THE ORIGIN OF THE INDIANS. William Penn saw a striking likeness between the Jews of London and the American Indians. Some claim that the stories of the Old Testament are legends in some Indian tribes. In the Jewish Encyclopedia it is said that the Hebrews, after the captivity, separated themselves from the heathen in order to observe their peculiar laws; and Manasseh Ben Israel claims that America and India were once joined, at Bering strait, by a peninsula, over which these Hebrews came to America. All Indian legend affirm that they came from the northwest. When first visited by Europeans, Indians were very religious, worshiping one Great Spirit, but never bowing down to idols. Their name for the deity was Ale, the old Hebrew name for God. In their dances they said "Hallelujah" distinctly. They had annual festivals, performed morning and evening sacrifices, offered their first fruit to God, practiced circumcision, and there were "cities of refuge," to which offenders might fly and be safe; they reckoned time as did the Hebrews, similar superstitions marl: their burial places "and the same creeds were the rule of their lives, both as to the present and the future." They had chief-ruled tribes, and forms of government almost identical with those of the Hebrews. Each tribe had a totem, usually some animal, as had the Israelites, and this explains why, in the blessing of Jacob upon his sons, Judah is surnamed a lion, Dan a serpent, Benjamin a wolf, and Joseph a bough.<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1
Condensed from Literary Digest, p. 472, September 21, 1912"> There are also resemblances in their language to the Latin and Greek tongues, Chickamauga meaning the field of death, and Aquone the sound of water.
THE CHEROKEES A SUPERIOR TRIBE.<a href="#2" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 2
Unless otherwise noted all in this chapter is based on the Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1897, Part I."> They have been known as one of the largest and most noteworthy of the aboriginal tribes, and formed an important factor in both English and Spanish pioneering. Those who dwelt in the mountains were known as the Otari or Overhill Cherokees, while those dwelling in the lowlands were called the Erati<a href="#3" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 3
Roosevelt, Vol. I, p. 74"> or Lowland Cherokees. They had their own national government, and numbered from 20,000 to 25,000 persons. They are "well advanced along the white man's road." What is now known as the Eastern band, in the heart of the Carolina mountains, outnumbers today such well-known Western tribes as the Omaha, Pawnee, Comanche and Kiowas, and it is among these, "the old conservative Kituhwa element, that the ancient things have been preserved." In the forests of Nantahala and Oconaluftee, "the Cherokee priest still treasures the legends and repeats the mystic rituals" of his ancestors. The original boundary embraced about 40,000 square miles, from the head streams of the Kanawha to Atlanta, and from the Blue Ridge to the Cumberland range, with Itsati, or Echota, on the south bank of the Little Tennessee river, a few miles above the mouth of Tellico creek, in Tennessee, as its capital. This was called the "City of Refuge." They call themselves the Yunwiga, or real people, and on ceremonial occasions speak of themselves as Ani-Kituhwagi, or people of Kituhwa, an ancient settlement on the Tuckaseegee river, and apparently the original nucleus of the tribe. The name by which they are now known Cherokee-has no meaning in their language, and the form among them is Tsalagi or Tsargi. It first appears as Chalaque in the Portuguese narrative of DeSoto's expedition, while Cheraqui appears in a French document in 1699. It got its present form in 1708, thus having an authentic history at this time (1913) of 275 years. They admit that they built the mounds on Grave creek in Ohio, and the mounds near Charlottesville, Va. They had also lived at the Peaks of Otter, Va. But they disclaim all knowledge of the mounds and petroglyphs in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.
TRADITIONS OF WHITE AND LILLIPUTIAN RACES. There is a dim but persistent tradition of a white race having preceded the Cherokees; and of a tribe of Lilliputians or very small people, who once lived on the site of the ancient mound on the northern side of Hiwassee river, at the mouth of Peachtree creek, and afterwards went west. This was long before the normal sized whites came. Miss Murphrey has preserved this tradition in her "In the Stranger Peoples' Country."
INTRODUCTION OF SMALL ARMS AND SMALLPOX. About 1700 the first guns were introduced among the Cherokees, and in 1738 or 1739 smallpox nearly exterminated the tribe within a single year. It had been brought to Charleston, S. C., on a slave ship.
OTHER EARLY INCIDENTS. About 1740 a trading path from Augusta to the Cherokee towns at the head of the Savannah, and thence to the west was marked out by this tribe, and in that year the Cherokees took part under their war chief, "The Raven," in Oglethorpe's expedition against the Spaniards at 8t. Augustine. In 1736 Christian Priber, a Jesuit, acting in French interest, became influential among them. He was a most worthy member of that illustrious order whose scholarship, devotion and courage have been exemplified from the days of Jogues and Marquette down to Desmet and Mengarini. In 1756 Fort Prince George was built at the head of the Savannah, and Fort London near the junction of Tellico creek and the Little Tennessee river, beyond the mountains. Disagreements between the Cherokees and the South Carolina colonists finally resulted in the seizure of Oconostota, a young war chief, and his retention at Fort Prince George as a hostage. This led to war, and the Cherokees besieged Fort London. In June, 1760, Col. Montgomery, with 1,600 men, crossed the Indian frontier and drove the Cherokees from about Fort Prince George, and then destroyed every one of the Lower Cherokee towns, killing more than a hundred Indians and driving the whole population into the mountains. He then crossed the mountains without opposition till he came near Echoe, a few miles above the sacred town of Kikwasi, now Franklin, N. C., where he met their full force, which compelled Montgomery to retire in a battle fought June 27, 1760. He retreated to Fort Prince George after losing 100 men in killed and wounded.
MASSACRE AT FORT LOUDON. This retreat sealed the fate of the garrison at Fort London, which had been reduced to the necessity of eating horses and dogs, though Indian women, who had found sweethearts among the soldiers, brought them what food they could. On August 8, Capt. Demere surrendered his garrison of about 200 to Oconostota upon promise that they should be allowed to retire with sufficient arms and ammunition for the march. The garrison made a day's march up Tellico creek and camped, while the Cherokees plundered the fort. It was then that they discovered ten bags of powder and a large quantity of ball that the garrison had secretly buried in the fort before surrendering. Cannon and small arms also had been thrown into the river, which was a breach of the terms of the capitulation. Enraged at this duplicity the Indians attacked the retiring garrison at sunrise the next morning, killing Demere and 25 others at the first fire, and taking the rest prisoners, to be ransomed some time later on. Capt. Stuart, second in command, was claimed by Ata-kullakulla, a Cherokee chief, who managed to conduct him, after nine days' march, to his friends in Virginia. A treaty was concluded at Augusta, November 10, 1763, by which the Cherokees lost all north of the present Tennessee line and east of the Blue Ridge and Savannah. A royal proclamation was issued this year barring the whites from occupying Indian lands west of the Blue Ridge; while in 1768 a treaty fixed the northern limit as downward along the New and Kanawha rivers from the North Carolina line. This treaty was made at Hard Labor, S. C.; while on March 17, 1775, a treaty cut off the Cherokees from the Ohio and their rich Kentucky hunting grounds.
