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The Spaniards in Alabama and Mississippi

England, having lost her West Florida provinces by the victories of Galvez, and having the American Whigs, as well as the natives of France, Spain and Holland, arrayed against her, was finally forced to retire from the unequal contest. A preliminary treaty of peace was signed at Paris. England there acknowledged our independence, and admitted our southern boundary to be as follows: A line beginning at the Mississippi, at 31° north of the equator, and extending due east to the Chattahoochie River; down that river to the mouth of the Flint, and thence to the St. Mary’s, and along that river to the sea. Great Britain also expressly stipulated, in that treaty, our right to the navigation of the Mississippi River, from its mouth to its source. Jan. 20 1783: Great Britain and Spain entered into a treaty. The former warranted and confirmed to the latter the province of West Florida, and ceded to her East Florida.1 But although England, by the treaty of 1782, assigned to the United States all the territory between the Mississippi and the Chattahoochie, lying between the parallels of latitude 31° and 32° 28′, embracing the same portion of the territory of Alabama and Mississippi, which lay in the British province of West Florida, yet it was not surrendered to us by Spain for years afterwards. Spain occupied it, contending that Great Britain, in the treaty with her, in 1783, warranted the province of West Florida to her, not defining its northern limits, and that England had no right to restrict her limits, even if she had attempted it, for Spain had, before the...

Governor George M. Troup and the McIntosh Family

At the close of our last chapter it was stated that the first American court held in Alabama was at McIntosh Bluff, which is situated upon the western bank of the Tombigby, between its confluence with the Alabama and the town of St. Stephens. Connected with this bluff, there is, to us, a pleasing historical reminiscence. Alabama has the honor of being the birthplace of George M. Troup, late Governor of Georgia, and who is one of the most vigorous and expressive political and epistolary writers of the age. His grandfather, Captain John McIntosh, the Chief of the McIntosh clan, was long attached to the army of West Florida, and his valuable services were rewarded by the King of England, with the grant of McIntosh Bluff, and extensive tracts of land upon the Mississippi. He had a son, who was also a British officer, and a daughter, a native of Georgia. The latter, while on a visit to England, married an officer of the royal army, named Troup. She sailed from England to Mobile, and, arriving at the latter place, entered a barge, and went up the Tombigby River to the residence of her father at McIntosh Bluff, where, in the wilds of Alabama, Governor Troup was born in September, 1780. She had an uncle, named Roderick McIntosh, or “Old Rory,” as he was familiarly called, a most extraordinary character, a kind of Don Quixote, old Arab Chief, Scottish and Irish Chieftain, the Saladin and Coeur de Leon of chivalry. He was long an officer of his Majesty’s army in Georgia and East Florida. Thus the father, brother, uncle...

A Mysterious Young Lady Named Liube

On one of the six main boulders of the Track Rock petroglyphs near Brasstown Bald Mountain, GA and across Track Rock Gap Road from the Track Rock Terrace Complex, a Jewish girl carved her first name, Liube, and the date, 1715.  The drawing of the petroglyphs was prepared by South African archaeologist, Johannes Loubser, as part of a contract with the U.S. Forest Service.  The six drawings are published on a public USFS web site.1 Liube is a Jewish female name that is mostly used in Slavic countries.2It means “beloved” and in the past was a name that rabbis liked to give one of their daughters. Why a Jewish woman named Liube was on a trail near Brasstown Bald Mountain in 1715, one can only speculate. It was a dangerous time for any European to be in the wilderness. The inscription was made 260 miles as a crow flies from the nearest English settlement . . . in the midst of the one of the bloodiest wars between Native Americans and European settlers ever fought.  At the time, the Southeastern tribes were killing all the South Carolina traders in their midst, but usually not harming traders from Virginia. Perhaps Liube’s father was killed and she was taken captive.   “Liube 1715” is highly significant and probably could be made the basis of a blockbuster movie, yet… The report prepared for the USFS made no mention of the “Liube 1715” inscription.3 The Track Rock petroglyphs were described as probably being graffiti made by bored Cherokee hunters. The half square mile stone terrace complex to the east was described as being probably built by...

Narrative of the Captivity of Nehemiah How

A Narrative of the captivity of Nehemiah How, who was taken by the Indians at the Great Meadow Fort above Fort Dummer, where he was an inhabitant, October 11th, 1745. Giving an account of what he met with in his traveling to Canada, and while he was in prison there. Together with an account of Mr. How’s death at Canada. Exceedingly valuable for the many items of exact intelligence therein recorded, relative to so many of the present inhabitants of New England, through those friends who endured the hardships of captivity in the mountain deserts and the damps of loathsome prisons. Had the author lived to have returned, and published his narrative himself, he doubtless would have made it far more valuable, but he was cut off while a prisoner, by the prison fever, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, after a captivity of one year, seven months, and fifteen days. He died May 25th, 1747, in the hospital at Quebec, after a sickness of about ten days. He was a husband and father, and greatly beloved by all who knew him.

The Cherokee Revolt – Indian Wars

From the removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia and Tennessee to Arkansas and their establishment upon the reservation allotted to them by treaty with the Government in Arkansas, they have, until the period of this outbreak to the narrative of which this chapter is devoted, been considered as among the least dangerous and most peaceable of the tribes in that region. But through various causes, chief among which has been notably the introduction among them of a horde of those pests of the West the border ruffians; these half wild, half-breed Nomads were encouraged by these Indians, as it appeared, for the sake of the liquor traffic. According to the official accounts of this attempt to reopen hostilities, it appears that on the 11th of April, 1872, it originated with a man named J. J. Kesterson, living in the Cherokee nation, near the Arkansas line, about fifty miles from Little Rock. On that day he went to Little Rock, and filed information against one Proctor, also a white man, married to a Cherokee woman, for assaulting with intent to kill him while in his saw mill, on the 13th of February. Proctor fired a revolver at Kesterson, the ball striking him just above the left eye, but before he could fire again Kesterson escaped. Proctor, at the time, was under indictment in the Snake District for the murder of his wife, and was at that time on trial for the crime. A writ was issued at once, and the Deputy Marshals were ordered to proceed to “Grimy Snake” Court House, remain until the trial was over, and arrest him, if...

Narrative of the Captivity of John Ortiz – Indian Captivities

John Ortiz, a Spaniard, Who was Eleven Years a Prisoner Among the Indians of Florida In the year 1528 Pamphilo de Narvaez, with a commission, constituting him governor of Florida, or “all the lands lying from the river of Palms to the cape of Florida,” sailed for that country with 400 foot and 20 horse, in five ships. With this expedition went a Spaniard, named John Ortiz, a native of Seville, whose connections were among the nobility of Castile. Although we have no account of what part Ortiz acted in Narvaez‘s expedition, or how he escaped its disastrous issue, yet it may not be deemed out of place to notice briefly here that issue. This Narvaez had acquired some notoriety by the manner in which he had executed a commission against Cortez. He had been ordered by the governor of Cuba to seize the destroyer of Mexico, but was himself overthrown and deserted by his men. On falling into the hands of Cortez, his arrogance did not forsake him, and he addressed him thus: “Esteem it good fortune that you have taken me prisoner.” “Nay,” replied Cortez, “it is the least of the things I have done in Mexico.” To return to the expedition of which we have promised to speak. Narvaez landed in Florida not very far from or perhaps at the Bay of Apalachee, in the month of April, and marched into the country with his men. They knew no other direction but that pointed out by the Indians, whom they compelled to act as guides. Their first disappointment was on their arrival at the village of...

