In the early morning hours of May 15, 1836, a group of about 300 Creek warriors slipped across the Chattahoochee River into the town of Roanoke, Georgia, forty miles south of Columbus. Because of tension with the Creeks, many of the town’s citizens, including all the women and children had been sent to Lumpkin, Georgia earlier in the month. The twenty defenders left in the town were surprised by the Creek warriors and all but six of them were killed. The town was then burned to the ground.
This was quickly dubbed “the massacre at Roanoke” by newspapers and news of it caused panic on the Georgia frontier and throughout the state. As a result, the Georgia militia was called up and what became known as the Creek War of 1836 began. Volunteer militia units from across the stated converged on Columbus ready to defend Georgia and her citizens from the Creek threat.
From an article in the Columbus Herald, June 16, 1836:
Troops continue to pour in from different counties, many of which are well mounted and armed, and all will be fully equipped in a day or two, and ready for service, when they will be immediately detailed, and put to the all important work of subduing the hostile Creeks. The chivalry and prowess of the Georgia troops was perhaps on no occasion better displayed than on the present-and the alacrity with which Volunteers from distant counties have repaired to the scene of danger, speaks volumes of praise for the spirited and patriotic sons of Georgia, and gives hearty assurance of their readiness at all times to battle for their beloved country and her rights.
Among those “pouring in” were Captain Dobson’s Company of Henry County infantry volunteers who, with 71 men, included one of my third great grandfathers, William Gaston Hinton from Stockbridge. According to records he mustered in on May 17, 1836, just two days after the “massacre” which speaks to how quickly word spread and how quickly the men of Georgia responded.
By the time of the article in the Columbus Herald, Dobson’s men were stationed at Fort Ingersoll, really just a log stockade, in what is now Phenix City, Alabama under the command of Major General Sanford.
I know nothing more of Hinton’s involvement in the Creek War other than that he survived and later applied for a pension for having served. In the census of 1860 he is listed as a farmer in Henry County with a wife and seven children, among them Roxanna, my second great grandmother.
William Gaston Hinton answered the call of his state once more in 1861 at the beginning of the War Between the States when he enlisted in Company E, Georgia 30th Infantry under Captain R.M. Hitch. He again survived and died in 1893 in Stockbridge, Georgia at the age of eighty.
For more information on the Battle of Roanoke, watch this short video: