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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Lasa Adams’ Account of the Battle of Brushy Creek and Actions on Warrior Creek

Lasa Adams (1811-1894)

Grave of Lasa Adams, Bethel Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Brooks County, GA

Grave of Lasa Adams, Bethel Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Brooks County, GA.  Image source: Robert Strickland

Lasa Adams  [sometimes referred to as Lacy Adams] was born May 13, 1811, in Georgia, a son of Dennis Adams. While yet a boy, his parents moved first to Alabama then to Gadsden County, FL, where he grew to manhood on a frontier still troubled by conflict with Native Americans who resisted being displaced from their ancestral lands.

According to William Harden’s History of Savannah and South Georgia, Lasa Adam’s  father established the family homestead in Gadsden County, FL:

 “Dennis Adams located near the present site of Wakena, Gadsden county, becoming one of the original settlers of that locality. His brother-in-law, a Mr. Carr, located on a tract of land two miles away. Indians were then very troublesome in that locality, and one night when Mr. Carr and his wife were away from home raided his place, and brutally massacred their two children. A slave made his escape to the Adams farm, and told Mr. Adams the tale, and Mr. Adams sent to Thomasville, Georgia, for aid. The following night the red skins paid a visit to the Adams cabin. The family were well prepared, and after several of the Indians had been killed the remainder retreated.”

It was around 1834 that Lasa Adams came to Thomas County, GA and on December 1, 1834 he married Sarah Wooten, daughter of Redden Wooten of the Tallokas district (territory now in Brooks). Another of Wooten’s daughters married Morgan G. Swain, who owned a hotel at Troupville, GA.

“Lasa Adams was young when the family came from Florida to Georgia to escape the malignant attacks of the Indians, although many red skins were then living in this vicinity, the dense forests being their happy hunting ground. The few daring white people of the county built a strong log fort to which the women and children were sent when ever trouble with the savages was brewing, and he immediately joined the company formed for protection against their raids, and took part, in 1836, in the battle of Brushy creek, when the Indians made their last stand in Georgia.”

 

Lasa Adams left this area in the 1850s to make his home in Florida, but not long before his death June 17, 1894, he returned to Brooks County after an absence of forty years.  On May 5, 1893 Lasa Adams,  responded to a questionnaire by William T. Gaulden about the Battle of Brushy Creek.  

From Lowndes County militia rosters, it appears  that Lasa Adams was living in the 660th Georgia militia district (the Morven District) at the opening of the Second Seminole War  in December 1835. When Governor William Schley called for the formation of general militia companies in Wiregrass Georgia, Lasa Adams, Pennywell Folsom, Lewis Blackshear, Samuel Slaughter, Noah H. Griffin, William Alderman, Randall Folsom and 84 other men of the district were organized under Captain William G. Hall. While Hall’s unit was not in active service, Adams later served in Captain Benjamin Grantham’s company of men.

Although Adams joined Captain Grantham’s Company a week after the Battle of Brushy Creek, he was intimately familiar with the participants and subsequent engagements against the Indians.

Mr. Adams recalled that the Indians were Cherokees who were fleeing “to the Seminoles in Florida, near Tampa Bay” to escape the forced relocation to western territories.  Adams questioned the purported force of Indians ranging through the district that July of 1836 “estimated to be 300, but I have my doubts. I think 150 would be a fair count. About 300 men were after Indians but only about one hundred were in the battle,” which took place “about the 12th or 13th of July, about 10 or 11 o’clock a.m.” and lasted about two hours.

The engagement at Brushy Creek was fought under the leadership of Major Michael Young (Thomas County),  Capt. James A. Newman (Thomas County),  Capt. John Pike (Lowndes County), Capt. Hamilton Sharpe (Lowndes County), and Capt. Henry Crawford Tucker.  (Captain Levi J. Knight  (Lowndes County) and his company of arrived just after the conclusion of the battle, coming straight from a skirmish with a squad of Indians at William Parkers place in eastern Lowndes County.)

