"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Horseshoe Bend


How about a history lesson?  Do you remember the Battle of Horseshoe Bend?  Site of the bloodiest one day Indian battle to ever take place in our Country.

IMG_6973 (Medium)

The Creek Indians once controlled much of what is now Georgia and Alabama.  Part of a civilization going back for centuries.  They maintained a loose confederacy between villages, and managed to get along with the European Nations that lay claim to the area during the 1700’s.  Spain, France, and Britain all became trading partners with the Creek Nation.  The fledgling United States signed a treaty defining the Creek boundaries and guaranteeing friendship.  For over twenty years things remained stable in the region. 

It was during this time that a faction of the Creeks became disenchanted.  They thought their leaders were becoming too much like the Americans and Europeans.  Many were becoming farmers and tradesmen.  They were allowing squatters to settle on Creek land.

Much the same as today, a radical group came into power in a part of the Nation.  Known as the “Red Sticks”, they began to attack the squatters, and the situation escalated over a short period of time. A massacre at Fort Mims, near present day Mobile, ignited the Creek War.  After the death of over 250 settlers, the militias of Tennessee, Georgia, and the Mississippi Territory declared war on the entire Creek Nation in the Fall of 1813.

The leader of the Tennessee Militia was a man named Andrew Jackson.  He engaged in two bloody battles with the Red Sticks early in 1814, and managed to drive them into a defensive position inside a horseshoe bend of the Tallapoosa river.  An area of less than one hundred acres. The Red Sticks built a long defensive wall across the width of the peninsula.  They thought the river would offer them protection from the other three sides.

Not so.  Troops swam the river, and torched the village site as the warriors guarded the wall.  With Jackson’s army attacking from all sides, the battle was over in less than four hours.  Over 800 Red Sticks were killed.  The most Native Americans ever killed in a single battle in United States history. 

The area is now a small National Park.

IMG_6974 (Medium)

IMG_6995 (Medium)

The village site.

IMG_6979 (Medium)

And, the battle site.  The poles define the barricade.

IMG_6982 (Medium)

Lots of informative plaques.

IMG_6983 (Medium)

A commemorative marker  set in 1914.  It hasn’t fared too well the last hundred years.

IMG_6985 (Medium)

And one from Congress, complete with incorrect date.  The battle actually took place on March 27th.

IMG_6990 (Medium)

IMG_6989 (Medium)

Horseshoe Bend brought an end to the Creek War.  A treaty was signed which gave the United states claim to over 23 million acres.  Most of this became the state of Alabama.

Lots of American hero’s were with Jackson during the Creek war.  Sam Houston and Davey Crockett are familiar names.  Jackson used the war as a springboard to the Presidency.  Two years after being elected he signed legislation to force the movement of the Southeastern tribes to lands West of the Mississippi River.  Thus began “The Trail of Tears”.

It’s quiet now on the Tallapoosa River.  No battles, no railroads.

IMG_6970 (Medium)

Only the turtles, enjoying a sunny day.

IMG_7002 (Medium)

IMG_6992 (Medium)

The Creeks did leave a legacy behind.  The area of East Central Alabama is filled with names such as Loachapoka, Notasulga, Talassee, Cusseta, Wetumpka, and many more.

If you haven’t noticed, I love history?…..jc

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Little More of Warm Springs


One of the things I found interesting on our visit to Warm Springs was its size.  I had an impression that it would be a large resort town such as Hot Springs, AR.  Though it had been a destination for folks from Savannah and Atlanta for decades, it wasn’t much more than a village.  Just imagine what the arrival of someone like Roosevelt would have been like.  Undoubtedly, having him around boosted the economy.  At present, with the risks of malaria and yellow fever gone, the crowds don’t arrive for the Summers as they once did.  We now know there are no magical healing powers in the water. Without the Little White House to draw visitors, it possibly wouldn’t  be a dot on a map, anymore.

The pools that Roosevelt bathed and played in are empty now.

IMG_6959 (Small)

IMG_6958 (Small)

The water still flows in, but immediately goes down the drain.

IMG_6965 (Small)

The remaining building is more a museum to the fight against Polio.  Some may remember these monsters from your childhood?

IMG_6961 (Small)

IMG_6962 (Small)

IMG_6963 (Small)

More therapy devices.

