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Biography: William Weatherford born 1781

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Happy Birthday!

WILLIAM WEATHERFORD

BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY

(1781-1824)

Creek Indian Nation

“Sehoy, the daughter of Sehoy Marchand and the Tookabatcha chief, had some romantic experiences. She was a beautiful girl and bore the beloved family name which for several generations was given from mother to daughter. She married early, as beautiful maidens usually do. In her time the English held Fort Toulouse, and Colonel Tate, the British officer in command of the fort, married her. Colonel Tate after awhile became tired of her and deserted her, leaving her the mother of several children, but still young and beautiful.

Charles Weatherford, a thrifty Scotch peddler, met, admired, and married this buxom grass widow. He made his home on the Alabama River, a little below the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers. He prospered in store and farm; bought negroes and fine horses; constructed his far-famed race-track, upon which he trained his blooded steeds. His native tact, his marriage with Sehoy, the half-sister of McGillivray, his race-track, and his prosperity made him a popular man and drew about him the powerful and martial spirits of the tribes.

In his home of plenty was born and reared his distinguished son William, who was called Lamochattee, the Red Eagle.

William Weatherford's grave
William Weatherford’s grave (Alabama Department of Archives and History

Bold, gifted, and eloquent, William was a born leader of men. In the company of his uncles, Alexander McGillivray and LeClerc Milfort, he learned of the aggressions of the whites and the wrongs they had committed against his mother’s people. Wars with the Choctaws and Chickasaws and occasional attacks on the whites developed his military qualities and his matchless prowess.

He heard Tecumseh at Tookabatcha and counseled against his plans of war. When he discovered the irrepressible spirit of war working its doom among the Creeks, he would have stayed the conflict. His brother John, his half-brother David Tate, and others of his blood were friendly to the whites. His property was endangered. No matter on which side he fought he was bound to suffer. The storm came on. He could not stand an idle watcher. He joined the Creeks.

Fort Mims was situated in the Tensaw settlement, near the Alabama River; Major Daniel Beasley, a brave but over-confident officer, was in command of it; there the excited people had gathered for protection. The defeat of the Americans at Burnt Corn had filled the country with alarm. In the fort were five hundred and fifty-three souls—old men, women and children, negroes, friendly Indians, and soldiers—against whom Hopiee Tustennuggee or Far-Off Warrior, Peter McQueen, High-Head Jim, Josiah Francis or Hillis Hadjo, the prophet, Seekaboo the Shawnee, and Weatherford led a thousand painted warriors.

“False rumors had so often alarmed, that when two negroes reported signs of Indians, one was whipped, and the other, tied to be whipped, witnessed in bonds the awful conflict until he met death by the hands of the foe against whom he had vainly warned his master.”

On the morning of August 30, 1813, in Fort Mims, happy children were playing and young men and maidens were dancing and rollicking. General Tom S. Woodward says that Major Beasley was drunk, and when Jim Cornells reported the Indians to be near that Major Beasley called him a coward.

At ten o’clock Major Beasley wrote General Claiborne of his ability to defend the fort against any force the Indians might bring against it. At twelve o’clock, when the drumbeat for dinner and the soldiers were off their guard, Weatherford and his warriors rushed upon the fort so unexpectedly as to gain the principal gateway before it could be closed. Fearful was the onslaught and desperately brave was the defence. (sic)

For five dreadful hours, the battle raged. The bloodthirsty savages, mad with slaughter, spared neither women nor children; this promiscuous massacre of the helpless and innocent was contrary to the orders of Weatherford; when he found he could not stay it, he rode away in sorrow; it is said that he never recalled the scene without a shudder of horror.

Only about forty of the inmates of the fort escaped death. The fires that glowed in the evening over the burning fort charred the scalped and mutilated remains of five hundred people, while more than a hundred bodies of dead Indians, around the stockade lines and in the woods, added to the ghastly tragedy of the day.

