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Montezuma (aka Moctezuma), or more correctly, Motecuhzoma II Xocoyotzin, meaning 'Angry Like A Lord’, was the last fully independent ruler of the Aztec empire before the civilization's collapse after the Spanish Conquest in the early 16th century CE. Taking the position of tlatoani, meaning 'speaker', in 1502 CE he ruled as an absolute monarch until 1520 CE.
During his reign, Motecuhzoma expanded the Aztec empire and was considered a god by his people, literally a manifestation and perpetuator of the sun. The ruler famously lived in a huge palace at the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan which boasted magnificent hanging gardens and even a zoo.
An Absolute Ruler
Motecuhzoma was the son of the great leader Axayacatl (r. 1469-1481 CE) and was one of the best warriors under his uncle Ahuitzotl (r. 1486-1502 CE). In particular, he distinguished himself in the Aztec campaigns in Tehuantepec and Xoconochco. On the death of Ahuitzotl, Motecuhzoma assumed the highest position in Aztec society and he became, in a sumptuous coronation ceremony, the undisputed religious and political leader or tlatoani in 1502 CE.
We are fortunate to have a first-hand physical description of Motecuhzoma by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who saw him in 1519 CE:
[He was] about 40 years old, of good height and well-proportioned, slender and spare of flesh, not very swarthy, but of the natural colour and shade of an Indian. He did not wear his hair long, but so as just to cover his ears, his scanty black beard was well-shaped and thin. His face was somewhat long, but cheerful, and he had good eyes and showed in his appearance and manner both tenderness and, when necessary, gravity. (Townsend, 19)
As part of the ceremonies to confirm him in his new status Motecuhzoma led an army, in what became known as the Coronation War, to Nopallan, 640 km to the south. Conquering the fortified city he brought back to Tenochtitlan substantial booty and a contingent of captives for ritual sacrifice. The new tlatoani was also commemorated in a specially commissioned stone (now known as the Coronation Stone of Motecuhzoma II) which was covered in carvings depicting the five eras of Aztec mythology, the year sign 11-reed (1503 CE) and the day 'one alligator' (4th of June).
Motecuhzoma set about widening the powers of the tlatoani position by simultaneously reducing the duties of the chief of internal affairs (Tlacaellel or Cihuacoatl) so that he became, in effect, absolute ruler and undisputed leader of the Triple Alliance of the three great cities of Tenochtitlan, Tetzcoco and Tlacopan. Motecuhzoma also elevated the status of the nobility by further differentiating them from the rest of society through an increased emphasis on titles, distinguishing clothes and insignia and etiquette at court.
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Motecuhzoma commanded, then, an empire which stretched from the northern limits of Mexico to today's Guatemala.
Motecuhzoma commanded, then, an empire which stretched from the northern limits of Mexico to today's Guatemala. Indeed, he even expanded it and fought four major wars so that only the Tarascans in the east and the Tlaxcalans in the west remained unconquered. These subject states all paid tribute as indicated in the Aztec tax records. Tribute could take the form of traditional precious materials such as gold and jade, exotic feathers and even animals such as eagles and jaguars. Tribute could also be in the form of clothes, fabrics and foodstuffs such as corn and cacao.
A Life of Luxury
Motecuhzoma certainly lived like a king. His huge palace at the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had hanging gardens, a ten-room aviary with fresh and salt-water pools, and even a private zoo with jaguars, eagles, pumas, foxes and snakes amongst hundreds of other exotic animals. The Aztec king was cared for by 3,000 attendants and, according to Bernal Diáz, a typical royal meal included hundreds of specially made dishes which included turkey, venison, duck, pigeon, rabbit, quail, fish and boar, all served on finely decorated and especially delicate Cholula pottery. We are also told that the king ate alone and behind a gilded screen, entertained by jugglers and acrobats.
Other snippets of information about the ill-fated king include the fact that he visited the great city of Teotihuacan several times, a pilgrimage that entailed the crossing of Lake Texcoco by canoe. That he had a fascination for dwarves, hunchbacks and albinos, all of which were kept in special chambers within the royal palace and we also know that he wore golden sandals and loved to hunt birds using a blowpipe. Finally, he was interested in the arts, astrology and philosophy.
