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Sixth Generation

65. James W. WHIDDON Jr.47 was born on 20 Jun 1790 in Washington Co., GA.72 He appeared in the census in 1820 in Appling Co., GA.147 which lists household as 1M 16 to 26; 2F under 10 and 1F 16 to 26. He appeared in the census in 1840 in Hamilton Co., FL.148 He appeared in the census in 1850 in Pease Creek Settlement, Hillsborough Co., FL.149 which listed him as "James W. WHITTON". He appeared in the census in 1860 in Brevard Co., FL.150 which records his name as "James WHITTEN". He died in 1869 in Phosphoria, Polk Co., FL.151 He was buried in Elam Cemetary, Chircoro section, Polk Co., FL.152

"James W. Whiddon was born in Washington County, GA., June 20, 1790, son of James Whiddon, Sr. The family was cut into Montgomery County in its creation in 1796, and the subject grew to manhood there. His wife was Mary Altman, born 1801 in South Carolina, daughter of Thomas and Lydia Altman, natives of North Carolina. Thirteen children were born to them, vis:"*

"Mr. Whiddon lived a few years in Tattnall, then moved across the Altamaha into the new county of Appling, in 1819, and is shown there in the 1820 census. In the creation of Ware out of Appling in 1825, he was included in the new county. The portion of Appling and Ware the family lived in was in 1850 made into Clinch and into Echols in 1858, and was near the Suwannee River. About 1838, Mr. Whiddon moved with his family into the adjoining county of Hamilton in Florida. About ten years later they pushed on into Florida and settled in Hillsborough County, in the southeast part of the county in the Pease Creek settlement which was made into Polk County in 1861. The Whiddon homestead bordered a creek that became known as Whiddon's Creek. Mr. and Mrs. Whiddon died there in 1869, and were buried in Elam Cemetery in the old Chircoro section, Polk County. Mr. Whiddon was a private in Capt. Wm. B. North's company , 2nd Regiment Florida militia, 1837, in the Indian War. He and his sons were in later fights with the Indians in the 1840s and 1850s; two of the sons being killed as stated above".**

"The event which incited the Whiddon's move to Florida was the opening of an Indian agency in a part of Florida previously closed to settlement. John Darling and Thomas P. Kennedy received permission to build an Indian store and agency at Hatse Lotka, a creek flowing into the Peace (Peas) River. Hopeful settlers took this as a sign that the frontier was to be opened and began to move into the area. It is certain that James W. Whiddon was there by 1849, but most likely he was there earlier

Under the Armed Occupation Act he moved on and settled a claim north of the Alafia River. Five years later, with Rigdon Brown, he became one of the first two white American pioneers to establish homes in the Peace River Valley, near the boundary of the Seminole nation. His son-in-law, Noel Raulerson, and his brother, drove cattle from Columbia Co., Georgia to the Alafia range in 1844. By May of 1845 they were established near Itchepuckessassa and were joined by his other son-in-law, William L. Campbell, and his brothers Maxfield and Willoughby, and Noah Whiddon/Whidden."***

"In 1849 the Hillsborough County Commission approved construction of two roads, one of which was to run to "Jimmy" Whidden's, who was located six miles north of the Indian store. In fact, Whiddon was to help lay out the road from Lanier's house on the Alafia River to the Indian store on the Peace River.

George Payne, who was clerk in the existing store at Charlotte Harbor for Kennedy and Darling, was responsible for the movement of goods and raising of a structure on the Peace River. By May of 1849 he was established and trading with the Indians. Part of the approved trade to the Indians consisted of whiskey, but it had to be picked up across the river. However, Payne hated whiskey and stopped giving it to the Indians, which led to disaster for him and his employees. The uprising which occurred is covered under Dempsey Whiddon.

James served as a Private in the 2nd Regiment of Florida Militia during the 1837 Indian War. By 1838 he was a 2nd Lt. in North's Company of Mounted Volunteers. He also participated in battle against the Indians in the 1850's when another of his sons was killed.

In 1849 his son, Dempsey, was killed by rogue Indians who then rode to J. W.'s the following morning and attached his homestead, wounding one of his sons. The family fled to William J. Whiddon's home and were resting when his daughter, Nancy, and her husband, William, staggered up, who, although wounded, had been able to escape the Indians. The families remained in this location for several years, with James eventually relocating about 7 miles west of Ft. Meade around 1853.

James and Mary were in that area of Hillsborough County which became Polk Co. in 1861. Their homestead bordered a creek which became known as Whidden's Creek. Both died at their homestead, and are buried in the Old Elam Cemetery, near their home, in Polk Co., FL."***
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*"Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia" Vol. 4 by Folks Huxford, page 321.
**Ibid pages 321-322.
*** "A Genealogical History of the Whiddon Family" by Judy B. Anderson, 1996. Unpublished
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James W. WHIDDON Jr. and Mary ALTMAN were married in 1818 in Tattnall Co., GA. Mary ALTMAN (daughter of Thomas ALTMAN and Lydia) was born in 1801 in South Carolina. She died in 1869. She was buried in Elam Cemetary, Chircoro section, Polk Co., FL.152 James W. WHIDDON Jr. and Mary ALTMAN had the following children:



Margaret WHIDDON.



Elizabeth WHIDDON.



Temperance "Tempie" WHIDDON.






James Lawrence WHIDDEN CSA.



