Lavinia Downs 1
- Born: 10 May 1781, Maryland, USA
- Marriage (1): Benjamin Hawkins on 9 Jan 1812 in Ft. Hawkins, Jones, GA
- Died: 22 Mar 1828, Crawford Co., GA at age 46
Was she ... or wasn't she ...? The Queen of Tuckabatchie?
There is evidence in the Moravian Diaries that Lavinia indicated she was white (See her father's record). Suspicion that she was Creek has been voiced since shortly after her death, including comments such as "there is no truth to the rumor that she was an Indian." However: " ... confirmation that Lavina Downs was Creek came from the Chehaws who showed Janice [Woods Windle] that the marriage of Hawkins and Downs is recorded in the official Marriages of the Muskogee."
Lavinia Downs is thought by many family members to be of the Ocmulgee Creek Nation, and they insist she was first the wife of Chief Long Side of Tuckabatchie (Tookautchee). He was killed in a raid, and she was widowed with a young son, Silas. Her son Silas is said to have been born in 1792 which conflicts with Lavinia's reported birthdate of 10 May 1781. The birthdate of her presumed son Silas Downs, however, would have come at age 10 or 11, if both birthdates are reported correctly.
Lavinia lived at the Creek agency (in Crawford Co., GA) with her husband, Col. Benjamin Hawkins until his death. At her death, over a decade later, she was still living in Crawford County. One of her daughters was buried in Roberta, the county seat, and records from a lawsuit / complaint indicate that this daughter, Jeffersonia, lived with Lavinia. Lavinia was buried at Ft. Hawkins, and her grave is not (obviously) marked. Her obituary was carried in the Milledgeville paper, as that town was (then) a major center and the one-time state capital.
Page 60 of the Crawford County Guardian Bonds Book "A" states that Richard W. Ellis was appointed adminsitrator of her estate on March 3, 1834. Hiram Troutman and Bryan Bateman acted as security and a bond of $500 was posted. The minimal bond indicates that Pound was correct in stating that she lost most of her inheritance from Benjamin. Hiram Troutman was the father of Joanna Troutman who sewed the famous flag carried into the Texas Revolution by the Georgia volunteers.
If Lavinia was Creek, that fact was kept secret throughout the part of the family that remained in Water Valley, Mississippi after 1850. The part of the family that moved to San Marcos kept alive this secret. Her suspected Creek heritage is commemorated by the book "True Women" by Janice Woods Windle, which has been made into a mini-series (and slightly fictionalized by screen-writers).
Lavinia married Benjamin Hawkins on 9 Jan 1812 in Ft. Hawkins, Jones, GA. (Benjamin Hawkins was born on 15 Aug 1754 in Bute Co. (now Vance Co.), NC, died on 6 Jun 1816 in Creek Agency near Roberta, Crawford, GA and was buried in Creek Agency, GA.)