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William Weatherford

William Weatherford

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William Weatherford, also known as Lamochattee (Red Eagle) by the Creek (c. 1765 – March 24, 1824), was a Creek (Muscogee) chief of the Upper Towns who led the Red Sticks
Red Sticks
Red Sticks is the English term for a traditionalist faction of Creek Indians who led a resistance movement which culminated in the outbreak of the Creek War in 1813....

 offensive in the Creek War
Creek War
The Creek War , also known as the Red Stick War and the Creek Civil War, began as a civil war within the Creek nation...

 (1813-1814) against the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Of mixed Creek, French and Scots ancestry, he was raised in the matrilineal Creek nation and achieved his power there, through his mother's family of the prominent Wind Clan. After the war he rebuilt his wealth as a slaveholding planter
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

 in lower Monroe County, Alabama
Monroe County, Alabama
Monroe County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. Its name is in honor of James Monroe, fifth President of the United States. As of 2010, the population was 23,068. Its county seat is Monroeville. It is a dry county, in which the sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or...

.

Early life and education


William Weatherford was born in the Upper Towns to Sehoy III, a high-status woman of the Wind Clan, and Charles Weatherford, a Scots
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 trader. His mother was of Creek, French and possibly Scottish descent. As the Creek were a matrilineal culture, Sehoy III's children were absorbed into the tribe despite their European ancestry. Her clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

 status, the same as her male clan relatives, secured the status of her children. Property and inheritance were passed through the maternal line. Because he belonged to the same clan, a boy's maternal uncle was more important to his upbringing than his biological father. As generations of Creek women had married European traders for strategic alliances, historians believe her children were one-eighth Creek by ancestry.

As a boy Weatherford was called Lamochattee, or "Red Eagle," by other Creek. His "war name" was Hopnicafutsahia, or "Truth Teller." He was the great-grandson of Jean Baptiste Louis DeCourtel Marchand
Jean Baptiste Louis DeCourtel Marchand
Jean Baptiste Louis DeCourtel Marchand was a French soldier. Little is known about Captain Marchands' early life. It is known that Jean was the French military commanding officer of the French colonial trading Fort Toulouse, near present day Wetumpka, Alabama...

, the French commanding officer of Fort Toulouse
Fort Toulouse
Fort Toulouse is a historic fort near the city of Wetumpka, Alabama, United States, that is now maintained by the Alabama Historical Commission. The French founded the fort in 1717, naming it for Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse...

 and his wife Sehoy, a Creek of mixed race. He was also a nephew of the Creek chief, Alexander McGillivray
Alexander McGillivray
Alexander McGillivray, also known as Hoboi-Hili-Miko , was a principal chief of the Upper Creek towns from 1782. Before that he had created an alliance between the Creek and the British during the American Revolution...

, who was prominent in the Upper Towns. He was a cousin of William McIntosh, a chief of the Lower Towns, through his mother's family. The Lower Creek, more assimilated to European-American ways, generally opposed the Red Sticks during the war. By marriage, Weatherford was the nephew of Le Clerc Milfort
Le Clerc Milfort
Jean-Antoine Le Clerc, also known as Louis Milfort, also spelled as Milford. , was a French military officer and adventurer who led Creek Indian warriors during the American Revolutionary War as allies of the British. He emigrated to the British Colonies in North America in 1775...

, a French adventurer who led warriors for the chief Alexander McIntosh.

Career


Lamochattee, or "Red Eagle," learned traditional Creek ways and language, as well as English from his father. As a young man, he acquired a plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

 in the Upper Creek territory, where he bred and raced horses. He generally had good relations with both the Creek and European Americans for years, but worried about the increasing number of the latter.

He and other Upper Creek resented the encroachment of European-American settlers on their lands in what the United States called the Mississippi Territory, which included their territory of present-day Alabama. After the Americans improved the Trading Path as the National Road in 1811, more settlers came into the territory. The Lower Creek towns made land concessions in 1790, 1802, and 1805, as the new settlers destroyed their hunting grounds. They began to make a transition to more settled farming practices to survive.

Lamochattee counseled neutrality in the rise of hostilities. Alabama militia attacked a Red Stick party at Burnt Crow Creek; the latter were returning to the Upper Towns with arms purchased from the Spanish in Pensacola
Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

 in present-day Florida. While the Alabama militia were looting the Indians' packs, the Red Sticks regathered and fought off the Americans.

