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Sam Dale (1772 – May 24, 1841)
Lizelia, originally known as Old Daleville, was settled by General Sam Dale sometime around 1830. At this time this area was a part of the heartland of the Choctaw Indian Nation. He bought the land from an Indian Chief by the name of Iocha Hope and this was area is the present site of Lizelia. It is said that Sam Dale named this area Lizelia but it was later called Daleville. I have not been able to find any information on how or from where the name Lizelia was derived but did find a historical reference to someone in his father's family named Elizabeth. Dale was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia to Scotch-Irish parents parents from Pennsylvania. As a boy, both he and his parents moved many times with westward border expansion.
Standing at over 6 Ft. tall, Samuel Dale is to Alabama what Daniel Boone, David Crockett and Paul Revere are to the nation, his exploits as an Indian fighter, scout and courier of vital military dispatches being among the most dramatic in the history of Alabama and Mississippi.
In his best known engagement, Dale met six Creek Indians in a canoe fight on the Alabama River. "Big Sam" first placed one foot in each canoe to keep the battle joined and then stepped fully into the enemy boat and dispatched the six. His only weapon was a water soaked rifle that he broke over the head of one and used as a club on the others. As a scout, he heard Tecumseh, chief of the Shawnee Indians, advocate war to the Creek Nation but government officials refused to credit Dale's predictions of an uprising and lost the opportunity to avert the fighting that followed a year later during the Creek War of 1813. Dale took part in the first skirmish, at Burnt Corn, and later led the raid on the Creek Holy Ground, destroying the hallowed spot. Commissioned to carry urgent dispatches from Georgia to New Orleans, Dale astounded the area when he made the trip in less than 8 days, traveling through the heart of the warring Creek Nation, in a trip that normally took 14 days. Dale was elected to the convention that divided the Mississippi Territory and established the Alabama Territory. He was sent to the first General Assembly of Alabama, later serving in the Alabama Legislature from 1819 until 1828. Dale then settled in Mississippi in North Lauderdale County about 12 miles North of Meridian when he established a trading town known as Daleville (present day Lizelia). This area thrived and Sam Dale was elected as legislative representative from Lauderdale County. Sam Dale certainly would have known William Cole and would have been a guest at The Cole Plantation. Sam Dale was also known by Greenwood Leflore, the principle Choctaw Chief during the 1830's when the Choctaw Indians were removed to Oklahoma Indian Territory.
Sam Dale’s grave is in the old Cochrame cemetery just north of Lizelia in the present day Daleville, MS. Legend has it that the Choctaw chieftain, Greenwood LeFlore, stood over his grave during the burial, and when the last spade of earth had been turned, said: "Big Chief, you sleep here, but your spirit is a brave and a chieftain in the hunting grounds of the sky".
The records do not speak to Sam Dale as having ever married or having any children. However in Hewittt Clark's "Thunder In Meridian", he makes reference to Sam Dale having a Creek Indian wife and children in Alabama. I turned up no documentation on this reference.
Sam Dale History Link