Monday, October 31, 2016

"During this quick withdrawal 222 American slaves joined the British sailors and
   army in their retreat to the Gulf of Mexico and re-embarkation.   
   Slave owners or their agents                                                                                    
   followed the British to Dauphin Island seeking the return of the Blacks. While 18
  did return, the Americans found the British less then helpful. In some cases ship masters
   stopped the owners from boarding ships. Captains kept the slaves hidden below deck,
   while the Blacks still ashore kept inside the tents the British gave them for shelter so as 
 not to be identified by their former masters. Despite the Treaty of Ghent’s first    paragraph,
    which required the British to return all property and slaves taken, the British officers
re   refused to send back any person who did not wish to return. Two hundred and four
American Blacks from New Orleans were sent to Bermuda before being forwarded to
As the American Blacks were taken aboard the British ships Rear-Admiral
Edward Codrington ordered all Blacks, both ex-slaves and troops in the West Indies
Regiment (composed of Black troops), shipped in transports separate from the white
troops, in part to encourage enlistment of the newly freed."


Sunday, October 30, 2016

from the March-April, 1848 issue of DeBOW'S REVIEW out of New Orleans:
"We regret we have not space to bring to the notice of our readers all that has been accomplished in the eighteen States, we shall therefore be obliged to close this article by stating what has been done during the past year in the Mississippi sound. In this section a base line has been measured on Dauphin Island; the primary triangulation has been continued by filling up at stations not already occupied; the secondary triangulation has  been carried westward to Cat Island and the subjacent shores. The topography of the entrance to Mobile bay, and part of the Island chain from Mobile bay to Lake Borgne, has been executed; the hydrography of the entrance to Mob1e bay is being nearly completed, and that of Mississippi sound north of the base is in progress. A survey of Cat island harbor for the accommodation of shipping and the British mail line of steamers in connexion with the Mexican Gulf railway has been completed, operations too have recently commenced in Galveston bay and harbor. These taken together with the new channel round Dauphin island the still more important discovery of a deeper channel into Mobile bay, the establishment of a harbor at Cat island, are but the beginnings of more brilliant prospects for the local and general commerce in the Gulf.
In 1847, A.D. Bache set the U.S. Coast Survey markers for the ends of the Dauphin Island Base Line which were part of the EASTERN OBLIQUE ARC survey. One of these granite blocks that marked an end point on the line was found to be out of place in 1883. It now stands in the courtyard of Ft. Gaines, the oldest survey marker on the Gulf Coast, commemorating the work of the 1847 survey but serving no surveying purpose at all. I found the following article in a December 27, 1848 issue of Niles' Weekly Register out of Philadelphia. Back then there was still a 12 foot channel between D.I. and Pelican Island but in 1883 when the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey relocated the 1847 marker, PELICAN ISLAND HAD COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED. :

"FORMATION OF ISLANDS.–Prof. A. D. Bache, Superintendent of the Coast Survey, states some highly interesting facts in relation to the islands in Mobile Bay, &c.: Pelican Island in 1822, was 1723 yards long—in 1841 it was 2757, and in 1847 it had increased to 3457 yards, making an increase of 1735 yards in 25 years. The north end of this island has made a few yards further out in 1848. The shore of Dauphin Island, to the northward of Pelican, had cut out a few yards, so keeping the distance between them nearly the same. The distance between the north end of Pelican Island and Dauphin Island, in 1822, was 1957 yards—in 1841, it was 788, and in 1847, it was but 383 yards. The depth through this channel has remained the same since 1822, being 12 feet at mean low water... Sand Island, upon which stands the outer lighthouse, was in 1822 but 131 yards across, in 1841 it was 1542 in length -and in 1847 it had decreased to 908 yards. This Island is constantly undergoing changes, increasing or decreasing as the various causes."

We have another illustration on the gulf, of this action of hostile steamers through shallow channels ; that may be worth adducing : Fort Morgan, at Mobile point, defends very well the main channel into Mobile bay ; and there is no other entrance for sailing vessels of war. But the smaller class of war-steamers would find water enough near the end of Dauphin island; arid, keeping out of reach of> the guns of Fort Morgan, could pass up into the bay. They could, without difficulty, ascend as high as the city of Mobile; and reach that place, moreover, in three hours. A dozen such vessels could, in that short time, carry up, if they were needed, five thousand soldiers. It is' surely not too much to say, therefore,. that Mobile, one of our greatest depots of cotton, is by this new inlet for an enemy's cruisers, much exposed. But this is not all the danger. The large fleet of ships, often one hundred in number, and of the largest class of merchantmen, that lie for months, awaiting their cargoes in the lower part of .the bay, are within an hour's run of such steamers from the open gulf; and might be destroyed, either by the same expedition that ascends to Mobile, or by one sent in for that particular purpose. .

For this, and other serious consequences of leaving open this entrance to Mobile bay, the sure and the cheap remedy is the placing a small fort at the east end of Dauphin island, a work already wisely ordered, by Congress. When it is said in general, that the light draught of these vessels opens avenues of attack before defended by nature, it must not be supposed that therefore it is part of the system of defense to fortify all shallow channels. Whether shallow passages will require defenses or not, will depend entirely on the importance of the objects to which they give access ; and the power of the attack that may be directed through them ; and not at all on the circumstance that an enemy's steamers may enter them without difficulty. There are a great many entrances and harbors on the coast, not shoal harbors merely, but many affording water enough for the largest vessels, — that will require, if any, no other defences than such as can be prepared in time of war, because there are no objects upon these waters of a nature to provoke the cupidity of hostile cruisers ; having nothing to lose in this way, they will have nothing to fear. The shallow and difficult avenues to great and valuable objects are those, for which we have to provide defences in addition to defences that were necessary before the introduction of war- steamers. The danger of the Hell-gate passage to New York, sufficed to keep any man-of-war from attempting to sail through ; but it proves to be no impediment to steamers. The " Broad Sound" channel and also the " Gut" ' channel into Boston harbor, are easy tracks for large steamers, though next to impracticable to line-of-battle ships and frigates ; and so with other channels and other places. In considering to what extent the introduction of steamers into war service, may help the coast defence of the country, should we- assume that we ought to rely upon them to repel the enemy's steamers, so dangerous in coming without warning, and penetrating promptly through all natural obstacles up to the vital points of the coast, we should commit a very great error; though it is perhaps a natural one, on a cursory examination, — as it certainly 'is a frequent one. It would be a fatal error if practised upon by a nation having more than one or two important ports, and even with, such nation, it would be the most expensive of all resorts.

This cannot be a safe reliance with war steamers any more than with sailing vessels of war, and a few words may make this clear.

I do not assert that armed vessels would not be useful in coast defence. .Such an idea would be absurd : I shall even have occasion to show a necessity for this kind of force in certain exceptional cases. It is the general proposition, viz : that armed vessels, and not fortifications, are the proper defences for our vulnerable points, — a proposition the more dangerous, because seemingly in such accordance with the well-tried prowess and heroic achievements of the navy — that we have now to controvert.

Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston and New Orleans, are, we will suppose, to be guarded, not by forts, but by these vessels, on the occurrence of a war with a nation possessing large naval means. We know that it is no effort for such nations to despatch a fleet of twenty ; line-of-battle ships and frigates ; or an equal number of war steamers ; or even the combined mass ; both fleets in one.

The United Service Journal shows that in the month of August last, Great Britain had actually in commission in their navy, in a time of pro found peace, thirty-eight line-of-battle ships and frigates, thirteen sloops-of- war, and upwards of fiffty smaller armed sailing vessels, together with forty- eight armed war-steamers and near forty unarmed steamers.

What then shall we do, at the above named ports, severally ?

