HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
Sort By Author Sort By Title

Sort By Author
Sort By Title


Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc

All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
28 October, 2012
Real Time Analytics
The Creek War of 1813 and 1814
The War Cloud Gathering
by Halbert, H. S. and Ball, T. H.

War was declared between the United States and Great Britain June 18, 1812. Into this war Tecumseh entered heartily in favor of the British and against the Americans, as we have already seen. We are now to look at the Creek Indians in this year of 1812.

The following are extracts from letters to the War Department, written by Colonel Benjamin Hawkins, and taken from Indian Affairs as published in American State Papers, commencing on page 304.
CREEK AGENCY, Feb. 3, 1812.

Our Indians are, many of them, occupied in spinning, weaving! making new settlements, or improving those heretofore made. I believe nine-tenths of the Lower Creeks have left their old towns and formed, or are forming settlements on the creeks and rivers where the lands are good and the range for stock good.

CREEK AGENCY, April 6,1812.

On the 26th ult., Thomas Meredith, Sr., a respectable old man, travelling with his family to the Mississippi Territory, was murdered on the post road, at Kittome, a creek 150 miles from this. Sam Macnac, a half breed, of large property, who keeps entertainment on the road, at whose house Meredith is buried, calls it an accident.
Colonel Hawkins then details circumstances and gives evidence showing that it was a murder.

CREEK AGENCY May 11, 1812.

I have just returned from the council of the Lower Creeks, and have time only, by this mail, to write you a short letter.

He then states (given here in an abridged form) that Charles Hicks, late United States interpreter for the Cherokees, by order of his chiefs, had sent a friendly letter to the Creeks, in which he said to them that if they joined the English in the coming war they would lose every foot of their land, but if they joined the Americans they would gain their friendship forever. To this the Creeks replied that they would not "interfere in the wars of white people."
CREEK AGENCY, May 25, 1812.

I was this day informed by Mr. Cornells, our interpreter for the Upper Creeks, that on the 23rd inst. a white man, William Lott, was murdered, eight miles this way from his home, by four Indians without the least provocation. * * * The chiefs will meet in one week and we shall see what can be done. We have a report also that two families have been killed in Tennessee.

CREEK AGENCY, July 28, 1812.

I have just time to inform you that the Indian who murdered Meredith was put to death on the 19th.

CREEK AGENCY Aug. 24, 1812.

Those charged with the murder on Duck River are not yet come at.
This massacre of the Tennessee families on Duck River and the treatment of Mrs. Crawley and children, aroused strong feelings against the Creeks among the people of Tennessee. The reader will find, when he comes to the treaty of peace, at the close of the war, that Duck River was charged up against the Creeks along with Fort Mims.

The Lower and Upper Creeks united their efforts in having justice dealt out to the murderers of William Lott. We come now to 1813, the year of actual strife.

By an act passed in Congress February 12, 1813, General James Wilkinson was authorized to proceed to Mobile, then held by the Spaniards, and to take possession. March 8th, Commander Shaw, with General Wilkinson and his troops on board his fleet, reached Dauphine Island; and after a few days the following communication was sent to the Spanish commandant by the American General:

SIR: The troops of the United States do not approach you as the enemies of Spain, but by order of the President they come to relieve the brave garrison which you so worthily command, from the occupancy of a post within the legitimate limits of the United States. I hope that you will peacefully retire from Fort Charlotte, and from the Mississippi Territory, to the eastern side of the Perdido river.
This request was in a few days complied with.* [* I have taken the above from Claiborne's "Mississippi" which in regard to official documents I consider perfectly reliable. T. H. B.]

General Wilkinson did not long remain at Mobile. He was ordered to Canada--in June he was passing through the "Creek Nation" on his way to the North--and Major General Thomas Flournoy, of Georgia, succeeded him in the command at Mobile, and of the Seventh military division.

