Cherokee Indians

Cherokee Tribe: Meaning unknown, but possibly from Creek tciloki, “people of a different speech.” The middle and upper dialects substitute l for r. Also called:

  • Alligewi or Alleghanys, a people appearing in Delaware tradition who were perhaps identical with this tribe.
  • Ani’-Kǐtu’hwagǐ, own name, from one of their most important ancient settlements, and extended by Algonquian tribes to the whole.
  • Ani’-Yûn’-wiyâ’, own name, meaning “real people.”
  • Bäniatho, Arapaho name (Gatschet, MS., B. A. E.).
  • Entari ronnon, Wyandot name, meaning “mountain people.”
  • Mân-tĕrân’, Catawba name, meaning “coming out of the ground.”
  • Ochie’tari-ronnon; a Wyandot name.
  • Oyata’ ge’ronóñ, Iroquois name, meaning “inhabitants of the cave country.”
  • Shánaki, Caddo name.
  • Shánnakiak, Fox name (Gatschet, Fox MS., B. A. E.).
  • Talligewi, Delaware name (in Walam Olum), see Alligewi.
  • Tcálke, Tonkawa name.
  • Tcerokiéco, Wichita name.
  • Uwatáyo-róno, Wyandot name, meaning “cave people.”

Cherokee Connections. The Cherokee language is the most aberrant form of speech of the Iroquoian linguistic family.

Cherokee Location. From the earliest times of which we have any certain knowledge the Cherokee have occupied the highest districts at the southern end of the Appalachian chain, mainly in the States of Tennessee and North Carolina, but including also parts of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Virginia. (See also Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.)

Cherokee Villages

There were anciently three Cherokee dialects which probably corresponded in some measure to the three groups of towns into which early traders and explorers divided the tribe. These groups, with the towns belonging to each according to the Purcell map, but following as far as possible the Handbook (Hodge, 1907,1910) orthography, are as follows:

Lower Settlements:

  • Estatoee, 2 towns:
    1. Old Estatoee on Tugaloo River below the junction of Chattooga and Tullalah Rivers, in Oconee County, South Carolina.
    2. Estatoee in the northwestern part of Pickens County, South Carolina.
  • Keowee, 2 towns:
    1. Old Keowee on Keowee River near Fort George, Oconee County, South Carolina.
    2. New Keowee on the headwaters of Twelve-mile Creek in Pickens County, South Carolina, the latter also called probably Little Keowee.
  • Kulsetsiyi, 3 towns:
    1. On Keowee River, near Fall Creek, Oconee County, South Carolina.
    2. On Sugartown or Cullasagee Creek near Franklin, Macon County, South Carolina.
    3. On Sugartown Creek, near Morganton, Fannin County, Georgia.
  • Oconee, on Seneca Creek near Walhalla, Oconee County, South Carolina.
  • Qualatchee, 2 towns:
    1. On Keowee River, South Carolina.
    2. On the headwaters of Chattahoochee River, Georgia.
  • Tomassee, 2 towns:
    1. On Tomassee Creek of Keowee River, Oconee County, South Carolina.
    2. On Little Tennessee River near the entrance of Burningtown Creek, Macon County, South Carolina.
  • Toxaway, on Toxaway Creek, a branch of Keowee River, South Carolina.
  • Tugaloo, on Tugaloo River at the junction of Toccoa Creek, Habersham County, Georgia.
  • Ustanali, several towns so called:
    1. On Keowee River below the present Fort George, Oconee County, South Carolina.
    2. Probably on the waters of Tuckasegee River in western North Carolina.
    3. Just above the junction of Coosawatee and Conasauga Rivers to form the Oostanaula River in Gordon County, Georgia.
    4. Perhaps on Eastanollee Creek of Tugaloo River, Franklin County, Georgia.
    5. Perhaps on Eastaunaula Creek flowing into Hiwassee River in McMinn County, Tennessee.
    6. Possibly another.

