Thursday, December 11, 2014

Incident at William Parker's Place: episode 2

NoteRelationships, such as grandmother, 2nd great, etc., are expressed from the perspective of the grandchildren of Willis Edgar and Carrie (known as) Mae (Merritt) Musgrove.

We know about our lineage in large part because of Folks Huxford. According to the Huxford Society website;
Judge Folks Huxford.
"(Judge Huxford) was a historian, author, and Clinch County Probate Judge. From early childhood, he had a keen interest in the pioneer families of South Georgia and spent much of his time going from home to home talking to these old pioneers and collecting their family histories.  

He kept copious notes on handwritten cards that formed the nucleus for his seven volumes of Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia as well as the additional four volumes published after his death."
The Clinch County Probate Court Judge collected family genealogies and stories all his life. When you read his histories, you're hearing a story someone told him. 

Wonder who told him our family's story?

 We've already posted his version of the incident at the Parker house. In the same post we shared a letter from Levi Knight to the governor of Georgia about the skirmish. He signed that message;
"I have the honor to be your excellency’s most obedient and humble servant,   
LEVI J. KNIGHT.  
N. B.  We had but two commissioned officers among us, and they both captains, who only filled the place of privates as the company claimed the right of choosing their own leaders.  I forgot to state that myself was chosen to lead  on the trailers, Ivy Simmons to second, and Wm. C. Knight third or in the rear. L. J. K."
And we ended the last post with the transcription of 'The Douglas Enterprisenewspaper article dated June 10, 1927 letting Sarah (Parker) Williams tell the story. Transcribed by  Merritt genealogists, they left this valuable note at the bottom of their work:
:"Research Note: This story is recounted in the History of Clinch County (1916) by Folks Huxford and in Ward's History of Coffee County (1930) by Judge P. Ward. Judge Ward doesn't exactly have the facts straight..."
Who was Judge Preston Ward? Warren Preston Ward was an Ordinary Judge of Coffee County for 24 years. He is the author of Ward's History of Coffee County

On December 6, 1922 he wrote The Atlanta Constitution story "Short-Arm Bill Parker and the Last Indian Fight In Berrien County" below;
"About the year 1836 William Parker, (Short-Arm Bill, as he was called), (he was also) the father of C.G.W. Parker, (who later became) a well-known doctor, was living in Berrien county on the old Patterson place.   
One winter day when Mr. Parker was away from home, several Indians appeared at the foot of the hill, at a spring, where the family got water. It is said that the Indians began to beat on logs, thereby attracting the attention of the people.  
It appears that the Indians meant to rob and not to murder, but as there were no men at home the women ran through the field , a back way, a distance of five miles to the home of Dread Newborn.
The Indians robbed the house, broke open a trunk and got $300 in cash, cut the feather beds open, emptied the feathers out and took the ticks (pillow cases) with them.  
A company of men soon collected together, under the command of George Peterson, Dread Newborn, William Parker, and others.
The Indians were overtaken at the Allapaha river and three were killed, others made their escape but were overtaken at the St. Illa river, at what is now known as Indian Lake, about two miles northeast of the town of Axson, Ga.
They were all shot and killed, except one squaw; it was reported that she was captured and shot.  
Dread Newborn (Jr.), the son of Dread Newborn (Sr.), who followed the Indians, informs me that the Indian woman was kept in prison for a while and then by direction of the government was returned to her own people."
The judge reports that after the women, left alone for the day, spotted the Indians, they ""...ran through the field...to the home of Dread Newborn." In his version of the story, 
"A company of men soon collected together, under the command of George Peterson, Dread Newborn, William Parker, and others."
Though Levi Knight, the letter writer, insists he's in command, he isn't mentioned.

The judge finishes his account;

 "They (the Indians) were all shot and killed, except one squaw; it was reported that she was captured and shot."  
On this point our 2nd great grandmother, in the story she told at her 86th birthday party, said;
"...the squaw managed to escape by jumping into the river. She came out on the other side and was wounded and begging for water. They gave her water but she was afterwards killed. " 
The day after it happened, Levi Knight wrote in his letter to the governor;
"One squaw was shot in the back with four buck shot,... . She was heard to make a noise until she arrived to the middle of the stream, when all was silent..." 
The story is as consistent as it is uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable as much for what it tells as for what it doesn't. Folks Huxford left it completely out of his account. 

Judge Warren Preston Ward reports it. It's already well known.

Then the judge awkwardly adds this ending. 

"Dread Newborn (Jr.), the son of Dread Newborn (Sr.), who followed the Indians, informs me that the Indian woman was kept in prison for a while and then by direction of the government was returned to her own people."
Wonder who told him our family's story?

No comments:

Post a Comment