Thursday, January 10, 2013

Buzzard Roost

Buzzard Roost-Buzzard Roost was the original settlement of half-blood Scots Irish Chickasaw Chief Levi Colbert and a number of Chickasaw Indians.  He lived at Buzzard Roost Spring on the Natchez Trace just some two miles west of the Town of Cherokee in Colbert County, Alabama.  The large perennial spring is a tributary to Buzzard Roost Creek that runs west toward the Mississippi State Line and empties into Bear Creek where present-day Highway 20 crosses the creek.  Buzzard Roost Spring was not only a major water supply for the Chickasaws that inhabited the area, but also for travelers using the Natchez Trace.

Major Levi Colbert was known as “Itawamba Mingo” which means Wooden Bench Chief or Wooden Bench King; he was the son of James Logan Colbert and younger brother of George Colbert.  Levi was born in 1759 and died June 2, 1834, at Buzzard Roost at 74 years of age.  Levi Colbert was possibly the wealthiest and most powerful of the Colbert family.  After moving south from Buzzard Roost, he lived just west of Cotton Gin Port located in Monroe County, Mississippi.  Levi owned four thousand cattle, five hundred horses, a large herd of sheep, and several head of swine.  At one time, Levi had a part interest in Colbert’s Ferry on the Natchez Trace which was said to have been worth $20,000 annually.

Levi Colbert died at the home of his daughter, Phalishta “Pat” Malacha Colbert Carter, at Buzzard Roost Spring in Colbert County, Alabama.  Levi originally lived at the Buzzard Roost site and had Kilpatrick Carter to build a new home on the site; however, supposedly during the construction of the home Carter fell in love with Levi’s daughter and married her.  Levi told Carter if he would build him another house at Cotton Gin Port that he would give his daughter and Kilpatrick Carter the home at Buzzard Roost Spring which was done.  Then in 1834 after Levi and the Chickasaws negotiated a treaty with John Coffee, they realized that changes should be made before the treaty was ratified; and therefore, a delegation of Chickasaws including Levi Colbert started from Cotton Gin Port to Washington, D.C.  Levi got sick and stopped at his daughter’s house at Buzzard Roost Spring where he died.  He is supposedly buried at the old home site in Colbert County, Alabama. 

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