DAN COOK'S PAGE
Ms. Holinger...I have some information about the Cook family. Tried to send
it to Ernest Sellers, but apparently he has changed email addresses or something.
Daniel and Ruth Cook were my great-great-grandparents. Their son, my great-grandfather,
Daniel Cook, settled in Wilcox County in 1829. Home
he built still stands.
Dan Cook, Ringgold, GA
DAN, thank you.
haven't talked with Ernest SELLERS for awhile. He was very helpful.
will send thro our SELLERS group and if still a member or new email, perhaps will advise.
We do need any COOK documents you may have. They will be contributed by you.
Thanks for Caring.
Marie...This is an autobiography written by Margaret Austill detailing her
family's wagon trip
from Washington County, Ga., to Alabama in 1811. Her sister married my great-great-grandfather, George Gullett II. Margaret's husband was Jeremiah Austill, one of the early Alabama settlers who was disatched (I don't know by whom) to "civilize'' the Cherokee Indians. This has always confused me, because it seems as though the Cherokees were pretty sophisticated early on. Jeremiah grew up about 20 miles north of Rome, Ga. I have visited his and Gullett II's gravesites. My father's middle name was "Eades'' and he was known around Camden as "Mr. Eades'' Cook . Guess my grandmother wanted to preserve the name, since the pioneer Eades family apparently only had two girls.
Jeremiah has a DAR monument, my great-great grandfather a regular monument. He was killed, incidentally, by a bear and I understand the family was so devastated they moved to near Camden, Ala., apparently to be closer to other Caucasians. George II's window later married a Sam Ervin, who, I have read, was out of the same lineage (same ancestors who came over from the old country) as the late Sen. Sam Ervin of North Carolina and Watergate fame. The "Ervin home'' where they lived is near Camden. This story was emailed to me by Jeremiah's grandson, Jere Austill of the Austill law firm of Mobile, Ala. Hope you find this interesting and maybe it will mesh with what you have. There is a book, incidentally, that was written about 20 years ago by my first cousin, the late Leacy Newell, and Virginia James Cook, widow of another distant cousin. Mrs.Virginia James owns Cook Hill, the ancestral home near Camden that was built by my great-grandfather Daniel Cook, who came from Darlington, S.C., to Wilcox County on a land grant signed by President Andrew Jackson. Member of family still has the original document signed by AJ.
The Daniel Cook who built Cook Hill was a sister of Alice Sellers, who was mentioned in the earlier email from the Mr. Sellers I mentioned. Then his son, my grandfather, Samuel Calvin Cook, married Mary Gullett, daughter of George Gullett III, son of the man who was killed by the bear. Apparently, the widow Mrs. George Gullett II married well. They went from living in a fortress to living in a fine home...the Ervin home is one of the mansions that is occasionally display on the Wilcox County tour of historic homes. Apparently Mr. Ervin did a good job raising his stepson. I have a copy of a letter written by George Gullett III to one of his daughters when he was a delegate to the 1875 Constitutional Convention of Alabama.
George III became a large merchant and he also created Gullett's Bluff landing on the Alabama River, one of at least 100 such sites strewn out between Montgomery and Mobile, enabling farmers to get their cotton downriver to Mobile and providing people a way to
travel up and down the river on steamboats.
Any any rate, I think you'll find this story interesting, considering the detail she recalled.
Dan Cook, Ringgold, GA
LIFE OF MARGARET ERVIN EADES AUSTILL
My father, John Eades, was a native of Georgia, my mother, Jenny Fee, was born in Ireland in the
County Atmah. Father and mother first met in Augusta, Ga., where they married in 1802. They then
left Augusta and bought a farm in Washington County on the Uchee Creek where they lived happily and
made money rapidly. Father had a sawmill and a cotton gin, about the first one that was put up in
the county. I well remember the mode of packing cotton in that early day. A round log was fixed in a
round hole in the floor of the gin h house, which hung down some 10 feet. A big Negro man jumped with
an iron crowbar, two hands throw(log with?) in the cotton and the packer did the work by jamming it hard
with an awful grunt every lick. I was dreadfully afraid to go near the big log with the Negro
inside shaking it.
