Chief William or Red Eagle Weatherford

Chief William or Red Eagle Weatherford

Male 1765 - 1824  (59 years)

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  • Name Chief William or Red Eagle Weatherford 
    Title Chief 
    Nickname Hopnicafutsahia 
    Born 1765  Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 24 Mar 1824  Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried William Weatherford Memorial Park Cemetery Little River, Baldwin County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I616787777  Eby/Aebi and Bernethy Family
    Last Modified 3 Aug 2012 

    Father Charles Weatherford,   b. 1752, Europe Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1799, Fort Benning, Georgia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years) 
    Mother Sehoy McGillivray, III,   b. 1759, Coosa River, Elmore County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1811, Baldwin County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Married 1780  Creek Nation, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    Married:

    • Family Data Collection - Individual Records
      about Charles Weatherford

      Name:Charles Weatherford
      Spouse:Sehoy Mcgillivray Mcgillivray
      Parents:Martin Weatherford
      Birth Place:Lunenburg Co, VA
      Birth Date:1752
      Marriage Place:Creek, Nation, AL
      Marriage Date:1780
      Death Date:1799


    • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900
      about Sehoyi III Windclan

      Name:Sehoyi III Windclan
      Gender:Female
      Birth Place:AL
      Birth Year:1759
      Spouse Name:Charles Weatherford
      Spouse Birth Year:1740
      Marriage Year:1778
      Number Pages:1

    Family ID F546628030  Group Sheet

    Family 1 Mary Polly Moniac,   b. 1783, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1804, Lowndes County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 21 years) 
    Married 1801  Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    Married:

    • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 about William Weatherford
      Name: William Weatherford
      Gender: Male
      Birth Year: 1780
      Spouse Name: Mary Polly Moniac
      Marriage
      Year: 1801
      Number Pages: 1
    Children 
    +1. Charles Weatherford, Sr,   b. 1795, Montgomery County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Jun 1894, Mt Pleasant, Monroe County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 99 years)
    Last Modified 3 Aug 2012 
    Family ID F546748329  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Sopoth Thlanie,   b. 1783, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1824  (Age 41 years) 
    Married 1813  Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    Married:

    • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 about William Weatherford
      Name: William Weatherford
      Gender: Male
      Birth Year: 1780
      Spouse Name: Sophlena Thlotco Moniac
      Marriage
      Year: 1813
      Number Pages: 1
    Last Modified 3 Aug 2012 
    Family ID F546748333  Group Sheet

    Family 3 Mary Stiggins,   b. 1783, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1832, Mt Pleasant, Monroe County, Alabama Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 49 years) 
    Married 1817 
    Notes 
    Married:

    • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 about William Weatherford
      Name: William Weatherford
      Gender: Male
      Birth Year: 1780
      Spouse Name: Mary Stiggins
      Marriage
      Year: 1817
      Number Pages: 1
    Last Modified 3 Aug 2012 
    Family ID F546748336  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1765 - Alabama Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1801 - Alabama Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1813 - Alabama Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 24 Mar 1824 - Alabama Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - William Weatherford Memorial Park Cemetery Little River, Baldwin County, Alabama Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    William Weatherford (Red Eagle)
    William Weatherford (Red Eagle)
    From "Fleming35" in Ancestry

    Headstones
    William Weatherford (Red Eagle)
    William Weatherford (Red Eagle)
    From "Claire"in Find A Grave

  • Notes 
    • Frances Thornton Smith
      DOB found in Ancestry Family Data Collection - Births

      "He was an honest man and was trustworthy. General Andrew Jackson remarked that he possessed in a most pre-eminent degree of the elements of true greatness, for reckless personal courage, was the Marshal Ney of the Southern Indians.
      In his mature years he came home to Baldwin County, Alabama and became a planter. He requested to be buried by his mother when he died.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Information here based on the work of Joan Case, William Bell, Steve Travis and Woodrow Wallace, among others, who have graciously shared their material
      War name: Hopnicafutsahia -- Straight Talker or Truth Teller
      Best known as Lamochattee or Red Eagle

      LifeNotes: Leader of the Creeks. Deemed "the architect of the Massacre at Fort Mims". See the letter his grandson Charles Weatherford, Jr. wrote about William. Nephew of Alexander McGillivray and by marriage, nephew of LeClerc Milfort; received their wisdom, according to tribal custom-- the role of the uncle was considered far more importart than that of the father.

