THE COAST 45 Pearl River to Mobile, will furnish New Orleans with a rich commerce, and with a delightful summer resort.” Until this coastal region became a clear holding of the United States, however, Flood’s farsighted observations could not be realized. Territorial Organization The addition of the boot heel to the Mississippi Territory was finalized on April 12, 1812, when President Madison signed the official document creating the state of Louisiana. This ended any boundary questions between Louisiana and Mississippi. It also halted the issuance of Spanish land grants that had continued during this interim time. By September of that same year, the United States government replaced the designations of Biloxi and Pascagoula parishes with the name Mobile County for the entire area. On December 14, the Mississippi Territorial legislature then subdivided Mobile County into three smaller counties—Hancock County from the Pearl River to the Biloxi Bay; Jackson County from Biloxi Bay to land just east of the Pascagoula River; and Mobile County from the eastern boundary of Jackson County to the Perdido River, which included the city of Mobile and Mobile Bay (which later became part of Alabama). This annexation of the Mississippi Coast came at a time of national crisis, and the newly minted counties of Jackson and Hancock immediately found themselves in the eye of an international storm. When this region became Hancock County in 1812, people were forced to push farther inland away from the Pearl River or settle in some of the budding coastal communities for land acquisitions. Chevalier Dedeaux, Charles Ladner, and John Saucier were a few of the first settlers in the region. On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain, a conflict that would dominate the next two years. While most of the engagements in the war were in the northeastern United States, action in the newly acquired Mississippi coastal territory proved pivotal to the war effort. But in addition to a war with England, the coastal residents were called on for another, more immediate fight. With the aid of the Spanish and British, and with incitement from Tecumseh and Native American brothers from the Great Lakes region, the Creeks and some Choctaws began attacking settlements on the Pearl and the Pascagoula Rivers in the summer of 1812. In the Hancock County area, Governor William C. C. Claiborne of the Orleans Territory again pressed Simon Favre into service. Claiborne asked him to investigate the Native American situation. Governor David Holmes of the Mississippi Territory did not know about Claiborne’s actions in assigning Favre this monumental task. Regardless of the miscommunication, Favre quelled the Native American hostilities in the region through negotiations. Unfortunately, north of the coast things were not so quickly calmed. Settlers from a vast area of present day central Alabama became fearful of the Creeks who reportedly were on the warpath. Tensions ran high, and a group of white settlers attacked a band of Creeks who had gone to Pensacola and were returning home. Rumors spread that the Spanish in Pensacola were arming these Creeks for attack, and the anxious settlers decided to strike first. The Creeks repelled this attack, but they wanted revenge. Hundreds of settlers had abandoned their farms to seek shelter in Fort Mims near present-day Bay Minette. The Creeks attacked and overwhelmed the fort. They killed hundreds of men, women, and children. Coast units of militiamen, frightened by the massacre, united with other Mississippians from north of the 31 degree latitude line in efforts to keep the Creeks from gaining ground on the frontier in present-day Alabama, then part of the Mississippi Territory. Colonels George H. Nixon and John Bond of the Pearl River region joined forces with Lieutenant Colonel Sterling Dupree of the Pascagoula River area and volunteered to join with the combined Mississippi Territorial and the Tennessee militia under command of General Andrew Jackson to subdue the Creek uprising. Organizing under the new Mississippi Territory laws, Jackson County volunteers signed up, organized, and elected officers. Governor Holmes placed Colonel Ferdinand Leigh Claiborne in command of this regiment. According to the Mississippi Territorial laws, each volunteer had to provide “a good firelock of some kind, a cartridge box, a shot pouch containing two spare flints and ten pounds of powder and ball, unless he takes the pauper’s oath.” Claiborne and his 17th Regiment saw action by December 1813. He attacked the Creeks at Fort Econachaca, or the Holy Ground, located on the Alabama River. With about 1,000 soldiers and 150 Choctaw warriors The Mississippi Territory was established by the United States on April 7, 1798. It was a vast stretch of land that included the central portions of present-day Alabama and Mississippi north of the Spanish holdings (the strip of coastline below the Mississippi Territory from the Pearl River eastward to the Mobile River).