General Flournoy, June 28, 1813, ordered Brigadier General Ferdinand L. Claiborne, with his brigade of six hundred Mississippi volunteers, to march from Baton Rouge to Mount Vernon, in order to be ready there "to repel any attack that may be made on any part of the frontier of the Mississippi Territory, either from Indians, Spaniards, or English " Leaving Baton Rouge June 28th, this brigade reached Mount Vernon July 30th, 1813. "You will put yourself," General Flournoy's order continued, "in communication with Lieutenant Colonel Bowyer, who commands at Mobile and Mobile Point, who will give you the earliest information of any movement by the English or Spaniards The defence of the town of Mobile will be your principal care."

While the open war was between the Americans and the British, it was quite well understood that on the southern frontier both the Spaniards and Indians were likely to aid the British as against the Americans. The Spaniards and British had by turns been the nominal holders of Florida.

Leaving now General Flournoy in command in the summer of 1813, and General Claiborne at Mount Vernon, we are ready to look at the uprising of a part of the Creek Confederacy, or at what was called their civil war.

J. F. H. Claiborne, in his "Mississippi," gives a letter written by General Wilkinson, when on his way northward, to one of the prominent citizens of Washington county, Judge Toulmin, which is dated--a misprint or mistake is here corrected--"Sam Manacs, Creek Nation, June 25, 1813."

In this letter he says: "Your favor of the 22d reached me near this place, surrounded by dangers; but I am too far advanced to retreat. Indeed, I dare not turn my back on reports, and, therefore, shall proceed this evening [afternoon] to Catoma, and to-morrow to Doyle's, where I expect to see the Big Warrior, who has begged an interview with me. He has been intrenched against the war party a week or ten days and lives in fear of his life, as his antagonists are daily making converts and increasing in strength, with the avowed intention to destroy him and all who have been concerned in the execution of the murderers; after which, it is believed by all with whom I have conversed, they expect to intimidate the rest of the nation to join them, and then it is their intention to make war on the whites. This seems to be the general impression; but no one can tell or even guess v here a blow will be struck." General Wilkinson then speaks of "one Joseph Francis," living on the road, who claimed to have " had a visit from the Lord," and who detailed the things revealed to him "in the manner most impressive on his barbarian auditors." General Wilkinson also wrote that he was assured that Francis with more than three hundred followers was at a camp on the Alabama about sixteen miles above the Big Swamp, and that it was reported that this party was about "to move down the river to break up the half-breed settlements and those of the citizens in the forks of the river."

He adds:

"I know not what stress to lay on these wild reports, but the whole road is deserted--the Indians are all assembled, and their villages ahead of me, many towns on the Alabama and Tallapoosa and Coosa, are deserted, and consternation and terror are in every countenance I meet. I have considered it proper you should receive this information, and, therefore, I send back Weatherford with this information for your government, and will only observe, that I think the volunteers should be called up to your frontier, without a moment's delay." General Wilkinson was now on his way to his command in Canada, and was travelling, the reader will notice, over that" Government road " through the Creek country. One quotation more:

"I have about twenty armed men, and our cavalcade consists of about forty persons. Our horses and carriages are in good order. * * * Colonel Hawkins is profoundly silent. Alexander Cornels has fled the country and I cannot hear of any preparation to succor the Big Warrior." The letter is signed "James Wilkinson," and is addressed "Hon. Judge Toulmin, Fort Stoddert."

It appears from this letter that open war among the Creeks had not then commenced but might break out any day. Weatherford was at that time friendly. (Some suggest that the Weatherford mentioned in the letter was not the noted William but Jack Weatherford, but, if so, it will not affect the statement as a fact, although affecting it as a conclusion; for as a fact it rests on other evidence.)

The murderers referred to in this valuable letter are no doubt those concerned in the murder of Thomas Meredith and William, or as some call him, Arthur, Lott. General Woodward says: "I have often heard Sam Moniac say, that if Lott had not been killed at the time he was, it was his belief that the war could have been prevented."* [* The student of history finds King Philip's war originating about as did the Creek war. 1. "It became evident to the Indians that the spreading settlements were fast breaking up their hunting grounds. 2. A converted Indian was found murdered. The execution by the whites of three Indians convicted of the murder, may be considered as the immediate cause of the war." See Anderson's history of King Philip's War.]

