Ridge Notes on Lucas Tavern

An establishment called Lucas Tavern was located on the Federal Road west of Line Creek near to Montgomery, Alabama.  According to authors Southerland and Brown, the location was between present-day U.S. 80 and Interstate 85 near Mt. Meigs.  Lucas Tavern is now a part of the Old Alabama Town complex located in downtown Montgomery.

General Lafayette spent the night at Lucas Tavern during his 1825 tour of the United States.  We believe that in this article, Dr. Glenn meant to cite Lewis's Tavern at Fort Bainbridge, instead of Lucas Tavern.  General Lafayette also spent the night at Lewis's Tavern during this same tour.  To date, we have documented just one tavern at Creek Stand.  It was called Sampson Lanier's Tavern.

Southerland, H., & Jerry Elijah, B. (1989). Passing Strangers. In The Federal Road through Georgia, the Creek Nation, and Alabama, 1806-1836 (p. 92). Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

Transcribed from: The Tuskegee News, Tuskegee, Alabama, 17 September, 1953; vol. 89, no. 24, p.1, col 2 (continued to P. 8, col 3).  Transcribed  by Glenn Drummond, 2 October, 2011.  Used with permission of The Tuskegee News.


GLIMPSES OF YESTERDAY – Tales of Old Creek Stand - Dr. J.M. Glenn

Like Cotton Valley, Creek Stand is now largely a memory.  Once it was well known as a white settlement in the former Eastern edge of what was called the “Creek Nation,” extending toward Mobile.  The Creeks were the dominant tribe in a large area of both Georgia and Alabama.  Their name came from the many small streams in their territory, and the name “Muscogee” also means “Damp or Swampy Ground.”

Creek Stand was below the pre-historic Creek Indian migration trail, leading Eastward across Alabama, and passing between Tuskegee and Notasulga, according to an old map at hand.  Yet that migration trail furnished the principal inhabitants found by the whites.

Also, as stated by this writer (Tuskegee News, Nov. 29, 1952) in the 1700’s the East-West line of what was first British, then Spanish, West Florida --- 32 degrees, 28 minutes North latitude ---- was between Tuskegee and Notasulga.  Above that line was the “Illiniois Country,” as shown by exceedingly rare old maps, here at hand, as was with Spanish chronicles dealing with the Alabama of over 400 years ago.

Both Creek Stand and Warrior Stand (names for a noted chief, Big Warrior, always friendly with the whites) wore on the old Indian trail which (1805-11) became the celebrated Old Federal Road.  From Fort Mitchell, in Russell County, it led by old Fort Hull, several miles above Cotton Valley --- and where a marker is very much needed --- to Southwest Alabama.

Even before the old Indian trail became first “horse path” (1805) and then a wagon-road (1811) along by the site of the future Creek Stand came the eccentric Methodist preacher, Lorenzo Dow, from distant New England, in 1803.  Traveling the intervening wilderness on horseback, he reached old Tensaw, in Northern Baldwin County.  There, in 1803, he preached the first Protestant sermon ever heard in Alabama.  Catholicism had been the only church, and it along the coast region.

In 1811 Dow came again by Creek Stand from the west.  This time he was accompanied by his wife, Peggy, a person as unique as was Lorenzo himself.

They were on horseback, but their autobiographies, here at hand, show that upon reaching Georgia they bought a one-horse wagon and in it proceeded to New York.

From Fort Mitchell the Old Federal Road led by Fort Bainbridge, near the border of Russell and Macon Counties, later known as Boromville, and then by Fort Hull. Along that road were taverns kept by Indians, or part-Indians.  One of those was the Lucas Tavern, at Creek Stand, mentioned in Miss A.K. Walker’s recent history of Russell County, and notable because of its eatables and drinkables.  Likely today no one knows its site.

Upon a moonlight night it would require much stress on the imagination to picture in fancy the varied processions passing through Creek Stand.  First would come the aboriginal Indians from time immortal; then the Creeks, with other tribes attendant.  Then Dow and his wife.  Then Aaron Burr, former vice president of the United States, a prisoner under guard being carried to Richmond, Va., for a trial.  Then, in 1825, along came Gen. LaFayette, with retinue of both whites and Indians, on his way to Montgomery and Mobile.  Also along that road passed multitude of settlers, when the Indian county was opened to them.

The settlers who came to Creek Stand built a Methodist Church and named it Mt. Zion.  The writer’s memories of it go back to 1879, or 74 years ago.  When most of the members were dead, or gone, the old building fell into sad disrepair.  It was torn down, several years ago, and a much smaller replica of it was built --- a tribute to the departed, and home-comings are being held there each year.  The old pulpit, the old doors, and as many of the old pews as can be placed in it are nicely painted replica.  Those who have erected the latter certainly deserve commendation.

Date of Publication                          Title

September 11, 1952                               Backtrails Through History - Old Cotton Valley Historic Site

November 20, 1952                               Our Yesterdays - County  Has Historic Past

November 27, 1952                               Our Yesterdays  - Origin of Alabama Told

October 22, 1953                                    Views and Interviews

November 19, 1953                               Glimpses of Yesterday - Warrior Stand Anecdotes