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Title: "The State of the Union" at the Beginning of the War of 1812.






The May 20th.Meeting
at the Birmingham Country Club
Featured Davis Arthur, a Fifth Grade Student from Vestavia
Davis is the U.S. Daughters of 1812 First Place Winner




Davis read his award-winning essay at our meeting.
His Topic was: The Creek War, A War of 1812 Civil War Which Transformed America.
A copy of his speech is available under Chapter Programs

At this meeting we heard reports from members who attended the U.S.Daughters Associate Council Meeting, April 8-11, in Washington, D.C. and viewed Photos of this meeting and the Dedication of graves in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington of our 1812 founder Flora Darling and of Chief Pushmata, the Choctaw leader whom Andrew Jackson himself described "as our most loyal Indian ally." Expect to see some of these on this web site soon.


By Davis Arthur


       The years of 1813 and 1814 were packed with battles and massacres from the Creek War (part of the war of 1812). The Red Sticks and the Creeks fought against each other in the Southern colonies of the United States and in other Southern areas farther to the west. The Creek War ended with a victory for the Red Sticks, even though the Americans were helping the Creeks. The end of this war was very important in the War of 1812 because it allowed the Americans to focus only on fighting the British.

      The Creek War began for many miscellaneous reasons. The Red Sticks, a secret group of Creeks who wanted to go back to their traditional Native American lifestyle, were discovered. The other Creeks were angry because they enjoyed their new lifestyle and did not want to return to their old ways. A civil war began after the Red Sticks killed two innocent Creek families, and the Creek chiefs tried to deal with the murderers themselves. The Americans joined this civil war during the Battle of Burnt Corn in Southern Alabama. They attacked the Red Sticks who the British helped buy munitions from the Spanish near Pensacola, Florida.

      Many massacres took place during the Creek War, including the Massacre at Fort Mims. On August 30, 1813, 500 Creeks were killed at Fort Mims in retaliation for the attack on the Red Sticks at the Battle of Burnt Corn. Other forts in the area were also attacked that same day. American forces were fighting the British in the northern colonies, so they couldn’t help the Creeks fight back. This massacre was a key victory in the Creek War. The Creek War ended on August 9, 1814. Andrew Jackson forced the Creeks to sign the treaty of Fort Jackson. Though Jackson fought with the Creeks, he wanted to end this war so he could focus on the battles between the British and Americans. By signing the treaty, the Creeks gave 23 million acres of land to the Americans and 1.9 million acres to the Red Sticks and the long Creek War came to an end.

      The Creek War did a lot to change the outcome of the War of 1812. It helped Americans win against the British to keep their freedom, and may have been one of the causes for the Indian Removal Act. This war changed American, British, and Indian lives forever.

Digging Into the Past, Madison's Montpelier
Program presented on October 29 by Katheryn Madison Penton