The following deposition copied from the Alabama Historical Reporter of June, 1880, is an interesting document which will show what plans some of the chiefs had formed as early as July 11, 1813, the time of the interview with Jim Boy or High Head Jim to which Sam Moniac refers.

The Deposition of Samuel Manac, of lawful age, a Warrior of the Creek Nation.

About the last of October, thirty Northern Indians came down with Tecumseh, who said he had been sent by his brother, the prophet. They attended our council at the Tuccabache, and had a talk for us. I was there for the spate of two or three days, but every day whilst I was there, Tecumseh refused to deliver his talk, and on being requested to give it, said that the sun had gone too far that day. The day after I came away, he delivered his talk. It was not till about Christmas that any of our people began to dance the war dance. The Muscogees have not been used to dance before war, but after. At that time about forty of our people began this Northern custom, and my brother-in-law, Francis, who also pretends to be a prophet, was at the head of them. Their number has very much increased since, and there are probably now more than half of the Creek nation who have joined them.

Being afraid of the consequences of a murder having been committed on the mail route, I had left my home on the road, and had gone down to my plantation on the river. I stayed there some time. I went to Pensacola with some steers, during which time, my sister and brother, who have joined the war party, came and got off a number of my horses and other stock, and thirty-six of my negroes. About one or two and twenty days ago, I went up to my house on the road, and found some Indians camped near it whom I tried to avoid, but could not. An Indian came to me, who goes by the name of High Headed Jim, and whom I found had been appointed to head a party sent from the Auttasee Town, on the Tallapoosa, on a trip to Pensacola. He shook hands with me, and immediately began to tremble and jerk in every part of his frame, and the very calves of his legs would be convulsed, and he would get entirely out of breath with the agitation. This practice was introduced in May or June last by the Prophet Francis, who says that he was instructed by the Spirit. High-Headed Jim asked what I meant to do. I said that I should sell my property and buy ammunition, and join them. He then told me that they were going down to Pensacola to get ammunition, and that they had got a letter from a British General which would enable them to receive ammunition from the Governor. That it had been given to the Little Warrior, and saved by his Nephew when he was killed and sent down to Francis. High-Head told me that when they went back with their supply another body of men would go down for another supply of ammunition, and that ten men would go out of each Town, and that they calculated on five horse loads for every Town. He said that they were to make a general attack on the American Settlements--that the Indians on the waters of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, and on the Black Warrior, were to attack the Settlements on the Tombigby and Alabama, particularly the Tensaw and Fork Settlements.--That the Creek Indians, bordering on the Cherokees, were to attack the people of Tennessee, and that the Seminoles and lower Creeks were to attack the Georgians. --That the Choctaws also had joined them and were to attack the Mississippi Settlements.--That the attack was to be made at the same time in all places where they got furnished with ammunition. I found, from my sister, that they were treated very rigorously by the Chiefs, and that many, particularly the women among them, (two daughters of the Late Gen. McGillivray, who had been induced to join them to save their property,) were very desirous to leave them. but could not.

I found, from the talk of High-Head, that the war was to be against the whites and not between Indians themselves,--that all they wanted was to kill those who had taken the talk of the whites, viz: the Big Warrior, Alex. Cornells, Capt. Isaac, Wm. McIntosh, the Mad Dragon's son, the little Prince Spoko Kange and Tallasee Thicksico.

They have destroyed a large quantity of my cattle, and burnt my houses on my river plantation, as well as those of James Cornells and Leonard McGee.

his mark.

Sworn and subscribed before me, one of the U. S. Judges for the Mississippi Territory, this id day of August, 1813. HARRY TOULMIN.

