Weatherford's Grave
This interpretive panel at the
entrance to the park tells
Weatherford's story.
Site of Weatherford's Leap
Legend holds that William
Weatherford rode his horse
off this bluff during the Battle
of Holy Ground, Alabama.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - William Weatherford's Grave, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - William Weatherford's Grave, Alabama
Grave of William Weatherford - Baldwin County, Alabama
Grave of William Weatherford
This rock cairn in Baldwin County, Alabama, marks
the grave of the noted Creek warrior William
Weatherford, also known as "Red Eagle."
Burial Place of a Creek Warrior
One of the most noted figures of the early
19th century lies buried beneath a stone
cairn in Baldwin County, Alabama.

William Weatherford, also known to later
generations as "Red Eagle," was a noted
Creek warrior. One of the leaders of the
attack on Fort Mims, he fought against three
U.S. Armies during the
Creek War of
1813-1814.

Born during the second half of the 18th
century, Weatherford was the son of a white
trader and a Creek woman. Raised in a
family that grew fine horses, he remained
active in horse breeding for his entire life.

Perhaps more importantly, Weatherford grew
up in the shadow of the great Creek leader
Alexander McGillivray. Weatherford's mother,
Sehoy (usually called Sehoy III to differentiate
her from her mother and grandmother) was a
sister of McGillivray and her young son was a
contemporary of his famed uncle.

Weatherford rose to prominence among the
Creeks when he assisted in the capture of
William Augustus Bowles in 1803.

Ten years later, he emerged as one of the
principal war leaders of the Red Sticks, a
religious movement that exploded among the
Creeks during the winter of 1812-1813 due to
the teachings of the Prophet Josiah Francis.

There are varying stories of Weatherford's
involvement in the movement. One version
holds that he was forced to join to save the
lives of family members while a second
claims that he was a willing participant in the
movement, which included many of his
inlaws and relatives.

An intriguing third possibility is found in the
papers of U.S. Indian Agent Benjamin
Hawkins. According to a letter written by
Hawkins in 1813, Weatherford was taken
prisoner by Red Sticks at the Battle of Burnt
Corn Creek, Alabama. If Hawkins was
correct, then Weatherford joined the war party
after initially fighting against it.

Whatever the truth, William Weatherford was
one of the principal leaders of the Red Stick
attack on
Fort Mims. The August 30, 1813
attack resulted in the deaths of hundreds of
men, women and children. He also fought at
the
Battle of Holy Ground on December 23,
1813. It was at Holy Ground that he is said to
have made a spectacular leap on horseback
from a high bluff into the Alabama River.
Fort Mims, Alabama
Weatherford was one of the
leaders of the 1813 attack on
Fort Mims. Hundreds of men,
women and children died in
the fall of the frontier stockade.
Where else he fought during the Creek War
is subject to much speculation. Tradition
holds that he left the scene of the Battle of
Calabee Creek before the fighting started
and there is no evidence that he was at the
climactic
Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

After the war, Weatherford surrendered to
Andrew Jackson at Fort Jackson. Although
many stories have been told of his bold
approach into Jackson's camp, in reality his
surrender was a arranged in writing before
he approached Fort Jackson.

Following his surrender, Weatherford turned
on his former fellow warriors and guided U.S.
forces in raids on Red Stick hideouts.

William Weatherford lived in the Tensaw area
after the Creek War and died in 1826. His
descendants still live throughout the region.

Weatherford's grave, along with a cairn
memorializing his mother, is now a small
park in Baldwin County, Alabama. To reach
the grave, travel north on Highway 59 from
Tensaw and watch for the signs to "Red
Eagle's Grave."
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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