Return to Ed Cone's Home Page
The Preface to the Coffee Road
In order to understand the Coffee Road - when, where and why it was built - we
need to look back at the events that had taken place that led up to the need
for its construction.In the early history of North America there were four
countries vying for possession and control of the lands of the “new
World”.These three, England, France and Spain were all actively laying claims
to the North America area. England
slowly gained control of the Eastern Seaboard from the northern tip of Maine to the Savannah River. South
Carolina was England’s southern-most colony. As a
result of traders from South Carolina
plying their trade with the Indians, below and west of the Savannah
also desired to lay claim to the area between the Savannah
River and the Spanish in Florida.
had colonies in Florida
and She claimed the area of the Georgia
Coast up to the Savannah River. She felt that she had a prior right to
the area as a result of Ponce de Leon claiming Florida for Spain in 1513.Florida was named by
Ponce de Leon. Also, Spain
claimed a right to other lands explored by Hernando de Soto in his exploration of the area in his
quest for gold. He moved through the area in 1539-1540. De Soto found no gold in the area but left a
legacy of cruelty and brutality with the Indians that they never forgot.
Spain’s greatest mistake was not colonizing the areas they claimed. Their
efforts were directed toward attempting to convert the savages and exploring
In 1562, about 20 years after de Soto was buried in Mississippi, Jean
Ribault, led a French expedition that sailed along the Georgia coast
giving French names to the coastal rivers and islands. He also developed a
settlement called Port Royal near what is now Beaufort, South
Carolina. This settlement lasted only a few months
and then was abandoned because of the hardships, including starvation that
plagued the colony. A short time later a French Expedition, under Rene de
Laudonniere, settled a colony of Huguenots at the area of what is now Jacksonville, Florida.
He built a Fort and named it Fort
Philip of Spain, who hated Huguenots because he considered them heretics and
traitors to be killed on sight, accepted the challenge that was thus presented
to him. He sent Captain Pedro Menendez de Aviles to remove the French from Fort
Caroline.In 1565 Menendez landed and developed a base at a place he called St.
Augustine. He built a fortification there. He then moved against Fort Caroline,
exterminating the Frenchmen on the St. Johns River.
The Spanish then moved up the coast to St.
About 30 men were left there to establish the first Spanish post on Georgia soil.
Spanish Missions were later established on St.
and at Sapelo Island at the mouth of the Altamaha River. These actions by Spain ended the
efforts of the French to inhabit the Coast of Florida and Georgia.
The Spanish were left in control of the area along the Georgia Coast,
on St. Simons and Sapelo
Islands, into North Florida and South West Georgia. They developed
missions, forts and churches all along the Ga. Coast
and throughout northern Florida
Conflicts between England,
were inevitable during these times. Each had a primary interest in being the
world power on the seas. The colonists in America were subject to these
forces. But clearly after 1700 the struggle for the dominant position on the
East Coast fell between England
really entered upon the scene in 1585 with the founding of the ill-fated colony
on Roanoke Island by Sir Walter Raleigh,
followed by the founding of Jamestown,
the first permanent English settlement in 1607. The next movement by the
English to the South was when Charleston
was founded in 1670.
As South Carolina developed, traders began to
move south into Georgia
to trade for deerskins with the Indians. They caused many problems for the
Spanish by encouraging the Indians to go to war against them. The English in South Carolina were very
uneasy because of the presence of the Spanish in Florida. To protect the colonies the English
finally encroached on the Georgia
area by building a fort near the mouth of the Altamaha
river named Fort King George. This was the first English settlement in the Georgia area.
Fear of a Spanish attack soon drove them back to Charleston. Under English pressure the Spanish
finally, in 1702, closed their last presence on Georgia soil at St. Simons.
It should be noted here that King Charles II granted
the vast domain of “Carolana” to eight of his staunchest supporters.Included
were Sir John Colleton, Sir William Berkley, George Monck, Edward Hyde, and Sir
Anthony Ashley Cooper. By terms of the Charter of 1663 this select group
received title to roughly all of the land between Florida and Virginia, westward to the “South Sea,”
as the Pacific was then called.
Thus the Georgia area became a
“no-man’s-land” existing precariously between the English in South Carolina and the Spanish in Florida. This situation
existed for about 100 years.During this period there were continuing bloody
conflicts involving the English, Spanish, and Indians. The whole area became a
place of never-ending danger. It seemed that the situation would go on forever.
In 1715 the Yamassee Indians rose against the settlers in South Carolina. This attack resulted in many
white casualties before the Indians were driven back into Florida.
