EXPERT GENEALOGY Newsletter     By Jeannette Holland Austin
Issue No. 3             December 2002
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1836 SKIRMISH WITH CREEKS, as told by a son


The following account is one which was published in the Constitution, Atlanta on 1/31/1887. The title of the article was "Killed by Indians" and was an interview between a reporter and Dr. Billups of Watkinsville.
"My father was massacred when I was ten years of age--in 1836--but I have a vivid recollection of the orrible event as it it were but yesterday," said Dr. Billups to a reporter in Watkinsville. "He was killed by Indians at Sheppard's landing on the Chattahoochee river. We were living in Stewart County at that time That section of our state and also Alabama across the river was pretty thickly settled by Indians, but for a long time they had been quiet.

Then came the outcry in 1836, that resulted in the burning of the Roanoke, on the Chattahoochee...My father, together with all the other white men, sent their families out of danger...My father, with 35 other men, became so infuriated that they did not wait for the arrival of the regular soldiers, but started out with their shotguns and rifles to trail and punish the Indians. My father had considerable experience in warfare, having been in the War of 1812, and also several Indian campaigns. The party soon struck the trail of the savages, for the whole country was then covered with a dense browth of rank grass, and the passage of any man or animal through it left a plainly defined path. The Indians were loaded down with plunder, so they couldn't travel very fast, the the pursuers rapidly gained on them. Two whites were on horseback and had with them enough provisions to last for several days. In going down the Georgia bank of the Chattahoochee, they came to a place called Sheppard's landing. The river was on one side, while the other was one of those impenetrable swamps or lagoons, so common in southwest Goergia. The point of land between these two formed a peninsula with a very narrow strip of firm ground as a mouth. The trail of savages led into the tongue of land, and there the gallant horsemen pushed.

Captain Billups advised his men to exercise the greatest caution, or they would be ambuscaded and killed, but as it was a volunteer force there was no discipline among them. They had every confidence in their prowess and the greatest contempt for the Indians. So they recklessly passed into the trap. After riding a short distance, the party dismounted and decided on a rest...they were thoroughly exhaused. Again did Captain Billups beg his men not to stop until a better place for defense was reached, in the event that they were attacked....In the meantime stealthy savages were preparing to slaughter the game that had so innocently walked into the trap....They crept back to the point where the whites had entered the peninsular, and placed a strong guard there that could not be forced. Others then surrounded the camp of the whites, hid in the swamps and behind trees....As Billups men encountered the first fire, they tried to make barricades...Captain Billups made an attempt to lead his men out of the trap, ...their horses tried to force a passage back to the open land...the savages met the remnant of this doomed band of whites with their war whoops and a perfect bail of bullets. Captain Billups was shot dead in his tracks."



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