Sunday, August 30, 2015

A letter from John McKee, founder of Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa's first U.S. Congressman, to James Innerarity in Spanish Mobile (after the U.S. conquest of Mobile in 1813, James was elected the first mayor of Mobile)

John McKee to James Innerarity)
Washington Jany. 17, 1811
Dear Sir, I arrived here not before the 14. where I met a letter from Mr. Forbes, dated at Charleston 1st. Jany. I expect daily to receive another in answer to one I wrote to him on the way-indeed I am not without hope that he will come on himselfMy reception here has been flattering and might lead a man of more ambition & credulity to expect great things-but money is the subject of my story and if they will, God bless them, give me but enough of that they may keep their honors for those who are more ambitious of them. - I have had a few skirmishes about the Anglocism of your houseand with some I trust I have succeeded in placing you in a proper point of view-that is honest, peacable English Merchants & men of honor above being intriguers or spies for any Government-and without any strong prejudicies against ours. You may expect to hear from me frequently especially if anything should occur interesting to you or to the good people of Mobille Present me respectfully to Mrs. I. and give little William a kiss for me Your friend John McKee James Innerarity, Esq.
This circumstance, that two English frigates had penetrated the very Bay of Mobile five days after, and the news that the detachment of the village had been attacked, moved Dn. Bernardo de Galvez to urge, that although the state of things did not permit a renewal of the expedition from Havana, some troops be given him with which to reinforce the garrisons of Louisiana and Mobile and from there, if a favorable opportunity were found, pledge the inhabitants of those regions to a further effort and fall on Pensacola, or if this could not be, preserve more securely what had been conquered.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The first grant near the city was December 18, 1781, to 
Pierre Juzan, his Majesty's commissary for the Indians in the 
Town of Mobile, upon his petition for a tract one league in 
extent on both sides of the river, formerly possessed in British 
times by Henry Lizard and Thomas McGillivray. It is said 
to be bounded on one side by Bayou Cannon and on the other 
by Laprade's Bluff, and thus easily recognized as our Twenty- 
one Mile Bluff. Juzan says that he has no land, and in conse- 
quence of severe losses he desires to go to stock-raising on his 
river tract. 

This is the first instance in these records of re-granting what 
had been British property. The Versailles treaty of peace of 
September 3, 1783, was to allow eighteen months for British 
subjects to sell and leave, and the time was extended six months 
longer ; but this treaty was not yet concluded. While West 
Florida was Spanish in fact, the war continued elsewhere until 
that treaty recognized the independence of the United States, 
and at the same time confirmed East and West Florida to 

The most prominent re-grant was that by Governor Grima- 
rest of Dauphine Island to Joseph Moro, the origin, in fact, of 
the existing title to that historic spot. Moro's petition of July 
31, 1781, is dated at New Orleans, and says that he is an in- 
habitant of that city. Galvez the next day directs Grimarest 
to investigate the matter, and if the land is vacant to put Moro 
into possession and return the proceedings made out "in con- 
tinuation " with the commission, — a substitute for the endorse- 
ments on original papers by officials in our practice. Septem- 
ber 21 of the same year there was a report by Charles Parent, 
Orbano Demouy, Dubroea, and Louis Carriere, who had been 
called on for evidence. 

For some reason the matter was held up over two years, until 
-1 2 White's New Recopilacion, p. 338. 

after peace was declared; for Grimarest's concession to Moro 
bears date December 5, 1783, after J. B. Lamy had made a 
settlement in the centre of the island. In 1785 we find the 
king maintaining there a pilot and four sailors at an expense 
of $696.00.1 

SUMMARY OF GALVEZ' FIRST BATTLE OF MOBILE BAY, JAN.-MARCH 1780,+1780+GALVEZ+MOBILE+BAY&source=bl&ots=mw7Kd29C6t&sig=bv7pLaGLTZ0SyWFdHwHDEF2UENs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDwQ6AEwBGoVChMI-4f0hNzExwIVxHU-Ch0AmwdN#v=onepage&q=FEBRUARY%209%2C%201780%20GALVEZ%20MOBILE%20BAY&f=false

DESCRIPTION OF BATTLE OF FORT CHARLOTTE,+1780+GALVEZ+MOBILE+BAY&source=bl&ots=s4_ZXfx7VB&sig=5nfG0aGqBGFnJ9EUFpIVDpH11pQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CD8Q6AEwBWoVChMI-4f0hNzExwIVxHU-Ch0AmwdN#v=onepage&q=FEBRUARY%209%2C%201780%20GALVEZ%20MOBILE%20BAY&f=false


El Volante El Volante.
ND9:930, ND10:717, 718, Spanish Navy frigate, 15 Sep 1777 and later at New Orleans.A2:VI:49, 1776, A2:VII:35, and many others, 1777, and A2:VII:10, 69, c 1778. Beerman:82-85, in Jan 1780, it took part in the Battle for Mobile.

declaration of war with britain

Monday, August 24, 2015

I thought of you when I found this information. In January of 1781, Hessians working for the British attacked present-day Spanish Fort, Alabama. I'm studying this battle right now and found that when the Hessians arrived in Pensacola they found a fellow German who had gone off and lived with the Indians. Imagine the story that guy could tell! I'll give the link to where this info comes from.
 (Note: A curious, and somewhat bizarre, episode occurred to the members of the 3rd Waldeck Regiment after they had landed in Pensacola, FL and begun to familiarize themselves with their surroundings.  According to Lowell's work, The Hessians, page 252, "among the Indians the Waldeckers found a countryman of their own, one Brandenstein, who had deserted in his youth from Waldeck service, and after many adventures had assumed the manners and the costume of an Indian warrior."  The work of von Eelking, German Allied Troops, page 220, confirms the same experience by the Waldeck troops in Pensacola, though in slightly different terms: "among these savages, to their great surprise, the Waldeck soldiers found a countryman, from one of their own villages, Konigshagen; he had deserted from the army as a youth, and finally joined the Indians, serving as interpreter - his name was Brandenburg, and he was as little of a Christian as his Indian comrades."  Hopefully, further research can answer the question as to exactly how a Waldeck youth would have been capable of deserting and reaching tribal peoples in the vicinity of Pensacola, FL and blending in with them, only to reveal himself to his newly-arrived Waldeck countrymen years later, thus creating for himself the risk of being arrested for desertion.)

BIG NEWS! The ship that launched DAUPHIN ISLAND'S 11TH ARMED AMPHIBIOUS INVASION is at the bottom of Blackwater Bay east of Pensacola or SOMEWHERE around there. It was intentionally stripped of armament and set on fire during the 1781 Siege of Pensacola. IT HAS NEVER BEEN FOUND!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

The following is an excerpt about the Mobile Campaign from Spain’s Louisiana Patriots in its 1779-1783 War with England During the American Revolution, Spanish Borderland Studies by Granville W. and N. C. Hough: “As soon as the Mississippi River area was secure, Governor Galvez sent Estevan Miro to Havana to seek 2000 more troops for an attack on Mobile, but Miro could only get 567. Galvez combined the forces he had with these and moved against Mobile in Feb 1780. His forces included:567 soldiers from the Regiment of Navarre,
50 soldiers from the Havana Regiment, 141 soldiers from the Louisiana Regiment, 14 gunners, 26 carabineers, 323 white militiamen, 107 negro and mulatto militiamen, 24 negro slaves, and 26 American volunteers. This totals to 1278 persons, though 1321 is frequently seen in historical accountings. Probably 1500 soldiers and sailors were involved in the Battle of Mobile. After a 21 day siege, the surrender took place 14 Mar 1780.

This was just in time, as a relief force of 1100 British and Creek Indians were just a few miles away. The second phase of the Mobile campaign was its defense against the British counter attack on 7 Jan 1781. Spanish authorities in Cuba, learning of the attack, dispatched additional forces to hold Mobile. The British fled back to their main base at Pensacola. Gálvez captured Pensacola from the British in May 1781.”

