Who was the Charles Weatherford who fathered William "Red Eagle" Weatherford?

+3 votes

There do not appear to be any actual documents that connect William Weatherford (1781-1824), the Muskogee (Creek) Chief to his father.  Biographies simply state that his father was Charles Weatherford, a red-headed Scotsman. (see for example Griffith, Benjamin W. “McIntosh and Weatherford.”  University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL, 1988). Charles-the-father appears in only a few records.  His dates of birth and death are not recorded.  There is no question that he was in the Creek Nation from 1781 when he met and married Sehoy, the daughter of a Muskogee Chief, and fathered William.  In 1786 he was involved with his brother-in-law Alexander McGillivray and the Spanish in Florida. In 1791 a woman named Elizabeth Bugg took Charles Weatherford, “Indian Trader” to court over a debt. []Page 1 - Wilkes County Court Records - Georgia's Virtual Vault (georgiaarchives.org) Charles is mentioned three times in the American State Papers between 1792-1793.  [<a href="/ammem/amlaw/lwsp.html">American State Papers</a> --INDEX TO INDIAN AFFAIRS. (loc.gov)] Creek Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins mentions him several times between 1796 and 1798, but not later, in his letters and journals from 1796-1805. [Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1806 : Hawkins, Benjamin, 1754-1816 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive]

The Internet and many Weatherford descendants want Charles to be the son of Martin Weatherford, descendant of a family of early Virginia settlers, but that doesn’t seem to be possible.  Martin was born in Virginia about 1729 and first appears in records in Georgia in 1757, obtaining land in what became Wilkes County with his brothers William and Charles. (Hitz, Alex M. "The Earliest Settlements in Wilkes County." The Georgia Historical Quarterly 40, no. 3 (1956): 260-80. Accessed June 25, 2021. [http://www.jstor.org/stable/40577691].)  Many undocumented claims are made regarding Martin, including an Indian first wife, a land record in a Virginia county that didn’t exist until many years later and several children born in Virginia. Martin’s 1800 Bahama's will named wife Isabella, and children John, William, Charles, Richard, Caty, Charlotte, and Isabella. (will digitized at FamilySearch

[P (familysearch.org)]  The Charles Weatherford named in the will was still living in the Bahamas in 1828 (Riley, Sandra.  “Homeward Bound.”  Island Research, Miami, FL. 1983, p.208.) but according to Riley the family eventually moved to Key West, FL.

Martin Weatherford and his brothers were Loyalists.  Georgia passed an act for expulsion of the Loyalists in September, 1777, but Georgia was occupied by the British until 1781 so Martin and his brothers were not actually expelled from Georgia until 1783.  There are records that show that some Georgia Loyalists fled to the Muskogee to avoid American persecution, but none that mention Charles Weatherford. 

Martin and his family resettled in the Bahamas where Martin died by 1805 when his will was probated.  Martin’s activities in the Revolutionary War period are well-documented (he frequently served as a courier to the British) but his wife and children are not mentioned in those records.

The following is from a United Empire Loyalists newsletter [UELAC.org - Loyalist Trails newsletter Online edition 2019 Archive]

Martin Weatherford was an American colonist who, at the outbreak of the revolution, was the owner of a plantation in Augusta, Georgia. In addition to growing indigo, tobacco and corn, this loyalist had ten enslaved Africans who worked at maintaining 100 hogs, 36 head of cattle and ten horses.

To safeguard his property – including a house he had just finished building in 1775 – Weatherford took oaths of allegiance to the new republic. He avoided serving in the local militia by paying fines and was able to "remain quiet" for much of the revolution. In 1778, Weatherford bought 200 acres of land, "expecting the British would be successful". The royal army had just taken Savannah, and by early 1779, under the command of Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell, had also taken control of Augusta.

Weatherford was among the 1,000 loyalists who joined the local militia under Campbell, taking a commission as a captain. Loyalists who served Col. Thomas Brown manned Fort Cornwallis, Augusta's primary fortification. 300 Loyalist militia and 200 Black Loyalists defended the fort when it was attacked by Patriot forces in early June of 1781, but were ultimately defeated. Weatherford "remained behind" – presumably to hold on to his plantation – and was tried for taking arms against America. However, he was acquitted, as the charges could not be proved. Since Weatherford gathered intelligence for the British forces, it may be that Patriots could not produce evidence of his espionage work.

Unable to try him as a traitor, Georgia's patriots seized Weatherford's land, livestock and slaves. Like thousands of other loyalists, Weatherford sought refuge in Savannah, the last British stronghold in the colony. When the city was evacuated in July of 1782, Weatherford fled to Florida and then to Abaco in the Bahamas. Four years later, this loyalist travelled to Halifax, Nova Scotia to seek compensation for his wartime losses.”

WikiTree profile: Charles Weatherford
in Genealogy Help by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (405k points)
edited by Kathie Forbes

2 Answers

+1 vote
Charles Weatherford age 34 born VA. Husband of Sallie J Weatherford age 31 born WV.  The couple had a son, William E Weatherford age 12 born WV.

William or Red Eagle Weatherford obituary, name Alfred G Lewis or Red Hawk. He died Nov 2009 at Fernandina Beach, Florida. Residence place: Creek. Newspaper is News Leader
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
Frank, I think what you found is a wholly different family, since the linked to profile is from the late 1700s, early 1800s, not someone who died in 2009.
+2 votes

Hi Kathie:

I suspect that Martin Weatherford had a first wife. The Georgia Genealogist reports the marriage of Miss Weatherford, daughter of Martin Weatherford, to David Douglass 10 July 1777 in Augusta Township. (She may or may not have been born in Georgia.) 

DEED. Martin Weatherford and Jane his wife of St. Paul's Parish to John Bedingfield.  Dated Feb 23, 1770, conveying 5 acres of an 102-acre tract, lying on the Savannah River in St. Paul's Parish, granted to one Brown and by him deeded to the grantor.  Witnesses:  Britton Williams, Will Kuynnaire?.
GA Genealogical Magazine, July 1968.

Until we know more about a family with his first wife, the notion that Martin may have had a Charles with her will exist.

 Charles, born of Isabella Unknown, left a trail of records in the Bahamas from his marriage in 1803 to Sarah Roberts, to the births of children, land grants, the registration of slaves, and a notorious court case in 1824.

Regards, Ann Carmel

by Ann Carmel G2G6 Mach 3 (31.3k points)

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