Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Book - Milly Francis: The Life & Times of the Creek Pocahontas

I'm pleased to announce the release of my new book, Milly Francis: The Life & Times of the Creek Pocahontas.

While this book does not deal in specific with Jackson County, it does include a great deal of information on surrounding locations including the Apalachicola River, Fort Gadsden Historic Site, the Choctawhatchee River, Wakulla Springs and St. Marks.

Milly Francis was a Creek Indian woman who was born in the Alabama (Alibamo) villages of the Upper Creeks in around 1803. She spent her early childhood on the Alabama River not far from today's Montgomery, Alabama.

Milly was the daughter of Josiah Francis, a man also known as the Prophet Francis or Hillis Hadjo ("Warrior of Crazy Medicine"). He ignited a religious movement among the Creek Indians in 1812-1813 that resulted in the outbreak of the Creek War of 1813-1814.

19th century image of Milly saving Duncan McCrimmon
The Red Sticks, a name given to the followers of the Prophet Francis because they displayed red war clubs in their towns, were defeated by Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend and the survivors either surrendered or fled south to Spanish Florida.  Milly and her family were among those who fled.

By the time she was 15, in fact, Milly Francis had survived three wars and a desperate flight to refugee camps in Florida.

Despite the hardships she had endured, in 1818 she saved the life of a young American soldier named Duncan McCrimmon (sometimes spelled McKrimmon). He had been captured by warrior's from the Prophet's new town on the Wakulla River in Florida and was about to be executed when Milly intervened and pleaded for his life. In a true Pocahontas like incident, the warriors relented and spared McCrimmon.

Another 19th century image of Milly saving McCrimmon
The soldier later offered to marry Milly in a demonstration of his gratitude, but she refused, telling him that she would have done the same for anyone else in such a circumstance.

The story of how Milly Francis saved Duncan McCrimmon was picked up by newspapers across the United States and in Europe. She became known far and wide as the "new Pocahontas" or "modern Pocahontas." Parents across the United States named their newborn daughters Milly in her honor throughout the 1820s and 1830s.

But Milly's story was far from over. With her children she walked through miserable conditions and freezing cold on the Trail of Tears when the Creeks were driven west to what is now Oklahoma by the U.S. Army. There she lived out her life in a humble cabin on the outskirts of the modern city of Muskogee. In the final days of her life, the United States finally awakened and remembered the debt of gratitude owed her.

Milly Francis subsequently became the first woman ever to be awarded a special medal of honor by the U.S. Congress.

To read her story and the story of her times, please consider the new book. You can order it through Amazon.com by following these links:

Paperback - Milly Francis: The Life & Times of the Creek Pocahontas ($19.95)

Kindle - Milly Francis: The Life & Times of the Creek Pocahontas ($7.99)

You can read a brief version of her story at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/millyfrancis.

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