Our program committee felt that a brief introduction to Cherokee History would be helpful since we are meeting on the Cherokee Indian Reservation. My Cherokee interest was kindled after reading three books on Nancy Ward, the Cherokee Princess and Beloved Woman. I continued my research on her and wrote an article for both the Graham County Heritage and the Carter County History Books. This presentation came about because the speaker I contacted was not available for the meeting and his fee was $100. I am going to present some facts which I have learned through my research. The name Cherokee probably comes from the word cheria, meaning fire, or Red Fire Men. (Phillips p. 12) Their emblem of bravery was red. They believed bravery came from the east where the sun rose. (Woodwards p. 21) The name might have meant children of the sun or brave men. In 1775, Dragging Canoe, son of Attakullakulla a famous Cherokee, referred to the Cherokee's as Ani-yun-wiya which means real or principal people (Alterman p. 38) Thousands of years ago the Cherokees probably were part of the Iroquois family of the Great Lake Region. About three to four thousand years ago the Cherokees separated from the Iroquois and moved to the southern Appalachian region. (Phillips p. 12, Woodward p. 21) The Cherokees were the largest tribe in the southeast when DeSota visited western NC for four days (May, 1540). (Phillips p. 12, Satz 11) They were lead by a Indian Princess of another southern tribe, who escaped on Cherokee land in western NC DeSota used Tamemes, Indian Slaves, to carry the supplies. (Woodward p. 23-24) The Clan System is an important part of the Cherokee Culture. A person could not marry a person of the same clan, and their children couldn't marry into either of their parent's clan. The husband took his wife's last name and lived with her clan. The maternal uncle had the task of raising his nieces and nephews. When a husband died, his widow could marry quicker within her husband's clan. If she wanted to marry into another clan, unless her husband's clan gave permission, she might possible have to wait up to four years. The husband was only required a short time for mourning. (Satz p. 19-20) There are seven clans, with the Wolf being the most important, with Oconostota, Attakukulla, Tame Doe and her daughter, Nancy Ward belonging to it. The six other clans are: Deer, Bird, Paint, Wild Potato, Blue and Long Hair. (Alterman p. 5) As an avid history buff and genealogist, I started trying to decide how everyone was related, "Old Hop", Moytoy, Oconostota, Attakullakulla and Tame Doe who was the mother of Nancy Ward. Different authors gave various relationships, and here is a little of what I found out. Pat Alterman gave the following. Nancy Ward was the daughter of Tame Doe who was a niece of Old Hop called "The Cherokee Emperor." Attakullakulla was a brother to Tame Doe and Willenawah, who signed the Watauga Land Purchase who also attackedFortLoudon. Oconostota had a brother Kitagista, nicknamed " The Prince" who was one of the seven princes who went toLondon. Old Abraham and the Ravan were nephews of Oconostota.
In 1730, Sir Alexander Cuming, Emissary for King George II ofEngland, went to see Moytoy, a minor Chief of the Overhill Cherokees, to arrange for seven Cherokee princes to return with him toEngland. Cuming made Moytoy the Emperor of the Cherokees. Other authors thought Old Hop was the main chief. Cuming's and the Cherokees left Charles Town on the ship H.M.S. Fox in 1730, staying one year. A picture of this group is in theBritishMuseum, names listed below. l. Ounaconoa, maybe Oconostota my guess, 2. Prince Skalilosken (or Kitagista), 3. Kollanna, 4. Oukah Ulah, 5. Tathtowe, 6. Clogoittah, 7. Ukwaneequa (Attakullakulla), (PICTURE ABOVE). (Alterman 9-10) In 1895, E. Sterling King, a student atCarsonNewman Collegea school in upper eastTennessee, visited the Cherokee Indian Reservation. He talked to the 100 year old plus granddaughter of Nancy Ward, who told him about her grandmother. He used her information in his book Wild Rose of the Cherokee which was published in 1895. She said that when Moytoy died, his elder brother, Oconostota took his place, another source says Moytoy's son took his place. Author Adams who uses Alternam, and King as her sources says that Oconostota, Attakullakulla and Tame Doe were all children of Moytoy. From the book, The Cherokee Frontier the following is given: Moytoy was killed in battle in 1741 and his 13 year son, Ammonscossittee, took his place, Raven of Hiwassee was appointed as his advisor, by the "Carolina" or "Whites" . Old Hops supporters and Moytoy's struggled for control for several years. When this struggle was settled, the power was divided between two chiefs. Oconostota became Red or War Chief, most powerful, and died at Chota between 1782/85. Attakullakulla, became White or Peace Chief died 1778/81, both over 80 when they died. (Satz p. 60) An Englishman Henry Timberlake visited and lived with the Cherokees for several years, and left several descendants there. His book Memoirs of Timberlake published in , states. "The Emperor of the Cherokees, commonly called by the English as "Old Hop", or Connicqtouge. An earlier chief, "Canacaught", was mentioned as early as 1684. Others thought this was Oconostota, but this was incorrect. Emmert Starr, a Cherokee Doctor, historian, and descendant of Nancy Ward through Cabel Starr, said Oconostota and Attakullakulla went toLondon. Starr wrote a book, History of the Cherokee Indians. In Cherokee Oconostota means ground sausage and Attakukulla means leaning stick. Now you should be as confused as I was but, here is my guess. In 1730 when Cumings visited he made Moytoy chief, and as long as Moytoy lived the other Cherokees supported Moytoy, but the support was later split. I still don't now how they were related, but they were all members of the Wolf Clan.
NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY. T The Peace Treaty of 1763, which ended the French and Indian War, was signed inAugusta,GA. The Cherokees supported the British during the war and were one of the five southern Indian Tribes to sign over a large track of land to the British. (Phillips p. 20) . In October, as a consolation to the Cherokee's the British forbade the white man to settle west of theAppalachian Mountains. During the French and Indian War, from 1754 to 1763, Oconostota sided with the French, for three reasons. 1. Around 1736 a French Jesuit Priest, Christian Priber, came to theCherokeeTerritoryto convert the Indians to the French Side by dressing and adjusting to their ways. 2. He told Oconosota that the English caused the Smallpox Epidemic of 1738-1739 that wiped out half of the Cherokee Nation. Oconostota and his nephew, Dragging Canoe had it were pockmarked. (Woodward p. 8, Alterman p. 13) 3. Oconostota was a prisoner of the English. Attakullakulla always sided with the English and was nicknamed Little Carpenter, because he was good at putting the pieces together for peace. ( Woodward p. 83) The Indians and the Settlers met in March, 1775 at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga, present day Elizabethton. Attakukulla influenced the other chiefs to sign theTranysylvaniaLand Agreement, which enabled the settlers to buy Cherokee land between middleTennesseeandKentucky. The Ravan of Chota who was jealous of Dragging Canoe's power, advised Oconostota to sign it. Dragging Canoe 1732-1792, son of Attakullakulla, refused to sign it and made his famous speech. "The old chiefs have giving you good lands, but to keep them will not be easy. It will be a dark and bloody ground". (Alterman p. 37-38) Dragging Canoe, played a major role in the early history of eastTennesseeand westernNorth Carolina. One day Dragging Canoe wanted to go with the other Cherokee warriors, but the elders felt he was not old enough. He was told that if he could carry his canoe, he would be able to go. He was able to carry his canoe even if he did drag it. He was given the name Tsi yu Gansii ni, which in English means " he is dragging the canoe", thus the name Dragging Canoe. War between the Cherokees and the settlers might not have occurred if a delegation ofShawnee,Delaware, Mohawks, Iroquois and other tribes had not been headed by Cornstalk, a noted Shawnee Warrior. Oconostota and Attakullakulla refused the War Belt. Nancy Ward wasn't happy to see them, because she wanted peace, but she prepared the Black Drink anyway. It was the Indian Custom for the Ghi gau, Nancy Ward, to prepare the black drink, which was to purify the warriors for battle. Nancywas a friend to both and knew that blood shed was not the solution. Nancywas given the title "Beloved Woman" after the battle between the Creeks and the Cherokees. Nancy Ward sent a warning to the East Tennessee settlements with three Cherokee Prisoners she let escape, Isaac Thomas, Williams, and William Fawling. (Woodward p. 91-92) In July, 1776 Dragging Canoe attackedLong Island(Kings Port), where he was wounded in both thighs and was carried off on a litter. Abram or Abraham, attackedFortCaswell also calledFortWatauga, and Ravan of Chota, attacked Carter's Valley. They did little damage because ofNancy's warning. Dragging Canoe established a new branch of Cherokees called Chickamauga Indians. Old Tassel assumed the responsibility of the Cherokee Nation after the death of Oconostota and Attakullakulla. He had hoped to voice the grievances of the Cherokees, to President George Washington and the great men of the 13 states at the Treaty of theHopewell,November 28, 1785. (Woodward p. 104-105) Old Tassel, Hanging Maw, Abraham and his son were murdered under a flag of truce by Franklinites in June, 1788. This was blamed on John Sevier, since he was Governor of the State of Franklin. This angered Governor Johnson ofNorth Carolina, who called for John Sevier's arrest. Sevier was arrested, but was never arraigned, and let off. (Woodward 109) OnJuly 2, 1791the Treaty of theHolstonwas held at Whites Fort, nearKnoxville,TN. George Washington hoped this would solve the Cherokee and the settlers problem and encourage the Cherokees to become more domestic and peaceful. (Satz p. 69) In 1797 the future king of France, Prince Louis, Duke ofOrleansvisited the