      Red Eagle goes on to full participation in the Creek War. More to come on that war. Another massacre --the Kimbell-James Massacre, the Canoe Fight with Sam Dale and his forces against the Red Sticks, the Battle of Holy Ground with Red Eagle mounted on Arrow, his black steed, the Battle of Talladega, to the climactic Battle of Horseshoe Bend where all come together -- General Andrew Jackson's forces, including Davy Crockett and Sam Houston joining with Choctaws and other tribes against the Red Sticks. This ends the war.

      After the terrible defeat at Horseshoe Bend in 1814, Red Eagle goes to Ft. Jackson (formerly Ft. Toulouse), and surrendered to General Andrew Jackson. Jackson, filled with sympathy and admiration for the noble chief, takes Red Eagle home to Nashville, TN. According to Dr. Marion Elisha Tarvin, William's half brother, David Tate, (Tarvin's grandfather) was the only man in AL who knew where Weatherford was during his stay at the Hermitage.

      Speech he gave to General Jackson at the official surrender of Fort Jackson:

      The Creek War is over. The last battle is fought. General Andrew Jackson is now stationed himself at Fort Jackson, formerly Fort Toulouse, one of the original French forts. The fort has been refurbished for the General. New stockades are erected. The Creek leaders arrive to pay homage to the victor. Red Eagle rides up on Arrow, a freshly-killed deer lashed to his steed. He rides briskly into the fort and immediately spies Big Warrior.

      This from James Albert Pickett's The History of Alabama:

      " 'Ah, Billy Weatherford, have we got you at last!'

      The fearless Chieftain cast his keen eye at the Big Warrior, and in a determined tone:

      'You d-- traitor, if you give me any insolence, I will blow a ball through your cowardly heart.'

      General Jackson now came running out of the marquee, with Colonel Hawkins, and in a firous manner, exclaimed: 'How dare you, sir, to ride up to my tent, after murdering the women and children at Fort Mims.'

      Weatherford said {and was translated by the guide Selocta, son of the Natchez leader Chinnabbee], 'General Jackson, I am not afraid of you. I fear no man, for I am a Creek warrior. I have nothing to request in behalf of myself; you can kill me, if you desire. But I came to beg you to send for the women and children of the war party, who are now starving in the woods. Their fields and cribs have been destroyed by your people, who have driven them in the woods without an ear of corn. I hope you will send out parties, who will safely conduct them here, in order that they be fed. I exerted myself in vain to prevent the massacre of women and children at Fort Mims. I am now done fighting. The Red Sticks are nearly all killed. If I could fight you any longer, I would most heartily do so. Send for the women and children. They never did you harm. But kill me, if the white people want it done.' "

      At the close of the speech, many cried out for Red Eagle to be killed. Jackson demanded silence. He said. "Any man who would kill a man as brave as this would rob the dead!" He then invited Weatherford for a drink. The Creek gave him a gift of the deer. They became friends.

      Weatherford was in mortal peril, however, with many enemies among the Creeks. Jackson took him to his home in Nashville to stay for awhile.
      William lived out his days as a well-to-do and well-respected planter in Monroe Co., AL.


    • From the Encyclopedia of Alabama:

      William Weatherford (ca. 1781-1824), arguably the best known Red Stick war leader in the Creek War of 1813-14, was born around 1781 near the town of Coosada, an Alabama town of the Creek confederacy. Weatherford was born into the Wind clan, and through his extended matrilineal kin network was closely related to some of the most powerful and high-ranking Creeks of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including Alexander McGillivray, whose mother was Weatherford's grandmother. Raised as a high status Creek man in a bicultural family, Weatherford was exposed both to trade and the emerging plantation economy, which many of his family members, including half-brother David Tate, embraced. As a young man, Weatherford took on the leadership role expected from a young man of his lineage and status and distinguished himself in the usual pursuits of Creek men, including ball play, horsemanship, hunting, and training for warfare.

      His first documented public role came in 1801, when, with a group of young warriors, he helped seize William Augustus Bowles, a former Loyalist whose activities were condemned by the Spanish, American, and Creek leadership. As a young man in the years leading up to the Creek War, he continued to trade in both deerskins and cattle.