The Beginning of the End
Even before the Spanish arrived, all was not quite well with the Aztecs for their empire was based not on military might but existed as a loose binding of subject states run by puppet rulers who extracted the tributes mentioned above and imposed the worship of the Aztec deity Huitzilopochtli. The Aztecs, though, perhaps over-reached themselves and several outer tribes began to rebel, especially following the disastrous defeat in 1515 CE to the Tlaxcala and Huexotzingo. These insurrections against Aztec rule were quashed but trouble was never far below the surface and, perhaps most significantly, the harsh treatment of the Tlaxcala would later make them more than willing allies of the Spanish.
Motecuhzoma seems to have had some instinct that troubled times were ahead as he gave great importance to omens such as a comet sighted in 1509 CE and he constantly consulted soothsayers for advice. Aztec mythology foretold that the present era of the 5th sun would eventually collapse just as the previous four eras had done. By 1515 CE rumours of a rapidly approaching crisis were fuelled by sightings off the coast of fantastic floating temples; the visitors from the Old World had finally come.
The Aztec leader's first strategy with the strange visitors from another world was to attempt to buy them off with gifts. These included ceremonial costumes, a massive gold disk representing the sun and an even bigger silver one representing the moon. However, if anything, this may well have further encouraged the Spanish to plunder this new land for all it was worth.
In August 1519 CE the leader of the Spanish Conquistadors Hernán Cortés marched on Tenochtitlan. According to the Spanish sources, the Aztec emperor allowed them entry to the city. From here on in the history of the conflict is much debated amongst scholars and it is unlikely that the Spanish chroniclers presented a completely impartial account of events. It has been noted that it does seem strange that such a powerful ruler as Motecuhzoma should cut such a passive figure in the record of events brought down to us. However, against that it is certainly true that the Spanish had shown their military prowess and the devastating effectiveness of their superior weaponry - canons, firearms and crossbows - in quickly defeating a force of Otomi-Tlaxcalan and they also took quick and ruthless reprisals against a treacherous plot by the Cholollan. Perhaps Motecuhzoma had taken note of this and took the more prudent policy of appeasement rather than engage the enemy in the field, at least as an opening strategy.
When Cortés and Motecuhzoma finally met in person relations were initially amiable, the Spaniard was given a tour of the city and more gifts were exchanged, Cortés receiving a necklace of golden crabs and Motecuhzoma a necklace of Venetian glass strung on gold thread. Whatever Motecuhzoma had hoped to achieve through diplomacy his plans were scuppered in just two weeks when he was promptly taken hostage and placed under house arrest by the small Spanish force. Motecuhzoma was forced to declare himself a subject of Charles V, handover more treasure and even allow the placing of a crucifix on top of the Great Pyramid in the city's sacred precinct.
Cortés' plans met with a setback, however, when he was forced to return to his base at Veracruz to face a rival Spanish faction. In his absence the remaining Spanish unwisely disrupted a religious ceremony involving human sacrifice and fighting broke out. The Aztec warriors, seething at the lack of decisive action renounced Motecuhzoma as their leader and Cuitlahuac was voted in as the new tlatoani. Motecuhzoma was pressed by the Spanish into pacifying his people but was struck on the head by a rock and killed.
Cortés returned to the city to relieve the besieged remaining Spanish but was forced to withdraw on the 30th June 1520 CE in what became known as the Noche Triste. He did, however, return nine months later, this time with his Tlaxcalan allies and, after a lengthy siege, the city finally fell. The Aztecs, led by Cuauhtemoc and ravaged by lack of food and disease, finally collapsed on the fateful day of 13th August 1521 CE. Tenochtitlán was ransacked of any precious goods and its monuments were destroyed. From the ashes rose the new capital of the colony of New Spain and the long line of Mesoamerican civilizations which had stretched right back to the Olmec came to a dramatic and brutal end.
Motecuhzoma in Art
Motecuhzoma is represented in the Histories of the Indies by Dominican Diego Durán where he is seated as a statue is carved of him. We know of one particular statue which 14 sculptors worked on at Chapultepec. The Aztec ruler also appears on the stone throne known as the Teocalli Stone where he appears with a sun-disk opposite Huitzilopochtli. Also attributed to Motecuhzoma, although there is no concrete evidence to do so, is the magnificent feather headdress now in the Museum für Völkerkunde of Vienna. The headdress was probably part of the collection of artefacts given by Motecuhzoma to Cortés who passed on the gifts to Charles V. The headdress is made from 450 green quetzal, blue cotinga and pink flamingo feathers and is further embellished with gold beads and jade disks.
