georgia

Wayback Wednesday: Treaty of Indian Springs 1825

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Creek Cessions Image One
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Muscogee Cessions

Also known as the Second Treaty of Indian Springs or Treaty with the Creeks, one-hundred, ninety-five years ago, today, it was signed by the Muscogee and the U.S. government at the Indian Springs Hotel (now a museum).

The U.S. and the Muscogee had, previously, signed the Treaty of Indian Springs of 1821. On January 8, the Muscogee agreed to cede their land holdings east of the Flint River to the state of Georgia in exchange for $200,000, paid in installments.

Letter from December 14, 1824 (Digital Library of Georgia):

[…] Duncan Campbell and James Meriwether, U.S. Commissioners, [wrote] to Georgia Governor George M. Troup regarding obstacles the commissioners [faced] in treating with the Creeks. They [related] that proceedings [were] being conducted orally since the written method [had] failed. Also, the publication of negotiations held at Tucabatchee (Tuckabatchee or Tuckabatchie) and Pole Cat Springs [had] spread alarm throughout the nation as [had] the persistent “interference” of the Cherokees. Campbell and Meriwether negotiated the Treaty of Indian Springs [of] 1825 that was unauthorized by a majority of Creeks and, later, abrogated by the United States.

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Image Credit: georgiaencyclopedia.org
William McIntosh
Tustunnuggee Hutke (White Warrior)

The Treaty:

The treaty that was agreed [to] was negotiated with six chiefs of the Lower Creek, led by William McIntosh. McIntosh agreed to cede all Muscogee lands east of the Chattahoochee River, including the sacred Ocmulgee National Monument (Historic Park), to Georgia and Alabama and, accepted relocation west of the Mississippi River to an equivalent parcel of land along the Arkansas River. In compensation for the move to unimproved land, and to aid in obtaining supplies, the Muscogee nation would receive $200,000 (again), paid in decreasing installments over a period of years. An additional $200,000 was paid directly to McIntosh.

Outcome:

Governor Troup, and most Georgians, were in favor of the treaty and his inside man was his first cousin…William McIntosh. McIntosh paid the highest price. According to a Creek law, that McIntosh, himself, had supported, a sentence of execution awaited any Creek leader who ceded land to the United States without the full assent of the entire Creek Nation. Just before dawn on April 30, 1825, Upper Creek chief Menawa, accompanied by 200 Creek warriors (The Law Menders), attacked McIntosh at Lockchau Talofau (Acorn Bluff/McIntosh Reserve) to carry out the sentence. They set fire to his home, shot and stabbed him to death and, [killed] the elderly Coweta chief Etomme Tustunnuggee. Chillie McIntosh, the chief’s oldest son, had also been sentenced to die but, he escaped by diving through a window. Later that day, the Law Menders found [Samuel and Benjamin Hawkins, Jr.] (McIntosh’s sons-in-law), who were also signatories. They hanged Samuel and shot Benjamin but, he escaped.

John Quincy Adams Image Three
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President Adams

A large majority of chiefs and warriors objected that McIntosh did not have sufficient authority to sign treaties or cede territory. [The] Creek Nation sent a delegation, led by Opothleyahola and [included] Menawa, to lodge an official complaint. Federal investigators (appointed by President John Quincy Adams) agreed and the U.S. government negotiated a new land cession in the 1826 Treaty of Washington. The Creeks did not, however, have their territory restored in the new treaty.

Though the Creek did retain a small tract of land on the Georgia-Alabama border and the Ocmulgee National Monument, Governor Troup refused to recognize the new treaty. [He] authorized all Georgian citizens to evict the Muscogee and ordered the land surveyed for a lottery, including the piece that was to remain in Creek hands. He threatened an attack on Federal troops if they interfered with the [previous] treaty and challenged [the President]. The president intervened with Federal troops but, Troup called out the state militia, and Adams, fearful of a civil war, conceded.