Adams gives an accounting of those killed at Brushy Creek, listing the dead as Pennywell Folsom and Edward Shanks, of Lowndes County, and a man from Thomas County, Gabe Ferrill, who is variously identified in other accounts as Bartow Ferrell or Burton Ferrell. (A Berton Ferrel also appears in the 1830 census of Thomas County). Among the wounded were Captain Charles Screven Gaulden, Lowndes County;  Daniel McClane, Thomasville, GA; William Drew, Lowndes county; James Blackshear, Thomas county; Robert Parrish, Lowndes County. (To this list of wounded Norman Campbell, who also completed a questionnaire, added Agnes McCauley,  Malcolm McLane, Monroe,  and Edward M. Henderson.  Edward Marion Henderson, who was then Sheriff of Lowndes County, GA died on July 20 as a result of his injuries.)

The story of how Pennywell Folsom fell at Brushy Creek was posted previously.  According to Ferrell family research, a brief note on the death of Burton Ferrell appeared in the Milledgeville Southern Recorder a few days after the incident.

Milledgeville Southern Recorder
Tuesday August 2, 1836

KILLED…. On Friday the 15th ultimo in the county of Lowndes, BURTON FERRELL of the county of Thomas, was killed in battle with a band of Creek Indians. It is not the intention of the writer to eulogize the deceased, but this much it is considered necessary to say, that Mr. Ferrell was brave almost to a fault; for he refused to take shelter which the trees might have afforded him in the fight, and rushed fearlessly in the front of the company, and was shot through the body at the first fire of the enemy.

Adams noted that among the Indians, those killed  at Brushy Creek were “about 15 or twenty, including women and children” and captured were “eight to ten women and children…no men taken.”  These prisoners were taken to Thomasville, GA where they were held about a month before being sent west.

Following the Battle of Brushy Creek,  Lasa Adams was drafted to serve in a Thomas County company under Captain Grantham in further actions against the Indians on Warrior Creek.  The local militia was joined on August 12, 1836 by forces of General Julius C. Alford, who had pursued the Indians from the Alabama border above Chickasawhatchee Swamp north of Albany, GA. General Alford assumed command of the combined forces which by now included Capt. Grantham’s company as well as the companies of Capt. Pike, Capt. Newman, Capt. Burnett, and Captain Levi J. Knight. Following the advice of Captain Knight, their goal was to prevent the Indians from reaching Grand Bay, near present day Ray City, GA, and thus cut off their rendezvous with the force of Indians gathering in the Okefenokee Swamp.

In August of 1836 the Georgia newspapers were full of celebratory news of victory over the Indians in engagements all across the state. From the perspective of half a century of reflection on the conflict, Adams offered “My opinion is the whites were in the wrong.”

Lasa Adam’s  responses to the questionnaire on Indian Times, along with his sketch (provided below) of his service in Captain Benjamin Grantham’s company of Thomas County militia during the 1836 Indian War, was posthumously published in the Valdosta Times, November 16, 1895.  Adams describes how  his company came to the aid of a  Company of men, who were the advance force of General Alford.  Adams variously refers to the captain of this company as  Captain Hawthorne, Hatthorn or Haththorn.  Undoubtedly, he is actually referring to Captain Michael Hentz, and his Company of Baker County Militia  who was operating under the orders of General at the time and place described.

“Government let out Indian Claims at Cherokee, Georgia, and were to send them out west. Between 3 and 5 hundred were dissatisfied with the treaty made with the chief – and they withdrew and thought they would go and unite with the Seminoles in Florida near Tampa Bay. So they started and crossed over the Chattahoochee River and burned up a town called Roanoak, Georgia. The whites formed companies and went in pursuit of them, and had a fight in Chickasawhatchee Swamp above Albany. Indians were scattered and between 100 and 300 were in the gang that was in the Brushy creek battle. Several more small squads went through the country from 15 to 20 in squads, in different directions.

At Brushy Creek, Capt. Scriven Gaulden had a company from Lowndes county, Col. Mike Young from Thomas county, Capt. Hamilton Sharp of Lowndes county, Georgia.

They all united, and Capt. Scriven Gaulden led the front guards to battle and made the attack on Indians at Brushy creek and then the fight commenced. Captain Scriven Gaulden was hit by three balls from Indian guns only one took effect  right cheek “I think,” one passed through his hat, one hit his pistol in pants pocket (pistol saved his life.) Several more were slightly wounded but don’t remember the names of none, as they were from Lowndes county and strangers to me. All Indians not killed and captured kept their course for Tampa, Fla.

