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