The Village (La Aldea)
Main Street at Yancey Branch
This area, west of the highway to the shore of Mobile Bay, south to Yancey Branch and north to Bay Front Park Drive, has been a natural campsite, meeting place and rest stop, dating back as early as 1500AD. Artifacts, arrowheads, clay pottery, and implements were excavated here near burial sites of prehistoric mound builders. Native American tribes held large council meetings here and called this area the “Sacred” or “Neutral Ground.” Pioneers built log cabins here; several of these family names remain prominent within our community (D’Olive, van Iderstine, Carney, and Starke). Between 1670 and 1763, French troops from Fort de la Mobile stayed here. The Village became important as the eastern terminal of ferry traffic as people and cargo moved between Mobile and Pensacola. A French colonial village flourished here until it was destroyed by Yellow Fever in 1820. In 1778, one of the Village residents, the cunning diplomat Alexander McGillivray, gained notarity by taking advantage of his Scotch-French-Native American lineage and simultaneously serving his “Creek Confederacy” while drawing salaries from the governments of Great Britain, Spain, and the United States. The Spanish named this area La Aldea (the Village). Between 1780 and 1813, Spanish cavaliers paused here on their march north to Spanish Fort. In 1781, an important Revolutionary War skirmish took place here between British and Spanish troops and virtually forced the surrender of General Charles Cornwallis. In 1814, General Andrew Jackson visited the Village (verified by one of his drummer boys and former resident of this area, William Ramsey Yancey). It seems that the British troops were freely using the Spanish port of Pensacola despite multiple protests by General Andrew Jackson. Although not officially at war with Spain, Jackson took the responsibility of an attack and marched from New Orleans through Mobile to the Village where he bivouacked his 3000 soldiers en route to Pensacola. On that occasion, Jackson climbed the limbs of a magnificent oak draped with graceful silvery moss to rally his bedraggled troops with a speech. This oak tree is believed to be alive and well in the Village Point Park and has been preserved as Jackson’s Oak.
The route that Jackson subsequently followed across Baldwin County to Pensacola has long been known as the Jackson Trail. When Jackson and his troops arrived in Pensacola, the Spanish government wanted to negotiate, but Jackson had not come to talk, so the British blew up the fort, boarded their ships and put out to sea. Near Jackson’s Oak is the D’Olive Cemetery, which has the oldest tombstones in Daphne and is surrounded by a beautiful iron fence. It is the resting place of Louis D’Olive (1769-1841); his wife Louisa Le Fleur (1782-1840); his sons Marone (1803-1830) and Mederick (1812-84); his daughter Louisa ( died 1864) and Louisa’s husband, Major Lewis Starke (1799-1872). Some of the graves are bricked up several feet and the stones on top are placed upright instead of flat. Inscriptions are in French. Another unusual feature is a double grave for a mother (Anneys Laurendin) and her 18 month-old son (Edward); both died in March 1837. During the Civil War (1861-1865), Confederate soldiers camped at the Village. In 1865, the Union fleet landed reinforcements of soldiers at the Village piers during the campaign to capture Spanish Fort and Fort Blakeley before laying