In 1730 his Majesty’s Indian Commissioner, Sir
Alexander Cumming, signed a treaty with the Cherokees giving the English
traders protection in the Cherokee area. The Cherokees were above the fall
line. The Creeks occupied the section of Georgia area below the “fall line”.
This line extended across the present state of Georgia from present day Columbus to Macon and to Augusta. There were only
two Indian Tribes in Georgia, the Cherokees and the Creeks. The Creeks were
divided into the Lower Creeks in southern Georgia and the Upper Creeks in
The Lower Creeks were “peace-loving.” The “Upper Creeks” were “warriors."
The South Carolinians had constantly petitioned the
King to provide protection to them by developing forts and colonies in the area
south of them for protection from the Spaniards.In 1730 James Edward Oglethorpe
and Viscount Percival and nineteen other English gentlemen sent a petition to
King George II asking him to create a charter for a province to be called
Georgia lying to the South and west of South Carolina. It should be noted here
that South Carolina
had been granted an area, as part of their grant that extended to the west
coast. As a result much of South Georgia was
claimed by South Carolina.
This was widely accepted at that time.
Finally in 1732, King George II granted a charter
creating the Separate Colony of Georgia. And now, in the jails and mews and
stews of London, men and women beaten down by misfortune and the savage
depression gripping England began to hear a whisper of hope.In all the cities
of Europe, too, where Protestant minorities lived under religious oppression,
the same comforting word was heard.For Moravians and Salzburgers as well as for
bankrupt and debt-ridden Englishmen there was truly a new world coming to
birth, a “Land of Beginning Again”. The name of James Edward Oglethorpe was
soon to be written upon the pages of history. This was to be the last of the
“Original thirteen Colonies”. The grant was made to the twenty-one-member group
who had petitioned the King. This group would act as trustees of the colony for
twenty-one years, at the end of which the colony would revert to the crown as a
royal colony.The charter included “all vacant land between the Savannah and the
Altamaha rivers extending from the Atlantic Ocean westward indefinitely to the
south seas”. It did not include the area of southern Georgia, which now lies
south of the Altamaha rivers. The “south seas”
was the Pacific Ocean. The fact that this line
was established on the Altamaha River seems like a tacit admission that England
considered this to be the dividing point below which the Spanish had
control.Attached is a rough drawing of this area although in the “Carolana"
Charter of 1663 this area technically belonged to South Carolina.
MAP OF GEORGIA
EXTENDING TO PACIFIC
On Nov. 17, 1732, General James Edward Oglethorpe
left England aboard the ship “Ann” and sailed across the sea with approximately
114 men, women and children, landing on what is today the Georgia coast and
founding a colony about eighteen miles above the mouth of the Savannah
River.Oglethorpe chartered the 13th colony in the name of King
George II.The purpose of this endeavor was to increase trade with England and
to form a buffer between South Carolina and Spanish Florida.Oglethorpe chose
Yamacraw bluff on the Savannah River as a site for the new colony.
Oglethorpe was greeted on his arrival by
Tomo-chi-chi, the leader of the Creek Indians. The two became life-long
friends.This relationship formed a bond that played a large part in the success
of the colony.
Oglethorpe was only one of the original 21
trustees.He was the only trustee to accompany the colonists on November 1732.He
assumed the leadership of the colonists and they readily accepted his
The Spaniards thought that Oglethorpe had
encroached on their territory. They thought that Spain should occupy Georgia,
to attack the Carolinas and Virginia.
Oglethorpe spent $3,000 of his own money in the Georgia
venture.At the time of his third visit, the colony, according to Oglethorpe,
contained 3,000 souls.
Before he left England on his last visit to Georgia, in
1738, the trustees reduced his authority, telling him that henceforth he must
look after the military affairs and the other trustees would look after the
In the Fall of 1739 war broke out between England and Spain. England
and the Georgia
coast while Spain
There was no way for the war not to extend to these areas. Oglethorpe
established a fortress on St. Simons Island
named Ft. Frederica, which was to become a main
defensive area. This fort lay south of the Altamaha
river, which technically did not belong to Georgia.Oglethorpe’s attempt to take
the Spanish base at San Augustin in the spring of 1840 was a failure. This
foray became known as the “War of Jenkins Ear”.He made up for it two years
later in July of 1742, by repelling an attempted Spanish invasion, which, he
pointed out afterwards would, if successful, have meant the loss, not just of
Georgia, but of the two Carolinas as well.He left Georgia for the last time in
The last battle that Oglethorpe had with the
Spanish became known as the “Battle of Bloody Marsh”. The battle was the
beginning of a safe southern frontier along the Georgia coast. The battle took
place between Fort
Frederica and the
lighthouse on St. Simons Island.
