Moniac - Woodward
The following excerpts were accessed from:
Woodward's Reminiscenses of the Creek, or Muscogee Indians,
contained in letters to friends in Georgia and Alabama.
By Thomas S. Woodward of Louisiana (formerly of Alabama.)
Barrett & Wimbish, Book and General Job Printers 1859 – Montgomery, Ala.
WHEELING; WINN PARISH, LA.,
October 31st, 1858.
To J. J. HOOPER, Esq.:
Some months back I addressed a letter to Mr. Rutherford of Union Springs, containing some of the incidents of the life of Billy Weatherford. Not having seen it published, I have concluded to give you a few sketches of the history of that man and the part he took in the war of 1813-14. His father was Charles Weatherford, a white man, that came to the Creek Nation shortly after the close of the American Revolution, in company with Sam Mimms, who was once engaged with George Galphin in the Indian trade. Weatherford's mother was a half breed Tuskegee, her father was a Scotchman by the name of Malcolm McPherson, and a blood relation to the late Judge Berrien, of Georgia. Sehoy or Sehoya McPherson was brought up in her early days by the father of Sam Moniac. She lived a part of her time with Lauchlan McGillivray and Daniel McDonald. Her first husband was Col. John Tate, the last agent the English had among the Creeks. By Tate, she had one son, Davy, who is remembered by many who are yet living. Davy Tate was a man of fine sense, great firmness and very kind to those with whom he was intimate, and remarkably charitable to strangers. But circumstances caused Tate to mix but little with the world after the country fell into the hands of the whites, and he never was well known by but few after that. I have stated to you before that Col. Tate died deranged between Flint River and Chattahoochee, and was buried near old Cuseta. Charles Weatherford was the second and last husband of Sehoy McPherson. They raised four children that I knew. Betsy, the oldest child, married Sam Moniac, and was the mother of Major David Moniac, who was educated at West Point and was killed by the Seminoles in the fall of 1836 — he was educated at West Point in consequence of the faithful and disinterested friendship of his father to the whites. Billy was the next oldest, Jack next, and a younger daughter whose name I have forgotten. She married Capt. Shumac, a very intelligent officer of the United States army. I had seen Billy Weatherford before the war, but only knew him from character. The circumstance of him and Moniac aiding Col. Hawkins in the arrest of Bowles, made them generally known to the people of Georgia who wished to know anything about Indians. It would be too tedious to tell how I first became acquainted with Weatherford.”
“I had been paid for my services in the previous campaign, had a pony, and that was all I needed. I made up a mess with Sam Sells, John Winslet, Billy McIntosh, Joe Marshall, Sam Moniac and others, and went where it suited me. This gave me an opportunity of becoming acquainted with all the little hostile bands and their leaders. As I have described to you before how the most of them were situated after Gen. Jackson reached the fork of the two rivers, Coosa and Tallapoosa, it will not be necessary now to do so. Though Weatherford was still at Moniac's Island when I reached Gen. Jackson's camp, Tom Carr, or Tuskegee Emarthla, came up and learned through Moniac that Billy Weatherford could come in with safety, as Col. Hawkins had taken it upon himself to let the General know who and what he, Weatherford, was.”
“There was a talk with the General and Weatherford and some Chiefs, and of course I did not hear it as I was not permitted to be at head quarters at that day, being looked upon as another Indian. But I think I know the purport of the talk as well as any one living or dead, for I knew both the men well, long after that, and have heard both of them talk it over; and I will give you, as near as I can, what I understood passed at their first interview. Gen. Jackson said to Weatherford, that he was astonished at a man of his good sense, and almost a white man, to take sides with an ignorant set of savages, and being led astray by men who professed to be prophets and gifted with a supernatural influence. And more than all, he had led the Indians and was one of the prime movers of the massacre at Fort Mimms.