The government allowed Troup to quickly renegotiate the agreement and seize all remaining Creek lands in the state. By 1827, the Creeks were gone from Georgia. Within eight years, most of them would be relocated from Alabama to the designated Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma).

Wayback Wednesday: Tybee Island Bomb Accident 1958

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Silkscreen Image For T-shirts

America lost a bomb. I’m not kidding. Sixty-two years ago, today, the United States Air Force dropped a nuclear bomb in the water off the coast of Tybee Island, very close to Savannah, Georgia. A North American Aviation F-86 Sabrejet fighter plane and a Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber collided during practicing exercises and, in fear of a detonation in the event of a crash, the crew jettisoned the bomb. They still haven’t found it and it is assumed to be somewhere at the bottom of Wassaw Sound.

Midair Collision:

The B-47 bomber was on a simulated combat mission from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. It was carrying a single 7,600-pound bomb. At about 2:00am EST, an F-86 fighter collided with the B-47. The F-86 crashed after the pilot ejected from the plane. The damaged B-47 remained airborne, plummeting 18,000 feet from 38,000 feet when [the pilot] regained flight control. The crew requested permission to [drop] the bomb in order to reduce weight and prevent the bomb from exploding during an emergency landing. Permission was granted and the bomb was jettisoned at 7,200 feet […]. The crew did not see an explosion when the bomb struck the sea. They managed to land the B-47 safely at […] Hunter Air Force Base. The pilot, a Colonel Howard Richardson, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after this incident.

Tybee Bomb Image Two
Image Credit: npr.org

The Bomb:

Some sources describe the bomb as a functional nuclear weapon but, others describe it as disabled. If it had a plutonium nuclear core installed, it was a fully functional weapon. If it had a dummy core installed, it was incapable of producing a nuclear explosion but, could still produce a conventional explosion. […] The Air Force maintains that its nuclear capsule, used to initiate the nuclear reaction, was removed before its flight aboard B-47. […] the bomb contained a simulated 150-pound cap made of lead. However, according to 1966 Congressional testimony by Assistant Secretary of Defense W.J. Howard, the Tybee Island bomb was a “complete weapon, a bomb with a nuclear capsule” and one of two weapons lost that contained a plutonium trigger. Nevertheless, a study of the Strategic Air Command documents indicates that Alert Force test flights in February 1958 with the older Mark 15 payloads were not authorized to fly with nuclear capsules on board.

The collision, and its aftermath, also drives the plot of the novel Three Chords & The Truth by Craig McDonald, published in November 2016.

Missing For 50 Years (BBC News)
This Day In Aviation (This site claims the bomber was from MacDill Air Force Base)
Lost H-Bomb: RIP (Savannah Now Archive)
The Case of the Missing H-Bomb (Counterpunch Archive)
The Colonel and the Bomb (The Atlantic)

Throwback Thursday: Memorial Day

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Memorial Day, as celebrated, has come and gone. The weekend BBQs and party gatherings are over. Some folks have returned to work after their Monday off while others took the entire week off and, possibly, headed to the beach to herald the “summer season”. I am posting, today, because from 1868 to 1970, Memorial Day was observed on May 30.

Our American Memorial Day has quite a rich, lengthy history and one that has its own area of research. Columbus State University in Georgia has a Center For Memorial Day Research and the University of Mississippi in Oxford has The Center For Civil War Research that covers Memorial Day in their data.

So, what IS the origin of our Memorial Day? That’s a good question and the following took two days to research.

May we remember them, ALL. ~Vic

Warrenton, Virginia 1861

A newspaper article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1906 reflects Warrenton‘s claims that the first Confederate Memorial Day was June 3, 1861…the location of the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever to be decorated.

Arlington Heights, Virginia 1862

On April 16, 1862, some ladies and a chaplain from Michigan […] proposed gathering some flowers and laying them on the graves of the Michigan soldiers that day. They did so and the next year, they decorated the same graves.