THREE STATES COMBINE AGAINST THE CHEROKEES. But the constant encroachments of the whites upon the Indian territory resulted, in 1776, in an agreement between Virginia, North and South Carolina by which each sent a punitive expedition into the Cherokee country, and laid it waste for miles, killing men and even women, and driving many into the mountains for refuge. In August Gen. Griffith Rutherford, with 2,400 men, crossed Swannanoa gap, and after following the present line of railroad to the French Broad, out Hominy creek and following up the Richland, struck the first Indian town at Stecoee, the present site of Whittier, on the Tuckaseegee. This he burned, and then destroyed all towns on Oconaluftee, Tuckaseegee and the upper part of Little Tennessee; also those on the Hiwassee below the junction of Valley river, making 36 towns in all. He also destroyed all crops. The chaplain of this expedition was Rev. James Hall, D. D., a Presbyterian. At Sugartown (Kuletsiyi), east of the present Franklin, a detachment sent to destroy it was surprised by the Cherokees and escaped only through the aid of another force sent to its rescue. Rutherford himself encountered a force in Wayah gap of the Nantallalas, between Franklin and Aquone, where he lost forty killed and wounded, but finally repulsing the Indians.<a href="#4" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 4
In the Lyceum for April, 1891. pp. 22-23, the late Col A. T. Davidson gives an account of the burial of two brass field pieces by Rutherford's men in a swamp below the residence of the late Elam Slagle, and near the mouth of Warrior creek, so called because of the battle there."> An Indian killed in this fight proved to have been a woman dressed as a man. An account of the route followed by Rutherford, with many other facts, can be found in the North Carolina Booklet, Vol. IV, No. 8, for December, 1904; from which it appears that Williamson of South Carolina was to have joined Rutherford at Cowee, but as he did not appear, Rutherford, without a proper guide, crossed the Nantahalas at an unusual place, thus missing the Wayah gap, where 500 braves had assembled to oppose him and that two days later Williamson, hurrying up Cartoogachaye creek, crossed at the usual place, and fell into the ambush which had been prepared for Rutherford; and that Rutherford lost but three men in the entire expedition. This latter account is probably the true one. Williamson joined Rutherford on the Hiwassee. It was considered unnecessary to await the arrival of Col. Christian from Virginia, who was coming via the Holston river, as all the Cherokee towns had been destroyed. Col. Andrew Williamson's force of South Carolinians was 1,860 strong, including a number of Catawbas, and came through Rabun gap of the Blue Ridge.<a href="#5" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 5
N. C. Booklet, for December, 1904"> It was near Murphy that Rutherford and Williamson's forces joined September 26, 1776. Among Christian's men was a regiment from Surry county, N. C., under Colonels Joseph Williams and Love, and Major Winston. They had assembled on the Holston and pressed cautiously along the great warpath to the crossing of the French Broad in Tennessee, and thence advanced without opposition to the Little Tennessee, where, early in November, Christian was proceeding to destroy their towns, when the Indians sought peace. Col. Christian, hoping to draw trade from the South Carolina Indians, accepted the promise of the Cherokees to "surrender all their prisoners and to cede all the disputed territory . . in the Tennessee settlements," suspended hostilities and withdrew, but not till he had burned the town of Tuckaseegee because its inhabitants had been concerned in the burning of a white boy, named Moore, who had been captured with a Mrs. Bean: but he spared the peace town of Echota. But Col. William of Surry was not pleased with Christian's leniency, and on the 22d of November, 1776, wrote to the North Carolina Congress from Surry, enclosing documents which he claimed proved conclusively "that some of the Virginia gentlemen are desirous of having the Cherokees under their protection," which Williams did not think right as most of the territory was within North Carolina and should be under her protection. In this warfare every Indian was scalped and even women were shot down and afterwards "helped to their end." Prisoners were "taken and put up at auction as slaves, when not killed on the spot."
HOLSTON AND HOPEWELL TREATIES. At Long Island of the Holston a treaty was concluded July 20, 1777, by which the Middle and upper Cherokees ceded everything east of the Blue Ridge, and all disputed territory on the Watauga, Nollechucky, upper Holston and New rivers. This ended the treaties with the separate States. The first treaty made with the United States was at Hopewell, S. C., November 28, 1785, by which the whole country east of the Blue Ridge, with the Watauga and Cumberland settlements, was given to the whites, but leaving the whole of western North Carolina to the Cherokees.
TREATIES OF WHITE'S FORT AND TELLICO. In the summer of 1791 the Cherokees made a treaty at White's Fort, now Knoxville, by which they ceded a "triangular section of Tennessee and North Carolina extending from the Clinch river almost to the Blue Ridge, and including nearly the whole of the French Broad and lower Holston and the sites of the present Knoxville, and Greeneville, Tenn., and Asheville, N. C., most of which territory was already occupied by the whites. Permission was also given for a road from the eastern settlements to those of the Cumberland, with free navigation of the Tennessee river." This treaty was signed by 41 principal chiefs and was concluded July 2, 1791, and probably gave legal title to the whites to as far west of the Blue Ridge as the Pigeon river in Haywood county. There were four treaties of Tellico, the first having been signed October 2, 1798, by 39 chiefs, by which were ceded a tract between the Clinch river and the Cumberland ridge, another along the northern bank of the Little Tennessee, extending up to the Chilhowie mountains, and a third in North Carolina on the head of the French Broad and Pigeon rivers, and including what are now Waynesville and Hendersonville; thus making the Balsam mountains the western boundary. In 180 and 1800, three additional treaties were concluded at Tellico by Return J. Meigs, by which the Cherokees were shorn of 8,000 square miles, not affecting the limits of North Carolina; but it was then that Meigs originated what he termed a "silent consideration," by which a smaller amount was named in the public treaty, to-wit: $2,000-while he had agreed that "one thousand dollars and some rifles" in addition should be given to some of the chiefs who signed it. This treaty however was concluded at Washington, D. C., January 7, 1806. In 1813 the Cherokees agreed that a company should lay off and build a free public road from the Tennessee river to the head of navigation of the Tuggaloo branch of the Savannah; and this road was completed within the next three years, and became the great highway from the coast to the Tennessee settlements. The road began where Toccoa creek enters the Savannah, and passed through Clarksville and Hiwassee in Georgia, and Hayesville and Murphy, N. C., though those towns had not been established by the whites at that time. From Murphy it passed over the Unaka or White mountains into Tennessee to Echota, the capital town of the Cherokees. It was officially styled the Unicoi Turnpike, but was commonly known in North Carolina as the Wachese or Watsisa trail, because it passed near the home of a noted Indian who lived near the place at which it crossed Beaverdam creek-his name having been Watsisa-and because this portion of the road followed the old trail which already bore that name.
NANAKATAHKE AND JUNALUSKA. The former was a sister of Yonaguska, and the mother-in-law of Gid. F. Morris, a South Carolinian who came to Cherokee county about the same time that Betty Bly or Blythe, came there, according to the statement of the late Col. A. T. Davidson, who said that Nanakatahke told him that she was the mother of Wachesa, or Grasshopper. Junaluska, spelled Tsunulahunski in Cherokee, is the best remembered of the Cherokee chief:, of whom a full account will be found in Chapter XII, pp. 292-293.
THE REMOVAL TREATIES. On the 8th of July, 1817, at the Cherokee agency (now Calhoun, Tenn.), a treaty was made by which, in return for land in Georgia and Tennessee, the Cherokees were to receive a tract within the present limits of Arkansas, and payment for any- substantial improvements they had made on the ceded lands they would abandon by going to Arkansas. Each warrior who left no improvements behind was to be given for his abandoned field and but a rifle, ammunition, a blanket, a kettle or a beaver trap. Boats and provisions for the journey were also to be furnished the Indians who might go. It was also provided that those who chose to remain might do so and become citizens, the amount of land occupied by such to be deducted from the total cession. But the majority of the Cherokees opposed removal bitterly, and only 31 of the principal men of the eastern band and 15 of the western signed for the tribe. A protest signed by 67 chiefs and headsmen was presented to the commissioners for the government; but it was ignored and the treaty ratified. In fact, the authorities for the United States did not even wait for the ratification, but at once took steps for the removal of all who desired to go west, and before 1819, six thousand had been removed, according to the estimate. This, however, did not effect North Carolina territory; but on February 27, 1819, a treaty was made at `'Washington by which the Indians ceded to the United States, among other tracts in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, "nearly everything remaining to them" in North Carolina east of the Nantahala mountains; though individual reservations one mile square within the ceded area were allowed a number of families, who preferred to remain and become citizens. In order to conform to the laws of civilization, those who were to remain adopted a regular republican form of government modeled after that of the United States, with New Echota, a few miles above the present Calhoun, Ga., as the capital. John Ross was the first Cherokee president. They passed laws for the collection of taxes, and debts, for repairs of roads, for the support of schools and for the regulation of the liquor traffic; to punish horse stealing and theft, and to compel all marriages between white men and Indian women to be celebrated according to regular legal or church form, and to discourage polygamy. By a special decree the right of Blood Revenge, or capital punishment, was taken from the seven clans and vested in the authorities of the Indian nation. Death was the punishment to individual Indians who might sell lands to the whites without the consent of the Indian authorities. White men were not allowed to vote or hold office in the nation.
