Hey everyone and welcome back to The Hogue Connection! Some new information has come to light recently, so I thought I would let you know it through this Hannah Hale update. I’ll also add some other interesting bits about my Native American heritage through her husband, Hopoie Tustunnuggee, also known as Far Off Warrior. It has been a busy time here at The Hogue Connection, with many new contacts and cousins reaching out and getting excited about their genealogy.
The Hannah Hale article posted here is still my most popular page of the blog, with about 70 readers per month. While the information really hasn’t changed that much, I think it’s important to keep her story as straight as I can with constant review and outside input. I’ve added a new source to the article, which I will discuss in a second, and discovered an unusual family twist along the way that opened contacts with brand new cousins on that side of the family.
Hopoie’s New Bio
Evelyn Park Blalock contacted me recently with most of these updates. She has been researching Hannah Hale for some time now and recently became the profile manager of Hopoie’s FindAGrave memorial. You can check that out here. I think you’ll find that this memorial is the most thorough bio on Hopoie yet, possibly anywhere. It’s important to me that we all get this biography straight, especially since there are so many different stories about him floating around. Evelyn’s research and background on it is stellar. I read through it several times and added what I thought would improve my existing article.
There is still a great deal of information that we may never learn about Hopoie and Hannah. If it weren’t for Benjamin Hawkins and his journals about his time with the Creeks in Alabama, we would know even less. I noticed that someone in WikiTree has parents listed for Hopoie; there is absolutely no evidence to support this. We have to be careful when we link to other trees out there. Regardless, kudos for the work done by Evelyn on this ongoing research project.
Fort Mims Revisited
So you gain a more clear picture of the location of events, I’m including the map above. This is more of Evelyn’s work that I copied from Hopoie’s FindAGrave page. In this new bio, Evelyn makes mention of the memorials installed at the replica of the Fort Mims Massacre site. Please check out this page on the Historical Marker Database site to see pictures of these carved stone remembrances at Fort Mims. Open the link in a new tab so you can refer to these pics as I tell the rest of the story.
You can also go here to read a short recap of the events of 30 Aug 1813 that refers to Hopoie. The markers were created and installed by the Fort Mims Restoration Association for the 200th anniversary. I believe the names were gathered through family histories and research done by the association and the D.A.R.
We know that Hopoie Tustunnuggee was cut down almost immediately in the first waves of attacks on the fort that day. If you zoom in on picture #5, you can see mention of his name with the other 13 Redstick Creeks that were identified among the over 200 killed. He is mentioned as the “only documented death”. If you zoom in on picture #4, in the middle section of the top group of names, you see listed Penelope Farr DePriest. Penelope was my fifth great grandmother.
So, wait. I had two ancestors killed at Fort Mims? Red flags go up immediately. What are the chances of that?
I did have two ancestors killed in a battle with Native Americans before, actually. Go here for that story.
Still, something didn’t seem right. Further investigation is needed.
A Different Date…
My records show that Penelope did die at Fort Mims, but not on 30 August 1813, the day of the massacre, but 17 days earlier on 13 Aug. So, I looked deep and tried to figure out where I got that date. I contacted a couple of new cousins (thanks to Lynn Howard and Art Moore III) to see what dates they had and checked out the family trees on Ancestry and Family Search. I also discovered and ordered some books written about the Depriest family by another new cousin, Lynn Busby (her Amazon author’s page is here.) The result? A mixed bag; about half of the trees out there had the date of 30 August and the other half 13 August.
Art Moore sent me a letter he got in response to the same question he asked several years ago. The late John Edward Tisdale (1946-2009), an historian from Florida, responded with some interesting ideas. It is known that Penelope’s father, James Farr, had acquired land not too far away from Fort Mims. This area would eventually become Perry County, Mississippi. Penelope and her family were likely in transit there and stopped by Fort Mims for supplies or to rest. According to the notes of a physician, Dr. Thomas G. Holmes, stationed at the fort, conditions were crowded and unhealthy; much sickness prevailed, including pneumonia and cholera. Penelope likely died there and her husband James DePriest and their children moved on to James Farr’s property.
I’m Sticking With 13 August…
…for now, anyway. It really does pay off to dig deeper. I learned a lot about my family and got to connect with some brand new cousins in the process. Thanks to everyone who helped out on this research. Lynn Busby’s books on The DePriest family have information about our original immigrant, Robert DePriest of Virginia. She basically took all of her research notes and published them for us to use in our genealogy work. Great observations in there about the colony of Virginia, too.
I noticed something strange while researching this article. If the white people came out on top, it was referred to as a battle. If the Creeks won, it was called a massacre. Another thing I learned, too. All of the victims of the Fort Mims tragedy were buried in mass graves. With all of the sickness in the area going on back then, this makes sense. It’s likely Penelope Farr Depriest was buried in one as well. There are many YouTube videos about Fort Mims available if you can’t get down there to visit. Very hallowed ground and an important part of our family’s history. Thanks for visiting The Hogue Connection! You can return to the Home page here.