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6th Generation - Chief Charles Renatus Hicks & Lydia Halfbreed Hicks - David & N-wa-lee-ya-he Nannie Otterlifter Miller

*Charles Renatus Hicks (Catherine Hicks Father) *******************************************************

DATE OF BIRTH: December 23, 1767.
LOCATION OF BIRTH: Hiawassee River at Tomotley, GA, and Cherokee Nation East, Georgia (now Tennessee) Tomotley, Georgia
DEPARTED THIS LIFE ON: January 20,1827
LOCATION OF DEATH: Red Clay Plantation, Cherokee Nation (now Tennessee)
LAID TO REST: Spring Place Mission
AGE AT DEATH: 59 years and 28 days old

*Lydia Halfbreed “Chiuke” (Catherine Hicks Mother) *******************************************************

LOCATION OF BIRTH: Cherokee Nation East, Georgia
LOCATION OF DEATH: Octhocologa, Cherokee Nation, Georgia LAID TO REST:
AGE AT DEATH: 65 years old
George born about 1792
Cathrine (Caty) was born before 1796
Elijah 1797
Aulse Hicks

*NOTE FROM NANCY: In researching Charles Renatus Hicks I got an overwhelming response from the internet people I had met while doing this research.
Charles Renatus Hicks was a very prominent man in The Early Cherokee History.
I have tried to condense some of these comments and facts that I have received but when a person gets, so much it is hard to sort them all.

I apologize for the things that you will read twice and maybe even more but they were from all different sources.
All of them seem to say the same thing but I thought it would be better for you to read the following things no matter how repetitive they are.
Make your own decisions and if you would like to change them, more power to you.

Also my middle daughter, Jessica, her youngest son, Desmond and I went to Claremore, Oklahoma to Woodlawn Cemetery and found the grave of Elijah Hicks.
We took pictures.
They will be included.

Elizabeth Miller Mann’s great Grandmother was Lydia Halfbreed (Hicks) Chislom.

Lydia Halfbreed (Hicks) Chisolm was ¾ Cherokee of the blind Savannah Clan.
She was born in 1769, in Cherokee Nation East, Georgia.
She was the daughter of Chief Halfbreed and Hannah
She married Charles Renatus Hicks, mother of six children who were 5/8 Cherokee; all of them were born in the Chickamauga District, Cherokee Nation East, Georgia.

*Charles Renatus Hicks was the son of Nathan Hicks and Nancy Elizabeth Broom (Daughter of Broom, a minor Cherokee Chief of Broomstown, Georgia.)
Charles was educated in his father’s native Virginia.
A member of the Wolf Clan.
Baptized April 10, 1813.
He was among the first Cherokees to convert to Christ, this was when Renatus (Reborn, Latin) was added to his name.
Charles was also one of the first men in the Cherokee Nation who learned to read and write.
He was one of the most intelligent men in the Cherokee Nation.
Charles was the one responsible for the laws of the Cherokee Nation to be published.
The laws were first written down September 1808 at Broomtown and signed by Enola (Blackfox) as Principle Chief, Pathkiller as second Chief and Charles Hicks, Secretary to the Council. The document was not published until 1852.

Hicks became second Chief under Pathkiller.
In the last year of his life he became Principle Chief.
He also served as Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation.
His secretary John Ross credited his friendship with Charles as entrusting him to the Fullblood members of the tribe.
It is said Charles taught the illiterate Sequoyah to write his English name Guess, to imprint on his silver works.
Charles died in 1827 and was succeeded by his brother William Hicks as Principle Chief.

Charles Hicks, a brilliant mixed-blood, who led in writing the Cherokee constitution.
This document contained an outline of the new government, defined the powers of officials with such Indian names as principle chief for chief executive, and the legislative body was called the National Council.
In most respects, this constitution was similar to the United States Constitution.
After Charles’ death William Hicks (Charles’ brother) served as interim chief until an election was held under the constitution, which elected John Ross as principle chief.
Though only one-eighth Cherokee, Ross was enduringly popular with the full bloods.
Since they outnumbered the mixed bloods at least three to one, they could out vote the mixed bloods, too.
Ross studiously adopted the full blood point of view and thus assured his continuation as principle chief of the Cherokee Nation, winning every election until his death in 1866.

The Cherokee involvement in the Creek War (which is considered part of the War of 1812) was from October 1st, 1813 to April 11th, 1814.
There were two enlistments of about 3 months each: October 7th, 1813 – January 6th, 1814; and January 27th, 1814 – April 11th, 1814.

The Cherokees sent between 400 and 700 men to serve under Colonels Gideon Morgan Jr. and John Lowrey, both half-bloods.
They were listed as Cherokee Warriors, Mounted.
They fought the battles of Talladega, Emuckfaw, Enotachopoo, Hillabee, and Horseshoe Bend.
Among those fighting were:
Adjutant John Ross, Major Ridge, Major John Walker, Captain Richard Brown, George Gist/Guess (Sequoyah), John Drew, Whitepath of Elijay, Arch Campbell, Goingsnake, Chief Junuluska (Tsuna-Lahunski), George Fields, Charles Hicks, Alexander Saunders (Captain of his own company in Col. Gideon Morgan Jr.’s Regiment of Cherokee Indians October 7th, 1813 to January 6th, 1814, and Major of Field and Staff of the same Regiment January 27th, 1814 to April 11th, 1814), Charles Rogers (Lieutenant under Captain John McIntosh January 27th, 1814 to April 11th, 1814), John Rogers (Private in Captain David McNair’s Company October 7th, 1813 to January 6th, 1814).

Charles Hicks was born on the Hiawassee River at Tomotley, GA, December 23rd, 1767.
He was the son of Nathan Hicks and Nan'Ye'Ha, a full blood Cherokee.

On Good Friday, April 10th, 1813, a Moravian missionary baptized Charles named Brother John Gambold who had been living in the vicinity of Springplace since about 1805.
Charles was married, first to Nancy Broom, daughter of Chief Broom of Broomstown.
They had Nathan, Elija, Elsie and Sarah Elizabeth "Sallie".
His second wife was Lydia Halfbreed, who bore him two children, George and Catherine.
Lydia also married a man named Chisholm.
After Path Killer's death in 1817, Charles was elected Second Chief of the Cherokee tribe.
In 1821, Gambold established a Mission at Octology, about 20 miles from Springplace.
By then, Charles was living at Dogwood Flats on the headwaters of Chicamauga Creek.
Charles died on January 20th, 1827 at Red Clay Plantation but is buried at the Spring Place Mission in Murray County.

Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of Charles R. Hicks, married Alexander McCoy.
She was born 11th of June 1800.
They had at least one child, Mary Ann McCoy.
Alexander McCoy's parents were Daniel McCoy and Lucy Fields.
Lucy's parents were Richard Fields and Susannah Emory.
Susannah was the daughter of William Emory and Grant.
Grant was the daughter of Ludovic Grant, born about 1700.
He spent most of his life among the Indians.
He married Susan, a full blood Cherokee of the Long Hair Clan.

Charles Renatus Hicks was the oldest of the three men who became the Cherokee Triumvirate.
He was a mixed blood Cherokee who was a farmer and one of the first people in North Georgia who could read.

He loved books, especially the Bible.
He would frequently read to the Cherokee from the Old Testament, which they could understand.
They tended to not like the New Testament.
He would then explain what he read.

When Sequoyah wanted to learn how to make his mark on his creations like the white silversmiths were beginning to, he went to Hicks.
He wrote out his(Sequoyah's) name on a piece of paper.
According to modern legend, this is the flash point for the invention of the Cherokee Syllabary.

When Indian Agent Return J. Meigs was sent to Washington he hired Hicks as his assistant, although Hicks by no means needed the job.
He saw the position as influential and his friends Vann and Ridge benefited.
In 1806 Ridge and Vann lead the Cherokee Nation on "The Revolt of the Young Chiefs."

Hicks played a mostly undercover roll in this, although when Ridge usurped Miegs power in council Miegs returned and fired Hicks.
In the fledgling Nation, Hicks played a variety of roles, mostly in an advisory capacity.

This is how we are related to Chief John Ross:
RCHS Home Oldest Grave
In Woodlawn Cemetery


Elijah Hicks was born in Georgia in 1797, the son of Charles R. Hicks, a prominent leader and chief in the Cherokee Nation East.
He was educated in South Carolina and became a high leader in the Cherokee Tribe.

He was editor of the Cherokee Phoenix in 1832, was a Captain of one of the 13 detachments on the "Trail of Tears", leading 858 people, 54 of whom died en route.

Elijah brought his people to the Western Cherokee Nation on January 4, 1839 and settled where Woodlawn Cemetery is now located, and previously occupied by Osage Chief Black Dog, one of the three main chiefs of the Osages when they dominated the country.
Lake Claremore is supplied by Dog Creek, named for that chief.
Elijah Hicks opened a general store and continued to serve his people.

He was a signer of the Constitution of 1839, was a delegate to Washington in 1839 and also served as President of the Cherokee Senate.
He died August 6, 1856 and is buried in the oldest marked grave in the cemetery.

He married Margaret Ross, a sister of John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokees.
It is interesting to note that his sister and brother were 1/8 Cherokee, their Father being born in Scotland and their Mother being 1/4 Cherokee.
The original stone marking this grave has suffered the ravages of time, has been broken and repaired several times and most recently held together with iron rods.
The new stone, provided by the Rogers County Historical Society, is an exact replica of the original, except that it is 4" thick while the first was 2" thick.

The dedication of the new stone was attended by a great grandson and great-great granddaughter of Mr. Hicks, as well as members of the Historical Society and the Pocahantas Club with a wreath being placed by Cooleela Faulkner, a lady whose heritage is Cherokee.

Woodlawn Cemetery is located on Nome Avenue, off Patti Page Boulevard.

If you have any suggested updates or corrections, please e-mail the Rogers County Historical Society


George married twice. He married Akey Rogers, who was born about 1791.
George and Akey seperated and she married Daniel Vickory.
The second wife of George was Lucy Fields, who was born about 1791.
They had at least one child named David Hicks who married Elzira Wilson.
After he died without issue Elzira Wilson nee Hicks married Richard Carey Mann who in turn had David Sproul Mann.
After he married Lucy he was elected Marshal of Coosawaytee District 9 in November 1825.
He was the Captain of Emigrant Detachment of triam #4 on the Trail of Tears in the winter of 1838 & 1839.
They departed Tennessee September 7, 1838, and arrived west March 14, 1839 - 189 days.
Signer of the Act of Union July 12, 1839 and 1840 He was a signer of the Constitution of September 6th, 1839.
Delegate to Washington in the winter of 1839 and 1840.
Elected Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on October 1843.
Elected to Council from Going Snake District 6 August 1849 and Senator from the same District on August 3, 1857.
Son of Charles Renatus Hicks and Chiuke a full blood.
Shown as attending Spring Place Mission School Eastern Nation from Connesauga February 21, 1804 to February 7, 1805.
On this list of students of the United Bretheren (Moravian) Mission school 1804-1834 as transcribed by Jerry Clark, his parents are shown as William Hicks and Tocceyeeka and he is listed as about 12 years old.
This is probably his aunt and uncle.
From a catalog of students at New Spring Place, Indian Territory 1838-1842.
In issue #8 & 9, Fall 1992 & Spring 1993 of Cherokee Family Research.
Page 18 it shows three of his children as students in 1840.
At that time the family lived at Little Spavinaw, Cherokee Nation Indian Territory.


Dear Sir,
We are now about to take our final leave and kind farewell to our native land the country that the Great Spirit gave our Fathers, We are on the eve of leaving that Country that gave us birth.
It is the land of our fathers…… our sons, and it is (with sorrow) that we are forced by the authority of the white man to quit the scenes of our childhood, but stern necessity says we must go, and we bid a final farewell to it and all we hold dear East of the Father of Waters, the Majestic Missisippi (sic); from the little trial (?) we have made in a start to moove (sic); we know that it is a laborious undertaking, but with firm resolutions we think we will be able to accomplish it, if the white citizens will permit us, but since we have been on our march many of us have been stoped (sic) and our horses taken from our teams for the payment of unjust and just demands, yet the Government says we must go, and its citizens says (sic) you must pay me, and if the debtor has not the means, the property of his next friend is levied on and yet the Government has not given us our spoliations as promised.
Our property has been stolen and Robed (sic) from us by white men and no means given us to pay our debts, when application is made to, as we think the proper authority.
The agents of government, and the commanding officers of the military the one says we have no jurisdiction over anything, only such as happends (sic) in their own sight or in the mile square about the Agency, and the others says our hands are tied since the 23rd May 1838 they can give us no assistance, yet they have the power to force us off if any delay is made farther than what they may think necessary.

They may not think it necessary to delay any time to try to recover our property robed (sic) of us in open daylight and in open view of hundreds.
Why are they so bold? They know that we are in a defenseless situation, dependent on the Government for protection. Why have they denied us that protection and have made their brags that General Scott would not (intervene?) in our behalf.
Therefore we will have to leave our property in the hands of whosoever may have the conscience(?) to rob us of it, and those appear to be plenty since protection have been us(?) denied.
Debts that we honestly owe are willing to pay provided we were able which we would have been, provided the Commissioners had given us our just dues, valuations, spoliations etc. But there has been but few, comparatively speaking, that has drawn anything at all.
Nothing more at present.
The health of the people is as good as could be expected and we are getting on very well considering every circumstance. I have the honor to be your very humble servant George Hicks (signed) George Hicks (Charles & Lydia’s Son)

This was taken from “Vinita, I.T. The Story of a Frontier Town of the Cherokee Nation 1871-1907” Written & Compiled By O.B. Campbell.

Government In The Nation

For nearly 60 years the region in which Vinita is now located was a part of the Cherokee Nation, operating until 1898 almost entirely under its laws first established in 1839.

Meeting together in a national convention held at Illinois Campground July 12, 1838, an Act of Union was approved by the Eastern and Western Cherokees.

It created the Cherokee Nation as “one body politic” that was to establish in the Indian Territory the machinery for government unequaled in history of the Indian.

It was agreed that “the delegation authorized by the Eastern Cherokees to make arrangements with Major General Scott for their removal to this country, shall continue in charge of that business with their present powers until it shall be finally closed.”

Thus even before the last Cherokee Indian had been removed from his former home, organization was under way for order in the new land.

The act of Union was signed by George Lowrey, president of the Eastern Cherokees and George Guess (Sequoyah) simply signed an “X” to denote his name.

Among the Eastern Cherokee signing the document were such men as James Brown, George Hicks, John Benge, Thomas Foreman, Lewis Ross, Jesse Bushyhead, Stephen Foreman, Edward Gunter, along with John Ross, principle Chief of the Eastern Cherokees and Going Snake, speaker of the council.

For the Western Cherokees, signers were John Looney, acting principle chief, who made his mark, John Drew, Thomas Candy, James Campbell, Charles Coody, David Melton, George Brewer and Looney Price.

Many settlers approved and signed the Act of Union when it was read to them in a meeting August 23, 1839.

This paved the way for the adoption by the Cherokees of their first constitution as a united body.
In a short but all-inclusive document approved in a convention at Tahlequah September 6, 1939, the stage was set for the implementation of its provisions.
It was signed by George Lowery, president of the national convention, and by a list of others nearly half of whom simply affixed their mark to the document.

Among them were names that were to became familiar in the history of the many areas of the Cherokee Nation.
In addition to many who had signed the Act of Union there were also such names as Walter Scott Adair, Richard Taylor, George W. Gunter, Kench Logan, Martin Lynch, Joshua Buffington, Elijah Hicks, Riley Keys, Young Wolf, Crying buffalo, Thomas Fox Taylor, Archibald Campbell, Daniel Colston and others.

Through the years special acts were approved by the National Committee, composed of two members from each district, and the National Council, composed of three members of each district, the legislative branch of the nation’s government.
Later representation was based on population.

It was not until 1866 that the National Council adopted and presented to the people at a general convention held on November 26 a series of amendments.
This was followed by an appointment of a committee in November 1873, composed of William P. Boudinot, D.H. Ross and Joseph A. Scales, to “revise, amend and codify the existing laws and prepare such other new laws as the advanced condition of the Cherokee Nation demands.”

The railroads had come to the Cherokee Nation. Towns were springing up.
More whites were intruding into the area. Other changes in the way of life created a need for new laws and changes in the old.

The committee on November 1, 1874 submitted its report and approval was given by the National Council and the principle chief.
It became the new law of the land November 1, 1875. It remained little changed the rest of the lifetime of the Cherokee Nation.

The first constitution provided for eight districts with permission given to add one or two more.
Eight were created and one later added.

When Vinita came into existence it found itself divided into two districts.
The boundary line followed the Texas Road over which the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad laid its tracks.

The placed the region east of the Katy Railroad at Vinita in the Delaware District and the area west of the tracks in the Coo-wee-scoo-wee district (the latter was the Cherokee name for John Ross).
The Coo-wee-scoo-wee district was described by law in 1875 as:
“Commencing at the crossing of the line of the Illinois district on Grand River; thence up said river to the mouth of Rock Creek, and up the same to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad; thence north on said roar to the line of the State of Kansas; thence west on said line to the 96 degree of west longitude and south on said meridian to the northern boundary line of the Muskogee Nation and east on the same to the northeast corner of said Muskogee Nation; thence south on the line of said nation to the line of Illinois District, and east on said line to the place of beginning.”

Delaware District was described as:
“Commencing on the mouth of Rock Creek on Grand River and up said creek to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad; and thence north on said road to the line of the State of Kansas; thence east to the line of the Seneca, Quapaw and other affilated tribes; thence following the boundary line between said tribes and the Cherokee to the line of the State of Arkansas, to the line of Going Snake District; thence west on said line to the southeast corner of Salina District; thence on the line of said district to Grand River, above Ned Persimmin’s; thence by the river to the place of beginning.

Other districts were Sequoyah, Illinois, Canadian, Flint, Going Snake, Tahlequah and Salina.
Coo-wee-scoo-wee was the last one added.

In 1837 the Cherokee Council passed an act providing for the survey of the townsite of Kee-too-whah, Cherokee name for Fort Gibson.
Two years later when the Eastern and Western Cherokees were reunited, an act provided for a resurvey for the same townsite.

When four years later, in 1843, Tahlequah was designated for the National Council grounds, a law was enacted to lay off these grounds in town lots.
Although by 1850 only a few hundred people lived in Tahlequah, for the town existed sleepily between council meetings, the council saw fit in 1852 to pass a bill, which was approved by Chief John Ross, creating “a body politic” of Tahlequah, and giving the town general corporate power.

A second law was passed in 1870 to serve as the basis for future incorporations in which provisions were made for taxes and also for fines and violations of town ordinances.

In 1873, by a supplementary act of the council, incorporation was extended to Downingville, later to be officially known as Vinita.
The town, because of the railroads, had already outstripped all other rivals in the Cherokee Nation.

The townsite of Downingville, or Vinita, had been laid out in 1871 by Joseph Vann, Joseph Thompson and a Dr. Miller, Cherokee town commissioner.

John Ross a North Georgia Notable
Born:Turkeytown(near Center), Alabama, October 3, 1790
Died:Washington, D.C., August 1, 1866

Cherokee Leader

John Ross was one of the chiefs of the Cherokee Nation. He was highly regarded for his role in leading the fight against removal and leading his people to their exile in Oklahoma, controversy was his constant companion once the Georgia Cherokee arrived.

Ross had a private tutor as a youth.
Although only one-eighth Cherokee, Ross played Native American games and kept his Indian ties.
Early in his life he was postmaster in Rossville, Georgia and a clerk in a trading firm.
The town he founded as Rossville Landing grew much larger than it's namesake as Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Growing up with the constant raids of whites and Indians, Ross witnessed much of the brutality on the early American frontier.
The future Walker County was a hunting ground for both white and Cherokee raiding parties, strategically located midpoint between head of Coosa and Col. John Sevier's band of marauders from Tennessee.

"Little John" served as a Lieutenant in the Creek War, fighting with many famous Americans including Sam Houston.
When future president and Cherokee oppressor Andrew Jackson called the Battle of Horseshoe Bend "one of the great victories of the American frontier," losing 50 men while killing 500 Creek men, women, and children, John Ross penned the words.

Ross was invaluable to Moravians who established a mission on the Federal Highway near present-day Brainerd, Tennessee.
Serving as translator for the missionaries, just as he had for Return J. Miegs, Indian agent for the Cherokee, Ross acted as liaison between the missionaries, Miegs, and the tribal council.
He proposed selling land to the Moravians for the school, a radical idea in a society that did not understand the concept.

After the death of James Vann in 1809, he was gradually replaced by Ross in the "Cherokee Triumvirate" including Major Ridge and Charles Hicks.
Ross was viewed as astute and likable, and frequently visited Washington.
It was on one of these trips, to negotiate the Treaty of 1819, that he became recognized for his efforts.

Ross, one of the richest men in North Georgia before 1838. He had a number of ventures including a 200 acre farm and owned a number of slaves.
He would not speak Cherokee in council because he felt his command of the language was weak.

As president of the Constitutional Convention that convened in the summer of 1827 he was the obvious choice for Principal Chief in the first elections in 1828.
He held this post until his death in 1866.

Over the first 10 years of his rule he fought the white man not with weapons but with words.
As the encroachment of the settlers grew, he turned to the press to make his case.
When the Land Lottery of 1832 divided Cherokee land among the whites he filed suit in the white man's courts and won, only to see the ruling go unenforced.
When Ridge and his Treaty Party signed away the Cherokee land in 1835 Ross got 16,000 signatures of Cherokees to show the party did not speak for the majority of the tribe, but Andrew Jackson forced the treaty through Congress.
He lost his first wife, Quatie, on the "Trail Where They Cried," or as it is more commonly known, “The Trail of Tears.”

After his forced departure from the State of Georgia, Ross was embroiled in a number of controversies. Internal and external conflict kept him busy for the rest of his life.


Realizing a key to development of the Cherokee Nation was a written language, the warrior Sequoyah (a.k.a. George Gist or Guess) began work on the "talking leaves", a graphic representation of the Cherokee language.
The alphabet officially listed as being completed in 1821 took 12 years to create.
Sequoyah came up with the idea of "Talking Leaves" when he visited Chief Charles Hicks who showed him how to write his name so he could sign his work like white silversmiths.
According to legend, this was the first event that led him to develop the Cherokee Alphabet.
Initially he tried single pictograms to represent entire sentences, but quickly realized this was impossible.
Then he began to create symbols for each sound the Cherokees made.
In the interim, Sequoyah fought alongside Andy Jackson in the Creek War of 1813-1814.
Although he lacked a formal education, he spoke several languages fluently.
This is the only instance of a written language developed by a single person.

The Cherokee people were appreciative of the great service of Sequoyah and sought to show their gratitude in a manner explained by Chief John Ross:
“Head of Coosa, Cherokee Nation, January 12th, 1832.
Mr. George Gist; My friend:
The legislative Council of the Cherokee Nation in the year 1824 voted a medal to be presented to you, as a token of respect and admiration for your ingenuity in the invention of the Cherokee alphabetical characters; and in pursuance thereof, the late venerable chiefs, Pathkiller and Charles Hicks, instructed a delegation of this nation, composed of Messrs George Lowery, Senior, Elijah Hicks and myself to have one struck, which was completed in 1825.
In the anticipation of your visit to this country, it was reserved for the purpose of honoring you with its presentment by the chiefs in General Council; but having so long been disappointed in this pleasing hope, I have thought it my duty no longer to delay, and therefore take upon myself the pleasure of delivering it through our friend Mr. Charles H. Vann who intends visiting his relatives in the country where you dwell…….John Ross.”
The medal, says John Howard Payne, was “made at Washington and of silver, to the value of Twenty Dollars. On one side was thus inscribed:
‘Presented to George Gist by the General Council of the Cherokee Nation, for his ingenuity in the invention of the Cherokee Alphabet, 1825.”
Under the inscription were two pipes crossed; and an abridgement of the above on the reverse of the medal, encircled a head meant to represent George Gist himself.

Sequoyah(a.k.a George Gist)
a North Georgia Notable
Born: 1776 near Tuskeegee, Tennessee
Died: 1843, Mexico
Developed the Cherokee alphabet
Near the town of Tanasee, and not far from the almost mythical town of Chote lies Taskigi(Tuskeegee), home of Sequoyah.
In this peaceful valley setting Wut-teh, the daughter of a Cherokee Chief married Nathaniel Gist, a Virginia fur trader.
The warrior Sequoyah was born of this union in 1776.

Probably born handicap, and thus the name Sequoyah(Sikwo-yi is Cherokee for "pig's foot"), Sequoyah fled Tennessee as a youth because of the encroachment of whites.
He initially moved to Georgia, where he acquired skills working with silver.
While in the state, a man who purchased one of his works suggested that he sign his work, like the white silversmiths had begun to do.
Sequoyah considered the idea and since he did not know how to write he visited Charles Hicks, a wealthy farmer in the area who wrote English.
Hicks showed Sequoyah how to spell his name, writing the letters on a piece of paper.
Sequoyah began to toy with the idea of a Cherokee writing system that year(1809).

He moved to Willstown, Alabama, and enlisted in the Cherokee Regiment, fighting in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, which effectively ended the war against the Creek Redsticks.

During the war, he became convinced of the necessity of literacy for his people.
He and other Cherokees were unable to write letters home, read military orders, or record events as they occurred.
After the war, he began in earnest to create a writing system.

Using a phonetic system, where each sound made in speech was represented by a symbol, he created "Talking Leaves", 85 letters that make up the Cherokee alphabet.
His little girl Ayoka easily learned this method of communication.
He demonstrated his syllabary to his cousin, George Lowrey, who was impressed.
A short time later in a Cherokee Court in Chatonga, he read an argument about a boundary line from a sheet of paper.
Word spread quickly of Sequoyah invention.
In 1821, 12 years after the original idea, the Cherokee Nation adopted Sequoyah's alphabet as their own.
Within months thousands of Cherokee became literate.

The story of Sequoyah and the Cherokee is told in a multimedia presentation at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, Tennessee, on Lake Tellico not far from the actual site of the Gist home.

The crippled warrior moved west to Arkansas.
Mining and selling salt for money, he was active in politics.
In 1824 the National Council at New Echota struck a silver medal in his honor.
Later, publication began on the first Native American newspaper, The Cherokee Phoenix in the same town.
The painting of Sequoyah was made in 1828 on a trip to Washington to negotiate terms for removal from Arkansas to Oklahoma.
Leaving the state in 1829, he had lived in Oklahoma for 10 years when Principal Chief John Ross led North Georgia Cherokee on the "Trail of Tears" to the state.

He died in Mexico in 1843 after finding a band of Cherokee that moved there during the 1838 removal.

Talking Leaves and the Cherokee Phoenix Sequoyah

The name "Talking Leaves" was satirical of whites. The Cherokee felt that white man's words dried up and blew away like leaves when the words no longer suited the whites.

"Talking Leaves" gave the Cherokee the tool to create the first Native American newspaper, The Cherokee Phoenix.
With help from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Boston a printing office was built, type was cast in the Cherokee language, and a printing press and other equipment was sent to the Cherokee capital of New Echota.

The first issue of the Cherokee Phoenix rolled off the presses on February 21st, 1828 and had an immediate international circulation.
Elias Boudinot (Buck Oowatie, which was Stand Watie’s brother) was the publisher.
A staunch supporter of removal, Boudinot resigned after Principle Chief John Ross confronted him over an editorial in favor of removal.
The paper was published until May 31st, 1834, when the first voice of the Cherokee was silenced by the impending federal overthrow of the government.

I intend to publish a biography on Mr. Hicks at a later date.
>Date: Fri, 07 Nov 1997 05:18:01 -0500
>To: "Nancy E. Hamilton"
>From: Randy Golden
>Subject: Re: Charles Renatus Hicks
For more information on the Cherokee in North Georgia, visit
Randy Golden
Site Admin
Welcome to North Georgia
Twice selected as "valued Internet resource" by the Discovery Channel
Golden Ink

Major Ridge,
James Vann
Charles Renatus Hicks

Mr. Hicks was a very important Cherokee.
As a member of the Cherokee Triumvirate, Hicks, along with James Vann and Major Ridge, led the Cherokee on the path to "acculturalment."
He lived near Pine Log, and it was here that he met Vann and Ridge.
He was one of the richest Cherokees and one of the few who could read, which greatly impressed Ridge.
(Elizabeth Hicks, Charles’ sister married James Vann.)

During the Revolt of the Young Chiefs, Hicks worked behind the scenes, giving Ridge and Vann information.
He was an integral participant in the murder of Doublehead, although he was not present at the actual event.
This was acceptable because it was a vengeance murder and it was legal in the Cherokee Nation.

Charles Renatus Hicks was Assistant to Indian Agent Return J. Miegs, until fired during the revolt.
Afterwards he continued to farm, as he had done most of his life.
This is the same position that John Ross later had.
>From: Randy Golden
Major Ridge a North Georgia Notable
Born 1771, Hiwassee, Cherokee Nation
Died June 22, 1839, White Rock Creek, AK.(disputed)

Cherokee Chief

A man finishes describing his vision to the highest Cherokee council by saying anyone who denies this dream will be struck dead by the Cherokee Mother.
Ridge sits silent as a great chatter arises amongst the chiefs.
The vision is decidedly anti-settler, possibly provoked by Tecumseh, who issues a call for war shortly before the meeting in May of 1811.
Rising to speak after the room had quieted, Ridge's voice fills the hall.
"What you have heard is not good.
It will lead us to war with the United States, and we shall suffer.
It is not a talk from the Great Spirit, and I stand here and call it false.
Let the death come upon me.
I test their words."

Before he finishes speaking men are upon him, fighting him, trying to stab him with knifes.
Cherokees in support of Ridge fight back.
As the battle rages, Ridge stands, clothes torn and bloody.
The fighting pauses.
Louder than before, Ridge repeats "I stand here and call it false," adding this time, "I continue to live so these prophets are deceivers."
Again fighting breaks out, but this time the elder chiefs stop it.

His words alter the course of the Cherokee Nation.
Not for the first time, nor the last, Ridge takes a stand for something in which he believes.
It was a trait that would mark him throughout his life as a visionary, and end in his death for the betrayal of his people.

Major Ridge
Born Kah-nung-da-tla-geh in 1771, by most people's guess, Man Who Walks on Mountaintop is the son of Oganstota, Dutsi or Tar-chee.
His mother, a mixed blood Cherokee, belongs to the Deer Clan.
In 1785, the Cherokee leaders sign the Treaty of Hopewell, in which many of the tribe put great faith.
By the time Ridge becomes a warrior in 1788, the agreement at Hopewell had been repeatedly broken by both sides and the Chickamauga (Ridge's tribe) were in revolt.