The Halls of Montezuma: Marines at Chapultepec
In 1846, the United States of America went to war with the United Mexican States. Political maneuvering by President James K. Polk and a vested interest in the Republic of Texas ensured the US would throw everything they could into the conflict. Despite a small peace-time army dependent on volunteers, the self-righteous might of the Republic ground away at the Mexican forces.
In less than two years, the Mexican Navy lay in sunken graves, their Army reduced to its final holdout of Mexico City. It was there that the most underfunded, underappreciated branch of the US military at the time once more made a name for themselves. Along with nearly 7,000 soldiers, General Winfield Scott also marched on Mexico City with 400 members of the United States Marine Corps. They had marched to the shores of Tripoli now they would march to the Halls of Montezuma.Daguerreotype of Polk attributed to Mathew Brady, 1849
Having encircled the Mexican Army from the north, west, and south, all that remained to secure victory was to take the capital, and bring the war to an end. The remaining Mexican forces prepared as best they could, numbering twice over the American forces arrayed against them. General Scott, aware of the assembled numbers and the city’s formidable layout, knew that to take the city, first he needed to overrun the stronghold of Chapultepec.
Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War, painting by Carl Nebel.
A fort anchoring the city’s defenses, it also doubled as the Mexican Military Academy, its defenders including military cadets determined to fight to the last. Having prepared his forces, on the dawn of September 12, General Scott ordered an artillery bombardment against the fortress.
The General’s report on the battle noted
Scott in 1855, painted by Robert Walter Weir
“Before nightfall, which necessarily stopped our batteries, we had perceived that a good impression had been made on the castle and its outworks, and that a large body of the enemy had remained outside, towards the city, from an early hour to avoid our fire, and to be at hand on its cessation, in order to reinforce the garrison against an assault. The same outside force was discovered the next morning, after our batteries had reopened upon the castle, by which we again reduced its garrison to the minimum needed for the guns.”
The second bombardment ended at 8:00 AM, the signal for General Scott’s assault on the stronghold. The General’s assault plan, carefully formulated with his own resources, the enemy’s defenses, and the fort’s construction in mind, was based partly on the advice of a young Army engineer named Robert E. Lee.
The plan called for three assault columns and two advance storming parties. Colonel William Trousdale would lead the left flank, composed of the 11 th and 14 th infantry divisions. Colonel Timothy Patrick Andrews led four companies of skirmishers along the center, and on the right the remaining skirmishers marched under the direction of Colonel Joseph E. Johnston.
Reconstruction of an American and a Mexican Infantry soldier’s (from left to right) uniform during the Mexican–American War. Photo: DevonTT / Flicrk / CC-BY-SA 2.0
Along with the advancing infantry and reserves, two storming parties lay ready to hurl themselves into the breach and seize the fort. Major General Gideon Pillow, with an “assaulting party of some two hundred and fifty volunteer officers and men, under Captain McKenzie, of the 2d artillery” prepared along with a similar party readied by Major Levi Twiggs.
Both parties, totaling roughly five hundred men, were given scaling ladders and found themselves accompanied by a portion of the Marine Corps contingent. Forming the bulk of the right flank around the city defenses, the three columns advanced, the Mexican defenders firing the entire way.
“Military College of Chapultepec”, hand tinted lithograph published by Nathaniel Currier, c. 1847. The flagpole holds a United States flag.
Colonel Trousdale led his forces in a flanking maneuver around the fortress to cut off reinforcements and bottle in the determined defenders. Johnston’s forces, meanwhile, assaulted the south wall, driving the defenders back as they assaulted and scaled the redan and nearby redoubt, allowing them to fire on the fort’s southern parapet. Aided by mortar fire, the two other prongs charged forward through open terrain and swampland to finish the job started by Trousdale and the forlorn hopes.
“Storming of Chapultepec in Mexico”
With reinforcements nowhere in sight, Chapultepec’s defenders, consisting of deserting Irish soldiers from the US Army and Academy cadets, fought a gallant defense worthy of the location of their last stand. With the fort all but secured, the battle for the rest of Mexico City began.
