The War for an Idyllic Wilderness That Brought Andrew Jackson to National Prominence, Transformed the South, and Changed America Forever
In 1811, a portion of the Creek Indians who inhabited a vast area across Georgia, Alabama, and parts of Florida and Mississippi, interpreted an earth tremor as a sign that they had to return to their traditional way of life. What was an internal Indian dispute soon became engulfed in the greater War of 1812 to become perhaps the most consequential campaign of that conflict. At immediate stake in what became known as the Creek War of 1813–14 was whether the Creeks and their inconstant British and Spanish allies or the young United States would control millions of acres of highly fertile Native American land. The conflict’s larger issue was whether the Indian nations of the lower American South—the Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw—would be able to remain in their ancestral homes.
Beginning with conquistador Ferdinand DeSoto’s fateful encounter with Indians of the southeast in the 1500s, A Paradise of Blood: The Creek War of 1813–14 by Howard T. Weir, III, narrates the complete story of the cultural clash and centuries-long struggle for this landscape of stunning beauty. Using contemporary letters, military reports, and other primary sources, the author places the Creek War in the context of Tecumseh’s fight for Native American independence and the ongoing war between the United States and European powers for control of North America. The Creek War was marked by savagery, such as the murder of hundreds of settlers at Fort Mims, Alabama—the largest massacre of its kind in United States history—and fierce battles, including Horseshoe Bend, where more Indian warriors were confirmed killed than in any other single engagement in the long wars against the Indians. Many notable personalities fought during the conflict, including Andrew Jackson, who gained national prominence for his service, Sam Houston, War Chief William Weatherford, and Davy Crockett. When the war was over, more than twenty million acres had been added to the United States, thousands of Indians were dead or homeless, and Jackson was on his way to the presidency. The war also eliminated the last effective Native American resistance to westward expansion east of the Mississippi, and by giving the United States land that was ideal for large-scale cotton planting, it laid the foundation for the Civil War a generation later. A Paradise of Blood is a comprehensive and masterful history of one of America’s most important and influential early wars.
I imagined the equipment a market hunter in the three Rivers area
would have carried to collect skins and to furnish meat for the garrison and
the village at Fort Pitt. Some things he could have made for himself, some he
could have traded for locally. Our hunter used a smoothbore French fusil de
chasse to kill big game with round ball and use the same gun for turkeys and
waterfowl. In the process of gathering and creating items, I had
contributions from three CLA artists. I made all the leather items of vegetable
tanned cow hide. I hand dyed them then finished each with bear oil and beeswax.
The equipment includes clockwise from the top:
1. A lock cover
2. An antique powder horn contributed by Rick Lorenzen of Michigan
3. A hand woven horn strap by Shayna Matthews of Maryland
4. A flint wallet containing extra flints and a gun worm.
5. An iron turn screw and a brass vent pick
6. A bullet pouch for round ball and buck shot
7. An antler powder measure by Kenny Nichols of Alabama
8. A leather powder funnel with a goose quill extension
9. A shot pouch with a thread spool spout
10. A 9x12 hunting pouch with a pinwheel hex sign pierced on the
flap, a 3 inch gusset, a full length partition. It carries an attached
11. A broken razor knifed hafted with a deer leg bone
I recently had the opportunity to handle and examine an original circa 1820, engraved powder horn signed by John Tansel. This motivated me to make a very similar horn replicating much of the original work with some additional touches added by me to complete what the original horn would have been when new. The attached pics are of the horn I just completed.
When Robert Weil started collecting images for the Contemporary Makers book in 1973 the challenge to record contemporary gun work was daunting. Gathering material was difficult and time consuming. Few makers thought that there was any value in published documentation of their work. Electronic publishing has changed all that. Having a website or having one's work available to view on the internet is becoming a necessity. In spite of all the potential to finally have a true overview of what's being produced by the artists of today, a great deal of work still remains covered up and basically unknown. Our role is to make an effort to document some portion of what’s going on today. To comment on the established makers and to uncover the unknown. We welcome your comments and suggestions and look to you our readers to make us aware of the talented makers out there. Art and Jan Riser Robert Weil and The Makers