In his first war party, the future member of the Cherokee Triumvirate witnesses the atrocity of war.
Cherokee and settlers battle across southeast Tennessee.
Near present-day Maryville the Cherokee attack settlers in the field and turn on John Gillespie's station, killing all the men in the stockade.
Only Ridge's leader, John Watts saves the lives of the 28 women and children.
They then attack two more stations on the Holsten, and head for the Smoky Mountains.
Governor of Tennessee John Seiver ambushes the war party.
Ridge escapes, wounded, but 145 Cherokee die.

Exposure to this kind of fighting continues for years.
By the mid 1790's Ridge, as did many of his fellow Chickamaugan, begin to desire an end to the fighting.
"I will hunt deer, not men," he tells his fiancée Susanna.
His tribe decimated, two separate events that affect Ridge occur.
He moves to Pine Log, in present-day Bartow County, Georgia, and under orders of President Washington, the United States begins to introduce technology to the Cherokee in the form of spinning wheels and cotton combs.

Now married, Ridge is surprised to find when he returns home that Susanna has woven cloth worth more money than all the pelts he captures in six months of hunting.
Pleasantly surprised.
And the men he begins to associate with in Pine Log are not warriors but farmers.
His association with James Vann and Charles Hicks influences Ridge towards ending the fighting with settlers, and Ridge, in turn, influences the Cherokee Nation to ending the constant warring.

By 1795, a change had overcome the warrior.
Representing Pine Log in council Ridge proposes a modest change in the ancient vengeance code.
This change, which passes, prompts Ridge's rise.
He is 25(or so) at the time.
By 1800, the tribal council acknowledges the Cherokee Triumvirate of Ridge, Vann and Hicks.
They often disagree with the elders and frequently win.

Ridge turns his attention to his family as Vann and Hicks lead the fights in council.
Susanna gives birth to a girl, then a boy, John.
A third, another boy, dies at birth.
Later additions to his family would include Walter or "Watty" and Sarah, who they called Sally.
His brother David Watie (or Oowatie) and sister-in-law, living nearby, give birth to Gallegina or "Buck" and Stand.
(Isabella Miller, which was one of Avrey Miller’s daughters, who was Elizabeth Miller Mann’s sister married Stand Watie.)
It is during this time that the United States and the State of Georgia legally agree to the removal of "Indians" from the state at a later date.

By 1805 Ridge's attention returns to the council, and he, Hicks and Vann are extremely unhappy at what they see.
Tribal elders, most notably Doublehead, are getting rich at the expense of the tribe.
The Cherokee Triumvirate lead a group in a complex series of events generally referred to as "The Revolt of the Young Chiefs."

Doublehead betrays the Cherokee on many occasions.
After the cession of Wofford's tract in 1804, Doublehead begins to rapidly sell the real assets of the tribe under the direction of Indian Agent Return J. Miegs.
By 1806 a significant portion of remaining land is sold, with most of the proceeds going to Doublehead and those who aligned with him.
Vann and Ridge break with the council.
Although almost entirely alone at first, they slowly build support across the nation.
Within 2 years a large vocal group support the two rebellious chiefs.

In a bold plan in August 1807, possibly approved by the tribal council, Ridge, Hicks, and Vann plot the murder Doublehead.
Deeply involved, neither the federal government nor the Cherokee clan of Doublehead takes any action against Ridge.
He turns back a settler near Vann's Tavern, and later, in the presence of Meigs, usurps his power on the council.
The council quickly begins to nationalize and Ridge is put in charge of the first Cherokee police, the Lighthorse Patrol.
At the insistence of Ridge the ancient blood, vengeance code is abolished.

Indians who committed a crime were caught and punished just as the white outlaws.
They were tried in the Indian Tribal court and sentenced by their own people.
When an Indian or a freedman was found guilty of a minor misdeed, whipping was the punishment and the strongest of the Light Horsemen (Indian police) was chosen to do the job.
The prisoner’s feet were tied together, a log placed between his legs to keep them on the ground, hands were tied and the rope thrown over a limb of a tree.
Then the Light Horseman proceeded to punish the offender with a good stout hickory stick.

These whippings always took place on the council house lawn and the public was allowed to attend.
There was always a crowd of curious, morbid people to see how the victim reacted.
The Indians could always take their punishment, never uttering a sound or showing any expression on their stoic faces.
Often the freedman, however, created an entirely different scene.

The penalty for murder was death and, as they had no jails in those early days, the Indian judge would set a date for the execution and the prisoner was then allowed to go home.
On the day set he would come in to receive his punishment.
A paper or cloth heart was pinned on his breast, he stood up in front of a tree, a Light Horseman fired one shot and once more a law-breaker had paid the supreme penalty.

Just as the Triumvirate reaches its acme, Hicks quits (or is forced to quit) his job assisting Miegs and Vann is killed.
Now Ridge, who desperately seeks to lead his nation, sees his power in council dwindling.
It is now that the man who has the vision addressed the council and Ridge rises to call him a liar.
This is a dramatic moment in Cherokee History.
Once again reinstated for this bold move, the council appoints Ridge to journey to Tecumseh's council with the Creeks and others.
After the meeting, Ridge takes Tecumseh aside and explains that if Tecumseh comes to the Cherokee council, Ridge will personally kill him.

With the onset of the Creek War(1813-1814), Ridge raises an army of Cherokee volunteers.
Elected a leader of the unit, Andrew Jackson appoints him Major, a title Ridge uses for the rest of his life.
It is said that the canoe of Ridge is the first to cross the Tallapoosa River as the Cherokee attack from the rear during the Battle of Horseshoe Bend(1814).
He leads the Cherokee during the Seminole War(1818) as well.

After the end of the Seminole War Ridge returns home to an elected position as Speaker of the council in the Lower House.
His wealth expands to rival, but not surpass, that of his late friend James Vann.
The Ridge house is completely remodeled and records indicate the vast holdings as including:

•1141 peach trees•418 apple trees•280 acres under cultivation•a ferry•a store•30 black slaves•other slaves including Creek captives

Ridge was known as being kind to his slaves.
For years Susanna Wickett, his white wife would tell him, "Remember, they are people, too."

During the 1820's the Cherokee Nation was institutionalized, with John Ross elected tribal leader, a position that Ridge had sought.
Now aging, Ridge sees his son John and Buck Oolwatie(Elias Boudinout) as the future of the tribe.
Buck, as editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, eventually espouses removal to Oklahoma as a viable solution to the problem of white encroachment.
Ridge is convinced over a period of several years, but John Ross and an overwhelming majority of the Cherokee are against removal.

In December 1835, Ridge, his son John, Buck Oolwatie (Elias Boudinot), and Stand Watie sign the Treaty of New Echota, which results three years later in The Trail of Tears.
Ross promptly gathers 16,000 signatures of Cherokees who oppose removal.
Indian-hater Andrew Jackson forces the treaty through Congress by a single vote.

Ridge did not wait to move to Oklahoma.
Between 1836 and 1838 he and hundreds of other Cherokee travel to their new home.
Along the way, he stops to meet his old friend Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage.

Three years later, in clear violation of constitutional law as interpreted by the Supreme Court, the Cherokee are forced to leave for Oklahoma because of Ridge's conviction in his beliefs.

After Major Ridge signs The Treaty of New Echota he says, "I have just signed my death warrant," and indeed, he had.
Ridge, John and Buck lay dead.
In an orchestrated plot, Ridge is shot while travelling to Arkansas.
A few minutes later a group of Cherokee drags his son John from his home and stab 43 times in front of his wife and children.

The following was taken out of a book I checked out of The Rogers Library titled, “JOHN ROLLIN RIDGE His Life & Works” by James W. Parins.

“Three execution squads set out June 22, 1839, to carry out their missions.
One group of twenty-five men approached John Ridge’s house at dawn and surrounded it.
Three men forced their way into the house and found Ridge in bed.
They attempted to shoot him there, but a pistol misfired.
The three then dragged the struggling Ridge through the house and out into the yard.
The whole family by this time was aroused, including Rollin, who gives this account of what happened next:

Two men held him by the arms and others by the body, while another stabbed him with a dirk twenty-nine times.
My mother rushed out to the door, but they pushed her back with their guns into the house, and prevented her egress until their act was finished.

After severing his jugular vein, they threw Ridge into the air and let his bleeding body crash to the earth.
Then the men marched over their victim, stamping on him as they passed in single file.
Still Ridge was not dead.
Rollin continues his recollection of the incident, after the assassins had left:
My mother ran out to him.
He raised himself on his elbow and tried to speak, but the blood flowed into his mouth and prevented him.
In a few moments more he died, without speaking that last word he wished to say.
Then succeeded a scene of agony the sight of which might make one regret that the human race had ever been created.
It has darkened my mind with an eternal shadow.

Rollin goes on to describe his father’s body, wrapped in a winding sheet through which blood was oozing and dripping onto the floor:
By his side stay my mother, with hands clasped, and in speechless agony – she had given him her heart in the days of her youth and beauty, left the home of her parents, and followed the husband of her choice to a wild and distant land.
And bending over him was his own afflicted mother, with her long, white hair flung loose over her shoulders and bosom, crying to the Great Spirit to sustain her in that dreadful hour.
And in addition to all these, the wife, the mother, and the little children, who scarcely knew their loss, were the dark faces of those who had been the murdered man’s friends, and probably, some who had been privy to the assassination, who had come to smile over the scene.
John Rollin Ridge was to carry that image in his mind for the rest of his life.

But the bloodshed did not end at Honey Creek.
A second group of about thirty men approached Park Hill, the site of Samuel Worcester’s mission, early in the morning.
They hid in the woods near where Elias Boudinot was building a house.
When Boudinot emerged from Worcester’s house to talk to the men working on the new building, four of the band came out of the woods and asked for medicine for their sick relatives.
As Boudinot was about to comply, one of the Cherokees stabbed him in the back.
The victim fell to the ground, where another assassin split his skull with a tomahawk.
Before the carpenters could come to Boudinot’s rescue he was dead, and the killers had escaped.

Meanwhile a third party ambushed Major Ridge as he traveled down to Van Buren to see one of his slaves who was ill.
The men lay in wait along the Line Road, a military track that ran along the Arkansas – Cherokee Nation boundary.
About ten in the morning, Major Ridge and a young slave forded a creek along whose banks the several gunmen were hidden.
They all fired at once, and Ridge was killed instantly.
The slave rode away and carried the news to Dutch Mills, a nearby community.
Stand Watie, Boudinot’s brother, had also been a target, but he escaped when warned by a friendly Choctaw.
Thus in one day the leaders of the Treaty Party were eliminated by members of the Ross Faction.
The violent acts did little to settle the differences between the parties but instead increased the friction, since the avengers now became targets of revenge.
And nowhere was the desire for revenge greater than in the heart of twelve-year-old John Rollin Ridge.

As brilliant a statesman and politician that Ridge had been, he is forever doomed to a role of betrayer of Cherokee Nation.
No other Cherokee has a greater affect on the tribe.

Immediately after the assassinations in the summer of 1839, the leaders of the two factions, Stand Watie, brother of Elias Boudinot and nephew of John Ridge, and John Ross, the man who allegedly ordered the murderd, surrounded themselves with armed men for protection.
Watie, as the only remaining prominent member of the Treaty party, feared further assassination attempts.
Ross was warned by followers that Watie might attempt a reprisal.
Eventually, five hundred men gathered to protect John Ross.

In August 1997, the editors of Welcome to North Georgia named Ridge as the most influential person in the makeup of today's North Georgia.

The Encroachment
White Settlers

The encroaching white settlers progressively reduced the area of Cherokee tribal lands to northwestern Georgia, western North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee, but the reduction at the same time permitted a consolidation and unification of the Cherokee Nation.
New Echota became the new national capital, the Cherokee undertook new enterprises, and once again the nation flourished.
The Presbyterians and Congregationalists united in their missionary efforts, and the missionaries, principally the Congregationalist, Samuel A. Worcester, built schools and churches throughtout the nation and encouraged the Cherokees to perserve and achieve in their new life.
Through Worcester’s influence, mission-school graduates were sent on to academies and colleges in New England, and the result was well-informed and dedicated tribal leaders such as John Ross, Elias Boudinot, Boudinot’s brother Stand Watie, John Ridge, and Charles Hicks.
It was a most rewarding time, and the mixed bloods were convinced they had at last achieved acceptance, that they at last had equality, and that they had finally become what the whites wanted them to be.
Perhaps they even thought of themselves as being white – after all, a goodly number did have more white than Cherokee blood in them.


One of the challenges facing the new United States is internal border conflict with neighbors.
Although the conflict is ongoing before 1789 Native Americans deal with colonial governments or royal representatives.
Under the Treaty Clause, The President is responsible for negotiation with the Cherokee.
George Washington faces continuing friction between white settlers and Native Americans, many of whom have already relocated once.
Settlers, when writing, use words like simple-minded, ignorant and lazy to describe the Cherokee.
Rather than see a different culture, they view these Americans as little more than unwanted animals, like wolves, which they would chase from the land.
Cultural friction underlies many of the problems of this frontier.
The Cherokee are clan oriented while whites tend to be individualistic.
Sacrifice for the clan is a supreme Cherokee belief.
When a member of the tribe betrays this tenet, vengeance, in the form of murder, is frequently the result.
Settlers who farm see the Cherokee reluctance to begin farming as lazy, and when they do begin to farm the same settlers express fear about "...ever getting rid of them."

The President decides that assimilation of Native Americans is the best policy.
Washington feels this can be accomplished in 50 years, and specifically targets the Cherokee because they show many traits whites see as promising.
He orders Henry Dearborn to begin introduction of technology in the form of spinning wheels and carding machines.
Government funded spinning wheels arrive in 1792 along with cotton and seed just before the hunting season.
The Cherokee males are surprised by the cloth their wives weave.
Among those most impressed with the work is the warrior Ridge when he returns to his home at Pine Log.

The next year, with their own cotton, the Cherokee women weave cloth in six months that is worth more than the pelts the Cherokee men gather in the same amount of time.
Ridge begins to see how the technology can help.
Two other men live in Pine Log who, along with Ridge, heavily influence the coming renaissance.
Charles Hicks, crippled by a painful hip, impresses Ridge because Hicks spends money on books.
James Vann, who impresses Ridge because he stands up to a higher chief named Doublehead, also lives there.
Together they form the "Cherokee Triumvirate," young chiefs who would change the Cherokee Nation.

With the defeat of the Chickamauga in 1794, early signs of nationalism begin to form among the Cherokee, spurred in part by the Indian agent Dinsmoor.
Over the next 12 years the Cherokee establish a rudimentary set of laws by which to govern and begin a loose-knit national police force called the "Lighthorse Patrol."

To the east encroachment troubles the Cherokee.
The Wafford Tract in northeast Georgia is sold to whites in 1804, with James Vann acting as agent.
A year later the Treaty of Tellico is signed by many of the older chiefs.
This includes a provision for a road from Nashville to Savannah following an old Indian trading path.
Improvements began on the Federal Highway two years earlier.
By 1805 the Georgia Turnpike is complete, crossing the Georgia border south of present day Brainerd, Tennessee, moving south to Ringold, then almost due southeast.
It crosses the Chattahoochee in an area that still today is known as Vann's Ferry.
Cherokee, mostly of mixed-blood, along with countymen, whites who choose to live with the Native Americans, run most of the money-making business on the road.