Archaeological Research in the Southern Highlands

Between about 1585 and 1600 AD, something catastrophic happened in the Southern Highlands.  The effects are most notable in northwest Georgia, southeast Tennessee and the northwestern North Carolina Mountains.  A native population remained in the heartland of the Apalache “kingdom” in the north-central and northeast mountains of Georgia. In fact the large town of Ustanoli on an island in the Tugaloo River was not sacked and burned until after 1700.  It was eventually replaced by a Cherokee hamlet. All mound building stopped.  Some of the largest indigenous towns north of Mexico were suddenly abandoned.  Archeologists working in northwestern Georgia found a village in which skeletons were scattered haphazardly across the landscape, as if all died with no one left to bury the dead. In another nearby village they found a cache of adolescent bones, chopped into meal-size chunks by sharp steel weapons.  Throughout the 1800s and early 1900s farmers in northern Georgia plowed up the remains of rusting European weapons and armor from the late 1500s or early 1600s.  The vestiges of the past sparked dozens of folklore tales that “De Soto Slept Here.” Archaeologists have speculated that a massive plague caused by a European pathogen killed most of the indigenous population in a few days or weeks.  The long concealed evidence says something else.  There was an invasion of Europeans into the mountains at the end of the 16th century. Perhaps these newcomers carried with them the pathogens which killed so many indigenous peoples, but there is a lingering suspicion that they also used their superior weapons to conquer. In 1976 the State of North Carolina adopted as...

Castaways, Deserters, Refugees and Pirates

There is no accurate measure of the number of shipwrecks along the South Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, but the number must be in the hundreds or even over a thousand. Also not known is how many shipwrecked sailors and passengers survived in North America during the 1500’s and 1600’s, or how many Sephardic Jews, Muslim Moors and European Protestants, escaping the Spanish Inquisition, landed on the shores of the present day Southeastern United States. Surviving archives, however, do furnish credible evidence of these peoples settling in the interior of the Southeast, while officially England was only colonizing the coastal regions.

The Seminole War of 1816 and 1817 – Indian Wars

After the close of the war with Great Britain, in 1815, when the British forces were withdrawn from the Florida’s, Edward Nicholls, formerly a colonel, and James Woodbine, a captain in the British service, who had both been engaged in exciting the Indians and Blacks to hostility, remained in the territory for the purpose of forming combinations against the southwestern frontier of the United States. Nicholls even went so far as to assume the character of a British agent, promising the Creeks the assistance of the British forces if they would rise and assert their claim to the land which had been ceded to the United States. As an aid in effecting their purposes, Nicholls and Woodbine erected a fort on the Appalachicola River, between East and West Florida, as a rendezvous for runaway Blacks and hostile Indians. In July, 1816, upwards of four hundred Blacks and Indians were collected at this place, which was strong by its position, well supplied with ammunition and provisions, and with twelve pieces of artillery. To break up this horde of outlaws, Colonel Clinch, with a detachment of United States troops and five hundred friendly Indians, under the celebrated McIntosh, proceeded from the head waters of the Appalachicola, and laid siege to the fort on the land side. After exacting an oath from their followers not to suffer an American to approach the fort alive, Nicholls and Woodbine left the fort to their keeping. To supply Colonel Clinch’s forces with munitions and provisions for the siege, two schooners, from New Orleans, proceeded up the river on the 10th of July, under convoy of...

The Creek War – Indian Wars

In the spring of the year 1812, the southern Indian tribal were visited by the bold and enterprising Tecumseh. His stirring appeals to their patriotism and valor were heard with attention, and he succeeded in stimulating them to open hostility. It is to be regretted that no specimen of the orations of this great Indian have been preserved. Judging from their effects, they would be ranked among the highest models of true eloquence. Tecumseh particularly appealed to the powerful Creek nation. These Indians had long been on friendly terms with the whites, and a portion of them were, therefore, unwilling to begin a war-fare against those to whom they had become attached. But the body of the nation consented. The worst effects soon followed. Parties of Creeks began their depredations upon the frontier settlements. The first regular demonstration of hostility, however, was made by the Seminoles and the Creeks residing within the limits of Florida. Having been joined by a number of fugitive Blacks from the United States, they commenced a cruel and harassing warfare. In the month of September, 1812, a party of volunteers from Georgia, under Colonel Newman, to the number of one hundred and seventeen, were attacked near the Lachway towns, by a superior force of Indians. A sharp conflict ensued, which ended in the retreat of the latter into a swamp, with the loss of their leader, who bore the title of king. Finding that his body remained in the hands of their opponents, they renewed the attack, for the purpose of obtaining it; and with a loyalty and valor, which among civilized nations, would have...
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