Monday, May 01, 2017

(published in the Spring 1997 issue of the GULF COAST HISTORICAL REVIEW)

Andrew Ellicott's Observations While Serving on the Southern Boundary Commission: 1796-1800  by Robert Register

The tale of the Southern Boundary Commission describes an authentic and exciting adventure containing international plots and subplots. greed, and deception during one of the most turbulent periods in American history.

"Where stone which lay on Mother Earth now points another way to birth." -W.G. Gray

A stone is located on the west bank of the Mobile River south of the Alabama Power Company's Barry Steam Plant at Bucks, Alabama[1], about twenty-one miles north of Mobile on Highway 43. This two-foot high sandstone marker is one of the few eighteenth century landmarks in Alabama. Erected in 1799, it represents some of the last evidence of one of the greatest accomplishments of George Washington's presidency: the establishment of the thirty-first parallel of north latitude as the southern boundary of the United States of America.[2] It was entirely appropriate that in 1968 the American Society of Civil Engineers selected Ellicott's Stone to become one of the first ten ASCE National Historical Civil Engineering Landmarks in the United States.[3]

October 27, 1995 commemorated the bicentennial of the Treaty of San Lorenzo, also known as Pinckney's Treaty. This agreement established the thirty-first parallel as a 382-milc international boundary between the United States and Spanish West Florida.[4] That document signed by Thomas Pinckney, the American minister to Great Britain in 1795, initiated more than sixty years of fierce, bloody and destructive conflict between the United States and the Muscogee Nation.[5] It also "marked the end for Spain's North American Empire by yielding control over the Mississippi and by surrendering the strategic posts north of the thirty-first parallel and east of the Mississippi."[6]

Named for Major Andrew Ellicott, Continental Army officer, a distinguished astronomer, mathematician and surveyor, Ellicott's Stone was erected on the river bank by the boundary commissions of Spain and the United States in May of 1799.[7]If you own property anywhere in Alabama south of an east-west line passing through the town of Montevallo, the legal description on your deed tells you how far your property is located from Ellicott's Stone. For example, the designation "Township 23. Range 5 East." indicates your property is twenty-three townships north and five townships east of this old and magnificent survey monument. Ellicott's Stone is the initial point from which all surveys of public lands in Alabama began.[8]

Ellicott's Stone is not physically located on the thirty-first parallel: the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey established the Stone as latitude 30°59'51.463".[9] According to this author's calculations, the stone is located approximately 863 feet south of the thirty-first parallel. Despite the slight errors that have persisted for almost two hundred years, Ellicott's survey of the line passing through this sandstone marker continues to mark the boundary between Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana, and the state line between Alabama and the Florida panhandle.[10] A quick glance at any U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle map of any portion of the Alabama-Florida border will show three distinct lines following Alabama's southern boundary. The Alabama-Florida line is based on the 'mound line' along the thirty first parallel that followed mounds built at one-mile intervals during Ellicott's 1799 survey. The second line is the base line for the public lands survey which was established after 1818 by General John Coffee by using Ellicott's crooked 'random line' of blazed trees. This error resulted in a boundary dispute between Alabama and Florida that was not resolved until 1854.[11] The last line is the modern latitude thirty-first parallel as surveyed by the USGS (a portion of Flomaton, Alabama is south of this line.)

Andrew Ellicott's survey of the 'mound line' and the 'random line' is a story of one of the first scientific expeditions financed by the federal government. The tale of the Southern Boundary Commission describes an authentic and exciting adventure containing international plots and subplots. greed, and deception during one of the most turbulent periods in American history. The difficulties that Ellicott encountered after crossing the Mobile River created hostilities that would culminate in a civil war within the Muscogee Nation. The Creek War of 1813-14 and all of the Seminole Wars were rooted in the fact that "the Creeks were divided between the old communist-conservatives and the new 'capitalist-progressives.' The rift between the two was destined to increase until it brought the nation to the very verge of destruction." [12]

 The difficulties experienced by the boundary commissioners along the present day Alabama-Florida border caused these two factions to become rival governments in 1799. The new "capitalist-progressives" were represented by the central government of the Creek Confederacy under the sway of Benjamin Hawkins, agent of the Southern Indians for the United States.[13] The old ''communist-conservatives" had been led by the Tame King of Tallassee, and the Seminole chiefs Methlogley and Kinhijah.[14] These 'banditti' were incorporated into the resurrected State of Muscogee by the unsurpassed of dreamers, William Augustus Bowles. Director General of the Muscogee Nation.[15] Director General Bowles made clear the position of the Lower Creeks and the Seminoles toward the Treaty of San Lorenzo in a letter to the American Secretary of State on October 31, 1799. Bowles charged that the United States and Spain were attempting to "usurp every right which the Indians have possessed since the beginning of times."[16] He went on to state:

"Any person or persons who shall run lines of any kind
whatever thro'[sic] our territory after the 26th of the month
of October,with the intention to subvert or change the
sovereignty, shall if taken suffer death,and if any force
be employed to affect the same agreeable to the treaty
between his Catholic Majesty and the United States, we
shall...declare war against the United States
from that moment." [17]

In a proclamation issued at Wekiva on the Chattahoochee River, October 26, 1799, the Director General said, "We have not agreed by word or act to surrender the sovereignty of our country, nor never thought of so doing."[18] Indian hostility to this treaty did not begin with the adventurer Bowles. Baron de Carondelet, Spanish Governor of Louisiana and West Florida, saw war clouds on the horizon as early as May 1796. In a letter to his superior (and brother-in-law), Luis de Las Casas, the Captain-General of Cuba, Carondelet observed:

"The evacuation of the forts of San Fernando de las
Barrancas (Memphis), Nogales (Vicksburg) and the
Confederation (Epes, Alabama) will excite the greatest
resentment and probably the hate and vengeance    
of the Chickasaws and Choctaws, who will accuse us
of perfidy if, against the promise we made them at the
time they ceded the land where they are situated, we ever
allow those lands to be occupied by
the Americans; it is known that through them,
themselves , the United States could easily take
possession of their lands, and would force them to flee,
causing them to settle in the part west of the Mississippi
where those numerous and belligerent nations will
cause the ruin of our settlements of interior towns
and provinces." [19]

A glimmer of hope for Spain's Indian allies arose in Madrid on October 29, 1796. The Court of King Charles II of Spain decreed a suspension of evacuations of posts north of the thirty-ftrst parallel. Carondelet received this order in late February 1797, too late to reverse his evacuation orders. His orders had already been carried out on some of the northern Spanish forts earlier the same month. [20]

Major Ellicott did not need to see the secret orders to the rulers of New Spain to know that Spain had no intention of honoring its treaty with the United States. On at least five occasions he had been delayed by Spanish officials during his descent on the Mississippi River.[21] Even though Governor Gayoso had announced the treaty to the population in Natchez on December 3, 1796,[22] American newspapers had carried news of the treaty since May of 1796.[23] Spanish commanders at Chickasaw Bluffs (Memphis) and Walnut Hills (Vicksburg) acted as if they never heard of a treaty between the United States and Spain. The Spanish officials along Ellicott's route insisted on detaining him. [24]

