educated Army surgeon, found himself detailed for duty at Franklinville, GA to provide medical care for soldiers under the command of Major Greenleaf Dearborn.  The arrival of federal troops in Lowndes County in late September of 1836 followed  a series of engagements between local militia and Native Americans who were fleeing to Florida to avoid forced removal to western lands.  Levi J. Knight, pioneer settler of Ray City, GA, had led a company of men in a skirmish at William Parker’s place on July 12, 1836, and from July through August, engagements were fought at Brushy Creek, Little River, Grand Bay, Troublesome Ford, Warrior Creek and Cow Creek.

Dr. Motte recorded his experiences in Lowndes County in a journal he kept of his military service. This part of his story picks up in the first days of Autumn, 1836…

In consequence of the great alarm excited in the southern counties of Georgia by murders and depredations committed by the Creek Indians who were endeavoring to escape into Florida from Alabama, Governor Schley had petitioned Gen. Jesup to station some troops in Ware or Lowndes County, that being the least populous and most defenceless portion of the country through which the Indians were passing.  It was also liable to invasions from the Seminoles, as it bordered upon Florida.  In compliance with this request, Major [Greenleaf] Dearborn with two companies of Infantry was ordered to proceed immediately to the above counties in Georgia, and there establish himself.  These counties being so far south and in a low swampy part of the country had the worst possible reputation for health, and going there at this season of the year was almost considered certain death to a white man and stranger unacclimated.  It was necessary then to send some surgeon with the troops, that it may not be said they died without proper medical attendance; and also that they might have a chance of a surgeon in the other world to physic them. Dr. Lawson, the Medical Director, was therefore instructed by Gen. Jesup to select some on of the surgeons for this duty; and the Doctor with his usual friendly discrimination, whenever there was any particularly disagreeable duty to be done, picked upon me. [Dr. Thomas Lawson, Medical Director at Fort Mitchell, was appointed Surgeon General of the United States on November 30, 1836.] So away I was ordered, to die of fever as I thought amidst the swamps of Lowndes County.  Major Dearborn to whom I was ordered to report myself was at Irwinton [Eufala, AL], sixty miles below Fort Mitchell, on the Alabama side of the Chatahooche. It was therefore necessary for me to proceed there forthwith alone….

I found Major Dearborn encamped two miles from Irwinton, and after reporting myself to him rode over to visit Major Lomax, who was also stationed in the neighbourhood with his battalion of Artillery.

On the 29th Sept we took up the line of march for Lowndes County, Georgia, and after crossing the Chattahooche advanced fifteen miles the first day over the most wretched roads that ever disfigured the face of the earth.  We proceeded by easy marches, generally resting in the middle of the day when we took our food, which was prepared before we started in the early morn and again when we encamped for the the night. The second night I slept in a church by the roadside…The third night we slept in the midst of a pine barren. The fourth near the banks of the Kinchafoonee River upon the site of an old Indian town [Chehaw village, where Georgia militia massacred Creek Indians in 1818]

Dr. Jacob Motte's 1836 route to Franklinville, GA

Dr. Jacob Motte’s 1836 route to Franklinville, GA

The fifth night, the surgeon was coming down with fever. Of the sixth day, he wrote that the column had passed through Pindartown, in present day Worth County, GA.  According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Pindartown was of considerable importance in the early days. When the Creek lands changed hands in 1821, the village was bought from the Indians. Pindartown served as the only post office between the Ocmulgee and Flint rivers in the early days. The town was located at the head of navigation on the Flint River, and the stagecoach road between Milledgeville and Tallahassee, Florida, went through Pindartown.

Continuing his narrative of the travel on October 4, 1836, Motte wrote of his worsening condition.

We crossed the Flint river, and had got beyond Pinderton in Baker county, when the exertion proved too great for me, for fever with its dreadful hold had seized on my very life-springs; and finding myself unable to keep my saddle, I was forced to dismount and lie down upon the road until one of the baggage wagons came up, when I was helped into it. The torture I endured for four days during which I was conveyed in this vehicle of torment cannot be expressed in language.  My anxiety, however, to continue with the troops, enabled me to support the greatest agony for some time. 

