|SCOUTING THE THIGPEN TRAIL
James Thigpen (1664-1731) owned lands in Perquimans and Chowan Precincts of the Colony Carolina (North and South Carolina
were at the time, 1703-04, a single colony). A militia Captain from 1695 until 1702 when he was appointed major, he scouted out the
Thigpen Trail in order that Col Moore might transport troops and supplies to attack and suppress raids by the Spanish and their
Native American Apalachee allies into the Carolinas. These events took place during Queen Anne's War from 1702-1713 (also called
war of Spanish Succession) when the English were expanding south and west from Charleston, while the Spanish were expanding
North from St. Augustine and the French in Mobile, closely allied with the Spanish, were also seeking prevent the expansion of
English trade and influence. Each European power had its own Indian allies; the Spanish being allied with the Apalachee and the
English the Creek. In the long run, borders changed little, but the Apalachee were the big losers in the war, suffering death,
enslavement, displacement or re-location..
Fighting had begun in the area in 1702 with and English raid on the Spanish mission settlement at Santa Fe de Toloca in Florida in
May 1702. The Spanish then attacked an English trading party negotiating at the Apalachicola community of Achita on the Flint
River. In the Battle of the Flint River, the Spanish were defeated by a force of 5 English (3 white, 2 black) and 800 Apalachicola
Indian in October 1702.
With the arrival of news of the official declaration of war, Governor Moore of Carolina led an expedition against the main Spanish
city of St Augustine, FL, but the siege of the fort there failed owing to the timely arrival of the Spanish Fleet. Moore then attacked
the Spanish by an interior route, the Thigpen Trail laid out in 1703 with a force of 50 English colonists and 1000 Apalachicola Creek
allies.. In 1704, the Spanish and Appalachee were decisively defeated, and this secured the area of south Georgia for the English. The
subsequent treaties with the Native Americans which resulted from the victory helped enable the peaceful settlement of Georgia
beginning in 1732.
The Trail descended south from South Carolina above the Broad river, along the Chattahoochee water divide to the Gulf of Mexico,
avoiding swamps and great rivers. Near Vienna, GA, is also found a town of Thigpen, perhaps along the Thigpen Trail. Further south,
there is a Georgia highway marker near the town of Sylvester GA along US82 which marks the route of the Thigpen trail. It continued
south from the east side of Doerun, GA through western Colquitt County to Highway 111 and on to Thomasville, GA and GA Hwy
19. Only parts of the trail in south Georgia are still extant and known as the Thigpen Trail, although Elaine Bricker, historian of
Colquitt County, Georgia, reported a 3rd monument on the North Georgia segment of the trail, but both the monuments in
Thomasville and North Georgia may have been lost.
The town of Baldwin, FL, about 18 miles west of Jacksonville, FL., was called Thigpen until 1860, but it is too far east to have been
part of the trail.
Sources: Varous Wikipedia articles, plus:
1. Crane, Verner W (1919). "The Southern Frontier in Queen Anne's War". The American Historical Review 24 (3, April): 379-395.
2. Alice Whitley Smith, The Thigpen Tribe, 1963, pp. 24, 28 (Out of Print, see excerpts below).
3.Lanette Hill, The Thigpen Indian Tribe Family History (a condensation and partial extension of parts of Alice W Smith's Thigpen
tribe), pp 17-18. Available on LULU.
6. http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/irwin/history/other/gms27historyo.txt History of Irwin County, Chapter 6 1932
8. Lillie Martin Grubbs, History of Worth County, Macon, J. W. Burke Co, 1934. Thigpen Trail, pp. 19-27.
ABOVE: State Historic Marker on
US82 three miles west of Sylvester,
GA, installed in 1956.LEFT: A
portion of the Mitchell Map of 1755
which shows the trail.
RIGHT: DAR Monument
erected 1929, also on US
83 near Sylvester, GA
ABOVE: DAR Monument between Moutrie and Hartsfield, GA