Butler County, Alabama

Albert James Pickett's
History of Butler County


The Following is taken from Albert James Pickett's HISTORY OF ALABAMA.:

"But Indian disturbances, as we have said, had commenced. Although the British army had sailed for Europe, yet there were still subjects of that nation in the Floridas, who originated the "Seminole war"; among the most active of whom were Captain Woodbine, Colonel Nichol, Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert C. Ambrister. They had adopted the opinion of Lord Castlereagh, that the 9th article of the treaty of Ghent entitled the Creeks to a restoration of the lands which they had been compelled to relinquish at Fort Jackson. Woodbine, entering upon the task of enforcing this ill-founded claim, had conducted to Florida a colony of negro slaves, which had been stolen by the British during the war from the Southern planters. Apr. 28 1815: He had ascended the Apalachicola, and had erected a strong fort, which was well supplied with artillery and stores. From this point he had presumptuously addressed Hawkins a letter, demanding the restoration of the ceded lands, and representing himself as commanding his majesty's forces in Florida. Hostilities had already commenced upon the frontiers, and even the Big Warrior had declared that he had been deceived as to the extent of the lands which had been forced from him. Aug. 26 1816:

Colonel Clinch, of Georgia, with detachments under Major Muhlenburg and Captain Zachary Taylor, had invested and completely destroyed Woodbine's negro fort, killing many of the inmates and burning a vast   amount of military property. Notwithstanding these difficulties, emigrants continued boldly to push through the Creek nation, and to occupy portions of the Alabama Territory. A small colony had established themselves in the present Butler county. Among them was Captain William Butler, a native of Virginia, who had been a member of the Georgia Legislature, and the commander of a company of volunteers at the battle of Calebee; Captain James Saffold, a lawyer, who had commanded a company of artillery, under Major McIntosh, while stationed at Fort Decatur, besides William P. Gardner, Daniel Shaw, James D. K. Garrett, Britain M. Pearman, and others, all of whom came recently from Georgia. March 1818: Most of these worthy settlers    pitched their camps upon the ridge near the residence of the late Chancellor Crenshaw. Two years previous to this, however, a few emigrants had settled on the Federal Road, near where Fort Dale was afterwards erected, in the present county of Butler, among whom were William Ogle, his wife and five children, with J. Dickerson. Another settlement had been formed in the "Flat," on the western border of that county.

Sam McNac, who still lived near the Pinchoma, on the Federal Road, informed these emigrants that hostile Indians were prowling in that region, who meditated mischief. A temporary block-house was immediately erected at Gary's, and those in the "Flat" began the construction of a fort, afterwards called Fort Bibb, enclosing the house of Captain Saffold, who had removed from the ridge to that place. On the 6th March, William Ogle drove his ox-cart in the direction of Fort Claiborne for provisions, and he had not proceeded    far before a Chief, named Uchee Tom, and seventeen warriors, seized the rope with which he was driving, and gave other evidences of violence, but finally suffered him to proceed. Feeling much solicitude on account of his family, and purchasing corn at Sepulga Creek, he returned home, where the Indians had been in the meantime, and had manifested a turbulent disposition. 1818: On the 13th of March Ogle attended a company muster, and from thence there went home with him in the evening an old acquaintance, named Eli Stroud, with his wife and child. Meeting in a savage land, under sad apprehensions, these friends, having put their children to sleep, sat by the fireside of the cabin and continued to converse in undertones, ever and anon    casting their eyes through the cracks to discover if Indians were approaching. Presently, by the dim light of the moon, Ogle saw a band of Red Sticks, who stealthily but rapidly approached the house. Springing from his seat he seized his gun, ran to the door, and set on his fierce dogs; but he was soon shot dead, falling upon the threshold which he was attempting to defend. Stroud and his wife sprang over his body into the yard, leaving their infant sleeping upon the hearth and ran off, pursued by a part of the savages. Paralyzed with fear, Mrs. Ogle at first stood in the floor, but recovering herself, ran around the corner of the house, and, protected by a large dog, escaped to a reed brake hard by, where she concealed herself. Here she heard the screams of Mrs. Stroud, who appeared to be running towards her, but who was soon overtaken and tomahawked. The savages entered the house, dashed out the brains of the infant, which was sleeping upon the hearth, and butchered the other children, whose shrieks and dying groans the unhappy mother heard, from the place of her concealment. After robbing the house, the wretches decamped, being unable to find   Stroud, who lay not far off, in the high grass. The next morning some of the emigrants assembled, to survey the horrid scene. During the night, Mrs. Stroud had scuffled to the cabin, and was found in the chimney corner, sitting beside the body of her child, bereft of her senses. Ogle and four children lay in the sleep of death. His two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary Ann, were still alive, and were taken, with Mrs. Stroud, to the houses of the kind settlers, and, in a short time were sent to Fort Claiborne, with an escort furnished by Colonel Dale. On the way, Mrs. Stroud died, and, not long after reaching Claiborne, Mary Ann also expired. Elizabeth, through the kind attentions of Dr. John Watkins, survived her wounds, and is yet a resident of Butler county.

Mar. 20 1818: One week after this massacre, Captain William Butler and James Saffold, in company with William P. Gardner, Daniel Shaw and young Hinson, set out from the fort, to meet Dale, who was then marching to that point with a party of volunteers, a portion of whom they desired to induce him to send to the flat, to protect the citizens, while cultivating their fields. Advancing about two miles, Savannah Jack and his warriors -- the same who had murdered the Ogles-- fired upon them from a ravine. Gardner and Shaw, riddled with rifle balls, fell dead from their horses. Butler and Hinson, both being wounded, were thrown to the ground. The latter, regaining his seat in the saddle, fled back to the fort. Unable to reach his horse, Butler attempted, by running across the ravine, to gain the road in advance of the Indians; but he was pursued and shot at, from tree to tree, until he fell dead, but not before he had killed one of his pursuers. Captain Saffold escaped to the fort, receiving no injury, except the perforation of his clothes by rifle balls. A detachment, sent by Dale the next day, buried the dead, whose heads were beaten to pieces, and their bodies horribly mutilated.*

* In relation to the murders in Butler county, I must return my thanks to John K. Henry, Esq, of Greenville, who took the pains to procure correct statements of them from J. Dickerson and James D. K. Garrett. The late Reuben Hill, of Wetumpka, also furnished notes upon this subject.

Not long after this affair, an emigrant, named Stokes, with his wife and children, was killed, fifteen miles below Claiborne. Great alarm pervaded the whole country, and the people moved upon the hills and began the construction of defences."

You probably already know this history but if not it may be useful to you in some way.  If you have any information concerning the Saffold Family, in particular any details concerning this "Captain James Saffold" who was involved in the history of your county I would appreciate your sending it to me.

Thank you.


E. Lee Saffold


2002, Rhonda Smith