Savannah, Georgia 1862

Women in Savannah decorated soldiers’ graves on July 21, 1862 according the the Savannah Republican.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 1863

The November 19, 1863, cemetery dedication at Gettysburg was a ceremony of commemoration at the graves of dead soldiers. Some have, therefore, claimed that President Abraham Lincoln was the founder of Memorial Day.

Boalsburg, Pennsylvania 1864

On July 4, 1864, ladies decorated soldiers’ graves according to local historians in Boalsburg. Boalsburg promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day.

Knoxville, Tennessee 1865

The first decoration of the graves of Union soldiers of which there is any record was witnessed by Surgeon Fred W. Byers, of the [96th] Illinois volunteer infantry, now surgeon general of the National Guard of the State of Wisconsin (Spring 1865).

Jackson, Mississippi 1865

The incident in Mrs. [Sue Landon Adams] Vaughan’s life, which assured her name a permanent place in history, occurred at Jackson […] when she founded Decoration Day by first decorating the graves of Confederate and Federal soldiers alike, in a Jackson cemetery on April 26, 1865.

Kingston, Georgia 1865

An historic road-side marker indicates Kingston as the location of the “First Decoration, or Memorial Day” (Late April 1865).

Charleston, South Carolina 1865

On May 1, 1865, in Charleston, recently freed African-Americans reburied Union soldiers originally buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. The event was reported in Charleston and northern newspapers and, some historians today cite it as “the first Decoration Day.”

Cemetery Image Two
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Columbus, Mississippi 1866

Thus was established a custom which has become national in its adoption – Decoration Day – having its origin with the ladies of Columbus. Columbus also claims the distinction of being the first to decorate the graves of both Confederate and Federal soldiers, alike (Friendship Cemetery April 25, 1866). [See the poem The Blue & The Gray by Francis Miles Finch}

Columbus, Georgia 1866

To the State of Georgia belongs the credit of having inaugurated what has since become the universal custom of decorating annually the graves of the heroic dead. The initial ceremonies which ushered Memorial Day into life were held in Linnwood Cemetery, at Columbus, on April 26, 1866.

Memphis, Tennessee 1866

Yesterday was the day appointed throughout the South as a day of sweet remembrance for our brothers who now sleep their last long sleep, the sleep of death. That day (the 26th day of April) has, and will be, set apart, annually, as a day to be commemorated by all the purely Southern people in the country, as that upon which we are to lay aside our usual vocations of life and, devote to the memory of our friends, brothers, husbands and sons, who have fallen in our late struggle for Southern independence.

Carbondale, Illinois 1866

A stone marker in Carbondale claims that place as the location of the first Decoration Day, honoring the Union soldiers buried there. General John A. Logan, who would later become commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the largest of the Union veterans’ organizations, officiated at the ceremony (April 29, 1866).

Waterloo, New York 1866

On Saturday, May 5, 1866, the first complete observance of what is now known as Memorial Day was held in Waterloo. On May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated an “official” birthplace of the holiday by signing the presidential proclamation naming Waterloo, New York, as the holder of the title.

Richmond, Virginia 1866

The anniversary of the death of Stonewall Jackson was observed to-day by floral decorations of the graves of Confederate soldiers at Hollywood and Oakwood (May 10, 1866).

May 3, 1866 [they] formed the Ladies’ Hollywood Memorial Association, with the immediate aim of caring for and commemorating the graves of Confederate soldiers. All disposed to co-operate with us will repair, in such groups and at such hours as may be convenient, on Thursday, May 31st, 1866, to Hollywood Cemetery, to mark, by every appropriate means in our power, our sense of the heroic services and sacrifices of those who were dear to us in life and we honored in death.