Ten days afterward, Captain Kennedy with his company arrived on the scene. Buzzards, dogs, and other animals were holding gluttonous carnival. Two long ditches were dug, and into them were placed the remnants of bones and flesh. The earth was thrown over these remnants, and the charity of burial was done. Weatherford reconnoitered Fort Madison a few nights afterward, and but for his report of its strength and readiness that fort would have felt the shock of an Indian attack.

The country was aroused as never before nor since. Jackson soon swept from the north, Floyd from the east, Claiborne, and Pushmataha from the south and west.

At Econachaca, the Holy Ground, on the Alabama River, in the present county of Lowndes, were the homes of Weatherford and the prophets. There had been gathered the property and families of many Indians. It was supposed to be safe from attacks of the whites. It was strongly fortified, and the prophets had surrounded it with enchanted circles within which they declared no white man could pass and live. A bold garrison of native warriors, inspired by the genius and presence of Weatherford and by the fanatical speeches of the prophets, defied invasion.

On December 23, 1813, General Claiborne attacked the town. The Indians saw their prophets killed and the white men crossing the enchanted lines; they were panic-stricken, and began to flee. Weatherford could not rally them, and was himself compelled to flee; mounted on Arrow, his splendid charger, he galloped to the river’s brink; finding himself hotly pursued, he spurred his horse over a fifteen-foot precipice into the river; horse and rider sank out of sight, but quickly arose; the horse swam across the river, bearing his master beyond the reach of pursuit.

The town was burned. Its spoils were given to Pushmataha and his men, who had nobly aided in the attack.

Rain and cold made severe suffering for the soldiers during the few days following, but the brave fellows were glad to have taught the Indians that the Holy Ground was not, as the prophets said, “the grave of the white man.”

Jackson’s battles followed in quick succession. Weatherford saw the hopelessness of the Creek cause. Jackson demanded his surrender as a condition of peace. Weatherford knew the deep-seated hatred toward him; that he was called ” the murderer of Fort Mims”; that death would likely befall him if he surrendered. He was a brave man and wished to save the women and children from starving and his nation from extirpation. He rode to the tent of General Jackson and surrendered. He expressed a willingness to die but begged for soldiers to be sent into the woods for the starving women and children of the war-party.

General Jackson admired his manly courage and appreciated the motives that prompted his surrender, invited him to alight, and cheerfully discussed the matters at issue.

Weatherford accepted the terms of surrender and used his influence to effect the surrender of all the Creeks. Officers feared he would be killed by soldiers who had lost relatives and friends at Fort Mims. They guarded him carefully until he could be sent beyond the reach of immediate danger.

Mural by Roderick D. MacKenzie depicting the surrender of William Weatherford to Andrew Jackson
Mural by Roderick D. MacKenzie depicting the surrender of William Weatherford to Andrew Jackson

After the war, he lived quietly and honorably on his Little River farm in the lower part of Monroe County. His name, once a terror to the settlers, was an honor to the private life of the citizen. His bravery and integrity were both respected. He died in the spring season of 1826. ” Red Eagle,” a beautiful poem of A. B. Meek, is woven from the life of William Weatherford.”

William Weatherford married Mary Moniac (1763-1804), who was also of mixed race.

They had the following known children:

  • Charles Weatherford
  • Mary “Polly” Weatherford

After Mary’s death, Weatherford married Sopathe Thlanie (1783-1813) She died after the birth of their son,

  • William Weatherford, Jr. born Dec. 25, 1813.

Around 1817, Weatherford married Mary Stiggins (ca. 1783- 1832) who was Natchez and English heritage. Their children were;

  • Alexander McGillivray Weatherford
  • Mary Levitia Weatherford
  • Major Weatherford – he was killed as a child
  • John Weatherford

Weatherford’s nephew, David Moniac, son of his sister Elizabeth Weatherford, was the first Native American graduate of the United States Military Academy. A distant descendant of the Creek leader is the American anthropologist Jack Weatherford

SOURCES

  1. Excerpts from Sketches of Alabama history  By Joel Campbell Du Bose 1901
  2. Wikepedia.org
  3. Some Creek families and friends
  4. Encyclopedia of Alabama

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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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28 comments

  1. A reader commented that the photograph above cannot be correct since photography was not made possible until 1826 in France. I thought it might be a photograph of a painting but I’m not sure. This may be one of his descendants instead of Red Eagle. If you have additional information on the photograph, please share it with us here. Until we have proof….please do not consider the photograph authentic. I’m only including it to seek more information about it.

