Monday, September 15, 2014

The Haunting at Murder Creek- Brewton, Alabama

Murder Creek in Brewton, Alabama got it's name after a tragic event took place that claimed the lives of several men crossing the frontier territories in 1788.

In 1788, a party of English Loyalist from South Carolina were traveling to Pensacola to get passports in order to pass through the Creek territories and settle in the Spanish Colonies located in the Louisiana territory. While on their expedition, the group led by Colonel Joseph Kirkland, went to the home of his friend Alexander McGillivray who lived on the Coosa River in what is today Alabama. 

McGillivray was a biracial Creek Indian whose father was a Scottish fur trader. His mother hailed from a prominent bloodline if Creek royalty and he was educated in both his father and his mother’s cultural beliefs and economics. He would later use his influence to negotiate treaties between the Creek Indians and the American government, including the Treaty of Pensacola with Spain.

Alexander McGillivary

During Kirkland’s stay with McGillivray, he informed the men that traveling through the native territory was extremely dangerous due to the growing hostilities caused by the encroachment of settlers. He offered Colonel Kirkland a guide to help navigate through the territories safely.

Kirkland and his men carried large amounts of silver coins with them. They intended to use the money during the trip to pay for provisions, purchase their passports in Pensacola, and establish their settlements once they reached Louisiana. As the group traveled further south with their slave guide, they meet a group of Creek fur traders who were returning from Pensacola with a pack-mule full of supplies and goods. There were a couple of Hillabee Indians with the traders and two white men.

As the two groups met, they engaged in a friendly conversation and without the threat of duress, both groups decided to make camp for the night. Kirkland’s men set up camp on the opposite side of the trading group on the banks of the Aloochahatche Creek. Unbeknownst to the Colonel’s group, the men across the creek were far from friendly and they conspired to rob and kill the Colonels party after the camp went to sleep. 

One of the outlaw men was called “Istillicha” which translates to “the man slayer”. Another man they called “Cat”. He fled his home state to escape murder charges and was a notoriously violent criminal. There was also a white man in the group who was known as Sullivan and he apparently owned an Indian slave named Bob, who was also present.

Just after midnight, the murderous group crept across the river and slipped quietly into Kirkland's camp. They took all the guns and other items they could carry before opening fire on the Colonels men, killing them all except the servant guide that McGillivray sent. When Colonel McGillivray received word of his friend's death, he ordered a search party to located and kill the men responsible. When the outlaws were captured, Cat was led to the location where the murders took place and strung up in tree. He begged and pleaded for his life but his cries fell on deaf ears as McGillivray’s men wrenched the noose tighter and tighter around his neck, stretching him for several minutes until the finally succumbed to suffocation.

After this event, the location that is now in Brewton, Alabama, was known as “Murder Creek”. Since the events of 1788, this creek that divides Brewton and East Brewton has been a source of many other tragic events and ghostly sightings. More than a few suspected homicide victims have been found floating in Murder Creek. As early as 2012, bodies have been recovered from the location and the small town of Brewton itself is rumored to have more than a few unsolved mysteries pertaining to accidental drowning, suicides and murdered people, the most noted being Annie Jean Barnes who was found beaten,abused and dead outside of a hunting club in 1966.

Whatever the source of a story, legend or rumor, it’s likely the spirits of Brewton, and the spirits who haunt Murder Creek, are those who have died under tragic circumstances or mysterious deaths. Many people who recreate on the scenic waterway have seen the ghastly apparition of Cat, hanging by his neck in the trees. Campers have packed up their tents and belongings in the middle of the night when they encounter the howling cries of what they describe as angry and terrified screaming. This could be the agonizing cries of the murdered men from Kirkland’s party. Or perhaps, the pleas of Cat himself.

A man who allegedly committed suicide by driving his car into Murder Creek, was found dead in the 1960’s. His death is still a heated debate in Brewton but the phantom orbs that resemble the headlights of a car aren’t exactly debated by those who have witnessed the phantom effigy near the location of his death. The floating apparition of a woman has recently surfaced since 2012 and many associate that spirit with a woman whose body was found submerged in the creek that summer.

What is it about Murder Creek that has stained it with an ominous stigma of ongoing mystery and grief? Were the first recorded events a precursor to future tragedies? Or is it somehow cursed by the name itself – Murder Creek. 


  1. Funny I have lived in Brewton, all my life and have never heard of ghosts around Murder Creek, neither have any of my friends or family. Our hunting club is on Murder Creek and we camp there often never seen a thing. I do know the history of the murders but have only started hearing about these stories in the last month or so.

  2. this isn't even the official story listed on Alabama's park website.

  3. very interesting as I passed over the creek yesterday traveling I 65, I was curious as to the name of Murder Creek over the water going and coming so I just said I am going to find out why it has its name. Thank you a lot has happened there.

  4. very interesting as I passed over the creek yesterday traveling I 65, I was curious as to the name of Murder Creek over the water going and coming so I just said I am going to find out why it has its name. Thank you a lot has happened there.

  5. Annie Jean Barnes was my great aunt and someone needs to get their facts straight she wasn't found dead she died a slow and agonizing death in the hospital after she was found and it was out 31 north not close to the creek.

    1. Last May in 2018 my husband and I were driving north of Brewton on 31 N. headed back home to Nashville area when about nine or 10 o’clock at night I saw a glowing woman on the side the road appeared to be wearing a checkered shirt and blue jeans. Seem like she had a big necklace on or maybe a Hawaiian Lei. She never moved. I saw her way before we got to her and pointed her out to my husband who never saw her .......standing out in the country in the pitch black with nothing else around right next to the road. She was very bright like she glowed. It really scared me that my husband did not see her at all ever. I was too scared to look back.

  6. I was told growing up in Brewton as a child..that it was called murder creek cause thats where the Indians would bring people to scalp them...hence the color of the water a rather rusty looking color...

  7. I noticed some land clearing and bulldozers a murder creek close to Owassa, has anyone ever found any type of artifacts there I would love to look but not if its haunted. I guess it wood be considered a burial ground and shouldn't be disturbed. But I would love to know if anyone has found any thing.

  8. Very interesting.. buy I'm reading these other comments like people from that area not knowing anything about it.. how true is it and is it really suppose to be haunted.. if yes that's my next vacation

  9. Very interesting story, might be a scary place to go Halloween night!

  10. I want to go visit on Halloween