To ensure the road is approved, the federal government bribes some of the chiefs with "inducements," money and other valuable commodities.
One of the chiefs who profits handsomely is Doublehead.
Vann, Hicks and Ridge and others dislike this policy because the Cherokee as a group are cheated.
Vann stands up to the chiefs and Ridge and Hicks join him, leading a group of men who become commonly known as the Young Chiefs.

In Europe The Reformation changed the interrelation of cultures.
Alliances to noblemen evolved into rudimentary national alliances prior to 1500.
After Martin Luther, society tended to break along religious lines, Catholic vs. the enemy of the day.
For example, in France the Catholics battled the Huguenots.
In Germany, the Catholics battled the Lutherans.
This period is referred to as the Thirty Years War.
Between 1806 and 1810 Cherokee society and allegiances undergo a remarkably similar change in a period referred to as The Revolt of the Young Chiefs.

The man who represents the United States to the Cherokee Nation, and will until 1823 was named Return J. Miegs, a Revolutionary War veteran, acts as advisor, assistant and emissary.
Selected after Washington's term the obedient Miegs follows various President's orders, convinced that Washington's original idea of integration into the United States was "unworkable".
By the start of the Revolt of the Young Chiefs the United States policy has evolved from one of acculturation to one supporting removal.
Miegs has no problem adapting to the new policies, and much to the consternation of the Young Chiefs, actively pursues negotiations with chiefs he knows he can bribe.
The Young Chiefs openly revolt against Miegs and the older chiefs.
Initially limited, support for this group swells.

In a series of complex internal changes the Upper Towns and Lower Towns merge, with some members of the Lower Towns moving west to Arkansas, at the government's behest.
These changes include the murder of Doublehead by the Cherokee Triumvirate, and the murder of James Vann.
A brief religious revival, combined with the immense New Madrid earthquake, set the stage for a dramatic cultural shift.

Chief Vann House Historic Site
County: Murray
City: Chatsworth

Vann House State Park - West of the center of Chatworth, Georgia, a small town in the northwest part of the state, Georgia 225 leaves the main highway and heads south.
Shortly after dipping to a stream the road rises and a dramatic brick house appears as if out of nowhere.
The house has a commanding view of all land around it and a stunning view of the Cohuttas, less than 10 miles to the east.
This brick home is one of the oldest remaining structures in northern third of the state.

At the start of the 19th century, one of the richest men in the Western Hemisphere lived on this land.
James Vann, a member of the Cherokee Triumvirate, worked and fought hard for the money he used to build this house along the Old Federal Highway in at Spring Place.

Son of a Scottish trader and a Cherokee woman, Vann grew up a farmer rather than a warrior.
Known to be hard-drinking, he, along with Major Ridge and Charles Hicks, would lead the Cherokee through one of their greatest internal conflicts, the Revolt of the Young Chiefs.

By 1795 this Cherokee Chief had been recognized by the council for his uncanny ability to deal with the whites.
In the bargaining that took place between 1803 and 1805 Chief Vann secured beneficial deals for himself and the Cherokee Nation.
Vann House was built during this period.
At the time, he owned about 200 slaves and hundreds of acres of farmland.

Vann and a number of his wives lived in the house or nearby.
Elizabeth Hicks, which was Charles Hicks’ sister was one of Vann’s wives.
When the Cherokee Council was about to decide not to allow the Morovians into the area, Vann informed them that the missionaries could stay on his farm with or without the permission of council.
Although Vann was infamous for his drinking bouts and disdain for religion, he offered the missionaries assistance in building a school and sent one of his slaves to help with the heavy labor.
The missionaries held their first service for slaves on the Vann Plantation.

James Vann was good and generous when sober, but his frequent and immoderate consumption of alcohol aroused great cruelty.
Vann’s slaves reacted to the abuse he gave them.
On one occasion a group of slaves attacked their master and robed him.
Vann responded by burning one of the participants alive; upon hearing that another slave was plotting against his life, Vann shot him on the spot.

Vann was chosen to murder Doublehead, a powerful chief who betrayed the Cherokee, but he was too drunk to accomplish this task.

Murdered, probably in vengeance for a different incident, Vann had an effect on the Nation even after his death.
The Cherokee were a matrilineal society so Vann's wives should have shared his inheritance.
Instead he left most of the fortune to his son Joseph.
The council agreed and the nation changed quickly.

Joseph Vann continued increasing the now vast Vann fortune.
The house was taken from the Vanns before the Trail of Tears and Joseph moved to Tennessee, where he lived in a house with a dirt floor.
When John Payne visited the area to write about the great injustice that was about to happen to the Cherokee, Colonel William Bishop of the Georgia Guard illegally imprisoned him here.

The home was known as "The Showplace of the Cherokee Nation.
" Inside it has been faithfully restored with period furniture and Cherokee hand carvings, much as in the way Vann himself might have decorated it.
One of the highlights of the tour was the burned area on the stairs.
When whites tried to take the house from Joseph he locked himself, his family, and a couple of servants inside vowing never to give it up.
His nemisis, William Bishop, finally threw a burning log in the front of the house.

Directions: The Vann House is located at the intersection of U.S. 76 and Ga.
225 in Chatsworth.
Phone: (706)695-2598 Address: 82 Ga.
Hwy 225N, Chatsworth, 30705

James Vann
a North Georgia Notable

Born:Spring Place, 1768
Died:February 21, 1809
Cherokee Chief, built Vann House

Brutal, violent, intemperate.
These are the most common words used in regard to James Vann, and for good reason.
But James Vann made significant changes to the Cherokee world during his life and a lasting change in his death.

The son of a Scottish trader and his Cherokee wife, Vann's father Clement was one of the first white traders in North Georgia.
Vann's early recognition came because he was one of the few Cherokee who could read English.
As a teenager he was called to read letters to the tribe from Tennessee Governor John Sevier and others.

When poor relations with Sevier's settlers deteriorated in the early 1790's, Vann joined the Lower Towns Cherokee in a planned raid on Knoxville.
During a raid on Cavett's Station, the Cavett family surrendered to Bob Benge, who promised the family safe transport.
A chief named Doublehead was not consulted for the negotiations, and angry with Benge, Doublehead and his friends attacked.
Benge, John Watts (who was leading the raid) and Vann tried to protect the family to no avail.
Doublehead killed a young white boy Vann had hoisted to his saddle to protect, then turned and tried to attack Vann.
Vann avoided the blow by turning his horse.
To the Cherokee the title "Mankiller" is a term of great respect.
From that day forward, whenever angered, Vann called Doublehead "Baby-killer."
Vann would never forgive nor forget the treachery.

Vann was instrumental in selecting a warrior, Ridge, to represent the village of Pine Log in council.
Ridge was present three years earlier when James Vann stood up to Doublehead at Cavett's Station.
A third man, Charles Hicks, lived in the town and together the three quickly became good friends.
Over the next fifteen years this Cherokee Triumvirate would steer a young Nation on a path towards acculturation.
Vann was becoming a wealthy farmer, slaveholder, and respected negotiator for the Cherokee Nation.

In 1800, while on an East Coast trip that included a visit to Washington, D.C., Vann met a group of Morovian missionaries from North Carolina who desired to spread the Gospel and teach Cherokee children.
Vann convinced them to move to Georgia to start their mission and school and presented his idea to the tribal council, in part so his two-year old son Joseph might attend.
That autumn Doublehead tried to delay the council from making a decision about allowing the school.
Vann and Hicks drew Doublehead aside and informed him that whether or not he wanted it, the Morovians would have a school.
Many of the mixed-blood Cherokee supported Vann.
Doublehead let the council vote and the vote was in favor of the Morovians.
He took the opportunity to tell Vann to stop criticizing him.

The tribal council had begun to factionalize.
Ridge, Hicks and Vann would stand opposed to Doublehead on almost every issue, and Doublehead became jealous as the wealth of the Triumvirate grew.
With his skillful handling of the Federal Highway negotiations in 1803, Vann ended up with a tavern, store, ferry and an additional estate on the Chattahoochee, and the highway would run directly past both his new home and the Morovian school at Spring Place.
Hicks and Ridge also owned multiple businesses and were gaining in wealth, yet Doublehead was clearly ahead of all three.

The Triumvirate realized that white traders and government agents were willing to do business with Doublehead because he was willing to accept bribes.
Benefiting from Hicks' association with Indian Agent Return J. Meigs, for whom Hicks translated papers, Vann learned that on at least three occasions Doublehead had illegally sold Cherokee land to whites, a crime punishable by death.
At first, few people would listen to Vann as he exposed Doublehead's activities, but slowly he convinced a majority of the Nation that Doublehead was indeed committing crimes.

Vann, Ridge and Alexander Sauders were selected to kill Doublehead for his betrayal, possibly with the approval of the tribal council.
At the appointed time Vann was too drunk to commit the murder.
It was the first in a series of botched attempts that eventually ended in Doublehead's death at the hand of Vann's friend Ridge.
This was one of a complex series of events led by Vann that would become known as "The Revolt of the Young Chiefs.

Vann married white or mixed-blood women on three occasions (Jennie Foster, Elizabeth Thornton, Margaret Scott).
He was known to beat people, including his wives, for little or no reason, and the Cherokee Nation empowered him as head of part of the Lighthorse Patrol, a loose-knit Cherokee police force.
By this time Vann's drinking problem was out of control.
He became paranoid about theft.
When Alexander Saunders tried to talk to Vann about his problems, Vann told him to leave.

James Vann lived by the sword, James Vann died by the sword.
Celebrating at a tavern a single shot rang out from a partially opened door and James Vann fell dead, holding a bottle in one hand, a drink in the other.
His negro slave quickly picked up his son Joseph and Vann's billfold and spirited the boy back to Spring Place.
Vann's body was buried near the tavern.
Speculation as to who committed the crime is rampant even nearly 200 years after the act.
Was it Alexander Saunders, whom Vann had exiled? Or maybe a relative of Doublehead's, getting revenge for his kin's murder? Most likely it was the relative of a man Vann had recently killed.

In death Vann would have a major effect on the matrilineal Cherokee society.
The society was structured around Cherokee women, not men.
When a man married he became a member of his wife's clan.
Property passed through a wife when a warrior died.
Vann, in line with white law of the time, left his inheritance to his son Joseph.
The tribal council gave some of the inheritance to his wives and other children, but Joseph got the bulk.

When he died at the age of 41 Vann was one of the richest men not only in the Cherokee Nation but in the United States.
His beautiful home along the Federal Highway still bears his name, Vann House, and is a popular stop along North Georgia's Chieftains Trail.

The body of James Vann was lost to time.
In 1962 a group of people exhumed a skeleton from a grave in Forsyth County, Georgia, near the place he may have been shot.
While substantial circumstantial evidence points to this as being the body of Vann, according to the state of Georgia, no positive identification was made.


It is said that Charles Renatus Hicks, Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot were four of the men that planned the killing of Doublehead.
The following is an account of what transpired:

On October 25th, 1805, U.S. Cherokee Agent Return Jonathan Meigs, James Robertson, and Daniel Smith (as commissioners for the U.S.) negotiated two treaties with the Cherokees.
By these treaties, the U.S. secured a large territory north of the Tennessee River, running from the Hiwassee River to Muscle Shoals.
Southwest Point (now Kingston, Tennessee) and Long Island of the Holston (the “Beloved Old Treaty Ground”) were included in these cessions.
For this vast amount of land, the Cherokees were given $17,000.00 (Woodward said $15,600.00) in cash and $3,000.00 annuity “forever.”
These cessions were known as the Treaty of Tellico, and were negotiated by Doublehead, who did not have the sanction of the Cherokee National Council.
Doublehead and his kinsmen, Tahlonteskee, were bribed to consent to this action by a secret agreement to give two mile square plats of land to Doublehead and a single square mile plat to Tahlonteeskee.
The secret agreement became known by the Cherokees and caused bitter resentment over the participants’ betrayal.

[Tahlonteeskee was the brother of Chief John Jolly and the brother-in-law of Chief Doublehead.
His name is spelled many ways in historical and contemporary writing, such as:
Tah-lon-stee by Starr;
Tahlonteskee by Nuttall;
To-Lin-Tis-Kee by the missionaries;
Tah-Lohn-Tus-Ky by Sam Houston,
and Tallantusky by some sources.]

In 1806 the Upper Town Cherokees held that the Treaty of Tellico, made by some of the Chickamaugans, was in violation of the unwritten law that no lands could be ceded without approval of the National Council.
The penalty for breaking this law was death.
(Note, however, that the National Council still had no power to enforce its decrees.)

Long Island of the Holston went to the U.S. on January 7th, 1806.

In the summer of 1807, more than 1000 Cherokees gathered at Hiwassee River Garrison for the distribution of a Government annuity.
They had a ballplay.
Agent Return Jonathan Meigs, officers from Hiwassee Fort, and numerous traders were present.
Among the traders was Sam Dale (later, an Alabama Colonel in the war of 1812, and made Brigadier General December 15th, 1821), who was a friend of Chief Doublehead, and who had been a fellow guide with “Ellick Saunders (Alexander Saunders) a halfblood” in 1803 in the expedition to mark a highway through the Cherokee Nation.
Dale’s account of the day’s events is as follows:

“When the ball play ceased I was standing by the Chief (Doublehead) when the Bone-polisher, a captain, approached, and denounced him as a traitor for selling a piece of the country, a large and valuable tract near the shoals of the Tennessee River, to a company of speculators.
The great Chief remained tranquil and silent, which only aggravated the Bone-polisher, who continued his abuse with menacing gestures.
Doublehead quietly remarked, ‘Go away.
You have said enough.
Leave me, or I shall kill you.’
Bone-polisher rushed at him with his tomahawk, which the Chief received on his left arm, and drawing a pistol, shot him through the heart.
Foreseeing trouble, I left immediately for Hiwassee Ferry.

“Some time after night Doublehead came in (to McIntosh’s Tavern), evidently under the influence of liquor.
One John Rogers (the white trader) an old man, who had long resided in the Nation, was present, and began to revile the Chief in the manner of Bone-polisher.
Doublehead proudly replied, ‘You live by sufferance among us.
I have never seen you in Council nor on the war path.
You have no place among the Chiefs.
Be silent, and interfere no more with me.’
The old man still persisted, and Doublehead attempted to shoot him, but his pistol misfired; in fact it was not charged.
Ellick Saunders (Alexander Saunders – spelled Sanders by the family) and Ridge, a Chief were present.
Ridge extinguished the light, and one of them fired at Doublehead.
When the light was rekindled, Ridge, Saunders, and Rogers had disappeared, and the Chief lay motionless on his face.
The ball had shattered his lower jaw, and lodged in the nape of his neck.
His friends set out with him for the garrison, but, apprehensive of being overtaken, they turned aside, and concealed him in the loft of one Mr. Black, a schoolmaster (loft of Rev.Gideon Blackurn’s school house).
In the meantime, two warriors, of the clan of Bone-polisher, who had been designated to avenge his death, traced Doublehead, by his blood, to the house where he had been concealed.
At the same moment Ridge and Saunders came galloping up, shouting the war whoop.
Colonel James Blair, of Georgia, and I followed them.
The wounded Chief was lying on the floor, his jaw and arm terribly lacerated.
Ridge and Saunders each leveled their pistols, and each miss fired.
Doublehead sprang up on Ridge and would have overpowered him, but Saunders discharged his pistol and shot him through the hips.
Saunders then rushed on him with his tomahawk; but the dying Chief wrenched it from him and leaped upon Ridge, when Saunders seized another tomahawk and drove it into his brains.
When he fell, another Indian crushed his head with a spade.

