Cherokee Indian Chiefs

Boudinot, Elias

Boudinot, Elias (native name Gălă-gi′na, ‘male deer or turkey’). A Cherokee Indian, educated in the foreign mission school at Cornwell, Conn., founded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which he entered with two other Cherokee youths in 1818 at the instance of the philanthropist whose name he was allowed to adopt. In 1827 the Cherokee council formally resolved to establish a national paper, and the following year the Cherokee Phoenix appeared under Boudinot’s editorship. After a precarious existence of 6 years, however, the paper was discontinued, and not resumed until after the removal of the Cherokee to Indian Teritory, when its place was finally taken by the Cherokee Advocate, established in 1844. In 1833 Boudinot wrote “Poor Sarah; or, the Indian Woman,” in Cherokee characters, published at New Echota by the United Brethren’s Missionary Society, another edition of which was printed at Park Hill in 1843; and from 1823 to the time of his death he was joint translator with Rev. S. A. Worcester of a number of the Gospels, some of which passed through several editions. Boudinot joined an insignificant minority of his people in support of the Ridge treaty and the subsequent treaty of New Echota, by the terms of which the Cherokee Nation surrendered its lands and removed to Indian Ter. This attitude made him so unpopular that on June 22, 1839, he was set upon and murdered, although not with the knowledge or connivance of the tribal officers. See Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E., 1900; Pilling, Bibliography of the Iroquoian Languages, Bull. B. A. E., 1888.


Bowl, The (a translation of his native name, Diwa′‘lĭ), also called Col. Bowles. A noted Cherokee chief and leader of one of the first bands to establish themselves permanently on the west side of the Mississippi. At the head of some hostile Cherokee from the Chickamauga towns he massacred all of the male members of a party of emigrants at Muscle shoals in Tennessee River in 1794, after which he retired up St. Francis River on the w. side of the Mississippi, and, his act being disowned by the Cherokee council, who offered to assist in his arrest, he remained in that region until after the cession of Louisiana Territory to the United States. About 1824 so much dissatisfaction was caused by delay in adjusting the boundaries of the territory of the Western Cherokee in Arkansas and the withholding of their annuities that a party headed by Bowl crossed Sabine River into Texas, where they were joined by bodies of refugees from a number of other eastern tribes and began negotiations with the Mexican government for a tract of land on Angelina, Neches, and Trinity rivers, but were interrupted by the outbreak of the Texan war for independence in 1835. Houston, who had long been a friend of the Cherokee, entered into a treaty to assign them certain lands along Angelina River, but it was rejected by the Texas senate in 1837, and Houston’s successor, Lamar, declared his intention to drive all the Indians from Texas. On the plea that they were entering into a conspiracy with the Mexican inhabitants, a commission, supported by several regiments of troops, was sent to the Cherokee town on Angelina River to demand that they remove at once across the border. On their refusal they were attacked, July 15-16, 1839, and defeated in two engagements, Bowl and his assistant chief, Hard-mush, being among the many killed. See Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E., 1900.

Big Mush

Big-mush. A noted western Cherokee, known to the whites also as Hard-mush and among his people as Gatiûñ’wa`li (‘bread made into balls or lumps’), killed by the Texans in 1839-Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E., 1900.

Black Fox

Black Fox (Inâlĭ). A principal chief of the Cherokee who, under the treaty of Jan. 7, 1806, by which the Cherokee ceded nearly 7,000 sq. m. of their lands in Tennessee and Alabama, was given a life annuity of $100.

He was then an old man. In 1810, as a member of the national council of his tribe, he signed an enactment formally abolishing the custom of clan revenge hitherto universal among the tribes, thus taking an important step toward civilization.-Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E., 87, 1900.


Dragging-canoe (translation of his Indian name, Tsíyu-gûnsíní known also as Cheucunsene and Kunnese). A prominent leader of those Cherokee who were hostile to the Americans during the Revolutionary war. He moved with his party to the site of Chickamauga, where he continued to harass the Tennessee settlements until 1782, when the Chickamauga towns were broken up. His people then moved farther down the river and established the “five lower towns,” but these also were destroyed in 1794. In accounts of the Creek war Dragging-canoe is mentioned as one of the prominent Cherokee chiefs in alliance with Jackson, and a participant in the last great encounter at Horseshoe Bend

Foreman, Stephen

Foreman, Stephen. A Cherokee who became an active coworker with the Presbyterian missionaries among his people. He received an elementary education at the mission school at Candy’s Creek, w of Cleveland, Tenn., and after pursuing some preparatory studies under Rev. S. A. Worcester at New Echota, Ga., spent a year at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and another at Princeton, N. J., in the study of theology. He was licensed to preach by the Union Presbytery of Tennessee about Oct. 1, 1833. Foreman is said to have preached with animation and fluency in the Cherokee language. With Mr Worcester he translated the Psalms and a large part of Isaiah into the Cherokee language. Pilling, Bibliog. Iroq. Lang., Bull. B. A. E., 1888.