A true copy.
Geo. T. Ross, Lt. Col. V.
This deposition, although sworn to by as friendly and trusty a man as Sam Moniac, must not all be taken as reliable history. The reader must not suppose the October mentioned to be in the year 1812, as would be natural, but in 1811. In what year the Christmas was can only be conjectured, so far as the deposition is concerned. High Head Jim, whom Dr. A. B. Clanton of Leaf, Mississippi, calls Tuskegee, and of whom he says: "In his person he was the beau ideal of a hero," "beyond all comparison the finest looking man" that he had chanced to see, was evidently mistaken in some of his statements. But the critical reader will find these out for himself. He can see what the River Settlements had reason to expect. How fully any plan for such a widespread extermination of the white settlers was matured, it is impossible now to ascertain; but they were determined, evidently, to make an effort to prevent their own extermination, and the Spanish authorities at Pensacola had promised that, in the event of their failure, they would transport them all to the island of Cuba.

About this same time, probably in July, 1813, Latecau, an Indian youth eighteen years of age, claiming to be a prophet, and collecting eight others as subordinate prophets, went to the old town of Coosa and invited all the unbelievers or friendly Indians to come and see the display of their magical powers. Many assembled. The prophets commenced "the dance of the lakes" as taught by Tecumseh's warriors, then suddenly gave the warwhoop, rushed upon three friendly chiefs and killed them. The other chiefs immediately retired to their own towns, assembled their warriors, returned to Coosa, killed the nine prophets, and then went to Little Ocfuskee and put to death some more of Tecumseh's deluded followers. Thus, it seems, the civil war, so called, among the Creeks, began. The hostile bands also commenced killing the cattle of the friendly Indians, as Moniac testified, or driving them off and selling them.

Another valuable letter, in this connection, is the following from General Flournoy to General Claiborne. The date is August 25, 1813.
"SIR: Your letters and documents, by express, have been received. As I have already written you, and likewise Governor Holmes, very fully on Indian affairs, I will not now go into further details. A recent letter from Colonel Hawkins (a copy herein enclosed). will show the situation of the Creek Indians. They must finish their civil war before they go to war with us. And it is by no means certain that the war party will succeed in overpowering the party friendly to us."
Some time between the date of these two letters it is evident that Weatherford joined the war party. for before August closed we find him at Fort Mims, General Woodward places it in 1813, but does not name the month. And it may be here observed that Tecumseh seems to have had no influence over Weatherford. Woodward says that Sam Moniac and Weatherford, returning from a trip into the Mississippi Territory, where they had been "trading in beef cattle," found several chiefs assembled--it is said on Tallewassee Creek, a mile and a half from the Alabama River--and taking the "black drink."* [* This drink a kind of tea, was made from the leaves of the Ilex Cassine or holly of the Gulf states and used on various occasions. See Wood's botany and see Gatschet.]

These chiefs told Weatherford and Moniac that they must join them or be put to death. The following are Woodward's own words: "Moniac boldly refused and mounted his horse.* [* Whether the trading in beef cattle took place after Moniac made his deposition August 2 1813 or whether It took place before he took his steers to Pensacola or whether the two accounts are different versions of one transaction I will leave for the consideration of those understanding the principles of higher criticism. T. H. B.] Josiah Francis, his brother-in-law, seized his bridle. Moniac snatched a war club from his hand, gave him a severe blow and put out, with a shower of rifle bullets following him. Weatherford consented to remain He told them that he disapproved their course, and that it would be their ruin, but that they were his people, he was raised with them, and he would share their fate." General Woodward names among these chiefs Hopie Tustanuggee, or Far Off Warrior, a Tuskegee, their eldest or principal chief, "the one" says Woodward, "looked upon as the General," and who was killed at Fort Mims; Peter McQueen; Jim Boy or High Head Jim; Josiah Francis or Hillis Hadjo, "the new made prophet," probably the same who is called Joseph by General Wilkinson; Seekaboo the Shawnee prophet; and several others. He says that Weatherford offered some advice to these chiefs, but they declined to follow his suggestions. The reasons which Weatherford assigned for joining the war party, as detailed at some length by Woodward, are very creditable to Weatherford's humanity. He though the would thus be the means of preventing not a little bloodshed. * [* Brewer in his "Alabama" "from 1540 to 1872" published in 1873 a work designed to be "indispensable to the intelligent Alabamian" says of General Woodward that he "had Indian blood in his veins," was reared on the frontier and among the Indians coming into the Mississippi Territory from Georgia as early as 1810; that he was an officer in the Florida war of 1817 and 1818 and was a brigadier general of militia. He says that he was an interesting man and a "famous character" in the Tallapoosa region. Brewer further says that his volume of Indian Reminiscences "attempts to confute many of the statements made by Pickett, Meek, Coxe, and others," and that he has himself in his history, "in part adopted" them. I think that in saying "confute" Brewer has used too strong a word here. It seems to me that all Woodward designed to do was to give what he believed to be facts and thus to correct any errors into which Pickett and Meek had been led.]