Elijah Hicks, Elias Boudinot, John Rollin Ridge, and Elias Cornelius Boudinot

Mark N. Trahant is Executive News Editor of The Salt Lake Tribune.
Trahant completed "Pictures of Our Nobler Selves" as a Visiting Professional Scholar at The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.

The following is an extract from the article dealing specifically with the contributions of four Cherokee journalists; Elijah Hicks, Elias Boudinot, John Rollin Ridge, and Elias Cornelius Boudinot.
The complete text is located on The First Amendment Center's website at

Uncovering forgotten journalism history is the first purpose of this report.
The second is to validate the notion that it is essential for American Indians and Alaskan Natives to work in the media, both tribal and mainstream.

Mark N.

Vehicles of Intelligence

... Native Americans have made significant contributions to journalism for nearly two centuries.
This history starts in the 1820s in the Cherokee Nation's capital of "New Town" or New Echota, Georgia.
The leaders of the Cherokee Nation believed their destiny was linked to making "their nation an intelligent and virtuous people.
"So the nation went about the task they called civilization: cultivating land, ideas and laws.

But it was the invention of the Cherokee alphabet that was the powerful agent of change.
In a couple of months-a tick of a second on a nation's clock-thousands of Cherokee people learned to read and write in their own language.

"Most historians credit Sequoyah, the most famous Cherokee, with the invention of the syllabary.
However, some oral historians contend that the written Cherokee language is much, much older.
But even if there was an ancient written Cherokee language, it was lost to the Cherokees until Sequoyah developed the syllabary," wrote Cherokee Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller in 1993.
"The development of the syllabary was one of the events which was destined to have a profound influence on our tribe's future history.
This extraordinary achievement marks the only known instance of an individual creating a totally new system of writing."

If there was to be civilization, a Republic, then it would come on Cherokee terms.
Written Cherokee had "swept away that barrier which [had] long existed and opened a spacious channel for the instruction of adult Cherokees."

At first, written Cherokee was primarily for Christian instruction.
But tribal leaders also saw the vision of a national newspaper.
In 1827, Principal Chief John Ross and the national council selected a young man who had taken the name Elias Boudinot as the first editor of The Cherokee Phoenix.

"To obtain a correct and complete knowledge of these people, there must exist a vehicle of Indian intelligence, altogether different from those which have heretofore been employed," Boudinot said in a speech raising money for the project.

"The columns of The Cherokee Phoenix will be filled, partly with English, and partly with Cherokee print; and all matter which is of common interest will be given in both languages in parallel columns.

"As the great object of The Phoenix will be the benefit of the Cherokees, the following subjects will occupy its columns.

"1. The laws and public documents of the Nation.

"2. Account of the manners and customs of the Cherokees, and their progress in Education, Religion and the arts of civilized life; with such notices of other Indian tribes as our limited means of information will allow.

"3. The principal interesting news of the day.

"4. Miscellaneous articles, calculated to promote Literature, Civilization, and Religion among the Cherokees."

The Phoenix was supposed to start publishing with the new year of 1828, but the paper supply did not arrive in time.
On February 21, 1828, the first edition of The Phoenix appeared.

"As The Phoenix is a national newspaper, we shall feel ourselves bound to devote it to national purposes.
'The laws and public documents of the Nation,' and matters relating to the welfare and condition of the Cherokees as a people, will be faithfully published in Cherokee and English," Boudinot wrote in the first issue.
"As the liberty of the press is so essential to the improvement of the mind, we shall consider our paper, a free paper, with, however, proper and usual restrictions.... But the columns of this newspaper shall always be open to free and temperate discussions on matters of politics, religion, and so forth."

The usual and proper restrictions, however, were left to different interpretations by the state of Georgia and the Cherokee government.

Georgians had been trying to oust their Cherokee neighbors for decades.
Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and President James Monroe met with a Cherokee delegation in 1824 to extinguish aboriginal title in Georgia, and this meeting was seen by Georgians as a federal promise for removal.

But the Cherokee delegation, led by Boudinot's uncle, Major Ridge, was equally firm in its right to stay.
Even if the United States paid all of the money in its treasury or exchanged twice as much land, the Cherokee Nation said, such compensation would fall short of equity.
Moreover, the Cherokee Nation said it could not recognize "the sovereignty of a state within the limits of [its] territory."

The state enacted a number of laws in the 1820s and 1830s designed to destroy Cherokee sovereignty-and the will of tribal members to resist "removal" from their homeland.
The greed of the Cherokee's Georgia neighbors intensified after gold was found in 1828, and tribal members were forbidden by law from mining, even on their own land.
A removal champion, Wilson Lumpkin, was elected governor on the Union Party Ticket in 1831.
Union Party newspapers predicted the new governor would settle this problem once and for all, aided by the old Indian fighter and now president, Andrew Jackson.
The state annexed Cherokee lands, banned the tribal legislature from meeting and seized property from tribal members.

"Yes, this is the bitter cup prepared for us by a republican and religious government," Boudinot wrote.
"We shall drink it to the dregs."

What really infuriated Georgia was that the Cherokee Nation was indeed civilized.
Boudinot wrote in the June 17, 1829, edition that perhaps Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe "were only tantalizing us when they encouraged us in the pursuit of agriculture and government.... Why were we not told long ago that we could not be permitted to establish a government within the limits of any state?

"The Cherokees have always had a government of their own.
Nothing, however, was said when we were governed by savage laws."

Liberty was as dear to Boudinot and to the Cherokee as it was to the founders of the United States of America.
And it was inconceivable that these freedoms would be denied to any Americans.
The Midgeville Statesman and Patriot said it was time for the Cherokees to submit to inevitable destiny.

"What destiny?" Boudinot replied.
"To be slandered and then butchered?"

A new Georgia law required all non-Cherokees to take an oath of allegiance to the state or leave Cherokee Territory.
Many Georgians believed that the Cherokee could do nothing on their own-and if the outside agitators were removed, the Cherokee would leave too.
Some even believed that Boudinot was only a front for a white man who was the true editor of The Phoenix.
Boudinot dismissed this idea a number of times: "It has already been stated to the public that The Phoenix was under Cherokee influence.
It has never been, nor was it ever intended to be, under the influence of any Missionary or White man."

Nonetheless, Georgian authorities started a campaign to arrest non-Cherokees who refused to take the oath.

"This week we present to our readers but half a sheet," Boudinot wrote in The Phoenix on Feb. 19, 1831.
"One of our printers has left us; and we expect another (who is a white man) to quit us very soon, either to be dragged to the Georgia penitentiary for a term not less than four years."

Nor could the editor ask for more help-any other white printer would be arrested too.

"And our friends will please remember," the editor wrote, "we cannot invite another white printer to our assistance without subjecting him to the same punishment; and to have in our employ one who has taken the oath to support the laws of Georgia, which now suppress the Cherokees, is utterly out of the question.
Thus is liberty of the press guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia."

On March 26, 1831, The Phoenix reported the arrest of several non-Indian missionaries by the Georgia Guard, the state militia.
One was Samuel Worcester, who in addition to helping Boudinot at the paper was also the Cherokee Nation's postmaster.
However, the state judge released Worcester and the missionaries, saying they were in the Cherokee Nation as "agents of the government."

Even though the state court sided-at least in part-with the Cherokee cause, Boudinot was amazed.
"We were very much surprised to hear that the missionaries were discharged on the ground of their being agents of the government.
Who ever thought of such a thing before?
It shows that a Judge may twist into law what shape he pleases."

The Georgia Guard's Col. C.H. Nelson also harassed Boudinot.
The editor was brought before the Guard for a possible libel action against The Phoenix.
Once Boudinot was in custody, Nelson told him that he could not be prosecuted under Georgia law, but if the reportage of the Guard's activities did not cease, Nelson would tie him to a tree and give him a sound whipping.

Boudinot responded with a series of editorials on the Guard and freedom.
Boudinot wrote: "In this free country, where the liberty of the press is solemnly guaranteed, is this the way to obtain satisfaction for an alleged injury committed in a newspaper?
I claim nothing but what I have a right to claim as a man-I complain of nothing of which a privileged white editor would not complain."(10)

Meanwhile, Boudinot's friend Samuel Worcester continued to wait in a Georgia prison.
On March 3, 1832, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee cause in the landmark decision, Worcester v. Georgia.
Chief Justice John Marshall wrote:
"The Cherokee Nation, then, is a distinct community, occupying its own territory, with boundaries accurately described in which the laws of Georgia can have no force and which the citizens of Georgia have no right to enter, but with the assent of the Cherokees themselves.... the acts of Georgia are repugnant to the constitution, laws and treaties of the United States." The Court reversed the Georgia courts and said state law did not apply in Cherokee territory.

"It is a glorious news," Boudinot wrote his brother Stand Watie, who was acting editor of The Phoenix while Boudinot traveled across the country to raise money for the newspaper.
"The laws of the State are declared by the highest judicial tribunal in the Country null and void.
It is a great triumph on the part of the Cherokees so far as the question of their rights were concerned."

Boudinot predicted "a new era on the Indian question.
" Perhaps in theory.
But the court ruling only intensified the emotions of the Georgians.
Both the state and the federal government increased pressure on the Cherokees to move West, and six months later, Boudinot was convinced that removal was inevitable.
He was bitterly disappointed by the government's failure to enforce its own Supreme Court decision, and he came to believe that the Cherokee had no options left.

This epiphany placed Boudinot in direct conflict with the leadership of the Cherokee government.
It was clear that the very discussion of removal was illegal (and considered treasonous).

The Cherokee Constitution did not guarantee a free press.
And tribal politicians argued that the editor, and the newspaper, were instruments of public policy.
Chief Ross even called The Phoenix a "public press" and said it "should be cherished as an important vehicle in the diffusion of general information, and as a no less powerful auxiliary in asserting and supporting our political rights ....

"The press being the public property of the nation, it would ill become its character if such infringements upon the feelings of the people should be tolerated.
In other respects, the liberty of the press should be as free as the breeze that glides upon the surface."

The contradiction in Ross' statement is telling:
The Phoenix was as free as the breeze-until its writings infringed on the feelings of the people or those of the leadership.

On Aug. 11, 1832, Boudinot resigned as editor.

"Were I to continue as editor, I should feel myself in a most peculiar and delicate situation.
I do not know whether I could, at the same time, satisfy my own views, and the views of the authorities of the nation.
My situation would then be as embarrassing as it would be peculiar and delicate.
I do conscientiously believe it to be the duty of every citizen to reflect upon the dangers with which we are surrounded; to view the darkness which seems to lie before our people-our prospects, and the evils with which we are threatened; to talk over all these matters, and, if possible, come to some definite and satisfactory conclusion."

Boudinot believed in discourse, conversation in the printed columns that debated the merits of a policy, even a policy as controversial as removal.

A few days after Boudinot's resignation, Chief Ross wrote to the National Council that The Phoenix ought to be continued under the leadership of a new editor.

"The views of the public authorities should continue and ever be in accordance with the will of the people; and the views of the editor of the national paper be the same.
The toleration of diversified views to the columns of such a paper would not fail to create fermentation and confusion among our citizens, and in the end prove injurious to the welfare of the nation."

Ross hired Elijah Hicks as the new editor of The Phoenix.
And few questioned the new editor's loyalty: he was Ross' brother-in-law.

Boudinot continued to write letters and joined the political opposition consisting of his relatives-the Ridge, Boudinot and Watie families-as well as other Cherokee families who favored negotiating a new treaty.

"Removal, then, is the only remedy-the only practicable remedy," Boudinot wrote in a letter to Chief Ross.
"What is the prospect in reference to your plan of relief, if you are understood at all to have any plan?
It is dark and gloomy beyond description.
Subject the Cherokees to the laws of the States in their present condition?"

The Cherokee Nation was divided.
Boudinot's allies became known as the Treaty Party, while supporters of the chief became the Ross Party.
But political parties were moot at this point anyway: Georgia made it illegal for the Cherokees to meet or hold elections.
The newspaper was destroyed by the Georgia Guard in October of 1835, and its lead type dumped into a well.

Boudinot and other Treaty Party members signed a removal treaty in December and agreed to leave Georgia for land in what is now Oklahoma.
"I know that I take my life into my hand, as our fathers have also done.... Oh what is a man worth who will not die for his people?
Who is there here that will not perish, if this great Nation may be saved?"

Boudinot knew exactly what was at stake:
It was treason, and tribal law clearly called for the death penalty for agreeing to removal.
However, none of the 20 Cherokees who signed the New Echota Treaty was ever charged with any tribal offense.
In the winter of 1838, some 14,000 Cherokees were marched from Georgia to the new lands on the Trail of Tears.
The Boudinots moved to Park Hill, Cherokee Nation, where the bitter dispute continued.

On June 28, 1839, some Cherokee men rode up to Boudinot's house on horses.
They asked for medicine.
Boudinot went to get it.

"He walked but a few rods when his shriek was heard by his hired men, who ran to his help; but before they could come back the deed was done.
A stab in the back with a knife, and seven gashes in the head with a hatchet, did the bloody work," wrote his friend and neighbor Samuel Worcester.
"In his own view he risked his life to save his people from ruin, and he realized his fears."

The story of The Phoenix illustrates the central quandary of tribal journalism today.
Does a tribal newspaper serve its community by printing discourse?
Or, does it aid the enemies of tribal government by revealing a community's weakness?
This debate is no more resolved now than when Boudinot died.
It is also one of the reasons for the success of independent newspapers, such as Tim Giago's Indian Country Today and Paul DeMain's News From Indian Country.

Golden Words

Elias Boudinot was not the only assassination victim on that day in June.
His uncle, Major Ridge, died in an ambush near the Arkansas border.
And, at dawn, raiders pulled his cousin John Ridge from his bed and stabbed him nearly 30 times.

Twelve-year-old John Rollin Ridge witnessed his father's murder.
Fearing for her family, Sarah Ridge moved her children from the Cherokee Nation to Fayetteville, Arkansas.
But the border town was not free of the tribe's political split, and the Ridge-Watie-Boudinot family - now called the Treaty Party - continued to confront and battle Ross supporters.
Often these debates became violent (a problem common to 19th-century politics).

Sometimes the politics became personal.
David Kells, a Ross supporter, mutilated and gelded a prize stallion owned by John Rollin Ridge.
When confronted, Kells said, "I am willing to stand by my deed with my life.
"The two squared off, and Ridge warned the man to stay away from him.
Kells continued walking toward Ridge, who shot him dead.

"Fearful of reprisals from Kells' vengeful relatives, Ridge fled to Springfield, Mo., notwithstanding the strong element of self-defense," a newspaper said years later.
"The Widow Ridge, however, fearful her son would meet assassination, as had her husband and father-in-law, forbade Ridge to return."

Ridge did not stand trial; he took off for California and the Gold Rush.
As he headed west, Ridge supported himself by writing poems and stories for newspapers.
In 1848, he wrote a piece for the Texas Northern Standard advocating Cherokee admission as a state.
Ridge wrote about the Gold Rush and Indian affairs for newspapers in Texas, Louisiana and California.

