Posted by: bree1972 | March 21, 2013

Road Trip – with a Little History Added In (Part I) 3/21/2013

Cabin fever must be getting to Ted also.   We were drinking coffee the other morning, and out of the blue he said, “Let’s call Sally and Ed and see if they want to go to Albany today.”

Now Ted and I go to Albany all the time – for doctor/dentist/eye appointments, haircut/hair dye (me only on the hair dye), working/grooming Bear, to shop (groceries/clothes/books, etc).  In other words, we basically do everything in Albany except live there.  So I wasn’t really rushing to say, “OK!  Let’s go to Albany!”

But Ted had read something online about a memorial marker at a place called Chehaw Village and was curious to check it out.  Its location on New York Road, which we travel all the time, was really what got his attention – and mine too after he told me.  Neither of us had noticed any such memorial marker in all the years we’ve been going back and forth on that road – not unusual for me, but my history buff husband is another story.  “Let no historical marker go unread!” is one of his mottoes.

Sally and Ed said “yes” when Ted threw in a few more interesting stops + lunch – and by the middle of the morning, we were on our way.

Once in the car and on New York Road, we decided to stop at another spot we were all curious about – a rather large shrine-looking monument built a few years ago in the middle of a large cleared area off the highway.  We’d all passed it a million times, but had never stopped because there was a chain across the driveway to the monument.  This time we didn’t let something like a little chain stop us!

The We pulled up to the chain - fastened between two large pillars and got out.  I wanted to take a photo without the chain, so Ted removed it (just saying that in case we were trespassing and someone wants to know who took down the chain).  But really.  Why build something like that in the middle of nowhere if you don't want people to stop and see what it is!

We pulled up to the chain, which was fastened between two large pillars and got out. I wanted to take a photo without the chain, so Ted removed it (just saying that in case we were trespassing, and someone wants to know who took down the chain). But really. Why build something like that in the middle of nowhere if you don’t want people to stop and see what it is!

You have to admit it gets your attention!

You have to admit it gets your attention!

From the wall inscriptions inside, we learned Charles Crisp had built the monument to commemorate the integrity, honor and loyalty of the people of the South, who endured great hardships in their struggle during the war years 1861-1865, and after the war faced a harsh and bitter rReconstruction Period with dignity and fortitude.

From the wall inscriptions inside, we learned Charles Crisp had built the monument there on Grey Moss Plantation “to commemorate the integrity, honor and loyalty of the people of the South, who endured great hardships in their struggle during the war years 1861-1865, and after the war faced a harsh and bitter Reconstruction Period with dignity and fortitude.”

Curiosity satisfied on that site, we clambered back in the car and drove on.

We almost missed the Chehaw Village sign because it was tucked under beautiful trees filled with smoke-colored moss.  A broken-down chain-link fence surrounded the designated area.

Ted pulled the truck in through the open gate and parked.

Ted pulled the truck in through the open gate and parked.

The history of the site is extremely sad.  In March of 1818, a group of General Andrew Jackson’s weary soldiers had stopped in the Chehaw Indian village at this location while traveling from Tennessee to Florida. The local chief, known as “Major Howard” among the whites, fed and provisioned the men, and subsequently, many Chehaw warriors joined Jackson’s troops to help pursue the Seminole Indians.

A month later Captain Obed Wright of the Georgia militia, on learning of a skirmish between white settlers and two Creek tribes—the Hopaunees and the Philemmees—“immediately sent or went to the Governor and obtained orders” to destroy their towns. Instead of attacking the marauding Hopaunees and Philemmees, however, on April 23 Wright’s men attacked the Chehaw village that was in no way responsible for the reported violence against the settlers. There is no definitive account the massacre, but historians agree that Wright and his 230 militiamen burned the village and viciously murdered innocent men, women, and children.

When Andrew Jackson learned of the attack, he was both shocked and angered and viewed the incident as shamefully disloyal and extremely dangerous, with the potential to turn the friendly Chehaws, who were described as “at a loss to know the cause of this displeasure of the white People,” into enemies. Soon after he received the account of the massacre, Jackson wrote to William Rabun, the then governor of Georgia, calling Wright a “cowardly monster in human shape” and demanding that “Capt. Wright must be prosecuted and punished for this outrageous murder.” Secretary of State John Quincy Adams followed up with another letter to Governor Rabun, telling him that “The President of the United States has directed that Captain Obed Wright should be prosecuted for the murder of friendly Indians.

Wright was eventually arrested by one of Jackson’s agents but broke parole and escaped to Spanish Florida before he could be tried. Wright was never heard from again, and no one was ever held responsible for the massacre of the Chehaws.

The monument

The monument stands silent vigil over the land where the Chehaw village sat on that horrible day in 1818.  None of us could believe we’d never noticed this site before or knew of its history.

I’ll be back on Friday with Part II of this road trip, which will include a visit to Radium Springs, the Ray Charles memorial on the Flint River, and Chehaw Wild Animal Park.  Come on along!

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Responses

  1. Interesting story, can’t wait to hear more. Bud would have loved to be on this trip with ya’ll, he is “history” to the max. Can’t wait to see ya’ll in August!!

    • Same here, Hilde, but wish y’all were coming sooner!

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Brenda,

    I don’t like to learn about events like this, but thank you for this very sad blog. The more I learn about how the Indians were treated, the less I like it. I sure hope none of my ancestors were involved in anything like that, although they could have been. I wonder what they would think if they knew I am married to a woman who is part Cherokee and Saponi.

  3. I’ve seen both of these sites and wondered what each stood for. Thanks for checking them out and reporting the facts. I had seen the Chehaw monument many years ago and the Grey Moss monument a year or so ago. Interesting blog.

  4. The horror for those people that had sheltered a different people only to think they see the same group come back and brutalize their friends and family.

  5. Unfortunately wars are always full of human errors. So very sad. I can’t wait for the next report. I’ve always loved Ray Charles, always thought his “Georgia” song was a love song. I saw an interview with him on T.V. where he said the governor of GA ask him to write a song about the state. It is indeed a love song! Saw Ray in Canada years ago in a club. We were sitting right near his piano. Loved the show. He was an excellent entertainer. I was a teenager when I first heard him sing.

  6. That’s a very sad story but thank you for sharing. Odd bits of history fascinate me and I’m looking forward to the rest of your story.

  7. Bill is always interested in history, especially Civil War. We visited Kennesaw Battlefield, Kennesaw Georgia, and the big one outside of Chantanaga Tenn. He sees a historical marker and we stop! The south has so much history. Still learning Mackinac history and now want to learn our local history here in Florida. Waiting to hear ” the rest of the story”.


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