YONAGUSKA, THE BLOOD AVENGER. The late Col. Allen T. Davidson told the writer that John Welch, a half-breed Frenchman, killed Leech, a full-blooded Cherokee, near old Valleytown in Cherokee county, and as Yonaguska was Leech's next of kin, he `vas therefore his blood avenger, and not only entitled to kill Welch, but the custom of the tribe made it his duty- to do so. He, therefore, followed Welch first to the Smoky mountains, and then to Paint Rock: thence to the New Found range west of Asheville, and to Pickens, S. C., where Welch stopped and rested. Here it was, though, that Welch became infatuated with a white girl named Betty Bly, and told Betty that he feared that Yonaguska, whom he had seen loitering near, was seeking a chance to kill him. She then sought out Yonaguska and persuaded him to let Welch off.
THE BAPTISTS ESTABLISH THE FIRST CHEROKEE MISSION. In 1820 the Baptists founded five principal missions, one of which was in Cherokee county, on the site of the old Nachez town on the north side of Hiwassee river, just above the mouth of Peachtree creek. It was established at the instance of Currahee Dick, a prominent mixed-blood chief, and was placed in charge of the Rev. Evan Jones, known as the translator of the New Testament into the Cherokee language, with James D. Wafford, a mixed-blood pupil, who compiled a spelling book in the same language, as his assistant. The late Rev. Humphrey Posey afterwards became principal of this mission, and did a wonderful amount of work for the improvement and education of the Cherokees. The place is still known as "The Mission Farm," and is one of the most productive and desirable in the mountains. Worcester and Boudinot's translation of Matthew, first published at -New Echota, Ga., in 1829, was introduced to the Kituwas Cherokees, and in the absence of missionaries, was read from house to house, after which Rev. Ulrich Keener, a Methodist, began to preach at irregular intervals, and was soon followed by Baptists.
SEQUOYA AND HIS SYLLABARY. About this time (1821) Sikwayi (Sequoya) a half or quarter breed Cherokee, known among the whites as George Gist or Guest or Guess, invented the Cherokee syllabary or alphabet, which was "soon recognized as an invaluable invention for the elevation of the tribe, and within a few months thousands of hitherto illiterate Cherokees were able to read and write their own language, teaching each other in the cabins and along the roadside…. It had an immediate and wonderful effect on Cherokee development, and on account of the remarkable adaptation of the syllabary to the language, it was only necessary to learn the characters to be able to read at once….In the fall of 1824 Atsi or John Arch, a young native convert, made a manuscript translation of a portion of St. John's gospel, in the syllabary, this being the first Bible translation ever given to the Cherokee." On the 21st of February, 1828, "the first number of the newspaper Taslagi Tsulehisanun, the Cherokee Phoenix, `printed' in English and Cherokee, was published at New Echota from type cast for that purpose in Boston under the supervision of the noted missionary, Worcester. Sequoya was born, probably about 1760 at Luck-a-Seegee town in Tennessee, just outside of old Fort Loudon, near where old Choto had stood." Here his mind dwelt also on the old tradition of a lost band of Cherokee living somewhere toward the western mountains. In 1841 and 1842, with a few Cherokee companions and with his provisions and papers loaded in an ox cart, he made several journeys into the west, and was received every where with kindness by even the wildest tribes. Disappointed in his philologic results, he started out in 1843 in quest of the lost Cherokees, who were believed to be some where in northern Mexico, but, being now an old man and worn out by hardship, he sank under the effort and died alone and unattended, it is said, near the village of San Fernando, Mexico, in August of that year. The Cherokees had voted him a pension of three hundred dollars which was continued to his widow, "the only literary pension in the United States." The great trees of California (Sequoia gigantea) were named in his honor and preserve his memory.
OUTRAGES FOLLOW DAHLONEGA GOLD DISCOVERY. The discovery of gold in the Dahlonega district caused the Georgia legislature on the 20th of December, 1828, to annex that part of the Cherokee country to Georgia and to annul all Cherokee laws and customs therein. This act was to take effect June 1, 1830, the land was mapped into counties and divided into "land lots" of 160 acres and "gold lots" of 40 acres, which were to be distributed among the white citizens of Georgia by public lottery. Provision was made for the settlement of contested lottery claims among the white citizens, but no Indian could bring a suit or testify in court. "About the same time the Cherokees were forbidden to hold councils, or to assemble for any public purpose or to dig for gold upon their own lands." The outrages which followed are disgraceful to the white men of that section and time.
TREATY OF REMOVAL of 1835. On the 29th of December, 1835, by the treaty of New Echota, "the Cherokee nation ceded to the United States its whole remaining territory east of the Mississippi for the sum of $5,000,000 and a common joint interest in the territory already occupied by the western Cherokees in what is now the Indian Territory, with an additional smaller tract on the northeast in what is now Kansas. Improvements were to be paid for, and the Indians were to be removed at the expense of the United States, and subsisted for one year after their arrival in the new country. The removal was to take place within two years …. " It was also distinctly agreed that a limited number of Cherokees might remain behind and become citizens after they had been adjudged "qualified or calculated to become useful citizens," together with a few who held individual reservations under former treaties. But this provision was struck out by President Jackson, who insisted that the "whole Cherokee people should remove together." The treaty was ratified by the senate May 23, 1836, the official census of 1835 having fixed the number of Cherokees in North Carolina at 3,644.
THE PATHETIC STORY OF THE REMOVAL. This story exceeds in weight of grief and pathos any in American history-; for notwithstanding that nearly 16,000 out of a total of 16,542 Indians in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, had signed a protest against the treaty, Gen. Wool was sent to carry the treaty into effect; but so fixed was the determination of the Cherokees to remain that Gen. Winfield Scott was sent to remove them by force. He took command, his forces amounting to 7,000 men-regulars, militia and volunteers, with New Echota as his headquarters, May 10, 1838, only 2,000 Cherokees having gone voluntarily. Old people tell of the harrowing scenes which accompanied the hunting down and removal of these brave people who clung to their homes with all the passion of the Swiss.
REMOVAL FORTS. The following forts or stockades were built for the collection of the unwilling Cherokees : Fort Lindsay, on the south side of the Little Tennessee at the junction of the Nantahala; Fort Scott, at Aquone, twenty miles further up the Nantahala; Fort Montgomery, at what is now Robbinsville; Fort Hembrie, at what is now Hayesville; Fort Delaney, at Old Valleytown, and Fort Butler, at Murphy.
WHY SOME WERE ALLOWED TO REMAIN. Old man Tsali, or Charley, with his Wife, his brother and his three sons and their families, was seized and taken to a stockade near the junction of the Tuckaseegee and the Little Tennessee rivers, where they spent the night, during which their squaws concealed knives and tomahawks about their clothing. When this band, escorted by soldiers, reached the mouth of what is now called Paine's branch, opposite Tuskeegee creek, in the Little Tennessee, the squaws passed the knives and hatchets to the men, and they fell upon the soldiers and killed two of them upon the spot, and so mortally wounded a third, Geddings by name, that he died at Calhoun, Tenn. Still another soldier was struck on the back of his head with a tomahawk, and so hurt that. although he retained his seat upon his horse, he died three miles below at what is now called Fairfax, on the right bank of the Little Tennessee. Two stones still mark his grave, while the two who were killed at Paine's branch were buried there. If the skirts of the coat of the lieutenant in charge had not torn away when he was seized on each side by an Indian, it is likely that he would have been dragged from his horse and killed, too. But he escaped, and the Indians went immediately to the Great Smoky mountains scarcely ten miles away, and their recapture by the heavy dragoons sent after them within a short time was impossible. These soldiers camped just below where Burton Welch used to live, one and a half miles below Bushnel, and a mountain peak nearby on which they stationed sentinels, is still called Watch Mountain. In fact, these escaping Indians had spent the night at the house of Burton Welch's father when their squaws hid the weapons in their skirts. It is said that the late Col. W. H. Thomas had accompanied this party as far as the mouth of Noland's creek, Where he left them for the purpose of getting another small party to join them the next day; and that if he had continued with Old Charley's party it is probable that no attempt would have been made to escape, such was his influence over them. The names of the male Indians who escaped were Charley, Alonzo, Jake, George and a boy named Washington, but pronounced 15 the Cherokees Wasituna. Old Charley's squaw was named Nancy.