On March 22, 1797, Ellicott and the rest of the Americans in Natchez were alarmed when the Spanish reversed their evacuation process. Cannon at Fort Panmure de Natchez had been disassembled in anticipation of evacuation and transported to the river landing, but now was hauled by the Spanish back to the fort and quickly remounted. A letter dated the very next day from Ellicott to Governor Gayoso describes the astronomer's mood:

                                                                                        Natchez, March 23, 1797
Dear Sir:

The remounting of the cannon at this place, at the very time              
when our troops are daily expected down to take possession              
of it, the insolent treatment which the citizens of the United States
have lately received at the Walnut Hills and the delay of the              
business, (on your part) which brought me into this country,              
concur in giving me reason to suppose, that the treaty will              
not be observed with the same good faith and punctuality,        
justify by the subjects of his Catholic Majesty, as it will                
citizens of the United States. I hope your Excellency will
give such an explanation of the above, as to remove doubts
and apprehensions, which I am afraid have been too justly
I have the honour to be, with great esteem and respect,
                          your friend and Humble servant,
                                                                                 Andrew Ellicott
His Excellency Manuel Gayoso de Lemos [21]

 Ellicott devotes 145 pages of his three-hundred-page journal of the Southern Boundary Commission's activities to the events on the Mississippi River and at Natchez involving the Spanish delays of the line survey for more than a year. [26]

The Spanish necessity for postponing the treaty and delaying Andrew Ellicott was rooted in the fact that Spain needed time to hatch the plots that would invalidate the treaty and enable her to evade its execution. The Spanish conspiracy focused on two ends, the dismemberment of the United States and the creation of an international conflict between the United States and France, with Spain coming in on the side of France. [27] .

 A complete explanation of Spain's political motivation for delays and alliance with France is not within the scope of this paper. Rowland, however, used a quote from Thomas Power to General James Wilkinson that may provide insight into these events: "The crazy, tortuous, vacillating politics of our court baffle the common rules of political prescience, and even the grasp of our conjecture."[28]. Whitaker's comments on the Natchez situation in 1797 also do a good job of describing the center of the web of intrigue Ellicott and his American party entered when they became the first men to raise an American Flag of fifteen stars and fifteen stripes [29] on the banks of the lower Mississippi and not have it cut down[30] :

"In the course of this year almost every thread of frontier history
was gathered up at the tiny post on the lower Mississippi. Spanish
conspirators of Tennessee and Kentucky, promoters of land speculation
at Muscle Shoals and in the Yazoo country, officials of the rival
governments, Indian and Indian agents, and ringleaders of the Blount
conspiracy-all met in the little town that lay between the river and the
worthless Spanish fort on a hill nearby. Though the population of the
town and the surrounding district was not large, the behavior of the
people was of vital importance; and they were so heterogeneous a mass-
Spaniards, Frenchman, Britons and Americans from many states-that
public opinion was unpredictable from one week to the next."

If, as Daniel Clark wrote somewhat later, these people were always "restless and turbulent," The events of 1797 gave them plenty of action that they found so congenial.[31] Behind every excuse, pretense, deception, pretext, or justification for neglecting their obligation was the Spanish conception of the Treaty of San Lorenzo as " ... a diplomatic expedient to serve a temporary purpose.... That it was soon to be rescinded they were assured. The treaty was to them no doubt a very pretty and gracious document, but it did not really mean anything."[32]

The Spanish procrastination that began in February of 1797 excited more than a year of American rage. If Ellicott had been "disposed to ride in the whirl wind" rather than possessing "an inclination to direct the storm," the transition from Spanish to American rule would surely have been an antecedent of the Alamo. [33] Baron de Carondelet's policy produced a controversy that "soon developed hurricane force, and during the twelve-month period of its continuance, it threatened to sweep the two countries into war.... The full force of the storm, however, was felt at Natchez, the largest of the towns in the disputed region, to which the Louisiana authorities had admitted a representative of the United States government (Ellicott) before they received the countermanding order from Godoy, Prime Minister in the Court of Charles IV."[34]

Apparently. Major Ellicott's 'diplomatic' responsibilities consumed most of his time in the spring and summer of 1797. According to his journal of "astronomical and thermometrical [sic] observations," the astronomer accomplished little scientific work during six months of 1797. His journal entry for March 23, 1797, states: "From this time I was too much occupied by the different commotions in the country, to attend to a regular series of observations till October; there are therefore but few entered till that time."[35]

On June 1, Ellicott was handed a copy of a proclamation of May 24, in which Carondelet announced a British invasion of upper Louisiana, a suspension of the survey, and the evacuation of the forts north of the thirty-first parallel. Ellicott succinctly describes the mood of the population in Natchez:

"After the appearance of the Baron's proclamation, the
public mind might be compared to inflammable gaz (sic};
 it wanted but a spark to produce an explosion! A country
 in this situation, presents to the reflecting and inquisitive
 mind, one of the more interesting and awful spectacles,
which concerns the human race."

Two days later, Carondelet sent a long letter to Thomas Power- "an Irishman, speaking French, Spanish and English, naturalized in Spain, who professed to be a wandering naturalist"[37]-out1ining a secret mission that proved to be Spain's last attempt to destroy the federal union of the United States. Power was to offer Major General James Wilkinson, Commander of the Army of the United States, the command of an army to defend a new country to be formed by the western frontier of the Atlantic States. Carondelet's letter shows that he truly wanted Thomas Power to test the spirit of the General:

"I doubt that a person of his character would prefer, through vanity, the advantage of commanding the army of the Atlantic states, to that of being the founder, the liberator, in fine, the Washington of the Western states; his pnn is brilliant as it is easy; all eyes are drawn towards him; he possesses the confidence of his fellow citizens and of the Kentucky volunteers; at the slightest movement the people will name him the General of the new republic; his reputation will raise an army for him and Spain, as well as France, will furnish him instantly the means of paying. The public is discontented with the new taxes [Whiskey Rebellion]; Spain and France arc enraged at the conexions [sic} of the United States with England; the army is weak and devoted to Wilkinson; the threats of Congress authorize me to succor on the spot, and openly, the Western states; money will not then be wanting to me, for I shall send without delay a ship to Vera Cruz in search of it, as well as ammununition; nothing more will consequently be required, but an instant of firmness and resolution, to make the people of the West perfectly happy."[38]

Power was also authorized to promise the revolutionaries in Kentucky and Tennessee $100,000 for their services in starting an insurrection and another $100,000 for arms along with "twenty pieces of field artillery." [39]

Power's mission accomplished nothing.[40] By opening the Mississippi River and establishing a new southern boundary, the Treaty of San Lorenzo had appeased the western people. In his farewell address of September 17, 1796, Washington predicted the end of western intrigue:

"The inhabitants of our western country have seen in the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the general government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi."[41]

 Back in Natchez, the spark that ignited the "inflammable gaz" was a sermon by a Baptist preacher named Barton Hannon who had moved to Natchez from Fort St. Stephens on the Tombigbee River in present day Alabama.[42] Ellicott, with Governor Gayoso's permission, allowed Hannon to preach a sermon in the American camp on Sunday, June 4. This violated the Spanish policy that forbade any public worship other than according to the rites of Roman Catholicism. The novelty of the Protestant sermon drew a large crowd and Mr. Hannon "was extremely puffed up with the attention he received on that occasion.''[43]