Middle Settlements:

  • Cowee, about the mouth of Cowee Creek of Little Tennessee River, about 10 miles below Franklin, North Carolina.
  • Coweeshee, probably between the preceding and Yunsawi.
  • Ellijay, 4 towns:
    1. On the headwaters of Keowee River, South Carolina.
    2. On Ellijay Creek of Little Tennessee River near Franklin, North Carolina.
    3. About Ellijay in Gilmer County, Georgia.
    4. On Ellejoy Creek of Little River near Marysville in Blount County, Tenn.
  • Itseyi, 3 towns:
    1. On Brasstown Creek of Tugaloo River, Oconee County, South Carolina.
    2. On Little Tennessee River near Franklin, North Carolina.
    3. On upper Brasstown Creek of Hiwassee River, Towns County, Georgia.
  • Jore, on Iola Creek, an upper branch of Little Tennessee River, North Carolina.
  • Kituhwa, on Tuckasegee River and extending from above the junction of the Oconaluftee nearly to the present Bryson City, Swain County, North Carolina.
  • Nucassee, at the present Franklin, North Carolina.
  • Stikayi, 3 towns:
    1. On Sticoa Creek, near Clayton, Rabun County, Georgia.
    2. On Tuckasegee River at the old Thomas homestead just above Whittier, Swain County, North Carolina.
    3. On Stekoa Creek of Little Tennessee River, a few miles below the junction of Nantahala, Graham County, North Carolina.
  • Tawsee, on Tugaloo River, Habersham County, Ga. Tekanitli, in upper Georgia.
  • Tessuntee, on Cowee River, south of Franklin, North Carolina.
  • Tikaleyasuni, on Burningtown Creek, an upper branch of Little Tennessee River, western North Carolina.
  • Watauga, 2 towns:
    1. On Watauga Creek, a branch of Little Tennessee River, a few miles below Franklin, North Carolina.
    2. Traditionally located at Watauga Old Fields, about Elizabethtown, on Watauga River, in Carter County, Tennessee.
  • Yunsawi, on West Buffalo Creek of Cheowa River, Graham County, North Carolina.

Over-the-Hills and Valley Settlements, or Overhill Settlements:

  • Chatuga, 3 towns:
    1. On Chattooga River, on the boundary between South Carolina and Georgia.
    2. Probably on upper Tellico River, Monroe County, Tenn.
    3. Perhaps on Chattooga River, a tributary of the Coosa, in northwest Georgia.
  • Chilhowee, on Tellico River in Monroe County, Tenn., near the North Carolina border.
  • Cotocanahut, between Natuhli and Niowe.
  • Echota, 5 towns:
    1. Great Echota, on the south side of Little Tennessee River, a short distance below Citico Creek, Monroe County, Tenn.
    2. Little Echota on Santee Creek, a head stream of the Chattahoochee west of Clarksville, Ga.
    3. New Echota, at the junction of Oostanaula and Conasauga Rivers, Gordon County, Ga.
    4. The old Macedonian Mission on Soco Creek, of the North Carolina Reservation.
    5. At the great Nacoochee mound. (See Naguchee below.)
  • Hiwassee, 2 towns:
    1. Great Hiwassee on the north bank of Hiwassee River at the present Savannah Ford, above Columbus, Polk County, Tenn.
    2. At the junction of Peachtree Creek with Hiwassee River, above Murphy, N. C., probably the Guasuli of the De Soto Chroniclers.
  • Natuhli, on Nottely River, a branch of Hiwassee River at or near the site of the present Ranger, Cherokee County, N. C.
  • Nayuhi, seems to have been the name of four towns:
    1. Probably of the Lower Settlements, on the east bank of Tugaloo River, S. C.
    2. On the upper waters of Tennessee River, apparently in North Carolina.
    3. (3 and 4) in the same general region, the last three being mentioned by Bartram (1792).
  • Sitiku, on Little Tennessee River at the entrance of Citico Creek, Monroe County, Tenn.
  • Tahlasi, on Little Tennessee River about Talassee Ford in Blount County, Tenn.
  • Tallulah, 2 towns:
    1. On the upper Tallulah River, Rabun County, Ga.
    2. On Tallulah Creek of Cheowa River in Graham County, N. C.
  • Tamahli, 2 towns:
    1. On Valley River a few miles above Murphy, about the present Tomatola, Cherokee, County, N. C.
    2. On Little Tennessee River about Tomotley Ford, a few miles above Tellico River in Monroe County, Tenn.
  • Tellico, 4 towns:
    1. Great Tellico, at Tellico Plains on Tellico River, Monroe County, Tenn.
    2. Little Tellico, on Tellico Creek of Little Tennessee River about 10 miles below Franklin, N. C.
    3. (Also called Little Tellico at times) on Valley River about 5 miles above Murphy, N. C.
    4. Tahlequah, capital of the Cherokee Nation in what is now Oklahoma.
  • Tennessee, 2 towns:
    1. On Little Tennessee River a short distance above its junction with the main stream in east Tennessee.
    2. On an extreme head branch of Tuckasegee River, above the present Webster, N. C.
  • Toquo, on Little Tennessee River about the mouth of Toco Creek, Monroe County, Tenn.
  • Tsiyahi, 3 towns:
    1. On a branch of Keowee River, near the present Cheochee, Oconee County, S. C.
    2. A modern settlement on Cheowa River about Robbinsville, N. C.
    3. A former settlement in Cades Cove, on Cover Creek, Blount County, Tenn.
  • Ustanali; according to Purcell’s map, there was a town of this name different from those already given, on the upper waters of Cheowa River, Graham County, N. C.

