By Harvey H. Jackson
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Additional info for Rivers of history: life on the Coosa, Tallapoosa, Cahaba, and Alabama
Army Corps of Engineers, the Alabama Power Company Corporate Archives, the Birmingham Public Library, and the Birmingham Museum of Art. I also wish to thank Professor Sarah Wiggins, editor of the Alabama Review, for permission to reprint material from that journal. Even with the help of these fine people and institutions, I could not have completed this work without friends who aided me both professionally and personally, and to whom I owe more than I can say here. Ed and Jane Weldon, Brad Rice, Suzette Griffith, Malcolm MacDonald, Leah Atkins, Melvin Herndon, and Ed Bridges have been sources of inspiration and support for which I am grateful.
All sides agreed that de Soto's expedition traveled down the Coosa River valley and along at least some of the Alabama. 4 Indians had lived along the rivers for centuries before the Spaniards arrived. Drawn to the rich vegetation and animal life close to the streams, hunting and gathering groups wandered in, settled, and in time developed farming communities capable of sustaining large populations. Theirs was a seasonal way of life, and the rivers played an important part in it. Spring floods deposited rich soil on their fields and regenerated the land, so they did not need to move their villages frequently or far.
Two decades later there was yet another conflictthe American Revolution. 22 Even as the French debated what course to follow, the advantage shifted in their favor. For some time Indians had complained to officials in Charleston of how English traders, when they gained control of a market, began cheating local tribesmen who now had no alternative but to deal with them and physically assaulting, even murdering, those who protested. The worst abuses apparently were heaped on some of Carolina's oldest allies, the Yamasee, who lived on the colony's southern frontier.