Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cold Water

Cold Water-Cold Water Village was a Chickamauga Indian town established as a French trading site in the early 1770’s.  The settlement was located near the junction of Spring Creek with the Tennessee River; today, the site is known as Tuscumbia Landing in Colbert County, Alabama. 

In March 1780, Colonel John Donelson led a party of white settlers down the Tennessee River by Cold Water Village from Knoxville in route to settle the Cumberland River Valley which was claimed by the Lower Cherokees and other Chickamauga tribes.  Donelson’s group was attacked by the hostile Chickamauga Indians at both ends of the Muscle Shoals, but only five of their group suffered wounds while passing the shoals of the Tennessee River.

On June 13, 1787, some of Doublehead’s warriors killed Mark Robertson, the younger brother of Colonel James Robertson near Nashville, Tennessee.  Without waiting for permission from the Governor, Robertson with a force of 130 men began to pursue the enemy to the mouth of Blue Water Creek and then down the Tennessee River to Cold Water Village.  Robertson’s men were following a 100 mile Indian trail south that became Doublehead’s Trace from Franklin, Tennessee, to the mouth of Blue Water Creek in present-day Lauderdale County, Alabama.

When Robertson’s forces reached Cold Water, the Chickamauga Indians were taken completely by surprise and made a run for their canoes.  Robertson’s men opened fire killing some fourteen Lower Cherokees and six Upper Creeks along with some French traders who were instigating the raids in the Cumberland River Valley.  Robertson’s forces burned the town and returned to Nashville, Tennessee.  Robertson with the assistance of Cumberland Valley settlers defeated the Chickamauga at the French trading post at Cold Water in present-day Tuscumbia, Alabama; however, Robertson’s campaign at Cold Water failed to diminish raids on the Nashville, Tennessee area.  Chickamauga warriors under Doublehead’s command would continue their war against the Cumberland settlements into June 1795.

The Coosa Path or Muscle Shoals Path was a major Indian trail from the east that ended at the landing near Cold Water Village.  The old Indian route from northeast Alabama to Cold Water Village was called the Coosa Path by Captain Edmund Pendelton Gaines on the rainy day of December 29, 1807, when he was surveying the Gaines Trace from Melton’s Bluff in North Alabama to Cotton Gin Port in northeast Mississippi.  The same trail was also called the Muscle Shoals Path by Cherokee Chief Path Killer in October 1813.   

From Oakville, the Coosa Path became a removal route for 511 Creeks Indians in December 1835 and some 2,000 in September 1836; most of these Creeks followed Black Warriors’ Path to Oakville where they hit the Coosa Path to the west.  The Creeks were placed on boats at Tuscumbia Landing and transported down river.  Later during Indian Removal in the late 1830’s, many Cherokees were moved from Decatur around the Muscle Shoals to Tuscumbia Landing by the Decatur to Tuscumbia Railroad.  Most all these Cherokee Indians were transported down river from Tuscumbia Landing by boats to Waterloo where they were placed on steamers headed west.

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