IMG_6960 (Small)

Though we enjoyed touring the Little White House and the two museums, I left the area thinking about how blessed we are.  Our parents lived through this period of history.  They dreaded the thought of Polio hitting their children.  I remember standing in line at our community grocery store to receive the vaccine.  Our children never faced the risk.  Just seventy years ago, all that was a dream.

On the bright side, it is a beautiful area of the Country.

IMG_6968 (Small)

This is Dowdell’s Knob.  One of Roosevelt’s most favorite spots to sit and think.  It’s said that this is where he first came up with the idea of the United Nations, as well as the CCC and other things.  The CCC actually built the road which is used to access the point today.  A life size statue still enjoys the view.

                IMG_6969 (Small)


Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Little White House


With some time to kill while waiting on the music to start, a short road trip was in order.  Perusing the maps of the local area, I saw Warm Springs, GA and a reference to FDR’S retreat.  The plaque below gives basic information.

IMG_6956 (Small)

It is now a Georgia State park.  A museum is filled with many things from his stays here.  From his specially equipped automobile that he designed himself, to his wheel chair and braces.

IMG_6915 (Small)

See the clutch lever by the door?

IMG_6928 (Small)

IMG_6925 (Small)

He was an avid stamp collector, and also, apparently, a collector of canes.

IMG_6919 (Small) IMG_6921 (Small)

It’s said that his spending time in Georgia exposed him to the hardships of rural life with no electricity.  From that, he created the REA, which brought electricity to millions and jobs back into the economy.

IMG_6923 (Small)

There was a walkway which went up to the original museum.  It was draped with state flags and a stone from each state.

IMG_6929 (Small)

Most were rather drab rocks, with Montana and Nevada winning, hands down.

IMG_6930 (Small) IMG_6931 (Small)

The house itself, though looking formal from the outside, was much more rustic inside.

IMG_6933 (Small)

It looked a lot like his childhood home on Campobello island.  Bare wood throughout, and very simple.  Fly spray and paper towels.

IMG_6935 (Small) IMG_6936 (Small)

Things look much the same as they were on the day of his death.  Sitting in the chair below, while getting a portrait painted he collapsed, and died a short time later.

IMG_6937 (Small)

IMG_6938 (Small)

His bedroom.

IMG_6945 (Small)

The portrait as it was when he died.

IMG_6951 (Small)

Using the original as a model, the artist created another painting.  Both can be seem here.

IMG_6955 (Small)

Just another view of the life of one of our Presidents.    Might do another blog on Warm Springs itself, as well as the springs visited by Roosevelt…jc

Monday, April 20, 2015

Service COE Campground


IMG_3873 (Medium)

Have you ever driven past some place and thought, “I’m going to stop there one day”?  That sums up our many journeys across Southern Alabama on Highway 84. Always on the was to a destination.  This time was going to be different. 

We have never stayed anywhere on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.  The waterway was one of the last major “pork barrel” projects  of the last century.  Another story for another time, but basically it ties the port of Mobile to the Tennessee River.  This was done by channelizing the Tombigbee River,  and digging a ditch to connect the two rivers together.  Barges can now make their way from Mobile Northward, without having to go up the Mississippi River.

Service Park and Campground is located just off the highway, near Coffeeville, AL. A hidden jewel, so to speak.  Nothing nearby to attract crowds.

IMG_3845 (Medium)

Ten feet beyond that rail fence is the waterway.

IMG_3850 (Medium)

See the Casita?

IMG_3869 (Medium)

The river was running near flood stage, and apparently had awakened a few river monsters.

IMG_3863 (Medium)

Three of four barges a day.  Sally thought she did a great job running this one off.

IMG_3874 (Medium)

We’re here for a couple of days.  On our way to Auburn, AL for a music fest.

IMG_3857 (Medium)

Before leaving home, we met with some friends for a crawfish boil.  A good friend and his wife purchased an old farmhouse years ago, and had it moved to near their home.  They restored it and rent it out for celebrations of all kinds.  They named it the Gathering Place. 

IMG_3835 (Medium)

Lots of stuff decorate the yard, and plenty rockers cover the porch.

IMG_3836 (Medium)

The main course.

IMG_3841 (Medium)

Which it appears most everyone enjoyed.

IMG_3842 (Medium)