History: Timpoochee Barnard rests at Fort Mitchell

Editor’s Note: Russell County has a long history that is important to the State of Alabama and its evolvement from an area described in the book “Russell County in Retrospect” by Anne Kendrick Walker as a “barbaric land” to what it is today. Many of the people who set their roots in the county in its early days including the state’s first Territorial Delegate to the United States Congress, important Native Americans who paid with their lives to cede land that created the county, a family that started a place of higher learning in south Russell County that later led to the establishment of one of the state’s most known institutions of education today and a former slave who placed a monument to honor his former owner, are very much important to the formation of Alabama. The story that follows is another of a series to inform you – our readers – about the history of Russell County. 

Timpoochee Barnard was a Yuchee chief, born about 1783 in the Creek Nation, died in or near Fort Mitchell about 1841. He was the son of Timothy Barnard, who was the son of Captain John Barnard, commanding a company of rangers in Georgia, dying in that colony about 1768. Captain John Barnard may have been of Scotch birth, as possibly may have been the case with his son Timothy, who was born about 1750.

Timothy Barnard was an officer in a company of rangers in Georgia in 1773, and in the same year was appointed a justice of the peace with power to act on the lands, and then recently ceded by the Creeks and Cherokees. He was also a trader among the Creeks and married a Yuchee woman, by whom he became the father of six sons and two daughters. The sons were James, who was crippled, William, who married a daughter of Sullivan, an Indian trader. Timpoochee, Cuseene, who with his Indian wife emigrated to the Arkansas Territory, Michy, and Buck. His daughters were Polly, who married Joe Marshall, and Matoya, who died single.

Timothy Barnard was a Royalist during the American Revolution. His property was confiscated by the Georgia legislature, and he was banished from the State. From the few available references, he then made his home in the Creek Nation in what is today Macon County. It was perhaps about this time that his son Timpoochee was born. Timpoochee is merely an Indian corruption of the name Timothy.

In February 1785, probably through the influence of Captain Patrick Carr, Timothy Barnard was relieved from the penalty of treason and permitted to return to his former home and given the right of citizenship. Being now American, he was the deputy agent of the Lower Creeks in 1793 and 1794 and was one of the interpreters at the treaty of Coleraine in 1796. He died at an advanced age around Flint River, Ga. 

Little is known of the early life of Timpoochee Barnard. His mother taught him to speak the native Yuchee dialect, while no doubt he learned English from his father. Following custom, he also learned the Muscogee language as well, as knowledge of it was very important in the public and private life of the Creek people.

Timpoochee Barnard first became renown in General Floyd’s campaign against the Creek Indians in January 1814. He was commissioned as a major and commanded 100 Yuchee warriors. Late on the night of January 27, 1814 a large number of Creeks, attacked General Floyd’s troops, encamped in Calebee swamp.

Captain John Broadnax was in command of a detachment, stationed some distance from the main army. The Creeks, discovering the isolation of the detachment, surrounded it and cut it off from the other troops. Becoming aware of the situation, Major Barnard, made a desperate attack on the Creeks with his Yuchee warriors, drove them back and so opened a way for Broadnax’s men to join the main army. This heroic exploit gave Major Barnard a notable name with the Americans. He continued to serve in the army with distinction until the end of the war. He was twice wounded.

General Jackson, many years afterwards paid high tribute to Major Barnard in a conversation with his son William: “A braver man than your father never lived.” Major Barnard was present at the treaty of Fort Jackson, August 9, 1814, signing the treaty as “Captain of the Uchees.” While no doubt a man of high military talent, Major Barnard was devotedly attached to his family. He had six children, two of them girls, and they all had the reputation of being the handsomest children in the Creek Nation. His son, William, received an education and in later years served in the Seminole war of 1835 under Paddy Carr.

The military career of Major Barnard did not close with the Creek War. In 1818, in command of a band of Yuchee warriors, he served under his old commander, General Jackson, through the Seminole War of that year. He distinguished himself in the fight of April 12, 1818, at Natural Bridge, where Mrs. Stuart, the only survivor of the massacre of Lieutenant Scott’s party on Apalachicola River, of November 30, 1817 was rescued.

Major Barnard was opposed to the treaty of the Indian Springs, and was one of the delegation that went to Washington to protest against the validity of that treaty. The treaty was negated successfully.

After this event, he continued to reside his remaining years at his home near Fort Mitchell, blessed with all the wealth that he desired and noted for his public spirit, his hospitality and benevolence.

Timpoochee Barnard spent much of his adult life as the interpreter of Col. John Crowell, the agent to the Creeks at Fort Mitchell. Fort Mitchell served as his final resting place. His is one of the few Indian grave sites marked at the fort.

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