Monday, September 04, 2006

Thirty years ago this summer, the citizens of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania celebrated the Bicentennial of the United States. We who live in what is known as The Old Southwest have yet to have an opportunity to genuinely join in on this celebration.

February of 2007 is an superb opportunity to focus public attention upon U. S. Bicentennial in The Old Southwest. In only seven years, 2013, we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the advent of the American flag in the Port of Mobile followed by the Bicentennial of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend and the Battle of New Orleans.

In February of 2007 Aaron Burr was arrested at Wakefield in what is now Washington County, Alabama. His crime was that he was trying to get a little land from the Spanish crown.

In Chapter 7 of Cotterill's SOUTHERN INDIANS entitled Debts, Bribes and Cessions 1803-1811, the author writes:

The epidemic of land cessions which for several years had been devastating the Southern Indians ended with the Cherokee pact of 1806, and seven years passed before a Southern tribe suffered a recurrence of the plague. Indian respite during this period was the result not of Indian resistance, but of the forbearance of the United States, distracted by a vain struggle for neutrality, an assertion of doubtful claims to a portion of West Florida, and the prosecution of an alleged conspiracy on the part of Aaron Burr.

The following information pertains to the arrest of Burr in present-day Alabama in 1807.

This is a portion of a March 19, 2006 Mobile Register article by Llewellyn Toulmin:

Keeping the peace
Some historians credit Judge Toulmin with helping prevent war with Spain on several occasions -- a claim that, given the history of the time, is not far-fetched.

Spain controlled Mobile and Florida, but was weak, and numerous American "filibusterers" wanted to kick the Spaniards out by force. Acting on orders from President Jefferson, Judge Toulmin was able to prevent numerous minor incidents from escalating into war, and even arrested people planning to invade Spanish territory.

Toulmin even issued the arrest warrant for Vice President Aaron Burr, who was allegedly scheming to establish his own empire west of the Mississippi, with himself as emperor. Just three years earlier, Burr had killed Alexander Hamilton in the most famous duel in American history.

After Burr's arrest, Toulmin and his daughter kept Burr busy playing chess in Toulmin's log cabin for several days, until a military escort could be assembled to take the dangerous man to Washington, D.C., for trial.

Toulmin also served as a postal and road contractor, while still exercising his judicial duties. He built one of the first roads from the Mobile River at Fort Stoddard across southwest Alabama to Mississippi, established ferries on the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers, and built the first road from St. Stephens to Natchez.

Toulmin is so highly regarded that he will be inducted -- along with the Honorable Hugo L. Black and other notables -- into the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame by the Alabama State Bar Association. That ceremony is scheduled for April 14 in Montgomery.

The first steps

To find the judge and his mystery town, I first went to the area described on my father's sketch map and interviewed local residents. Hunters were especially useful, since they often cover ground that is rarely visited. I found a local hunter who said that his uncles, now deceased, often told him about "Court House Hill" and even where the courthouse was located, near where my father estimated its location.

for more....


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