Petersburg, Virginia 1866

It was in May of this year, 1866, that we inaugurated, in Petersburg, the custom, now universal, of decorating the graves of those who fell in the Civil War. Our intention was simply to lay a token of our gratitude and affection upon the graves of the brave citizens who fell June 9, 1864, in defence of Petersburg…

Memorial Day Image Three
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Southern Appalachian Decoration Day

From The Bitter Southerner:

Dinner on the grounds is not a phrase I hear these days. Just reading the phrase takes me back to those times with my grandmother at her church on […] Decoration Day Sunday. I grew up in north Alabama in the 1960s. Dinner on the grounds was a special occasion that followed the work of cleaning up the graveyard and placing fresh flowers beside the headstones. It provided a time to remember and celebrate the lives of the dear departed. ~Betsy Sanders

Today, we are here to eat, remember and bask in the Southern fascination of death […]. It’s Decoration Day. The South claims death with as much loyalty as we claim our children. J.T. Lowery, a former pastor […] misses when Decoration Day meant keeping company with headstones during dinner on the ground. Opal Flannigan is depending on women […] to uphold a tradition so old it’s hard to say when it emerged. German and Scots-Irish immigrants who birthed much of the Southern Appalachia’s culture in Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas likely brought these traditions [with them]. ~Jennifer Crossley Howard

From UNC Press Blog:

Many rural community cemeteries in western North Carolina hold “decorations.” A decoration is a religious service in the cemetery when people decorate graves to pay respect to the dead. The group assembles at outdoor tables, sometime in an outdoor pavilion, for the ritual “dinner on the ground.” There are variations of this pattern but, the overall pattern is fairly consistent.

Nationwide Observance 1868

In 1866, veterans of the Union army formed the beginnings of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization designed expressly to provide aid, comfort and political advocacy for veterans’ issues in post-war America. In 1868, the leadership of the G. A. R. sought through the following order to have the various local and regional observances of decorating soldier graves made into something like a national tradition.

Headquarters Grand Army Of The Republic
Adjutant-General’s Office, 446 Fourteenth St.
Washington, D. C., May 5, 1868.
General Orders No. 11.

From The History Channel:

By proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, the first major Memorial Day observance is held to honor those who died “in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Known to some as “Decoration Day,” mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

The 1868 celebration was inspired by local observances that had taken place in various locations in the three years since the end of the Civil War. In fact, several cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, including Columbus, Mississippi; Macon, Georgia; Richmond, Virginia; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; and Carbondale, Illinois. In 1966, the federal government, under the direction of President Lyndon B. Johnson, declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. They chose Waterloo, which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866, because the town had made Memorial Day an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and, residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

By the late 19th century, many communities across the country had begun to celebrate Memorial Day and, after World War I, observers began to honor the dead of all of America’s wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May. Today, Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. It is customary for the president or vice president to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. More than 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually. Several Southern states continue to set aside a special day for honoring the Confederate dead, which is usually called Confederate Memorial Day.

Throwback Thursday: Losing King 1968

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Fifty-one years ago, today, a powerful voice & soul was extinguished. I wasn’t even two years old when he was killed. He was only 39. He wasn’t a perfect person (who is?) but, his message was.

From The History Channel:

Just after 6:00p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. is fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and, was on his way to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital.

As word of the assassination spread, riots broke out in cities all across the United States and, National Guard troops were deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. On April 9, King was laid to rest in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute to King’s casket as it passed by in a wooden farm cart drawn by two mules.

MLK Image Two
Photo Credit: history.com

From Wikipedia:

The King family and others believe the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving the U.S. government, Mafia and Memphis police, as alleged by Loyd Jowers in 1993. They believe that Ray was a scapegoat. In 1999, the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jowers for the sum of $10 million. During closing arguments, their attorney asked the jury to award damages of $100, to make the point that “it was not about the money.” During the trial, both sides presented evidence alleging a government conspiracy. The government agencies accused could not defend themselves or respond because they were not named as defendants. Based on the evidence, the jury concluded Jowers, and others, were “part of a conspiracy to kill King” and awarded the family $100. The allegations and the finding of the Memphis jury were later rejected by the United States Department of Justice in 2000 due to lack of evidence.