Galvez' diary*.html

Galvez capture of Mobile

British counterattack in January 1781

General Campbell ordered Colonel Johann Ludwig Wilhelm von Hanxleden, commanding officer of the 3rd Waldeck Regiment, to take a mixed force of German and British regulars, Provincials, and native peoples and attack the post at the Village of Mobile on Sunday, January 7, 1781.  Again, according to Starr's work, Tories, Dons, and Rebels, page 183, "the colonel [von Hanxleden] waited until Sunday morning in order to allow the [HMS] Mentor to arrive in Mobile Bay to prevent the Spanish crossing the bay to the aid of the Village of Mobile".  According to Servies's work, The Log of the H.M.S. Mentor, pages 149-150, the HMS Mentor reached the mouth of Mobile Bay in plenty of time to support the land attack but, inexplicably, chose not to enter Mobile Bay to support Colonel von Hanxleden in his attack on the Village of Mobile.  Instead, Robert Deans, Captain of the HMS Mentor, chose to send some of his naval personnel and marines to attack the Spanish post on Dauphin Island, at the mouth of Mobile Bay.  Again, according to Servies's work, The Log of the H.M.S. Mentor, pages 149-150, the entry for January 8, 1781 reads as follows: "The boats returned from attacking Dauphin Island with several prisoners, small arms & the colours.  Burnt their barracks & block house, the rest escaped..."  A little further on in this same entry, one reads, "...saw a large smoak [smoke] at The Village ocasioned [occasioned] by our troops attacking it. Sailed, the Mentor's tender".  It is almost impossible that the HMSMentor could have been positioned to see any smoke rising from action taking place at the Village of Mobile due to the fact that at this point in the action, she would have been positioned about 30 miles south of the Village of Mobile.  Thus, it appears that the HMS Mentor did not fulfill its role of supporting the forces under Colonel Johann Ludwig Wilhelm von Hanxleden in their land attack on the Village of Mobile.

HMS Mentor attack on Dauphin Island

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Finally finished the NINTH OF DAUPHIN ISLAND'S EIGHTEEN ARMED AMPHIBIOUS INVASIONS. Now I've only got nine more to go! This link will take you to a description of British Major Robert Farmar's forced eviction of Montfort Browne's employees from Dauphin Island on Monday, May 1, 1769.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On Monday afternoon, May 1, 1769, the ninth of Dauphin Island's eighteen armed amphibious invasions occurred with the violent eviction of West Florida Lieutenant Governor Montfort Browne's 4 employees from the island by two boatloads of men consisting of six British Mobilians and a slave led by Major Robert Farmar. Nobody was shot or killed but Browne's laborer, William Kimbe, was injured in the lower back by Major Farmar's "stout stick" and Browne's overseer, Richard Hartley, cut his cheek and tore his jacket when he attempted to come to Kimbe's aid plus both of them "were thrown bodily out of the house"; then had loaded muskets stuck in their faces and were threatened with being thrown into jail. This was but one episode in a seventy five year long legal struggle waged by Major Farmar and the heirs of his estate to lay claim to Dauphin Island. It is entirely possible that an entire forest of trees was consumed to produce all the paper necessary to print the efforts made by Major Farmar and his descendents to recover their claim to the island. For that reason this writer has found it impossible to write a brief description doing justice to the complexity of Major Robert Farmar's claim to ownership of Dauphin Island. It is therefore necessary to give the reader some background information.

Speculation in West Florida land offered a lucrative opportunity at the time of the advent of the Union Jack on Dauphin Island in 1763. Not only did Major Robert Farmar evict every French government official and French soldier from his new colony of West Florida but for over a year he was the head of the government and a willing customer for any emigrating Frenchman who might not be quite ready to pledge his allegiance to King George III and maybe have a little land to sell. Farmar claimed he never mixed public funds with his private fortune(acquired as prize money for his participation in the British conquest of Havana),however, he was forced to face a court martial that accused him of misuse of the British government's money and resources including embezzlement, profiting from public service and overcharging for profit.  By the time Farmar had settled into retirement at his home near present-day Stockton in the late 1770s, he had accumulated land title to over 10,000 acres of West Florida with the location of the parcels ranging from Natchez all the way to present-day Baldwin County. Some of the acreage to which Farmar contended he possessed clear title included most of Dauphin Island and three-eighths of Horn Island but as the reader will soon find out, Major Farmar's title to Dauphin Island was doubtful even during his lifetime. Those doubts certainly did not matter to the descendants of Major Robert Farmar and when the United States finally raised its flag over Mobile Bay in the spring of 1813, the U.S. commissioners charged with resolving private land claims found that many Farmar descendants had returned to Mobile and were prepared to argue that they possessed a clear title to Dauphin Island, Horn Island as well as the remainder of the land composing Major Farmar's 10,000+ acre estate.

