The Killing of John Logarthy
by Dale Cox
The Second Seminole War was then underway in the peninsula of Florida, but Muscogee (Creek) not Seminole warriors attacked Logarthy’s vessel. Several bands of Creek families were trying to escape the Trail of Tears by hiding in the swamps of the Florida Panhandle. They fled there in 1837 after a band of outlaws raided the concentration camp where they were gathered in Alabama. Desperate for food and supplies, they raided frontier homes and, in this case, a cargo barge.
The incident took place south of Marianna on September 13, 1840, three days after a bloody raid on the Wiley Jones’ home on Econfina Creek:
…Mr. John Logarthy, while descending the Chipola
Logarthy was carrying $300-$500 in gold and silver, the location of which was never found.
The captain, who earlier took the first sailing ship up the Chattahoochee River to ports in Alabama and Georgia, was no stranger to violence. Alabama authorities accused him of murdering a member of his crew on that voyage:
The schooner may have been the Marianna. Logarthy was listed as the captain of a vessel bearing that name by the New Orleans Price-Current and Commercial Intelligencer on October 3, 1829. The vessel’s home port was at Pensacola and she had picked up a cargo of groceries at New Orleans. [III]
The captain’s murder case ended somewhat bizarrely:
…There was no prison house at the time in the county, and the sheriff had to let shackle him and keep him as best he could, let him hobble about the yard and kept a watch over him. One day while the prisoner was hobbling about with chains he
Logarthy’s death coupled with a series of attacks on the homes of frontier settlers electrified the region. A force of men formed at old St. Joseph and went in pursuit of the Creek raiders:
A company of volunteers started in pursuit of the Indians and tracked them to the Dead Lakes on the Chipola. Volunteers are now being raised in this county to continue the pursuit, but we fear that the Indians cannot be overtaken. – Where are the fifteen hundred volunteers authorized to be raised for the protection of the people of Florida – is Middle and East Florida alone entitled to protection? [V]
As the newspaper editor feared, the warriors slipped away and the volunteers failed to come up with them. The U.S. Army eventually built Fort Chipola in Calhoun County as a base for companies of mounted troops that kept up regular patrols along the Chipola River.
The warriors themselves did not surrender until 1843 when Pascofa’s band gave up to federal troops on the Ochlockonee River.
To read about another raid near the Chipola River, please see Seminole War Attack in Jackson County, Florida.
[I] Fayetteville Weekly Observer, October 7, 1840.
[II] Green Beauchamp, “Sailing Vessels Ascending Chattahoochee River,” Eufaula Times, June 29, 1873.
[III] New Orleans Price-Current and Commercial Intelligencer, October 3, 1829, page 1,
[IV] Green Beauchamp, “Sailing Vessels Ascending Chattahoochee River,” Eufaula Times, June 29, 1873.
[V] St. Joseph Times, October 18, 1840.