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The War of 1812 years was a time of decision for American Indians. As the United States and Britain prepared to go to war with each other, each country pressured Indian nations to choose sides. The looming war also forced Indian leaders to decide whether their nations would return to their traditional ways of life or continue to adapt to new European/American customs. Chickasaws, Choctaws, Cherokees and some Creeks thought their nations would benefit from American protection and increased trade, and they chose to support the United States.  Red Stick Creeks and Shawnees sought British help to attack the United States.  Their goals were to reclaim their hunting grounds and to restore their traditional ways once the Americans were removed. 

            The strategic importance of Colbert Ferry was highlighted during the War of 1812.  George Colbert’s ferry operation was located at the intersection of two main transportation corridors- the Tennessee River and the Natchez Trace. The area from East Port to Muscle Shoals was also a northern gateway to southern Indian nations.  As a crossroads near the border of Indian nations and the United States, these historic grounds witnessed significant events that influenced the outcome of the war.

            Indians’ decisions made during the years 1811-1814 helped the United States win the Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans, but they also planted the seeds for Indian removal and an expansion of what has become known as the  “Old South.” Living history events throughout the day will portray historic events from 1811 to 1814. 

This event is made possible with support from the Alabama Humanities Foundation,

the state affiliate of the  National Endowment for the Humanities.


(S is speaker’s tent)

9:00   Event opens to Public

9:25:  Welcome:  Natchez Trace Parkway Association President Bryant Boswell and Albaama Chapter President  Bud Pride.  S

9:30- 9:50  Tony Turnbow  “The Chickasaws and Colbert Ferry”  S

10:00- 10:15   Living History Presentation, Colbert Ferry 1811:  George Colbert Welcomes Natchez Travelers

10:30- 11:10    Dr. Tom  Kanon, Tennessee State Library and Archives –  “The Legacy of Tecumseh in the South- Past and Present” S

11:30 – 11:50   Living History Presentation ,  Natchez Trace 1811. Tecumseh’s Arrival and Speech and Pushmataha’s Speech in Rebuttal

12:30- 1:10   James Parker,  Fort Jackson ,“The Creek Civil War and the War of 1812.”  S

1:30-2:00   Living History Presentation,  1812 Indian Council at Colbert Ferry

2:15-  2:30   Living History Presentation,  Colbert Ferry 1814:  Red Stick Creeks Threaten Colbert, Colbert Departs for Big Town, Chickasaw Agent James Robertson hires Chickasaw Men to Guard the Ferry

2:40 – 3:00   Raymond Doherty-  Archaeological Discoveries at George Colbert’s Big Town House   S

3:10- 3:40  Robert Thrower,  Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Poarch Creek Nation, “Consequences of Decisions Made in the War of 1812.” S

3:45  Living History Presentation, Colbert Ferry 1814:  U.S. Soldiers Arrive to Guard the Ferry. Evening Colors Ceremony.

4:00  Event Closes.


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