Friends of Horseshoe Bend members, from left, Joe Thompson, Debbie Thompson and Ralph Banks were in 1814-era attire as they spoke at Sunday afternoon’s quarterly meeting of the Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society, held in the Lanier Room at Bradshaw-Chambers County Library. They spoke of the events leading up to the Creek War of 1813-14 and how its ending with the Battle of Horseshoe Bend led to Alabama becoming a state in a little more than five years. Alabama will be having its 200th birthday on Dec. 14, 2019. (Photo by Wayne Clark)
By WAYNE CLARK
VALLEY — Three members of the Friends of Horseshoe Bend organization were the guest speakers at this past Sunday’s quarterly meeting of the Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society.
Joe Thompson, Debbie Thompson and Ralph Banks discussed the circumstances that created conflict between settlers and the native Creeks that led to war in 1813-14 in what is now the state of Alabama, the outcome of that war and how it led to Alabama becoming a state in 1819.
“To understand it, you have to understand what led to the conflict,” Joe Thompson said to open the discussion. Mr. Thompson’s wife, Debbie, then talked about what led up to the Creek War.
In post-Revolutionary War America, more and more white traders were making it across the Chattahoochee River and into the heart of the Creek Nation. This unsettled the Creeks, who sought a meeting with the country’s new president, George Washington. The new U.S. government agreed to this, and the 1790 Treaty of New York was the end result. It was the first treaty between the U.S. and Native Americans not held in Indian territory.
This treaty allowed the Creeks to punish non-Indian trespassers in their territory but refused to allow them to punish non-Indians for alleged crimes that took place on these lands. This had to be done in U.S. courts, if at all. The Creeks also agreed to turn over Creek people who had been accused of crimes to the U.S. court system.
President Washington appointed Benjamin Hawkins as general superintendent for Indian affairs. He had this responsibility for all tribes south of the Ohio River; principally, he was the agent to the Creeks.
Mrs. Thompson talked about how Hawkins established a Creek Agency on his plantation on the Flint River in what is now Crawford County, Ga. “He covered a vast area in what is now the states of Georgia and Alabama,” she said. “He learned to speak the Creek language and taught agricultural practices to the Creeks. He was widely respected by them. He met with many chiefs and taught women better ways of living.”
Hawkins wanted very much to assimilate the Native Americans into the new country and for the better part of two decades, it seemed to be working. There was peace on the frontier. Hawkins lived in safety and never had any of his livestock stolen.
Mrs. Thompson said that in 1806 the Creeks permitted a horse trail to be built across their lands, connecting Georgia with New Orleans. It was first wide enough for horses and foot travel but was later widened to allow wagons and the transport of military equipment.
This unsettled the Native peoples. They also didn’t like it that the settlements to the east denied them some historic hunting grounds and they feared further encroachment on the lands. British agents, said Mrs. Thompson, urged the Creeks to oppose westward expansion on the part of settlers.
In 1811, the charismatic Native American leader Tecumseh came South to speak to the Creeks. He implored them to fight for their traditional ways and resist settlement by whites on Indian land. “The spinning wheel, the loom and the plow became symbols of cooperation with whites,” Mrs. Thompson said.
For the middle portion of the program, Joe Thompson discussed how rising tensions broke out into armed conflict only two years after Tecumseh’s visit. The Creeks split into two factions, the white sticks who wanted peace and the red sticks who wanted war.
Of great concern to the settlers was the fact that the War or 1812 was under way between the U.S. and Britain. It was well known that British agents did not want the U.S. to expand westward. They sided with the Creeks in this coming conflict and were supplying them with weapons and munitions.
In the summer of 1813, U.S. militia stationed at Fort Mims in the Mobile delta learned of a large party of Red Sticks going to Pensacola, Fla., and acquiring rifles and ammunition from the British at Fort Maiden. They intercepted them at Burnt Corn Creek in what is today Escambia County, Ala.
The militia ambushed the Red Sticks, Thompson said, and drove them off, but while dividing up the spoils were counter attacked and driven back. Casualties were few on both sides with the militia having two men killed and 15 wounded and the Red Sticks having ten to twelve killed and several more wounded.
What happened that day would lead to more bloodshed, Thompson said.
Only about a month after the ambush, approximately 1,000 Red Stick warriors stormed Fort Mims in a surprise attack, killing more than 500 people, including more than 260 militia and 250 civilians.
Thompson said it was an absolutely horrible event and news of it spread like wildfire across the U.S. This brutal attack would receive a brutal response.
The Red Sticks would be squeezed from three sides: the Mississippi territory militia to the west, the Georgia militia to the east and the U.S. Army under Andrew Jackson to the north. Their only hope was that the British would intervene, and they didn’t.