 By Thursday Reverend Hannon had a petition against the Spanish government signed by fifty-six men and was cursing the "government. his Excellency and all the whole fraternity, and said if he was sent to the fort it should be consumed into ashes before morning.''[44] On Friday, June 9, Hannon was "elated with the attention he had received on account of his sermon, and imboldenced [sic] by having the permission to speak publicly, he had with enthusiastic zeal, which was a little heightened by liquor, entered into a religious controversy in a disorderly part of the town, generally inhabited at that time by Irish Roman Catholics, who took offense at the manner in which he treated the tenets of their church, and in revenge gave him a beating."[45]

 Hannon sought revenge by organizing a group of armed men to go hunting for the Catholics who had whipped him. Governor Gayoso considered this a breach of the peace in the community and had Hannon arrested.[46] In subsequent testimony the next day, Hannon admitted that he was so drunk on Friday that he didn't remember what had happened.[47] When the Spanish officer arrested Hannon on Friday, the preacher attempted to escape and yelled, "Help me, fellow Americans!" to Ellicott's camp. When the sun came up on Saturday, the Natchez Revolt of 1797 had begun.[48]

 With the Spaniards taking refuge in Fort Panmure, the Americans spent Saturday making up miscellaneous plans for taking the rotting stockade. The release of another proclamation from Carondelet on Sunday certainly made matters worse. This proclamation claimed that an American Army was heading for Natchez. Americans in Natchez considered this "a declaration of war against the United States.''49

By Saturday, June 17, the Spanish and American patrols were firing at one another. so the Quaker in Ellicott was in the mood for a compromise. By June 23, a temporary committee for safety had been formed by the Americans and Gayoso had agreed to allow this "neutral" government to administer most of the legal affairs in the Natchez District.[50]

By September, Ellicott had received the news that Senator William Blount from Tennessee had been involved in a plot that combined Indian, British and American forces for an attack on New Orleans, and furthermore, Mr. Blount had been expelled from the United States Senate. This information confirmed so many of Ellicott's suspicions. Now the Major saw all of his opponents as being a part of some "conspiracy [that] might be part of a larger plan to revolutionize Spanish Arnerica."[51] A. J. Pickett sums up Ellicott's tumultuous year in Natchez: "In the Midst of scenes like these, Ellicott was kept in suspense, until 29th March, when the Spanish fort was evacuated, and all the Spanish troops sailed down the river."[52]

 Godoy, the Spanish Prime minister, finally came through on the promises that he made to the United States on October 27. 1795, at San Lorenzo. Before the French could remove him from office in 1798, Godoy ordered the new Governor of Louisiana and West Florida, Manuel Gayoso, to evacuate the posts.[53]  Ellicott writes:

"On the 29th of March late in the evening, I was informed through a confidential channel, that the evacuation would take place the next morning, before day; in consequence of which, I rose the next morning at four o'clock, walked to the fort, and found the last party, or rear guard just leaving it and as the gate was left open, I went in, and enjoyed from the parapet, the pleasing prospect of the gallies [sic] and boats leaving the shore, and getting under way."[54]

 Now after more than twelve months of waiting, Ellicott could begin the important business of his commission: the creation of a new southern boundary of the United States. Ellicott and his American contingent left Natchez April 9, 1798, to begin the survey on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River south of Clarksville. Preliminary observations indicated the first point of the line was on the river almost four miles south of the encampment. Desiring to establish the initial point of the survey on higher ground, Ellicott brought his boats down the river, then up Bayou Tunica. He hauled his baggage to the site of his observatory using small skiffs and pack horses.[55]

 By the time the Spanish commissioner and his astronomer arrived, Ellicott had completed the observations of zenith distances establishing the initial control point of the survey. Between May 6 and May 16, 1798, Ellicott logged thirty observations of zenith distances of five different stars. The result of these calculations produced a mean latitude north 30°59'43.74" for Ellicott's observatory. [56] When the astronomer from the Spanish commission, William Dunbar, arrived on Union Hill on May 26, he found Ellicott ready to order the crews to begin cutting a sixty-foot·wide trace east and west of this control point.[57] According to Holmes, Gayoso named the site of the first observatory " 'Union Hill' ... as an indication of the harmony existing between the Spanish and American camps."[58]

The arrival of Governor Gayoso on May 31, 1798, brought pomp and ceremony to this wilderness camp pitched on the east bank of the Mississippi. The next day Gayoso and Ellicott went fourteen hundred feet north of the camp where Gayoso "approved of the work on the line."[59] That evening Governor Minor, the Spanish boundary commissioner, "gave a superb dinner of game and fish, dried fruits and Madeira fit for the gods."[60] Ellicott was not impressed with everything that came with the company of the Governor of His Most Catholic Majesty's province of West Florida. On June 19, 1798, in a letter to his wife, Ellicott mentioned Governor Gayoso's visit to the camp on Union Hill:

"Governor Gayoso paid me a visit few days ago at my camp in the woods-we met and saluted in the Spanish manner by kissing! I had not been shaved for two days-Men's kissing I think a most abominable custom. -It is 9 o'clock at night and my eyes almost put out by the muskeetos [sic].[61]

 On June 10, 1798, an official communication from Gayoso had informed Ellicott that the American camp was to be attacked and massacred by the Choctaws. In his journal, Ellicott called the communique a part of the Spanish "system of delay."[62] This assumption of Indian passivity was probably supported by the colossal fraud Ellicott had perpetrated on the Choctaw Nation. While camped in Natchez, Ellicott, with no authorization from the United States government, promised the Choctaws two thousand dollars per year in return for the boundary commission's safe passage through the Choctaw country west of the Mobile River.[63]

In his journal, Ellicott states his negotiations with the Choctaws "would probably be very uninteresting at this time, but little will be said upon it~ it was, however, attended with considerable difficulty, and if circumstantially detailed, would of itself require a volume."[64] Winthrop Sargent, the first Governor of the Mississippi Territory, would certainly have appreciated details of Ellicott's activities as an ad hoc Indian agent when the governor wrote to the angry Choctaw chief, Franchammassatubba, on November 25, 1799:

"Mr. Ellicott has I am told made you many promises, but I believe he was not authorized so to do, nor do I believe our government will be informed thereof, till notice which I have sent forward shall arrive, and which did not come to me for sufficient credit until very lately.[65]

 Holmes attributes Choctaw acquiescence to the "get-tough policy of the Spanish Governor-General of Louisiana and West Florida, Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, who warned that regular troops and militia would be used to punish the Indians for any insult to the American or Spanish boundary commission members."66.Regardless, Ellicott's confidence in Indian cooperation collapsed after he crossed the Mobile River.

By July 28, 1798, the Mississippi River had returned to its banks, and the Spanish commission astronomer, William Dunbar, volunteered to carry the line westward into the swamps. 67 Dunbar had settled in West Florida in 1773 and while retaining his British citizenship after the Galvez takeover in 1779, he became a successful planter under the Spanish regime. Gayoso appointed him Surveyor General of the District of Natchez.61 Dunbar vividly describes the working conditions on the survey line while encamped on a bluff above the Mississippi Valley in August 1798.

