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Subject: [CREEK-SOUTHEAST] Rachel Durant, My Creek Indian grgrgrgrandmother.
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 10:37:35 EDT


Rachel was born to Sophia (McGillivray) Durant at Durant's Bend on the
Alabama River about 1770. While her father supported Alexander McGillivray,
her uncle in his war and politics to protect the Creek lands, Sophia, her
mother, engaged in the cattle business. At that time Mobile, Pensacola and
New Orleans on the coast had grown in population and civilization. This
created a demand for beef for households and restaurants. Rachel's mother,
Sophia McGillivray, and her contribution to the McGillivray regime has been
well documented by Pickett, Hamilton and other Alabama historians.
Sophia's business in Mobile and particularly in Pensacola occupied much of
her time. Financed by the Panton and Leslie Trading Company in Pensacola, she
became prominent in her own right. As Alexander McGillivray's sister, she
served him not only as interpreter in his dealings with the Indians but also
as his representative in Pensacola. In this capacity she was welcomed by the
Spanish governor after Spain occupied Pensacola in 1780. She was often a
guest of the Spanish Governor O'Neil during the 1780s.
At this time Jesse Brashears and wife Elizabeth Prather (Prater) and
chidren operated a lodging house (an Inn) in the city of Pensacola. There is
reason to believe that Sophia, often accompanied by daughter Rachel, found
lodging in the Brashears inn. Rachel married Samuel Brashears, youngest son
of the family and became the mother of my grgrgrandfather, Alexander
Brashears born in Florida in 1787. This according to the US Census for 1850.
Rachel's other children by Samuel Brashears were Samuel Jr and Rachel. As
time marched on Rachel (Durant) Brashears, married BillyMcGirth and bore a
son also called Billy by him. After her second husband died Rachel married
David Walker (Davy by Woodward) and mothered children by him.
What happened in the Upper Creek Nation during the time Rachel was going
thru these marriages has been the subject of books, articles, term papers and
recollections of people who lived thru it. Where did the happenings occur?
Along the
rivers in Alabama. As Meeks has pointed out their names are on the rivers,
but we
can locate where the Upper Creek Nation was located even on a road map. The
chiefs of the nation were located just north of Montgomery Alabama, along
theCoosa and Tallapoosa Rivers near t heir junction with the Alabama River.
The fact that many Creek families of white newcomers to the nation had
settled down the Alabama River to it's junction with Little River which
divides Monroe and Baldwin Counties caused trouble. The chiefs saw their
authority threatened and the tribal unity disrupted.
Remembering that it took Sophia 4 days sleeping out at night to ride
horseback to get to the Creek towns where the chiefs were located in 1790,
one gets an idea of the distance separating the two Creek settlements. Rachel
and her parents lived along the Alabama River and later among the
mixed-blood Creek families down river who became separated from the main
Creek towns upriver.
The attackers were from the towns upriver and the attacked were the
mixedblood
Creek families downriver. There was no clear boundary between the two sides.
Rachel's sisters with their husbands found themselves on opposing sides.
Betsy married Peter McQueen, a leader of the attack, Sophia another sister
was married to prominent white men and kept away from the fray and my Rachel
was identified with the Creek Indians along the lower rivers.
Having lived through the Creek War and three marriages, Rachel at about
46 years of age was located in the vicinity of Little River, the border
between Monroe and Baldwin Counties in Alabama. Fisher's Postoffice was
located nearby. At that time she and her children and relatives wrote a
lengthly letter to President Madison, dated May 29, 1815 and mailed it at
Fosher's Postoffice.
This letter and Hawkins investigation of the individuals involved has
been valuable in establishing the legitimacy of the Poarch Creeks as a Creek
Indian Tribe. The letter was signed by eleven people: Rachel Walker, Lachlan
Drant, Samuel Brashiere, William McGirt, Sophia McComb, Peggy Summerlin,
Nancy Summerlin, Leonard McGheet, Lemi (or Semi) McGhee, Alex Brashiers, and
Harriet Linder.
Rachel was in the third of her four marriages, the wife of David
Walker, Sr. Samuel and Alex Brashiere (Brashears) were her sons by Samuel
Brashears Sr. William (or Billy) McGirt was her son by her second marriage.
Sophia McComb was Rachel's sister and Lachlan Durant was her brother. After