Oh, it was a sad day when father determined to move to Louisiana, but so it was, that on a
bright morning in the spring of 1811, the wagons were loaded and three families were assembled at my
father's house. My uncle Daniel Eades, his wife (Charity Watson) and one daughter (Penelope), Mr.
Billy Locklin and wife and about one hundred slaves, men, women and children. With much weeping
at parting from dear old friends, the drivers cracked their whips and we rolled, much to my delight.
But my sister, five years older than myself, was weeping bitterly. I was all talk, she said to me
"Do hush, you, too, will rue the day.'' Childlike, I reveled in a bustle and change.
Well, the first
night we camped at Sweetwater Iron Works. There father's sister, Mrs. Jenkins, came to bid us
goodbye. She spent the night with us in camp, after breakfast next morning she drew out a flash of
rye rum from her pocket, saying "John and Daniel, I drink to all, good luck attend you, but the next
thing I hear will be that you all have by scalped by the savages, so be on your guard, for war will
surely come, and that soon. Farewell, may the Lord guide you through the wilderness.''
Our party traveled on through the Cherokee Nation with the least trouble. The Indians were
kind and friendly, but as soon as we entered the Creek or Muskogee Nation, we could see the terrible
hatred to the white. But as we advanced we were joined by many movers, which gave us more security.
At night the wagons were all fixed round the encampment, the women and children and Negroes in the
center, the men keeping guard with guns, so we made a formidable appearance of defense. One night,
after a fearful day, the Indians had followed us for miles, we camped in an old field. Just as
supper was announced, a most terrific earthquake (1811 New Madrid?) took place, the horses all broke loose, the wagon
chains jingled and every face was pace with fear and horror. The Indians came in numbers, us looking
frrightened and grunting out their prayers. The trees lapped together, and Oh, the night was spent in
terror by all. But next day some of the Indians came to us and said Tecumseh stamped his foot for
Then the rain set in, not a day without rain until we crossed the Alabama. There were no
roads and (but) mud and water, large creeks to cross with slender bridges made by the Indians which they
demanded toll as a high price for every soul that crossed a bridge. And often rather than pay, the
men would have their Negroes cut trees and make a bridge, which gave the Indians great anger, and they
would threaten us with death. No doubt we would have been killed had it not been for uncle Daniel
Eaves, who had been stolen from the fort in Georgia by the very people that threatened us. He was a
little boy, only a year old when the Indians took him from the nurses and carried him to the Nation
and gave him as a present to their medicine man, who raised him and taught him his craft in roots
and herbs. He would talk to them and defy them, he would go to his wagon and draw out grandfather's
long sword that he wore in the Revolution, brandish the sword and speak to them in their own
language, telling them they were fools, that they were nothing, and could never whip the whites, but
that their nation would be destroyed. They would listen to him and raised their blankets around
their shoulders and moved off, doggedly shaking their heads.
Well, finally we crossed the Alabama River at Dale's Ferry; we were then in Clarke County,
bound for Louisiana, expecting to cross the Tombigbee next day at Carney's Ferry. That night we
camped at this place. Some of the neighbors came to see us. Mr. Joel Carney, Mr. Henry B. Slade, Mr.
George S. Gullet(t), and every one begged father and all the travelers to stop here until they could
recruit their teams that were completely broken down. They said said we would never get through the
swamp on the other side of Bigbee, and after a consultation, all consented to remain until they
could make corn to fatten their teams. Father bought this place, which was only a claim with a small
log cabin on it. Daniel Eades rented the Sun Flower Bend, Billy Locklin built a cabin on Sale Creek
and put up a saw and gristmill on the creek in a very short time, the first sawmill that was built
in Clarke County.
So father put some hands to cutting cane and planted corn. He had brought a whip saw with
him, he put up large logs of pine on a scaffold and with two Negroes, one on on top and one at the
Bottom. They sawed planks for flooring, for every family then lived in cabins on ground floors.
