Published on February 1, 2011 by Amy
WEATHERFORD, WILLIAM, Indian chief and planter, was born near Coosada, in 1765, and died March 4, 1824, on his plantation in Baldwin County; son of Charles and Sehoy (McGillivray) Weatherford, the former a Scotch trader who came from Georgia and established himself on the bank of the Alabama River, built a store and constructed a racetrack, and brought blooded horses into the Indian country, the latter who, prior to her marriage to Mr. Weatherford, was first married to Col. Tait, a British officer at Fort Toulouse; grandson of a Tuckabatchee chief and Sehoy Marchand, who lived at the Holy Ground, the latter who afterward married Lochlan McGillivray, a Scotch adventurer and trader to whom she bore three children, Alexander McGillivray, who became a great chief, a daughter who married LeClere Milfort, a French officer, who resided in the Indian nation twenty years as a war chief and on the death of his wife returned to Paris and became a brigade general under Napoleon, and another daughter who married Benjamin Durant, a Huguenot trader from South Carolina, and became the common mother of the family of that name in Baldwin which gave the name to Durant’s Bend in Dallas County; great-grandson of Capt. Marchand, a French officer in command of Fort Toulouse on the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, who was murdered at the fort in 1822 by his mutinous men, and his Indian wife, Sehoy, a Muscogee princess of the noble tribe of the Wind. The Cornells, Taits, Baileys. Moniacs, Tunstalls, Durants and Weatherfords are all connected by ties of consanguinity. Opothleyoholo was a Cornell. William Weatherford cared little for education, refusing to learn to read or write, yet he acquired a good knowledge of the English language. He was a proficient horseman and athlete, and gained great influence among the Indians by his eloquent speeches and his wild life. He established a large plantation on the Alabama River, in what is now Lowndes County. Influenced by the talents and prowess of Tecumseh, he became convinced of the necessity of checking the encroachments of the whites. He went to consult his brothers on Little River as to his course, and was dissuaded by them from countenancing the Indian war, but when he returned to his home, the war party had been to his plantation, had taken his negroes and stock to the Hickory Ground, and threatened to retain them and kill him if he joined the peace party. He entered into their scheme and took part In the massacre of Fort Mims, leading the Indian forces to the assault. He was unremitting in his efforts to make the attack a victory, but tried in vain to prevent the subsequent butchery. On his return from that expedition, he was made “tustenuggee,” or war chief, of the tribe. During the various engagements of the war, among them those of Talladega, Hillabe, the Holy Ground, and of Tohopeka or the Horse Shoe, called Weatherford’s “Thirty Battles,” some four thousand warriors were killed. He led his men in the fight at Econachaca aad when they fied, made his famous plunge from a bluff ten or fifteen feet in height into the Alabama River, and escaped. After the battle of Tohopeka, “Red eagle,” as Weatherford was known, went to Jackson’s tent and surrendered himself, demanding that the Indian women and children be brought in from the woods and protected. Because of his courage, Gen. Jackson protected him from the infuriated relatives of the victims of Fort Mima and treated him with courtesy. He was with Jackson for a year at the Hermitage, then returned to Monroe County, collected the remains of his former wealth, and moved with his family to Little River, where in a civilized home, he remained as a peaceful farmer until his death. Married: (1) to May Moniac, daughter of Sam Monlac, who was an Indian half-breed, and lived at the Holy Ground; (2) to May Stiggins. Among his children was: Charles, b. 1800, deceased, m. Elizabeth Stiggins, children, Charles, William and Elizabeth. He has descendants in Baldwin and Monroe Counties. Last residence: Baldwin County.
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