front cover of Creek Indian History
Creek Indian History
A Historical Narrative of the Genealogy, Traditions and Downfall of the Ispocoga or Creek Indian Tribe of Indians by One of the Tribe, George Stiggins (1788-1845)
George Stiggins
University of Alabama Press, 2003
George Stiggins, a Creek Indian half blood living in Alabama, wrote this history more than 150 years ago. Raised in the white culture by his father, an English trader, Stiggins nevertheless lived in close contact with the Creeks because his mother was a full blood of the Natchez tribe, part of the Creek Confederacy.

Stiggins writes with firsthand knowledge of the tribes in the central southeast—the Alabamas, Natchez, Abekas, Uchees, and others. He tells of their origins, their towns and chiefs, and their way of life, he traces critical events leading to the Creek War—the battles of Burnt Corn and Fort Mims—and details the roles of the Indian leaders involved. In “Tecumseh and the Age of Prophecy,” he describes how the powerful influence of prophets, such as Josiah Francis and Jim Boy, who incited the Creeks to civil war as the confederacy split into war and peace factions. Stiggin’s account of William Weatherford’s controversial role in the Creek War has special value because Weatherford was Stiggins’s brother-in-law. His descriptions of religious and social aspects of the Creek lifeways make this work prime source material.

William Wyman’s notes and introduction put the Stiggins account into historical perspective and trace its circuitous route to publication. First issued in 1989, Creek Indian History has become an important primary document for the study of Native American history and culture.

front cover of Sketches of Alabama
Sketches of Alabama
Mary Duffee, edited by Jane Porter Nabers and Virginia Pounds Brown
University of Alabama Press, 1970

Mary Gordon Duffee's father, Matthew Duffee was born in Ireland and immigrated to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1823. In Tuscaloosa he operated a popular tavern, and he later bought a resort hotel at Blount Springs. Mary Duffee was born in Alabama in 1840 and spent many summers with her family at the resort. It was the journey to and from Blount Springs that inspired Duffee's best-known work, Sketches of Alabama, which originally appeared as fifty-nine articles in the Birmingham Weekly Iron Age in 1886 and 1887. She also contributed articles to several out-of-state newspapers, wrote guide books, advertising copy, and poetry. She died in 1920. This collection contains typescripts of some of Mary Gordon Duffee's Iron Age columns "Sketches of Alabama," manuscripts of seven of Duffee's poems, a typed biographical sketch of Duffee, undated, and Duffee's obituary from the Birmingham Age-Herald.


front cover of Toting the Lead Row
Toting the Lead Row
Ruby Pickens Tartt, Alabama Folklorist
Virginia Pounds Brown
University of Alabama Press, 1981

“You recall the expression ‘toting the lead row’, don’t you? In chopping cotton or corn there is always a leader, one who can chop the fastest of them all. When he finishes his row, he goes back and helps the other choppers finish theirs. The one who totes the lead row takes the lead place in the next row.”—Ruby Pickens Tartt

As a young woman growing up in Livingston in the Black Belt region of Alabama, Ruby Pickens Tartt developed a keen interest in the stories, songs, and folklore of rural blacks. Born in 1880, this remarkable woman lived through 94 years of dramatic change for blacks and whites alike.

She was certain that the very essence of her native Sumter County lay on the back roads, in the cabins hidden nearby, and with the black people who lived there. Their singing and their stories captivated her; the preservation of their heritage became life-long commitment.

In her collection work, including service with the WPA Writers’ Project, Ruby Pickens Tartt worked with and assisted other collectors of folklore, notably Carl Carmer and John Lomax; indeed, her Livingston home became a mecca for folklorists and writers. In helping them all, truly Mrs. Tartt was “toting the lead row”.

Toting the Lead Rowis divided into two major parts. The first is biographical and told in detail is her work during the Depression with the Federal Writers’ Project, collecting folk songs and life histories and gathering folklore. The second part contains selecting writings of Ruby Pickens Tartt: 18 life histories and stories and 12 slave narratives.


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter