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LETTER from J. D. DREISBACH to LYMAN DRAPER (1874)

Thanks to William C. Bell for this contrbution

This is a letter from J.D. Dreisbach to Lyman Draper in response to Draper's request for some historical facts about early settlers in Alabama.

This is typed from a photo copy taken from microfilm in the DAR archives in Washington, D.C. There are a few words that have not yet been figured out, some spellings may vary and punctuation is very haphazard since the writer tended to run sentences together. Tried to make it more readable without taking away any meaning by putting in paragraphs where he seemed to start a different thought. I also took out some connecting words to make sentences ---William C. Bell.

From Draper Manuscripts
Vol 1 Series V
Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina Papers

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page 1

Baldwin Co. Ala.
July - 1874
Lyman E. Draper, Esqr.
Madison, Wisconsin

Dear Sir,

In compliance with your request, I give you a few historical facts in regards to the early settlers and pioneers of Alabama. I have gathered my information on this subject from personal intercourse with some of the parties and from family papers and other old musty records of the dim past which I find amongst my father-in-law's (David Tate) papers. Particularly many incidents in the history of Alexander McGilvary and Wm Weatherford they both being relations of my wife. McGilvary being the uncl

They remained there five years and were then sent to Scotland to school where they remained two years where young McGilvary died. My father-in-law then returned and spent a portion of his time in the Creek Nation where he removed to Baldwin County in this state where he remained until he died in 1829.

e war. He was sent over on a Government "Man of War" where he remained until 1866. His father had two brothers who occupied high social positions, one being a physician of high standing and the other was Secretary of State during Bagby's term as Governor of Ala. The doctor was the father of the wife of U.S. Senator C.C. Clay of Ala, she was one of the most popular and fascinating ladies who visited Washington City. She is still the idol of her family as well as of a large circle of friends and admirers. David Tate had two other daughters, one of whom is dead and the other o

General Alexander McGilvary has no children living. He had three; Alex, Margaret and Elizabeth. Alex died in Scotland as I mentioned before. Gen McGilvary's wife was a full blood of Tuskegee Town of Indians. After the death of John Tate his wife, Sehoy Tate, married Charles Weatherford (an Englishman) by whom she had six children, named as follows: William, John, Elizabeth, Major, Mary and Rosannah who was the youngest and is still living.

Though fierce and terrible in battle, he was gentle and kind as a lady to the weak and helpless and generous and liberal to all when nature had its sway. It was this noble generosity of his nature which came very near being the cause of his losing his life at the massacre of Fort Mims in this county during the war of twelve and fourteen.

g and who testify that it was about 4 o'clock P.M. on the day the fort was taken that Weatherford came to the plantation and carried them all off and hid them in the cane.

David Tate and a full sister of Weatherford was in Fort Pierce when Fort Mims was taken. Fort Pierce was about 1 1/2 miles from Fort Mims. My mother-in-law (Mrs Tate) lost two sisters in Fort Pierce when the Fort was taken. I have often heard her say that Weatherford had told her that as soon as he was satisfied that the fort would fall that he rode off as he had not the heart to witness what he knew would follow, to wit; the indiscriminate slaughter of the inmates of the Fort.

satisfied this would not be accomplished by their joining either side. These were some of the arguments he used to induce them to remain neutral. This speech was made in presence of Tecumshe at the time he visited the Southern Indians to get them to join the Indian Conferency to exterminate the whites. Jimboy, Big Warrior, Little Prince and several others of the leading chiefs favored the views of Tecumpsee. But Jimboy and Big Warrior backed out, Weatherford said they failed to join the hostiles through cowardice.

hat of his people.

He told General Woodward after the war had closed that one great reason why he joined the hostiles after he found that they were determined to go to war was that in many instances he could be the means of preventing the hostiles from committing depredations upon defenceless citizens, particularly women and children. Aside from this he believed that the Americans would not thank him for joining them and would no doubt attribute it to cowardice as they did with many Indians who had done so.

e had done Jackson all the harm he could. After he had concluded they spent the night together in talking over the incidents of Weatherford's eventful life. Weatherford said that Jackson had a jug of rum in his tent and that Jackson put it on the table between them and that they shook hands and handed the jug many times during the night.