Mrs. Penton's talk, entitled “Digging into the Past”, highlighted her  participation in an archeological dig at Montpelier, the Orange County Virginia plantation home of James Madison and his charming and popular wife Dolley.  Dolley Payne Madison is known for her having  saved the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington and a copy of the Declaration of Independence when the British burned Washington, D.C. on August 24, 1814 during the War of 1812.
Montpelier was the lifelong home of James Madison, "Father of the Constitution," sponsor of the Bill of Rights, and fourth president of the United States (1809-1817) , but  Montpelier was also home to three generations of Madisons—from 1723, when Ambrose Madison, the president's grandfather was deeded the land, until 1844 when the widowed Dolley Madison sold the estate. In 1723 Ambrose Madison and brother-in-law, Thomas Chew, patented 4,675 acres in the newly opened Piedmont of Virginia.
  It was not until 1732 that Ambrose and his wife, Frances Taylor Madison, along with their three children, moved to the Montpelier estate, then called Mount Pleasant. Less than six months later, Ambrose was dead. Some time in early summer, probably in June or early July, Ambrose fell ill, apparently the victim of poisoning . On August 27, Ambrose died—leaving his wife Frances to run the Mount Pleasant plantation. Frances then ran this tobacco plantation with notable success, and continued to co-manage it along with their only son, James Madison, once he came of age in 1741. In 1749 Col. Madison, as he would be known, married Nelly Conway, and in 1751 she gave birth to the first of their 12 children, James Madison, Jr., the future president.
Around 1760, for reasons yet unknown, Col. Madison built a new plantation complex, including a new house, about half a mile southeast of Mount Pleasant. It is possible that James and Nelly, who had been living with his mother, needed more space, since by 1760 the family included four children. When the new house, known as Montpelier, was finished, it was the most elaborate structure in the county, although still rather small by modern day standards
It consisted of nine rooms, a basement and an outside kitchen. The precise date of construction is unknown, but in writing his memoirs, James, Jr., recollected that he helped move lighter pieces of furniture to the new house when he was nine years old.  
Col. Madison was a man of great talent and enterprise. He not only ran a prosperous tobacco plantation, but also established several businesses, including a distillery, a contracting business and an ironworks.
James Madison after his marriage to Dolley enlarged the house, adding a thirty foot extension on the north side, and portico.  Madison’s icehouse was made to resemble a Grecian temple.
Madison’s correspondence reveals that a close relationship existed between himself and Thomas Jefferson who lived a few hours away by carriage .In 1793 James Madison asked Thomas Jefferson to supply plans for a house for his younger brother William, Mrs. Penton’s ancestor..  Jefferson suggested a floor plan for a seven-room house in a geometric configuration that is a hallmark of Jefferson's residential designs.  James Madison later wrote to Jefferson saying that William had adopted the plans.  The William Madison home later became the residence of the headmaster of the Woodberry Forest School.
Following the death of her husband, Dollie turned the administration of Montpelier to her son Payne Todd.  Dollie and James Madison had no children together, but Madison had treated Payne as a son and quietly paid his gambling debts without telling Dollie that her son’s debts soared to many thousands of dollars. With Payne in charge, the debts mounted and Montpelier began to disappear beginning with the furnishings of the house which were sold off. Dollie’s son Payne Todd had drunk and gambled away his inheritance.  Montpelier passed through eight owners before it was bought in 1901 by the wealthy Dupont Family. The Duponts added 30,000 square feet to the house and constructed horse stables, out buildings and even a horse cemetery.  Fortunately, for those who would later work to restore Montpelier to what it looked like in the time of James and Dollie, the Duponts had proven themselves to be somewhat thrifty.  A door taken from one place in the house was often reused in another.

One year after Montpelier's acquisition by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1984, archaeological surveys began on the 2,650-acre property. The results of these surveys indicated the rich history that lay beneath the soil at Montpelier. One of the most important contributions that archaeology has made to the interpretation of Montpelier was to determine how the landscape has changed since the Madisons first acquired the property in 1723. This research has produced exciting finds that offer insight into the lives of the Madison family, the enslaved African Americans who worked on the estate, and the post-Madison occupation of the property by freed slaves and Civil War soldiers.
The Montpelier Archaeology Department has focused on five major sites: the Montpelier mansion and yard which was home to James and Dolley, the Mount Pleasant site which was the home of original patent home of the Madison family, the Gilmore Cabin that was a Freedman’s Farm belonging to George Gilmore, one of James Madison’s emancipated slaves and a Confederate encampment occupied by South Carolina soldiers during the winters of 1863 and 1864. 
The restoration of Montpelier required the removal of 1,900 tons of masonry and producing  handmade bricks with just the right amount of horse hair.  The staff also learned how to make cypress shingles.  Seventy-five per cent of the floor is original.  A rat’s nest was found to have preserved a sample of Dollie’s favorite wall paper. 
Mrs. Penton participated in a dig that focused on what the archeologists referred to as Dollie’s midden, a trash heap adjacent to the house where refuse including broken items such as pieces of Dollie’s blue and white porcelain were deposited.  Among the items unearthed were oyster shells and pigs’ teeth, a part of a bottle and a door hinge.  
James and Dollie Madison are both buried in the Madison Family Cemetery on the Montpelier grounds.  The family cemetery is enclosed by a fence donated by the DAR.  The U.S.Daughters of 1812 hope to honor James Madison by placing a historical marker at Montpelier recognizing James Madison as the president who led this nation throughout the War of 1812.   

Daughters War 1812