      In 1813, as civil war divided the Creek people, Weatherford assumed an active leadership role in Red Stick military efforts. Weatherford's decision to join the Red Sticks is not well understood. Many of his relatives took the opposite side, and after the war, his relatives would claim that he only joined to control the violence of the movement. But available evidence indicates his dedication to the Red Stick cause. Notably, he led the attack against the garrison established at the home of Samuel Mims, referred to as Fort Mims. There, on August 30, Red Stick leaders Weatherford, the Far-off Warrior, and Paddy Walsh, and nearly 700 Creek warriors carried out a successful assault against the fort. The Mississippi Territorial Volunteers stationed there were taken by surprise, and Red Stick Creeks quickly entered the fort around noon. Over the next four hours, the Red Sticks killed most of its defenders and civilian inhabitants, an estimated 250 people, and took at least 100 captives. The destruction of Fort Mims was the first significant action of the Creek War and transformed the conflict from an Indian civil war into an American-Creek war as news of the massacre of women and children whipped up retaliatory fervor among the American citizenry.

      After the victory at Fort Mims, Weatherford continued to participate in the Red Stick war effort along the Alabama and Tallapoosa rivers. He and other Red Sticks established a fortified village at Econochaca, or "Holy Ground." There, in late December 1813, Weatherford supervised the defense of the town against an assault by Gen. Ferdinand Claiborne, who led the Third U. S. Infantry, Mississippi militia, and Choctaw volunteers into the heart of the Creek Nation in retaliation for Fort Mims. As the American forces approached, warriors evacuated women and children and, then, along with freed African American slaves, defended the town before retreating and escaping. Weatherford escaped by leaping on horseback from a bluff into the Alabama River amid a hail of gunfire.

      Weatherford and the Red Stick war leaders then regrouped to face Gen. John Floyd and his force of nearly 1,500 men, including Georgia militia and allied Creek Indians, whose aims were Creek towns along the Tallapoosa River, particularly the Red Stick stronghold at Autossee. After burning Autossee, Floyd's force established a fortified position near Calebee Creek. Weatherford, along with other Red Stick leaders, rallied an estimated 1,300 warriors but apparent differences in tactics led Weatherford to withdraw from the planned attack, which surprised the Georgians and caused considerable damage, killing 22 and wounding 150 of the allied force. Floyd's troops were then forced to withdraw.

      The action at Calebee Creek seemingly ended Weatherford's participation in the war until his famous surrender to Gen. Andrew Jackson, who established headquarters at Camp Jackson on the site of the old French Fort Toulouse, after his rout of Upper Creeks at Horseshoe Bend. After his surrender, Weatherford cooperated with Jackson's forces and persuaded other Red Stick insurgents to surrender. He also participated in military actions against those who would not.

      As the vilified leader of the horrific action at Fort Mims, Weatherford might logically have expected to have been executed for his role in the war. Instead, his prominent family, many of whom fought against the Red Sticks, waged a rehabilitation campaign on his behalf, celebrating his bravery and horsemanship, turning his famous leap from the cliff at Holy Ground and his peaceful surrender to Andrew Jackson into legendary feats of heroic virtue. In letters and other forums, family members also stressed his supposed coerced or reluctant participation in the Grave of William Weatherfordconflict and claimed he left Fort Mims before the murder of women and children, thereby hoping to distance the heroic warrior from the deeds of war. Moreover, his open cooperation with Jackson's army at the end of the war, coupled with the protection of his family, assuaged notions of Weatherford as the "savage" warrior and promoted him as the noble leader who tried to serve his misguided people bravely and attempted to restrain their excesses. After the war, under the protection of his prominent kin, he lived as a plantation owner in south Alabama, distancing himself from tribal affairs. When he died in 1824, he was married to a Christian woman of mixed Indian ancestry and left sizeable property in land and slaves to his descendants.

      Weatherford is nearly universally called Red Eagle by writers. The sobriquet has no basis in fact. According to a family friend, Thomas Woodward, Weatherford was known by two Creek names, Hoponika Fulsahi (Truth Maker) and Billy Larney, which translates as Yellow Billy. The name "Red Eagle" did not appear in print until the 1855 publication of A. B. Meek's poem "The Red Eagle: A Poem of the South," a lengthy romanticized tale based loosely on Weatherford and his exploits.

      Additional Resources

      Halbert, Henry S., and Timothy H. Ball. The Creek War of 1813 and 1814. 1895. Reprint edited by Frank L. Owsley Jr. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995.

      Owsley, Frank L., Jr. Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands: The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans, 1812-1815. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1981.

      Waselkov, Gregory A. A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2006.

      Kathryn E. Holland Braund
      Auburn University




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