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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Samuel Dale

DALE, Samuel, pioneer, born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, in 1772; died in Lauderdale County, Miss., 24 May 1841. His parents were Pennsylvanians of Scotch-Irish extraction. Samuel went with them in 1775 to the forks of Clinch River, Virginia, and in 1783 to the vicinity of the present town of Greensborough, Georgia In both these places the family lived with others in a stockade, being exposed to frequent attacks from Indians, and young Dale thus became familiar with savage warfare. After the death of his parents in 1791 he enlisted in 1793 as a scout in the service of the United States, and soon became a famous Indian fighter, being known as "Big Sam." His most noted exploit was his "canoe fight," a struggle in a canoe with seven Indians, all of whom he killed. This remarkable contest took place on 13 November 1813, at Randon's landing, on the Alabama River, and all its circumstances were afterward verified before the Alabama legislature.

The death of the last of the Indians, Tar-cha-chee, a noted wrestler and the most famous ball-player of his clan, is thus described by Dale: "He paused a moment in expectation of my attack, but, finding me motionless, he stepped backward to the bow of the canoe, shook himself, gave the war-whoop of his tribe, and cried out, 'Sam tholocco, Iana dahmaska, ia-lanestha-lipso-lipso-lanestha!' 'Big Sam, I am a man; I am coming, come on !' As he said this, with a terrific yell he bounded over the dead body of his comrade, and directed a blow at my head with his rifle, which dislocated my left shoulder. I dashed the bayonet into him. It glanced around his ribs, and, the point hitching to his backbone, I pressed him down. As I pulled the weapon out, he put his hands upon the sides of the canoe and endeavored to rise. crying out,' Tar-cha-chee is a man; he is not afraid to die !' I drove my bayonet through his heart."

Dale commanded a battalion of Kentucky volunteers against the Creeks in February 1814, and in December carried dispatches for General Jackson from Georgia to New Orleans in eight days with only one horse. After the war he became a trader at Dale's Ferry, Ala., was appointed colonel of militia, held various local offices, and was a delegate in 1816 to the convention that divided the territory of Mississippi. He was a member of the first general assembly of Alabama territory in 1817, of the state legislature in 1819-'20 and 1824-'8, and of that of Mississippi in 1836. In 1821 he was one of a commission to locate a public road from Tuscaloosa through Pensacola to Blakely and Fort Claiborne, and, on the completion of his duty, was made brigadier-general by the Alabama legislature and given a life-pension. In 1831 the secretary of war, together with Colonel George S. Gaines, appointed him to remove the Choctaw Indians to their new home on the Arkansas and Red rivers. See "Life and Times of General Sam. Dale," from notes of his own conversations, by John F. H. Claiborne (New York. 1860).

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