The Marine contingent raised the American flag to signal the fort’s capture, guarding the streets when it came time for General Scott to make his appearance. The Marines sustained astounding losses ninety percent of those who participated in the fort’s capture were killed in combat. To commemorate their sacrifice, the Marine Corps added red “bloodstripes” to their dress blue uniform trousers. The Marine Corps had completed its hymnal journey, from one shore to the next.
Montezuma - History
Montezuma Creek (San Juan) is a small pioneer settlement located at the mouth of a creek by the same name. Blanding is 37.5 miles to the north, Aneth is 7.6 miles southeast and Bluff lies 14.7 miles to the west. The San Juan River flows south of town watermelons were once grown by the river. About a mile east of town is a big sand dune and about 10 miles west of town one can enjoy some slickrock activities. The unique Four Corners area is a short 30 minutes away.
Peter Shirts initially established the community. With the arrival of the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition, other settlers joined Shirts. One of the early settlers had an abundance of cats and the town picked up the nickname "Mussi" which means cat.
Today, the town remains small with only one cafe open at different times of the day. There is at this time no police service, however, there is a volunteer fire department. Ambulance service is also provided by volunteer paramedics. Two schools serve the area: Montezuma Creek Elementary and and White Horse High. The College of Eastern Utah (CEU) provides adult education through their extention service. A Bookmobile provides library services. The only organized recreation is the Aquatic Center. From time to time bulletin boards advertize other activities such as dances. Montezuma Creek also has a post office.
The town has several Christian Denominations. Health services are provided at Montezuma Creek Clinic through the Utah Navajo Health System Inc., Community Health Center Program (CHC).
Local employment providers include the following: Montezuma Well Service, Navasew, JR Construction, Exxon Mobil, Red Mesa Express gas station with adjoining laundromat and food store, the U.S. Post Office, and the Montezuma Creek Yard.
See: Utah Place Names John W. Van Cott, Local information Jana Dunford.
Take Highway 6 east from Keystone to Montezuma Road (near the skier parking lot). Take that 5 miles to Montezuma. The road is plowed in the winter, so it’s accessible year round.
2WD is fine to get there, but beyond Montezuma are numerous 4WD roads accessing additional ghost towns. Saints John is a former company town located 2 miles past Montezuma. This odd mining town had a library rather than a saloon. The Wild Irishman is further above Saints John.
Recreation in the White River National Forest is available along much of this valley. There is a parking lot on Montezuma Road at Peru Creek. You can also take the 4ࡪ Webster Pass nearby if you have a capable off-road vehicle and driving skills.
Montezuma - History
The story of Montezuma’s treasure has captured the fancy of Mexicans and foreigners alike.
Mexico is portrayed as a warrior’s land, no matter how many battles it has won or lost. The country’s glorious history reveals how the Aztec Empire made use of technological advances, resources, and wealth, long before the arrival of the Europeans, in 1519.
Once the Spanish Conquest took place, Emperor Montezuma II, the Aztec leader, was executed. In 1521, his lands were plundered by Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conqueror, who later lost most of his newfound wealth to theft or the demands of the Spanish Crown.The Conquest of Tenochtitlan *** La Conquista de Tenochtitlán (Jay I. Kislak Collection—Rare Book and Special Collections Division/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)
The Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire
Montezuma II was one of the most outstanding military strategists, working his way up to become the head of the Aztec empire. It is said that the people of Tlaxcala, Cholula, Tlatelolco, Texcoco and Huexotzinco trembled before him, and he was able to dominate them with his intelligence, strength and cunningness. His physical and mental power is believed to have been manifested in the way he presented himself to others, with exaggerated and extravagant clothing. He lived at the Palace of Axayacatl, a former tlatoani (emperor.)
When the Spaniards, led by Hernán Cortés, set foot on the Aztec soil, everyone was aghast at the sight of the great city of Tenochtitlan. They noticed how Montezuma sported unique embroidery, precious stones, and a stunning plume. They were impressed by the magnitude of his palace and the peoples who bowed before him. Montezuma met the strangers with great distrust.
When Hernán Cortés gave the order for Montezuma’s lands to be plundered, his people took up arms to defend his honor, but it was not enough to thwart the Spaniards’ plans or to avoid Montezuma’s death.
