Researching historic events and people can be quite revealing at times. One person who created tension and discord based on his actions was Andrew Jackson. I’ve written a bit about him before but would like to elaborate a little more about his ties to Huntsville.
The first mention I found in my sources of the early history of Alabama refers to when he was General Jackson. According to the Early History of Huntsville Alabama 1804 to 1870 by Edward Chambers Betts (1909; revised 1916) and History of Alabama and Incidentally of Georgia, Mississippi from the earliest period by Albert James Pickett of Montgomery (1851), one of Jackson’s first visits to the city was in 1813 on his way south from Nashville, TN, toward Horse Shoe Bend.
The reason for his involvement was because of some “distressing” news… A massacre at Fort Mims. You can read more about the Fort Mims massacre here.
“The arrival of an express, at Nashville, with letters from Mr. George S. Gaines to General Jackson and the governor, conveying the distressing intelligence of the massacre at Fort Mims, and imploring their assistance, created great excitement, and the Tennesseans volunteered their services to avenge the outrage.” [Pickett, p293]
“On October 13, 1813, General Andrew Jackson, and his command, after marching from Fayetteville to Huntsville in five hours, halted at what is now the intersection of East Holmes and North Lincoln streets, for rest over night, having learned on arriving here that the report of the ‘rapid approach of the Indians was exaggerated.’ General Jackson and his command the next day continued their march through the country of hostile Indian tribes to Horse Shoe Bend, where that sanguinary battle was fought with the Creek Indians. Nor was their departure unattended, for the county had contributed liberally of its men; four companies from Huntsville, one the “Mounted Rangers,” under the command of Capt. Eli Hammond and a fifth company from Hazel Green, with Captain Jack Mosley as its commander, had joined General Jackson’s forces here.” [Betts, p30]
“General Jackson, at the head of a large force, passed through Huntsville, crossed the Tennessee at Ditto’s Landing, and joined Colonel Coffee, who had been despatched in advance, and who had encamped opposite the upper end of an island on the south side of the river, three miles above the landing. Remaining here a short time, the army advanced higher up, to Thompson’s Creek, to meet supplies, which had been ordered down from East Tennessee. In the meantime, Colonel Coffee marched, with six hundred horse, to Black Warrior’s town, upon the river of that name, a hundred miles distant, which he destroyed by fire, having found it abandoned. Collecting about three hundred bushels of corn, he rejoined the main army at Thompson’s Creek, without having seen an Indian. Establishing a defensive depot at this place, called Fort Deposite, Jackson, with great difficulty, cut his way over the mountains to Wills’ Creek, where, being out of bread, he encamped several days, to allow his foraging parties to collect provisions. The contractors had entirely failed to meet their engagements, and his army had, for some days, been in a perishing condition.” [Pickett, p293]
The army marched on south to fight the Creeks in southern Alabama. Andrew Jackson had become quite popular during the War of 1812 and his role in and around New Orleans. By the time the first Alabama legislature met in Huntsville in the fall of 1819, he’d distinguished himself, but not everyone applauded his actions. But he did have his fans in Huntsville.
“And it is not inappropriate to record here that the Huntsville Masonic Lodge was the first chartered in the State; having operated continuously under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, granted it in 1811. A legend of the times proclaims that General Andrew Jackson, while on his frequent visits to Huntsville, often attended the meetings of the lodge, held in its present temple, situated on Lincoln street at the corner of Williams street.” [Betts, p40]
“During the session of the legislature, General Jackson visited Huntsville, with his horses, and was enthusiastically engaged in the sports of the turf, then an amusement indulged in by the highest classes.” [Pickett, p436]
There was even at some point a “celebrated contest between the horses of Andrew Jackson, of Tennessee, and James Jackson, of North Alabama, at Huntsville.” [Pickett, p427] James Jackson (1782-1840) was born in Ireland, came to America in 1799, and is “well-known as one of the founders of Florence [AL] and surrounding Lauderdale County.” By the way, James is also claimed to be, at the Encyclopedia of Alabama link above, “the first breeder and importer of race horses in the United States.” That claim can’t be true since one of my American Revolution sources cited—and I have confirmed in person at the South Carolina Historical Society—the South Carolina Weekly Gazette issues of October 31 and November 21, 1783 where two “thorough bred” stallions and two blood mares arrived on a ship from England in Charleston Harbor. Since James didn’t arrive in America until 1799, he couldn’t have been the first importer let alone breeder of race horses.
While General and later President Andrew Jackson may be a controversial figure in American history, one thing can be said about his visit among others. Huntsville can boast about the many high-ranking and important people who have stayed within the city limits throughout its history.
I have learned a lot about the history of Alabama while researching for and writing my next release, The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn, along with the ongoing research for the remaining five books in the Fury Falls Inn series.
Thanks for reading both my blog and my books! I appreciate your time and interest.
P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!
Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.
Innkeeper’s daughter Cassie Fairhope longs for only one thing: to escape her mother’s tyranny. But in northern Alabama in 1821 marriage is her only escape. Even so, she has a plan: Seduce the young man acting as innkeeper while her father is away and marry him. He’s handsome and available. Even though he has no feelings for her, it is still a better option than enduring her mother.
But Flint Hamilton has his own plans and they don’t include marriage, even to the pretty temptress. Securing his reputation in the hostelry business and earning his father’s respect are far more important. He did not count on having to deal with horse thieves and rogues in addition to his guests.
When tragedy strikes, Cassie and Flint must do whatever it takes to rid the inn of its newly arrived specter—who has no intention of leaving…