Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fort Hampton

Fort Hampton-Fort Hampton was located east of Elk River and some five miles north of the Tennessee River in present-day Limestone County, Alabama.  It was the only American fort that was built to remove white settlers and squatters off of Indian lands.  The fort was named in honor of General Wade Hampton who fought in the Revolutionary War.  The log fort housed two companies of soldiers.

In June 1810, Fort Hampton was built to remove white pioneers from Chickasaw lands, since the Chickasaw Indians had not given up their claims to the property.  White families that leased land from Doublehead had built homes, established fences for their livestock, and planted crops.  In June 1810 and again in June 1811, soldiers were sent to the area around Fort Hampton to force the settlers back across the Tennessee state line by destroying their crops and burning their fences, houses, and out buildings.

The North River Road and Black Warriors’ Path (Mitchell Trace) were two early Indian trails passed in close proximity of the fort.  Black Warriors’ Path forded the Tennessee River near Melton’s Bluff.  The Browns Ferry Road from Huntsville to Courtland passed east of the fort and crossed the river at Browns Ferry.

On November 9, 1813, after the Battle of Talladega of the Creek Indian War, Joseph Brown with ten of Andrew Jackson’s best men went to Cuttyatoy’s Village to secure the black slaves that had been taken by the Chickamauga in 1787.  Brown’s father and two brothers had been killed during a raid on their boat and the slaves had been taken by Cuttyatoy.  The next morning, Brown and his men forded the Tennessee River; they took the black slaves and Cuttyatoy’s wife to Fort Hampton.  Cuttyatoy and his men went to Browns Ferry where they crossed the Tennessee River on a large raft and arrived at Fort Hampton in the late afternoon.

In 1817, Fort Hampton became the county seat of Elk County which included the present-day Lauderdale and Limestone Counties.  After the area around Fort Hampton was given up by the Indians in the Chickasaw Treaty of 1816, the fort was abandoned and not used after 1821.  Since the post was no longer used, Fort Hampton fell into disrepair and eventually the log fort rotted down. 

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