scout, frontiersman and Indian fighter he contributed largely to the conquest of
the wilderness out of which Alabama was carved.
Samuel Dale is to Alabama what Daniel
Boone and Paul Revere are to the nation, his exploits as an Indian fighter,
scout and courier of vital military dispatches being among the most dramatic in
the history of the state.
In his best known engagement, Dale
met six Creek Indians in a canoe fight on the Alabama River. "Big Sam"
first placed one foot in each canoe to keep the battle joined and then stepped
fully into the enemy boat and dispatched the six. His only weapon was a water
soaked rifle that he broke over the head of one and used as a club on the
As a scout, he heard Tecumseh, chief
of the Shawnee Indians, advocate war to the Creek Nation but government
officials refused to credit Dale's predictions of an uprising and lost the
opportunity to avert the fighting that followed a year later during the Creek
War of 1813. Dale took part in the first skirmish, at Burnt Corn, and later led
the raid on the Creek Holy Ground, destroying the hallowed spot.
Commissioned to carry urgent dispatches from Georgia to New Orleans, Dale astounded the area when he made the trip in less than 8 days, traveling through the heart of the warring Creek Nation, in a trip that normally took 14 days. Dale was elected to the convention that divided the Mississippi Territory and established the Alabama Territory. He was sent to the first General Assembly of Alabama, later serving in the Legislature from 1819 until 1828. Dale then settled in Mississippi, where he was elected a representative from Lauderdale County.