"In this situation were innumerable swarms of Gnats, and a variety of other stinging and biting insects; ... the surface of the earth teemed with life; objects themselves at every step in this animated hot bed, not of those kinds which invite and delight the view of the inquisitive naturalist; but of the most disgusting forms and noxious kinds, a few of those were the Serpents of the waters frequently entwined in clusters to the number of several hundreds, and a vast variety of toads, frogs, including the bullfrog, and the thundering Crocodile [sic]. all of hideous forms, with a multitude of others too tedious to mention ... many of our modern adventurers have established a very considerable reputation upon human credulity, by the display of imaginary sufferings, and the pretended achievement of arduous exploits, which in the country from whence I write, are submitted to and performed as the ordinary occurrence of everyday."[69]

Dunbar worked on the survey line from May 26 to August 28, 1798. The survey covered only eighteen miles and progress was measured at less than one-quarter mile per day. Dunbar and the Spanish crew pushed the line westward through the impenetrable canes and swamps that bordered the Mississippi River. He described the work done after July 28:

"The moist and swampy soil in the vicinity of the Mississippi being considered as hazardous to the health of our Northern friends, I proposed that the American commissioner [Ellicott] should continue his progress eastward. with the White laborers, 50 in number, reserving for myself the task of pushing the line through the low grounds to the margin of the Mississippi with the assistance of 2 surveyors, 22 black laborers and a white overseer."[70]

The goal of the commissioners was to establish control points at ten-mile intervals along a compass line. Corrections of the line would be made from astronomical observations made at each of these points. The rugged terrain entangled and impeded work to such an extent that they soon abandoned that idea. By August 28, 1798, the line was carried east to Thompson's Creek. Being the limit of cultivated land, Dunbar decided to quit his post as Spanish surveyor to return home to his family. Less than two miles from Thompson's Creek, Ellicott also gave up. He wrote, "At the end of the twenty-first mile in the line, the land became of a more inferior quality, from which we concluded to pursue a less scientific but a more expeditious method."[71] Ellicott broke camp at Thompson's Creek on October 27, 1798. Loading the pack horses, the commissioners slowly moved eighty-five miles east to the Pearl River. This was the method to be used for the remainder of the survey. The final 275 miles of the survey of the thirty-first parallel were corrected at only three observatories: the Mobile, Conecuh, and Chattahoochee Rivers.[72]

Homesickness and mosquitoes were not the sole factors for Dunbar's departure. The disharmony within the American camp could very well have contributed to Dunbar's resignation of his commission. Ellicott was at 'war' with his surveyor, Thomas Freeman, and the commanding officer of the U.S. Army escort, Lt. McCleary.[73] On October 14, 1798, Major General Wilkinson visited the commissioner's camp on Thompson's Creek. Ellicott used his influence with Wilkinson to remove Freeman and McCleary.[74]

A significant incident occurred on the way to the Pearl River. Ellicott came into possession of evidence that could have very well ended the wheeling and dealing of the cunning Major General Wilkinson. On November 14, 1798. Ellicott sent a letter to the American Secretary of State Pickering. This letter contained passages Ellicott had copied from a letter written by Gayoso to another Spanish officer. Gayoso's letter outlined in detail an elaborate conspiracy, financed by the Spanish crown, to detach Kentucky and Tennessee from the United States. Wilkinson was to be sent at the head of an army into New Mexico to initiate a greater plan: build a new empire west of the Mississippi River.[75]

Royal Shreve in The Finished Scoundrel suggests that Secretary Pickering ignored Ellicott's letter because it contained only transcriptions and not Gayoso's original letter. In all probability Ellicott's copy would "fare badly in court. Perhaps that is why Pickering. at this point, instructed him [Ellicott] to drop further investigation."[76]

The friction with Freeman, along with other ghosts of 1798, came back to haunt Ellicott in later years. On September 1, 1811, General Wilkinson was court-martialed on charges of treason. Without Gayoso's original letter, Ellicott's testimony was little more than hearsay evidence.[77] Freeman's testimony concerning Ellicott's alleged intimacy with the washerwoman, Betsy, contributed to Wilkinson's "utter demolition of the character of the eminent astronomer."[78] (link to the story of MR. ELLICOTT'S WASHERWOMAN  )

Ellicott and both commissions arrived at the canebreak bordering the Pearl River on November 17, 1798. In his journal Ellicott describes the problems he encountered since leaving Thompson' s Creek:

"The swamps were numerous, and many of them so deep, that we had to go considerably out of our way to cross, or go around them, and others we had to causeway: add to those difficulties, a total want of information respecting the face of lhe country, which in our direction, did not appear to have been explored by white people; some of the streams were so deep that we had to cross on rafts."[79]

The lavish feasts that had occurred in June with Gayoso were not to be repeated on the Pearl River. In fact, Ellicott ran out of all provisions except beef on November 27, 1798. On November 30 he was finally re-supplied by a pack train from Thompson's Creek.

The pack train also brought Ellicott's small sector, an instrument used in calculating observations.[80] Nineteen inches in radius, it was little more than a sextant with a smaller arc and a longer radius. It was not designed to provide the accuracy for establishing the precise boundary between the two nations, but it was all the commissioners had.

No one knew when or if the rest of the equipment would arrive.[81] Using this instrument in December, Ellicott made thirty-six observations of zenith distances of seven stars on eight evenings. Ellicott's astronomical journal of 1798 ended with a calculation of 31°0'2.7" as the mean latitude north for the location of his observatory on the east bank of the Pearl River. This meant that the observatory was 272 feet north of the actual line.[82] After correcting to the south, David Gillespie, who replaced Freeman, corrected back to Thompson's Creek by laying off mounds by offsets at one-mile intervals along the thirty-first parallel. Daniel Barnet was sent east to continue the guide line to the Mobile River. Ellicott now went downriver to New Orleans.[83] This was the pattern he would continue in Mobile, Pensacola, St Marks, and Point Peter. Ellicott would get the credit while much of the work was done by his subordinates. Hamilton describes Gillespie's legacy:

 "Gillespie was quietly plodding the forests, running a guide line and by offsets establishing the true latitude of 31 degrees. But nothing from Gillespie can now be found at Washington [D.C.] and even Ellicott's original report seems to have shared the fate of so much else in the vandal destruction of the Capital by the enemy [British} in 1814."[84]

Some citizens of the United States may have believed the demarcation line of their country's first expansion was the answer to their prayer. Inhabitants of what was then called West Florida, however, did not agree that the United States of America was the 'redeemer nation.' While Ellicott and his party were wintering in New Orleans, the first trickle of refugees began their journey south of the thirty-first parallel to escape the American experiment in human freedom. Peter Hamilton cites the first refugee to arrive in Mobile as Lawrence McDonald, an Indian trader for Panton, Leslie & Co. McDonald was clear that he did not desire "to live under the government of the United States of America."[85]

November 8, 1798 found the Spanish government in Mobile receiving a list of citizens from the Tensaw District requesting to receive land grants and move into Spanish territory.[86] A.B. Moon quotes Pintado, deputy surveyor of West Florida; as complaining "that most of those who moved down below the line 31 degrees in compliance with the treaty of 1796 were Anglo-Americans, some Scotch and Irish, a few Germans, and about a dozen of Spaniards, most of then unmarried."[87] The liberal land grants and benevolent policies of the Spanish evidently attracted many.

