The story of Fort Sinquefield is one that captures the sights and sounds of the human imagination. Nearly 200 years ago, settlers and Creek warriors battled at this site, now on the National Register of Historic Places. Located just a few miles east of Grove Hill, just off Highway 84 the site is currently being protected by the Fort Sinquefield Historical Association and is leased to the Clarke County Historical Society. Eventually, visitors will be able to stop and tour themselves through the site as they read signs pointing to places of interest.
The Story of Fort Sinquefield
(Taken from The Creek War of 1813-14 by Halbert & Ball)
Days of pioneer settlement in Clarke County were tumultuous. The Creek Nation had joined a loose agreement with the British during the War of 1812 where they would recover their lost land and drive out white settlers if the British were victorious. Following the first skirmish at the Battle of Burnt Corn where settlers made the first attack, Creeks retaliated at the Massacre on Fort Mims.
This marker was paid for in 1931 by Clarke County school children who saved their pennies for the cost of the monument. It marks the Fort Sinquefield site. Following the attack on Fort Mims, settlers all around the county were nervous and began to inhabit their only source of safely -- the many forts scattered throughout the county. After a time holed up in crowded Fort Sinquefield, two such families, those of Ranson Kimbell and Abner James, decided to move their cooler and more roomy cabin a short piece from the fort. The next morning on Wednesday, September 1, 1813, Creek warriors, led by Francis the Prophet, led an attack on the families. Ranson Kimbell was not home, but Abner James and two children were within site of the house. Seeing the situation was hopeless and rescue of their loved ones impossible, they made haste toward Fort Sinquefield and made it there successfully.
Isham Kimbell and his little brother were at the blacksmith’s shop, and instantly made a break for the fort. The younger Kimbell was lost while they fled to Sinquefield, and was never heard from again
The women and children left at the homeplace were scalped, the animals were killed and the home was plundered. Click to read the story of ’Sarah Merrills Miracle.
The next day, the dead were retrieved by men at the fort and brought back for burial. The women of the fort were out of the fort down by the spring washing clothes. The burial services were also held outside the fort. It was then the Creeks chose to attack.
Young Isham Kimbell who narrowly escaped the day before first saw the warriors and let out a cry. Those lingering at the grave site ran toward the fort gate, and the women by the spring immediately ran uphill toward safety. The Creeks saw their chance and rushed down the hill to cut off the women from the fort.
Isaac Hayden then devised an urgent and ingenious plan to save the women. Being in the fort, he let loose all of the 60 dogs inside, jumped atop p his horse, cheered the dogs loudly and galloped down the hill with the yelling dog pack. Momentarily stunned at the sight, the Creeks paused long enough for most of the women to escape. One woman, Sarah Phillips, was killed.
With everyone inside the fort, the gate was hastily closed, and gun fire erupted from all sides. Continuous fire was kept up by both parties. Another settler, Stephen Lacey, was killed inside the fort when a bullet sprang through the port hole he was using to shoot from. Creeks were also killed and were dragged off the field by their comrades.
After two hours of fighting the Creeks retreated, and the fort was abandoned with the survivors heading to Fort Madison.
The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by the Fort Sinquefield Historical Association.
It is managed by the Clarke County Historical Society.