Nicknamed “Old Hickory” for his toughness and uncompromising nature, Jackson was recovering from a wounded arm when he got word about the Fort Mims massacre. It seems he’d gotten into a dispute over honor in Nashville with shots being fired.
“He got out of bed, organized an army and moved them south,” Thompson said. “He was not healthy but through sheer will carried on the campaign.”
The Creek War was one of the most one-sided military campaigns in U.S. history. The Red Sticks were outnumbered approximately two-to-one and were opposed by avenging soldiers who were well equipped and with military training. The Red Sticks had never been in any kind of large-scale war, even against neighboring Indians. They fought bravely as individuals but had no concept of fighting as a unit against a well-trained, well drilled opponent.
Thompson said that in the fall of 1813 Jackson defeated the Creeks in Tallushatchee and Talladega on the northern fringe of Red Stick territory but had to withdraw due to short enlistments, discipline problems and dwindling supplies. In January 1814 he marched his army south to the heart of Red Stick country and after indecisive engagements at Emuckfaw and Enitachopco Creek, prepared his army for a major showdown at Horseshoe Bend.
“Jackson had 3,000 men,” Thompson said. “You need at least that many to attack a fortified position. The Creek rifles were old and unreliable. Many warriors had to use bows and arrows, something they weren’t skilled at.”
In addition to his soldiers, Jackson was reinforced with some 800 Cherokee and Lower Creek allies. It was a formidable fighting force and for the Red Sticks, was unstoppable on the day of the battle, March 27, 1814. The fiercest fighting took place at a log-wall barricade the Red Sticks had built across the neck of a peninsula in the Tallapoosa River. The first man across it, Lt. Lemuel Montgomery, was shot in the head and killed. Another young soldier, Ensign Sam Houston, was gravely wounded in the attack but managed to survive. He would later play an important role in the founding of the Republic of Texas, which later became a state.
The Red Sticks couldn’t hold their position against a surging tide of soldiers, and once the infantry had secured the position, the conflict quickly turned into a slaughter. Thompson said the defenders lost more than 800 men that day. The battle effectively ended the Creek War.
On Aug. 9, 1814, Jackson forced chiefs of both the Upper and Lower Creeks to sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which ceded approximately 22 million acres of land to the U.S. government. This includes most of the present-day state of Alabama and the southernmost tier of Georgia.
The treaty was a bitter pill to swallow for the Lower Creeks, who had fought alongside Jackson in the war. They would once again be betrayed by Jackson with the Indian removal policy of the 1830s, when he was president. Both the Cherokees and the friendly Creeks that had fought with him were forced west on the infamous Trail of Tears.
With his victory at the Horseshoe, said Thompson, Jackson became a national hero in the U.S. His reputation soared even more when he defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.
“No one could write the story we’ve been talking about today,” Thompson said. “Fiction couldn’t touch it.”
The Creek lands were subject to the Treaty of Ghent, which was signed in 1814 and effectively ended the War of 1812. “It had a clause in it that said that all the lands of the belligerents would be turned back to them,” Thompson said. “That didn’t happen.”
Much of the land that now makes up the states of Alabama and Mississippi were involved in what’s now known as the Yazoo land fraud. This is a massive real-estate fraud perpetrated by Gov. George Matthews and the Georgia General Assembly in the 1790s. Georgia politicians sold large tracts of land at very low prices to political insiders.
This caused a massive outcry among Georgians, and these sales were overturned by reformers after the next election. This led to a court challenge that went all the way to the Supreme Court. In a landmark decision, Fletcher vs. Peck (1810), the court ruled that the contracts were binding and that the state could not invalidate them. It was one of the first times the Supreme Court had overturned a state law.
This ruling created a major mess. Some of that land had been resold to innocent third parties. Eventually, Georgia ceded its claims west of its modern border to the U.S. government, which paid cash and assumed legal liabilities. Claims were not fully resolved until a claims-resolution fund was established in 1814.
By DAVID BELL
LaGRANGE — The Troup County Board of Commissioners began its first round of budget discussions this week to formulate a spending plan for fiscal year 2018. The primary topic addressed thus far has been how the county will fund a recommended salary increase for county employees.
Last fall, the commission hired Condrey and Associates of Athens, Ga., to conduct a wage and benefits study that compared current salaries with those of employees in comparable counties. The survey was suggested by County Manager Tod Tentler after more than a dozen county workers left their jobs in the span of one year to accept better paying positions elsewhere. The study was recently completed at a cost of $49,500.