David Walker died, Rachel married Zadoc Brashears, oldest brother of her
first husband. This fourth marriage took place September 24, 1824 in Marengo
County Alabama (near Demopolis AL)
Of interest to Rachel's descendants and fellow researchers is an
explanation by Benjamin Hawkins, Superintendent for Indian Affairs, of how
she and her family came to be in the Little River-Tensaw are in the first
place. He writes:
"The situation of the half breeds have been particularlyembarrassing.
They embraced the plan of civilization first and by their concduct merited
the attention of the Agent for Indian Affairs.They would not agree in their
mode of living or rpursuits with their Indian relatives or the Chiefs
generally which produced continual broils between tem. This determined the
half breeds to apply for, and after several years, to obtain from the
Convention of the nation leave to sttle down on the Alabama near the wh ite
settlements on the Indian lands. Hee they were when the civil war among the
Indians commenced. (Grant,ed. 1980; 768)"
The letter that Rachel, her childen and sisters and brother, along
with the Summerlin sisters and the MNcGhees signed,gives us insight into the
conditions around Little River at the time. It is anybody's guess who
composed the letter. We know that Rachel and Alexander were well enough
edcated to write the letter from other documents they wrote. In any case the
letter read. in part:
"We the Natives of the Creek Nation, Relations of Alexander
McGillivray most respectfully beg leave to present this our humble petition
to the President of the United States for a redress of grievances of the most
serious nature that can happen to us."
The letter then proceeds: "After having shown an inviolavle
atachment {sic} for the Goivernment of the United States through the whole of
the last war in which our property has been destroyed, our lives threatened
with indiscriminate carnage, not one of us but who lost Relatives both near
and dear to us on the memorable day that Fort Mimms was taken by dreadful
massacrfe that the Hostile Indians madethere; we have at all ties evinced a
willingness and readiness as many of the Officer of the Army can testify)
tocoopeate and contribute to every masure that was calculated to prosecute
the war with success on behalf of the United States -- and we in common with
every good citizen of the Government rejoiced at the fair rospects of peace
but our prospects are darkened and we are placed in a most critical
situation. Many citizens of the Mississippi Territory have moved over the
boundary line betwixt the United States and the Creek Indians on the Alabama
River as h igh up as Fort Claiborne in which distance the greatest number of
us who are called Halfbreeds were born and raised. They have taken forcible
possession of our fields and houses and ordered us off at the risk of our
lives. They have reproached s with our origins, insulted us with the most
abusive language, and not content with that they ave even proceeded to blows
and committed private injury in our stocks and property." (Durant 1815)
The letter continues that they had sought for redress from local
authorities, but that noone yet had jurisdiction. They said further that
General Jackson had given them to understand that all actual settlers"..who
were natives and descendants of the Indians would be entitled to a lease of
six hundred and forty acres of land--some think differently on this subject
now, that females with families will not be entitled to any." They continued,
"to remain on our farms wh ich we had occupied for years before the war," and
they ended the letter with the usual perfunctory protocol which
correspondence demanded at that time.
This petition was sent to President Madison in Washington, and
ultimatrely referred to BVenjamin Hawkins for comment and suggestions.
Hawkins' response to the petition was outlined in a letter to Secretary of
the Treasury William H. Crawford
dated January 19, 1816. The letter itself is 2-1/2 pages in length,
addressing in general the condition of the half-bloods: attached to it was a
four-page list of 45 of the "Indian country men" and alf-bloods living in the
Tensaw/Little River settlements wh o were early ancestors and relations of
the Poarch Band of Creeks. (l)

(1) This document to be a part of the Rachel (Brashears) Notes to accompany
her family group page is copied from records submitted to BIA establishing
the Poarch Creek Indian Tribe near Atmore Alabama.

Carol the letters submitted by Hawkins and other documents indicated have not
been located as far as I know. If you could publish this information maybe
someone could help us search. Woodie Wallace Sr, Mobile Alabama

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