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How Moniac Got Its Name

By Lois Barefoot Mays

Charlton County’s 1972 history book states that Moniac, Ga. got its name from a prominent Indian chief whose trail of entrance to the Swamp passed that way. Since that was printed documents have been found that show that Moniac was in fact named for a man who probably never came near this territory. He was a Creek Indian, David Moniac, from southern Alabama who fought with the U.S. Infantry in the Indian War of 1836.

David Moniac was a son of Sam Moniac and his wife, Elizabeth Weatherford of Alabama. Sam Moniac was also known as Red Eagle of the Creek Indians. David was a graduate of West Point Academy.

According to Benjamin Griffin, writing for the Alabama Historical Quarterly, in September 1817 David Moniac was one of the most unlikely cadets ever to enter the U.S. Military Academy at West Point when he became the first Indian to be admitted to the Academy. He was born in 1802 and received the appointment to West Point when about fifteen years old. He began as a cadet in September 1917 and graduated as a 2nd Lt. In July 1822.

After his graduation from West Point he returned to southern Alabama and made his living as a cotton planter and also raised race horses. He married Mary Powell, cousin of Osceola, leader of the Florida Seminole Indians, and they had two children, a son and a daughter.

When the Florida War began in 1836 he volunteered and was a Major in a regiment of Mounted Creek Volunteers. There were 750 Creek Indians in the regiment, all paid as militia in the service of the United States. These Indians wore white turbans to distinguish them in battle from the enemy. He was leading a charge of his men at the engagement at Wahoo Swamp in south Florida when he was killed November 21, 1836.

Major General Thomas Sidney Jesup, commander of the Georgia and Alabama troops in the Florida War said of David Moniac that he “was as brave and gallant a man as ever drew sword or faced an enemy.”

Two years later, in an official letter to the Adjutant General from Fort Moniac during the Indian war of 1838, Captain T. Morris wrote “..Since my arrival I have erected a block house and nearly completed a store house. I called the post Fort Moniac, after the late Major David Moniac, a Creek and an officer of the Regt. of Creek Volunteers who fell in the action with the Seminoles at the Wahoo Swamp in the ..[not legible] of 1836. He was a friend and class mate of mine at West Point and as a small tribute of respect to his memory I call the Fort by his name. …”

A marker indicating Major Moniac’s place of birth was placed by the Alabama Anthropological Society in 1923 and is in the southwest corner of Montgomery County, Alabama.

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