TERMS OF COMPROMISE. Mr. James Mooney's account in the Nineteenth Ethnological report states that after Con. Scott became convinced that his soldiers could not recapture Charley and his band, he made an agreement with Col. Thomas to the effect that if he would cause the arrest of Old Charley and his adult sons he would use his influence at Washington to get permission that all who had not yet been removed should remain. Also, that Col. Thomas vent to the leader of those who had not been captured, Utsala or "Lichen," by name, who had made his headquarters at the head of Oconaluftee, and told him that if he assisted in bringing in Charley and his band, Utsali and his followers, 1,000 in number, would be allowed to remain. Utsali consented and Thomas returned and reported to Gen. Scott, who offered to furnish an escort for Thomas on a proposed visit to Charley, who was hiding in a cave of the Great Smoky mountains. But Thomas declined the escort and went alone to the cave an(! got Charley to consent to surrender voluntarily, which he did shortly afterwards, thus making a vicarious sacrifice for the rest of his people.
AN EYE WITNESSES' ACCOUNT. But Mr. and Mrs. Burton Welch used to tell an altogether different story. They were living there at the time, and presumably knew much more than those who got their information at second hand sixty years later. Their account is that Utsali and his followers ran Old Charley and his sons down and brought them to Gen. Scott's soldiers; but insisted on killing them themselves instead of having them shot by the soldiers. But they had not been captured together, Alonzo, Jake and George having been caught first at the head of Forney's creek, and shot at a point on the right bank of the Little Tennessee nearly opposite the mouth of Panther creek, and just below Burton Welch's home, where Jake gave a soldier ten cents to give to his squaw, that being all he had on earth to leave her. The three trees to which they were tied are now dead, but Burton Welch, who when a boy witnessed the execution, used to declare that these trees never grew any larger after having been made to serve as stakes for the shedding of human blood. These three Indians are buried in one grave near by, but there is now nothing to mark the spot.
OLD CHARLEY IS KILLED AND HIS SQUAW MOURNS. It was some time afterwards that Old Charley was caught in the Smokier, brought to within a short distance below what is now Bryson City and shot by Indians. Mrs. Welch, Who was a first cousin of Captain James P. Sawyer of Asheville, saw Old Charley killed. This was before her marriage to Burton Welch, and she remembers that Charley had a white cloth tied around his forehead, and that she saw it stain red before she heard the report of the guns of the firing squad. The fugitive squaws were never punished. But Charley's squaw came to Mrs. Welch's father's house, where she was shown Old Charley's grave. She sat down beside it and piled up the sand with her hands until she made a mound, and then rocked herself to and fro and cried. Mrs. Welch went shortly afterwards to Old Charley's former home, one mile from the mouth of the Nantahala river. She spoke of the deserted look of the place, the little cabin with its open door, and old Nancy's spinning-wheel, her loom and warping bars, while outside, in the chimney corner, was Old Charley's plough-stock and harness, the traces of which had been made of hickory hark.
DID THE GOVERNMENT WINK AT THIS COMPROMISE? As it seemed exceedingly improbable that the government would deliberately violate the terms of a treaty- that had been solemnly made with the Cherokees without the approval of the Senate, and allow a thousand Cherokees to remain behind, especially after General Jackson had emphatically refused to allow any of them to remain on any term, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs was asked for any official information that might be on file in his office concerning this matter, with this result: "It is true that by supplemental articles of agreement pre-emption rights and reservations provided for the Cherokee, who remained east of the Mississippi were relinquished and declared void. (See 7 Stat. L, 488) However, many of the Indians did remain east of the Mississippi and the Act of Jul,-,,' 29, 1`38, (!3 Stat. L., 264) provided for the setting aside of a fund for these Indiana, the interest of which was to be paid them annually until their removal west of the Mississippi, when the principal was to be paid them." This letter is dated January 29, 1913, and was supplemental to another of January 21, 1913, in which this language is used: "You are advised that nothing has been found in the files of this office regarding the alleged agreement of General Scott to allow part of the Cherokees to remain in North Carolina on condition that they surrender Old Charlie and his sons. " Again, on February 27, 1913, he wrote: "I have of course no objection to your quoting all or any part of office letters to you on this subject. As to your following these letters with the quotation given in your letter, I would rather not. express an opinion, since I had a search of the records made and found nothing about the alleged agreement to allow certain of the Cherokees to remain east of the Mississippi. I would not be warranted in saying that such an agreement was not made, since there were many things happening in the Indian country about that period of which this office has no record."
RECOGNITION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE EASTERN BAND. On August 6, 1846, a treaty was concluded at Washington by which the rights of the Eastern Cherokees to a participation in the benefits of the New Echota treaty of 1835 were distinctly recognized, and provision made for the final adjustment of all unpaid and pending claims due under that treaty; the government having insisted before that time that those rights were conditional upon their removal to the West. Col. W. H. Thomas then took charge of the Eastern Band.<a href="#6" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 6
In Wheeler, Vol. II (pp. 205-6) is a letter from Col. Thomas to Hon. James Graham, dated October 15, 1838, in which he gives a brief account of the Eastern Band and why they were allowed to remain.">
WILLIAM HOLLAND THOMAS. He was born in 1805 in Haywood county. His father was of a Welch family, fought at Rings Mountain under Col. Campbell, and was related to Zachary Taylor. His mother was descended from a Maryland family of Revolutionary stock. He was an only and posthumous child, his father having been accidentally drowned a short time before he was born. When twelve years old he was engaged to tend an Indian trading store on Soco creek by Felix Walker, son of the congressman who made a national reputation by "talking for Buncombe. "Here he studied law, and was duly admitted to practice. He was adopted by Yonaguska, the Cherokee chief, and was called Will-Usdi, or "Little Will." He learned the spoken and written language, acquiring the Sequoya syllabary shortly after its invention. Soon after the removal of the Cherokees Thomas bought a fine farm near Whittier, and built a home which he called Stekoa, after the Indian town on the same site which had been destroyed by Rutherford in 1776. At the time of the removal he owned five trading stores, viz: at Quallatown, at Murphy, at Charleston, Tenn., at Robbinsville and at Webster. As agent for the Cherokees he bought the five towns for them at Bird-town, Paint-town, Wolf-town, Yellow-hill, and Big Cove. He drew up a simple form of government for them, which was executed by Yonaguska till his death and afterwards by Thomas. In 1848 he entered the State Senate, and inaugurated a system of road improvement and was the father of the Western North Carolina railroad. He voted for secession in 1861, and in 1862 organized the Thomas Legion, composed of Cherokees and white citizens. After the war his health failed. His conduct of Cherokee affairs was settled by arbitrators, and it was found that the Indians had lost nothing, and had gained largely under his leadership. Col. Thomas, with 300 Indians and Col. James R. Love with 300 white soldiers, confronted Col. Bartlett of New York in April, 1865, near Waynesville. At sight of the Indians and after hearing their yells Bartlett agreed to surrender, and Col. Thomas paroled his men, allowing them to retain their side arms.<a href="#7" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 7
Condensed from 19th An. Rep. Bureau Am. Ethnology, and N. C. Booklet, Vol. III, No. 2. These notes were from the Nineteenth Report, and I have already sufficiently stated that everything not otherwise noted (Note 2) is taken from that authority."> Col. Thomas died May 12, 1893.
THE LATE CAPTAIN JAMES W. TERRELL. "In 1852 (Capt.) James W. Terrell was engaged by (Col. W. H.) Thomas, then in the State Senate, to take charge of his store at Qualla, and remained associated with him and in close contact with the Indians from then until after the close of the war, assisting, as special United States Agent, in the disbursement of the interest payments, and afterward as a Confederate officer in the organization of the Indian companies, holding a commission as captain of Company A, Sixty-ninth North Carolina Confederate infantry. Being of an investigating bent, Captain Terrell was led to give attention to the customs and mythology of the Cherokee, and to accumulate a fund of information on the subject seldom possessed by a white man."
NORTH CAROLINA GIVES PERMISSION. "In 1855 Congress directed the per capita payment to the East Cherokees of the removal fund established for them in 1818, provided that North Carolina should first give assurance that they would be allowed to remain permanently in that State. This assurance, however, was not given until 1866, and the money was therefore not distributed, but remained in the treasury until 1875, when it was made applicable to the purchase of lands and the quieting of titles for the benefit of the Indians."