MLK Image Three
Photo Credit: nytimes.com

After the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, King told his wife, Coretta Scott King, “This is what is going to happen to me also. I keep telling you, this is a sick society.”

Senator Robert F. Kennedy was the first to tell his audience in Indianapolis that King had died. He stated:

“For those of you who are black, and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed but, he was killed by a white man.

His speech has been credited as preventing riots in Indianapolis when the rest of the country was not so lucky.

On March 10, 1969, James Earl Ray pleaded guilty (on his birthday) and was sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. He died in prison at the age of 70 on April 23, 1998, twenty-nine years and 19 days after King’s assassination.

Many documents regarding an FBI investigation remain classified and will stay secret until 2027.

I’ve seen the Promised Land.

Throwback Thursday: Mississippi & The Thirteenth Amendment 2013

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Six years ago, today, Mississippi finally got around to ratifying The Thirteenth Amendment, 148 years later.

From CBS News:

Mississippi […] only got around to officially ratifying the amendment last month — 148 years later — thanks to the movie “Lincoln.” The state’s historical oversight came to light after Mississippi resident Ranjan Batra saw the Steven Spielberg-directed film last November […]. After watching the film, which depicts the political fight to pass the 13th Amendment, Batra did some research. He learned that the amendment was ratified after three-fourths of the states backed it in December 1865. Four remaining states all eventually ratified the amendment — except for Mississippi. Mississippi voted to ratify the amendment in 1995 but failed to make it official by notifying the U.S. Archivist. Batra spoke to another Mississippi resident, Ken Sullivan, who contacted Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann about the oversight. Finally, on Jan. 30, Hosemann sent the Office of the Federal Register a copy of the 1995 resolution, and on Feb. 7, the Federal Register made the ratification official.

Map of Mississippi
Image Credit: mapofus.org

From ABC News:

Two medical school colleagues, one an immigrant from India, the other a life-long Mississippian, joined forces to resolve a historical oversight that until this month had never officially been corrected. Dr. Ranjan Batra, professor of Neurobiology and Anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told ABC News he was inspired to investigate the history of the Thirteenth Amendment in his state after a viewing of the film “Lincoln.” […] Batra proceeded to do some investigating of his own, noticing on the website usconstitution.net, that there was an asterisk next to the state of Mississippi in connection with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Batra: “Mississippi gets a lot of bad press about this type of stuff and I just felt that it is something that should be fixed, and I saw every reason that could be done.” “Everyone here would like to put this part of Mississippi’s past behind us and move on into the 21 st century rather than the 19th.”

[…] Batra enlisted the help of University of Mississippi Medical Center colleague Ken Sullivan, who took an immediate interest in the story, calling the national archives to confirm that they had in fact never received the proper paperwork.

Batra: “The last paragraph [of the bill] directs the Secretary of State of Mississippi to inform the national archives of the law of the ratification which is exactly the way ratification is supposed to proceed, but that hadn’t been done for whatever reason.”

Sullivan: “For me it was just important that this part of history was done from our state.” “I know we have some dark spots in our history through the south, it still affects people’s opinions about Mississippi today.”

Sullivan and Batra are thankful the ratification question has finally been resolved. Now, that asterisk next to Mississippi can finally be removed.

From NY Daily News:

The Mississippi Legislature had actually formally ratified the historic amendment in 1995, which even then was more than a century late […]. Throughout 1865, 26 states ratified the critical law, and in December of that year, the amendment was formally adopted into U.S. law after Georgia’s approval brought the number the required 27. Several states, including Kentucky and Delaware, waited decades to ratify the amendment, the last being Mississippi in 1995 — or so the state thought.

Better late than never, I suppose. Yikes. ~Vic