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The Abduction of Martha Crawley
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The Abduction of Martha Crawley
One of the first residents of Tuscaloosa was Mrs. Martha Crawley, who came to this area in the early summer of 1812. She did so reluctantly as she had been taken captive by a renegade band of Creek Indians after the brutal slaughter of her family in Humphreys County, Tennessee. The Incident at Duck River, as the slaughter and abduction has become known as, fueled the fire of hatred towards the Creek Indians occupying the Mississippi Territory.
About the middle of May of 1812, a small party of Creek Indians lead by Little Warrior attacked the isolated settlement in western Tennessee. Seven people were killed and Martha Crawley was taken captive. The attack was brutal, meant to place fear into the hearts of those trying to scratch out a living on the edge of the frontier. Newspapers reported the grim details of the attack, likely with some embellishment. The story goes that the band of Creeks, numbering 5 in all, came to the homeplace of Jesse Manley.
Jesse Manley and John Crawley had left the homeplace to purchase some corn. When they returned they found the five children dead and scalped, the man they left to watch over the place in their absence dead as well. Mrs. Manley was found alive, shot once in the side of the head, once in the knee, an eye burned and her head partially scalped. She told her husband and his friend of the attack, and of the fate of Martha Crawley. Mrs. Manley died a short time after.
The newspapers of the south told and retold the story of the brutal attack. Vengeance was demanded, punishment expected. Months passed and rumors circulated as to Martha’s fate. One rumor told of her being burned at the stake; another that she had been severely whipped and was being held as a slave at Tuckabatchee.
Unknown to the newspaper reporters who were writing stories about Martha’s disposition, she was by this time, free from her captors. A blacksmith named Tandy Walker was responsible for her release from the Creeks.
Tandy Walker was a pioneer blacksmith and woodsman, was employed by the federal government. At St. Stephens, an army post, Tandy was the blacksmith and Indian interpreter. Word spread to St. Stephens that Little Warrior was holding a white woman captive at the Falls on the Black Warrior River. Tandy departed St. Stephens on a mission to rescue Martha Crawley.
In fact, unknown to most of the concerned parties, Martha Crawley had escaped her abductors sometime in late June 1812 and was in safe hands of the family George Gaines at St. Stephens on the Tombigbee River. Speculation is that Tandy traveled to the falls on the Black Warrior River and met with Little Warrior. He likely paid the ransom and then returned to St. Stephens with Martha Crawley. The Cherokee Indians were told of the brutal attack and of the rescue of the white woman; they extracted revenge for those in Tennessee. The Cherokees attacked and killed the band of Creeks that abducted Martha Crawley.
Despite the reporting of rumors about Martha and the atrocities she was supposedly enduring, she was being nursed back to health by the Gaines family in late June, 1812.
After Martha’s rescue, John Crawley and Jesse Manley both served under Jackson in the War of 1812. John Crawley died in early December 1814. Jesse Manley survived the war. He petitioned the United States Congress in 1834 for losses sustained from the incident at Duck River, his claim was denied. Martha Crawley returned to Humphreys County after her heroic rescue and promptly faded into relative obscurity. Her name appeared on the 1820 census as the head of a household in Humphreys County, but that is the last known reference to her.
The final for this cache can be found at:
A = Count the number of letters in the name of the tribe of Indians that extracted revenge on the Creek Indians led by Little Warrior.
B = The fourth digit in the year of the Census that was the last official mention of her name.
C = The number of letters in the last name of the man that rescued Martha from the Creek Indians.
D = The number of letters in the second name of the Creek Indian that lead the attack in Tennessee.
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Last Updated: on 2/3/2018 10:15:27 AM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (6:15 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum