A brutal massacre occurred in Clarke County during the Creek War of 1813

KIMBALL/KIMBELL-JAMES MASSACRE

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Clarke County, Alabama

A brutal massacre occurred September 1, 1813, in Clarke County, in which the Creeks under the Prophet Francis cruelly murdered 12 members of the Kimball and James families. In the fall of 1813, the settlers in Clarke County were constantly alert, fearing Indian attack.map of clarke county


 

Stockade was extremely crowded

They had gathered in rude forts and there were so many people in the stockade that it became extremely crowded. Ransom Kimball and Abner James, however, became dissatisfied with the inactive life at Fort Sinquefield, and some time in August they and their families moved out to Kimbell’s spacious plantation home about 2 miles distant to the east.

Heard running feet

On August 31, 1813, Mary James, daughter of Abner James, was up late caring for a sick family member. Young Isham Kimbell was helping her. The dogs outside began to bark furiously. Mary blew out the candles and they heard the sound of running feet. Yet, the next day, inexplicably, the families still didn’t return to Fort Sinquefield.

Fort SinquefieldFort Sinquefield historic marker – (colonialdamesofalabama.com)

At 3:00 pm on September 1, 1813, Ransom Kimbell was away from the house. Abner James and a man named Walker who was visiting were near the house. Suddenly, the house was surrounded by a band of Creek warriors led by the Prophet Francis and before they could hardly realize that the Indians were upon them.

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James and Walker were shot at but untouched. They managed to get Abner’s son Thomas age 14, and his daughter Mary away from the melee and the four of them fled to Fort Sinquefield.

The boys ran away

Young Isham Kimbell had seen what the Indians were doing to his family and immediately ran away, grabbing a younger brother who was in blacksmith’s shop. The boys stayed away from the road. Indians saw them and fired at them but both were untouched. They made it to a creek and while crossing, Isham fell. When he gathered his senses, he realized his brother was no longer there. Nothing more was ever known of what happened to that child.

Fort Sinquefield (clarkemuseum.com)Fort Sinquefield (clarkemuseum.com)

All were killed

Isham continued on to the stockade. He heard the Indians but was able to conceal himself from them. Meanwhile, two men at Fort Sinquefield heard the shots and ventured out. Thomas Matlock and John O’Gwynn. They found the exhausted teenager and took him to the Fort. Only a few made their escape to the fort. Everyone else in the house, 14 in all were clubbed and scalped and the house was pillaged, burned and the stock was killed.

Ransom Kimbell heard the shots and hurried home but he was too late so he returned to the Fort and set about helping others prepare for an attack.

Struggled to reach Fort Sinquefield

During the attack, Mrs. Sarah Merrill, a daughter of Abner James was struck down, together with her infant son. Both were supposed to be dead as she had been scalped and was bleeding profusely. Later that night, she was revived by falling rain and managed to crawl around and found her year-old baby boy alive. She made her way out and struggled through the woods towards Fort Sinquefield. She had been scalped and was weak and felt she couldn’t go on carrying her child so she placed the baby in a hollow log, and continued on to the fort. Once there, she told her neighbors about leaving the baby.

Men hurried to find the baby

Men hurried to the area and after searching, found the child safe and sound; they took the toddler to the fort and to the arms of his wounded mother. She and the child eventually recovered. Mrs. Merrill died in Clarke County in 1869, but she could never remain long in the sun because of the wound on the head.

Ransom Kimbell did not live long after the attack, probably due to his personal loss. He died at Fort Madison. His son Isham lived to become an important citizen of Clarke County. He was a clerk of the Circuit Court.

The attack on Fort Sinquefield was made on the following day.

SOURCE – 

Excerpts from: Halbert and Ball – The Creek War of 1813 and 1814. published 1880

  1. Meek, Romantic Passages in Southwestern History (1857) pp. 300, 301;
  2. Pickett, History of Alabama (Owen’s ed. 1900), pp. 544, 545;
  3. Ball, Clarke and its surroundings (1882), pp. 150-153; Halbert and Ball, Creek War o/ 1813 and 1811, (1895), pp. 177-181.
  4. “The Democrat-Reporter” Linden, Marengo Co. AL, Thursday, September 24, 1998.

The Grand Masters of Free & Accepted Masons of the State of Alabama 1811-2011 As wife of one of the Grand Masters, Donna R. Causey, had the unique opportunity to work with Alabama’s Grand Lodge to provide biographical data into the lives and backgrounds of all the Grand Masters of Freemasonry in Alabama from 1811 to 2011. Many early photographs of the Grand Masters are included in this work.


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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

23 Responses to A brutal massacre occurred in Clarke County during the Creek War of 1813

  1. I have a very similar story from the Stroud side of my family in Alabama. I’d have to pull the articles to get the dates, exact location, and family member’s name but the story has a lot of similarities. Early AL territory, Creek Indians, lone house, and slash & burn approach. It really reminds you how brave our ancestors where!

  2. Abner James was my Great Great Great Grandfather!!

  3. Mary Ransom says:

    Ransom Kimbell is the son of Mary Ransom who is the sister of my husband’s 4th Great Grandfather James Ransom and Amy Davis Ransom.

  4. Who was prophet Francis?

  5. It reminds me how the Creeks’ land was encroached upon by foreigners.

  6. I love all these old stories of early life in Alabama.

  7. Encroached! The Creeks weren’t even native to Alabama! They just encroached first! Educate yourself!

    • Myra Lucas says:

      Curt Golden, so if someone comes and massacre you and your family and take your land it will be acceptable? After all, you were not the first to own it…

  8. My ancestors too were massacred by the Creek Indians. It was called the Hart Family Massacre Fall 1835 Coffee County, AL, along the Pea River. A marker was erected in Kinston, AL. This lead to the Creek Indian War 1836-37.

  9. My ancestor was in the creek war.. He survived and his record is on fold 3

  10. Why is only referred to as a massacre when white people were killed?

    • Myra Lucas says:

      Carolyn Woodside, for the same reason it is a crime only when a white kills a black today. The political machine of then and now has an agenda to meet. In those days, whites used any excuse possible to justify the murder of Indians who had land whites wanted to take. Today, blacks want to rule the nation and subjugate whites, thus it is publicly promoted a crime for a white to kill any black, (who are all victims according to the media) even in self defense. Yet blacks and illegal aliens can murder unarmed, innocent whites without any retribution at all today. It is pure and simple manipulation to circumvent the law and morals. Back then, government was run by whites, today, government is run by blacks and black sympathizers. Only one thing remains constant, the greed of man regardless of his race.

  11. You say “settlers” I say “invaders”.. When you walk upon another’s land and claim it for your own there are consequences.

  12. The location of the Fort Singuefield site is just a few miles East of Grove Hill, Alabama on the right. Clarke County Democrat Newspaper owner Jim Cox in Grove Hill is a historian and has more details & facts of the history and about the story that wasn’t listed in this post.

  13. Henry James says:

    Abner James was my GGGrandfather. His son Alman was fighting with the militia at the time of the massacre.

  14. Thanks for the history lesson.

  15. Boy this is a deep deep rabbit hole…..so much information, but a journey you will always remember.

  16. Tell us the story about when the Creek whooped Jackson ass at Horse shoe bend…2000 against 600 braves …I love that one…Burn in Hell Jackson and all that followed..Democratic devils

  17. Enjoyed the read, great history lesson

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