Besides the above, the following settlements are given by Mooney and other writers:

  • Amahyaski, location unknown.
  • Amkalali, location unknown.
  • Amohi, location unknown.
  • Anisgayayi, a traditional town on Valley River, Cherokee County, N. C.
  • Anuyi, location unknown.
  • Aquohee, perhaps at the site of Fort Scott, on Nantahala River, Macon County, N. C.
  • Atsiniyi, location unknown.
  • Aumuchee, location unknown.
  • Ayahliyi, location unknown.
  • Big Island, on Big Island, in Little Tennessee River a short distance below the mouth of Tellico River.
  • Briertown, on Nantahala River about the mouth of Briertown Creek, Macon County, N. C.
  • Broomtown, location unknown.
  • Brown’s Village, location unknown.
  • Buffalo Fish, location unknown.
  • Canuga, 2 towns:
    1. Apparently on Keowee River, S. C.
    2. A traditional town on Pigeon River probably near Waynesville, Haywood County, N. C.
  • Catatoga, on Cartoogaja Creek of Little Tennessee River above Franklin, N. C.
  • Chagee, near the mouth of Chatooga Creek of Tugaloo River at or near Fort Madison, southwest Oconee County, S. C.
  • Cheesoheha, on a branch of Savannah River in upper South Carolina.
  • Chewase, on a branch of Tennessee River in East Tennessee.
  • Chicherohe, on War Woman Creek in the northwestern part of Rabun County, Ga.
  • Chickamauga, a temporary settlement on Chickamauga Creek near Chattanooga
  • Conisca, on a branch of Tennessee River.
  • Conontoroy, an “out town.”
  • Conoross, on Conoross Creek which enters Keowee or Seneca River from the west in Anderson County, S. C.
  • Coyatee, on Little Tennessee River about 10 miles below the Tellico, about the present Coytee, Loudon County, Tenn.
  • Crayfish Town, in upper Georgia.
  • Creek Path, with Creeks and Shawnee at Gunter’s Landing, Ala.
  • Crowmocker, on Battle Creek which falls into Tennessee River below Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Crow Town, on the left bank of Tennessee River near the mouth of Raccoon Creek, Cherokee County, Ala.
  • Cuclon, an unidentified town.
  • Cusawatee, on lower Coosawatee River in Gordon County, Ga.
  • Dulastunyi, on Nottely River, Cherokee County, N. C., near the Georgia line.
  • Dustayalunyi, about the mouth of Shooting Creek, an affluent of Hiwassee River, near Hayesville, Clay County, N. C.
  • Ecochee, on a head stream of Savannah River in northwest South Carolina or northeast Georgia.
  • Elakulsi, in northern Georgia.
  • Etowah, 2 towns:
    1. On Etowah River about the present Hightower, Forsyth County, Ga.
    2. A possible settlement on Hightower Creek of Hiwassee River, Towns County, Ga.
  • Euforsee, location unknown.
  • Fightingtown, on Fightingtown Creek, near Morgantown, Fannin County, Ga.
  • Frogtown, on a creek of the same name, north of Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Ga.
  • Guhlaniyi, occupied by Cherokee and Natchez, at the junction of Brasstown Creek with Hiwassee River a short distance above Murphy, N. C.
  • Gusti, traditional, on Tennessee River near Kingston, Roane County, Tenn.
  • Halfway Town, about halfway between Sitiku and Chilhowee on Little Tennessee River about the boundary of Monroe and Loudon Counties, Tenn.