Wishing to learn still more in regard to Woodward s Reminiscences I wrote to the present Secretary of State of Alabama Hon. J. D. Barron in regard to them and in reply in a letter dated Montgomery Mar 19 1894 he says that "in Woodward's letters * * * there is a great deal of useful and interesting information." "I give a great deal of credit to what he says as I find a great deal of outside evidence to strengthen what he says."

I have given this lengthy note because General Woodward who died in 1861 is an authority often referred to in parts of this work. His little book of reminiscences is now very rare. The copy used for this work came from the hands of that excellent student of history the late Dr. Lyman C. Draper of Wisconsin.

General Thomas S. Woodward must certainly be regarded as a truthful man and he had undoubted facilities for obtaining some valuable information. When he was not himself an eye witness he may, like others have been sometimes misled. But certainly by comparing combining and sifting statements all designed to be true we shall reach the probable facts. T. H. B.

There is surely truth in Drake's remark that "the process of fermenting a civil war was along and doubtful one," so attached to the whites had the more intelligent chiefs become, although many of the Creeks may have believed, as did some of the Western tribes, that they were on the eve of a great revolution through which they would gain their lost ascendency in America. The pending struggle between Great Britain and the United States with Spanish Florida to help the British seemed to be a favorable time for the attempt to be made.

And so there came into what is known as "THE WAR OF 1812," continuing until 1815, the side issue, the Southern conflict, like a stirring episode into some great epic, "THE CREEK WAR OF 1813 AND 1814."

The main question at issue between the two factions of the Creek nation was, whether they should undertake the extermination of the white settlers on their western borders. The Alibamos especially, says Pickett,--those joining these river settlers on the east, upon whose hunting grounds encroachments had already been made,--"were furious advocates of American extermination." Colonel Hawkins acknowledges that all the Alibamo towns, without exception, were hostile.

That war of extermination for which some of them had been preparing, was, as we shall soon see, precipitated upon them; and when they finally came into contact with American citizen soldiers they fought with a determination which some one has said, "has hardly a precedent in Indian contests." It is no wonder that they fought then, for the war became for them one for their homes, their hunting grounds, their burial places, their native land.

That Confederacy of Indians known as the Creek or Muscogee, occupied a broad territory extending from the Oconee River in Georgia to the Alabama River, and it included a number of tribes. In 1791 these tribes had fifty-two towns and some ten thousand members, including the women and children.* [* Bancroft as quoted by Lewis H. Morgan in Indian Migrations estimates the Indians east of the Mississippi and south of the Great Lakes at the beginning of the seventeenth century at about one hundred and eighty thousand; and of those Bancroft assigns to the Cherokees twelve thousand; to the Chickasaws Choctaws and Muscogees fifty thousand.] Their large division was into Upper Creeks and Lower Creeks. The map inserted here is sufficiently accurate to show the extent of the Muscogee lands.

It was, and still is, a well watered region. On Colton's map of the states of Georgia and Alabama there are laid down more than fifty water courses of various sizes that one would cross in passing from the Altamaha to Claiborne on the Alabama.

This well known place is named, once Weatherford's Bluff, two hundred and fifty steps leading up from the landing to the top of the bluff, as it is almost directly south from Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior, near which locality a Creek chief, by per mission of the Choctaws, had established himself; and this meridian line continued northward is sufficiently accurate to mark the boundary in the present North Alabama between the Chickasaws and Cherokees, and eastward of it, south of the Cherokee lands, will be indicated the Creek lands west of the Alabama on the Cahawba and on the upper Black Warrior. This meridian line, which would thus nearly mark the western limits of the Creeks in 1813, is thirty miles east of the St. Stephen's meridian. The Creeks once claimed, perhaps held, as far west as the Tombigbee.