 Perdido Bay. — This bay is intimately related to Pensacola and Mobile bays, both as regards security and intercommunication, and should be care fully surveyed with a view to those objects. It must be fortified, and the cost may be $200,000. (Class F.)

Mobile Bay. — The plan of defence for this bay requires a fort on Mobile Point, and another on Dauphin Island.
Fort Morgan, at the first mentioned position, is a finished work, in an efficient condition ; but requiring, in the way of barracks and quarters, store-houses, &c, for the accommodation of its garrison, some further expenditures. These improvements are in progress, — estimated at $30,000. (Class B.)

Fort Gaines, on Dauphin Island — has been authorized by Congress, and the expenditure of the appropriation awaits only the settlement of title to the site, — as to which there are supposed to be no remaining difficulties, — estimate, $180,000. (Class C.)

Saturday, October 29, 2016





General James Wilkinson's name, curiously, "is not conspicuous among the Spanish land grant claimants. Wilkinson, we have already seen, had been concerned in western land deals. His integrity has been a mooted question among historians-and the fact that he was in command of American troops in Louisiana, and, together with Governor Wm. C. C. Claiborne, received the surrender of the province from the French Government, would have given him the opportunity of engrossing lands. Yet, as pointed out by his great-grandson, "one of the strongest proofs of the integrity of Wilkinson is the fact that the eight volumes of American State Papers, which contain all the Spanish land grants, and include hundreds of American settlers, do not show one grant in Wilkinson's favor ... Wilkinson never got enough land from the Spaniards to serve him as a grave."s Yet, as admitted by the ardent defender of his ancestor, one entry among the Spanish land grant claims in Louisiana shows that General James Wilkinson bought on May 12, 1816, from Moreau, the original grantee, Dauphin Island at the mouth of Mobile Bay. The American commissioners, on the application of Wilkinson's heirs, refused to confirm the grant because he "was not allowed to hold land under Spain, not being a Spanish subject." The ousting of squatters was a most difficult task for the national government. Many Americans, prior to the Louisiana cession, had emigrated into the Spanish domains and had taken up lands merely on the verbal permission of the Spanish officials.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Daddy's Great Grandmother and Grandfather

My Daddy's Great-Great Grandfather and Grandmother

Monday, October 24, 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016

THE TRUTH from an unlikely source: a July 1882 ATLANTA CONSTITUTION interview with OSCAR WILDE: "[Jefferson Davis] lives in a very beautiful house by the sea. He impressed me very much as a man of the keenest intellect...We in Ireland are fighting for the principle of autonomy against empire, for independence against centralization, for the principles for which the South fought. So it was a matter of immense interest and pleasure to me to meet the leader of such a great cause. Because although there may be a failure in fact, in idea there is no failure possible. THE PRINCIPLES FOR WHICH MR. DAVIS AND THE SOUTH WENT TO WAR CANNOT SUFFER DEFEAT."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tuscaloosa history link,+range+10+west+,township+21+South+tuscaloosa&source=bl&ots=_tK_Y9Tlx_&sig=Zj5v-ExccmIg3ijYLduKAsDwSpI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjmrrHc1OTPAhVIyT4KHYbADk8Q6AEIITAB#v=onepage&q&f=false

I found this important advertisement for a town lot auction in the Friday, January 26, 1821 issue of the Mobile Gazette and General Advertiser. This ad announced the public auction of Newtown lots which were located in the section of land west of present-day Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue (32nd Avenue). Everyone living in the Tuscaloosa area were squatters so the folks who bought land and this January, 1821 auction were the first land owners in the present-day town of Tuscaloosa. The original city survey was not completed until the spring of 1821.
On the second Monday in January next, will commence the sale at Public Auction, of LOTS in the town, situated on the southern fraction of section 21(ed. note: The original city of Tuscaloosa is located in fractional Section 22. Queen City Ave., 15th Street and MLK, Jr. Ave. follow the old section lines.),Township 21, Range 10, West, lying below and within a quarter mile of the Falls of the Black Warrior. The nature of the surrounding country, and the advantages of the site itself, with respect to the beauty of the situation, number and excellence of springs, convenience of landing, suitableness for business, &c. &c. are so generally known as to render a minute description of them unnecessary.

