Sunday, December 04, 2005

BARBOUR COUNTY - Home of the #6 Alabama License Plates
March 24, 1832: In Washington, D.C., representatives of the Creek Indians sign a treaty ceding "to the United States all their land, East of the Mississippi," which included large portions of east Alabama. Known as the Treaty of Cusseta, it was negotiated in the wake of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Approximately 20,000 Creeks were removed to the Oklahoma Indian Territory by 1840, although some remained, including the ancestors of the Poarch Band of Creeks, who are concentrated near Atmore, Alabama.

The above date is really important to my ancestors who made Barbour County their home. Nine months later on December 18, 1832, portions of existing Alabama Counties along with newly acquired Indian territory were formed into Barbour County, named for Governor James Barbour of Virginia .

I have a few facts and family traditions concerning my Barbour County ancestors. My Great-Great Grandfather Timothy Lee [born 1826?] came to Alabama from the Darlington, South Carolina area in 1833. He was probably about 7 years old. He settled down south of the Indian Treaty Boundary Line[1832] at White Pond below Baker Hill in the southern part of the county near the Henry County line. In 1836 at the age of 10, Timothy witnessed the Second Creek War of 1836.

He married Nancy Beth Parmer[1829-1884?] on November 14, 1845. He and Nancy had 5 sons and 4 daughters. My Great Grandfather Leamon D. Lee[1849-1936] was their oldest boy. Great Grandpa Lee married Margie Jimmerson on December 22, 1870. They had 4 boys and 4 girls. My Grandma, Ludie Lee[ 1883-1973], was their next to oldest daughter. My Great Grandparents are buried at Belcher Bethel Cemetery south of Baker Hill.

Ludie along with my Grandpa Joe Belcher[1886-1965] are also buried near Baker Hill at the County Line Primitive Baptist Cemetery on U.S. Highway 431 on the Henry County Line. My Great Grandparents, John [1865-1954] and Hettie [1866-1934] Belcher are buried nearby.

My mother, Lucy Kate Belcher[1918-1985], was delivered by Dr. Wallace, Gov. Wallace's Grandfather, on October 7, 1918 near Baker Hill . Less than a year later Dr. Wallace's grandson, GEORGE C., was born in nearby Clio.

I haven't tracked down all of the Barbour County information that I want to collect. There are lots of old houses and historic sites I need to post. Some of my most vivid memories of childhood come from reminiscences of visiting Barbour County farm houses and barns being moved before the backwater from the Chattahoochee River formed Lake Eufaula in the early Sixties.

Interesting and exotic Barbour County place names:

Adkinson Head, Baker Hill, Big Eddy, Black Gum Corners, Boot Hill, Bush, Coal Springs, Cowikee, Fort Barbour, Galilee Corner, Hoboken, Kiwikaki, Lime Sink, Lingo, New Topia, Okitiyakni, Pea River Battleground, Roaches Mill, Tabernacle, Tipping Store, Texasville, Wylaunee, Yufala, Zorn's Mill.

Here's an interesting fact from Barbour County history. In the late 1850s Jefferson Buford from Barbour County led 250 Alabamians to Kansas in order to support the pro-slavery forces being attacked by John Brown and his ilk.
Jefferson Buford, 1807 - 1861
Materials relating to Jefferson Buford
Jefferson Buford, leader of the famous “Buford Expedition” to Kansas Territory, was born on August 17, 1807, in Chester County, South Carolina. After studying law he became a lawyer in Eufaula, Barbour County, Alabama, and during the Creek Indian War of 1836 he served in the Alabama, earning the rank of major for his efforts.

Following the war he returned to Alabama where he owned and operated a slave plantation on the Chattahoochee River.

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 left the slavery question undecided in the newly established territories. The act's proviso allowed the people of the territory to determine the slavery question at the time they ratified their state constitution for admission into the Union of states. As a result, the settlement of the territory of Kansas with actual proslavery voters became a crucial issue, if slavery were to be successfully approved at the ballot box and then incorporated into the written laws adopted under the new, proslavery state constitution.
By late 1855 the border ruffians from Missouri were finding it difficult to maintain a majority voting presence in Kansas because of the large influx of free-state men emigrating from the northern states. The Missourians responded with an open appeal to the other slave holding states to send men to Kansas in order to secure the “peculiar institution” as the predominate socio-economic system in place within the territory.

On November 11, 1855, Buford heeded the call. He enlisted fellow southerners in a colonization effort that would locate in Kansas and make sure the territory entered the Union as a slave state. “Buford's Expedition,” as it became commonly known, encompassed some 400 men gathered mostly from the states of Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia. These men all agreed to settle in Kansas in return for free transportation there, a year's guaranteed means of support while there, and a homestead of 40 acres of first rate land upon arrival. On April 5, 1856, this group of proslavery men finally left by steamboat from Montgomery, Alabama, for Kansas and they arrived in the territory on May 2.

The newly arrived proslavery group was immediately enrolled into the Kansas territorial militia to help arrest several free-state men in Lawrence, who had been indicted by a Douglas County grand jury. The posse, as it became known, was under the leadership of U.S. Marshal Israel B. Donalson. It entered Lawrence and made a few arrests of free-state men. After disbanding, the posse was once more reconstituted under the leadership of Douglas County Sheriff Samuel J. Jones to assist in serving some writs. What soon followed was the sacking and burning of several buildings known to be free-state businesses. After the looting and burning had ended, Buford disclaimed he had come purposely to Kansas to destroy property and condemned the course of action that had occurred in Lawrence.

In June Buford left Kansas for the South and then Washington, D.C., where he attempted to muster greater support among proslavery men for relocating as colonists to Kansas. Late in 1857 he finally returned to Kansas only to find the company of proslavery men he had originally raised in 1855 had disbanded with many returning south to their respective homes. Upon learning of the course of events, Buford also elected to leave Kansas for Alabama. He journeyed to Clayton, Alabama, where on August 28, 1861, he died of heart disease.
Blackmar, Frank W. Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History . Chicago, IL: Standard Publishing Co., 1912.
Fleming, Walter L. “The Buford Expedition to Kansas.” American Historical Review 6 (October 1900): 38-48.
Owen, Thomas M. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography . Chicago, IL: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1921.

Martha Reeves was born in Eufaula but moved to Detroit before her first birthday


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