In about a week or so after the Brushy creek battle, I was drafted together with 30 or 40 more men, and Capt. Grantham was elected our captain. We were ordered up on the Warrior creek, as squads of Indians were continually passing down that creek. One day while on a scout we heard guns firing. Capt. Grantham ordered a force march and we went as quick as he could in order, and when we got nearly to the place Capt. Hawthorne had followed a squad of Indians from above Albany and had attacked them, and the Indians had whipped him out and he was retreating and the Indians had captured six horses from his men.

Then Capt. Grantham, with his men and a few of Capt. Hatthorn’s pursued the Indians and run them in the Little River swamp near James Rountree’s place in Lowndes county (now Cook), and we had to stop, as night overtook us. We camped over the other side of the river, expecting the Indians to come through next morning. That night Buckston, Ison Vaun and myself were detailed to go to Capt. Hatthorn and tell him to come down and draw supplies at Lawrence Folsom’s place. We returned from Capt. Haththorn’s to our camp, and we received news that Indians had gone across the river that night. The Indians had used a little stratagem to fool us. They made a display that night with torch lights as if they were going across the river, so next morning we had to go back to Capt. Haththorn to carry the news that Indians had crossed the river, and about daylight as we were on our way to carry the news we discovered Indians jumping over the road to keep from making any sign, and they were going down the river. So we returned to our camp and reported what we had seen and Capt. Grantham ordered a force march to a ferry three miles below on the river, expecting to head them off, but they had beat us to the ferry and kept down the river swamp. We struck their trail and followed them down the swamp near Maj. Simmon’s plantation and pushed them so close that the Indians took into the swamp and we recaptured the six horses taken from Capt. Haththorn’s men. That night General Aulford [Julius C. Alford] came to us with 30 or 40 men and took command of the forces. A good many volunteered and joined us. Gen. Aulford ordered all the men to string across the river 20 yards apart and drive up, as we had got ahead of the Indians. We had gone about one mile up the river when the Indians used another trick to draw us off. The Indians were seen in Jones’ peach orchard on one side of the rive and in John Blacksher’s peach orchard on the other side. They were fired at by scouts at long range in John Blackshear’s orchard. This shooting frustrated our drive up the river, and we made for Blackshear’s.  A little Indian girl about eight or ten years of age went next day to the house of James Williams and Mrs. Williams was at the wash tub washing. The little girl went and put her hands in the tub before Mrs. Williams saw her, and like to have frightened Mrs. Williams to death. Mrs. Williams kept the little girl and raised her and sent her to school and she married a man by the name of Artley. This was another one of their tricks, sending the child in to make us believe they were in that neighborhood.

General Aulford went over the river after the squad in Jones’ peach orchard, and I never saw him in about two weeks. We were ordered back to the Warriors and General Aulford followed Indians down in Florida and the Indians went into the Okeefenokee Swamp and he gave them up. 

I think that was the last squad that passed through. If any more passed, the squads were so small they made no signs and did not bother anyone.

Lasa Adams.”

Additional Notes about Lasa Adams:

“Lasa Adams bought land in what is now the Tallokas district, Brooks county, and engaged in farming. He married Sarah Wooten on December 1, 1834 in Thomas County, GA. There was one son born to that marriage, Dennis R. W. Adams, born 1839.

“There being no railways in the state all transportation was by teams, and after his land became productive he used to take his cotton to Newport, Florida, going in company with several of his neighbors, some of whom perhaps lived miles away from him, each man taking provisions with him, and camping and cooking by the wayside.”

After the death of his first wife, Mr. Adams married Miss Orpha Lee Holloway, born 1825, youngest daughter of William and Orpha Holloway who were among of the very first settlers of what is now Brooks county.  This marriage took place April 17, 1842. There were four children by the second wife:

  1. Rhoda Ann Adams, born 1843, married William Hurst of Brooks County, GA.
  2. Jane Irene Adams, born 1845, married J. M. Yates of Brooks County, GA.
  3. James C. Adams, born 1850, married Mary Holman of Jefferson County, FL.
  4. Cason F. Adams,  born 1852, married Texas Smith, daughter of J. R. M. Smith.

Lasa Adams was elected Sheriff of Thomas County in 1842 but resigned a few months after assuming office.

Lasa Adams Sheriff's Sale, 1842

Lasa Adams Sheriff’s Sale, 1842. [Note: This legal advertisement appeared in the Milledgeville Southern Recorder, Mar. 29, 1842 – the date printed in the ad is typo.