    1. What photograph? I dont see one

      1. It’s in the introductory part. NOT Red Eagle!

  2. Thank you for this information. I just discovered that William Weatherford is my 3rd cousin(6 x removed). My direct ancestor is William Weatherford/Whitheford, the brother of Richard Weatherford(Red Eagles’ paternal Great Grandfather). My branch of Weatherford ended up staying in VA it seems until I came along. 😎

  3. […] assimilation among those living in the area. “Among the mixed blood families were these names: Weatherford, Hightower. Tait, Durant, McGilbray (McGillivray). Many were families of high descent among the […]

  4. It seems as if I am a living descendant of this family through William Eagle-AR from AL.

  5. […] On the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, he installed a cotton gin manufactured by Lyons & Barnett, a firm owned by two Jewish families in Georgia. The gin was built along a trading path that would become part of the route of the Federal Road, near a racetrack owned by Creek leader Charles Weatherford (father of future Red Stick Creek leader William Weatherford). […]

  6. Willi weatherford is my great grand father. Iam 5 generation .. My grand mother name was Faina weatherford and she is from ky. I want to read your. Book. Thanks. Marquetta

    1. Thank you Marquetta. I hope you enjoy the book.

  7. […] daughter, Sehoy, married Lochland McGillivray, a wealthy and intelligent Scotch trader, from which marriage was born […]

  8. […] Ground; now embracing the southern suburbs of the city of Montgomery, lived several white traders. Charles Weatherford established a trading house upon the first eastern bluff below the confluence of the Coosa and […]

  9. I am a decendent of chief RedEagle, my 3rd Great GrandFather. I tried to find him in the Dawls, and he is there, but they tell me he has to be in the 1906 Dawls, My mom and grand dad are in the Census, I don’t understand how this works, could someone help me, please
    Thanks

  10. […] William  Weatherford was present and addressed the council. He proposed that the Indians wait until Gen. Floyd’s army had crossed Calebee Creek.  Weatherford’s advice was rejected, and he left the council, and started back to Polecat Spring. About an hour and a half before daybreak on the morning of January 27, the Indians stealthily approached the camp, with Red Stick leader Paddy Welsh directing the attack. […]

  11. William is my 6x great grandfather through Mary Ann Weatherford and her decendants. His great great granddaughter, Emeline Gordon, was the beloved matriarch of our family here in Kentucky.

  12. […] she found a friend in Charles Weatherford, who lived across the river. He ransomed Miss Baker, and placed her in charge of his wife, Sehoy, […]

  13. […] was erected by Lyons and Bennett of Georgia, for Abram Mordecai, a Jew and an Indian trader, at Weatherford’s race track on the Alabama river. The materials for the work, tools and machinery, were brought […]

  14. The photo cannot be of a painting of Weatherford. The “Windsor” style glasses he is wearing appeared around 1840 (well after Weatherford died), and did not become widely used until around 1880. The frames appear to be celluloid-coated, which would tend to place them later. I would date the picture ca. 1880-1910.

  15. I am also a descendant of cheif red eagle. My father does not know anything about the internet so he never did any research, but he told me that his dad told him stories about a great Indian cheif in our family. I used an online family tree and it led directly back to Red eagle. The picture above looks alot like my grandfather. Very cool to learn all this. It seems to somewhat explain my obsession with nature. I would love to learn more about red eagle.