LANMAN, DANIEL WEBSTER'S SECRETARY. In the spring of 1818 the author, Lanman, visited the East Cherokees and has left an interesting account of their condition at the tune, together with a description of their ball-plays, dances, and customs generally, having been the guest of Colonel Thomas, of whom he speaks as the guide, counselor, and friend of the Indians, ac well as their business agent and chief, so that the connection was like that existing between a father and his children. He puts the number of Indians at about 800 Cherokee and 100 Catawba on the "Quallatown" reservation the name being in use thus early with 200 more Indians residing in the more westerly portion of the State. Of their general condition he says:
CONDITION of INDIANS IN 1848. "About three-fourths of the entire population can read in their own language, and, though the majority of them understand English, a very few can speak the language. They practice, to a considerable extent, the science of agriculture, and have acquired such a knowledge of the mechanic arts as answers them for all ordinary purposes, for they manufacture their own clothing, their own ploughs, and other farming utensils, their own fixes, and even their own guns. Their women are no longer treated as slaves, but as equals; the men labor in the fields and their wives are devoted entirely to household employments. They keep the wine domestic animals that are kept by their white neighbors, and cultivate all the common grains of the country. They are probably as temperate as any other class of people on the face of the earth, honest in their business intercourse, moral in their thought,, words, and deeds, and distinguished for their faithfulness in performing the duties of religion. They are chiefly Methodists and Baptists, and have regularly ordained ministers, who preach to them on every Sabbath, and they have also abandoned many of their more senseless superstition. They have their own court and try their criminals by a regular jury. Their judges and lawyers are chosen from among themselves. They keep in order the public roads leading through their settlement. By a law of the State they have a right to vote, but seldom exercise that right, as they do not like the idea of being identified with any of the political parties. Excepting on festive days, they dress after the manner of the white man, but far more picturesquely. They live in small log houses of their own construction, and have everything they need or desire in the way of food. They are, in fact, the happiest community that I have yet met with in this southern country."
SALALI. Among the other notables Lanman speaks thus of Salili, "Squirrel," a born mechanic of the band, who died only a few years since:
"He is quite a young man and has a remarkably thoughtful face He is the blacksmith of his nation, and with some assistance supplies the whole of Qualla town with all their axes and plows; but what is more, he has manufactured a number of very superior rifles and pistols, including stock, barrel, and lock, and he is also the builder of grist mills, which grind all the corn which his people eat. A specimen of his workmanship in the way of a rifle may be seen at the Patent Office in Washington, where it was deposited by Mr. Thomas; and I believe Salali is the first Indian who ever manufactured an entire gun. But when it is remembered that he never received a particle of education in any of the mechanic arts, but is entirely self-taught, his attainments must be considered truly remarkable."
COLONEL THOMAS THWARTS GENERAL KIRBY SMITH. "From 1855 until after the Civil War we find no official notice of the East Cherokees, and our information must be obtained from other sources. It was, however, a most. momentous period in their history. At the outbreak of the war Thomas was serving his seventh consecutive term in the State Senate. Being an ardent Confederate sympathizer, he was elected a delegate to the convention which passed the secession ordinance, and immediately after voting in favor of that measure resigned from the Senate in order to work for the Southern cause. As he was already well advanced in years it is doubtful if his effort would have gone beyond the raising of funds and other supplies but for the fact that at this juncture an effort was made by the Confederate General Kirby Smith to enlist the East Cherokees for active service.
KIRBY SMITH's EMISSARY. "The agent sent for this purpose was Washington Morgan, known to the Indians as Aganstata, son of that Colonel Gideon Morgan who had commanded the Cherokee at the Horseshoe Bend. By virtue of his Indian blood and historic ancestry he was deemed the most fitting emissary for the purpose. Early in 1862 he arrived among the Cherokee, and by appealing to old time memories so aroused the war spirit among them that a large number declared themselves ready to follow wherever he led. Conceiving the question at issue in the war to be one that (lid not concern the Indians, Thomas had discouraged their participation in it and advised them to remain at home in quiet neutrality. Now, however, knowing 'Morgan's reputation for reckless daring, he became alarmed at the possible result to them of such leadership. Forced either to see them go from his own protection or to lead them himself, he chose the latter alternative and proposed to them to enlist in the Confederate legion which he was about to organize. His object, as he himself has stated, was to keep them out of danger so far as possible by utilizing them as scouts and home guards through the mountains, away from the path of the large armies. Nothing of this was said to the Indians, who might not have been satisfied with such an arrangement. Morgan went back alone and the Cherokee enrolled under the command of their white chief.
FORMATION of THOMAS'S LEGION. "The `Thomas Legion,' recruited in 1862 by William H. Thomas for the Confederate service and commanded by him as colonel, consisted originally of one infantry regiment of ten companies (Sixty-ninth North Carolina Infantry), one infantry battalion of six companies, one cavalry battalion of eight companies (First North Carolina Cavalry Battalion), one field battery (Light Battery) of 103 officers and men, and one company of engineers; in all about 2,800 men. The infantry battalion was recruited toward the close of the war to a full regiment of ten companies and two other companies of the infantry regiment recruited later were composed almost entirely of East Cherokee Indians, most of the commissioned officers being white men. The whole number of Cherokee thus enlisted was nearly four hundred, or about every able-bodied man in the tribe."
ONE SECRET OF COL. THOMAS'S SUCCESS. Many have wondered how Col. Thomas could so soon have obtained complete control of all the affairs of the Eastern Band of Cherokees, and how he could have obtained from the Confederate government its consent for the organization of these Indians into an independent legion, subject almost entirely to his control, and required to operate only in the restricted territory immediately surrounding their reservation at Quallytown. But when it is remembered that his mother was Temperance Calvert, and that he himself was closely related to Zachary Taylor, President of the United States, whose daughter became the wife of Jefferson Davis, President of the Southern Confederacy, much that was incomprehensible becomes plain. Indeed, all the so called Colvards of Ashe, Graham and Haywood counties claim that their real name was originally Calvert; that they are descendants of the Calverts of Maryland; and the late Captain James W. Terrell always insisted that Temperance Calvert was a grand-niece of Lord Baltimore himself. Col. Thomas was also first cousin to John Strother, whose family was one of influence and standing in Virginia in former days. (See N. C. University Magazine for May, 1899, pp. 291 to 295.)
CHEROKEE SCOUTS AND HOME GUARDS. "In accordance with Thomas's plan the Indians were employed chiefly as scouts and home guards in the mountain region along the Tennessee- Carolina border, where, according to the testimony of Colonel Stringfield, they did good work and service for the South. The most important engagement in which they were concerned occurred at Baptist gap, Tennessee, September 15, 1862, where Lieutenant Astugataga, a splendid specimen of Indian manhood, was killed in a charge. The Indians were furious at his death, and before they could be restrained they scalped one or two of the Federal dead. For this action ample apologies were afterwards given by their superior officers. The war, in fact, brought out all the latent Indian in their nature. Before starting to the front every man consulted an oracle stone to learn whether or not he might hope to return in safety. The start was celebrated with a grand old-time war-dance at the townhouse on Soco, … the Indians being painted and feathered in good old style, Thomas himself frequently assisting as master of ceremonies. The ball-play, too, was not forgotten, and on one occasion a detachment of Cherokees, left to guard a bridge, became so engrossed in the excitement of the game as to narrowly escape capture by a sudden dash of the Federals. Owing to Thomas's care for their welfare, they suffered but slightly in actual battle, although a number died of hardship and disease. When the Confederates evacuated eastern Tennessee, in the winter of 1863-64, some of the white troops of the legion, with one or two of the Cherokee companies, were shifted to western Virginia, and by assignment to other regiments a few of the Cherokee were present at the final siege and surrender of Richmond. The main body of the Indians, with the rest of the Thomas Legion, crossed over into North Carolina and did service protecting the western border until the close of the war, when they surrendered on parole at Waynesville, North Carolina, in May 1865, all those of the command being allowed to keep their gun,. It is claimed by their officers that they were the last of the Confederate forces to surrender. About fifty of the Cherokee veterans still survive (in 1899), nearly half of whom, under conduct of Colonel Stringfield, attended the Confederate reunion at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1900, where they attracted much attention.