Soon after, Cortés rejoiced in his own power. While a huge part of the Mexican heritage was lost, Cortés, in what is known as the ‘Sad Night’, witnessed his new fortune disappear from his own hands, unable to prevent the gold and precious stones from being taken to Spain. The Spanish Crown could not take everything, so the Aztecs took what was left and hid it, giving way to what is now known as the lost treasure of Montezuma II.
“Talking about Montezuma’s treasure is a very broad topic because historically, many theories have been written, where it is, in whose hands it was left,” said Ricardo Cañas Montalvo, a historian and the Director of the Museum of the City of Veracruz. “The truth is that it is a very dense topic. Many have said that part of that treasure was found by a fisherman on the coast of Veracruz.”
There are many versions of the story. Some say that when the Spaniards abandoned the looted lands and found out about the hidden treasure, they started to look for it and to take everything back home to Spain. The Aztec ruler Cuauhtémoc was subdued and tortured so that he would reveal the treasure’s location, but he kept silent and took the secret with him to his grave.
Where is the Tlatoani’s treasure?
It is said that Montezuma’s treasure—enormous quantities of gold, precious stones, necklaces, and bracelets belonging to the tlatoani and other aristocrats—was thrown into a lake or into the Xancopinca Enchanted Pool, a freshwater spring where everything was hidden from the Spaniards. Legend also has it that the treasure lies somewhere under the ruins of the Palace of Axayácatl.
“We know that the Spaniards collected a large part of Mexico’s treasures, including Montezuma’s,” said Montalvo. “However, in 1976, a fisherman found a large lot of jewelry offshore, from which some pieces survive that are guarded in the Baluarte de Santiago (in Veracruz City), and you can find necklaces, earrings and other gold pieces inlaid with precious stones.”
Finally, in 1981, then-president José López Portillo announced that he knew where part of the treasure was in Veracruz, since 38 pieces of silverware, two clay beads, two gold ingots, and 23 gold castings were found in an excavation.
It is believed that the Bank of Mexico safeguarded the discovery, although the institution denies having anything under its care. So do the National Institute of Anthropology and History and Universidad Veracruzana.
Mexicans claim that the old fisherman who found part of Montezuma’s treasure years ago sold everything to a jeweler, who used the gold to make jewelry, including graduation rings.
(Translated by Mario Vazquez. Edited by Vandita Agrawal and Melanie Slone.)
At the confluence of where fresh and saltwater meet in the SF Bay Delta Estuary, the Montezuma Wetlands was one of the most valuable habitats in the SF Bay Region until the late 1800s, when it was diked and separated from the surrounding wildlife.
The Montezuma Wetlands Project is a unique project to restore this 1,800 acre site for the benefit of threatened and endangered species in the San Francisco Bay Area Delta ecosystem, the largest estuary on the west coast. Due to its unique physical geography in the SF Bay Estuary, restoration of tidal wetlands at the MWP project has been described by scientists as vital for meeting regional goals for recovery of many listed species including salt marsh harvest mouse, salmonids, Delta and longfin smelt, and California least terns.
While unique for its physical location and proximity to deep water, the project is also unique in that it’s restoration was entirely conceived and developed by a private enterprise, and done so with private investment and initiative. Profits come from the site’s extremely efficient and safe handling of large quantities of dredge sediments from the region’s ship channels, ports and harbors. Use of these sediments at Montezuma for a beneficial environmental purpose diverts it from dumping directly in the Bay and Ocean where it could have deleterious effects on fish and benthic organisms. In a wetland, however, geochemical forces keep sediments permanently in reducing (no oxygen) conditions, rendering many heavy metals and organic chemicals immobile.
Infrared photo of site vicinity
The project was conceived and developed by Jim Levine and a small team of scientists at Levine*Fricke, Inc., then a leading environmental consulting and contracting firm with offices around the US and Mexico. The team was among the first to recognize that using sediments was the best way to restore key subsided habitat areas lost over the past 150 years.
An eye on landscape-scale habitat planning to maximize benefits to wildlife led the team to the Montezuma site, where Levine formed a joint venture with the landowner, Santa Fe Pacific Realty, the combined land companies of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroad to solve these two environmental problems. Later, a nimble private equity firm from New York City, the Zebra Fund, bought out Santa Fe’s’ interest, and provided the capital to take the site through acquisition and permitting.