“We knew something had to be done for us to remain competitive,” said Tentler. “We were hiring individuals and paying for them to be trained only to eventually lose them to other jurisdictions offering higher salaries for the same job.”
After all the data was collected and comparison analyses completed, Condrey recommended a 3.64-percent wage increase for all current and future entry level jobs, and increases of up to 4.09 percent for vested employees with five or more years of service. The overall cost of the pay hikes would be approximately $1.3 million.
“We basically have two options for covering a budget increase of that size,” said Tentler. “We can either raise property taxes by three-fourths of a mill or reduce services and cut expenses wherever possible.”
Tentler admitted that the latter option alone would likely not be sufficient to cover the increase and, therefore, the final proposal may be a combination of the two.
“We were hoping the state legislature would act on the proposed OLOST (Other Local Option Sales Tax), which would have given counties an opportunity to fund salary increases for public safety personnel upon voter approval,” said Tentler. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”
While the majority of commissioners do not favor a tax increase, they all agree that employee wage adjustments are necessary.
“Speaking for the board, I think it has been our plan all along to take a hard look at what our employees make, and we think the right thing to do is to fairly compensate them,” said Commission Chairman Patrick Crews. “It’s been a long time coming, but when we authorized the study, we were committed to making sure we got the information we needed. Now that a number has been identified, we plan to act on it.”
Commissioners have asked the county manager to look into specific services can be reduced or millage changes that would be needed before the next round of budget discussions, which is scheduled for Thursday, May 4 at 3 p.m.
By DAVID BELL
LANETT — The Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with WestRock, will be recognizing area educators and support staff during Teacher Appreciation Week May 1-5 with tokens of thanks for their hard work and dedication.
The special salute will include Chambers County Public Schools, Lanett City Schools, West Point Elementary, Chambers Academy, Springwood School, Acts Academy, Temple Christian, Point University and Southern Union State Community College.
“As executive director of the Greater Valley Area Chamber and a working mother, I also want to take the opportunity to include our daycare and after school program teachers,” said Ashley Crane. “Prior to joining the Chamber, I worked in post-secondary education and understand the importance of a good foundation early on in a child’s life. It truly starts at the earliest years, and continues through elementary, middle and high school.”
Many teachers, staff, and administrators wear multiple hats, and are faced with obstacles and challenges that many people are unaware of. They sacrifice much of their own time to ensure students receive the best possible education.
“Lanett teachers and staff serve as counselors, mentors and proxy parents to hundreds of students each day,” said Phillip Johnson, superintendent of Lanett City Schools. “Our teachers take their ministry opportunities seriously and provide classrooms that teach students how to become good citizens. We could not ask for more than that.”
The general public is encouraged to participate in Teacher Appreciation Week by thanking local educators and support staff for their dedicated service.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
LaFAYETTE — The Chambers Academy Rebels baseball team (19-11) had a great opportunity to close out the visiting Patrician Saints (20-15) in Game 2 in an AISA 1A state quarterfinal baseball series here Thursday but that wasn’t the case and we’re headed to a deciding Game 3 today for a trip to the AISA 1A Final Four.
Coach Matt Smith’s Rebels won Game 1 by a 3-2 score thanks in large part to a superlative effort on the mound from junior righthander Hunter Davis.
The hard-throwing youngster allowed just one earned run, scattered seven hits and struck out two for the complete game win as CA prevailed by a 3-2 score.
Leading hitters in Game 1 were Davis with a double, Brock Ennis added a double as well and scored a run while Dalton Thrower, Blake Sheppard, Jordan Gillespie and Hayden Thompson all tallied hits. Sheppard and Gillespie scored the other CA runs.
“I was really proud of our guys for how they competed and fought back after getting down early,” Smith said. “I thought that our nerves affected us early, but once we settled in, we made the plays and pulled out the win. Hunter was a bulldog on the mound and gave us seven strong innings.”
In Game 2, it appeared CA had the game and series locked up, holding a commanding 9-1 lead in the fifth inning.
But then CA had a meltdown on the field with a plethora of errors and mental mistakes, which allowed Patrician to post an amazing rally in pulling out the 10-9 Game 2 win.
Ennis led the offense with three hits, Gillespie added a pair of hits and scored two runs while Caydon Smoot had one marker as well.
It was a gut-wrenching loss as the Rebels were up 9-1 and one possible, two-RBI hit away from winning on the 10-run mercy rule and sweeping the series.
CA relaxed and lost its confidence, especially defensively, as Patrician, to their credit, rallied for the win.
“This game was a heartbreaker for us,” Smith noted. “We had them 9-1 in the fifth, then made some uncharacteristic errors, gave up three runs in the fifth, then six more in the sixth inning to lose 10-9.”