CONFEDERATE CONGRESS PROVIDES FUNDS. "In 1863, by resolution of February 12, the Confederate House of Representatives called for information as to the number and condition of the East Cherokee, and their pending relations with the Federal government at the beginning of the war, with a view to continuing these relations under Confederate auspices. In response to this inquiry a report was submitted by the Confederate Commissioner of Indian Affairs, S. S. Scott, based on information furnished by Colonel Thomas and Captain James W. Terrell, their former disbursing agent, showing that interest upon the `removal and subsistence fund' established in 1848 had been paid annually up to and including the year 1859, at the rate of 53.20 per capita, or an aggregate, exclusive of disbursing agent's commission, of 84,838.40 annually, based upon the original Mullay enumeration of 1,517.
"Upon receipt of this report it was enacted by the Confederate Congress that the sum of $19,302.36 be paid the East Cherokee to cover the interest period of four years from May 23, 1860 to May 23, 1864.
CAPTURED CHEROKEES DESERT CONFEDERACY. "In a skirmish near Bryson City (then Charleston), Swain county, North Carolina, about a year after enlistment, a small party of Cherokees-perhaps a dozen in number-were captured by a detachment of Union troops and carried to Knoxville, where, having become dissatisfied with their experience in the Confederate service, they were easily- persuaded to go over to the Union side. Through the influence of their principal man, Diganeski, several others mere induced to desert to the Union army, making about thirty in all. As a part of the Third North Carolina Mounted Volunteer Infantry, they- served with the Union forces in the same region until the close of the war, when they returned to their homes to find their tribesmen so bitterly incensed against them that for some time their lives were in danger. Eight of these were still alive in 1900.
AFTER CIVIL WAR. "Shortly after this event Colonel Thomas was compelled by physical and mental infirmity to retire from further active participation in the affairs of the East Cherokee, after more than half a century spent in intimate connection with them, during the greater portion of which time he had been their most trusted friend and adviser. Their affairs at once became the prey of confusion and factional strife, which continued until the United States stepped in as arbiter.
CHEROKEES ADOPT NEW GOVERNMENT, 1870. "On December 9, 1868, a general council of the East Cherokee assembled at Cheowa, in Graham county, North Carolina, took preliminary steps toward the adoption of a regular form of tribal government under a constitution. N. J. Smith, afterward principal chief, was clerk of the council. The new government was formally inaugurated on December 1, 1870.
STATUS OF INDIAN LANDS. "The status of the lands held by the Indians had now become a matter of serious concern. As has been stated, the deeds had been made out by Thomas in his own name, as the State laws at that time forbade Indian ownership of real estate. In consequence of his losses during the war and his subsequent disability, the Thomas properties, of which the Cherokee lands were technically a part, had become involved, so that the entire estate had passed into the hands of creditors, the most important of whom, William Johnston, had obtained sheriff's deeds in 1869 for all of these Indian lands under three several judgments against Thomas, aggregating $33,887.11.To adjust the matter so as to secure title and possession to the Indians, Congress in 1870 authorized suit to be brought in their name for the recovery of their interest. This suit was begun in 'May, 1873, in the United States Circuit Court for western North Carolina. A year later the matters in dispute were submitted by agreement to a board of arbitrators, whose award was confirmed by the court in November, 1871.
LAND STATUS SETTLED BY ARBITRATION. "The award finds that Thomas had purchased with Indian funds a tract estimated to contain 50,000 acres on Oconaluftee river and Soco creek, and known as the Qualla boundary, together with a number of individual tracts outside the boundary; that the Indians were still indebted to Thomas toward the purchase of the Qualla boundary lands for the sum of $18,250, from which should be deducted 86,500 paid by them to Johnston to release titles, with interest to date of award, making an aggregate of 88,486, together with a further sum of 82,478, which had been intrusted to Terrell, the business clerk and assistant of Thomas, and by him turned over to Thomas, as creditor of the Indians, under power of attorney, this latter sum, with interest to date of award, aggregating 82,697.89; thus leaving a balance due from the Indians to Thomas or his legal creditor, Johnston, of $7,066.11. The award declares that Johnston should be allowed to hold the lands bought by him only as security for the balance due him until paid, and that on the payment of the said balance of 87,066.11, with interest at six per cent from the date of the award, the Indians should be entitled to a clear conveyance from him of the legal title to all the lands embraced within the Qualla boundary.
PART OF SUBSISTENCE FUND USED TO CLEAR TITLE. "To enable the Indians to clear off this lien on their lands and for other purposes, Congress in 1875 directed that as much as remained of the `removal and subsistence fund' set apart for their benefit in 1848 should be used `in perfecting the titles to the lands awarded to them, and to pay the costs, expenses, and liabilities attending their recent. litigations, also to purchase and extinguish the titles of any- white persons to lands within the general boundaries alotted to them by the court, and for the education, improvement, and civilization of their people.' In accordance with this authority- the unpaid balance and interest clue Johnston, amounting to $7,242.76, was paid him in the same year, and shortly afterward there was purchased on behalf of the Indians some fifteen thousand acres additional, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs being constituted trustee for the Indians. For the better protection of the Indians the lands were made inalienable except by assent of the council and upon approval of the President of the United States.
DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS ASSUMES CONTROL. "The titles and boundaries having been adjusted, the Indian Office assumed regular supervision of East Cherokee affairs, and in June, 1875, the first agent since the retirement of Thomas was sent out in the person of W. C. McCarthy He found the Indians, according to his report, destitute and discouraged, almost without stock or farming tools. There were no schools, and very few full-bloods could speak English, although to their credit nearly all could read and write their own language, the parents teaching the children. Under his authority a distribution was made of stock animals, seed wheat, and farming tools, and several schools were started. In the next year, however, the agency was discontinued and the educational interests of the band turned over to the State School Superintendent.
THE OLD INDIAN FRIENDS, THE QUAKERS. "The neglected condition of the East Cherokee having been brought to the attention of those old time friends of the Indian, the Quakers, through an appeal made in their behalf by members of that society residing in North Carolina, the Western Yearly Meeting, of Indiana, volunteered to undertake the work of civilization and education. On May 31, 1881, representatives of the Friends entered into a contract with the Indians, subject to approval by the Government, to establish and continue among them for ten years an industrial school and other common schools, to be supported in part from the annual interest of the trust fund held by the Government to the credit of the East Cherokee and in part by funds furnished by the Friends themselves. Through the efforts of Barnabas C. Hobbs, of the Western Yearly Meeting, a yearly contract to the same effect was entered into with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs later in the same year, and was renewed by successive commissioners to cover the period of ten years ending June 30, 1892, when the contract system was terminated and the Government assumed direct control. Under the joint arrangement, with some aid at the outset from the North Carolina Meeting, work was begun in 1881 by Thomas Brown with several teachers sent out by the Indiana Friends, who established a small training school at the agency headquarters at Cherokee, and several day schools in the outlying settlements. He was succeeded three years later by H. Spray, an experienced educator, who, with a corps of efficient assistants and greatly enlarged facilities, continued to do good work for the elevation of the Indians until the close of the contract system eight years later. After an interregnum, (luring which the schools suffered from frequent changes, he was reappointed as government agent and superintendent in 1898, a position which he still holds in 1901. To the work conducted under his auspices the East Cherokee owe much of what they have today of civilization and enlightenment.
EASTERN BAND SUES IN COURT OF CLAIMS. "The East Cherokee had never ceased to contend for a participation in the rights and privileges accruing to the western nation under treaties with the government. In 1882 a special agent had been appointed to investigate their claims and in the following year, under authority of Congress, the eastern band of Cherokee brought suit in the Court of Claims against the United States and the Cherokee Indians. The case was decided adversely to the eastern band, first by the Court of Claims in 1885, and finally, on appeal, by the Supreme Court on March 1, 1886, that court holding in its decision that the Cherokee in North Carolina had dissolved their connection with the Cherokee nation and ceased to be a part of it when they refused to accompany the main body at the Removal, and that if Indians in North Carolina or in any state east of the Mississippi wished to enjoy the benefits of the common property of the Cherokee Nation in any form whatever they must be readmitted to citizenship in the Cherokee Nation and comply with its constitution and laws.
