Monday, March 24, 2008

John K. McLane - "Indian Fighter" and Confederate Soldier

This is the Gadsden County grave of John K. McLane, a member of the 10th Florida Infantry.
McLane was undoubtedly one of the most interesting soldiers of Florida who served in the Civil War.
In the spring of 1840, when he was 15 years old, McLane was working around the family farm near what is now Greensboro in Gadsden County (then called the Telogia settlement). He was at home with his mother and three sisters and his father had gone away for the day to take care of some business.
McLane later told how he heard the sounds of screams and war cries. The little log cabin and farm had come under attack by a small group of Creek warriors led by a chief named Pascofa. This chief had been engaged in a bloody personal war with local settlers and militia companies since 1837 when he led his followers down from Alabama following a militia attack in which a number of the women and children of his band were ruthlessly murdered.
The incident sparked a bloody feud between Pascofa and the whites that would continue for the next six years and would lead to many murders and outrages on both sides. When Pascofa's warriors attacked the McLane cabin, John K. McLane took up a rifle to try to defend the little farm while his mother and sisters (over his objections) attempted to escape in the direction of a little branch or creek. The woman and the girls were slaughtered (the two youngest ones were beaten to death with a pine knot), but McLane held out alone in an all day battle with the warriors. Firing from loopholes in the log cabin, he was able to drive back each of the attacks and managed to survive attempts to burn him out. The warriors finally drifted back into the swamps of Telogia Creek and disappeared.
McLane would later fight in the Army of Northern Virginia in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, but the event he always remembered as the toughest fight and saddest day of his life was the "McLane Massacre" on Telogia Creek in Gadsden County.


Murf said...

Very interesting. Any information on McKane's activities with the Army of Northern Virginia?

Dale said...

McLane served in the 10th Florida Infantry, one of the most combat experienced regiments from Florida.

The regiment fought at Olustee on February 20, 1864 and then was sent north to reinforce the Army of Northern Virginia. Once there, it fought at Cold Harbor, Petersburg and during the Appomatox Campaign.

McLane was present at the surrender at Appomatox Courthouse and was paroled on April 9, 1865.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if he had any children??

Dale said...

Yes, he did. His family still lives in the Gadsden County area and descendents own the sites of the massacre and original cabin to this day.

Anonymous said...

Do you have contact info with the members of the family who still have the cabin? Or can you put me in touch with them? I'd love to do a feature on the massacre, especially with some photos of the cabin. I stopped by "Indian Springs" yesterday, out of curiosity, and learned that it was named as such due to the massacre being nearby. Please advise.
Kathy S. Johnson
Twin City News

Dale said...

The cabin no longer stands, but there is a monument deep in the woods that the family put up at the massacre site. I have a ton of photographs of the scene that I took last spring and you are welcome to use any of them you like or I can help you get in touch with the owners.

I also have quite a bit of original source material that I collected while working on my Gadsden County book that I'll be glad to share with you.

If I don't hear back from you here over the weekend, I'll try to give you a call on Monday.


Amy Jordan said...

My name is Amy Chester Jordan and I am a descendant of John K. McLane. He was the grandfather of Jessie McLane Brinson, who was the mother of Evelyn Brinson Smith, who is my maternal grandmother. She is 86 years old and lives in Greensboro. I have a copy of an interview that John McLane gave while in his 80's to a traveling reporter. I read it to my 8th grade US History class every year during our Florida history unit. I visited the marker site and saw the lightered knot when I was a teenager. My granny Smith says that she has additional literature on John McLane and she is going to get it to me. Paster Shorty Edwards had possession of the lightered knot, but he recently passed away. His wife lives in Bristol. There is also a monument marker in the Sycamore Cemetary in honor of the McLane family.

Dale said...

Thank you for the note. I had a chance to see the pine knot a couple of months ago and took a number of photos. I also have quite a bit of documentation on the massacre if you are interested.

Feel free to email me by going to