"I suppose you know pretty well from different sources what my history has been in California.
It has been a series of bad luck," Ridge wrote his cousin Stand Watie in 1853.
"I have tried the mines, I have tried trading, I have tried everything but with no avail, always making a living but nothing more.
If I could have contented myself to remain permanently in the country, I could have succeeded in making a fortune, but I have been struggling all the time to make one in a hurry so that I might return to Arkansas (and I say to you) to the Cherokee Nation also."

Ridge also continued to write.
He was a frequent contributor to the literary magazine, The Golden Era, where he shared bylines with the likes of Bret Harte, Mark Twain and Joaquin Miller.
His pen-name was Yellow Bird, a translation of his Cherokee name, Chees-quat-a-law-ny.
The author Yellow Bird also completed a novel, The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, a story about a Mexican bandit.
This may have been the first novel by an American Indian author, and, ironically, it created an enduring stereotype and myth about people from another culture.

"I expected to have made a great deal of money off of my book," Ridge wrote Watie in October of 1854.
"And my publishers, after selling 7,000 copies and putting the money in their pockets, fled, busted up, tee totally smashed, and left me, with a hundred others, to whistle for our money!"

In the same letter, Ridge outlined for Watie a "most powerful friend," a proposal for an Indian newspaper to be located somewhere near the Cherokee Nation.
"It would be a medium not only of defending Indian rights and making oppressors tremble, but of preserving the memories of the distinguished men of the race, illustrating their characters and keeping green and fresh many of the most important events of Indian history which should not be allowed to perish.

"Now Stand, if you will furnish the money to buy a press, I will engage to edit it ... I want to preserve the dignity of the family name..... Don't you see how much precious time I am wasting in California? I should be using my pen in behalf of my own people."

Ridge and Charles Watie were hired in 1856 as editors of The California American.
Meanwhile, Charles Watie continued to press his brother Stand for money to start a Cherokee newspaper - and hinted that Ridge might not be immediately available.
Perhaps Ridge changed his mind because he was keen on his new career.
The American was a political journal, and Ridge could use his pen to promote his ideas about liberty, democracy and the future of Indian country.

After a year as editor-essentially a hired gun-Ridge organized a group of Sacramento business leaders to start a new paper.
They purchased the plant of The California American and announced the creation of The Sacramento Daily Bee.
The first issue was published on Feb. 3, 1857, and Ridge wrote: "The name of The Bee has been adopted, as being different from that of every other paper of the state, and as also being emblematic of the industry which is to prevail in its every department."

Ridge, the poet and novelist, said he had found his true calling.
He divided newspaper editors into "true editors" and "apologies for editors.
" True editors, he said, must know "everything" and must carry a vast "fund of general information, for there is not a subject which engages men's minds, in whatever range of science or literature, upon which he is not peremptorily called to write."

The Bee's editor also called for a new kind of journalism.
He attacked the fiercely partisan newspapers as "nothing more than the sneaking apologists of scoundrels who pay them for the trouble of lying.
" Ridge defended the entry of women into journalism.

And he made it clear that The Bee's editorials carried the soul of an American Indian.
In an essay about poetry, for example, Ridge writes:
"The speech of the North American warrior or chief in council is full of metaphor and the essence of poetry.
It is up to the true poet to use his pen, his chisel, or his pencil ... to give us pictures of our nobler selves."

In July of 1857, the Sacramento partners who owned The Bee sold it to James McClatchy.
(Ridge was headed to another California newspaper as editor.)
The official history of The Bee begins here-and it is somewhat different from the history just cited.
This sentence is from a book called Newspapering in the Old West by Robert Karolevitz:
"The Sacramento Daily & Weekly Bee was founded on Feb. 3, 1857, and under the editorship of James McClatchy, The Bee was anything but a drone."

Or, The Bee's official history said it this way:
"When the Sacramento Daily Bee was founded, Ridge was associated with the paper for a period of two months."

According to The Bee, it was only after Ridge left Sacramento that he could claim the title of owner or editor.
Ridge went on to edit and own several newspapers in California, and all carried the unmistakable mark of a political journalist who cared about his country and its policy toward the Native Americans.

John Rollin Ridge was not the only cousin writing about Cherokee politics in mainstream newspapers.
Colonel Elias Cornelius Boudinot, the son of Elias Boudinot, edited The Arkansian in Fayetteville, a town bordering the Cherokee Nation.
The colonel had no military experience and was only 24 years old.

"Lay aside fears that your editor will get rich faster than his neighbors," Boudinot wrote on March 5, 1859.
"We never heard of a man making more than a decent living by the publishing of a county newspaper."

Boudinot encouraged subscriptions from people who agreed with his thinking.
And, "do not expect the editor to make honest mention of you and your business every few weeks for nothing."

Even though The Arkansian was a mainstream newspaper, Boudinot took advantage of every opportunity to ridicule his father's political opponent, Chief John Ross.
"Our war upon this chief, whose long cause of thirty years has been sustained with blood and corruption, shall be a war to the knife," Boudinot wrote.

However, Boudinot was fair.
He also printed letters from a challenger, "Sofkey."

"Mr. Ross has at last found a champion in Sofkey," Boudinot wrote.
"A friend informs us that Sofkey is a word for mangy dog."

("Sofkey" is a Creek word for corn and can be used to describe a sour mash after the corn softens-sometimes dogs get into this mess and gain a unique look.)

But Sofkey was a worthy opponent. He wrote:
"As we are not competent to answer you with words and acknowledge that you are our superior-and if we were capable of answering you with a pen, we would not waste our time and words with no such d----d scoundrel as you are. Sofkey."

Most of Boudinot's passion was saved for the issue of the day, the growing threat of civil war.
The colonel saw the South as the only hope for the Cherokee Nation.
"And all abettors of Abolition from the Chief down should be publicly warned that although the South is the natural protector of the Cherokee, Creeks, and Choctaws, yet the South will sweep from its frontier every one who is so basebold, or insidious, as to raise thereon the Black Flag of Abolition."

Boudinot, his family, Chief Ross, indeed many wealthy Cherokees were slave holders in Georgia and, after removal, in Oklahoma.
On this issue Boudinot saw no middle ground.

"The distinctions are hypocritical.... We believe in aggressive slavery; that it is the duty of all good meaning citizens, if they are able, to own Negroes.
We believe the Creator will inflict a terrible punishment on those who neglect this duty."

As his father had, Boudinot found that the constitutional guarantees of liberty were not always the same for Americans who were not white.
One newspaper questioned his right as an American Indian even to vote.
The State Rights Democrat claimed Boudinot left the Cherokee Nation for Arkansas "either for the country's good or to save his own scalp." The paper claimed the editor was "impudently interfering" in public affairs, adding that "free white citizens" were more qualified to "manage their own affairs without being dictated to by this unnaturalized Indian refugee."

Nonetheless, most in the states'-rights cause considered Boudinot a patriot-and he was rewarded by being named co-editor of the True Democrat in the capital city of Little Rock and later appointed chairman of the state Democratic Party.
He continued his anti-Union rhetoric and was named secretary to the state's secession convention.
During the war, after winning a commission as a lieutenant colonel, Boudinot was a delegate to the Confederate Congress in Richmond.
He returned to newspaper writing and editing after the war.

Ridge and Boudinot both excelled at the political journalism of the mid-19th century.
They edited newspapers during elections-when the party (most often the Democratic Party) needed their passionate sermons.
Both editors also made Indian affairs somewhat mainstream in their newspapers' coverage-although Ridge looked down on tribes less civilized than the Cherokee.

Pictures of our nobler selves

The first editor of an Indian daily, a newspaper called The Indian Journal, was a Creek poet and journalist by the name of Alexander Posey.
He wrote this poem, "Ode to Sequoyah," around the turn of the century to honor the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet.
The names of Watie and Boudinot -
The valiant warrior and gifted sage -
And other Cherokees may be forgot,
but thy name shall descend to every age ...

The world did remember Sequoyah.
And it did forget the sage Boudinot, his relatives Stand Watie, John Rollin Ridge and Colonel Elias C. Boudinot, Ora Eddleman Reed, Tanna Beebe and many, many others who made important contributions to the journalism profession.
There was Edward Bushyhead, a Cherokee, and founder of the San Diego Union;
Peter Navarre, a Prairie Band of Potawatomie member, and owner of the Rossville Reporter in Kansas;
William G. Pugh, a Lakota and owner of The Martin Messenger,
and Leon Boutwell, Ojibway, a former professional football player and owner of the Mechanicsburgh, Ohio, Daily Telegram.
There was Zitkala Sa or Gertrude Bonnin, a Sioux, who wrote for The Atlantic Monthly and other magazines, who wrote books and who even composed a full-scale opera.

John Rollin Ridge was talking about poets and journalists when he wrote that Native Americans can use a pen, chisel or pencil "to give us pictures of our nobler selves." But Ridge might as well have been talking about the America that could be, the America that would be the very essence of democracy.
This nobler America would embrace native journalists, past and present, and would include other forgotten elements of society.
Ridge wanted more women to work at newspapers-and for all readers to understand what female journalists had to say.
He wrote a novel decrying the injustice suffered by Mexican-Americans who lived in California during an era of intense anti-immigration laws.
Ridge saw oppression the same way, whether it was directed at Cherokee or Mexican miners.

Ridge also understood the inherent power of tribal newspapers.
He wrote his mother that if he could start a newspaper in the Cherokee Nation, "I can bring into its column not only the fire of my own pen, such as it may be, but the contributions of leading minds in the different Indian nations.
I can bring to its aid and support the Philanthropists of the world.
I can so wield its power as to make it feared and respected.
Men, governments will be afraid to trample upon the rights of the defenseless Indian tribes, when there is a power to hold up their deeds to the excration [sic] of mankind."

"The media has, for its own purposes, created a false image of the Native American.
Too many of us have patterned ourselves after that image.
It is time now that we project our own image and stop being what we never really were." Mark N. Trahant

These Are Some of the Important Papers That Charles Renatus Hicks was Involved With

If you were fortunate enough to see a copy of the Laws of the Cherokee Nation published in 1852 you could find on pages three and four, the first printed law of the Cherokee Tribe, promulgated on September 11, 1808 at Broom’s Town.
It has the approval of Enola or Blackfox as Principal Chief and Pathkiller as Second Chief.
It bears the signature of Charles Hicks as “Sec’y. to Council.”

Broom’s Town was the home of Chief Broom whose daughter Nancy, a member of the Wolf Clan married Nathan Hicks, a white man.
Nathan and Nancy Hicks were the parents of Charles, William and Elizabeth Hicks who married James Vann, Richard Fields, Eliphas Holt and William Campbell.
There were possible other brothers and sisters but their names are unknown.

In October 1817 Charles Renatus Hicks was described as follows:
“He is a half-breed Cherokee, about fifty years of age.
He has very pleasant features and an intelligent countenance.
He speaks the English language with the utmost facility and with great propriety – I was exceedingly surprised that a Cherokee should be able to obtain so extensive a knowledge of English as he possessed:
He reads better than one-half of the white people and writes an easy hand.
For thirty years he has been, as occasions required, an interpreter for the United States.
As a man of integrity, temperance and intelligence he has long sustained a most reputable character.”

He was Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation in 1825 as well as Second Chief.
His residence was in Chickamauga District on October 12, 1826.

His last known signature was attached to a Council Bill of November 28th, 1826 and he probably died shortly after this date and during 1827 his brother William Hicks became Principal Chief, which office he held until October 1828.

Chief Charles R. Hicks was the father of Elijah Hicks who was born June 20th, 1796.
He was Clerk of Council in 1822 and shortly afterward married Margaret Ross (sister of John Ross), born July 5th, 1803.
He was living in Coosawatee District in October 1826.
He was President of the National Committee during the year 1827.
He was appointed editor of the Cherokee Phoenix on August 1st, 1832 and retained that position until May 31st, 1834.
The press was confiscated and destroyed after that date.

Elijah Hicks was a Captain of one of the Emigrant Cherokee detachments.
His detachment, according to Chief Ross’ statement embraced eight hundred and fifty eight individuals, fifty-four of whom died in route.
They were the second contingent to start, the date of same being September 9th, 1838 and arrived in the Western Cherokee Nation in advance of the other trains on January 4th, 1839.

He was the signer of the Constitution of 1839 and settled on the California at the present site of Claremore, where he conducted a general store and called his home Echota or as he spelled it and as it is pronounced “Sauty.” He was elected a delegate to Washington in 1839 and 1843.
Elected Clerk of the Cherokee Senate in 1845 and having been chosen as Senator from Saline District which at that time embraced over ten million acres of land and extended west to the one hundredth meridian, he was elected president of the Senate.
He died on August 6, 1856 and is buried in the cemetery at Claremore.
His wife died in 1862.

The Following are some of the documents that Charles Renatus Hicks helped write:


Resolved by the Chiefs and Warriors in a National Council assembled.
That it shall be, and is hereby authorized, for the regulating parties be organized to consist of six men in each company; one Captain, one Lieutenant and four privates, to continue in service for the term of one year, whose duties it shall be to suppress horse stealing and robbery of other property within their respective bounds, who shall be paid out of the National annuity, at the rates of fifty dollars to each Captain, forty to each Lieutenant, and thirty dollars to each of the privates; and to give their protection to children as heirs to their father’s property, and to the widow’s share whom he may have had children by or cohabited with, as his wife, at the time of his decease, and in case a father shall leave or will any property to a child at the time of his decease, which he may have had by another woman, then, his present wife shall be entitled to receive any such property as may be left by him or them, with substantiated by two or one disinterested witnesses.

Be it resolved by the Council aforesaid, When any person or persons which may or shall be charged with stealing a horse, and upon conviction by one or two witnesses, he, she, or they, shall be punished with one hundred stripes on the bare back, and the punishment to be in proportion for stealing property of less value; and should the accused person or persons raise up with arms in his or their hands, as guns, axes, spears and knives, in opposition to the regulating company, or should they kill him or them, the blood of him or them shall not be required of any persons belonging to the regulators from the clan the person so killed belonged to.

Accepted. – Black Fox, Principle Chief

Pathkiller, Sec’d


CHAS. HICKS, Sec’y to Council Brooms Town, 11th Sept. 1808

Be it known, That this day, the various clans or tribes which compose the Cherokee Nation, have unanimously passed an act of oblivion for all lives for which they may have been indebted, one to the other, and have mutually agreed that after this evening the aforesaid act shall become binding upon every clan or tribe; and the aforesaid clans or tribes, have all agreed that if, in future, any life should be lost without malice intended, the innocent aggressor shall not be accounted guilty.

Be it known, also, That should it happen that brother, forgetting his natural affection, should raise his hand in anger and kill his brother, he shall be accounted guilty of murder and suffer accordingly, and if any man has a horse stolen, and overtakes the thief, and should his anger be so great as to cause him to kill him, let his blood remain on his own conscience, but no satisfaction shall be demanded for his life from his relatives or the clan he may belong to.

By order of the seven clans.

Speaker of the Council.