Motte’s description of the rude and uncomfortable travel by wagon over the stage roads matches the perceptions of  Charles Joseph La Trobe, an English traveler and writer, who in 1833 rode from Tallahassee, FL to Milledgeville, GA  via the weekly stagecoach. La Trobe observed “The roads through the south of Georgia are in the roughest state.

The rough roads in the heat of an Indian summer in south Georgia were too much for the feverish Dr. Motte.

The thin covering to the wagon afforded my burning brain no protection against the heat of a vertical sun in this latitude, and the constant jolting over the rugged roads and roots of trees was fast driving me into a dreadful tempest of delirium. Human nature could endure such suffering no longer, and with reluctance I was compelled to be left in a log-house which stood beside the road in Thomas county, ten miles from Florida. The occupant, whose name was Adams, seemed a kind hearted man, and he promised to bestow [upon me] all the care in his power. Fortunately I retained my reasoning faculties, and I was enabled to prescribe for myself the proper medicines…

… By aid of a good constitution I was at last enabled to master the disease, and after ten days confinement to bed, again stood upon my legs. …On the 21st Oct I had regained sufficient strength to ride my horse; so on that day I bid farewell to my kind and hospitable host…and following upon the trail of the troops, proceeded to rejoin them.

The route of the troops from Thomasville toward Franklinville would have undoubtedly been along the Coffee Road.     Coffee Road, the military road constructed by John Coffee and Thomas Swain in 1823 became the first route opening up the south central Georgia region to pioneer settlers.  In this section the road passed through Thomas county, Lowndes county, and present day Berrien county, continuing on to its terminus at Jacksonville, GA on the Ocmulgee River. From Thomasville heading east via the Coffee Road, Dearborn’s company could reach Sharpe’s Store which was just fifteen miles west of Franklinville, GA

Now traveling alone and by horseback, Motte’s perception of  conditions along the rough-cut roads are in marked contrast to his torturous wagon ride.

Autumn with its refreshing sunshine had now superceded the heat of summer, and its hollow winds, with mournful sound announcing the approach of dreary winter, were driving the leaves about in eddying course; their rustling alone broke the stillness of the scene as I journeyed slowly through the wide forests, which were now throwing off their garb of sturdy vigour and assuming the ostentatious and gaudy livery of the season. The beauty of woodland scenery is always heightened just before the chilly winter throws its icy influence over their bloom. and envelopes them in a robe of dusky brown.  Then it is that the gorgeous and fantastic blending of green, yellow, crimson, purple and scarlet, which tinge the distant prospect, defies the art of the painter, who endeavours in vain to imitate successfully the varied hues of nature.

On the evening of the 22nd Oct I arrived at Franklinville, which is the only town in the whole of Lowndes county, and contains only three log-houses one of which is a court-house, and another the Post-office; the third is a store. This great place is situated on the upper Withlacooché, and here I found the troops encamped. They were preparing to move farther south, and nearer to Florida; and the day after I joined, the tents were struck, the Withlachooché crossed, and after marching ten miles in a southerly direction, a new place of encampment was selected near the plantation of  a Mr. Townsend.

[Thomas O. Townsend was one of the first settlers of Lowndes County, and later owned several lots in the town of Troupville.]

Major Dearborn apparently found the environs of Franklinville unsuitable to military discipline, this despite the fact that the only buildings were the courthouse, post office, an inn operated by William Smith, who was also clerk of the court and postmaster, and the residences of Sheriff Martin Shaw, and of John Mathis and James Mathis. Still, Franklinville was the only “town” in all of Lowndes County and was on the stage road from Jacksonville.   In reflecting on the early history of Lowndes County, Hamilton Sharpe, who operated Sharpe’s Store on Coffee Road, intimated that Franklinville was a rowdy place of drunkenness, at least on days when citizens gathered from the countryside of meetings of the circuit court.

In any event, Major Dearborn soon had his troops relocated to a more remote location.

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