Once a Knight is Enough

Knight Genealogy

by Laura Knight


The Slaughter At Tiffen's Pond

South of Sanderson is a small swampy area known as Tiffens' Pond. As is the case of all place names, there is a story behind the naming. In the early 1830's John Joshua Underwood Tippens, originally of North Carolina, brought his wife Nancy and three children into Columbia County (that part of which later became Baker). Due to the Cracker speech habit of substituting 'F' for double 'P' when located within a word, the locale became known as Tiffens rather than Tippens.

Mr. Tippens was a son of Phillip and Mary Underwood Tippens of North Carolina. His wife was a daughter of David Mizell from Camden (Charlton) Co., Georgia. Mr. and Mrs. Tippens were married in Camden County at Traders Hill on the 22nd of January 1825. She was sister to ancestors of many Charlton, Baker, Union, Columbia, and Union citizens as well as many families in south Columbia. Her father, David, had recently moved to an area in south Columbia County, Florida (thought to be present Union Co.), and Mr. Tippens attempted removal of his family to the Mizell fortified home during an Indian alarm was the beginning of the incident which is related in this excerpt of a letter written by a neighbor to a relative in St. Marys, Georgia.

"It is again my painful duty to inform you of a most shocking Indian massacre - I mean the murder of Mr. John Tippins and family. Mr. Tippins was bringing his wife and children out of Florida to see her parents, and when within a few miles of her father's house, was fallen in with about seven Indians, between 10 o'clock, A.M. and 12 o'clock. Mr. Tippens was shot from his horse, the Indians then made an easy capture of his helpless family and vented their savage spleen by beating them on the heads with their tomahawks. Mrs. Tippins lived (senseless) about forty hours, but did not speak; her skull was smashed in many places by the tomahawk. She died in the arms of her father, Mr. David Mizell. Her children are not yet dead, although the skull of each is factured in many places by the tomahawks.

"This melancholy occasion took place in this county last Monday not far from Ocean Pond. We are most critically situated. The Indians on the north of us close to the Okefinokee Swamp. On the south in the nation our market road leading from here to any market accessible to us passes through their gateway & we are here exposed on the border of the Okefinokee down both sides of the Indian gangways to the nation and no protection whatsoever from the army."

The letter writer, in addition to almost waxing poetical regarding the unfortunate family's slaughter confused a few of the facts. The Tippens were not intending to leave Florida, but, according to the Mizell Family and the Green Family who found them, they were headed toward Mrs. Tippens' father's place to the southwest of them.

Mrs. Elisha (Elizabeth Driggers) Green discovered the bloody scene, and left an eyewitness account. Mr. Tippens evidently died on the spot where he fell, shot from his horse. Mrs. Tippens was scalped, and left to bleed to death. The children, the youngest six months old and the eldest three years old, were chopped in their heads with tomahawks, and slung to the ground.

Mr. Green was away in the army on a campaign against the Indians in the Alachua area. Mrs. Green and the children found Mrs. Tippens and the three year old Cornelia still living the next morning. Mrs. Tippens died soon after she was discovered. Little Cornelia survived, and died in 1926 at the age of 88.

Mrs. Green buried the dead in one of her wagon bodies in present day South Prong Cemetery (the Green family burial grounds). This 137 year old grave of John Joshua Underwood and Nancy Mizell Tippens and their two infants is located immediately north of Mr. Joe Jones grave.

Cornelia was reared by her uncle and aunt, Byrd and Sarah Ann Mizell Sparkman of Alachua County. She married William L. Mobley, settled in Hillsborough county and raised a large family

From: The Way It Was by Gene Barber


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