The Spaniards began their move and assembled fifty ships manned by a thousand
seamen.They took aboard eighteen hundred soldiers and headed for Georgia.By
early July 1742, they were off the coast of St. Simons,
moving to land a few miles up the inward passage toward Fort Frederica
where Oglethorpe lay in wait with a small force of Highlanders and Rangers.
After an unsuccessful encounter with Oglethorpe’s troops the Spanish
re-embarked and headed for home. This battle ended forever the problems of
Spanish encroachments on the American colonies. Had this battle ended in a
Spanish victory the people of Georgia
might be speaking Spanish today.
One year before the end of the Charter the trustees,
in 1752, returned Georgia
to the authority of King George II. Georgia became a true Royal Colony.
Oglethorpe’s success in the new colony of Georgia was a
result of his close and affectionate relations with the native Americans, which
sprang from his perception of them as noble and handsome people. One very
notable law of the Indians was their perception of the inheritance of property.
They prevented the inheritance of property by burning all the goods of the
dead. Each Indian, when born, started life off equally.
Although, this ended the threat to the
British colonies in North America, the Spaniards still possessed Florida and
still had a claim to a large portion of south Georgia, south and west of the
Altamaha and Ocmulgee Rivers.The situation thus settled down and Georgia began
to take its place along with the other colonies, subject to the control of the
King of England.The Indians were in control of southwest Georgia.
The French and Indian War (1754-1763) was
fought to settle the disputes between France and England over colonies
in North America. These conflicts grew out of
long-standing European problems between France and England and
were a direct result of the contest between French and English settlers for the
control of North American territory and trade.
The English colonies were scattered along the
Atlantic Seaboard in a narrow strip east of the Appalachian
Mountains. French territorial claims and scattered settlements
circled the English colonies to the North along the Saint
Lawrence River and the great lakes and to the west down the length
of the Mississippi River. The English claimed
all rights to all territories that stretched inland from their seaboard
colonies. The French claimed all territories drained by rivers on which they
had founded colonies. Both countries had Indian allies as well as regular
troops and colonists. This war took place in America while the “Seven Years War”
was being fought out between the great powers in Europe.
The war started in America over the area drained by
the Ohio River. George Washington in 1754 led
a small force of colonial troops westward from Virginia. The purpose was to force the
French from the Ohio River territories.The
French refused to withdraw so war broke out between the French and British
In Braddock’s Expedition in 1755 General
Braddock led a band of British soldiers against the “French Fort Duquesne”
which was at the intersection of Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. General
Braddock and many of his soldiers were killed. George Washington rescued and
led some of Braddock’s troops to safety. The French also defeated the English
expeditions at Crown Point
and Fort Niagara in 1755. In 1758 the British
forces captured Louisberg, Fort
Duquesne, Crown Point, and Niagara. A British army led by General James Wolfe
besieged the city of Quebec
and took that city. The fall of Quebec
marked the end of the long struggle between Britain and France over
colonial possessions in North America. By the
terms of the “Treaty of Paris”, signed in 1763, Great Britain got Canada and all
French possessions east of the Mississippi.The French also abandoned any claim
to the Spanish territory
of Florida north of the St. Marys River. Their claim to this area was forfeited
to Great Britain.
Spain received all French land west of the Mississippi together
with the Isle of Orleans, which included the city of New Orleans. This gave Spain control
of the mouth of the Mississippi River.Spain thus was left as Great Britain’s
only adversary in North America. This also
ended the French and Indian War and with it the seeds of rebellion were sown.
England had just finished a very
costly war that was for the benefit of the colonies as well as for Great Britain.
The English rulers thought the colonies should help shoulder some of the cost
of the conflict. So, the “Stamp Act” was passed.
The Revolution really began when, on April 14, 1775, General
Gage received orders that “force must be repelled with force”. The American
colonists were at war, this time with their mother country.
Georgia, during the revolution,
suffered greatly. British troops attacked and captured Savannah in December 1778. A month later they
captured the port
of Sunbury. It was not
long before Augusta
The Battle of Kettle Creek was fought and won
by the Georgia
forces in February 1779. Colonel Elijah Clarke defeated an 800-man British
troop and the spirits of the Georgia
colonists were lifted by this victory. A month later the British defeated the Georgia troops
at Briar Creek. The fighting was so intense around Wilkes County
that the area became known as “The Hornets’ Nest”. This left all of Georgia under
the command of two governments, one Royal and one rebel. Each attempted to
control the Government of Georgia. There were Georgia heroes such as Elijah
Clarke, Nancy Hart, Austin Dabney, John Twiggs, Samuel Elbert, John Dooley and
Benjamin and William Few.The treaty of Paris
was signed by England,
and the United States
in September 1783 and the American Revolution was ended.