The above mentioned property was granted by Congress to the American Asylum for the education of the Deaf and Dumb, and sold by that institution to the present proprietors.

Terms, one third cash; one third at the end of one years, and the remaining third at the end of two years.

The sale will take place on the premises.
Wm. M. Marr
G. Saltonstall
J. Partruk , Commissioners
Tuscaloosa,(Alabama) Nov. 9, 1820"

Sunday, October 16, 2016

from the Wednesday, June 7, 1820 issue of the MOBILE GAZETTE & COMMERCIAL ADVERTISER
(ed. note: of interest is the adjutant of the Mobile Militia, David Duval "D. Duvol" who was also Mobile County sheriff; also take notice of "ceader point", "bayau Bateris"a.k.a. Bayou La Batre and "Monhue Island" a.k.a. Mon Luis Island)
The Battalion of Militia of Mobile county, has been laid off and divided into five districts or companies, the boundaries of which are as follows.
Capt. J. Clements' company - Commencing on the south side of Dog river, & running to the state of Mississippi, to be the northern boundary; the western boundary to be the dividing line between the state of Mississippi and this state; south by ceadar point, or bayau Bateris, including Dauphin Island and Monhue Island; east by the Bay of Mobile.

By order of the Major commanding.
May 17- D. Duvol, Adj't.
As we approach the 200th anniversary of ALABAMA TERRITORY in less than 6 months...
an 1819 MOBILE GAZETTE article reprinted in the May 19, 1819 issue of NILES' REGISTER out of Baltimore:

..Mobile. When it is recollected that Mobile was not taken possession of, until April, 1813, and that a very great proportion of the country on which our town must depend for support, was owned by the Indians, until the close of the late war with Great Britain, and that in fact, the improvement of the Alabama territory ought not to be dated further back than the latter part of the year 1816, or the beginning of 1817; the following statement (for which we are indebted to the collector of this port) will demonstrate that no part of the United States has advanced with the same rapidity as this territory.
Entered at the custom house. Mobile, 1817:
Brigs 14
Ships 1
Schooners 158
Sloops 36- (total) 209
46 of which were from the Atlantic states.–Cleared, 152.
 - Entered at the same port, 1818:
Schooners 208
Galliot 1
Sloops 44
Steamboat 1
Brigs 19
Ketch  1
Pettiaugers  3
Keel boats 8– (total) 280
73 of which were from the Atlantic ports.
Cleared during the same time, including barges and keel boats 369
The amount of importations this year probably exceeded 3,000,000 dollars.
Registered Tonnage owned in the district, 31st December, 1818
Enrolled and licensed 739
Licensed under 20 tons, 939
 Total tons 2216
The amount of tonnage has more than doubled the last year.-, Mobile Gazette.

Friday, October 14, 2016



Blakeley Sun, 1818-1820+ . Semi-weekly. Established December 12, 1818, by Gabriel F. Mott, under the title of the "Blakeley Sim and Alabama Advertiser." Proposals for the establishment of the paper were published in the "St. Stephens Halcyon," dated October 15, 1818. Continued after 1820. Wis. Hist. Soc. has May 17, 1819. American Antiquarian Society has: 1819. Mar. 23, 30.

[Fort Stoddert] Mobile Centinel, 1811-1812. Weekly. Established May 23, 1811, by Samuel Miller and John B. Hood. The place of publication was Fort Stoddert, where the printers located before they were able to enter Mobile. Fort Stoddert was then in Mississippi Territory, but later in Alabama. Only a few issues have survived, two of which, May 30, 1811, vol. 1, no. 2, and Jan. 29, 1812, vol. 1, no. 16, are owned by Dr. Thomas M. Owen of Montgomery.

