Monday, January 6, 2014

BUCKET LIST UPDATE – No. 108: Visit Red Eagle’s grave

Red Eagle's Grave at Little River, Ala.
One of the most prominent Native Americans in the early history of Alabama was William Weatherford, who was also known as “Lamochattee,” which means “Red Eagle.” He was born in the 1780s and is best known for leading the Red Sticks in the Creek War against the United States in 1813 and 1814. As a youngster, I was amazed by the story of how Red Eagle jumped from a high bluff into the Alabama River while on horseback to escape capture during the Battle of Holy Ground in December 1813.

Later, Red Eagle surrendered to Col. Andrew Jackson (later to become a U.S. President) at Fort Toulouse and helped broker a peace treaty between the Creeks and the United States government. Red Eagle died on March 24, 1824, and he’s buried beside his mother, Sehoy, in the tiny community of Little River, which is in a remote corner of Baldwin County, Ala. Today, you can visit Red Eagle’s grave, which is within the confines of a small park.

I’ve wanted to visit Red Eagle’s grave for a long time, and I put the trip on my “bucket list” last year. Despite a few raindrops and chilly temperatures, my son and I made the trip down Wednesday of last week, and it was well worth it. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend that you check it out, especially if you’re interested in Alabama history.

As you enter the park containing Red Eagle and Sehoy’s graves, you’ll see a large information sign that contains a wealth of information. The sign reads as follows:

“THE RED EAGLE: WILLIAM WEATHERFORD, 1765-1824: The son of a Scotch trader, Charles Weatherford, and a Creek Indian princess, Sehoy Tate Weatherford, William was destined to become one of the most powerful leaders of the Wind Clan of the Creek Indian Nation.

“During the early 1800’s conflicts, usually over land, between the Creek Indians and the white settlers erupted into open warfare. After having led his warriors in the attack on Fort Mims, in August of 1813, he was known to have grieved at the viciousness of the attack. Over 500 white settlers, men, women and children and several hundred Creek Indian Warriors were killed in this historic battle.

“Andrew Jackson and his 2,000 Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Creek Indian Nation led by Red Eagle in March 1814 at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

“At the age of 60, William Weatherford died, and was buried beside his beloved mother, Sehoy Tate Weatherford, at this site.

“SEHOY TATE WEATHERFORD, PRINCESS OF THE CREEK INDIAN NATION, MOTHER OF WILLIAM WEATHERFORD: Born the third Princess Sehoy in the Creek Nation, Sehoy Tate (Tait) the widowed mother of two children, married Charles Weatherford. Their union produced two offspring, one being William Weatherford, destined to become ‘The Red Eagle.’ The rule of maternal inheritance allowed the husbands of Creek princesses to become very powerful men in the Creek Nation. Between the three Sehoys – Sehoy Marchand, Sehoy McGillavry and Sehoy Weatherford, the Wind Clan of the Creeks was ruled by Sehoy princesses and their husbands for almost 100 years.

“Beloved of her son, William, her remains were brought to this spot prior to his death, so that they might be together in the hereafter.”

If you’re interested in seeing Red Eagle’s grave for yourself, take State Highway 59 to the Little River Fire Station, then turn west onto Dixie Landing Road. Continue down this road until you see a sign that says “WILLIAM WEATHFORD RED EAGLE GRAVE SITE 1 MILE,” then turn left on to T.J. Earle Road. Continue past St. Joe Baptist Church, then turn right on to Red Eagle Road, which dead ends at the park containing Weatherford’s grave.

In the end, how many of you have ever been to see Red Eagle’s grave? What did you think about it? Do you know of any other interesting, historic graves? Let us know in the comments section below.

No comments:

Post a Comment