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“Where shall I fly to, in God’s name?” – story of Indian attack in Alabama [photographs, video]

(Margaret Eades was the wife of Jeremiah Austill of the Legendary Canoe Fight. She, like her husband was an early pioneers of Alabama. In this autobiography we hear her actual words of her experiences. The autobiography was published in The Alabama Historical Quarterly in 1944)


 

LIFE OF MARGARET ERVIN AUSTILL

Part II

Creek Indians were killing people

One morning, Mother, Sister, and myself were at home alone except the servants, Father had gone to the plantation, when a man rod, up to the gate and called to Mother to fly, for the Creek Indians had crossed the Alabama, and were killing the people. Mother said, “Where shall I fly to, in God’s name?” He said, “There are a number of people coming to cross the Bigbee to get into the Choctaw Nation, they will be along in a few moments, but where is Captain Eades?” “Down at the river,” said Mother. “Well,” he said, “Run, down there and go over the river,” so we took our bonnets, Mother took her silver, and we left the house in a run.

Log cabin in Tuscumbia that once served as a stage coach stop, by photographer Carolyn Highsmith (Library of Congress)Typical Alabama Log cabin in Tuscumbia that once served as a stage coach stop, by photographer Carolyn Highsmith (Library of Congress)

Hannah, you will be murdered

Our cook, a tall black handsome woman, said “Missus, I will stay at home and take care of things and take you something to eat if I can find you, the devils are afraid of me, you know.” Mother said, “Hannah, you will be murdered.” Hannah was a natural curiosity, she was black, or rather blue-black, with clear blue eyes, which gave her a peculiar appearance. As we traveled through the Nation the Indians often came to the camp and demanded bread, they would say “bread, gimme some, gimme all,” Mother would say to Hannah to give them bread, she would say, “I had rather give them shot and powder,” then she would stretch her blue eyes and throw chuncks of fire at them, and make them scamper off, saying “Och, och,” their grunt when frightened.

Fort_Madison

The men were building a fort

Well we ran as fast as we could, and met Father about a mile from home with horses, he had heard the news too. Mother sent the horses on to help a family by the name of Carter to get to the river, they had a large family of small children. Father told us that people were gathering at Carney’s Bluff; and were at work there building a Fort, all hands, negroes and whites. When we arrived at the river it was a busy scene, men hard at work chopping and clearing a place for a Fort, women and children crying, no place to sit down, nothing to eat, all confusion and dismay, expecting every moment to be scalped and tomahawked.

 

We all sat round until night, people coming in continually, for this part of Clarke was thickly settled, I went to Mother and told her I was tired and sleepy, she untied her apron and spread it down on the ground, and told me to say my prayers and go to sleep, so I laid me down, but could not sleep, the roots hurt me so badly. I told Mother I had rather jump in the river than lie there, she quietly replied, “Perhaps it would be best for us all to jump in the river,” then made me lie still. I had thought Mother would take me on her lap if I was so willing to die.

FORT MADISON was situated in the northeast corner of section one, in township six, range three east, four and a half miles south, and about one mile and a half west, of the village of Suggsville, on the dividing ridge. It covered about one acre of ground. A trench was dug around the outside limit, three feet in depth, and into this the bodies of pine trees were inserted, side by side, cut about fifteen feet in length. A continuous wall of pines, some twelve feet in height, therefore surrounded the enclosure. Within were the tents and cabins of the neighboring settlers.

Fort_Madison

With superhuman exertion, the Fort was finished in one week, the tents all comfortable, the streets full of soldier boys drilling, drums beating, pipes playing, but no Indians yet. Our scouts were out all the time. The brave fellows had a hard time tramping through swamps and canebrakes, but Oh, after the war did set in in Thirteen, we were in great peril all the time.

 

SOURCE

  1. The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 06, No. 01, Spring Issue 1944. (Margaret Eades who has left this hitherto unpublished account of her experiences as a young girl, daughter of a pioneer and witness of many of the bloody scenes of the Creek Indian War of 1813-14, married Jeremiah Austill. Mrs. Austill died in 1890 having borne several children whose descendants still live in South Alabama and other sections of the country.)

 

Alabama Footprints Confrontation is a collection of lost and forgotten stories that reveals why and how the confrontation between the Native American population and settlers developed into the Creek-Indian War as well as stories of the bravery and heroism of participants from both sides.

Some stores include:

  • Tecumseh Causes Earthquake
  • Terrified Settlers Abandon Farms
  • Survivor Stories From Fort Mims Massacre
  • Hillabee Massacre
  • Threat of Starvation Men Turn To Mutiny
  • Red Eagle After The War

 

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Confrontation: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 4)


By (author): Donna R Causey
List Price: $11.77 USD
New From: $11.48 USD In Stock

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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9 comments

  1. In 1938, I was born, at home, in a community called Munford and raised on a dairy/beef farm in Lincoln, both are in Talladega County. I dearly love history of this wonderful state. Do you have any history on either of these two communities or county? There are tales of the Choctaw Indian tribe was prevalent within this area near the Coosa River and Choccolocco Creek and Blue Eye Creek, I enjoy all your wonderful stories. Once I retired,to be near my children, I relocated to California in 2006. I am writing short stories about my rural, farm life, which will be published as a Chapbook with Santa Monica College. I would like to have more history and/or stories from this area. Please continue your wonderful history stories. I will be grateful for any information about the above locations.

  2. Gayland Shrader

    Interesting article. The Alabama Indians were not safe either…in fact, their land was stolen, and they were killed and driven off their land.

    1. Russell Lease

      Looking through their prism, we were bad immigrants / invaders . My point . That being said, I’m only like 25 % Indian and wasn’t told till like age 35 . Taboo I guess ? My great grand mother was raped by an Indian up north. Point : everybody played rough back in the day. No concept of PC behavior .

  3. I caught the reference to pipes playing, interesting. Clarke had a large contingent of highland Scots including my own McLeods. This could only be a reference to the war pipes or Great Highland Bagpipes.
    I am told that in McLeod’s Beat (the area bounded by the Coffeville Rd on the north to McVay on the south and from Grovehill to Zimco east to west) Gaelic was heard spoken as late as the War Between the States.
    Also the dividing ridge mentioned was the boundary between the Choctaw and Creeks.

  4. Russell Lease

    Immigrant – interesting word depending on who’s looking through the prism and what / who their looking at .

  5. Remember Tuscumbia

    When the Indians were removed during the Trail of Tears, Tuscumbia is the only city along the route which aided the Native Americans with food, clothing and medical care. Thought it interesting the cabin used from our town.

  6. Justin Atwell

    John A good read for you.

  7. It’s easy to romanticize history with tales of Austill , but why not tell of the Indian being forced to leave their homes and everything they knew and be forced to travel the Trail of Tears and Death ? Why not tell of the hundreds who refused to go and hid in the woods and swamps of South Alabama ? Why not tell of how they came here as skin and bones , starving and sick ? why not tell the real story of Andrew Jackson , not as a hero , but as the Indian hater that he was and his contribution to the Trail of Tears ? The fact of the matter is , everything that we were taught about the History of Alabama in school was a lie , based on one man’s version of it. I had Pickett’s ” History of Alabama ” shoved down my throat as a child in school and you were raised not to question an adult . For the most part , I enjoy the majority of the stories on Alabama Pioneers , but please , enough with Austill !

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