The Indian Legend of Natural Bridge, Winston County, Alabama
During the 1930s, Great Depression era, many writers were employed to interview people around the United States, so their experiences and life history could be recorded The program was named the U.S. Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers’ Project and it gave employment to historians, teachers, writers, librarians, and other white-collar workers. This transcription is one of the unedited stories by G. Samek ca. 1936.
The Chickasaws, who inhabited the north-western part of the state, were the warring, fighting tribe. It is said that no foe ever defeated them in battle. They took many prisoners, who formed almost an army of slaves, and were forced to do all the hard work for the tribe.
Natural Bridge, Winston County, Alabama
Once when the chief was in fierce warfare, he promised his prisoners freedom, if they would bring in a large harvest, and if he returned victorious. They believed in his promise for some of them were Choctaws, and a Choctaw’s word is as good as his bond. But when the time appointed came, the chief refused to let them go.
Called to meet by their dead
That night, a young warrior Lanachichi, called the men to meet by the braves of their dead. They offered up petitions to the Great Spirit, pleading for their deliverance. From the sacred burial ground, the voice of the Great Spirit answered, “I will deliver you.”
The next day Lamachichi went before the Chickasaw chief, begging that he would keep his promise and send the captives back to their tribes. But the chief would not.
Winston County, Alabama z(Wikipedia)
Tomorrow brings vengeance
In the evening the Great Spirit said, “Go into your wigwams and keep them tightly closed, for tomorrow brings my vengeance.” That night a torrent of rain descended. The next morning darkness hung like night, and frogs were everywhere.
The chief sent for Lanachichi, and said the captives might go, if the Great Sprit would remove the curse of darkness and of frogs. But when all was well, the chief again broke his word. So followed many curses, until at last came the curse of death to one in each wigwam, and them the old chief let them go. But no sooner had they departed than the Chickasaw warriors assembled, and pursued them.
Formed a bridge
The captives were close to a river and escape seemed impossible. Lanachichi lifted up his arms in supplication to the Great Spirit. Suddenly the earth stretched forth, forming a bridge seventy-five feet wide.
One of the most enjoyable and compelling reads I’ve had in years. I just could not put it down. Causey does a great job in telling a complex, but fascinating history of Alabama in the pioneer days when Alabama was truly the wild west for the original colonies. I found The Creek War involving William Weatherford (Red Eagle) to be the highlight of the book and am surprised that Hollywood has not already made a movie of this.