EASTERN BAND INCORPORATED. "In order to acquire a more definite legal status, the Cherokee residing in North Carolina-being practically all those of the eastern band having genuine Indian interests-became a corporate body under the laws of the state in 1889.In 1894 the long-standing litigation between the East Cherokee and a number of creditors and claimants to Indian lands within and adjoining the Qualla boundary was finally settled by a compromise by which the several white tenants and claimants within the boundary agreed to execute a quitclaim and vacate on payment to them by the Indians of sums aggregating $24,552, while for another disputed adjoining tract of 33,000 acres the United States agreed to pay, for the Indians, at the rate of $1.25 per acre. The necessary government approval having been obtained, Congress appropriated a sufficient amount for carrying into effect the agreement, thus at last completing a perfect and unencumbered title to all the lands claimed by the Indians, with the exception of a few outlying tracts of comparative unimportance.
EXACT LEGAL STATUS STILL IN DISPUTE. "The exact legal status of the East Cherokee is still a matter of dispute, they being at once wards of the government, citizens of the United States, and (in North Carolina) a corporate body under state laws. They pay real estate taxes and road service, exercise the voting privilege and are amenable to local courts, but do not pay poll tax or receive any pauper assistance from the counties; neither can they make free contracts or alienate their lands. Under their tribal constitution they are governed by a principal and an assistant chief, elected for a term of four years, with an executive council appointed by the chief, and sixteen councilors elected by the various settlements for a term of two years. The annual council is held in October at Cherokee, on the reservation, the proceedings being in the Cherokee language and recorded by their clerk in the Cherokee alphabet, as well as in English.
PRESENT MATERIAL CONDITIONS. "The majority are fairly comfortable, far above the condition of most Indian tribes, and but little, if any, behind their white neighbors. In literary ability they may even be said to surpass them, as in addition to the result of nearly twenty years of school work among the younger people, nearly- all the men and some of the women can read and write their own language. All wear civilized costumes, though an occasional pair of moccasins is seen, while the women find means to gratify the racial love of color in the wearing of red bandanna kerchiefs in place of bonnets. The older people still cling to their ancient rites and sacred traditions, but the dance and the ballplay wither and the Indian day is nearly spent. "
EASTERN BAND TRY TO SELL TIMBER. Since Mr. Moody's concluding words were written the courts have managed still more to confuse the legal status of the Cherokees, for in September, 1893, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, acting as a corporation of the State of North Carolina, by virtue of Chapter 211, Private Laws of 1889, sold and conveyed to David L. Boyd certain timber on the Cathcart tract of the Qualla boundary, containing about 30,000 acres. In January, 1894, David L. Boyd sold said trees to H. M. Dickson and William T. Mason, who afterwards conveyed them to the Dickson-Mason Lumber Company. Before beginning to cut these trees the Dickson-Mason Company was apprised of the fact that the Department of the Interior of the United States had not sanctioned the sale of this timber, and refused to ratify the contract. This company, on the other hand, had been advised that the band of Indians were citizens of North Carolina and not tribal Indians, and, therefore, had the right to convey the trees; and desiring to have the question tested by the courts, put a few men to work cutting the timber, at the same time notifying the agents of the Government and the United States District Attorney of the fact. The government instituted a suit in which it asked a perpetual injunction against the Dickson-'Mason Company; but at the next term of the United States Court at Asheville, in November, 1894, the government voluntarily took a nonsuit in the cause, the Attorney General holding that "the legal status of the Indians in question is that of citizens of North Carolina; that they have been in all respects citizens since the date of or soon after the treaty with the Cherokees of 1885 [1835'], and this with the consent of the United States expressed in that treaty, by the election of the Indians and the consent of --North Carolina. They have voted at all elections for half a century, and are citizens of the United State. It seems clear that Congress could not, by the Act of July 27, 1868, or otherwise (if such was the intention) make of them an Indian tribe or place them under the control of the United States as Indians, any more effectually than if they- had been white citizens of Massachusetts or Georgia (Eastern Band Cherokee Indians t,. the United Males and Cherokee Nation, 117 U. S. 228). Neither could such citizens of North Carolina make themselves a tribe of Indians within that State."
INTERIOR DEPARTMENT INTERVENES. Accordingly, the Dickson-Mason Company began malting large and expensive preparations for cutting the timber on the Cathcart boundary. But, it turned out later, that the Interior Department was not satisfied with this disposition of the matter and commenced another action based on the same facts, but alleging fraud in obtaining the Boyd contract from the Indians. Judge C. H. Simonton (in U. S. r. Boyd, 68 Fed. Rep., 587) held that the Eastern Band of Cherokees were not tribal Indians, but wards of the Government which, like any other guardian, had the right to see that any contract made by them was for their benefit and not to their detriment. In an opinion filed by him he held that "the case of the Cherokee trust fund (117 U. S., 288) does not conflict with these views. That case decides that this Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is not a part of the nation of Cherokees with which this Government treats, and that they have no recognized separate political existence. But, at the same time, their distinct unity is recognized, and the fostering care of the Government over them as such distinct unit. This being so, the United States have the right in their own Courts to bring such suits as may be necessary to protect these Indians. "
GOVERNMENT APPEALS FROM DECISION. The case was then referred to Hon. R. H. Douglas, Standing 'Master, who, in November, 1895, found that the price paid for the timber (815,000) was fair and that there was no fraud in making the contract. This report was confirmed, but the Government appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals from so much of the decree as held that the Court had the power to permit the parties to carry out the contract without the sanction of the Interior Department, upon the ground that "these Indians were tribal Indians and embraced within the terms of congressional enactments for the protection of tribal Indians." This contention was sustained on appeal (see U. S. v Boyd and others, 83 Fed. Rep., 517), though "no reference is made by the Curt to the decision of the t toted Stales Supreme Court in case of the Eastern Bowl of the Cherokee Indians v United States awl Cherokee Nation (117 U. S. Rep., 288) where the, whole subject is discussed, and where, on page 309, the Court says "…they have never been recognized by the United States; no treaty has been made with them; they can pass no laws; they are citizens of that State [North Carolina] and bound by its laws.'"
LUMBER COMPANY APPEALS. From this decision the Dickson - Mason Company appealed to the United States Supreme Court in May, 1888, but before its perfection the Interior Department re-investigated the contract of sale of the timber, and fully ratified the same. The appeal, therefore, was abandoned; and the anomaly remains that the Cherokees are citizens of North Carolina, according to the United States Supreme Court, while they are still tribal Indains whose contracts are void without the approval of the Department of the Interior, according to the decision of an inferior tribunal, that of the U. S. Court of Appeals. (For a full report of these cases see Private Calender No. 725, 61st Congress, 3d Session, House Rep. Report No. 1926, January 17, 1911.) Thus each party to this proceeding obtained what was sought by it; the Dickson-Mason company the right to cut and remove the timber, and the Interior Department a decision which gives it a right to review every contract made by the Eastern Band of Cherokees. And it is well that this is so, for while there was no fraud in this particular contract, nevertheless, there may be in contracts yet to be made.
UNITED STATES VACILLATES, STATE STANDS FIRM. The above is the work of the United States authorities. So far as North Carolina is concerned, her courts have finally and forever settled the status of the Cherokee Indians in her borders as citizens of this State, as will fully appear by reference to Frazier v. Cherokee Indians, 146 N. C., 477, and State v. Wolfe, 145 N. C., 440.
