Forgotten Trails: Curnells has trouble with Indians

Published 2:08 am Wednesday, January 30, 2008

By Staff
This continues the story of the Battle of Burnt Corn. I hope you enjoy it.
Curnells recognized the rider of the white horse as Peter McQueen, a halfbreed, renegade, and the most cruel and brutal man he had ever seen or heard of. His greatest delight was in making others suffer, no matter whether they were white people or Indians.
The tall rider on the bay horse was High-Head Jim, another halfbreed whose great desire was to have people fear him like they did McQueen. Josiah Francis, a halfbreed also, was mounted on the black horse. Like High-Head Jim, his secret ambition was to be just like McQueen.
These three renegades riding at the head of 350 Indians of the Autauga, Alabama and Tallasee tribes were on the warpath and headed for Pensacola. All the way from Chattahoochee they had beat and robbed other Indians who wouldn't talk war talk.
Mochee had filled her buckets at the spring and was leaving when the Indians rode down to it, dismounting and throwing packs to the ground.
Peter McQueen, stout built, and wearing deerskin breeches, a red shirt and with coarse, shoulder length black hair, rushed over to Mochee, reaching for the buckets, seemingly offering to carry them for her. She ignored him to walk on up the path with her head held high, proud-like.
Still sitting in the doorway, Curnells didn't like what he saw. Neither did he like the number of Indians of different tribes traveling together. All of them were warriors, too. Not only that but they were led by three men who were always trying to stir up trouble of some kind.
Mochee had attracted Peter McQueen just as she had Curnells down at Claiborne. As he lay there wide awake by the spring that night, watching the last red glowing embers of their supper fires fade out one by one, he made up his mind he was going to have the girl.
The next morning after McQueen and his party was packed and ready to hit the trail, he told Curnells he was taking the girl with him to Pensacola. That was the very thing Curnells had been afraid of. He pleaded and tried to talk McQueen out of it, even offering to give him any amount of trade goods he wanted. At the same time he knew McQueen always took what he wanted, even if he had to kill to get it, and that he wouldn't hesitate to kill him just for the fun of seeing him die.
As Curnells pleaded with McQueen not to bother the girl, McQueen just stood there and laughed at him. Then without any warning, he hit Curnells in the face with one of his huge fists, knocking him to the ground. Picking him up he pounded him in the face with the other. Then flinging him to the ground, he gave orders to the others to raid the place of things they could use, then set it on fire.
Forcing the Indian girl, Mochee, upon the big white horse, McQueen and his party hit the trail for Pensacola, leaving Curnells badly beaten and watching the orange flames lick and eat through the walls and top of the trading post he had worked so hard to build.
The raid and burning of his trading post, and the loss of the Indian girl, Mochee, left Jim Curnells a broken, lonely and beaten man. Watching the black smoke swirling upward and darkening the sky he suddenly knew what it meant to lose everything, and only the evening before, sitting in the doorway of his trading post, he had thought of what a lucky man he was, but now…
Having nothing to stay there for after the loss of everything. Curnells decided the best thing he could do was to go to Claiborne or Jackson where it would be safer, because now it looked like the beginning of real trouble with the Indians.
Curnells lost no time in getting started. Peter McQueen had taken his two ponies, which meant he would have to travel on foot. Calling his dog, Bosco, he headed down the trail.
On the hillside above the spring Curnells stopped and turned around. The roof and sides of his trading post had caved in-just a pile of red embers. For several minutes, Curnells just stood there looking. Maybe-some day-if he lived and the Indian trouble was ever settled he would come back. And turning, he disappeared around a bend in the trail, the big dog trotting at his heels.”
I hope you are enjoying the story. I will continue for several issues until I have finished all of material.