Father kept on building and making us comfortable, but when the corn was gathered, Uncle Daniel Eades
said, "Well, John, it is time to be off, let us hurry and be gone, the water is low, the roads
good, the teams fat, and all's well. This is no country for us, let us travel.''
"Daniel, I am getting fixed up here, the water is better...I hate to leave you, but here I will
stay. But father wouldn't leave, so Uncle Daniel left, and we only had one year of peace, for the
Indians came down upon us with a vengeance. Uncle Daniel came back for us, said everything he could
to get father to go with him, but all in vain. So he left us to battle through the fearful war.
One morning, mother, sister and myself were at home alone except for the servants. Father
had gone to the plantation when a man rode up to the gate and called to mother to fly, for the
Creek Indians had crossed the Alabama, and were killing the people. Mother said "Where shall I fly,
in God's name?'' He said, "There are a number of people coming across the Bigbee to get into the
Choctaw Nation, they will be along in a few minutes, but where is Captain Eades?'' "Down at the
river,'' said mother. "Well,'' he said, "Run down there and go over the river.'' So we took our
bonnets, mother took her silver and we left the house in a run.
Our cook, a tall, black, handsome
woman, said "Missus, I will stay at home and take care of things and take you something to eat if I
can find you; the devils are afraid of me, you know.''
Mother said, "Hannah, you will be
murdered.'' Hannah was a natural curiosity, she was black, or rather blue-black, with clear blue
eyes, which gave her a peculiar appearance. As we traveled through the nation, the Indians often
came to the camp and demanded bread. They would say "bread, gimme some, gimme all''. Mother would
say to Hannah to give them bread. She would say "I had rather give them shot and powder'', then she
would stretch her blue eyes and throw chunks of fire at them and make them scamper off, saying "Ooh,
ooh,'' their grunt when frightened. Well, we ran as fast as we could and met father about a mile
from home with horses. He had heard the news, too. Mother sent the horses on to help a family by the
name of Carter get to the river. They had a large family of small children.
Father told us that people were gathering at Carney's Bluff and were at work there building
a fort. All hands, Negroes and whites. When we arrived at the river, it was a busy scene, men hard
at work chopping and clearing a place for a fort, women and children crying, no place to sit down,
nothing to eat, all confusion and dismay, expecting every moment to be scalped and tomahawked. We
all sat round until night, people coming in continually, for this part of Clarke was thickly
settled. I went to mother and told her I was tired and sleepy. She untied her apron and spread it
down on the ground, and told me to say my prayers and go to sleep. I had me down, but could not
sleep, the roots hurt me so badly. I told mother I had rather jump in the river than lay there. She
quietly replied, "Perhaps it would best for us all to jump in the river'', then made me lie still. I
had thought mother would take me on her lap if I were so willing to die. With superhuman
exertion, the fort was finished in one week, the tents were comfortable, the streets full of soldier
boys drilling, drums beating, pipes playing, but no Indians yet. Our scouts were out all the time.
Dale, Austill and other brave boys with them kept the enemy back on their side of the Alabama for
One night our sentinels were hailed by Jere Austill. They came and awoke father, who went out
immediately and let him in. He told father that the Fort Sinquefield had stampeded, the people all
making for our fort or Stephens and the people in father's fort, near Suggsville, were in the act of
breaking up, too, but hey had concluded to send him down to the arsenal for a company of regulars,
and if they could get them, they would hold the fort. Mother roused the cook and gave Jere a nice
supper at midnight. Father put him over the river and he saw the general, told his business and was
glad to hear the order for the company to come back with him, but Jere begged to be excused, said
"Send the soldiers, but I must travel alone.''
We fared well in the fort, thanks to Hannah, the faithful servant that stayed at home. She
made the garden, milked the cows, churned the butter, raised chickens and came every other day to
the fort with a large basket on her head. Mother would say, "Hannah, you are a jewel, what would we
do without you, thanks to your blue eyes.'' So often she saw moccasin tracks in the path. Time
passed on with fear and trembling with the grown folks, but we children engaged every moment. I was
in every tent in the day. Some laughable things would occur.
There was a Mrs. Smith, quite an
original, she was a very good woman, but violent tempered. The boys took great delight in teasing
her, she often threw hot water on them. One day the carpenters were at work building a block house
to mount a cannon on top, two of the men became outrageously mad with the other and Garner, a great
bully who was always kicking up a fuss, drew his broadax on a defenseless man, screaming he would
split him open. The man took to his heels and Garner after him, threw tents over women and children.
Finally the man ran through Mrs. Smith's and Garner after him, full tilt, the old lady grabbed up a
three-legged stool, saying "you're dead'', but she let him have it. One corner of the stool struck
Garner on the temple and down he went, blood spurting from his nose. She thought she had killed him
She ran over to mother's tent and said, "Where is Captain Eades? By the Lord, I have killed
Garner and he must put me over the river, for Gardner?s folks will string me up if they catch me.''
She ran over to meet father and he took her to the river and set her over in the canebrake. She
said, "Now you go back and if Garner is dead, you come to the bluff and whistle on your thumbs,
then by the Lord old Betsy Smith is off to the Choctaw Nation.'' When father returned, Garner had
been brought around and after that became a very quiet and peaceful man, never bragged again.
Every family was obliged to go into a fort. There was an old widow named Cobb, who had two
sons old enough to be in the service, but she told them to stay at home and make corn. She was not
afraid of Indians, but one day while the boys were plowing in the field, they saw Indians jumping
over the fence. The boys stripped the gear off the horses, mounted in a moment and flew to the
house, calling their mother. She ran out to meet them and just as she passed her chimney corner, she
saw her dye tube with indigo blue. She turned the whole contents into her lap, jumped up behind her
son and galloped to our fort from Choctaw Bluff, eight miles.
When they arrived, they were all blue
from head to foot. That was the only thing they saved was the thread that was in the blue dye. The
women in the fort all joined and soon made a piece of cloth of the blue, for all had spinning wheels
and looms at the fort, for it was the only way that clothes were obtained in those days.
The day Fort
Mims fell was a sad day to all the country. Every heart nearly became paralyzed with fear, and our
men that had been so brave became panic stricken and their families pleading to be taken to Fort St.
Father and dear old Capt. Foster spoke to them in vain. They stampeded.. Some families took
to the cane breaks, some to St. Stephens, some down the river to Fort Stoddard where the arsenal is
noisy. Just as father and mother, with sister and myself were in the act of getting into the canoe
to cross the Bigbee, for not a soul was left in the fort, a young man came running down the bluff
calling to father not to leave him, for God's sake, to be murdered, for the Indians were coming.
"Oh, don't leave me. I shall die if you do.''
Mother was standing on the bank until we were
safely seated, for the canoe was a small one, could only carry four persons. Father told the man
that it was impossible for him to take him in, that his family must be saved first. The poor fellow
cried out, "Oh God, I shall be killed.'' Mother said, "Oh, dear husband, take the coward in, I will
wait here until you come after me'' and she actually pushed him in, and with her foot sent the canoe
flying off, and sat down on the sand quietly awaiting father's return. As soon as the boat struck
shore, the fellow made tracks for the Choctaw Nation. In a few days after the excitement, all the
people returned and pledged themselves to hold the fort.
In the meantime, the young folks were courting and making love, although they were in a fort
expecting to lose their scalps at any moment. Mr. George Gullet(t) became engaged to my sister, Mary
Eades, and they implored our parents to allow the marriage because he could be of so much help to
us, could take care of sister and then father would only have mother and me to take care of, so they
consented that the marriage should take place in the fort. Mother sent Hannah word that she just get
up a large wedding supper and manage to get to the fort. Hannah came down in complete upsetment,
"Name of de Lord, Missus, what I gwine to do for all de $thbubs (?) and tings for Miss Mary's
Mother said, "Never mind, Hannah, make plenty chicken pies. I can buy turkey from the
Choctaws, save cream, make plenty of potato custards and huckleberry tarts. We will have coffee
enough for all the fort, so go right at the work.''