Of the Upper Creek towns, according to Weatherford and General Woodward, they were nearly all hostile except the Natchez and Hillabee towns, and were controlled largely by Menawa, or, as the name is now written by his grandchildren, Monahwee (known as Ogillis Incha or Fat Englishman), who commanded the Indian warriors at Tohopeka, called in English, Horse Shoe. Also there should be excepted the Tookabatchees who adhered to Big Warrior and some of the Coshattees with their leader Captain Isaacs.

Gatschet, Migration Legend, Vol. II, pages 189, 190, gives the following as the names of the hostile Upper Creek towns, his orthography not being adopted: Hoithlewahlee, Fooshatchee, Kolumee, Ekanhatkee, Sawanogee, Muklasa, Ochee-apofa, Oakchoyuchee, Pochus-hatchee, Pakan-talahassee, Wakokayee, Wewaka. These towns "made themselves red." So Gatschet translates itchatidshalgi. The Alibamo towns, which are counted among the Upper Creeks, have already been named as hostile.

The Lower Creeks, under the influence more largely of Colonel Hawkins, were, for the most part, friendly. Noted among these friendly Indians were General William McIntosh, a Creek chief of the tribe of the Cowetas, Mad Dragon's Son, and Timpony Barnard of the Uchees.

In the narration of events we left Weatherford with the war party on the east of the Alabama, surely, according to the letter of General Wilkinson, in July or August of 1813. And some of that party very soon proceeded to Pensacola, then the great mart of trade, to procure military supplies. On their return occurred the attack and defense known as the Battle of Burnt Corn, which will be detailed in another chapter


NOTE.--It seems fitting to append here some extracts, if lengthy, yet interesting and valuable, from the memoranda of Mr. George S. Gaines, originally published in the Alabama Historical Reporter. With some members of the Gaines family I have been personally acquainted, and these memoranda I am sure are reliable. T. H. B.

"A Creek chief, known as O-ce-o-chee-mot-la, obtained permission of the Choctaws to make a settlement at the falls of the Black Warrior, so that the hunters of each tribe might have a resting place when visiting each other. This settlement had increased to many families before I took charge of the U. S. Choctaw trading house at St. Stephens (1805), and they traded with us. I was in the habit of extending a credit to the old chief of about a hundred dollars, which he always paid off at his next visit, but expected the same indulgence after he had finished bartering. During the spring and fall of every year he came down the river with a fleet of canoes to visit me. In the fall of 1811 he arrived with a large fleet manned by thirty or forty warriors, and having each canoe freighted with larger cargoes than usual of skins and furs, etc. At that time Tandy Walker, who had lived many years in the Creek nation as a "public blacksmith," sent by the government for the benefit of the Indians, resided in the neighborhood of St. Stephens. He learned their language and was a great favorite, and when O-ce-o-chee-mot-la came down to trade with me he acted as interpreter.

On the present occasion I noticed that the old chief was exceedingly anxious to make me believe that he was very much attached to me. He informed me that he had acted upon my advice in relation to building a good store house, and now brought with him several hundred dollars' worth of peltries, etc., to purchase a supply of goods for his store--that I had offered him credit several times before to the amount of several hundred dollars.

Next day, after this conversation, the Chief remarked he would make his debt an "old hundred"(one thousand) this time. I replied that the times were changed. The British government had a misunderstanding with the President which might end in a war, and it would be unwise in me to allow him to contract so large a debt and imprudent in him to do so. He remarked that his friend, Tandy Walker, who was a man of property, would be his security for one or two "old hundreds " While this conversation was progressing I noticed Walker was greatly troubled, and was endeavoring to appear calm. I reiterated I could only let him have the usual amount of credit under the existing circumstances. But the crafty Chief was not to be put off so readily, and entered into an ingenious argument to overcome my objections.