  16. Officially, was Chief William “Red Eagle” Weatherford married to any others, beside the three women mentioned in this biography (Mary Moniac, Sopathe and Mary Stiggins)? Some of the Ancestry trees show a Margaret Ann Polk as a wife too, but I have never found a marriage record. I have a Seaton ancestor, a great uncle, who married a Maria Berry, and her mother was Sarah Weatherford. Other family trees show Sarah’s father as Red Eagle, but again, I find no proof, or who Sarah’s mother might be. None of the three listed wives of Red Eagle can be Sarah’s mother, according to the dates. I’m concluding that it must have been a different William Weatherford that was Sarah’s father ?? If anyone has any feedback regarding this, it would be greatly appreciated.

  17. George Stiggins is buried in Shorter, Alabama at the Cubahatchie Baptist Church Cemetery which is just west of the Battle of Calebe Creek. There is a Historic Marker there that says he donated the land for church and cemetery. This is on an old spur of US HWY 80 which is part of the Old Federal Road. The marker also mentions William Weatherford. Google George Stiggins Creek Indian.

  18. I am a Weatherford and a Clayborn.the spelling of Claiborne is different and changed down the years but , the same .
    My mother is a Weatherford and I’ve traced her to Red Eagle Weatherford. My Father is a Clayborn . I’ve traced him to General F L Claiborn . I would have to look it up again but, I think it would be 3rd generation Grandfather.
    Strange to be related to both and confusing.

  19. […] Source: Biography: William Weatherford born 1781 with photograph | Alabama Pioneers […]

  20. I believe im a decendent of william weatherford my mother is a weatherford Jo ann weatherford she believe he a great great great grandfather she was born in 51 to Roy weatherford can anyone help with this imfo

  21. […] shall never forget a visit that Major Cowles and myself paid to Billy Weatherford, the Quadroon, him about whom so much has been said and so little known. We remained some days, and […]

  22. […] Indian account as afterwards given to old settlers, by Sowanoke Jack, Jim Boy and Weatherford was in substance about as […]

  23. William Weatherford and Nancy Fisher Weatherford – husband and wife

    Can be found in the American State Papers.

    They are progenitors of a large portion of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians of SouthWest Alabama.

    Dave Weaver married Cecile Weatherford Weaver – the daughter of Lt. Colonel William Weatherford and Nancy Fisher.

    Sam Dale is in the will along with with William Fisher and other “Heirs of Josiah Fisher”.

    Silas D. Fisher owner a parcel of land in Mount Vernon Alabama. Silas D. Fisher was a Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Indians.

    Pierre Juzan (John Pierce aka the Weaver School) was also a Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Indians

    Apuckshunubbee aka Chinnubby aka Hardy Reed was a Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Indians. He was called a Natchez.

    Mobile was previously named Natchez until 1814.

    The list goes on and on…

    The Choctaw Nation of Indians are Rising…

    Darby Weaver
    The Tribal Leader

  24. Lamochattee is my 5xGreat Grandfather, but somehow my branch of the Weatherford lineage brought my family into the Easten Cherokee Nations as Cherokee citizens. I’m not really sure when we went from Creek to Cherokee, my cousins and aunt have the genealogical info but I never thought to ask. Also, there’s no way that papaw Lamochattee could be on the Dawes Rolls because he died 69 YEARS BEFORE the first roll was even taken. If I’m wrong about the Dawes Roll statement I will gladly stand corrected upon proof that he was enrolled; maybe William Weatherford JR. is on the Dawes Rolls but I don’t see how Lamochattee could have possibly been enrolled at the very least of 69 years after his passing into the Spirit World. My (x?) Great Grandparents we’re part of the forced removal, The Trail(s) of Tears and my Great Grandparents came off of the Reservation in the Texas/Oklahoma territory. I really need to find out where the crossover from Creek to Cherokee occurred in my family tree. Gonna have to call my Aunt to find out. Thanks.

  25. […] shall never forget a visit that Major Cowles and myself paid to Billy Weatherford, the Quadroon, him about whom so much has been said and so little known. We remained some days, and […]

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