Yesterday we took a drive to Wetumpka, AL and literally stepped back in time. History came alive with French Marines, English troops, Creek warriors, and US Army Regulars portrayed by living history units from across Alabama and the Eastern United States.
Situated at the head of the Alabama River system—at the juncture of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers—Fort Toulouse (named for the Count de Toulouse, a son of King Louis XIV) in 1717 was planned to keep the local Indians neutral, if not loyal, to the French and contain the British in their southernmost Atlantic colonies. Unlike the usual frontier settlements, Fort Toulouse was both a diplomatic post, since its officers acted as resident ministers, and a military post. Because it was located in a friendly territory adjoining an area under a rival (British) influence, the post participated in psychological warfare rather than in blood-letting. It used trade and aid, and was familiar with spies and double-agents—welcoming and debriefing British defectors; no cannon was discharged in anger at Toulouse. The most eminent figure to have been connected directly with Fort Toulouse was General Andrew Jackson, who established a military post there during the War of 1812 after his victory over the Indians at Horseshoe Bend. The outpost was named Fort Jackson in his honor and played a key role in the treaty negotiations and eventual settlement of the Indian land by Americans.
Archaeological research at the beautiful park has revealed evidence of Native American presence dating back thousands of years. The point of land formed by the confluence of the rivers was the location of a large mound and fortified village during the Mississippian era (A.D. 900-A.D. 1500).
Fort Toulouse-Jackson is also home to many natural wonders. William Bartram, a famed 18th century botanist and friend of Benjamin Franklin, visited the site in 1776 creating notes and drawings of the area’s flora and fauna.