Since receiving its permits in 2001, the Montezuma Wetlands project has safely received over 8 million cubic yards of sediment, has raised the first 600-acre phase of the formerly subsided site to ideal target tidal wetland topography. Return of the tides to this first section of the site is scheduled for November 2019.
The Port of Oakland, the nation’s fifth largest port, recognized the environmental benefits of reuse of sediment at Montezuma, and helped get the project off the ground by including it as its first disposal site in its 50-foot deepening project. The company built miles of pipelines, levees and electrical and offloading infrastructure with private investment, dredge contract revenues, and an initial (now repaid) loan from the Port of Oakland.
The company has since developed and integrated technologies and business operations that have made the site the dominant sediment beneficial reuse site in the Northern California, and has paid for over 15 years of site preparation and management by winning competitive dredge sediment management contracts from the Army Corps of Engineers, local ports, refineries and boat harbors. The company owns and operates the highest rate sediment offloader west of the Mississippi.
Strangers from the East
In 1517, news reached the emperor that strangers from the east were sighted off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Hearing that these men were sailing in vessels that were larger than anything the Aztecs had ever seen, Moctezuma ordered that a watch on the coast be kept. When the Spanish landed in April 1519, the emperor became even more alarmed, especially since they began to move inland. As Cortez encountered the subjugated peoples of the Aztec Empire, he formed alliances with those against imperial rule, whilst killing those loyal to the empire.
As the Spanish force progressed deeper into Aztec territory, Moctezuma seems to have been indecisive. Although the Aztec army was numerically superior to that of the Spanish, Moctezuma decided against military action. Instead, he tried to get rid of the Spanish by bribing them with gifts. This, however, had the opposite effect, as it increased the determination of the invaders instead. In November 1519, the Spanish finally arrived in Tenochtitlan , and what they saw must have made them aware that they were greatly outnumbered.
Moctezuma presents gifts to Cortez ( public domain ).
History of Macon County
Macon County was created on Dec. 14, 1837, from Houston and Marion counties. The 91st county, it was named for the recently-deceased General Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina. The earliest inhabitants were the Cherokee, Muskogee (who later became part of the Creek Nation) and Uchee Indians.
Gen. Macon served in the U.S. Congress for 37 years and ran for U.S. vice president. The city of Macon, about 50 miles north of Macon County, was also named for him, but is actually the seat of Bibb County. It is said his name was chosen because many of the settlers of this area came from North Carolina.
The first county seat was actually not chosen until 1838 when the county's inferior court selected the Lanier community. The Georgia General Assembly made it official on December 29 of that year and incorporated Lanier as a town.
The Central of Georgia Railroad was built through Oglethorpe in the 1850s, and the legislature called for referendums on moving the seat to Oglethorpe in 1854 and 1856. Little is known about the first vote, but the second resulted in the change to the new county seat the following year.
The Macon County Courthouse in Oglethorpe was built in 1894 and is an example of the Romanesque Revival style. It is the county's third courthouse, and the second built in Oglethorpe.
The first white inhabitants of the area were Indian traders. In the late 18th century British colonist Timothy Barnard became the Principal Temporary Agent for Indian Affairs south of the Ohio River and settled on the Flint River in what is now Macon County. Barnard married an Uchee Indian, and his settlement was a popular trading post until his death in 1820.
During the Civil War (1861-65), the most notorious Confederate prisoner-of-war camp, Andersonville Prison, was located in Macon County, about nine miles south of Oglethorpe. Designed to hold 10,000 Union prisoners, Andersonville housed 33,000 at one point, 13,000 of whom died of hunger and disease.
In September 1864 most of the surviving Union prisoners were moved as Union General William T. Sherman swept through Georgia on his march to the sea. Henry Wirz, the Confederate captain in charge of the prison, became the only man executed for war crimes committed during the Civil War. Today the Andersonville National Historic Site includes a national cemetery, park and prisoner-of-war museum. Most of the historic site is found in Macon County, and a small portion of its land lies in Sumter County
There is also an active Mennonite community in the county. A community of Beachy Amish Mennonites from Virginia formed a settlement here in 1953, which thrives today near Montezuma. Deriving their name from Moses M. Beachy, the sect's first bishop, Beachy Amish Mennonites accept some technological conveniences that Old Order Amish prohibit, including automobiles and electricity. However, they still strive to maintain a separatist posture in relation to American society, rejecting such modern forms of entertainment as movies and television.