With Peter McQueen
Peter McQueen
Peter McQueen was a Creek Indian chief, trader and warrior from the tribal town of Talisi He was one of the young men, known as Red Sticks, who supported a revitalization of traditional practices and opposed European-American settlement...

 and other Red Sticks, Lamochattee participated in a retaliatory attack on Fort Mims in late August 1813. It was a hastily built stockade on the lower Alabama River, about 35 miles north of present-day Mobile, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

. The Red Sticks
Red Sticks
Red Sticks is the English term for a traditionalist faction of Creek Indians who led a resistance movement which culminated in the outbreak of the Creek War in 1813....

 made their way into the fort and massacred
Fort Mims massacre
The Fort Mims massacre occurred on 30 August 1813, when a force of Creek people, belonging to the "Red Sticks" faction under the command of Peter McQueen and William Weatherford "Red Eagle", his cousin by marriage, killed hundreds of settlers, mixed-blood Creeks, and militia at Fort Mims...

 the refugees, who included women and children, and both mixed-race Creek of the Lower Towns and European-American settlers of the area. Settlers said that up to 500 died, and 35 survived. Settlers' outrage grew against the Creek, and they called for state or federal action. As a prominent leader, Lamochattee became a wanted man. Historians have cited evidence that he tried to prevent the killing of women and children but was unsuccessful. The Americans made little distinction between the Lower Creek, who had been allied with them, and the Upper Creek, who supported the Red Sticks.
Later that year, Red Eagle and the Red Sticks fought against against Sam Dale and the Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 in the Canoe Fight
Canoe Fight
The Canoe Fight was a famous engagement fought on November 12, 1813, as part of the Creek War. It occurred near the mouth of Randons Creek on the Alabama River, between modern Clarke and Monroe counties. During an expedition up the Alabama, American militia in two war-canoes captured a Creek...

. At the Battle of Holy Ground
Battle of Holy Ground
The Battle of Holy Ground, or Battle of Econochaca, was a battle fought on December 23, 1813 between the United States militia and the Red Stick Creek Indians during the Creek War. The battle took place at Econochaca, the site of a fortified encampment established in the summer of 1813 by Josiah...

, Red Eagle escaped capture, and was said to have jumped from a bluff into the Alabama River while on horseback.

Red Eagle was among the 200 Red Sticks who escaped after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend
Battle of Horseshoe Bend
The Battle of Horseshoe Bend , was fought during the War of 1812 in central Alabama...

, where Colonel Andrew Jackson commanded militias from Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama to victory against the Upper Creek. Red Eagle did not flee to Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 as many Creek did, but turned himself in at Fort Jackson
Fort Jackson (Alabama)
Fort Toulouse and Fort Jackson are two forts that shared the same site at the fork of the Coosa River and the Tallapoosa River, near Wetumpka, Alabama....

 (formerly Fort Toulouse). Colonel Jackson spared Weatherford's life and used his influence to bring the other Upper Creek chiefs to a peace conference.

After the war, Weatherford resided in the lower part of Monroe County, Alabama
Monroe County, Alabama
Monroe County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. Its name is in honor of James Monroe, fifth President of the United States. As of 2010, the population was 23,068. Its county seat is Monroeville. It is a dry county, in which the sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or...

, where he regained his status as a wealthy planter
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

. He died there in 1824.

Marriage and family


He married Mary Moniac (c. 1783-1804), who was also of mixed race. They had children: Charles and Mary (Polly) Weatherford.

After her death, he married Sopathe Thlanie (c. 1783-1813); she died after the birth of their child, William Weatherford, Jr., born 25 December 1813.

About 1817, Weatherford married Mary Stiggins (c. 1783-1832), who was of English and Natchez
Natchez
Natchez may refer to:* Natchez people, a Native American nation* Natchez language, the language of that Native American tribe* Natchez, Mississippi, United States* Natchez, Louisiana, United States* Natchez, Indiana, United States...

heritage. Their children were: Alexander McGillivray Weatherford; Mary Levitia Weatherford; Major Weatherford, who was killed as a child; and John Weatherford.

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