The sun went down and I told the chief that it was time to prepare for sleep, and we would "tell each other our dreams in the morning." Bidding me good night with assurances of affection and respect, he led his party off. In a few minutes Walker returned and leaning over the counter he whispered to me, "I told the chief I left my knife in the store so that I might come and speak to you privately. Meet me at the Rock at midnight. Let no one know of this, for our lives depend upon secrecy." Before I could answer he was gone. At midnight I went cautiously to the "Hanging Rook," so called because it projected over the bluff of the river, near the old Spanish Fort. Walker was there, and he whispered, "let us go further in the thicket." He then informed me, still in a whisper, that the Creeks had determined to join the British in the war about to commence. The Chief of the Black Warrior settlement proposed to unite with him in obtaining all the goods they could probably get from me; and that Walker should take his family up to the Falls of the Warrior and enjoy half the profits of the business. "Before the time to pay for the goods there will be no one to demand it, for the trading house will be the first object to capture when the war begins," the chief had told him many times proposing the scheme. He consented, fearing that if he did not the Indians would immediately attack the place, but took care to impress O-oe-o-chee-mot-la with the danger of offending me, as my brother was a war chief much loved by the President.

Walker remained with me only a few minutes, fearing his absence would be discovered by the Indians and that they might suspect the object of his mission, which would certainly, he assured me, result in the destruction of us all. The balance of that night was passed without sleep because of the uneasiness I felt. There were no troops in St. Stephens and but few men--not more than six or seven all told.

Next morning the chief and his warriors came to the store apparently in excellent spirits. He inquired what I had dreamed. I replied, "I dreamed there was a war. The English came over in their ships and engaged some of the northern tribes to assist them to fight, but the President's warriors soon drove the English back over the great waters, leaving the Indians who helped them to suffer alone." O-ceo-chee-mot-la said, "I dreamed that my good friend sold me all I wanted, and when I reached home my people said, Mr. Gaines is a great man--he is a man of his word and our Chief, who has always told us this and how Mr. Gaines trusted him, is a man of but one talk!" I said to him, I was obliged to believe my dream, and it was useless to waste words in idle talk. After bartering his cargoes and obtaining his usual credit he departed with his fleet, and I never saw him again.

Rumors of the rapidly increasing bad feeling of the Creek Indians rendered the settlers on the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers very uneasy during the year of 1812, checking emigration to a great extent. In the fall of this year Tandy Walker called on me to inform me that he had just learned from a Creek Indian that a white woman had been brought from Tennessee as a prisoner to Tuscaloosa by a party of Indians returning from a visit to the Shawnees on the northern lakes. Mrs. Gaines, who was present, said to Walker that he ought by all means to endeavor to rescue the woman and bring her down to the white settlement. Walker replied he would try to effect her release, but it would be at the risk of his life. He proposed to walk up to the falls on pretense of paying a visit to his old friend O-ce-o-chee-mot-la and lull suspicion by declaring his adherence to the cause of the hostile Indians. He would then obtain a canoe, buy or steal the woman and bring her down the river. He departed immediately, returning in about two weeks with the woman in a canoe. She was in a very feeble condition, her mind a good deal impaired by suffering, and her limbs and feet were still wounded, caused by the hardships she was forced to undergo after she had been captured. Mrs. Gaines took charge of her and after a week's tender nursing her mind appeared to be restored.

Her name was Crawley. Her home was in a new settlement near the mouth of the Tennessee river. During the absence of her husband, a party of Creek Indians rushed to her house and while they stopped to murder two of her children who were playing in the yard she concealed her two youngest in a potato cellar under the floor. The Indians broke open the door and dragged her out with the intention of killing her, but concluded to take her to their town. They compelled her to cook for them on the march, but offered no other violence.

After her recovery, we sent Mrs. Crawley home with a party of my friends who were going through the wilderness to Tennessee * * * The Legislature of Tennessee voted thanks and an amount of money to Tandy Walker for his agency in this affair.

I promptly communicated to the War Department the conduct of the chief O-ce-o-chee-mot-la on his last visit to the Trading House; also Mrs. Crawley's capture and rescue.


Terms Defined

Referenced Works