In New Orleans, Ellicott spent the winter enjoying the hospitality of Governor Gayoso, the man whose mail Ellicott rifled in November. From January 19 to February 26, 1799, Ellicott made twenty-three observations of zenith distances of five stars to calculate the city's mean latitude north as 29°57'28.7". Between January 14 and February 17 Ellicott also deduced a longitude of 14' west of Greenwich from observations of the eclipses of Jupiter's moons.[88]

Ellicott also stayed busy there outfitting the commission's ship and getting supplies for his trip up the Mobile River. Not finding a vessel to his liking, he bought a hull made of live oak and cedar and hired several men to deck and outfit the vessel. Receiving permission from the local bishop to work Sundays, Ellicott and the crew could labor seven days a week "from daylight until dark, until she was ready for sea."[89]

Ellicott decided to save money by making himself master of the vessel, crewing it with two British deserters. On March 1, 1799, Ellicott navigated the new United States schooner Sally down the canal that led to Lake Ponchartrain.[90] Possibly named for Ellicott's wife, the ship was "a small, light-built schooner, of not more than 38 or 40 tons burden. "[91] This ship was built for the coastal trade on the Gulf of Mexico.[92] From March of 1799 until she sailed into the harbor of Savannah on May 1, 1800, the Sally served the Southern Boundary Commission with distinction.

Delayed by bad winds, the ship arrived on the compass line on the banks of the Mobile River the evening of March 17, 1799. Gillespie and his assistants had blazed the line from the Pearl River, arriving some days earlier. They had erected the observatory, and on the morning of March 18 the instruments were set up so that a week later observations of stars began.[93] These observations ended on April 19, the results being the compass line was found to be 8,556 feet north of the 31st degree latitude; the bad news for the Spanish was that St. Stephens fell north of the true line. After carefully laying out corrections to the South, the commission set up a two-foot high marker.[94] The marker still stands and to this day it "is the origin of all land surveys in the southern part of Alabama and Mississippi."[95] 

Ellicott's observations in the Mobile delta caused the astronomer to conclude the waterway was "at this time of much more importance to the United States than all the other waters between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean," and that the lands drained by this river system were "at this time the most vulnerable part of he Union."[96]  Ellicott took down his instruments on April 10 to begin his voyage to Pensacola. On April 20, he sailed into Pensacola where he was provided with "convenient lodgings" by Panton, Leslie & Co. Later Ellicott boasted in his journal he always obtained lodging or camped "free of expense to the public ... from the time I left Pittsburgh n the year 1796, until my return to Philadelphia in the year 1800."[97]

Earlier at the Mobile camp Ellicott had written Benjamin Hawkins requesting Hawkins to attend talks in Pensacola with the apparently hostile Creek Indians. Hawkins arrived in Pensacola April 15 where a series of talks were planned to convince the Indians "that the line we were tracing was not a line of property, but of jurisdiction, a line between white people, and not intended in any vay to affect the Indians in either their property, manners, customs or religion."[98]The commissioners got a formal agreement, but events in Pensacola started a conflict between the Seminoles and the United States that would not end until the outbreak of the War Between the States stopped opposition to the fugitive Seminoles in the Florida Everglades.[99]

Ellicott and Hawkins argued that ten or twelve days of talks n Pensacola would invite drunkenness in the Indians, further delaying the survey. Winning this argument with Governor Vincinte Folch, the talks were moved up the Conecuh River to Miller's farm on April :9. Folch did not attend these talks, leading Mad Dog, principle chief of the Creeks, to observe "well, the Governor has not come, I told you so, a man with two tongues can only speak with one at at a time."[100]

After receiving an agreement from the 212 Indians in attendance to live up to the terms of Article 5 of the Treaty of Coleraine of 1796, the commissioners set up the observatory. The Indians promised to provide an escort for the commission of two chiefs and twenty warriors.[101] Along with observation of the stars Ellicott witnessed a transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun on May 6.[102]

Returning to Pensacola May 26, Ellicott became suspicious of Governor Felch's activities. Deciding to stay a few days, the commission was rewarded when 180 Indians, at the invitation of Governor Folch, arrived from the upper towns of Tallassee and Ocfuskee.[103] Since these Indians were now under United States jurisdiction, Folch handled the potentially embarrassing situation by leaving town. Earlier, Hawkins had been told by "a confidential Indian" that Folch issued the invitation because ''the talks were crooked and the line would be stopped."[104]

After calling Folch back to Pensacola in late June 1799, Hawkins got the governor off the hook by agreeing to give the Indians gifts on behalf of the United States. Satisfying the Indians and costing "'the amount of two or three hundred dollars," Hawkins financed the deal from an unlikely source. Ellicott had been holding twelve hundred dollars owed the Creek Indians since November 7 1797. The money had been promised to the Creeks for the year 1796 and 1797 by the United States under a secret article of the Treaty of New York in 1790. Hawkins had satisfied the Creeks with gifts bought with their own money that was three years overdue.[105]

Since May 22, while all this was going on, Gillespie had been working eastward on the compass line, reaching the Chattahoochee June 22.[106] Ellicott had remained in Pensacola too long and arrived much later at the camp- located in the present Houston County, Alabama-on July 25. The delay of more than one month doomed the survey. On September 22 Hawkins wrote his nephew expressing his disgust with Ellicott:

"It is not yet explained to me why these gentlemen made a halt of three months at the Chattahoochee. You know I seriously pressed them not to remain more than two [months], and that in that case they might proceed on in perfect safety. They would be moving in the season of the Boosketah when all the discontented would be attending on the annual ceremonies at this annual festival.[107]

As if enough delay had not occurred, another circumstance aose, increasing Creek resistance beyond anyone's expectations. While Ellicott was delaying on the Chattahoochee, William Augustus Bowles was acquiring barrels of gunpowder and boxes of bullets from the British port of Kingston, Jamaica. According to Hawkins, the news of Bowles imminent arrival on the Chattahoochee "had put the thieves and mischiefmakers in motion."[108]

On two previous occasions, 1788 and 1792, Bowles bad attempted to establish a British protectorate among the Creeks of the Gulf of Mexico frontier. Bowles's last arrest in New Orleans in 1792 had sent him to Spanish prisons in Havana, Madrid, and the Philippines. After six years of imprisonment, he escaped from a Spanish prison ship off Senegal, beginning his return to his Indian family on the lower Chattahoocbee.[109]

Between July 25, 1799 and August 19, 1799, Ellicott made forty-four observations of seven stars to determine a mean latitude of 31 °1'9.4" for his observatory on the west bank of the Chattahoochee. Ellicott laid off a line 7,110.5 feet south and ended his survey of the thirty-first parallel.[110]

This 7,110.5 foot north-south line formed the base of a triangle that had its apex at the Conecuh River. After 1818, General John Coffee based his public land surveys on the crooked northern "random line" of this triangle which Gillespie had run by compass. This line "was marked by 'blazes' of the trees, every tree on the line being blazed both on the north and the south side; and all other trees within about one hundred feet north and south of the line were blazed on the side nearest the line."[111]

Apparently Coffee found the blazed line easier to follow than the actual "mound line" which formed the southern arm of the triangle.[112] This line "was marked by circular mounds of earth, about a mile apart, each surrounded by a ditch from which the earth had been thrown up to form the mound."[113]

This confusion created a boundary conflict between Alabama and Florida that was not resolved until 1854. By that time the disputed triangle between the two states "was virtually a no-man land, and became the natural resort of criminals and desperadoes fro both states, since, within that strip they could defy the officers of the law."[114] This old conflict comes down to us today in the fractional Alabama townships formed between "Coffee's line" and "Ellicott line."