During his short term as Sheriff of Thomas County, one task Lasa Adams dealt with was the sale of two town lots in Troupville, and other goods, to satisfy a debt owed by Joseph S. Burnett and Hiram Hall to Bazzel Kornegay, of Thomas County. Other Sheriff’s Sales executed by Sheriff Lasa Adams included the auction of Ephriam, enslaved African-American who was the property of Shadrick Atkinson, to satisfy a debt owed to the Central Bank of Georgia, and the sale of Lot 113, 13th District, Thomas County, to settle a debt owed to John J. Underwood, Troupville attorney.

The 1850 census of enslaved inhabitants of Lowndes County, GA shows Lasa Adams was the owner of eight slaves.

In 1852, Lasa Adams returned to Florida:

“In 1852, Lasa Adams sold his Brooks county land, moved to Florida, locating in Madison county, where he purchased a squatter’s claim to a tract of government land situated about sixteen miles northeast of Monticello, and about the same distance northwest of Madison. A few acres had been cleared, and a log cabin had been erected. He continued the improvements, and there carried on general farming for some time. In 1864 he enlisted in the Florida Reserves, and continued in the Confederate service until the close of the war, when he again assumed charge of his farm. Selling out in 1870, he was for four years a resident of Jefferson county, Florida. Coming from there to Thomas county, Georgia, he bought land three miles south of Boston, and was there employed in tilling the soil for many years. Shortly before his death, which occurred in  1894, he returned to Brooks county, Georgia, and there spent his last days, passing away at the venerable age of eighty-three years.”

Lasa Adams was buried at Bethel Primitive Baptist Church cemetery. His second wife (Orpha Lee Holloway) died September 28, 1887, and is also buried at Bethel.

Related Posts:

Lasa Adams account of the Battle of Brushy Creek, Lowndes County, GA

Lasa Adams account of the 1836 Battle of Brushy Creek, Lowndes County, GA

Samuel Register and the East Florida Militia

According to Folks Huxford, Samuel Register came from Appling County to Lowndes County, GA about 1826 and settled in the 10th Land District near Possum Branch, not too far from the homestead of Levi J. Knight and the future site of Ray City, GA. Samuel Register’s place later became the farm of Jesse Shelby “Dock” Shaw.

Samuel Register was born in Sampson County, North Carolina on December 1, 1786, almost three years before that state would ratify the U.S. Constitution. He was a son of Dorcas and John Register.

Some time before 1804 Samuel Register came with his family to Bulloch County, GA where he apparently made his home for some 20 years, although there is no records to show that he ever owned land there. In  April of 1806 he married Elizabeth Skinner, a native of South Carolina.

When the U.S. went to war with Britain from 1812-1815 in response to British actions against American expansion and trade, it appears that  Samuel Register, like other Wiregrass pioneers (see Dryden Newbern)  joined the  Georgia Militia.   In the War of 1812 the Georgia Militia was occupied with three main theaters of operation: the Creek War of 1813-14, the British blockade, and the British occupation of St. Marys and Cumberland Island in 1814-15.  British  control of St. Marys, GA disturbed the economy of the entire Wiregrass region, interrupting trade on the Alachua Trail which ran from the Altamaha River through Centerville, GA, then across the St. Marys River and into  East Florida. The resistance of the Georgia Militia against the British incursions is described  in the New Georgia Encyclopedia  article on the War of 1812.

After the War of 1812, Samuel and Elizabeth remained in Bulloch county. GA until about 1824 when they moved to Appling County, and then on to Lowndes county in 1826.  In 1827,  Samuel Register  received a draw in the land lotteries for his service as a soldier in the War of 1812.

The land lotteries, legitimized by questionable and coercive treaties, continued the encroachment by settlers on the ancestral lands of Native Americans in Georgia, inevitably leading to conflict.  In Florida, hostilities were greatly escalated in December 1835 by the Dade Massacre, where Seminole Indians resisting forced removal to the West   wiped out a force of 110 regular army troops under the command of Major Francis Langhorn Dade.  When conflict between the Wiregrass pioneers and the resistant Indians erupted in 1836, local militia fought engagements in Berrien county.