When Major Robert Farmar arrived on Dauphin Island in the fall of 1763 he began to mix his private business with his military service as the military head of the new British colony of West Florida which at that time included all the land south of the 31st parallel (a part of which now serves as our Alabama-Florida line from Flomaton to the Chattahoochee River) between the east bank of the Mississippi River and the Chattahoochee/Apalachicola River. Major Farmar set his eyes on Dauphin Island because of its abundant fresh drinking water, its strategic importance at the mouth of Mobile Bay and also for its potential as a cattle pen protected from raiding Indians by the water surrounding it. Up until that time, the area around Mobile Bay had never produced any form of cash crop for export other than the furs and skins traded from the Indians. The most valuable commodities from West Florida were live cattle (salt beef, tallow, hides) and lumber (tar, pitch, turpentine). Dauphin Island produced both commodities and had a harbor where these products could be readied for transportation to other ports. Dauphin Island was also an important "lightering" port for not only Mobile but for the entire coasting trade. Prior to the dredging of the ship channel, ocean going ships could not make it to Mobile or any other port on the Mississippi Sound. Ships drawing more than 13 feet of water could not cross the Sand Island bar and only very shallow draft boats could make it all the way to the wharf in Mobile.  Cargo had to be transferred to shallow draft vessels around Dauphin Island in order for it to be delivered to the inland ports. In addition to that, Dauphin Island was the home of the harbor pilots who could safely guide ocean going ships across the bar and into the harbors of Mobile Point and Dauphin Island so that their cargoes could be transferred to the shallow draft vessels.

Very soon after his arrival in West Florida, Major Farmar show his interest in Dauphin Island when he immediately assigned a corporal and six men to a station on the island to assist the French pilot who was the only resident. He also succeeded in obtaining bills of sale for most of the island from Frenchmen living in Mobile and also bought all the livestock on the island which included seventy-six cattle and three pigs. He had this livestock exchanged for two male slaves named Peter and Prince. At about the same time, the newly appointed Lieutenant Governor of West Florida, Montfort Browne, had selected Dauphin Island as the location of the royal grant of acreage he'd received for the settlement of English and Irish emigrants he planned to recruit to sail to West Florida. On February 5, 1765, Major Farmar went before the Governor of West Florida Johnstone's council and challenged Lieutenant Governor Browne's royal order for acreage that Browne wanted to be located on Dauphin Island. Farmar had a chance to present his proof of purchase including his bills of sale and a petition for a formal grant of the island. The council rejected Major Farmar's evidence and ordered that Browne's petition to be granted Dauphin Island be accepted but they gave no reason for making their decision.

If you look at George Gauld's 1768 Dauphin Island map, you'll see a spot marked at about the location of the Indian Mounds which is labeled "Lt.Gov. Browne". This was probably the location of the house occupied by Browne's overseer, Richard Hartley.

Lieutenant Governor Browne moved very quickly to occupy the island. He ordered a corporal's guard to the island and seized about 100 head of cattle grazing there.

Major Farmar never accepted Governor Johnstone's decision against his ownership of the island but he was too busy to do anything about it. He was tied up during most of 1766 leading a military expedition up the Mississippi River to the Illinois country. When he returned, he was facing the court martial related to his alleged financial malfeasance during his tenure as military governor of West Florida in 1763-64.

King George III removed Governor Johnstone from office in 1767 and even though Lieutenant Governor Browne took Johnstone's place at the West Florida capital of Pensacola, Farmar was finally able to direct more attention to his Dauphin Island interests after he was acquitted of all his court martial charges on April 20, 1768. Farmar was elected to represent Mobile in Pensacola's colonial assembly in January of 1769 and by the beginning of April of that year, West Florida had a new governor in John Eliot. Governor Eliot immediately ordered an investigation of Lieutenant Governor Browne's administration and that was all Farmar needed to justify his forced eviction of Browne's men from Dauphin Island. Little did Farmer know when he set sail for the island from Mobile on May 1, that his new ally, West Florida Governor John Eliot, would commit suicide the next day.

Auburn professor Robert Rea in his book, MAJOR ROBERT FARMAR OF MOBILE, includes an excellent, detailed description of the violent eviction Major Farmar led to get the "trespassers" off of "his" island.

"On Monday, May 1, 1769, having returned to Mobile from Pensacola, Farmar gathered several determined friends aboard two boats and sailed down to Dauphin Island. His own party consisted of Dougal Campbell, now a Mobile merchant but formerly commissary at Mobile and one of Farmar's witnesses in the late court martial; Henry Litto or Latto, formerly skipper of the sloop JAMES, and much indebted to Farmar for employment; William Harris; and a Negro servant. On Dauphin Island were Richard Hartley, Browne's resident manager; William Kimbe, a laborer; Hartley's servant Robert Love; and a female housekeeper. At about two o'clock these men were seated at dinner in Hartley's house when they heard distant musket fire. Hartley dispatched Love to see if the shots might indicate the presence of a band of Indians, but the servant returned to report the approach of a boat. Hartley and Kimbe went down to the shore to meet their visitors and invited them to the house. Campbell told Hartley that they had come for oysters, and both parties began to walk up the beach to Hartley's house, formerly the residence of the harbor pilot. Shortly after leaving the beach, Hartley and Kimbe saw a second party of armed men who had apparently landed elsewhere. These were James Waugh, George Martin, and Thomas Gronow, good Mobilians who were no friends of Lieutenant Governor Montfort Browne. Martin and Gronow reached the house ahead of the others, forcibly ejected Deborah Coughlin, the housekeeper, from the house and began to throw furniture out the door. Litto and Harris rushed to join their confederates and slammed the door against the confused pair of Browne's men.