 Stephen Minor, the Spanish commissioner, saw the Chattahoochee camp as "a place to form the most beautiful settlements." In a letter to Gayoso on August 5, 1799, Minor stated:

"Now from one side to the other of the river along almost the entire extent of the road to this camp may be found Indian plantations on which may be seen good fields of corn, rice, peas, beans, potatoes, melons, watermelons, cucumbers, etc., and most of them have chickens, pigs, and cattle in abundance. Some of them have very good herds with various Negro slaves, indicating to me that they live in very reasonable comfort. The river abounds with various delicious fish. All these details convince me that white settlements in these areas would prosper greatly. I am sure that on the eastern bank of the Mississippi there are no better lands on which to raise cattle."[115]

Thieving at the Chattahoochee camp reached intolerable levels in August. Ellicott assembled the Indians on August 15 for a conference. They agreed to return stolen horses and protect the survey from harm. Ellicott, however, was apprehensive:

"I nevertheless had my doubts of their sincerity, from the depredations they were constantly committing upon our horses, which began on the Coenecuh [sic] [river], and had continued ever since; and added to their insolence, from their stealing every article in our camp they could lay their hands on.[116]

On August 21 Ellicott received a warning from Indian trader James Burgess, who lived near the present day Bainbridge, Georgia. Serving as a deputy agent and interpreter for the boundary commissioners, Burgess warned Ellicott the survey crew would be attacked on the way to the St. Marys River and that Hawkins should be summoned.[117]

At the end of August the commissioners moved their camp down river to the present-day Chattahoochee, Florida, at the forks of the Apalachicola. This observatory was the site where the Seminole lndians began their tenacious defiance of the United States. Today, atop the bluff where the observatory was built is a residential subdivision west of Pearl Street, between High and King Streets.[118]

On September 1 the Spanish Commissioner, Minor, dismissed his escort, telling Ellicott his men were also unneeded.[119] This action would indicate Minor was unaware of Indian hostility. About two weeks later, he would have to eat the words he had spoken to Ellicott.

On September 9 Burgess appeared in camp asking if Hawkins had arrived. When told no, Burgess insisted the commissioners "have not written as pointedly as was necessary, or he [Hawkins] would have been here before this." Burgess went on to say "you will positively be plundered on your way to St. Mary's; you nay think me a fool, but mark the end."[120]

Hawkins arrived on September 14, and on September 17 the camp received a message from Indian Willie, who lived a few miles north of the commissioner's camp. His note warned that twenty Indians had spent the night near his place and they were up to no good.[121]

Threatening to overrun the commissioner's camp, the Indians stole fourteen horses and plundered the schooner. After receiving information more Indians were in route to join the war party, Ellicott and Minor decided to retreat. Minor was to continue eastward and if he was not pursued by Indians, continue overland to St. Marys.[122]

When describing this conflict to the Secretary of State, Ellicott predicted the demise of the Creeks and Seminoles in a letter dated October 9, 1799:

"Many of the most sensible and best informed of the chiefs look upon the loss of their country as inevitable and it will be brought about by the bad conduct of their young men, who equally abhor restraint and despise advise. Such people are only brought to reflection by being beaten; and as we have men enough under pay at present, it might probably be done now, and at less expense than at any future period."[123]

Hawkins immediately used the incident with the Seminoles at the river junction to consolidate his power in the Creek national council at Tuckabatchee in November 1799. Cotterill writes that Hawkins's insistence on punishing the perpetrators alienated a Creek council that "was much opposed to an action so unprecedented in Creek history, and so, in violation of Creek custom .... The humiliation (of the perpetrators), however pleasant to Hawkins, only increased the recalcitrance of the Tame King and added to the number of his adherents."[124]

Almost fifteen years later, the Tame King would be a leader of the Creek revolutionaries who were defeated by Andrew Jackson': army. On August 9, 1814, a bitter Benjamin Hawkins witnessed the Treaty of Fort Jackson ceding twenty million acres of Creek land to the United States, and end a war that "had demonstrated his long efforts to civilize the Creeks had failed."[125]

McReynolds uses a letter from Minor to David Gillespie to reveal the Spanish commissioner's opinion of Ellicott's retreat from the survey of this first Southern boundary of the United States:

"Mr. Ellicott, listening to the whispers of his familias spirit, and keeping in view the principles of his Sect, and the irreparable loss that society would suffer by his death prudently embarked with his family, including Parks the parrot, Bit the Squirrel, &c. in Bernard's schooner, and gently glided down the stream into the bosom of safety.[116]

On the way to St. Marks, Ellicott received a letter from Bowles, who was shipwrecked on the eastern end of St. George Island. While visiting Bowles, a storm forced Ellicott to remain eight days. His conversation during that period with the Director General of the Creek Nation convinced Ellicott that Bowles "ought to be counteracted by every citizen of the United States." Ellicott went on to say, however, that Bowles "behaved on all occasions whilst with me in a polite and friendly manner, and generously furnished me with the necessary charts and directions for sailing around cape Florida."[127]

Ellicott returned Bowles's favor by supplying the shipwrecked adventurer and his crew with flour and rice. Ellicott also asked Bowles and his men not to attack the commission's supply ship, en route and expected to arrive from New Orleans, and that Bowles further direct the ship to sail for St. Marys; Bowles agreed to this request.[128] Bowles could certainly have been sympathetic with a man waiting 'for his ship to come in,' as Bowles had spent his share of time waiting on shore.

On October 7, after two weeks of delay from violent storms, Ellicott finally made landing at the Spanish fort at St. Marks. While preparing for the voyage around Florida, Ellicott enjoyed the company of the Spanish commander, Capt. Thomas Portell and his wife, "... an agreeable Spanish lady."[129] His conversations with the Portells confirmed Ellicott's suspicions regarding General Wilkinson. Ellicott told the General of his conversations with the Portells in a letter dated January 21, 1808:

"About the 16th October, 1799, capt. [sic] Portell who then commanded at Apalachy [sic], informed me that at New Madrid, in the year 1796, he put on board a boat under the direction of Mr. T. Power, 9,640 dollars for your use. I questioned frequently whether this money was not on account of some mercantile transaction, he declared it was not."[130]

This was the type of information that President Washington had instructed Ellicott to collect. In the same letter, Ellicott wrote the general that:

"Before I left Philadelphia in the year 1796, as commissioner on behalf of the United States to carry into effect our treaty with Spain, president Washington communicated to me in the most confidential manner possible, that suspicions had been signified to him of certain citizens of the U. states, improperly connecting themselves with the Spanish government, among whom you were particularly noticed. He thought it a business of so much importance, both to the honour and safety of the country, as to merit a thorough, though private, investigation, and directed meto pay a stnct attention to that subject."[131]

By October 18, Ellicott packed his crew, three years of paperwork, his apparatus and baggage into the small schooner Sally. Bad weather kept the ship in Apalachee Bay until October 20. The opening of a barrel of spoiled beef the first day at sea caused many of the passengers to demand returning to St. Marks. This rebellion earned the malcontents a reprimand which "prevented any complaint: during the voyage, though we were frequently in disagreeable situations."[132]

The voyage around the peninsula of Florida was a memorable fifty days, especially for fifteen of the passengers who had never been to sea: the ship with provisions passed them (the new crew of which had been provided by Bowles), privateers chased them, crashing waves wrecked the rigging and threatened to founder the ship, and they were witness to a burial at sea. On December 9, these 'lubbers' were delighted to reunite in St. Marys with their friends from the Gillespie and Minor parties who had traveled overland and were waiting on them.[133]

On February 26, the Spanish and American Commissioners built a mound at the source of the St. Marys River in the Okeefenokee Swamp.[134] This mound is found on all current USGS naps of the area, north of the town of Moniac, Georgia. This was the eastern terminus of the line which began at the junction of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. The difficulty of determining the source of this river produced a boundary dispute between Georgia and Florida which was not resolved until 1866.[135] The building of the controversial mound was the end of the commission's actual surveying.

