Saturday, June 22, 2019

the last book I ever read (Casey Cep's Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, excerpt seven)

from Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep:

Water, like violence, is difficult to contain. No sooner had the Alabama Power Company dammed the Tallapoosa than the river began seeking its revenge, in a series of floods that brimmed Lake Martin over its boundaries and droughts that drained it dry. Sometimes the towns submerged beneath it seemed to be avenging themselves, too; late at night, boaters on the lake and people along its shoreline claimed to hear the tolling of the church bells long since drowned.

Other, more deeply buried histories haunt the waters, too. On March 27, 1814, the warriors of the Creek nation, having lost most of their land by force and the rest by treaty, took their last stand just north of Lake Martin, at a spot where the Tallapoosa River doubles back on itself in a sharp oxbow known as Horseshoe Bend. It was there the future president Andrew Jackson and his troops slaughtered 557 Creeks, leaving hundreds more to die while trying to escape across the river, and taking the survivors prisoner; later, he forced those survivors across the Mississippi on the Trail of Tears. Sunk beneath Lake Martin are Creek burial grounds, and on the pocket of land inside Horseshoe Bend, where the weeds grow wild and the river and its bloody history are always just behind you, the sound of a turtle slipping off a rock into the water can make a grown man jump.

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