Meanwhile, Scotch-born Edward Telfair, a
merchant, was elected Governor. He was responsible for the shifting of the
Georgia Capital from Savannah
to Augusta and
transferred all of the records from Chatham
County to Augusta in 1786. This
area had become the center of population of the new State of Georgia.
Georgia elected six delegates to
attend the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Because of the costs involved
they could send only four. Out of the four only two, William Few and Abraham
Baldwin, signed the Constitution. It is of interest that Abraham Baldwin
College at Tifton was
named in honor of this hero of Georgia.
With ratification of the Constitution,
Georgians felt more secure from Indian attacks and from the Spanish in Florida. Ignoring
treaties, the Creeks went on the warpath in 1787-1789, killing eighty-two
people on the Georgia Frontiers.
In 1793 seven new counties were formed in Georgia. Laws
were harsh and brutally applied. As a result of the Yazoo Fraud, Georgia, in
1802 ceded to the federal government all territory west of the Chattahoochee River for $1,250,000. Additionally the
U.S. Government promised to buy Indian lands and give them to the state. Georgia also
received from the federal government those lands ceded by South Carolina lying east of Georgia’s
western boundary. These were the lands received in the “Carolana” charter of
In 1785, under Governor Samuel Elbert, a
charter, written by three Yale graduates, Abraham Baldwin, John Milledge, and
Nathan Brownson was passed by the legislature that provided for a university,
elementary schools and academies.
After America fought and won independence in
the American Revolution, the State of Georgia remained with little change until
the 1800’s.Then came the War of 1812 and England and France were at
war.Americans traded with both countries, but both countries, especially
England, attempted to restrain the shipping rights of Americans.American
shipping was constantly harassed.Sailors were kidnapped and cargoes taken.
Tensions had been building between the
British and the French. The Tripolitan War was drawing to a close. Thomas
Jefferson’s last two years in office as President were fraught with
expectations of war with either or both nations. In July 1807 the British
warship, the “Leopard,” stopped the 38-gun frigate “Chesapeake”, fired three
broadsides into her and took off four men, one of them a British deserter.
Three American sailors had been killed, and a score wounded. Britain, at war
once again with France
was harassing American ships on the open seas. On May 16, 1811, a Royal Navy sloop of war “Lille
Bell” traded shots with the frigate “President” and at that point war became
inevitable. This was assured as a result of an Indian war developing in the
Northwest in which His Britannic Majesty George III was thought to be involved.
brothers, Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa provided the spark.
Tecumseh was attempting to create an Indian
Confederation to hold back the white man.Tenskwatawa was bent on conflict with
the settlers. In 1809 William Henry Harrison got the chiefs of four major
tribes drunk and persuaded them to sign away three million acres of their land
for almost nothing. The Shawnees
were not invited and did not take part.
The Indians were outraged and tensions rose.
British agents offered the Indians flattery and muskets. Harrison
assembled an army of 1200 men, including 400 regulars, and made camp near
Tenskwatawa’s town. The Indians struck without warning before dawn on Nov. 7, 1811, but the
regulars held. As the Indians began to run out of ammunition Harrison’s militia
attacked and two days later he burned the Indian village.
Tribes were rising all along the frontier.
Tecumseh, who lobbied for peace, could make no difference. The frontier
exploded. The country moved toward war. On June 1 Madison sent a war resolution to Congress. On
June 18, 1812,
Congress declared war on Great
Britain. While most of the War of 1812 was
fought on the Great Lakes and along the
northern and western frontier there was some direct effect felt in Georgia. To
many Georgians the War of 1812 offered the opportunity to settle questions
regarding the Indian problem. The Indians had ownership of most of the present land of Georgia and were creating problems along
the border. The U.S. Government was sympathetic with the Indian cause. It was
the government’s position that no Indian land would be confiscated and
no land owned by foreign governments would be invaded. In southwest Georgia
the Creeks still had ownership and control of that land south and west of the
Altamaha river.The war also offered opportunity to rid the state, once and for
all, of the freebooters, Spaniards and British sympathizers who were harassing
Georgians in all parts of the state. The Georgia Creeks
were relatively peaceful during these times but the Alabama Creeks were a
Tecumseh fired up the Alabama Creeks and along with some of the
Creeks of north Georgia
on August 30, 1813,
they assaulted at Fort
Mims, forty miles north
of Mobile on
the Alabama river. It was guarded by seventy
Louisiana Militiamen. There were a large number of settlers in the fort who had
entered for protection. The Militia carelessly left the Gates to the fort
unlocked and the Indians overran the fort. About 400 men, women and children
were butchered. No fort this size, before or since, was ever lost to the
Americans assembled in the area from every
part of the South and west. Andrew Jackson was persuaded to provide the
leadership to this militia, even though he was half dead from a previous
shooting scrape. Jackson
mustered his strength and courage to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles
to form up and organize a force to face the Indians.He managed to pursue the
Indians wherever they went and Georgia
sent a force under John Floyd to support Jackson.