All who were present when Weatherford made his speech or talk were struck with the dignity and grace of his action. He was entirely uneducated but was a natural orator and is said by those who have heard him in the council that his burning eloquence unchained all hearsay. He spoke the English language with great propriety and astonished those who conversed with him when they learned that he had no claims to an education.

I will here relate an incident of Weatherford as told by Judge _____ a distinguished citizen of Mobile. He said that when he was a young man and reading law in Mobile his

he informed Mr. Tate that he had very important business in Claib in his life. He said he afterward became well acquainted with Weatherford and was charmed with his kind and cordial deportment. The Judge said that he never had seen but two men that he could not "look square in the eye" and them two men were Daniel Webster and Bill Weatherford.

After close of the war Jackson invited Weatherford to go to the Hermitage with him, Weatherford went with him and remained there nearly two years until after the excitement incident to the war and the massacre of Fort Mims had partially died away in the neighborhood of this terrible event. Jackson presented Weatherford with two fine horses which Weatherford brought home with him, one of which he presented to Captain Gordon of the U.S. Army.

s saddle and examined his horse to see if the had been struck by a and replaced his saddle. He then made a gesture of defiance to the troopers and shouted to them to come over, mounted his horse and disappeared.

on that "Nature had certainly singled him out as one of her special favorites in concentrating in him so much of the true and great man which was _____ ?? over administration."

memory is still held in high estimation by all who knew him and particularly those who had seen aid at his hands. A special Act of Congress was passed for his benefit (in 1820 I think it was) and the General Assembly of Alabama passed a similar act for his relations and descendants in 1855. He died at Montpelier in this county in 1829.

He left four daughters, the youngest of whom is my wife. And if it was not overstepping the bounds of modesty or good taste there is nothing I could say in commendation of any lady in the land that I could not with truth say of my wife and her sisters. And in connection I hoped I may be pardoned for quoting the language of one of the most distinguished ladies of the South who in speaking of my wife said that "in her veins runs the very best blood of the south".

Weatherford died in 1824 and was buried (within three miles of where I am now living) on the spot where he camped with his warriors on the night before he attacked Fort Mims. His mother (Sehoy), his brother John and several other relations sleep by his side.

The following Memorial was prepared for his tombstone by Judge A.B. Meek of Alabama. ___________

A Memorial of William Weatherford
Head Chief, Warrior and Orator
of
The Creek or Muscogee Indians
in
The War of 1813 and 1814
under
General Jackson
A true Patriot, he defended his
Beloved Alabama
with the greatest courage, Genius and Eloquence
And "never yielded whilst hope remained"
___________

The battles of Fort Mims, the Holy Ground, Tohopeka and the Horseshoe, with many others distinguished in history witnessed his prowess and his misfortunes. His defeat was the downfall of his nation. His famous speech to General Jackson is the finest specimen of aboriginal eloquence and saved the sad remnants of his tribe.

After the war he resided near this spot where he lies buried, until his death, honored by all who knew him.

___________

He was born at Talisee in Ala 1774. Died at Montpelier in this state 1824. Leaving many children and relatives who intermarried with the present population.

___________

Though fierce his deeds and red his hand, he battled for his native land. Forget his faults, his virtues know a Patriot warrior sleeps below.

Seminoles, commanded by Osceola his uncle. David Tate Moniac left two children and his wife, who are still living and all highly respectable citizens of this county.

Sam Moniac visited General Washington in company with Gen McGilvary and Washington presented him with a medal which Moniac wore until he died in 1836, when the medal was buried with him. Moniac was always a true and consistent friend of whites though he married Weatherford's sister and Weatherford himself were great friends before and after the war.

Gen. Thomas Woodward informed me that Col Hawkins told that for inflexibility of purpose, reckless daring and consummate skill in executing whatever he undertook that Weatherford was without a peer. He said that no one but Weatherford with the limited means at his command could have contended as he did with the force brought against him, to subdue him and then was overpowered and not conquered or subdued. That he only surrendered for the good of his people and that he believed that if he had t

I must now draw this hastily written and imperfect sketch to a close as the bread and meat question is the one which commands all of our leisure time in this poor unreconstructed (Pachalie ??) at this time.

I have the honor to be
Very Respectfully
Your obt Svrt
J.D. Dreisbach

PS Gen McGilvary's youngest sister Jennie married a French officer and was taken to France and all traces of her have been lost.

* Weatherford

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