"Turning to Farmar, Hartley asked if they had come to rob him, to which the major replied that the island was his. Together they entered the house, Hartley protesting and Farmar proclaiming his right to everything in sight. As kitchen furniture and utensils were rapidly disappearing out the window, Hartley ordered Kimbe to recover them, but Farmar and his friends seized Kimbe, and the major forcefully applied the end of his stout stick to the small of Kimbe's back (causing considerable pain, according to Kimbe's later account). Hartley grabbed at Farmar, but the others roughly seized him, tearing his jacket and cutting his cheek. Both of Browne's men were thrown bodily out of the house. George Martin then kept them at bay with his leveled musket. Hartley demanded to see Farmar's authority for such highhanded action, but the major refused him any satisfaction and threatened to lay Hartley by the heals and send him to jail. Nor would Farmar even allow Hartley to leave his bed and chest in the house, safe from rain, though the poor fellow was permitted to deposit them in an open shed. Hartley and Kimbe soon withdrew from the scene, though they did not leave the island until Sunday, May 28. Some of Farmar's party remained at the overseer's house throughout the month."

When Brown got the news of Farmar's actions, he contacted his attorney general and depositions were taken on June 12 with a grand jury was impaneled in Pensacola to inquire into the Dauphin Island affair on Friday, June 30. The jury heard witnesses and found "the Entry and Detainer to be forcible." On July 12, Chief Justice William Clifton ordered the restoration of Montfort Browne's property on Dauphin Island.

It appears that Major Farmar finally accepted the fact that Dauphin Island was not to be his but that did not stop his daughter from investigating the chances of recovering the island from the Spanish in 1800 and later "the heirs of Major Robert Farmar" to attempt on multiple occasions from 1813 until 1834 to attempt to secure private land claims for Dauphin Island from the land commissioners of the U.S. Congress. Finally on January 1, 1834, Commissioner William Crawford reported to Congress that the Farmar heirs had forfeited their claim to Dauphin Island and "do not appear to be entitled to confirmation under any law of the United States."

Friday, August 07, 2015

ONE MORE REASON TO INVITE PRINCE WILLIAM AND PRINCE HARRY TO DAUPHIN ISLAND: Prince William and Princess Kate named their daughter Princess Charlotte in honor of Queen Charlotte (1744 -1818). In 1763, Major Farmar (namesake for Dauphin Island's "MAJOR FARMAR STREET") renamed Ft. Conde in Mobile FORT CHARLOTTE in honor of QUEEN CHARLOTTE and that was the fort's name for THE NEXT 50 YEARS(that's ten years longer than it was EVER NAMED FT. CONDE). Major Farmar also provided accommodations to WILLIAM BARTRAM on his visit to Mobile Bay. Bartram sent many specimens, including Venus Fly Trap and Poison Ivy, to Kew Gardens which were established by QUEEN CHARLOTTE. In April 2014, I suggested that SOMEONE IN AUTHORITY invite Prince William and Prince Harry to the Mobile Bay area so they could see for themselves where their ancestor, Captain the Honourable Sir Robert Cavendish Spencer, R.N., second son of the Second Earl Spencer, served during the War of 1812. Their Mother, the Princess of Wales, was a Spencer and the daughter of the Eighth Earl so both Prince William and Prince Harry are collateral descendants(great nephews) of Captain Spencer.
Captain Spencer commanded the HMS Carron during the 1st Battle of Ft. Bowyer on Mobile Point in 1814 and he was the spy and scout who discovered the route from Lake Borgne to the Mississippi River for the British which determined the location of the Chalmette battle on January 8, 1815. He commanded  the seamen landed during the 2nd Battle of Ft.Bowyer in 1815 and he was in charge of taking the fugitive slaves from Dauphin Island and Apalachicola to the Bahamas, Nova Scotia and Trinidad.