At Tallasahatchee on Nov. 3, 1813 a force of one thousand
mounted riflemen under Jackson’s friend, John Coffee, attacked 200 Red Stick
braves. The Militia had all the advantage - firepower, numbers, and surprise.
“We shot them down like dogs,” said Davy Crockett, who was one of the Militia.
Six days later, near Talladega, the Creeks tried to ambush the
main body under Jackson.
On the ground lay 299 dead braves.
On March 27, 1814, at Horseshoe Bend, (see
attached map) on the Tallapoosa
River, in Alabama, the Red Sticks
made their last stand. Across a loop in the river they raised a log breastwork
three hundred yards long. The fight that ensued was the biggest battle ever
fought between Indians and the white man. Some 1,000 Creeks attempted to hold
off 3,000 white men. Gen. John Coffee’s men attacked across the river from the
rear and Jackson’s infantry stormed the breastwork from the front.More than 500
Indians were killed and Jackson
lost 49 men killed in action.
The British and Spanish who had been arming
the Indians and promising almost anything to encourage them to rise up against
the Americans were slow and late with any help for the Indians. The braves were
defeated and demoralized. The surviving Creek war chiefs and their remaining
followers fled to Spanish West Florida.
The governor there had sent messages of congratulations to the Indians after
the Fort Mimes slaughter.
On August 9, 1814, Jackson,
by the treaty of Fort
Jackson, after the
Horseshoe Bend battle, forced the Creeks to sign a treaty ceding 22,000,000 acres
of land in Georgia
the area can loosely be defined as starting at Fort Gains
on the Chattachoochee and extending due east to intersect the western boundary
of the counties of Wayne
and Camden and
then south to the Florida
line. The western boundary was the Chattachoochee river; the southern boundary
was the Florida
line. This area included almost all of the area that was later incorporated
into the counties of Early, Irwin and Appling. It was necessary for Gen.
Jackson to release this area to the U. S. Government and the U.S. Government
then relinquished this area to the State of Georgia.
There was another small tract of land that
the State received by another treaty that was added to this property. This was
a small strip of land between Jackson’s area of settlement and the Altamaha and Ocmulgee Rivers. On January 22,1818 at the Creek Agency on
the Flint River, David B. Mitchell, Agent of
Indian Affairs for the Creek Nation signed a grant of land whereby two tracts
of land were sold to the U.S. Government for the sum of$120,000.00.
This property was then relinquished to the
State of Georgia
and added to the area that Jackson
had obtained. Before Georgia
could settle this area, other events were taking place.In January of 1815 an
effort was made by the British to land on the Georgia coast after leaving St. Augustine, but were
met by Col. William Cone, Jr. and driven back to sea with a loss of 180 men.
This ended the War of 1812 as far as Georgia was concerned.
As the War of 1812 continued General Jackson
was assigned to protect the southern area. A “Blow” was expected against the
lower Mississippi.He asked permission to attack Pensacola, Florida,
which was Spanish
Territory. The invasion
of Pensacola Fla. would be a violation of law, since
Congress had determined that no lands owned by foreign countries would be
invaded. The British were using Pensacola
as a base of operations. Not receiving permission, Jackson attacked and captured the town. This
was important because it permitted him to defend New Orleans. Jackson arrived in New Orleans on Dec. 1, 1814. His forces totaled about 5,000
men. The British launched their assault at dawn on Jan. 8, 1815. In the battle the British lost
their three highest-ranking officers and 2,000 men. Jackson’s losses were 13
men killed. The most significant thing about this battle was that it was fought
two weeks after the war was over. Communication was slow during these times.
When the colonists in Georgia
continued to have trouble created by the Spanish in Florida the U.S. sent a blunt warning to Spain: “Control
your people or get out."Then Gen. Jackson moved across the line, although
this was illegal. In 1818 he took two Spanish Forts, hanged two British
subjects and raised the American Flag over the Province. In 1821 Florida became a
Territory of the United