Approved. – BLACK FOX, Principle Chief,


In the war between the United States and the Creeks in 1814 a large body of Cherokees volunteered to assist the army led by Generals Andrew Jackson and John Coffie.
Among the officers were Colonel John Lowry, Major George Lowry, Major Ridge, Major John Walker, Captain George Fields, Captain Alexander Sanders, Captain John Rogers, Adjutant John Ross and Private Charles Reese.
In the crucial battle of Horseshoe Bend in which the Creeks were strongly barricaded behind cypress log ramparts and were holding there own against the frontal attacks, a detachment of Cherokees came up on the opposite side of the river, Charles Reese swam across and towed a canoe to his associates, the canoe load of warriors crossed the stream and each one got a canoe.
In this manner the Cherokees landed in the back part of the bend, attacked the Creeks from the rear.
In attempting to rebel this assault, the Creeks so weakened their front that a breach was made nearly annihilating the belligerent Creek forces.
From that day, Andrew Jackson became increasingly popular.
Historians carefully refrain from giving the Cherokees mention or credit for a part in this combat and Reese’s family received a silver mounted rifle as acknowledgement for his actions, three years after his death.

An act of the Cherokee Council that served as a substitute for a constitution was as follows:
Whereas, fifty-four towns and villages have convened in order to deliberate and consider on the situation of our Nation, in the disposition of our common property of lands, without the unanimous consent of the members of Council, and in order to obviate the evil consequences resulting in such course, we have unanimously adopted the following form for the future government of our Nation.

ART.1 It is unanimously agreed that there shall be thirteen members elected as a Standing Committee for the term of two years, at the end of which term shall be either re-elected or others; and in consequence of the death or resignation of any of said Committee, our head Chiefs shall elect another to fill the vacancy.

ART.2 The affairs of the Cherokee Nation shall be committed to the care of the Standing Committee; but the acts of this body shall not be binding on the Nation in our common property and without the unanimous consent of the members and Chiefs of the Council, which they shall present for their acceptance or dissent.

ART.3 The authority and claim of our common property shall cease with the person or persons who shall think proper to remove themselves without the Cherokee Nation.

ART.4 The improvements and labors of our people by the mother’s side shall be inviolate during the time of their occupancy.

ART.5 This Committee shall settle with the Agency for our annual stipend, and report their proceedings to the members and Chiefs in Council, but the friendly communications between out head Chiefs and the Agency shall remain free and open.

ART.6 The above articles for our government, may be amended at our electoral term, and the Committee is hereby required to be governed by the above articles, and the Chief and Warriors in Council, unanimously pledge themselves to observe strictly the contents of the above articles.

Whereunto we have set our hands and seals at Amoah, this 6th day of May, one thousand eight hundred and seventeen.

Approved in Council, on the day and date above written.

EHNAUTAUNAUEH, Speaker of the Council

Approved of the within government by the head Chief, PATHKILLER.

A, McCoy, Sec’y to the Council CHAS. HICKS

Unanimously agreed, That schoolmasters, blacksmiths, millers, salt petre and gun powder manufacturers, ferrymen and turnpike keepers, and mechanics are hereby privileged to reside in the Cherokee Nation under the following conditions, viz:

Their employers procuring a permit from the National Committee and Council for them and becoming responsible for their good conduct and behavior, and subject to removal for misdemeanor; and further agree, that blacksmiths, millers, ferrymen and turnpike keepers are privileged to improve and cultivate twelve acres of ground for the support of themselves and families, should they please to do so.

JNO. ROSS, Pres’t Nat’l. Com.

A. McCOY, Cl’k Nat’l Com.

In Committee, New Town, Oct. 26th, 1819.

On July 8, 1817, a treaty was made with the Untied States, the main feature of which was the exchange of land east of the Mississippi for land in Arkansas, so that the Western Cherokees might have title to their homes.
On February 27, 1919, another treaty was made confirming the treaty of 1817 and providing for the basis of the Cherokee National school fund.
The Eastern Cherokee Nation was divided into eight districts by:


Resolved by the National Committee and Council, That the Cherokee Nation shall be laid off into eight districts, and that a council house shall be established in each district for the purpose of holding councils to administer justice in all causes and complaints that may be brought forward for trial, and one circuit judge, to have jurisdiction over two districts, to associate with the district judges in determining all causes agreeable to the National laws, and the marshals to execute the decisions of the judges in their respective districts, and the District Councils to be held in the spring and fall seasons, and one company of lighthorse to accompany each circuit judge on his official duties, in his respective districts, and to execute such punishment on thieves as the Judges and Council shall decide, agreeably to law, and it shall be the duty of the marshals to collect all debts, and shall be entitled to eight per cent for the same; and the Nation to defray the expenses of each District Council, and in case of opposition to the marshals in execution of their duty, they shall be justifiable in protecting their persons from injury in the same manner as is provided for the National lighthorse by law.

By order of the National Committee. JNO. ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.

Approved. – PATHKILLER (X) his mark.


A.McCOY, Clerk.

And the undated act Resolved by the National Committee and Council, That the Cherokee Nation be organized and laid off in Districts, and to be bounded as follows:

1st. The first District shall be called by the name of Chickamaugee, and be bounded as follows:
beginning at the mouth of Aumuchee Creek, on Oostennallah river, thence north in a straight course to a spring branch between the Island and Rackoon village, thence a straight course over the Look-Out Mountain, where head’s of Will’s and Lookout creeks opposes against each other on the Blue Ridge, thence a straight course to the main source of Rackoon creek, and down the same into the Tennessee river, and up said river to the mouth of Ooletiwah creek, and up said creek to take the most southeastern fork, thence a southern course to the mouth of Sugar Creek, into the Cannasawgee river, and down the said river to its confluence with the Oostenallah river, and down the same to the place of beginning.

2d. The second District shall be called by the name of Challogee, and be bounded as follows:
beginning on the mouth of Rackoon Creek, in the Tennessee River, and down the said river to the boundry line, commonly called Coffee’s line, and along said line where it strikes Will”s Creek, and down the said Creek to its confluence with the Coosa River, and thence embracing the boundary line between the Cherokees and Creeks, run by Wm.
McIntosh and other Cherokee Commissioners by their respective Nations, running south eastwardly to its intersection with Chinubee’s trace, and along said trace leading eastwardly by Avery Vann’s place, including his plantation, and thence on said trace to where it crosses the Etowah River to its confluence, with Oostannallah River, and up said river to the mouth of Aumuchee Creek, and to be bounded by the first District.

3d. The third District shall be called by the name of Coosawatee, and bounded as follows:
beginning at the widow Fool’s ferry, on Oostannallan River, where the Alabama road crosses it, along said wagon road eastwardly leading towards Etowah town to a large creek above Thomas Pettit’s plantation near to the Sixes, and said creek, northeastward, to its source; thence a straight course to the head of Talloney Creek, up which the Federal road leads, thence a straight course to the Red Bank Creek, near Cartikee village; thence a straight course to the head source of Potatoe Mine Creek; thence a northwestern course to Cannasawgee River, to strike opposite the mouth of Sugar Creek, into the Cannasawgee River, and to be bounded by the first and second Districts.

4th. The fourth District shall be called by the name of Amoah, and be the third District strikes the said source; thence eastwardly a straight course bounded as follows:
beginning at the head source of Cannasawagee River, where to Spring Town, above Hiwassee Old Town; thence to the boundary line run by Col. Houston, where it crosses Sloan Creek; - thence westwardly along said line to the Hiwassee River; - thence down said river into the Tennessee river, and down the same to the mouth of Oolatiwah Creek, and to be bounded by the first and third Districts.

5th. The fifth District shall be called by the name of Hickory Log, and shall bounded as follows:
beginning at the head of Potatoe Mine Creek, on the Blue Ridge to where Cheewostoyeh path crosses said ridge, and along said path to the head branch of frog Town Creek, and down the same to its confluence with Tahsantee; thence down Chestotee River; thence down the same into the Chattahoochee River; and down the same to the shallow wagon ford on said river; above the standing Peach Tree; thence westward along said wagon road leading to -------- Town to where it crosses Little River, a fork of the Etowah River, and down the same to its confluence with Etowah River, and down the same in a direct course to a large Creek, and up said creek to where the road crosses it to the opposite side, and to be bounded by the third District.

6th. The sixth District shall be called by the name of Etowah, and be bounded as follows:
beginning on the Chattahoochee River, at the shallow wagon ford on said river, and down the same to Buzzard Roost, where the boundary line westward, the where it intersects Chinubees trace, and to be bounded by the fifth and third districts, leaving Thomas Pettit’s family in Etowah District.

7th. The seventh District shall be called by the name of Tahquohee, and be bounded as follows:
beginning where Col. Houston’s boundary line crosses Slare’s Creek, thence along said boundary line south-eastwardly, to the Unicoy Turnpike Road, and along said road to where it crosses the Hiwasee River, in the Valley Towns; thence a straight course to head source of Coosa Creek, on the Blue Ridge above Cheewostoyeh, and along said Ridge eastwardly, where the Unicoy Turnpike Road crosses it and thence a direct course to the head source of Persimon Creek; thence down the same to the confluence of Tahsantee, and with the Frog Town Creek; and to be bounded by the third, the fourth and fifth Districts.

8th. The eighth District shall be called by the name of Aquohee, and be bounded as follows:
beginning where the seventh District intersects the Blue Ridge, where the Unicoy Turnpike Road crosses the same; thence eastwardly along said Ridge to the Standing Man, to Col.
Houston’s boundary line, thence along said line to the confluence of Nauteyalee, and Little Tennessee River; thence down the same to Tallassee Village, thence along said boundary line westwardly, to where it intersects the Unicoy Turnpike Road; and to be bounded by the Seventh District; and that each District shall hold their respective Councils or Courts, on the following days:
The first Monday in May and September for Coosewatee District; and the Second Mondays in May and September, for Amoah District; and on the First Mondays in May and September, for Hickory Log District; and the Second Mondays in May and September, for the Etowah District, and on the First Mondays in May and September for Aquohee District; and on the Second Mondays in May and September for Tauquohee District; and each Councils or Courts shall sit five days for the transaction of business at each term.

By order of the Committee and Council.


The above act was passed before October 25th, 1820, as other acts relating to the officers of the several districts were passed on that and subsequent dates.
Gambling and drinking were restricted by New Town, Cherokee Nation, November 8th, 1822

Whereas, the great variety of vices emanating from dissipation, particularly from intoxication and gaming at cards, which are so prevalent at all public places, the National Committee and Council, seeking the true interest and happiness of their people, have maturely taken this growing evil into their serious consideration, and being fully convinced that no nation of people can prosper and flourish, or become magnanimous in character, the basis of whose law are not found upon virtue and justice; therefore, to suppress, as much as possible, those demoralizing habits which were introduced by foreign agency.

Resolved by the National Committee, That any person or persons, whatsoever, who shall bring ardent spirits within three miles of the General Council House, or to any of the Court Houses within the several Districts during the General Council, or the sitting of the Courts, and dispose of the same so as to intoxicate any person or persons whatsoever, the person or persons so offending, shall forfeit his or their whiskey, the same to be destroyed; and be it further

Resolved, That gaming at cards is hereby strictly forbidden, and that any person or persons whomsoever, who shall game at cards in the Cherokee Nation, such person or persons, so offending, shall forfeit and pay a fine of twenty-five dollars, and further, any person or persons whatsoever, who may or shall be found playing cards at any house or camp, or in the woods within three miles of the General Council House, or any of the Court Houses of the several Districts during session of the General Council, or setting of the District Courts such person or persons, so offending, shall forfeit and pay a fine of fifty dollars each for every such offense, and that any person or persons whatsoever, who shall bring into the Cherokee Nation and dispose of playing cards, such person or persons, being convicted before any of the Judges, Marshals, or Light Horse shall pay a fine of twenty-five dollars for every pack of cards so sold; and it shall be the duty of the several Judges, Marshals and Light Horse companies, to take cognizance of such offenses and to enforce the above resolution; and

Be it further resolved, That all fines collected from persons violating the above resolution, the money so collected shall be paid into the national treasury.
To take effect and be in full force from and after the first day of January next.

By order of the National Committee.

JNO. ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.

Approved - PATH KILLER (x) his mark.

A. McCoy, Clerk of Com.

ELIJAH HICKS, clerk of Coun’l.

Miscegenation was penalized by:

New Town, Cherokee Nation, November 11th, 1824

Resolved by the National Committee and Council, That intermarriages between negro slaves and Indians, or white shall not be lawful, and any person or persons, permitting and approbating his, her or their negro slaves, to intermarry with Indians or whites, he or she or they, so offending shall pay a fine of fifty dollars, one half for the benefit of the Cherokee Nation; and

Be it further resolved, that any male Indian or white man marrying a negro woman slave, he or they shall be punished with fifty-nine stripes on the bare back, and any Indian or white woman, marrying a negro man slave, shall be punished with twenty-five stripes on her or their bare back.

By order of the National Committee.

JNO. ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.

Approved – PATH KILLER (X) his mark.

A. McCoy, Clerk of Com.

ELIJAH HICKS, clerk of Coun’l.

New Town, Cherokee Nation, November 11th, 1824

Resolve by the National Committee and Council, that it shall not be lawful for negro slaves to possess property in horses, cattle or hogs, and that those slaves now possessing property of that description, be required to dispose of the same in twelve months from this date, under the penalty of confiscation, and any property so confiscated, shall be sold for the benefit of the Cherokee Nation.

By order of the National Committee.

JNO. ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.

Approved – PATH KILLER (X) his mark.

A. McCoy, Clerk of Com.

Another step towards the constitution was:
For the better security of the common property of the Cherokee Nation, and for the protection of the rights and privileges of the Cherokee people, We, the undersigned members of the Committee and Council, in legislative Council convened, and established, and by these presents do hereby declare, the following articles as a fixed and irrevocable principle, but which the Cherokee Nation shall be governed.
These articles may be amended or modified, by concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the Committee and Counsel and Legislative Council convened; viz:

ART. 1st The lands within the sovereign limits of the Cherokee Nation, as defined by treaties, are and shall be, but common property of the Nation.
The improvements made thereon and in the possession of the citizens of the Nation, are the exclusive and indefeasible property and the citizens respectively in who made, or maybe rightfully be in possession of them.

ART. 2d. The annuities arising from treaties with the United States, and the revenue arising out of the tax laws, shall be funded in the National Treasury, and be the public property of the Nation.

ART.3d. The Legislative Council of the Nation shall alone possess the legal power to manage and dispose of, in any manner by law, the public property of the Nation, provided, nothing shall be construed in his article, so as to extend that right and power to deposes or divest the citizens of the Nation of their just rights to the houses, farms and other improvements in their possession.

ART. 4th. The Principle Chief of the Nation shall in no wise hold any treaties, or dispose of public property in any manner, without the express the authority of the Legislative Council in Session.

ART. 5th. The members of Committee and Council, during the recess of the Legislative Council, shall possess no authority or power to convene Councils in their respective districts, or to act officially on any matters, excepting expressly authorized or delegated by the Legislative Council in session.

ART. 6th. The citizens have been Nation, possessing exclusive and indefeasible rights to their respective improvements, as expressed in the first article, shall possess no right for power to dispose of their improvements to citizens of the United States, under such penalties, as may be prescribed by law in such cases.

ART. 7th. The several courts of justice in the Nation shall have no cognizance of any case transpiring previous to the organization of courts by law, and which case may have been acted upon by the chiefs in Council, under the then existing custom and usage of the Nation, excepting there may be an express law embracing the case.

ART. 8th. The two Principal Chiefs of the Nation, shall not, jointly or separately, have the power of arresting the judgment of either of the Courts or of the legal acts of the National Committee and Council, but that the judiciary of the Nation shall be independent and their decisions final and conclusive, provided, always, that they act in conformity to the foregoing principles or articles, and the acknowledged laws of the Nation.