The reports and maps were completed and confirmed by the American and Spanish Commissions on Cumberland Island, April 10, 1800. The next day the Sally left St. Marys harbor arriving May 1 in Savannah. The small schooner had served its purpose in establishing the United States' newest southern boundary. Ellicott decided to send the ship to a place where it could continue serving the United States: Fort Stoddard-near present-day Mt. Vernon, Alabama-the newly established southernmost port-of-entry into the United States.[136] Ellicott believed the United States "needed to be formidable in that quarter," and "the Mobile, Tombeckby [sic] and the Alabama Rivers, are at this time of much more importance to the United States than all the other waters between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean." [137]

After chartering a sloop bound for Philadelphia, Ellicott and his party sailed from Savannah May 9. Ellicott was reunited with his family in the City of Brotherly Love on May 18, 1800. [138]

By 1803, Ellicott had prepared and published the journal of the commission's activities from 1796 to 1800.
At the same time, Thomas Jefferson wrote Ellicott concerning a scientific expedition to the West. In late April and early May 1803, Ellicott worked seventeen days and nights instructing Meriwether Lewis in the use and application of the instruments used for determining longitude and latitude. [139]

Catherine Mathews recognized the importance of these lessons in her 1908 biography of Ellicott:

"There is perhaps no other incident of Major Ellicott's life which so appeals to the imagination as this, where the veteran explorer and engineer brings, for the eager young man whose hope of conquering a wilderness is so strong within him, all lore of the land primeval, all the knowledge fought for and gained in the woods of Virginia. Pennsylvania, and western New York and on the rivers and bayous of the Southern states. It was the counsel of a ripe experience that Major Ellicott gave. Danger had been his own daily comrade throughout long years, privation and hardship he had met at the very outset of his career, and he had long ago learned how to make friends with them. How much or how little of Captain Lewis's success may be traced to his [Ellicott's] wise counsel, we cannot know, but one would like to have heard with Captain Lewis the secret of baffling and subduing the adversities of nature, and the way to travel unharmed through a wilderness that sought to devour you." [140]

Ellicott's delineation of the United States southern boundary also permanently alienated the Seminoles from their ancient connection with the Creek Nation and produced "the result of so increasing their {Seminole] already considerable spirit of independence that they became practically a separate tribe." This separation of the Creeks and the Seminoles comes down to us to this day.[141]

Today, Ellicott's influence lives with all who call the Gulf Coast their home. His descriptions vividly depict the sea and wilderness of that time. Furthermore, his descriptions remind us that our first communities were Natchez, New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, St. Marks, St. Augustine, Frederica and St. Marys. The incredible accuracy of the observations and calculations has its contemporary legacy: the shapes and boundaries of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. The Boundary Commission's observations should never be dismissed as having "slight interest save for historical and scientific specialists."[142] Ellicott's thrilling story is integral in the founding of the Mississippi Territory in 1798. As we approach the bicentennial of that episode in American history, we should reflect on our Gulf Coast version of the "Founding Fathers" and the beginning of the end for the Spanish empire on the Gulf of Mexico.