As of 2007 the community in Montezuma supported three churches and three Mennonite schools. The White House Farm Bed and Breakfast and the Deitsch Haus restaurant, both operated by the Yoder family in Montezuma, offer visitors a glimpse of life in a Mennonite community.
Macon County has been the home of several famous Georgians. Writers John Donald Wade, a member of the Vanderbilt Agrarian movement, and Adrienne Bond, a vice president of Mercer University, lived here, as did Samuel Henry Rumph, whose work led to Georgia's nickname as the Peach State.
In fact, the history of the famous Georgia Peach is closely intertwined with the history of Macon County. A Marshallville resident, Rumph pioneered the cultivation of peaches on his family's plantation near Marshallville and developed the famous Elberta peach which was shipped to northern markers for the first time in 1875. The peach was named for his wife.
In the early 1800s, Macon County had earned its reputation as a fruit center, but the innovations of Samuel Rumph gave the county a presence in peach production that stands today. Samuel Rumph&rsquos contribution was not the only one to come from the Rumph family. An uncle, Lewis A. Rumph, introduced the Belle of Georgia, which he named for Mrs. Belle Hall, mother of Mrs. J.N. Neel of Macon. Both the Elberta and the Georgia Belle are reported as coming from seeds of Chinese Cling. In 1886, another Marshallville resident, Eugene Hiley, made a contribution to the growth of the peach industry by introducing the Hiley Belle. The Elberta, Georgia Belle and Hiley Belle were heavily planted throughout the middle Georgia region for several decades.
An interesting twist in the history of Macon County is the story of Col. George W. Fish and his haunted house. Col. Fish arrived in Oglethorpe from Pulaski County in 1852 and built a home modeled after those of wealthy British planters in the West Indies.
He was murdered at the Macon County Courthouse, where he spent much of his time, in 1871, and his ghost took up residency in his beautiful home. The house was moved to Americus in 1969 and the ghost followed the house to its new location. The new owner of the home said he was "sleeping in his chair in front of the fireplace when a lean, dark-haired man in Victorian clothing suddenly materialized directly in front of him." The ghost told the new owner he was not happy that the home bad been moved to Americus, but that he was pleased with the restoration work and was at peace.
Some information for this history sourced from the New Georgia Encyclopedia and the book "Haunted Georgia: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Peach State" by Alan Brown
Montezuma was incorporated in 1854 after the community of Traveler's Rest relocated to be near the site of the new railroad. Montezuma was named for the famous Aztec leader by soldiers returning from the Mexican War (1846-48).
Downtown Montezuma is on the National Register of Historic Places with architecture dating back to the 1850s. Situated on the east bank of the Flint River, downtown restaurants offer visitors a variety of dining options, and an old-time grocery store specializes in country meats and hoop cheese.
Check out gift and antique shops, and visit the Macon County Historical Museum in the restored Victorian railroad depot. Montezuma's Visitor Center in the Carnegie Library Building offers heritage tour guide books. Stroll along the shady paths of the Montezuma Bluff Wildlife Management Area to see 50 million-year-old fossilized limestone encrusted with ancient sea shells from the Tallahatta Formation marine ecosystem.
Macon County High School is located in Montezuma, Montezuma is also home to the county's newspaper, the Citizen-Georgian, the armory of Bravo Company, 648th Engineers of the Georgia Army National Guard and a thriving Mennonite community started when a small group of Mennonite families moved here from Virginia in the 1950s.
The population was 3,460 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 13.5 percent since 2000.
Montezuma has survived several floods, perhaps the greatest of which was the flooding of the Flint River in 1994. For the past 20 years the city has hosted its annual Beaver Creek Festival to commemorate the spirit of courage that has revived downtown from disasters since the late 1800s. The festival sprung from the devastation of that 1994 flood which swamped this community, but not its spirit.
Although there are stories referencing a flood in 1897, the earliest recorded disaster was in 1902 when the Flint River crested at 25 feet. The levee was built to retain Beaver Creek following the 1948 flooding of the business district. In 1958 the levee was engineered three feet above 1929&rsquos 26.3 foot record, but it was no match for 1994&rsquos 30 foot crest which poured Beaver Creek into downtown's historic buildings.