Cherokee country with his two brothers. It was told that Louis was given the honor of sleeping in the chiefs tent between the chiefs grandmother and great aunt. (Woodward p. 39) The Cherokee decided to live peacefully with the white man and adopted their ways, and to learn to read and write their language. In 1804 Gideon Blackburn, Presbyterian Minister in the Maryville, Tennessee School, started a Mission School, to teach the Indian children to read and write. This created a desire to record their own language, that Sequoyah would later create, even tho he never learned the English language. A year later John Sevier visited the school and was so impressed he cried tears of joy. Earlier Sevier had considered Cherokee children, "nits that made lice" and when they raided their villages his men were encouraged to kill the children along with their elders. (Woodward p. 123-125, Satz p. 74) An Important Cherokee was SEQUOYAH whose Indian name meant talking leaves, but his English name was George Gist. He probably was the son of Nathaniel Gist aVirginia"Blue Blood" and a Cherokee maiden. He was considered an outcast by both groups, until after he developed the Cherokee Alphabet. He was born about 1760. He fought at theBattleof Horseshoe Bend inAL, where he might have been wounded, because he was lame later in life. Since he was a silversmith, he wanted to put his Indian name on his products. This would develope a desire for him want to create the Cherokee Alphabet, so he could write it. In 1821 he returned toNorth CarolinafromOklahomawith the 86 letter alphabet that contained English, Greek, and Hebrew letters. In 1828 Elias Boudinot, Cherokee of mixed blood, published a bilingual newspaper, in Cherokee and English. ( Woodward and Satz ) The computer industry used his idea of the alphabet in their chips. (Dr. Abraham) Another important Cherokee was JUNALUSKA. He was born nearFranklin,NCon theLittle Tennessee River, and was always a friend to the white man. He was also a friend to Will Thomas, who was part Cherokee, both later became Chiefs. During the War of 1812 withEngland, many Cherokees, whose nicknamed was "Red Sticks", fought on the American side with Andrew Jackson and William Blount at theBattleof Horseshoe Bend in March 1814. Without the Cherokee Indians,Jacksonprobably would have lost. Junaluska savedJackson's life when a Creek Indian was about to kill him, but later said he shouldn't have savedJackson's life. WhenJackson was President, Junaluska thoughtJacksonwould help him and the Cherokee Nation, but did not. Junaluska went with the 17,000 Cherokees on the tragic removal of the Cherokees to theOklahomaTerritory, which was over 1200 miles. This was called Trail of Tears (October, 1838 to March, 1839), because over one third died on the way. In 1842 since most of his family died on the March, he decided to return walk back toNorth Carolina. He was old and wanted to die in his native land. He died,November 20, 1858, and is buried with his wife Nicie inRobbinsville,NCon land given to him after the war. The D.A.R. maintaines his memorial. (Phillips) I saved the best for last, NANCY WARD was born in Chota around 1738 which was located in theNorthGeorgiaMountains. All three sources agree she was the daughter of Tame Doe, but they disagree as to who her father was. Haywoods History ofTennessee, says she was a pure Cherokee. Pat Alterman says her father was a Delaware Indian. The best and most interesting story comes from King and Adams, true or not it is interesting. Here it is. While Oconostota was inLondonin 1730, he met and married Lucy Ward, a lady-in-waiting to the Queen of England. She was the daughter of Edmund Ward. Her brother was Frances Ward and was the husband of Tame Doe. By coming to American and living on the Indian Reservation, Lucy had a chance to be near her brother and to teach the Cherokees her religion. Tame Doe and Lucy gave birth the same cold night, both having daughters. Lucy's died, Tame Doe, Attakullakulla and the mid wife didn't want to anger or hurt Oconostota's feeling, decided to say Tame Doe's baby died. Tame Doe became more than an aunt to her and taught her the Indian beliefs. Lucy taught her daughter to read and write the English language as well as the white man's religion which included caring for all people. This would pay off twice when she warned the settlers. Nancyfound out Tame Doe was mother, when Bryant Ward asked for his niece's hand in marriage. Attakullakulla told her to ask her mother, Tame Doe. During her early teen years, she married King Fisher, a member of the Deer Clan. Their first child, Catherine, was born about 1753 just about the time war started between the Cherokees and the Moskogee or Creek Indians. This was part of the French and Indian War, with the British supporting them and the French the Creek. Catherine later married Ellis Harlin, and they had many descendants. Dahlonega, a town in theNorthGeorgiaMountains, would be a place of victory and defeat for the Cherokees. In 1755, it was near there that the Battle of Taliwah between the Creeks and Cherokees occurred. It was the Indian custom for the wife to go with her husband on the warpath. Nancywould chew on the bullets, so that they would do more harm to their victims. During the battle, her husband was mortally wounded. Since she knew how to use a gun, she took her husband's place, thus rallying them on to victory. She was given the title Beloved Woman or Honored Woman. This would allow her to have a voice in Council Meetings and let her spare captive's lives. Nancywas pregnant when she left with her husband, and a son was born, called Little Fellow, later Five Killer. Nancycould free prisoners with the wave of a Swan's Wing. The discover of gold in the 1830's in Dahlonega would cause the white man to want the land and force the Indians to move west on the Trail of Tears. The Cherokees encouraged the British to build them a fort for their protection. FortLoudonwas finished between 1756 to 1757. The fort was south ofKnoxville,TNon theLittle Tennessee River. Tame Doe andNancyvisited the fort, taking food, pelts and skins for trade, which they continued to do so even after hostilities worsened between the whites and Indians. It was during one of these trips thatNancymet and fell in love with an Irishman, Bryant Ward, whose wife had died just before he came toAmerica. Two Cherokees, Standing Turkey and Willenawah, brother of Little Carpenter, began the siege of the fort on March 1760, under the leadership of Oconostota. The purpose was to cut off their supplies. Authors King and Adams said that when a volunteer was asked to go toVirginiafor help, Bryant Ward volunteered. He met Nancy and Tame Doe who were on their way to the fort to take food and supplies, sharing with him, then they continued on their way. The fort surrendered inSeptember 7, 1760. Bryant was captured, andNancybargained for a race in order to spare his life. This 20 mile race initiated and instigated by the Cherokees, which specified he must reach his destination before the Cherokees recaptured him. Attakullakulla helped his niece condition Bryant so he would have the endurance to win. He won and gained his freedom. Bryant later marriedNancyand they had two children. A son who was educated inVirginia. but later returned to his mother's people. A daughter, Elizabeth "Betsy" who married first Joseph Martin, an Indian Agent. They lived in theLong Islandof theHolston(Kingsport), Betsy married second a Hughes man fromNorth Carolinawho was trader, of goods. OnJune 12, 1793a bunch of whites under John Beard killed several Indians and wounding many others including Hanging Maw, his wife andNancy's daughter, Elizabeth. During the July 1776 at theBattleonFortWatauga, the Cherokees captured Mrs. Lydia Bean and young Samuel Moore, who was burned at the stake. NancysavedLydiafrom being burned at the stake and look her back to Chota, a place of sanctuary. NancyaskedLydiato teach her how to make cheese and butter from her cows. Nancy's brother, Long Fellow and son, Little Fellow, took her back to the fort when it was safe. Nancy's step son, Jack Ward came toAmerica. He married a Cherokee and they raised a family in theIndian territory. Nancysaved the Colonies against British defeat. If she had not warned theEast TNsettlers, a lot of men, women and children would have been killed. There would not have been enough men to go to the Battle of King's Mountain onSeptember 30, 1780, andFergusonwouldn't have been defeated.Fergusonwould have been able to join Cornwallis, andWashingtonwould not have defeated Cornwallis atYorktownin 1781. This battle helped the colonies win the battle in three ways. 1. It was a moral victory, the colonies had not won a battle for a while. 2. It bought more French support of men and money. 3. It kept the two British Generals separated, keeping Cornwallis in the south. When the British had learned the Overmountain Men had left to findFerguson, they encouraged the Indians to attack the unprotected settlements, since most of the men were gone. The Indians had planned to attack, but two things keep them from being successful. First, the battle was over and the men were back before the Indians could get organized. Secondly,Nancyagain knew the problem needed to be handled peacefully, so she warned the settlers of the attack. John Sevier and the others left and defeated the Indians at Boyd's Creek in present daySevier County,TNin mid December of 1780. OnJuly 27, 1781,Nancyagain stressed peace between the whites and Indians. The two groups met atLong Island, present dayKingsport, to work on a treaty. She took her deceased Uncle Attakullukulla's place working for peace. In May, 1817,Nancysent her last message to the Cherokee Council by her son, Five Killer. Approximately 15 western Cherokee Chiefs had signed over by proxy eastern Cherokee land. Nancy and John Ross didn't think this was legal, but it later proved to be so. In her later years she ran the profitable Womankiller Inn nearBenton,TN.Nancydied there in 1824. She is buried there with her brother Long Fellow and son, Five Killer. The famous comedian, Will Rogers who was from Ok., was related toNancythrough his aunt, Margaret Lavinia Rogers. This is a Cherokee Story, taken from King's book.