“Weatherford listened attentively to the General until he was through. He then said to the General, that much had been charged to him that he was innocent of, and that he believed as little in Indian or white prophets as any man living, and that he regretted the unfortunate destruction of Fort Mimms and its inmates as much as he, the General, or any one else. He said it was true he was at Fort Mimms when the attack was made, and it was but a little while after the attack was made before the hostile Indians seemed inclined to abandon their undertaking; that those in the Fort, and particularly the half breeds under Dixon Bailey, poured such a deadly fire into their ranks as caused them to back out for a short time; at this stage of the fight he, Weatherford, advised them to draw off entirely. He then left to go some few miles to where his half brother, Davy Tate, had some Negroes, to take charge of them, to keep the Indians from scattering them; after he left, the Indians succeeded in firing the Fort, and waited until it burnt so that they could enter it with but little danger. He also said to the General that if he had joined the whites it would have been attributed to cowardice and not thanked. And moreover, it was his object in joining the Indians, that he thought he would in many instances be able to prevent them from committing depredations upon defenseless persons; and but for the mismanagement of those that had charge of the Fort, he would have succeeded, and said, "Now, sir. I have told the truth, if you think I deserve death, do as you please; I shall only beg for the protection of a starving parcel of women and children, and those ignorant men who have been led into the war by their Chiefs."
“This is as much as I ever learned from the General, and I will proceed to give Weatherford's own statement, which I have often heard him make. But before I go further, I will here remark why I think the story of the white horse and deer have been played off on the credulity of Col. Pickett, as well as other things I see in his history that I know of my own knowledge, and so do others, to be incorrect. After it was known that Gen. Jackson would punish any one that was known to trouble an Indian coming to camp unarmed, and particularly Weatherford, the Indians were put to searching the country for something to eat, particularly those who had been lying out. Moniac was under the impression that he could find some cattle in the neighborhood of his cowpens, on the Pinchong creek. Several Indian countrymen and myself went with the Indians in search of the cattle, Weatherford went with the crowd, and had to get a horse from Barney Riley, having none of his own; besides, had the exhibition of the white horse and deer been a reality, Major Eaton and others who made speeches for Weatherford would certainly have noticed it. It has been many years since I read what purported to be Weatherford's speech when he surrendered to Gen. Jackson; but if I recollect right, he was made to say that he would whip the Georgians on one side of the river and make his corn on the other. That was all a lie, and for effect. It reminds me of the report that the Kentuckians ingloriously fled.
“It is true, a few Kentuckians had arrived in the neighborhood of New Orleans, when the British made their attack. The Kentuckians were without arms — what could they do? All that can be said is, that it is easier to find a fighting man than a magnanimous one.
“I will go back to our cow hunt. At Moniac's cowpens we found no cattle, but killed plenty of deer and turkeys, and picked up the half brother of Jim Boy — George Goodwin.
“Now let us turn to Weatherford. He was a man of fine sense, great courage, and knew much about our government and mankind in general — had lived with his half brother, Davy Tate, who was an educated and well informed man — had been much with his brother-in-law, Sam Moniac, who was always looked upon as being one of the most intelligent half-breeds in the Nation, and was selected by Alexander McGillivray for interpreter at the time he visited Gen. Washington at New York. Although it has been said that McGillivray mastered the Latin and Greek languages, and although the letters of Alexander Leslie are published to the world as McGillivray's productions, he [McG.] knew too well how matters stood, and relied on Moniac."
"I have often seen a medal that Gen. Washington gave Moniac.
He always kept it on his person, and it is with him in his grave at Pass Christian."
