CATLETT J. ATKINS 1799-1870 ( FATHER OF MARTHA ATKINS; Grandfather to Will S., Emma, Robert E. Lee, Albert, Anne and Alma Arnett)
Catlett was born in Orange Co VA, and lived in Georgia, Alabama, Creek Territory in OK and finally in Grayson Co. Texas. He fought in the First Seminole War in Georgia, was a farmer owning land in GA, AL and TX., trader, missionary and justice of peace.
Also called Catle and "C J", he was named after his father's maternal uncle, Catlett James, a Revolutionary soldier, who died a childless bachelor ten years before his namesake was born. CJ’s father, Spencer Atkins, was a farmer and served in the War of 1812 militia in Orange Co., VA. Rebecca Yancey was his mother. There ancestors had been in VA since the 1600s.
In January 1818 when he was 19, CJ volunteered with 18 other men for a suicide mission to break through Indian lines to reach Fort Gaines, GA on what is the border between GA and AL today. Against everyone's expectations, all but two of these “resolute” men made it (according to JJ Hooper who led the mission). Hooper saw "Catle" as late as 1841 when he lived in Macon Co. AL. CJ married Harriet Chapman on 20 January 1820 in Jasper Co, GA. Harriet was the daughter of Henry Levi Chapman of Macon Co, AL and Lavinia Mobley. The Chapmans were originally from Darlington area of South Carolina and had lots of land.
The Atkins lived in Harris Co, GA in 1830. The census showed that C J Atkins had a family with five children and two slaves. He lived close to his younger brother Spencer J. Atkins, Wiley James, and Solomon Chapman (30-40 y o). After 1836, he moved his family to Alabama. The Indian Removal Act required all Indians to move West of the Mississippi by 1836 and CJ was granted a 400 acre parcel of Creek Land by President Van Buren. In the 1840 Census he is in Macon Co. listed with his wife, 10 children and 2 slaves. Neighbors include Levi Chapman (30-40 years), Wm Chapman(40-50 years), H Chapman (80-90 years). CJ was a representative to a Baptist Council. He represented, Smyrna, Macon Co.
CJ, Harriet and family, Robert G. Atkins as well as the Chapman brothers moved to the Creek Nation by 1845-1846. They moved to North Fork Town as merchants and opened a well -stocked large store. The Gold Rush brought prosperity in 1849. Wagon trains to California and Texas went by way of Webber Falls to North Fork Town as this was considered a good route and was used by the Knickerbocker Company. A ferryboat was used to cross the Canadian River and travelers camped at North Fork Town which had good Indian houses, gardens and whiskey. There was a Chapman Stand at North Fork Town. A post office was established at North Fork Town on August 4, 1853, but the town name was changed to Micco, meaning "chief" in the Creek language. CJ was appointed postmaster. Town is now underwater because of the Arkansas Dam. Post office and stores moved to Eufula due to the route of the KATY railroad. The Atkins including their young children left Micco after 7 years (1854) due to a “plague”. Their two daughters Martha and Virginia and their husbands (William Arnet and James Franklin Todd) may have moved with them.
CJ was Chief Justice of Peace from Aug 1856 to July 1857, when he resigned "due to blindness". In the winter of 1858-9, wife Harriet died after their youngest daughter’s marriage Sept. 1858. He remarried within months (Jane Crowder or Browder). He and Jane Browder Atkins had a daughter Sarah b 1860 Sherman, Grayson Co, TX. In 1862, he wrote a letter to his uncle in Orange County, VA with a return address of Piedmont, Texas which he described as in Grayson County near Sherman Texas. He owned 2000 acres in 1860 and may have grown cotton as that was the major crop. CJ died in 1870 and is buried in Drippings Spring Cemetery in Grayson Co. Todds, Atkins and Gaskills married each other for two generations and produced many triple cousins. The girls' "Uncle Spencer Atkins" Performed one or both of their marriages. All are buried in the tiny cemetery next to the old Baptist Church they started.
CJ left other footprints. In Texas, he wrote about his slave : “ my old and faithful servant Jim be at liberty to do as he pleases either to live with Jane Atkins or return to the Creek Nation and live with his wife.” CJ also was a defendant in a Superior Court of AK case in 1860. A Superior court case in Drew Co. Arkansas,concerning the estate of Abner Chapman, who died at North Fork, Creek. Nation, I.T. In 1845, Catlett J. Atkins. Harriet's husband was administrator. There was some question of his handling of the estate, which named Harriet as a sister to Abner. Other Siblings named: Solomon D., John D., Robert, and Benjamin Chapman. Abner Chapman was an Indian Trader working with Seaborn Hill and John Hill in the Creek Nation. It is a complex case with lots of ins and outs but focused on the validity of wills made in Indian Territories.
CJ was a learned man. One of his letters and poem reside in the Georgia Historical Society. He wrote in 1862 that he raised a family but they had spread out with none closer than 20 miles. He said he was unfortunate to lose his first wife Harriet and became disconsolate and did not want to brook the current alone. He married a much younger woman and had a daughter Sarah Frances born about 1860. He complains of rheumatism and in the late 1850s lost his sight for 6 months, which caused him to lose his job as a justice of the peace. He describes himself as a professor of Christianity for over 33 years. He states that he is like Paul -when I want to do good evil is present in me. He talked of his 7 years within the Creek nation and thought the Creeks were quite pious. He left in 1854 for Texas but had little religious enjoyment because of the changes in him or the community. He actually faults himself but tries to use the bible as his chart. He said he was not surprised by the advent of the war. His poem “The American Star” is written from the point of view of a Southerner. In the poem he mentions his life of 20 years in Georgia where he married. The poem alludes to Greek mythology and talks of each of the Confederate States.
This information and story was researched by Cindy Battie. If you have interest in the Atkins family tree contact Cindy at anatbat at gmail.com. (replace the at with a @ when contacting her.)