Monday, April 6, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa and Pres. A.J. - 9

        Andrew Jackson was born in 1767 and grew up in the Waxhaw Settlement in South Carolina.  He never knew his father since his dad died before he was born and so he was raised by his crude speaking uncles and cousins.  Although educated at an old-field school he became quite the prankster - let's say sort of spirited or wild.  That's what most children become when not under a father's care, but what Andrew lacked his mother tried to instill good behavior in the boy.
        His mother hoped that her young son in the future might become a minister.  She was forever correcting his crude profanity and try as she might to punish him it didn't deter him from his use of disgusting language.  He was a wild renegade and that is again what becomes of fatherless children without good mentors or role models.  Andrew was high strung and said what was on his mind.  It was a good thing he never met George Washington, because George hated profanity and found it intolerable.
        Although only 13-years old (1780) and after learning of his older brother Hugh's death fighting the British he joined the American militia and participated in the Battle of Hanging Rock during the Revolution.  He was captured by the British in 1781 and imprisoned with his younger brother.  While imprisoned a British soldier ordered young Andrew to shine his boots and he refused.  An officer pulled out his sword and slashed Andrew threatening to kill him, but Andrew still refused to buckle under to the officer's demand and instead shouted volumes of profanity.  Both boys suffered inhumanely in prison.  Soon the boys mother appeared and after pleading for several months she finally won the release of her young sons.
        After the war Andrew worked hard in a saddler's shop and afterwards taught school.  In his spare time, which wasn't much, he studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina and was admitted to the bar in 1787 and moved to Jonesboro, Tennessee in 1788 and practiced law. In the early 1790's he entered politics and was elected as a Representative 1796, then Senator (R) in 1797 from the State of Tennessee.  He resigned from political offices in 1798 and for the next six years was engaged in planting and in mercantile pursuits gaining vast knowledge that would someday be the most beneficial to his destiny in dealing with Indians.
        In 1806 Charles Dickinson, a Nashville lawyer made some wise cracks about Mrs. Jackson and challenged Dickinson to a due and Jackson killed Dickinson.  Jackson had that take charge mentality and wasn't about to let an usurp lawyer get away with embarrassing his wife.
        After that Jackson continued his pursuits in farming until the Creek War started in 1813 and then he became commander of Tennessee forces; his victories in the Creek War brought him a commission as General in the United States Army in May 1813.  In 1814 he defeated the Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend and became Major General, then led his his army to victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 and Congress presented him with a gold medal.  He then led an expedition force and captured Florida in 1817 to stop Seminole raids on U.S. territories and became Governor of Florida in 1821 and President in 1828.
        As non-Indian settlement encroached upon the Creeks especially in Georgia and Alabama, the Indians were being pushed aside, but in Florida they resisted and Jackson brought his army to bear in Florida that forced the removal of the Seminoles to Oklahoma.  Many of them were deported and many died during the so-called 'Removal'.
        Pockets of Indian managed to avoid deportation into the 1830's.  Some Seminoles survived in the swamps of south Florida, some Cherokees in western North Carolina, a few Creeks in far southern Alabama and many Choctaws in Mississippi; all areas most inhospitable to settlers, but low an behold the holdouts in Florida caught the ire of Andrew Jackson and his forces earlier in the 1820's and were brought to bear to make sure the Indians left for the Indian territory established in Oklahoma.  Jackson got most of the tribes to leave, but some tribes entirely escaped 'Removal', like the Catawba in South Carolina, the Tunica and Chitimacha in Louisiana and the Lumbee in the Carolinas.  Many Lumbees were mixed descendants of the Lost Colony from the 1600's.
        Jackson learned much about the Indians and what happens when settlers begin shoving them aside.  Not all treaties mean hostilities end.  Sometimes those who feel pressured react contrary to agreements made.  When he became President he dedicated himself to the farmer, the artisan and small businessman and rewarded them with greater opportunities if they worked together and that included the Indians.  Jackson was a visionary of the future. (continued)


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