•The CA-Patrician deciding Game 3 will be played today at 1:30 CT at the CA baseball complex. The winner will take the best 2-of-3 games series 2-1 and punch its ticket to the AISA 1A Final Four next week vs. the winner of the Marengo-Crenshaw series.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
LAGRANGE — It’s been an amazing season for veteran coach Craig Garner and the Troup High Tigers baseball team (20-10) with its second straight region championship, 20 wins and No. 2 GHSA 4A state ranking.
But the second season opens Friday as the Tigers, the No. 1 seed and Region 5 champion, host the West Hall Spartans (11-14, 3-9), the No. 4 seed from Region 7, in a first-round, best 2-of-3 games playoff series.
Now in his 16th season as Troup coach, it’s been a particularly rewarding season as the Tigers advanced to the state playoffs for the 14th time. His 16-year record is an impressive 304-175.
Garner won his 300th game, a thrilling, 3-2, nine-inning contest over LaGrange and after starting region play at 0-2, won its next 10 straight to win the region title for the second straight year.
It was also the first time a Troup team had won consecutive region championships since taking three straight under coach John Wilson from 1984-86.
A former Troup baseball and wrestling standout, Garner is 39-29 in the state playoffs, including a Troup Co. best 35-23 (plus-12) differential since 2006. By comparison, LaGrange is 17-17 (even) and Callaway is 24-28 (minus-4) in the same time frame. He also holds an all-time record of 16-11 vs. LaGrange.
After losing three of the greatest players in school history last year in Miles Cameron, Bo Halcomb and Winston Turner, a youth-dominated and inexperienced Troup team has played some remarkable baseball this spring against a brutal schedule.
The Tigers have played 16 teams that have been in the Top-10 of their respective state rankings or the Top-25 of both the USA-Today and MaxPrep national polls.
They’ve more than held their own against some of the finest programs in the nation.
This season, Troup swept rivals and state powers LaGrange and Cartersville all four games and outscored both foes by a stunning overall run differential of 9-4 — (3-1 and 3-2 vs. LaGrange and 1-0 and 2-1 vs. Cartersville.) The Grangers and Purple Hurricanes have combined for seven state championships and 19 region titles since 2001.
The Troup senior class is 80-35 overall, 42-13 in region play, 38-14 at home, 5-1 vs. LaGrange and 3-4 in the state playoffs.
The Tigers have 770 at-bats in 30 games played, but hit only one home run, so its once again proof you don’t have to use the power, long ball game to be successful at the highest level in high school baseball.
Troup has utilized terrific starting pitching, strong team defensive play, aggressiveness on the basepaths and some timely hitting to ring up 20 wins.
Junior shortstop standout Ryan Bliss leads the team with a .398 average and 37 hits followed by sophomore Cooper Doughman with 24 hits, senior Kenly Bridwell has 20, sophomore Colby Williams and senior Jarred Helton each have 19 and senior Cam Russell has 15.
On the mound, Williams has been lock down from the start of the season, including a sensational effort last week in a 4-0 win over 7A No. 6-ranked East Coweta.
A hard-throwing righthander, Williams is 6-0 on the season with three other no decision games he was on the verge of winning all three. He’s allowed just 43 hits in 65 innings work, gave up seven earned runs, walked just 11 and struck out 70 with a sparkling ERA of just .754 and a WHIP of .831.
Helton has also been the second ace of the staff with a 7-4 record in 60.1 innings work, allowed 69 hits, 24 earned runs, gave up just five walks and has 25 strike outs.
In addition, Brantly Robinson is 3-1 on the season and Bliss is 2-2.
Troup’s 62-year, all-time record is 834-521.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
VALLEY — After winning a thrilling, three-game, first-round 5A baseball state playoff series over the Jackson High Aggies last week, Valley coach Patrick Shivers knows it was the Rams (17-15) resiliency and meeting the challenges under a ton of pressure that allowed his team to survive and advance.
Valley rallied to win the series 2-1 after falling 4-0 in Game 1. Facing elimination, the Rams answered the bell in Game 2, posting a 3-0 win and took the deciding Game 3 contest by a 9-6 score.
It was the type of series and rallying to win the last two that could very well pay dividends for Valley as they seek to make a run for the state championship.
There’s no doubt they’ll be playing a quality opponent in the second-round Friday at Crestview Field in the Charles Henderson High Trojans.
The Trojans are coming off a twinbill shellacking of Dallas Co. in the first-round by scores of 18-1 and 17-1.