Done in Legislative Council, at New Town, the fifteenth day of June 1825.

JNO. ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.>

MAJOR RIDGE, Speaker of Council,

Approved – PATH KILLER (X) his mark.

New Echota was established as the capital by the four following acts:

New Town, Cherokee Nation, November 12th, 1825

Resolved by the National Committee and Council, that One Hundred town lots, of one acre square, be laid off on the Oostenallah River, commencing below the mouth of the Creek, nearly opposite the mouth of Caunausauga River.
The public square to embrace two acres of ground, which town shall be known and called Echota; there shall be a main street of sixty feet and the other streets shall be fifty feet wide.

Be it further resolved, that the lots, when laid off, be sold to the highest bidder.
The purchasers right shall merely be occupancy, and transferable only to lawful citizens of the Cherokee Nation, and the proceeds arising from the sales of the lots shall be appropriated for the benefit of the public buildings in said town; and

Be it further resolved, that three commissioners be appointed to superintend the laying off the aforesaid lots, marking and numbering the same, and to act as chain carrier, and a surveyor to be employed to run off the lots and streets according to the plan prescribed.
The lots to be commenced running off on the second Monday in February next, and all the ground lying within the following bounds, not embraced by the lots, shall remain vacant as commons for the convenience of the town; viz: beginning at the mouth of Caunausauga, and up said Creek to the mouth of the dry branch to the point of the ridges, and thence in a circle round along said ridges, by the place occupied by Crying Wolf, thence to the river.

ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.

MAJOR RIDGE, Speaker of Council,

Approved – PATH KILLER (X) his mark.


A. McCoy, clerk of Com.


New Town, Cherokee Nation, November 12th, 1825

Judge Martin, George Saunders and Walter S. Adair, are elected commissioners to superintend the laying off the lots in the town of Echota.

By order.

JNO. ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.

A. McCoy, clerk of Com.

Echota, Cherokee Nation, November 12th, 1825

The subject of improvements made, and now occupied by individuals, on the public ground selected for the jurisdiction of the town of Echota, have been taken up by the National Committee.
The question arising is, whether the Nation is bound to pay for any such improvements made by individuals since the site had been selected by the Nation for the establishment of a town as the seat of government.
The decision of the Committee on this question is that the Nation is not bound to make compensation for any such improvements, but in order to extend indulgence toward Alex. McCoy and E. Hicks, who are now within said bounds, and are in possession of dwelling houses of some value, it is hereby agreed and

Resolved by the National Committee and Council, that should the dwelling houses of the aforesaid McCoy and Hicks fall with lots which are to be laid off, they shall have the preference of occupancy to said lots, provided they pay for the same at the rate which any other lot of equal value and advantageously situated may sell for; it is further agreed and admitted, that the improvement lately occupied by War Club, and the one now in the possession of Crying Wolf shall be paid for at the public expense; agreeably to the valuation made by W. Hicks, Geo. Saunders and Jos. Crutchfield.
ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.


Approved – PATH KILLER (X) his mark.


B. McCoy, clerk of Com.

E. BOUDINOTT, Clerk N. Council.

Echota, Cherokee Nation, November 14, 1825

Alexander McCoy is hereby authorized and permitted to cultivate and raise a crop the ensuing year, in the field lying on the river below the ferry, and also the one lately owned by the War Club, on the river below the mouth of the spring branch, which improvements belong to the public, and lie within the town of Echota; provided, said McCoy does not suffer the stakes to be removed which are to separate the town lots, to be laid off in said fields, and that said McCoy surrender possession of those fields to the public on or before the second Monday in October next.
JNO. ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.

MAJOR RIDGE, Speaker of Council,

Approved – PATH KILLER (X) his mark.


C. McCoy, clerk of Com.

E. BOUDINOTT, Clerk N. Council.

Provisions were made for the selection of delegates for a constitutional convention by:

Whereas, the General Council of the Cherokee Nation, now in session, having taken into consideration the subject of adopting a constitution for the future Government of said Nation, and after mature deliberation, it is deemed expedient that a Convention be called, and in order that the wishes of the people of the several Districts may be fairly represented on this all important subject.

It is hereby resolved by the National Committee and Council, that the persons hereinafter named be, and they are hereby nominated and recommended to the people of their respective districts as candidates to run an election for seats in the Convention; and three out of the ten in each District who shall get the highest number of votes shall be elected, and for the convenience of the people in giving their votes, three precincts in each District are selected, and superintendents and clerks to the election are chosen; and no person but a free male citizen who is full grown shall be entitled to vote; and each voter shall be entitled to vote for three of the candidates herein nominated in their respective Districts, and no vote by proxy shall be admitted; and that all the votes shall be given in viva voce; and in case of death, sickness or other incident which may occur to prevent all or any of the superintendents from attending at the several precincts to which they are chosen, the people of the respective precincts shall make a selection to fill such vacancies.
And in case of similar incident occurring to any of the members elect, the person receiving the next highest number of votes shall supply the vacancy.

In Chickmauga District, John Ross, Richard Taylor, John Baldridge, Jas Brown, Sleeping Rabbit, John Benge, Nathaniel Hicks, Sicketowee, Jas. Starr and Daniel McCoy are nominated and recommended as candidates; and the election in the first precinct shall be held at or near Hick’s mill, and Charles R. Hicks, and Archibald Fields, are chosen superintendents, and Leonard Hicks, clerk.
The election in the second precincts shall be held at or near Hunter Langley’s in Lookout Valley, and James Lowrey and Robert Vann are chosen superintendents, and John Candy, clerk.
The election in the third precinct shall be held at the Court House, and Joseph Coodey and William S. Coodey, are chosen superintendents and Robert Fields, Clerk.

In Chattanooga District, George Lowrey, Samuel Gunter, Andrew Ross, David Vann, David Brown, Spirit, The Bark, Salecooke, Edward Gunter, and John Brown, are nominated and recommended as candidates; and the election in the first precinct in this District shall be held at or near Edward Gunter’s school house in Creek Path Valley, and Alexander Gilbreath and Dempsey Fields are chosen superintendents, and John Gunter, clerk.
The election in the second precinct shall be held at or near Laugh at Mush’s house, in Wills Valley, and William Chamberlin and Martin McIntosh are chosen superintendents and George Lowery, Jr., clerk.
The election in the third precinct shall be held at the court house, and Charles Vann and James McIntosh are chosen superintendents, and Thomas Wilson, clerk.

In Coosawaytee District, John Martin, W.S. Adair, Elias Boudinott, Joseph Vann, John Ridge, William Hicks, Elijah Hicks, John Saunders, Kelechulah and Alex McCoy, are nominated and recommended as candidates.
The election in the first precinct in this District shall be held at or near William Hick’s house on Ooukillokee Creek, and Edward Adair and G.W. Adair are chosen superintendents and Stand Watie, clerk.
The election in the second precinct shall be held at Elechaye, and George Saunders and Robert Saunders, are chosen superintendents, and James Saunders, clerk.
The election in the third precinct shall be held at the court house, and George Harlan and William Thompson are chosen superintendents, and Jos. M. Lynch, clerk.

In Amohee District, The Hair, Lewis Ross, Thos.
Foreman, John Walker, Jr., Going Snake, George Fields, James Bigbey, Deer-in-water, John McIntosh and Thomas Fields are nominated and recommended as candidates.
The election in the first precinct in this District shall be held at or near Kalsowee’s house at Long Savannah, and Wm. Blythe and John Fields are chosen superintendents, and Ezekiel Fields, clerk.
The election in the second precinct shall be held at or near Bridge Maker’s house, at Ahmohee Town, and Ezekiel Starr and Michael Helterbrand, are chosen superintendents, and James McNair, clerk.
The election in the third precinct shall be held at the court house, and David McNair and James McDaniel, are chosen superintendents, and T.
Ross, clerk.

In Hickory Log District, James Daniel, George Still, Woman Killer, Robert Rogers, Moses Parris, John Duncan, Moses Downing, George Ward, Tahquoh, and Sam Downing, are nominated and recommended as candidates.
The election in the first precinct in this District shall be held at or near George Welch’s house, at the Cross Roads, and A. Hutson and E. Duncan, are chosen superintendents, and Joshua Buffington, clerk.
The election in the second precinct shall be held at or near Big Savannah, and John Downing and E. McLaughlin, are chosen superintendents, and John Daniel, clerk.
The election in the third precinct shall be held at the court house, and John Wright and Ellis Harlan, are chosen superintendents, and Moses Daniel, clerk.

In the Hightower District, George M. Waters, Joseph Vann, Alexander Saunders, John Beamer, Walking Stick, Richard Rowe, The Feather, Old Field, Te-nah-la-wee-stah, and Thomas Pettit, are nominated and recommended as candidates.
The election in the first precinct in this District shall be held at or near Old Turkey’s house, and Tahchi-see and John Harris, are chosen superintendents, and John Saunders, clerk.
The election in the third precinct shall be held at the court house, and Charles Moore and W. Thompson, are chosen superintendents, and Joseph Phillips, clerk.

In Tahquohee District, Chuwalookee, George Owens, Too-nah-na-lah, William Bowlin, Chips, Ooclen-not-tah, Soo-wa-keee, Sour John, The Tough, and Charles, are nominated and recommended as candidates.
The election in the first precinct in this District shall be held at or near Nahtahyalee, and A. McDaniel and Metoy, are chosen superintendents, and Thomas, clerk.
The election in the second precinct shall be held at or near The Spirit’s house, and Benjamin Timson and Edward Timson, are chosen superintendents, and J.D. Wofford, clerk.

In Aquohee District, Sitewake, Bald Town George, Richard Walker, John Timson, Allbone, Robin, (Judge Walker’s son-in-law) Ahtoheeskee, Kunsenee, Samuel Ward, and Kalkalloskee, are nominated and recommended as candidates.
The election in the first precinct in this District shall be held at or near Tasquittee, and Thompson and Dick Downing, are chosen superintendents, and William Reid, clerk.
The election in the second precinct shall be held at or near Samuel Ward’s house, and Isaac Tucker and John Bighead, are chosen superintendents, and David England, clerk.
The election in the third precinct shall be held at the court house, and Whirlwind and Bear Conjurer, are chosen superintendents, and rev. E. Jones, clerk.

Be it further resolved, that the election at the several places herein selected for each District, shall be held on the Saturday previous to the commencement of the Courts for May Term next, and a return of all the votes given shall be made to the superintendents of the election at the court house on the Monday following, being the first day of Court, with a certificate of the polls, signed by the superintendents and clerks, and after all the votes being collected and rendered in, the three candidates having the highest number of votes shall be duly elected, and the superintendents and clerks at the court house, shall give to each of the members elected a certificate.
And in case there shall be an equal number of votes between any of the third candidates, the members of the Convention shall give them the casting vote, and that the superintendents shall, before entering upon their duties, take an oath for the faithful performance of their trusts: and that the members so elected shall, on the 4th day of July next, meet at Echota and form a Convention, and proceed to adopt a Constitution for the Government of the Cherokee Nation.

Be it further resolved, that the principles which shall be established in the Constitution, to be adopted by the Convention, shall not in any degree go to destroy the rights and liberties of the free citizens of this Nation, nor to effect or impair the fundamental principles and laws, by which the Nation is now governed, and that the General Council to be convened in the fall of 1827 shall be held under the present existing authorities; provided nevertheless, that nothing shall be so construed in this last clause so as to invalidate or prevent the Constitution, adopted by the Convention, from going into effect after the aforesaid next General Council.

New Echota, 13th October, 1826

JNO. ROSS, Pres’t. N. Com.

MAJOR RIDGE, Speaker of Council,

Approved – PATH KILLER (X) his mark.

“Trail of Tears” by John Ehle

The council meeting in July 1827 was one of mourning.
Recently Charles Hicks and the Pathkiller had died.
The old man’s death had been expected; but Hicks, his principle assistant, had fallen ill from a cold he had caught by sleeping on the ground on his way home one night, and pneumonia had taken him suddenly.

DAVID MILLER (Andrew Miller’s Father)Ga-l? *******************************************************

LOCATION OF BIRTH: Marysville, Tennessee, just across the state/Cherokee Nation Line.
UNITED IN MARRIAGE TO: “N-wa-lee-ya-he” Nannie Otterlifter

N-WA-LEE-YA-HE NANNIE OTTERLIFTER (Andrew Miller’s Mother) *******************************************************

Elizabeth Miller Mann’s Great Grandmother’s Name was N-wa-lee-ya-he
Great Grandfather ‘s Name was Ga-l
Andrew Miller
Ezekial Miller
Father: David MILLER
Mother: Nannie OTTERLIFTER
_David MILLER _______| | |__________________| | | ______________________________ | |_______________________|______________________________ |--Andrew MILLER | Ezekial MILLER | _ OTTERLIFTER ____| | | | ______________________________ | | |_______________________|______________________________ |_Nannie OTTERLIFTER _| | ______________________________ | _Ellis HARLAN _________|______________________________ |_Susannah HARLAN _| | _(Deer Clan ) KINGFISHER _____ |_Catherine KINGFISHER _|_Na-ni (Nancy Ward) GHI-GA-U Source: Emett Stars ' Old Cherokee Families' researched Oct 1995 page 351.
David married Nannie the 2nd Otterlifter, she being of the fourth generation of Ghigau.
They had 2 children, Ezekial and Andrew.
Ezekial, of the 5th generation, married Minerva Cherokee Ward. Andrew died without issue.

My Favorite Links

1st Generation - Homer Eugene& Mollie Edith Jackson Mann
2nd Generation - Avery "Henderson" & Bertha Miller Mann - Charles J. & Emma Lou Hope Jackson
3rd Generation - David Sproul & Elizabeth Miller Mann - George & Martha Wilson Miller - Able & Mollie Jackson - "Eu-nau-le" & "Cun-nu-cha-te"
4th Generation - Avery & Susanna Spaniard Miller - Richard Carey "R.K" & Elzira Wilson nee Hicks Mann - John A. & Nancy J. Miller - "Cul-lau-noo-has-ke" & "A-kin-ne"
5th Generation - Andrew & Catherine Hicks Miller - Frank & Hannah "Oo-wah-de-yah-hih" Spaniard - William & Peggy Wilson
7th Generation - Nathan & Nancy Broom Hicks - Chief Halfbreed & "Gu-w-li-si" - Otterlifter & Susannah Harlan Otterlifter
8th Generation - Chief Broom & Nancy Elizabeth Broom - Ellis & Catherine Kingfisher Harlan - Robert & Mary Ellige Hicks
9th Generation - Ezekial & Hannah Oborn Harlan Jr. - Kingfisher & "Na-ni" aka "Ghi-Ga-U" aka Nancy Ward Beloved Woman - Dutch Tauchee Broom & Nancy F. Clan Broom - James & Judith Collier Hicks
10th Generation - Ezekial & Ruth Buffington Harlan - "Skayagustuegwo" & "Tame Doe" - Robert & Elizabeth Irvin Hicks Jr.
11th Generation - Chief Moytoy & Unknown - George & Elizabeth Duck Harlan - Richard Bobbington Buffington & Ann - Robert & Frances Hicks
12th Generation - James Harlan & Unknown - Thomas & Ann Bovington Jr.
12th Generation - James Harlan & Unknown - Thomas & Ann Bovington Jr.
13th Generation - William Harlan & Unknown - Thomas & Joan Harberd Bovington
Hamilton Guide Service