Initially called the "Flood Festival," it was established by the Montezuma Merchants Association when the "Flood of the Century" receded and left waterlogged stores and ruined inventory. The Festival was launched to help raise capital to support the rehabilitation of historic downtown and the Railroad Depot.
The annual celebration is staged in Charlie Jackson Unity Park -- a once thriving city block reduced to rubble by fire. A volunteer squad cleared the ashes and had a stage, arbors, a wall of fame and a sparkling fountain installed. The fountain and park symbolize the community's commitment to historic preservation and revitalization.
The grand finale is a duck race fundraiser hosted by the Chamber of Commerce to rekindle the spirit of revival required to recover from disaster. A flock of colorful ducks is launched by the Montezuma Fire Department into Beaver Creek to race downstream to the finish line at the North Dooly Street Bridge.
Montezuma - History
Southern Baptist Archives provided materials from Whispering Pines , the Montezuma College yearbook. The Albuquerque Journal covered many sporting events of the school. Montezuma Memories is a compilation of the recollections of former students. Daniel Richard Carnett’s Contending for the Faith describes the founding of the school. The logo is from a Montezuma College catalog.
The New Mexico Baptist Conference began plans for a college in 1919, accepting the offer of the Montezuma Hotel in Montezuma. Raising funds to renovate the building delayed the beginning of school until September 1922. At that time, the school opened with 231 students. Initially there were junior high and high schools classes in addition to first-year college offerings. Montezuma College then added a year of curriculum each year until a full four-year program was reached.
Montezuma College experienced financial difficulties from the start. The Educational Commission of the Southern Baptist Church pledged $100,000. The college understood that these were operating funds to equip and maintain the school. However, the Education Commission saw them as an endowment. A new promise of $20,000 per year over five years did not materialize, according to Carnett, so the college sought funds outside the state. The book Montezuma Memories notes that “the school survived from month to month.” In addition, many of the students worked for the school to help cover the cost of tuition. After the Great Depression hit, Montezuma College was not successful in raising operating funds and so was forced to close in the spring of 1930.
Montezuma Memories shows that 83 students had graduated from Montezuma College through 1929.
The Montezuma Hotel dates from 1882. It was designed by Chicago architects John Root and Daniel Burnham and built by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. Complete with turrets and towers, the hotel was a major attraction. Before it closed in 1903, it had hosted Rutherford B. Hayes, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman and Theodore Roosevelt.
After Montezuma College closed, the Catholic Church operated a seminary in the old hotel, training Indian priests until 1972. In 1997 the United World College, a prep school associated with Armand Hammer and the Prince of Wales, renovated the building. In addition to housing the UWC, the old hotel now serves as a major tourist attraction for the region.
Montezuma Castle today "Mcastle2003" by User:Uucp - Own work ( en.wikipedia. org/wiki/File:Mcastle2003.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Mcastle2003.jpg) accessed 10-27-2017
Team Name: Mountaineers (Albuquerque Journal refers to them as Chieftains)
Colors: They may have been maroon and white. Montezuma Memories notes that at the 1951 meeting of the Montezuma Club, the Class of &rsquo26 presented a basket of maroon and white carnations.
The Montezuma Castle website reports that at Montezuma College &ldquoa very small football team was enthusiastically supported by the student body of about 50.&rdquo The 1927 Whispering Pines noted that when practice opened that year, the team had only six players, of which three were returning lettermen. The team picture in that yearbook shows 17 players. The yearbook shows that most were freshmen, in their first year of college football. Despite these drawbacks, Montezuma regularly played the likes of New Mexico, New Mexico A&M, Texas Tech, and Wyoming.
Teams were also subjected to brutal travel conditions. In the school&rsquos second-hand bus, the trip to Gunnison, CO, &ldquolasted from noon Tuesday until Friday night,&rdquo according to Whispering Pines . Needless to say, given the schedule and the small enrollment, Montezuma College experienced little football success. The 1927 team earned a single victory, that coming over New Mexico School of Mines 14-12. The team drew with Wayland College of Texas, but went down to defeat at New Mexico Military, at New Mexico, at Western (CO) State and at Northern Arizona.
The 1928 girl's basketball team won two of t hree games played (Photo from Whispering Pines , courtesy of Sonja Berry)