This morning we traveled to Horseshoe Bend, a National Military Park. It is the site of one of the important battles between the US 39th Infantry and the Upper Creek Indians in 1814. I find it hard to believe that is has only been 200 years since this area was part of the frontier. There was a feeling of sadness when I read of the split of the Creek Indian Nation. Half of the Indians wanted to embrace the more modern ways of the Americans, while the other half tried to maintain their prior way of life by “driving the white man” from the lands that had previously belonged to them.
The battle was named after the shape of the Tallapoosa River where the fighting occurred. The river makes a nearly perfect horseshoe. One of interesting things we learned was that the city of Montgomery was named after Major Lemuel Montgomery, who died in this battle and the age of only 28. Before joining the military he had been an accomplished lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee.
We located the Trail of Tears National Historical Trail site in Ft. Payne, Alabama. There are multiple sites throughout the US, where various Indian Nations were forced to leave their homelands and travel west to reservations. This particular site was the only one originating in the state of Alabama. In the fall of 1838, 1100 Cherokee men, women and children began the 800 mile journey. John Benge, one of the Cherokee leaders state that “at least 2/3 (of the Indians) are in destitute condition and in want of shoes, clothing and blankets”. What a devastating and cruel part of our country’s history.