Archive for June 14th, 2013

In Search Of Lawtons & Basingers: Another Version of the Dade Massacre. From the Springfield Republican.

June 14, 2013

(This is the last item in the William Starr Basinger Family Papers from the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  This particular newspaper article is undated and unidentified.  It is in this file because Jane Susan Starr Basinger’s brother-in-law was killed in what was referred to as the Dade Massacre.)


Another Version of the Dade Massacre.

From the Springfield Republican.

                A negro has been discovered in Jackson-

ville, Fla., who tells a curious and interesting

story.  His name is Louis Fatio, and he claims

to be the only survivor of the massacre of

Major Dade and his soldiers by the Indians

in the Seminole war.  The Dade expedition

was on its way to reinforce Fort King near

the Everglades, when on December 28, 1835

it was ambushed by the Seminoles, under Os-

ceola, at a point between what was then Fort

Brooke and is now Tampa and Fort King,

or the present Ocala.  One white man, a pri-

vate soldier named Clarke, escaped though bad-

ly wounded, and made his way back to Fort

Brooke, whence General Gaines sent a de-

tachment to bury the dead, of whom there

were 106, officers and privates.  Until now

Clarke’s account of the battle is the only

one we have had, and he represented it to

have been an ambush into which Dade was led

by the treachery of this same Louis Fatio,

who was guide and interpreter to Maj. Dade.

Now appears Fatio, after all these years,

and tells for the first time what he says is

the true story of the fight.  He says there

was no ambush and no cover for one where the

fight took place.  Major Dade was careless,

refused to believe that the Seminoles were

hostile, and pushed into their country without

sending scouts in advance.  The attack was

made while the troops were passing through

an open pine woods, about noon, and the first

man to fall was Major Dade.  The whites

were many times outnumbered, but fought to

the last.  The whole battle lasted but a little

while, and when it was ended the Indians ran

over the field and killed the wounded.  Fatio

was taken prisoner and lived for years with

his captors; when they were transferred to

Arkansas he went with them.  Now he comes

back to Florida to tell the story of the massa-

cre and ask for acquital (sic) from the charge of

treachery which has rested on him for al-

most sixty years.


So that’s the end of this day spent in the Wilson Library, photographing segments of the A. R. Lawton Basinger Family Papers and the entire file of the William Starr Basinger Family Papers.

There were some letters in the A. R. Lawton Family Papers that were so personal that Sugar asked me not to blog about them.  I’ll just say that they were matters between family members, like from a parent to a grown child.  I thought that it was an interesting snapshot, because I know of this family, and the grown child became a person of distinction, and he’s long since deceased.

But this is Sugar’s extended family, not mine.  And that’s the end.


In Search Of Lawtons & Basingers: The Obituary of William Starr, January 27, 1858

June 14, 2013


JANUARY 27, 1858.



again we have the sad duty of noting the de-

cease of two more of our citizens – men esteem-

ed in life, and now that “their eyes are dim and

their cheeks are wan,” their goodness of heart

will be cherished among the friends they have

left behind them.

Yesterday one of our oldest citizens, Mr. Wm

Starr, sunk to that sleep which knows no wak-

ing, in the 93rd year of his age.  He was a man

highly esteem for his gentle and courteous

manner and strict integrity.  Mr. Starr was a

native of Wilmington, Del., but has been a re-

sident of Savannah for the last 60 years.  He

was appointed inspector in the Custom House

in 1829, which office he held up to his death .

We believe that at the time of his death Mr.

Starr was the oldest resident in Chatham


We are also grieved to notice the decease in

prime of manhood, of Dr. Francis H. Demere,

health physician of this port, which occurred

yesterday.  He was a gentleman esteemed by

all who knew him, in the social or professional

circles, and one of those men of integrity

whom a community grieve to lose.


This obituary was almost the last thing in the William Starr Basinger Family Papers.  William Starr Basinger’s mother was Jane Starr Basinger, the recipient of most of the letters in the file, and it appears that everything in the file was her personal collection.

William Starr, the subject of the obituary, was Jane Starr Basinger’s father.