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Rebellion April - June 1821     
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Jackson and Weatheford in the aftermath of the Creek War
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Chief Weatherford in Jackson's tent. This nineteenth-century engraving depicts the well-known moment after the Creek War (1813-14) when Red Stick chief William Weatherford initiated his alliance with Andrew Jackson. American Historical Images on File: The Native American Experience.

More on Weatherford

Americans celebrated the surrender of Weatherford, aka Red Eagle, and historians commemorated his action as both pragmatic and noble. Less well-known were the chief's connections to slave raiding sorties into Florida. The sorties were undertaken in concert with Jackson's other great Creek Indian ally, William McIntosh. Jackson was never directly implicated in the raids, but his associations with both leaders were very tight. Weatherford, for instance, lived for a year at Jackson's house following the Creek war, becoming a close personal friend of the General.
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When Jackson became the territorial governor of Florida on April 2, 1821, the black community at Angola was still flourishing, but not for long. Jackson's first question for the secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, concerned the blacks and Indians around Tampa: Were they to be ordered up to the Creek country, or protected in their settlements? "Whatever may be the Presidents Instructions upon this subject shall be strictly obeyed," he wrote Adams. 

But Jackson's assurances were moot. Before Adams or President Monroe could respond, Old Hickory's associates -- most notably McIntosh and another Creek chief, William Weatherford -- led a brutal slave raid on Angola. The raiders surprised the blacks in May or early June, capturing 300 maroons, plundering their plantations, and setting fire to their homes. Moving further down the peninsula, they robbed a community of Spanish fishermen and captured more slaves, "besides committing the greatest excess," in the words of a correspondent who may have participated in the attacks. The correspondent continued: " [T]he terror thus spread along the Western Coast of East Florida broke all establishments of both blacks and Indians."

Incensed by the unsanctioned invasion of the new territory, the Secretary of War ordered an immediate investigation to account for the 300 captured blacks. Less than forty, it was learned, had been returned to southern owners. A majority remained unaccounted for, presumably sold into slavery at great profit to the raiders.

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Sources: Carter 22: 28-29, Brown "Sarrazota," Charleston City Gazette and Commercial Advertiser, quoted in the Philadelphia National Gazette and Literary Register, December 3, 1821, as cited in Brown.
Part 1, Early Years: Outline  l  Images
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 - Early Years: 1832-1838
+ World at Birth
+ Encroaching America
+ A New Country
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Moultrie Creek
Slave Raiders
Abraham
Gopher John
Peace
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 + Freedom: 1850-1882
 + Legacy & Conclusion