FINAL DISTRIBUTION. "In 1910 was distributed to the Eastern Band of Cherokees about $133 per capita.<a href="#8" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 8
Statement of Hon. Geo. H. Smathers, attorney for the Eastern Band, to J. P. A., May 28, 1912."> This is the final payment on their claims against the Government for a balance due them under the New Echota treaty of 1835-1836, under which the Government had promised to pay the Eastern Band of Cherokees (before the removal) $5,000,000 for a release to all of their lands east of the Mississippi river, part of which was to be paid in cash and the balance invested in bonds and held for their benefit. But there is another provision under which each Indian was to be paid for transportation to the Indian Territory and for one year's subsistence after arriving there. There was a question as to whether this money was to be in addition to the $5,000,000 to be paid for the lands or was to be deducted from that fund. In a subsequent settlement with the Government (1852) the Indians gave a receipt which was in full of all claims and demands, although at that time the question of this transportation and subsistence payment had not been discussed.<a href="#9" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 9
See 9 Stat. L. 544-556-570-572; 40 Court of Claims, 281-252; 202 U. S. Rep., 101-130."> It was afterwards raised, however, but the United States claimed that the Cherokees were estopped by their receipt above referred to. Thus matters stood when Hon. Hoke Smith, Secretary of the Interior under President Cleveland, sought to purchase of the Western Band the Cherokee Strip of the Indian Territory (25 Stat., 1005 of 1889). The Cherokees then refused to consider any proposition to sell until the Government agreed to allow them to prove any claim they might still have against the Government under the New Echota treaty. This the Government agreed to December 19, 1891, and the Cherokee Strip was sold. The Interior Department investigated their claims and reported that there was due the Indians $1,111,284.71 which, at five per cent from 12th June, 1838, amounted to about $4,500,000. But the Department of Justice decided against the admission of the Department of the Interior, the Attorney General holding that the receipt of 1852 estopped the Indians from setting up any further claims, March 2, 1893. Whereupon, Congress passed an act authorizing the Indians to set up their contentions before the Court of Claims, which decided in favor of the Indians. But the United States appealed to the Supreme Court, which sustained the Court of Claims, with some slight modifications. An effort was made to pay out this money per stirpes, but that was found to be impracticable and the payment had to be made per capita, owing to intermarriages between the Indians and the whites. According to the roll of 1851 the Eastern Band composed about one-ninth of the Cherokee Nation, but in the final payment they were found to be only about one-eighteenth of the whole. See Easter?? Cherokees z.% United States, No. 23214 Court of Claims, decided March 7, 1910."
WESTERN CHEROKEE NATION DISSOLVED. In 1887 Congress abandoned the reservation plan, and enacted the Land Allotment Law, by which the land was divided into individual holdings to be held in trust by the government till each individual owner was considered competent to hold it in fee. This has now been (lone, the task of converting the Cherokees from a tribe into a body of individual owners of land having been commenced in 1902. Prior to that (late, in 1898, Congress had passed the Curtis act providing for the valuation and allotment of the lands of the Five Civilized Tribes. In 1906 the legislative, and judicial departments of the Cherokees ceased; but the executive branch was kept in existence under Principal Chief IV. C. Rogers. When Oklahoma became a state in 1907 all members of the tribe became citizens of the new state. By July 1, 1914, all community property had been converted into cash, amounting to about $600,000, or about $15 per capita, to 41,798 members, including about 2,000 full-blooded whites and 3,000 full - blooded negroes, descendants of slaves freed in 1865. The four other nations, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole and Chocktaw, will soon pass into full citizenship also. The Cherokees were admittedly the most advanced native American race since the Spanish exterminated the Incas and Aztecs. Ethnologically the Cherokees are said to have been a branch of the Iroquois family, though never allied with them politically. It is claimed that they were driven from their original home in the Appomattox basin, Virginia, into Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee. When the Supreme Court of the United States sustained the Cherokee treaties, Andrew Jackson remarked: "Now let John Marshall enforce his decision."
POPULATION. There are at this time in Swain, Jackson, Cherokee and Graham counties, North Carolina, a considerable number of Cherokee Indian. "The total population of the Cherokees, as given by the superintendent in charge for 1911, is 2,015. The enrollment in the different schools is as follows:
|Cherokee Indian School (Boarding)||175|
|Birdtown Day School||45|
|Snow Bird Gap (Day School)||34|
|Little Snow Bird||20|
"A considerable number attend public school where the degree of Indian blood is small. The non-reservation boarding schools provided by the Federal Government also have a number of pupils from this reservation."
INDIAN WEAPONS. From the Handbook of American Indians (Bulletin 30 of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, 90-94) can be obtained a full description of the arrowheads, arrows, bows and quivers, etc., of the American Indians; with pictures of arrowshaft straighteners, stone arrowshaft rubber, and the various methods of arrow release. It is generally supposed that the process by which the Indians manufactured the arrow- and spear-heads out of flint is among the lost arts; but Dr. W. H. Holmes, head curator of the department of anthropology of the Smithsonian Institution, wrote me, August 29, 1913, that "the processes referred to are well known and have been observed in practice among a number of western tribes, and the art has been acquired by numerous students of the subject, among others myself. In preparing a work for publication in the near future, I have described twenty processes practiced by different primitive peoples. The flint is usually quarried from pits at Flint Ridge, Ohio, and in many parts of Georgia and the Carolinas. It is broken into fragments and the thin favorable ones are chosen and the shape is roughed out by means of small hammerstones. These hammerstones are found in great numbers in flint bearing regions and are globular in shape or discoidal. Sometimes they have pits in opposite sides to accommodate the thumb and fingers while in use. When the shape is roughed out by strokes of the hammer, and the edges are in approximate shape, a piece of hard bone or antler is taken and the flakes are struck off on the edges by means of quick, hard pressure with the bone point. Sometimes the implement being shaped is held in the hand, the hand being protected by a pad of buckskin. Again, the implement being shaped is laid upon a solid surface of wood or stone beneath which is a pad of buckskin and the flakes are broken off by downward pressure of the instrument."
ORIGIN OF THE MOUNDS. Were built for town-houses from which to witness dances and games, and be above freshet.
CHEOWA MAXIMA. A bald mountain at head of Cheowa river, was the place of hornets, from a monster hornet which nested there.
JOANNA BALD. A bald mountain between Graham and Cherokee, called "lizard place," from a great lizard with shining throat.
JUDACULLA OLD FIELD. On slope of Tennessee bald, where a giant of that name had had his residence and field.
JUDACULLA ROCK. On the north bank of Caney fork, a mile above Moses' creek, being a large soapstone slab covered with rude carvings.
NANTAHALA. A river in Macon, being a corruption of Nundayeli, or middle sun, because between the river banks the sun can be seen only at noonday. Others say it means a maiden's bosom.
NUGATSANI. A ridge below Yellow Hill, said to be the resort of fairies. The word denotes a gradual or gentle slope.
QUALLA. A name given a locality where there was a trading post because a woman named Polly lived there, the Indians pronouncing it Qually, being unable to articulate the letter p.
SOCO GAP. At the head of Soco creek, and means an ambush or where they were ambushed, from which point they watched for enemies approaching from the north. It, was there they ambushed an invading party of Shawano. Hence the name.
STANDING INDIAN. A high peak at the head of Nantahala river, meaning "where the man stood" (Yunwitsulenunyi), from a rock that used to jut out from the summit, but is now broken off.
STEKOA. The W. H. Thomas farm above Whittier, the true meaning of which is lost. It does not mean "little fat," as some suppose.
SWANNANOA. It does not mean "beautiful," but is a corruption of Suwali nunna (hi), Suwali trail, the Cherokee name, not of the stream, but of the trail crossing the gap to the country of the Ani-Suwali or Cheraw.
TUSQUITTEE BALD. A mountain in Clay, meaning "where the water-dogs laughed"; because a hunter thought he heard dogs laugh there, but found that their pond had dried up, and they were on their way to Nantahala river, saying their gills had dried up.
VENGEANCE CREEK. A south branch of Valley river, because of the cross looks of an Indian woman who lived there.
WAYAH GAP. In Nantahala mountains on road from Aquone to Franklin, and is Cherokee for wolf. A fight occurred here in 1776. Some call it Warrior gap.
WEBSTER. Used to be called Unadantiyi, or "Where they conjured," though the name properly belongs to a gap three miles east of Webster on trail up Scott's creek.
McNAIR'S GRAVE. Just inside the Tennessee line is a stone-walled grave, with a slab on which is an epitaph telling of the Removal heartbreak, having this inscription: "Sacred to the memory of David and Delilah A. McNair, who departed this life, the former on the 15th August, 1836, and the latter on the 30th November, 1838. Their children being members of the Cherokee nation and having to go with their people to the West, do leave this monument, not only to show their regard for their parents, but to guard their sacred ashes against the unhallowed intrusion of the white man."