 Mobile Gazette, 1817-1820+ . Weekly and semi-weekly. The first issue located is that of Apr. 6, 1819, vol. 3, no. 3, semi-weekly and with the title "Mobile Gazette & Commercial Advertiser." It was published by Cotten & Miller (Godwin B. Cotten and Isaac Miller). Miller disposed of his interest to Daniel B. Sanderson on May 18, 1819, and the paper was then published by Cotten & Sanderson. Cotten announced in the issue of June 23, 1819, that he had sold out to Sanderson, and says that the paper was first established under his management in the infancy of the town. In the issue of May 4, 1819, it was announced that during the summer months the paper would be published weekly. Daniel B. Sanderson was the publisher of the issue for June 23, 1819, but from June 30 to Sept. 22, 1819, it was published by Sanderson & Dade. The paper was suspended with the issue of Sept. 22, until Oct. 27, 1819, on account of the fever. Sanderson died Sept. 29, 1819, and from Oct. 2, 1819, to Jan. 1820, Dade published the paper alone. From Jan. to after Dec. 1820, it was published by Dade & Dameron ( Dade and Christopher Dameron). The title was changed to "Mobile Gazette & General Advertiser" with the issue of July 27, 1820. With the issue of Oct. 3, 1820, it reverted to a semi-weekly, although a country paper, without heading, was also published weekly. Continued after 1820. Lib. Cong, has Apr. 6, 1819-Dec. 29, 1820, with only a few issues missing.

[St Stephens] Halcyon, 1815-1820+ . Weekly. Established in 1815, judging from the date of the first issue located, that of Jan. 9, 1819, vol. 4, no. 34, although in the issue of May 1, 1820, Thomas Eastin, the editor, refers to his six years' conduct of the paper since its commencement. Its full title was the "Halcyon and Tombeckbe Public Advertiser." With the issue of Oct. 16, 1820, Joseph DeJeane became the publisher. Continued after 1820. Lib. Cong, has Jan. 9, 1819-Nov. 27, 1820. A. A. S. has: 1819. Dec. 18.

 Tuscaloosa Republican, 1819-1820+ . Weekly. Proposals for this paper were published in the "Mobile Gazette" of April, 1819, and issues of it are referred to in the "Alabama Republican" of May 15, 1819, and the St. Stephens " Halcyon" of Oct. 16, 1820.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The approach of summer brought on them the diseases of the climate, which proved peculiarly afflicting to the raw constitutions of the people, of whom not less than 200 died. These people were collected from the great cities of the Atlantic States, and, such as they are, could only be procured by extraordinary wages. Unapt, under the most favorable circumstances, to be con trolled or managed in a body, their discontents, complaints, and insubordination knew no bounds. Disheartened by sickness, and tormented by the insects that infested their habitations, they were continually deserting, and were altogether indisposed to work. After experience of the complicated evils and inconvenience attending the employment of persons procured from the northern and eastern States, the contractors were advised to recruit a fresh supply from New Orleans, as more likely to furnish persons seasoned to the climate, and accustomed to that mode of life. In following this ad vice they sunk a very considerable sum, as the people they procured from New Orleans were so lazy and worthless that little or no work could be got out of them, to compensate the expense of their transportation and maintenance and the advance of wages." The contractors say they " again had recourse to the laboring classes of the northern and eastern States, but with no better success than before. That during this period of the work, (that is, from the latter part of the winter of 1819, to the 1st of April, 1820,) in the short space of about thirteen months, no less than 800 persons, to fill the various departments of artisans, laborers, and overseers, had been transported That during this period of the work, (that is, from the latter part of the winter of 1819, to the 1st of April, 1820,) in the short space of about thirteen months, no less than 800 persons from the principal cities of the United States to Dauphin island, accompanied and followed by numerous and expensive shipments of provisions and necessaries of all kinds for their accommodation."