James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Dennison Darling, 1 April 1812

From Dennison Darling

Fort Stoddert April 1st. 1812


The mail Rider of yesterday brings us information of one Man killed, and one or two more Wounded—(Supposed mortal) by the creek Indians on the Path Near ⟨Nackacks?⟩. Some Travelers of this day confirm the Report.

The Prophets Brother has been in the Nation for some time.1 We are apprehensive of Small injuries—unless he shoud fail in his object—We much doubt whether they will Venture to make any Serious attack—Although Rumors to that Effect have been circulated. The circumstance of the late murder will afford Some Alarm—It being the usual mode of Savages to Express their dissatisfaction.

Coln Hawkins Will it is presumed make such Communication to you as the nature of the Case Requires.2 I am Respectfully Yr obt Sert

Denn Darling3

RC (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, D-56:6). Docketed as received in the War Department on 2 May 1812. Author identified in the docket as “Daniel Darling.”

1During his meeting with William Henry Harrison at Vincennes in early August 1811, Tecumseh announced that he would cross the Ohio River to enlist support for his cause among the southern Indian peoples. He carried out this intention between August and December 1811, and by January 1812 he had returned to Tippecanoe only to learn that Harrison had taken advantage of his absence to march on the Indian community, thus provoking the Battle of Tippecanoe on 7 Nov. 1811. For the most part the southern Indians did not respond positively to Tecumseh’s message, but he did manage to find some support in the Upper Creek townships, whose inhabitants were aggrieved by the administration’s recent decision to cut a federal road from Tennessee to Mobile (Edmunds, Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership, pp. 146–61; Mary Jane McDaniel, “Tecumseh’s Visit to the Creeks,” Alabama Review, 33 [1980]: 3–14).

2A few days later Benjamin Hawkins reported the murder on the post road on 26 Mar. of Thomas Meredith, Sr., “a respectable old man traveling with his family to Mississippi Territory.” Hawkins persuaded the chiefs to convene a council on the matter but also added: “Several travelers have passed and repassed since and I hear of no further interruption” (Hawkins to Eustis, 6 Apr. 1812 [printed in Grant, Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 2:605]).

3In 1807 Dennison Darling had been appointed postmaster for the Lower Creek Nation and postal agent with responsibility for managing an express mail service between Athens, Georgia, and Fort Stoddert, Mississippi Territory (see Gideon Granger to Dennison Darling, 16 Feb. 1807 [printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Mississippi, 5:511–15]).

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