“I can't say enough about the resiliency of my guys,” Shivers said. “With their backs against the wall and facing elimination, they came out and got the win to push it to Game 3. The deciding game was no different. We had several lead changes in the game. Also, several times with no outs and runners in scoring position, we had to throw guys out at the plate to keep us in the game. We took the lead and then added some insurance runs. We were able to get the first batter out, then the No. 9 batter got a hit and we turned a 1-6-3 to end the game. Their were moments I thought this could get bad for us, but everytime we battled through adversity. That speaks volumes about my bunch,” added Shivers.
Charles Henderson will present a lot of challenges for Valley in trying to slow down at least a stout offensive team that rang up 35 runs in a sweep last week.
“Charles Henderson is a solid team,” Shivers said. “They have always played a good brand of baseball. They’re going to put the ball in play, they have a few guys that can really swing it well, so we will have to pitch well and make routine plays. They also have a couple of guys with speed, so we need to limit their success at the plate. Beyond that, it's baseball, the team that pitches well and plays solid defense (makes the routine plays) and hits the ball, will come out on top.”
•The Valley-Charles Henderson second-round 5A series will be the best 2-of-3 games Friday at Crestview Field. First pitch for Game 1 will be 5:30 ET. Game 2 will follow approximately 30 minutes after Game 1. The “if necessary” Game 3 would be played Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.
LANETT — Mr. Charles Mason Clark, 89, of Lanett passed away Thursday, April 27, 2017, at his residence.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 29 at 11 a.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley with Dr. Tom Tucker and the Rev. Mark McGee officiating. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery in Lanett.
Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.
CUSSETA, Ala. — Mr. Lewis Dykes, 73, of Cusseta passed away Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in LaGrange, Ga., at his daughter’s residence.
A memorial service will be held at Reeds Chapel Baptist Church in West Point Saturday, April 29 at 3 p.m. Following the memorial service, the family will reassemble at Resthaven Memorial Gardens in Lanett to inter his ashes.
Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is in charge of arrangements.
CAMP HILL, Ala. — Mr. Robert Lee Golatte, 68, of Camp Hill passed away Friday, April 21, 2017, at his residence.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 29 at 1 p.m. CDT at New Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Camp Hill with the Rev. Justin Freeman, pastor, officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.
Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home in LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.
SALEM, Ala. — Mr. Kendred “Kent” Miles, 57, of Salem died Sunday, April 23, 2017, at EAMC-Lanier Hospital in Valley.
Funeral services will be held at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29 at Pleasant View Missionary Baptist Church in Salem. Burial will follow at Concord Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Salem.
Taylor Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Mr. Joseph William Shelton, 70, of Glendale passed away Monday, April 24, 2017.
A visitation will be held Friday, April 28 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Chapel, 6830 West Thunderbird Road, Peoria Ariz. 85381.
A second visitation will be held Saturday, April 29 at 9 a.m. with funeral service at 10:30 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 4748 West Orangewood Ave., Glendale, Ariz. 85301.
The interment will take place Monday, May 1 at 10 a.m. at National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 North Cave Creek Rodd, Phoenix, Ariz. 85024.
Heritage Funeral Chapel of Peoria, Ariz., is in charge of arrangements.
VALLEY — Mr. William "Bill Word" Worrell of Valley died Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Golden Living Center in Lanett.
Graveside services are scheduled for Saturday, April 29 at 11 a.m. at Burrell Chapel A.M.E. Cemetery in Cusseta (Beulah community), with the Rev. Wayne Baker, pastor, and the Rev. Terry L. Magby officiating.
Davis Memorial Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
CUSSETA, Ala. — Mr. Joe Lewis Chappel, 72, of Cusseta passed away Monday, April 24, 2017 at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Ala.
Funeral services will be held Friday, April 28 at 1:30 p.m. at Friendship Baptist Church in Valley with the Rev. Vernon Carter officiating and the Rev. George McCulloh eulogist. The Rev. L.C. Thomas is pastor. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery.
Unity Mortuary in Valley is in charge of arrangements.
LANETT — Funeral services are pending for Mr. Charles Clark, 89, of Lanett, who passed away at his residence Thursday, April 27, 2017.
Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.
DADEVILLE, Ala. — Mr. Billy R. Ford, 73, of Dadeville passed away Monday, April 24, 2017, at Dadeville Health Care Center in Dadeville.
Funeral services will be held Friday, April 28 at noon CDT at Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home Chapel in LaFayette with the Rev. Douglas Jones Sr. officiating. Burial will follow at Ozias Baptist Church Cemetery in Camp Hill, Ala.
Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home in LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.
VALLEY —Mr. William "Bill Word" Worrell of Valley died Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Golden Living Center in Lanett.
Funeral services and survivors will be announced by Davis Memorial Mortuary of Valley.