A letter from Charles Weatherford,
Jr., grandson of William Weatherford, of Mount Pleasant, Monroe County,
Alabama, to Mr. T. H. Ball
from "Mississippi Territory in The War of 1812", by Mrs. Dunbar Rowland
Thanks to Mark Migura
October 7, 1890
"Sir- Your letter of the second inst. came to hand yesterday. Sir, your subject has become stale. The name of Billy Weatherford is almost forgotten, superseded by the names of such men as Lee, Jackson, and Grant. With the death of my father Charles Weatherford Sr., who is about 95 years old, the name of Weatherford will become commonplace. My father is the oldest and only living child of the notorious, and so called bloody handed, Billy Weatherford. And I, sir, am the only living child of Charles Weatherford Sr., No, sir, you know who and what I am.
"My grandfather, Billy Weatherford, died in 1826.
"I was born in 1814, therefore what I have to say will only be heresay and from many lips, some prejudiced and some partial.
"According to the most authentic information, Weatherford did not desire the massacre at Fort Mims. About the middle of the afternoon on that sadly memorable day, Weatherford met his half brother, David Tate, about twelve miles above Fort Mims, and told him of the massacre and spoke of it with much regret. He told Tate that he tried to prevent it; but under the excitement, his warriors threatened his life if he interfered. Tate did not belong to this hostile party.
"Now as to Weatherford's being mounted at the time the engagement began, circumstances prove he was not. I had an aunt who was a refugee in Fort Mims. I have often heard her say that she saw Billy Weatherford as he came in the gate at full run, at the head of his warriors, jump a pile of logs almost as high as his head. (Weatherford stood six feet two inches) She said, as he sprang over the logs he saw Captain Dixon Bailey, who was a bitter enemy, to whom he shouted, 'Dixon Bailey, to-day one or both of us must die.' So I judge by this that he was not mounted at the time of the engagement. But in the evening when he met Tate, Weatherford was mounted on the veritable black horse. I believe it is a recognized fact that all warriors of note ride either a milk-white or raven black steed. Now, sir, I, being a man of peace, and alltogether unlike my grand sire, ride an old sorrel mare.
"The aunt of whom I have spoken as being a refugee, in Fort Mims at the time of the massacre was Mrs. Susan Hatterway (nee Stiggins) who hated Billy Weatherford with a thorough hatred. My aunt's husband was killed early in the fight. She had no children. And when she saw the Fort would be reduced to ashes, she took hold of a little white girl, Elizabeth Randon, with one hand, and a negro girl named Lizzie, with the other, and said to them,'Let us go out and be killed together.' But to her surprise she saw one of the busy and bloody warriors beckon her to him. On approaching she recognized him. It was Iffa Tustunnaga, meaning Dog Warrior. He took her prisoner with the two children. He took them to Pensacola, and gave them over to some of their friends, where they remained until the war closed, when they returned to their homes in Alabama.
"Soon after the close of the War my aunt married Absalom Sizemore. She died near Mount Pleasant in 1865.
"When Elizabeth Randon grew to womanhood she married Algier Newman, and lived many years on the Alabama River just below Fort Claiborne in Monroe County. Excuse me for this digression.
"I will get back to my subject by saying that Lucy Cornell's story must have been merely to embelish the story. But it would not have surprised me if he had done so. All great warriors do such things.
"I believe the name has always been spelled CORNELLS.
"Billy Weatherford was married three times, twice under the Indian law. His first wife, my grandmother, was Mary Moniac, originally spelled McNac. She died in 1804 at Point Thloly, which is in Lowndes County. His second wife was Sapoth Thlanie. I have no info on where or when she died. His third and last wife was Mary Stiggins. They were married under the White law in 1817. She died near Mount Pleasant, Monroe County, 1832.
"I had an anecdote told me once by the mother of the late Colonel William Boyles, of Mobile, which is the only one I have never seen in print. Mrs. Boyles was a widow and lived near Billy Weatherford in Monroe County. She kept what was at that time called a wayside tavern. Weatherford, in going to and from his plantation, passed right by her door. They were warm friends and she frequently invited him to eat a meal with her. On this particular day she invited him to eat dinner. Just befor the meal was ready, four strangers rode upand asked for dinner. All were soon seated at the table, and discussion commenced, in the course of which the strangerswanted to know where that bloddy-handed savage, Billy Weatherford lived. Mrs. Boyles said Weatherford's eyes sparkled. She shook her head at him to say nothing. The talk went on. Three of the strangers expressed a wish to meet Weatherford, assuring Mrs. Boyles they would kill the red-skinned savage on sight. (Weatherford was fair, with light brown hair and mild black eyes.) Dinner being over, the gentlemen walked outon the gallery. To the surprise of the strangers, the man with whom they had sat at the table stepped into the midst of the crown and said:'Some of you gentlemen expressed a wish while at the table to meet Billy Weatherford. Gentlemen, I am Billy Weatherford, at your service!' But Mrs. Boyles said she never saw men more frightened than were the three belligerently disposed gentlemen. Not one of the trio was entitled to a raven black or a milk white steed. They quailed under the glance of Red Eagle's eye. The fourth gentlemen, who had said but little, stepped forwards and shook hands with Weatherford, and introduced himself as Colonel David Panthon."