In the summer of 1836, a company of militia under Capt. Levi J. Knight of near Ray City was sent to protect the settlers from marauding Indians on their way to join the Seminoles in Florida.  When a party of Indians plundered the plantation of William Parker, near Milltown, the militia pursued them N. E. across the county overtaking them near Gaskins Pond not far from the Alapaha River.  Several were killed and some injured as the Indians fled across the river.  A few days later the militia encountered more Indians at Brushy Creek and ran them off.  That was the last real battle with the Indians in this section.

Across the state line in Florida,  actions against Indians were being fought by militia on a regular basis. The Battle of San Felasco Hammock was fought  September 18, 1836, when a force of 25 US Army Regulars and 100 horse-mounted militia from Fort Gilleland, with 25 armed residents of Newnansville, FL engaged and routed about 300 Indians led by Seminole Chief John Jumper. Fort Gilleland, a picketed fortification located south of the Santa Fe River at Newnansville in present day Alachua County, FL, was one of a string of forts stretching from Jacksonville, FL to Clay’s Landing, at the mouth of the Suwanee River.  Newnansville,  the largest inland town in East Florida, was strategically located at the junction of the Jacksonville road and the Bellamy Road which ran from St. Augustine west to Tallahassee and Pensacola. Newnansville was about about 80 miles southeast of Troupville,  in Lowndes County, GA.

In the spring of 1837 militia troops from Lowndes county were sent across the state line to join the forces at Fort Gilleland:

Jacksonville Courier
Jacksonville, May 11, 1837

—Extract of a letter from Col. Mills, to the Editor, dated Fort Gilliland, May 8.

“Major Staniford, with two companies of the 2d Infantry, arrived here yesterday in obedience to orders from Maj. Gen. Jesup, from Lowndes county, Georgia, and are here encamped, awaiting orders.” 

The following summer, in 1837, Samuel Register and other Lowndes county men went south to join the East Florida Volunteer militia to fight against the Indians on the Florida frontier. According to the records of the Florida Department of Military Affairs, Register traveled first to Fort Palmetto, on the Suwanee River at Fanning Springs, FL.

Samuel Register and his sons, David and John,   served with “Captain John J. Johnson’s Company of the 2nd Regiment, East Florida Mounted Volunteers, commanded by Colonel William J. Mills, ordered into the service of the United States by Major General Thomas J. Jessup under the Act of Congress approved May 23d 1836, for six months from the 16th day of June 1837 to the 18th day of December 1837.  Company enrolled at Fort Palmetto, Florida, and marched sixty miles to place of rendezvous at Fort Gilliland, Fla. Company mustered in by Lieutenant W. Wall, 3d Artillery.”

His son-in-law, John Tomlinson, and two other Registers in this same service and company: Samuel Register Jr and John Register, Jr..  Seaborn Lastinger, of Lowndes County, served as a private; he would be shot for desertion during the Civil War. James B. Johnson and Young Johnson , grand uncles of JHP Johnson of Ray City, served in the Florida Drafted Mounted Militia.

Muster Roll of East Florida Volunteers

Muster Roll of East Florida Volunteers

http://archive.org/stream/floridamilitiamu05morr#page/n71/mode/1up

Muster Roll of Captain John J. Johnson's Mounted Company of the 2d Regiment of East Florida Volunteers, 2d Brigade of Florida Militia, Commanded by Colonel William J. Mills.

Muster Roll of Captain John J. Johnson’s Mounted Company of the 2d Regiment of East Florida Volunteers, 2d Brigade of Florida Militia, Commanded by Colonel William J. Mills.

http://archive.org/stream/floridamilitiamu05morr#page/n72/mode/1up

Muster Roll of Captain John J. Johnson's Mounted Company of the 2d Regiment of East Florida Volunteers, 2d Brigade of Florida Militia, Commanded by Colonel William J. Mills.

Muster Roll of Captain John J. Johnson’s Mounted Company of the 2d Regiment of East Florida Volunteers, 2d Brigade of Florida Militia, Commanded by Colonel William J. Mills.

Samuel Register was honorably discharged at Newnansville in December, 1837. He subsequently “served another enlistment in the Indian War under the same Capt Johnson (April 1, 1838-July 31, 1838). He also served a third term under this same Capt Johnson in the Georgia mounted Militia (Aug 25, 1840-Oct 18, 1840). On his Bounty Land application dated Nov 23, 1850, he was granted 160 acres of land for this service. His son-in-law John Tomlinson (husband of Zilpha) who served in the same military unit was granted 80 acres of land for his services”

Between 1840 and 1842, Samuel Register sold out his home-place in the 10th District, and moved from Possum Branch to the 11th Land District where he acquired Land Lot 500.   This lot was in that part of Lowndes county that was cut into the new county of Clinch in 1850, and in 1920 was cut out of Clinch into Lanier County.

In 1856, it was a great boon to Register when the Atlantic & Gulf railroad was charted  to run   from a connection with the Savannah, Albany & Gulf railroad at Screven, by way of his land to Thomasville. But when the surveyors for the new railroad  selected a route through Valdosta bypassing Troupville, that old town was doomed.   Register had a portion of Lot 500 platted into town lots and founded the town of “Registerville.” Although when the railroad people came through, they changed the name to “Stockton”, in honor of one of their contractors, a Mr. Stockton, who had charge of the road construction.

Children of Samuel Register and Elizabeth Skinner:

  1. Zilpha Register, born Feb. 4, 1807, married her first cousin John Tomlinson.
  2. Eady (Edith) Register, born Mar. 1, 1809, married Thomas Mathis Nov. 1, 1826 in Lowndes County.
  3. Guilford Register, born Jan. 7, 1811, married Priscilla Ann DeVane.
  4. David Register, born Apr. 10, 1813, married Matilda McDaniel of Bulloch County.
  5. William Register, born Sept. 24, 1814, married Luraney Harnage from Liberty County.
  6. John Register,  born June 10, 1819, married 1st Elizabeth Cowart, 2nd. Mary Ann Fiveash; served in Captain Levi J. Knight’s Independent Militia Company in 1838.
  7. Rebecca Register, born Apr. 5, 1821, married Reverend Hillery Cowart of Echols County.
  8. Phoebe Register, born Aug. 15, 1823, married Zachariah Lee of Clinch County.
  9. Jincy Register, born June 15, 1824, married Moses C. Lee of Berrien County.
  10. Ivy Register, born Apr. 22, 1825, married 1st Leta Lee, married 2nd Lavinia Arnold
  11. Samuel E. Register, born Sept. 16, 1826, married 1st Seneth Lee, married 2nd Mary Hutto, married 3rd Josephine Guthrie, lived in Berrien County.
  12. Elizabeth Register, born Aug. 21, 1828, married William Patten of present Lanier County.
  13. Reubin Register, born Nov. 25, 1830, married Harriet Brown, lived in present Berrien co.
  14. Martha Register, born Dec. 18, 1831, married Hillery P. Mathis of present Lanier co.

Related Posts:

Bryan J. Robert’s Account of the Last Indian Fight in Berrien County

Bryan J. Roberts, and his brothers Nathan and John, were among Levi J. Knight’s company of men who fought in the Indian Wars of 1836.  Many published accounts of the pioneer skirmishes with Native Americans at  William Parker’s place on the Alapaha River and at Brushy Creek have been related on the Ray City History Blog.

Here is the story the way it was told by B. J. Roberts 50 years after the event:

The Valdosta Times
May 14, 1887

INDIAN FIGHTERS

A Brief Account of the Fighting In This Section In 1836.

Mr. Bryan J. Roberts, father of Mr. W. K. Roberts of this place, is one of the pioneers of Lowndes, and has seen service as an Indian fighter in this and Clinch counties.  He is now in his 78th year and is spending the evening of his life very happily among his devoted children, having a few years ago divided a fine property among them, reserving for himself a sufficiency for his simple needs.  His children are all prospering and he is happy in seeing them happy.

In 1836 the rumors of depredations and murders by Indians in other portions of the State caused widespread alarm in this section, and the citizens organized companies for the protection of their families and property.  Capt. Levi J. Knight commanded the company to which Mr. Roberts belonged.

This company was on duty one hundred and five days, and during that time engaged in two bloody fights with the red skins.

In August, 1835, a squad of Indians raided Mr. William Parker’s home, not far from Milltown.  They carried his feather beds out into the yard; cut them open, emptied the feathers, cut and carried the ticks with them.  They also robbed him of provisions, clothing, and $208.25 in money.