“Some time in April 1814, on the West bank of the Pinchong, now in Montgomery county, Ala., and by a camp fire, I heard Weatherford relate the following particulars about the Creek war:
“He said that some few years before the war, a white man came from Pensacola to Tuckabatchy. He remained some time with the Big Warrior. The white man was a European, and he thought a Scotchman; that he never knew the man's business, nor did he ever learn; that all the talks between this man and the Big Warrior were carried on through a Negro interpreter that belonged to the Warrior; that he [Weatherford] had seen the man several times, and more than once the man asked how many warriors he thought the Creeks could raise. The man disappeared from the Nation, and in a short time Tuskenea, the oldest son of the Big Warrior, took a trip to the Wabash, and visited several tribes — the Shawnees or Sowanakas. (This trip Tuskenea did make, for I have often heard him speak of it, and have seen some women of the Hopungiesas and Shawnees that he carried to the Creek Nation.) Weatherford said that not long after the return of Tuskenea to the Creek Nation, Tecumseh, with the Prophet, Seekaboo, and others, made their appearance at the Tuckabatchy town. A talk was put out by the Warrior. Moniac and Weatherford attended the talk. No white man was allowed to be present. Tecumseh stated the object of his mission; that if it could be effected, the Creeks could recover all the country that the whites had taken from them, and that the British would protect them in their right. Moniac was the first to oppose Tecumseh's talk, and said that the talk was a bad one, and that he [Tecumseh] had better leave the Nation. The Big Warrior seemed inclined to take the talk. The correspondence was carried on through Seekaboo, who spoke English. After Moniac had closed, Weatherford then said to Seekaboo to say to Tecumseh, that the whites and Indians were at peace, and had been for years; that the Creek Indians were doing well, and that it would be bad policy for the Creeks, at least, to take sides either with the Americans or English, in the event of a war — (this was in 1811.) Besides, he said, that when the English held sway over the country, they were equally as oppressive as the Americans had been, if not more so; and in the American Revolution the Americans were but few, and that they had got the better of the English; and that they were now very strong, and if interest was to be consulted, the Indians had better join the Americans.”
“In 1812 the Indians killed Arthur Lott and Thomas Meridith, which I before mentioned, as well as Captain Isaacs' going with the Little Warrior to the mouth of Duck river. After this, matters calmed down until the opening of 1813. Moniac and Weatherford took a trip to the Chickasawha in Mississippi Territory, trading in beef cattle. On their return, they found that several chiefs had assembled at a place that was afterwards settled by one Townsend Robinson, from Anson county, N.C. They were taking the Ussa, or black drink, and had Moniac's and Weatherford's families at the square. They told Moniac and Weatherford that they should join or be put to death. Moniac boldly refused, and mounted his horse. Josiah Francis, his brother-in-law, seized his bridle; Moniac snatched a war:club from his hand, gave him a severe blow and put out, with a shower of rifle bullets following him. Weatherford consented to remain. He told them that he disapprobated their course, and that it would be their ruin; but they were his people he was raised with them, and he would share their fate. He was no chief, but had much influence with the Indians. He was always called by the Indians Billy Larny, or Yellow Billy; that was his boy name. His other name was Hoponika Futsahia. Hoponika Futsahia, as nigh as I can give the English of it, is truthmaker — and he was all of that.”
“He then proposed to the Indians to collect up all such as intended going to war with the whites; take their women and children into the swamps of Florida; leave the old men and lads to hunt for them, and the picked warriors to collect together and operate whenever it was thought best. He said that he had several reasons for making this proposition to the Alabama river Indians; one was, that he thought by the time they could take their women and children to Florida and return, that the upper towns, which were almost to a man hostile, except the Netches and Hillabys — and were principally controlled by the: Ocfuske chief, Menauway, or Ogillis lneha, or Fat Englishman; — (these were the names of the noted men who headed the Indians at Horse Shoe,) — that they perhaps would come to terms, and by that means his people would be spared and not so badly broken up, and would be the means of saving the lives of many whites on the thinly settled frontiers; and if the worst came to the worst, that they could carry on the war with less trouble, less danger, and less expense, than to be troubled with their women and children.”
T. S. W. (Thomas S. Woodward – General)
“I 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 among our crowd were Zach. McGirth, Davy Tate, the half-brother to Weatherford, old Sam. Moniac, who, many years before, had accompanied Alex. McGillivray to New York, in General Washington's time.
“I have often thought that I would give you and friend Hooper, of the Mail, a little sketch of what I had learned from those men and others, in relation to Indian matters; but they are all dead, and what I have heard and know would, in many instances, contradict what has gone to the world as history, and I do not know that mankind would be better off, even if I could undeceive and give them what I do know in relation to Indian history, and so I will let it pass. But, still, there is one thing I want, if it can be got hold of, and, if George Stiggins is living in your country, he has it. It is a manuscript given to me by the widow of Col. Hawkins. It is in the hand-writing of Christian Limbo, who lived with Col. Hawkins many years. It was copied from Col. Hawkins' own manuscript, which was burned shortly after his death. I knew Col. Hawkins well. He knew more about Indians and Indian history, and early settlements and expeditions of the several European nations that undertook to settle colonies in the South and Southwest, than all the men that ever have or will make a scrape of a pen upon the subject. The loss of his papers was certainly a very great loss to those who would wish to know things as they really were, and not as they wished them.”