Going Snake

Going Snake (I′nǎdû-na′ĭ. signifying that a person is ‘going along in company with a snake’). A Cherokee chief, prominent about 1825. Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E.522, 1900.


Hanging-maw (Uskwá′lĭ­gû′tǎ, ‘his stomach hangs down’). A prominent Cherokee chief of the Revolutionary period. Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E., 543, 1900.

Joly, John

Jolly, John. A Cherokee chief, noted as the adopted father of Gen. Samuel Houston, and later chief of the Arkansas band of Cherokee. His native name was Ahúludégĭ, He throws away the drum. His early life was spent in Tennessee, near the mouth of the Hiwassee, where an island still preserves his name, and it was here that Houston came to live with him, remaining 3 years and acquiring a life long friendship for his adopted people. In 1818 Jolly removed to the other side of the Mississippi and joined the Arkansas band, whose chief he became a few years later on the death of Tollunteeskee. Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E., 507, 1900.


Junaluska (corruption of Tsunúlǎhûñskĭ, ‘he tries repeatedly, but fails’). A former noted chief of the East Cherokee in North Carolina. In the Creek war of 1813-14 he led a detachment of warriors to the support of Gen. Jackson, and did good service at the bloody battle of the Horseshoe Bend. Having boasted on setting out that he would exterminate the Creeks, he was obliged to confess on his return that some of that tribe were still alive, whence the name jokingly bestowed upon him by his friends. He went west with his people in the removal of 1838, but returned to North Carolina, and as a special recognition of his past services was given citizenship rights and a tract of land at Cheowa, near the present Robbinsville, Graham co., N. C., where he died in 1858. See Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E.,97, 164-5, 1900.

Little Carpenter

Little Carpenter, Attakullaculla (Ătă’-gûl`kălû’, from ătă’ wood,’ gûl’kălû’ a verb implying that something long is leaning, without sufficient support, against some other object; hence ‘Leaningwood.’-Mooney).

A noted Cherokee chief, born about 1700, known to the whites as Little Carpenter (Little Cornplanter, by mistake, in Haywood). The first notice of him is as one of the delegation taken to England by Sir Alexander Cumming in 1730. It is stated that he was made second in authority under Oconostota in 1738. He was present at the conference with Gov. Glenn, of South Carolina, in July, 1753, where he was the chief speaker in behalf of the Indians, but asserted that he had not supreme authority, the consent of Oconostota, the war chief, being necessary for final action.

Through his influence a treaty of peace was arranged with Gov. Glenn in 1755, by which a large cession of territory was made to the King of England; and it was also through his instrumentality that Ft Dobbs was built, in the year following, about 20 miles, west of the present Salisbury, N. C. When Ft Loudon, on Little Tennessee River, Tenn., was captured by the Indians in 1760, and most of the garrison and refugees were massacred, Capt. Stuart, who had escaped the tomahawk, was escorted safely to Virginia by Attakullaculla, who purchased him from his Indian captor, giving to the latter, as ransom, his rifle, clothes, and everything he had with him. It was again through the influence of Attakullaculla that the treaty of Charleston was signed i n 1761, and that Stuart, after peace had been restored, was received by the Cherokee as the British agent for the southern tribes; yet notwithstanding his friendship for Stuart, who remained a steadfast loyalist in the Revolution, and the fact that a large majority of the Cherokee espoused the British cause, Attakullaculla raised a force of 500 native warriors which he offered to the Americans. He is described by William Bartram (Travels, 482, 1792), who visited him in 1776, as “a man of remarkably small stature, slender and of a delicate frame, the only instance I saw in the nation, but he is a man of superior abilities.” Although he had become sedate, dignified, and somewhat taciturn in mature years, Logan (Hist. Upper So. Car., 1, 490, 515, 1859) says that in his younger days he was fond of the bottle and often inebriate. The date of his death has not been recorded, but it was probably about 1780. See Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E., 1900.


Moytoy. A Cherokee chief of Tellico, Tenn., who became the so-called “emperor” of the seven chief Cherokee towns. Sir Alexander Cuming, desirous of enlisting the Cherokee in the British interest, decided to place in control a chief of his own selection. Moytoy was chosen, the Indians were induced to accept him, giving him the title of emperor; and, to carry out the program, all the Indians, including their new sovereign, pledged themselves on bended knees to be the faithful subjects of King George. On the next day, April 4, 1730, “the crown was brought front Great Tennessee, which, with five eagle-tails and four scalps of their enemies, Moytoy presented to Sir Alexander, empowering him to lay the same at His Majesty’s feet.” Nevertheless, Moytoy afterward became a bitter enemy of the whites, several of whom he killed without provocation at Sitico, Tenn. See Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, in 19th Rep. B. A. E., pt. 1, 1900.

Additional Cherokee Biographies


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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