Capt. Knight’s company was soon on the trail of this squad and in a short time overtook them near the Alapaha river, not far from the Gaskins mill pond.  The sun was just rising when the gallant company opened fire on the savages. A lively fight ensued, but it soon terminated in the complete routing of the Indians, who threw their guns and plunder into the river and jumped in after them.  A few were killed and a number wounded.  One Indian was armed with a fine shot gun.  This he threw into the river and tried to throw a shot bag, but it was caught by the limb of a tree and was suspended over the water.  This bag contained Mr. Parker’s money, every cent of which he recovered as well as all the other property taken from his house. The fine gun was fished out of the river and, afterwards sold for $40, a tremendous price for a gun in those days.  In the fight Mr. Peters was shot with this same gun.  One buck-shot struck him just above the waist-band of his pants, passed through and lodged under the skin near the backbone. He was also struck by two shot in the left side, which made only slight wounds.  The Indian was not more than thirty yards distant when he shot him.  Mr. Peters recovered from his wounds in less than twelve months.

Having driven the Indians into the dense swamp beyond the river, Capt. Knight marched his company as rapidly as possible in the direction of Brushy creek, in the Southwestern portion of the county.  When they arrived near that place, they heard a volley of small arms, and on arrival found that the battle had been fought and that the volley they heard was the last tribute of respect over the grave of their brave comrade-in-arms, Pennywell Folsom.  Edwin Shanks and a man named Ferrell were also shot dead in the fight.  Edwin Henderson was mortally wounded and died near the battlefield.  Mr. Robert Parrish, Sr., who lives near Adel, had his arm broken by a bullet in this fight. The Indians lost 27 killed and a number wounded.  We have no account of any prisoners being taken.  The battle of Brushy Creek was fought in a low, marshy swamp where Indian cunning was pitted against the invincible courage of the Anglo-Saxon, and in five minutes after the fight opened there was not a live red skin to be seen.

From this place Capt. Knight marched his company to what is now Clinch county.  He overtook the Indians at Cow Creek, where a sharp engagement took place, resulting in the killing of three and the taking of five prisoners. Mr. Brazelius Staten was dangerously wounded in this fight but finally recovered.

This ended the Indian fighting in which Capt. Knight’s company were engaged. Half a century has passed since then.  Nearly all the actors in that brief but bloody drama are at rest beyond the stars. A few of them are still among us, the valiant pioneers of this country, who bared their breasts to the bullets of the savages in order that their descendants might possess this fair land in peace.

The following is a list, as near as can now be ascertained, of the living and dead of Capt. Knight’s company.  The company numbered 120 men, many of whom came from neighboring counties, whose names cannot now be recalled.

LIVING–Bryan J. Roberts, Moses Giddens, John Studstill, Jonathan Studstill, Aaron Knight, Guilford Register, Echols county.) David Clements, William Giddens, John and Nathan Roberts, Fla.) (Zeke Parrish, Lowndes county,) John McMillain, John McDermid and Robert Parrish.

DEAD–George Henedge, Jeremiah Shaw, Daniel Sloan, John Lee, Moses Lee, James Patten, William J. Roberts, Isben Giddens, Jacob Giddens, Elbert Peterson, John Knight, Thomas Giddens, Harmon Gaskins, John Gaskins, William Gaskins, Sam Lee, Frederick Giddens, James Parrish, Martin Shaw, Archie McCranie, Daniel McCranie, Malcom McCranie, Alexander Patterson, James Edmondson, David Mathis, Thomas Mathis, Levi Shaw, William Peters, Jonathan Knight, Levi J. Knight and Brazelias Staten.

The Indians who passed through here belonged to the Creek Nation and were on their way from Roanoke to Florida to join the Seminoles.  They were first discovered in this county by Samuel Mattox, at Poplar Head, near where Mr. Tom Futch now lives.  Mattox was afterward hanged for murdering the fifteen-year-old son of Mr. Moses Slaughter.  Most of these Indians reached the Okeefenokee Swamp where they were joined by a large band of Seminoles.  From then until 1839 these savages did much damage to the white settlers in the vicinity of the Swamp, but in that year they were driven out and took refuge in the Everglades, where they were, with the exception of a small number, finally captured and sent to Arkansas.
Since the above was put in type another of the gallant old Indian fighters, Mr. Aaron Knight, has joined his comrades beyond the stars.

A 1915 reprint of this article also  noted “The Malcolm McCranie referred to was the father of Mr. Geo. F. McCranie, cashier of the Bank of Willacoochee and Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners of Coffee.”

Related Posts:

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