Dempsey Duncan WHIDDEN was born on 13 Jan 1828 in Ware Co., GA. He died on 17 Jul 1849 in Pease Creek Settlement, Hillsborough Co., FL.

"In the decade following the second Seminole Indian War, friction between the Indians and the white settlers, who were continually encroaching on Indian lands. The Indians often traveled from the interior of Florida to the Gulf coast to do their trading. When they traded, then often passed white settlements, a potential source of conflict. The U. S. authorities attempted to eliminate this volatile situation by establishing a trading post for the Indians in the interior. They calculated that the post would eliminate the necessity of the Indians passing near white settlements, and would establish for the first time a contact point where the Indians could be easily reached whenever the need arose to communicate with them. Consequently the Kennedy-Darling store was established in the spring of 1849. The spot selected was Paynes Creek (Unnamed at that time) on the northern boundary of the Indian reservation. It was attacked by five Indians on July 17, 1849. They opened fire on three clerks: Captain George S. Payne, Dempsey Whiddon and William McCullough. Whiddon and Payne were killed. Their grave site is now marked with a stone monument near the location of the old store. McCullough escaped with his wife and child, although he was wounded in the shoulder and leg.

The attack resulted from the action of five individuals, one of whom had been previously outlawed by his tribe. The Seminoles wished to avoid a conflict. They captured three of the culprits and killed a fourth. The fifth man escaped. The prisoners were turned over to the Americans in an attempt at appeasement. However, it took the government a while to realize the misunderstanding. In the meantime, federal troops were sent to Florida, and plans were made for a campaign against the Indians.

The strategic plan for removing the Indians called for establishing a chain of forts, 10 miles apart, from the Manatee River to the Indian River. This line of outposts across the northern boundary, of the Indian reservation would be to protect the settlers to the north and to establish bases from which the Indians could be pursed and harassed until they surrendered.

Work began on the first fort on October 26, 1849, on an elevated spot of ground, one-half mile north of the trading post. The fort took its name from the name of the store which had come to be known as "Chokonikla", a variant spelling of the Indian word "burned house".

No fighting occurred at the fort, although a number of men died from disease. Sickness, particularly malaria and fever, were constant problems and ultimately caused the fort to be abandoned (July 1850). As many as 223 men including a regimental band, were garrisoned at the fort at one time, but usually the number was smaller.

The events of 1849 did not immediately lead to war. The conflict was postponed until 1855 when a band of Seminoles attacked a military surveying party near Fort Myers. Although some of the Seminoles surrendered and were sent to Oklahoma, others remained hidden in the swamps of southern Florida where their descendants remain to this day. The remaining Seminoles never surrendered. They signed a peace treaty with the U.S. government in 1936 during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Trails lead through the woods to the high ground where Fort Chokonikla once stood and to the location of the Kennedy-Darling store. Near this feature is the stone monument marking the burial place of George Payne and Dempsey Whiddon"*

Judy B. Anderson reports this incident as follows: "Dempsey was an assistant at the Indian store which had been established by George Payne. Also employed there was his brother-in-law, William McCullough, who had married his sister, Nancy. Nancy worked as cook and cleaning woman for the store. They had been transacting friendly business with a group of four Indians during the day. After their departure, another group of rogue Indians came demanding whiskey as part of their trade. Payne refused to give it to them and also refused their request to stay at the store. They demanded whiskey a second time, and were again refused, which made them very angry. The discussion ended abruptly when Payne and McCullough were called to dinner by Nancy. William McCullough later related the events as they happened:

We had scarcely got seated at the supper-table when they fired in at the door from the outside, one Indian standing on either side of the door and two in front, one behind the other. By this shot Captain Payne and Dempsey Whiddon were killed dead, and I received a bullet in my left shoulder. I was shocked for an instant, but saw Payne spring up and fall back on the floor. Whidden fell forward, his face and hands resting on his plate. I sprang to the door and shouted, when the Indians gave back reloading their rifles. My wife was closing the shutters of the window, but I told her our only chance was to leave the building. My wife then took her child and started for the bridge, which was about a quarter of a mile from the store.... I followed my wife with the rifle.

Echo Emathla Chopco (or Chipco) and two Indians fired at the family wounding Nancy, but they were unable to keep the small family from reaching the bridge. As it was near dark, Nancy and William used the darkness to hide until the Indians had passed their hiding place, then made their way to the home of Jockey Whiddon.

The Indians returned to the store, celebrating their victory by plundering. When finished, they torched the store and all the out buildings. The area was later referred to as Chokonikla, a Creek or Seminole word for "burnt house". The following morning four Indians attached the homestead of James W. Whiddon, Dempsey's father, wounding one of his sons. They also fled to Jockey Whiddon's."**

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* Florida Parks Internet Site, Payne Creek State Historic Site, Bowling Green. Addressable as ( on January 31, 1997.
** Anderson, Judy B. "A Genealogical History of the Whiddon Family" 1996, unpublished: sources 186 and 187.
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William WHIDDON was born on 6 Nov 1832 in Ware Co., GA. LDS IGI Files Dated Mar 1992 lists birth date as same but birthplace as Hillsborough Co., FL and Spessard Stone source lists birth at Hamilton Co., FL. He died on 16 Mar 1850 in Alafia, Hillsborough Co., FL.153,154












Bennett WHIDDEN.