-lotes dobile Press Register, February 23, 1987. Also sec: Virginia Von Ocr Veer Hamilton, Seeing 'istoric Alabama (University, AL. 1982). 220; Peter A. Brannon, Engineers of Yesteryear \'1ontgomcry. AL. 1928), 13·14. Fbomos A. Bailey, A Diplomatic History of the American People (New York, 1958), 81. ames M. Faircloth, The Faircloth Notes on wnd Surveying in Alabama (Tusc:aloosn, 1992), •samuel F. Bemis, Pinr:lcn~y·s Treary (New Haven, 1960), 281. 5 Jack D. L. Holmes, "The Soulhem Boundary Commission, The Chauahoochee River, and 1bc Florid11 Seminoles, 1799," Florida Historical Quarterly 44 (April 1966): 312. 'Ibid. 1 Andrew Ellicou, The Journal of Andrew Ellicott (Philadelphia, 1803), 82-83, appendi~. 1 Fairclolh, Notes, 66. '1bid., 109. Also see: Fnuddin K. Van Zandy. undari~s of the United States and The Se•·erp Statts (Washington, D. C.. 1976), 102. 40Jack C. Gallalee. "Andrew Ellicou and lhe Ellicou Stone," Th~ Alabama Review 18 (Apri 1965): 104. 11Fairclolh, Notes, 116-20. 1 :R. S. Collcrill, Tht Southern Indians: Tht Story of the CivUiud Tribes Before Remova (Norman, OK. 1954), 125. 111bid.. 124. " James Doster, Tht Creek Indians and Their Florido Llnds (New York, 1974), 200-201. " Ibid., 211-19. ''Ibid., 211. Also sec: William AuguSlus Bowles to John Adams, October 31, 1799, Addition' Manuscripts 37,878, British Museum, London; Bowles to IU.S. Secretary of State?). October 31 1799, Ayer Manuscript, Newberry Libruy, Chicago. 17Dostcr, The Creek Indians, 211. 111. Lcik:h Wright. Jr., William Augustus Bowle:~-Director General of the Creek Nation (Alben! GA, 1967), 111!. Also see: Proclamation by Bowles, October 26, 1799, Pllpeles de Cuba, LcgaJ 2371, AJchivo General de lndias, Seville. 19James Pate, The Fort Tombigbe~ Historical R~search and Documentation Project (Livingstot AL, 1980}, 226. Also see: Dispntches or the Spanish Govcn~ors, Vol. 6, 197, Howaud-Tilto Memorial Libmy, Tulane University. »Arthur, The Mississippi Question, 1795-1803 (New York, 1934), 173. :'Ellicott, Joumal, 31-40. ::Jack D. L Holmes, Gayoso (Gloucester, MA, 1968}, 180. »John Leslie to Robert Leslie, May 9, 1796, letter lnlnscribcd in the Flori® Historical Quarter 12 (April 1934): 198·99. ing 1997 Gulf Coast Historical Review 39 licott, Journal, 35-37. id., 57. id., 31-176. llllklin Riley, "Spanish Policy in Mississippi After the Treaty of San Lorenzo," Publications the Mi.s.sissippi Historical Society (Oxford, MS. 1898), 1: 53·54. 1unbar Rowland, Encyclopedia of Mi.s.sis.sippi History (Madison, WI, 1907), 40 . . ichard Shenkman and Kurt Reiger, One Nighl Stands With American Hi.story (New York, 82), 43. Also see: Peleg D. Harrison, The Stars and Stripu and Other American Flags oston, 1906), 65; Rowland, Encyclopedia of Mississippi, 40. :llicoct, Journal, 43. Nhitaker, Mississippi Question, 58. Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana (Chicago, 1925), 379. Franklin L. Riley, ''Trunsition from Spanish to American Rule in Mississippi," Publications of 1e Mississippi Historical Society (Jackson, MS. 1900), 2: 276. Whitaker, Mississippi Question, 51-58. 1 EIIicott, Journal, 17 11ppcndix. slbid., 96. 7 Justin Winsor, The Westward Movement: The Colonies and the Republic West of the \/leghenits, 1763-1798 (Boscon, 1897), 553. "Daniel Clark, Proofs of Corr!lption of General James Wilkinson (New Orleans, 1809), 83. 19lbid. ~ipley Jacobs, Tarnished Warrior: Major General James Wilkinson (New York, 1938), 164. • 1 Winsor, Western Movement, 563. •lJack D. L. Holmes, "Alabama's Forgotten Sectler: Notes on !he Spanish Mobile District, 1780· 1813," Alabama Historical Quarterly 33 (Summer 1971): 96-97. 1• 1 Ellicott, Journal, 97. "Holmes, Gayoso, 190. "Ellicott, Journal, 100. 46Holmcs, Gayoso, 191. 40 Gulf Coast Historical Review Spring ~ 49Ellicott, Journal, JOI. "''bid •• 111 ·17. 51 1sooc J. Coli, We.rt Florida Controversy (BaltimOTe, 1918), 52. ':A. J. Pickett, Hi.rtory of Alabama cwJ lnciJentally of Georgia and Missis.rippi (Binningba 1900), 2: 453. "cox, West Florida Comrow:rsy. 54. '"Ellicou. Journal, 116. "Ibid., 179. '"Ibid., llppc:ndill, 51. "Emn Rowl11nd, The Uft, utter.J and Papers of William Dunbar (Jackson. MS, 1930), 80. "Holmes, Gayctso, 274. ' 0 EIIicoll, Jaurnal, 180. 1'41J. F. H. Cluibomc, Mississippi as a Province. Territory cwJ Stale (Jackson. MS. 1880), 1: 19i 61Catherine V. C. Mathews, Andrew Ellicott, His Ufe arid Letters (New York, 1908), 159. t.:Holmes, Gayoso, 235. 6.1Fiorcttc Henri, Benjamin Hawkins, 341. "Ellicott. Journal, 98·99. "Sorgent to Fmnchammass1Uubba, Mississippi Territory, November 25, 1799, Mi.Jsis.rippi Territorial Art'hives, I : 195. " Holmes, ''The Southern Boundary Commissioo," 313. 67Rowland, Ufe of Dunbar, 80. "Franldin Riley, "Sir Willillll Dunb11r-The Pioneer Scientist of Mississippi," Publications of the Minis.rippi Historical Society (Oxford, MS. 1899), 2: 91. ~owland, Ufe of Dunbar, 82·84. ~icl.,80. Spring 1997 Gulf Coast Historical Review 71 EIIicou. Journal. appendix, 61. r.lbid., appendix. 68-99. "Claiborne, Mississippi, 176-77. 74James R. Jacobs. Tamishtd Warrior (New York, 1938), 180. 75Malhews, Ellicotl, 161·62. 76Royal 0 . Shreve, The Finishtd Scoundrtl (Indianapolis. IN, 1933 ), 267. "Ibid. nlbid., 265. "Ellicott, Journal. 183-84. 10Jbid., J85. 11J. A. Bennett, The Divided Circle (Oxford, 1987), 118-19. "i:llicotl, Journal, appendix. 69 . .,Ibid., 186. 41 ~amilton, "RunniniJ Mississippi's Soulh Line," Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society (Oxford, MS. 1899). 2: 161. .,Peter J. Hamilton, Colonial Mobile (Boston, 1897), 354. 16Holmes, "Alabama's Forgotten Settler," 96. Also see: List of people of Tcnsaw desiring to move into Spanish Territory, November 8, 1798, Papeles de Cuba, Legajo 206, Archivo General de lndias, Seville; Translated Spanish Records, 1: 229·30. Mobile Probate Court Records, Mobile, AL. 17A. B. Moore, History of Alabama (Tuscaloosa 1934), 191. ""Ellicott. Journal, appendix, 31-37. 19Malhews, Ellicott, 191. 901bid., 166. 91 EIIicott, Journal, 243. 92lbid., 299. 91lbid., 198. 94lbid., appendix, 83. 42 " Golhdcc, Etlicoll Stone, 103. ~llicott, Journal, 282. " Ibid., 270. " Ibid., 206. Gulf Coast Historical Review 90Grunl Fonnon, The Five Civiliud Tribes (Nonnan, OK. 1989), 275. ~11icou , Journal, 205, Spring 1997 r"c. L Grunt, ed. uller, Journals and Writings of Benjamin Hawkins, Volume I. /796-/80/, ;(Savannah 1980). 252. "i:llicott, Journal, appendix. 37·38. •noranl, utle~. 252. 190EIIicoll, Journal, 207. IOlGrunl, Letters, 250-S~. 106lbid.. 258. ICI'tlbitJ., 261 11111bitl. I<"Wrighl. Bowles, 94. 11 ~11icott, Journal. appcndi,x, 99. 111John Fuhon, Memoirs of F. A. P. Barnard (New York, 1896), 103. ' 12Faircloth, Notes. 116. 11 ~uhon. Memoirs, 103. lltlbitl.. 102. '"'Holmes, ''The Southern Boundary Commission," 320. Minor lo G11yoso. Au~:usl 5, 1799, P11pelcs de Cuba, Lcgajo 2355, Archivo General de lndias, Seville. 11'EIIicott, Journal, 214. 1111bid. 111M ark Boyd, "Jim Woodruff Reservoir Area Hislory," Bulletin of Bureau of American Ethnology. no. 169 (1956): 273. Spring 1997 119 EIIicoll, Journal, 217-18. I:!DJbid., 219, r.1 lbid. Gulf Coast Historical Review 123House Document no. 96, 1829, 20th Cong, 2d sess., Washington, D.C. 1 :!ACotterill, Southtrn Indians, 129. IUJbjd,, 188-89. ~dwin McReynolds, Tht Seminoles (Norman, OK, 1957), 37. mEIIicott, Journal, 233. 131bid., 242. 129lbid .. 239. ~aniel Clark, Proofs of Corruption, 71-72. Ullbid .• 70. 132EIIh:ott, Journal, 243. l))lbid., 244-69. 114Jbid., 279. mFanis W. Cadle, Georgia umd Surveying History and Ulw (Athens. GA. 1991). 221. ~Jiicott, Journal, 298-99. mlbid., 281. mlbid., 300. u9 David Lavender, The Way To The Western Sea (New York, 1988). 42. 140Mathews, Ellicort, 213-14. 141Couerill, The SoUJhem Indians, 232. 43 ••2 B. A. Hinsdale. "The Establishment of the First Southern Boundary of the United States," American Historical A.uociation Annual Report (1893), 365.

Robert Register is a science teacher from Northport, Alabama. He has begun field work devoted to locating all of the astronomical observatories, survey mounds, and witness trees along the first Southem Boundary of the United States. Mr. Register hopes that his research will lead to the proper marking of this old border.