"Well, well, did I ever tink to see de day did I ebber, my Lord, Miss Mary must be crazy.''
But she set to work with a will. Invitations were general to the whole inhabitants of the
fort. They were married and a jolly wedding it was. One old man sat down to the long table, looked
over at mother, and she said, "Help yourself, sir'' " I thank you, madam, I will with presumption.''
I laughed and, being a little girl, was sent off from the table. Not long after the wedding we
had respite, the Indians were driven back and all returned joyfully to their houses. Very few had
been destroyed this side of Choctaw Bluff, but we could hear of fearful murders. Men would venture
too far and again and again we were forced to return to the the fort until at last General Jackson
came to our rescue and finished the war.
All the gallant young men joined the army. My father carried his provisions up the Alabama
in his barge, even as high as Fort Jackson, above Wetumpka. Sam Dale, Jere Austill and many others
were with Jackson fighting like heroes for many months, and, after the Indians gave up, they went
with Jackson to Pensacola and Mobile; some went to New Orleans. Austill was very sick at the battle
of New Orleans, but one of his cousins was killed there. He was a Files. About the last of fourteen
(1814?), all the people were gay, money was plenty and the people were pouring in by the thousands.
The county was filled with young men looking for land, schoolteachers setting up schools.The
largest school in the territory was at St. Stephens. There I was sent with many a poor waif to study
grammar. Our teacher was Mr. Mayhew, from North Carolina, a splendid teacher and good man.
(NOTE: Jeremiah Austill, who married the author of this autobiography Austill grew up about 20 miles north of Rome, Ga., and became acquainted with the Cherokee Indians. He was dispatched to "civilize" them. How he wound up in South Alabama battling the Creeks, I don't know. He is mentioned in Alabama history for his role in the Battle of the Canoe with the Creeks, which also involved Col. Sam Dale, who received quite a bit of acclaim for his early military roles. The George Gullett mentioned in the wedding plans was my great-great grandfather. He was later killed by a bear on the Alabama River. Clarke County, Ala., reveals that he was trying to grab the bear's cubs at the time. Not a great idea, for sure, we know now, but a biologist was reminding me that pioneers, in their quest for necessary food, likely did a lot of unusual things then. I read somewhere that the Gullett family, dismayed by the death, moved to Camden, Ala. That's where they ran into the Cooks. George Gullett and his wife had one son, George Gullett III, before the bear killed George. The way I found out about it was a Mobile Register story describing how a fellow who lives in a trailer near the cemetery volunteers to make sure it is cleaned once a month. I found the gravesites of Jeremiah, who has a DAR monument, and my great-great grandfather (thanks to the information in the Press Register story), who has a simple headstone, about three years ago in very remote old Austill Cemetery near Jackson, Ala. George Gullett IIs widow later married a Sam Ervin at Camden. That Sam Ervin is out of the same lineage as the late Sen. Sam Ervin of Watergate fame, I read recently. They both descended from the Ervin couple who came from the Old Country to this country way back when.
DAN, this is a lovely addition for the SELLERS/COOK families.
ERNEST SELLERS worked very hard to document this Samuel Sellers/Alice Cook. I believe he corrected previously published uncorrect postings on this family.
Our SELLERS will appreciate and hopefully others will find your article you have shared with us.
THANKS for sharing SELLERS families.
Glad you found it interesting, Marie. By the way, my grandfather, Samuel Calvin
Cook, is found on the internet by going to www.google.com and then inserting
his name for a search. He is credited with commanding the squad which fired
the first smallarms fire of the Civil War by the article, which was apparently
written by a descendant of a fellow fraternity member to which Sam Calvin belonged
while he was a student at Howard College, now Samford University in Birmingham,
when it was in Marion, Ala. The old site of Howard College in Marion became
Marion Military Institute when Howad was moved to Birmingham in the late 1800s.
I've been to Des Moines and Spirit Lake, Iowa.
I recently retired after 36 years with Chattanooga Times Free Press and continue to freelance write for the paper and other publications.
Best regards, Dan Cook, Ringgold, GA