“I have often heard Sam Moniac say, that if Lott had not been killed at the time he was, it was his belief that the war could have been prevented. He and Billy Weatherford have often said to me as well as others, that the Big Warrior at the time Tecumseh made his talk at Tuckabatchy, was inclined to take the talk, and at heart, was as hostile as any, if he had not been a coward. I have no doubt, from what I have heard Weatherford say, he (W.) was as much opposed to that war as any one living: but when it became necessary to take sides, he went with his countrymen, and gave me his reasons for so doing. He said, to join the whites was a thing he did not think right, and had it been so they would not have thanked him, and would have attributed it to cowardice. Besides, he said to remain with his people, he could prevent his misguided countrymen from committing many depredations that they might otherwise do.
“Weatherford was never a chief, though exercising as much or more influence over a part of the nation than many that were chiefs. He did not act the part which some writers say he did in the war, though I think he was fully as great a man as any have made him out to be. He was of a different order of man to what has generally been believed. As I knew him well and have had as good opportunities to become acquainted with his history and character, as most men that now live, I will, when I have leisure, give you Gen. Jackson and Col. Hawkins' opinion of the man, and what I think to be a more correct history than anything I have seen written about him: and should any one doubt my judgment about him, none that knew these men will doubt theirs.”
“This was the situation of those chiefs and their people about the time and shortly after General Jackson reached Franca Choka Chula, or the old French trading-house, as it was called by the Indians. Weatherford sent up old Tom Carr, or Tuskegee Emarthla, and he soon learned through Sam Moniac, his brother-in-law, (who was always friendly,) that he was in no danger, and so he came to camp, (but not in the way that it has been represented.)
“General Jackson, as if by intuition, seemed to know that Weatherford was no savage and much more than an ordinary man by nature, and treated him very kindly indeed. Savannah Jack, or, as he has been called by some, Sowanoka Jack, was not then as well known to the whites as many others. He frequented the camp pretty much unnoticed, (no doubt as he wished to be.) It was not long before it was understood that Jacksa Chula Harjo (as the Indians used to call Gen. Jackson,) wanted land to pay for the trouble he had been at, and that the Big Warrior and others were in favor of giving Old Mad Jackson, as they called him, as much land as he wanted.”
“[Of] lame Bob Walton, Col. Hawkins used to call him Tim or Bob, and said he was as brave, if not the bravest man he ever knew. He was the interpreter for Col. Hawkins, and accompanied him to the Hickory Ground, with Sam Moniac, Billy Weatherford, Pinthio Yoholo, or Swamp Singer, and old Eufau Harjo, or Mad Dog, at the time he arrested Boles, the Englishman, at the head of fifteen hundred Indian warriors. If old Col. Joe Hutchinson is living, he can give you a full history of that affair; and if dead, a letter, in the hand writing of Col. Hawkins, may be found among his papers, detailing the history of the whole matter.”
“George Cornells, the son of Joe, raised several daughters; the old Mad-Dog's son married one of them, and was the father of Capt. Walker's wife, Sappoya, and a boy, the great friend of Horse Shoe Ned, called Mungy. The young Dog Warrior was killed at Otisee in 1813. Col. Pickett calls him the Mad Dragon.
“Another of George's daughters married Billy McGirth; another the Little Doctor, and one called Big Lizzy married Mad Blue Bob Cornells, the brother of old Joe. I have mentioned in the sketches of Polly Perryman, the Negress, that he was the father of Alexander Cornells, the interpreter. Alexander Cornells' wife was known as the Big Woman. She was the daughter of the old Mad-Dog by the mother of Tuskenea. The stock was good.
“The Big Woman's first daughter, Anny, was not a Cornells; her father was Tom Low. Sukey was Alexander's first child by the Big Woman; she had her second cousin, Dick Cornells, for a husband. Charles was their oldest son, who hung himself in 1827 or 28. He had Peggy McGillivray for a wife, the daughter of Alexander McGillivray.”
Above excerpts are credited to: