In 2012 ,with the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, we have a wonderful opportunity to focus public attention upon the pivotal events that brought the land of Alabama into the public domain & gave rise to "Alabama Fever", the greatest Western migration our country had ever witnessed up to that time.
Many factors prevent our citizens from visualizing an accurate mental image of this frenzied land rush phase of Alabama History but one of the greatest factors interfering with their understanding are the false statements that permeate texts and the Internet.
Dangerous misconceptions arise from false information that once accepted, gets repeated over and over again.
In the first paragraph of an ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ALABAMA article entitled PANTON, LESLIE & CO. , author Herbert J. Lewis of Birmingham states: "Increasing Indian indebtedness to the Panton, Leslie & Company resulted in the company and the U.S. government negotiating a resolution allowing the company to acquire over three million acres of Indian lands in what is now Alabama and Mississippi."
Later on, a few paragraphs into the article, Lewis continues: "After several Native American tribes gave in to pressure to cede lands, Panton, Leslie & Company acquired more than three million acres of land in what is now Alabama and Mississippi."
The trouble with this is that the origin of title to only a few acres within the present day states of Alabama & Mississippi can be traced back to Panton, Leslie & Co. & now because of the taxpayer money being spent on THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ALABAMA, there's somebody somewhere out there who thinks there's this huge parcel of land within the present day boundaries of Alabama and Mississippi that traces the origin of its title back to Panton, Leslie & Co., implying that this company doing business out of Mobile and Pensacola canceled the debts it held from the Indians by taking possession of a vast territory during Alabama & Mississippi's formative years yet nothing could be further from the truth.