  • Hemptown, on Hemptown Creek near Morgantown, Fannin County, Ga.
  • Hickory Log, on Etowah River a short distance above Canton, Cherokee County, Ga.
  • High Tower Forks, probably one of the places called Etowah.
  • Ikatikunahita, on Long Swamp Creek about the boundary of Forsyth and Cherokee Counties, Ga.
  • Ivy Log, on Ivy Log Creek, Union County, Ga.
  • Johnstown, on the upper waters of Chattahoochee River and probably in the northern part of Hall County, Ga.
  • Kalanunyi, a district or town laid off on the Eastern Cherokee Reserve in Swain and Jackson Counties, N. C.
  • Kanastunyi, on the headwaters of French Broad River near Brevard in Transylvania County, N. C., also possibly a second on Hiwassee River.
  • Kansaki, 4 towns:
    1. On Tuckasegee River a short distance above the present Webster in Jackson County, N. C.
    2. On the lower course of Canasauga Creek in Polk County, Tenn.
    3. At the junction of Conasauga and Coosawatee Rivers, the later site of New Echota, Gordon County, Ga.
    4. Mentioned in the De Soto narratives but perhaps identical with No. 2.
  • Kanutaluhi, in northern Georgia.
  • Kawanunyi, about the present Ducktown, Polk County, Tenn.
  • Kuhlahi, in upper Georgia.
  • Kulahiyi, in northeastern Georgia near Currahee Mountain.
  • Leatherwood, at or near Leatherwood in the northern part of Franklin County, Ga.
  • Long Island, at the Long Island in Tennessee River on the Tennessee-Georgia line.
  • Lookout Mountain Town, at or near the present Trenton, Dade County, Ga.
  • Naguchee, about the junction of Soquee and Sautee Rivers in Nacoochee Valley at the head of Chattahoochee River, Habersham County, Ga.
  • Nanatlugunyi, traditional, on the site of Jonesboro, Washington County, Tenn. Nantahala (see Briertown).
  • Nickajack, on the south bank of Tennessee River in Marion County, Tenn. Nununyi, on Oconaluftee River near Cherokee, Swain County, N. C.
  • Ocoee, on Ocoee River near its junction with the Hiwassee, about Benton, Polk County, Tenn.
  • Oconaluftee, probably at the present Birdtown, on the Eastern Cherokee Reservation.
  • Ooltewah, about the present Ooltewah, on Ooltewah Creek, James County, Tenn.
  • Oothcaloga, on Oothcaloga (Ougillogy) Creek of Oostanaula River near Calhoun, Gordon County, Ga.
  • Paint Town, on lower Soco Creek, within the reservation in Jackson and Swain Counties, N. C.
  • Pine Log, on Pine Log Creek in Bartow County, Ga.
  • Quacoshatchee, in northwest Pickens County, S. C.
  • Qualla, agency of the Eastern Cherokee on a branch of Soco River, Jackson County, N. C.
  • Quanusee, location unknown.
  • Rabbit Trap, in upper Georgia.
  • Red Bank, on Etowah River, at or near Canton, Cherokee County, Ga.
  • Red Clay, on Oconaluftee River in Swain County, N. C., Eastern Cherokee Reservation.
  • Running Water, on the southeast bank of Tennessee River below Chattanooga, near the northwestern Georgia line and 4 miles above Nickajack.
  • Sanderstown, in northeastern Alabama.
  • Selikwayi, on Sallacoa Creek probably at or near the present Sallacoa, Cherokee County, Ga.
  • Seneca, on Keowee River about the mouth of Conneross Creek in Oconee County, S. C.
  • Setsi, traditional, on the south side of Valley River, about 3 miles below Valleytown, Cherokee County, N. C.
  • Skeinah, on Toccoa River, Fannin County, Ga.
  • Soquee, on Soquee River, near Clarksville, Habersham County, Ga.
  • Spikebuck Town, on Hiwassee River at or near Hayesville, Clay County, N. C.
  • Spring Place, a mission station in Murray County, Ga.
  • Standing Peach Tree, on Chattahoochee River, at the mouth of Peachtree Creek, northwest of Atlanta, Ga.
  • Sutali, on Etowah River, probably in southwestern Cherokee County, Ga.
  • Suwanee, on Chattahoochee River about the present Suwanee, Gwinnett County, Ga.
  • Tagwahi, 3 towns:
    1. On Toccoa Creek east of Clarkesville, Habersham County, Ga.
    2. On Toccoa or Ocoee River about the present Toccoa in Fannin County, Ga.
    3. Perhaps on Persimmon Creek which enters Hiwassee River some distance below Murphy, Cherokee County, N. C.
  • Takwashnaw, a Lower Cherokee town.
  • Talahi, location unknown.
  • Talaniyi, in upper Georgia.
  • Talking Rock, on Talking Rock Creek, an affluent of Coosawattee River, Ga.
  • Tasetsi, on the extreme head of Hiwassee River in Towns County, Ga.
  • Taskigi, 3 towns occupied originally by Tuskegee Indians (see Alabama) :
    1. On Little Tennessee River above the junction of the Tellico, Monroe County, Tenn.
    2. On the north bank of Tennessee River just below Chattanooga, Tenn.
    3. Perhaps on Tuskegee Creek of Little Tennessee River near Robbinsville, Graham County, N. C.
  • Tikwalitsi, on Tuckasegee River at Bryson City, Swain County, N. C.
  • Tlanusiyi, at the junction of Hiwassee and Valley Rivers on the site of Murphy, N. C.
  • Tocax, location unknown, perhaps connected with Toxaway or Toccoa.
  • Torsalla, one of the Keowee towns. Tricentee, one of the Keowee towns.
  • Tsilaluhi, on a small branch of Brasstown Creek of Hiwassee River, just within the lines of Towns County, Ga.
  • Tsiskwahi, a district or town in the Eastern Cherokee Reservation, Swain County, N. C.
  • Tsistetsiyi, on South Mouse Creek, a branch of Hiwassee River in Bradley County, Tenn.
  • Tsistuyi, on the north bank of Hiwassee River at the entrance of Chestua Creek, in Polk County, Tenn., at one time occupied by Yuchi.
  • Tsudinuntiyi, on lower Nantahala River, in Macon County, N. C.
  • Tucharechee, location unknown.
  • Tuckasegee, 2 towns:
    1. About the junction of the two forks of Tuckasegee River, above Webster, Jackson County, N. C.
    2. On a branch of Brasstown Creek of Hiwassee River, in Towns County, Ga.
  • Turkeytown, on the west bank of Coosa River opposite the present Center, Cherokee County, Ala.
  • Turniptown, on Turniptown Creek above Ellijay, Gilmer County, Ga.
  • Turtletown, in upper Georgia.
  • Tusquittah, on Tusquittee Creek near Hayesville, Clay County, N. C.
  • Two Runs, on Etowah River at the crossing of the old Indian trail between Coosa and Tugaloo Rivers, Bartow County, Ga.
  • Ustisti, one of the Lower Towns.
  • Vallevtowyn, at Valleytown on Valley River, Cherokee County, N. C.
  • Wahyahi, on upper Soco Creek on the Eastern Cherokee Reservation, Jackson County, N. C.
  • Wasasa’s Village, on Brown’s Creek, a southern affluent of Tennessee River in northern Alabama.
  • Willstown, on Wills Creek, below Fort Payne, DeKalb County, Ala.

Cherokee History

There seems to have been a Cherokee migration legend something like that of the Creeks according to which the tribe entered their historic seats from some region toward the northeast.

In 1510 De Soto seems to have passed through only one town that has a Cherokee name, but Pardo in 1566 learned of another, Tanasqui, which has a Cherokee appearance and may have given its name to Tennessee River. Continuous contact between the Cherokee and the Whites began after Virginia was settled, when traders from that colony commenced to work their way into the Appalachian Mountains. Contact became more intimate with the founding of the Carolina colonies, and a contingent of 310 Cherokee joined Moore in his attack on the Tuscarora in 1713. In 1730 Sir Alexander Curving staged a personal embassy to the Cherokee and afterward took seven of the Indians to England with him. In 1738 an enemy more serious even than White men made its first appearance in this tribe, namely smallpox, which cut down their numbers by nearly 50 percent. In 1755 the Cherokee won a great victory over the Abihka Creeks, who forthwith withdrew from the Tennessee River. Relations with the Whites were upon the whole friendly until 1759 when the Indians refused to accede to the demand of the Governor of South Carolina that a number of Indians including two leading chiefs be turned over to him for execution under the charge that they had killed a White man. He had asked also to have 24 other chiefs sent to him merely on suspicion that they entertained hostile intentions. War followed, and the Indians captured Fort Loudon, a post in the heart of their country, August 8, 1760, after having defeated an army which came to relieve it. The year following, however, the Indians were defeated on June 10, by a larger force under Col. James Grant, who laid the, greater number of the Middle Cherokee settlements in ashes, and compelled the tribe to make peace. In 1769 they are said to have suffered a severe defeat at the hands of the Chickasaw at the Chickasaw Oldfields. On the outbreak of the American Revolution they sided with the British and continued hostilities after its close down to 1794. Meanwhile parties of Cherokee had pushed down Tennessee River and formed new settlements near the present Tennessee Alabama boundary. Shortly after 1800 missionary work was begun among them, and in 1820 they adopted a regular form of government modeled on that of the United States. In the meantime large numbers of them, wearied of the encroachments of the Whites, had crossed the Mississippi and settled in the territory now included in the State of Arkansas. In 1821 Sequoya, son of a mixed-blood Cherokee woman by a White man, submitted a syllabary of his own devising to the chief men of the nation, and, on their approval, the Cherokee of all ages set about learning it with such zeal that in a few months numbers of them were able to read and write by means of it. In 1822 Sequoya went west to teach his alphabet to the Indians of the western division, and he remained among them permanently. The pressure of the Whites upon the frontiers of the Eastern Cherokee was soon increased by the discovery of gold near the present Dahlonega, Ga., and after a few years of fruitless struggle the nation bowed to the inevitable and by the treaty of New Echota, December 29, 1835, sold all of their territories not previously given up and agreed to remove to the other side of the Mississippi to lands to be set apart for them. These lands were in the northeastern part of the present Oklahoma, and thither the greater part of the tribe removed in the winter of 1838-39, suffering great hardships and losing nearly one-fourth of their number on the way. Before the main migration took place one band of Cherokee had established themselves in Texas where they obtained a grant of land from the Mexican government, but the Texas revolutionists refused to recognize this claim although it was supported by Gen. Sam Houston. In consequence, the Cherokee chief Bowl was killed in 1839, along with many of his men, and the rest were expelled from the State. At the time of the great migration, several hundred Cherokee escaped to the mountains where they lived as refugees until in 1842, through the efforts of William H. Thomas, an influential trader, they received permission to remain on lands set apart for their use in western North Carolina, the Qualla Reservation, where their descendants still reside. The early years of the reestablished Cherokee Nation west of the Mississippi were troubled by differences between the faction that had approved removal and that which had opposed it. Afterward the tribal life was entirely disrupted for a few years by the Civil War. In 1867 and 1870 the Delaware and Shawnee were admitted from Kansas and incorporated into the nation. March 3, 1906, the Cherokee government came to an end, and in time the lands were allotted in severalty, and the Cherokee people soon became citizens of the new Stat of Oklahoma.

Cherokee Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1650 there was a total Cherokee population of 22,000. In 1715 a rather careful estimate, yet in all probability too low, gave a total of 11,210 (Lower Cherokee 2,100; Middle 6,350; Upper 2,760), including 4.000 warriors and distributed among 60 villages. In 1720 two estimates were made, of 10,000 and 11,500 respectively, but in 1729 the estimate jumps to 20,000, with 6,000 warriors, distributed in 64 towns. In 1755 a North Carolina estimate gives 5 divisions of the tribe and a total of 2,590 men. In 1760 we find a flat figure of 2,000; in 1761, about 3,000. Even before this time the Cherokee are supposed to have lost heavily from smallpox, intoxicants, and wars with the colonists, but at the time of their forced removal to the west in 1838 those in their old country had increased to 16,542. Those already in the west were estimated at about 6,000. The Civil War interfered with their growth but in 1885 they numbered 19,000, about 17,000 being in the west. In 1902 there were officially reported in the west 28,016 persons of Cherokee blood, including all degrees of admixture, but this includes several thousand persons repudiated by the tribal courts. The Census of 1910 returned 31,489 Cherokee, 29,610 of whom were in Oklahoma, 1,406 in North Carolina, and the rest scattered in 23 other States. In 1923 the report of the United States Indian Office gave 36,432 Cherokee “by blood” in Oklahoma, and 2,515 in North Carolina: total 38,947. In 1930, 45,238 were returned: 40,904 in Oklahoma, 1,963 in North Carolina, and the rest in more than 36 other States. In 1937 the number of eastern Cherokee was given as 3,327.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Cherokee tribe is one of the most famous in all North America:

  1. On account of its size and strength and the prominent part it played in the history of our country.
  2. From the fact that the invention of the Cherokee alphabet by Sequoya was the only case of the adoption of a system of writing without immediate White prompting in the annals of our Indians.
  3. From the perpetuation of numerous place names from Cherokee sources and of the name itself in counties in Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, and places in some of these States and California, Kentucky, and Arkansas; in Colbert County, Ala.; Cherokee County, Iowa; Crawford County, Kans.; Lawrence County, Ky.; and the name of stations in Louisville, Ky.; Swain County, N. C.; Alfalfa County, Okla.; and San Saba County, Tex. There is a Cherokee City in Benton County, Ark.; Cherokee Dam at Jefferson City, Tenn.; and Cherokee Falls in Cherokee County, S. C. Several prominent Americans were descended from this tribe, including Senator Robert Owen and Will Rogers.


Cherokee, Iroquois,

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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75 thoughts on “Cherokee Indians”

  1. Looking for connections to Benjamin Franklin Weaver , born 1857 from Houston Co Tenn, Married Alice Smith 1880 in Houston Co Tenn,
    Daughter is Mary Francis Weaver married Andrew Payne Bedwell. I am told that her grandmother was Cherokee.
    please contact me if you have a connection to any of these names .

  2. I’m looking for information on the blood parents of Sarah Bluebird, a full blooded Cherokee princess born in about 1755, and who was adopted by William Crouch and Mary Love. She married James Samuel Cotton in New York in 1769. They had several children, among them was Caleb Joshua Cotton who was born in 1776. We have been unable to find Sarah’s Cherokee connection. Any helpful information would greatly be appreciated.

  3. Samantha A Deason

    Hi I am trying to help a cousin fond out more about her native American history. I have found that she is possibly related to Charles Redman fawling, but I’m confused from there on. Any help would be appreciated!

  4. My great Grandmother was born in clay county NC. It was Cherokee county before the name was changed. I am trying to track this genealogy stuff down. I have found some people on the Cherokee rolls with her name, but I don’t find her siblings. I also looked for her husband whose last name Crowe is common among Native Americans of many tribes, and some other tribes lived in that area with the Cherokee? I’d like to have a list of all the tribes who lived with the Cherokee during the time of The 1860’s-1880. I want to look at their rolls too. Do you know which tribes lived near the Cherokee then?


    Looking for info on my grand mother IDA CRECUSN need to find out where records would be kept. She was from eastern cherokee band. her family was from eastern Georgia and western north carolina.

    1. I’m looking for my great-grandmother Rosetta Cecilia Edgar’s she was buried in Cherryvale Kansas and full-blooded Cherokee she was married to James Walter love they have a son and a daughter I don’t know the daughter’s name but this sign is Howard Eugene love from Springfield Missouri that married Mary Eileen love and raised three daughters born and raised in Springfield Missouri Betty love Kathy love and Sharon Love my mother is Sharon love and my name is Paula Anderson I’m Desperately Seeking any information on my great-grandmother for my mom my mom is getting old and time is passing quickly any help on this information would be so much appreciated I my sister’s my mom her sisters and their children have been trying to find information out which Cherokee tribe she was from what state and what her mother and father’s name was they were on the Trail of Tears that’s all I know was that her mother passed on the Trail of Tears any information would be much appreciated and then like I said time is of matter thank you and God bless you all for your works I’m going to turn this over to God to guide us all to the information that we need for our loved ones and Friends God bless you dear Lord I come to you now I asked and I pray that you help these people as well as I connect to the lost loved ones that we are searching so desperately for time can be of matter for some and in Jesus name I do pray amen thank you for your time and patience

  6. Looking for any info on my grandfather Kenneth arrowsmith. Born Ny. Death pa. My family would be his second marriage. Died before 1980. Hard to get info because I don’t know my mother side. He had two boys and my mother. Thank you

  7. Francita Harrell

    Born December 27, 1895 passed away January 15, 1977 Sallie Mae Coleman I was told was living on the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina.. That’s my great grand mother and I’m researching my family history.. thanks if you can help with anything

      1. Priscilla Williams

        Hi, I’m seeking any help or suggestions on where to go to get genetic testing done to find out which Native American tribes are a part of my family. From the interviews I’ve conducted with older members, there’s a bit of mystery around a great great grandmother (Susanna Harabrook or Susana Haughbrook) on my mother’s side, but she is the link for our Native American heritage. Thank you for posting this!

  8. I trying to find any information on my great grand-father Willis Infinger. He lived in Dorchester County, S.C. I know that he was a full bloodied Cherokee India I do know that he was married to France Whetsell. Nothing more is known about him. I do have a Dec. Grp.# 75, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1973-89. This bit of information was written by my mother before she died. If you could help me I would appreciate it. I am trying to compile my family tree on my mother’s side of the family.

    1. There is a Willis P Infinger buried at Indian Field UMC cemetery n Rosinville, SC who ch is n Dorchester County. Born 12/30/1880 died 04/20/1959. There is a George Whetsell Infinger an infant born and died n 1902. My maiden name is Infinger and my father was born in St George where most Infinger’s immigrated to when they came from Europe. This is n Dorchester County also. Go. 2 put in the above cemetery name and other info listed and u can start searching to see if this is who u r looking for. My daddy’s people Infinger’s we traced as far back as early 1600’s coming from Germanic Europe to the states and then to SC. He is as also told by his daddy he had Cherokee Indian and my Daddy looked like he had Indian but we found out that Portuguese slave traders brought slaves from Cameroon Congo and Benin Togo in North Africa and coastal Africa to SC, Ga and NC and they are brown skin small noses look like an Indian nose high cheekbones, and n SC there were some of those slaves n lower part of state where plantations were. Our dna shows no Indian but 3% of African as above. So u need to do your dna through Ancestry or Heritage and they can tell u if u have any Cherokee. Good luck

  9. I am searching for info on Mary Ann Wilson of Madison county Alabama.
    Her father was given a reservation in the north east part of Alabama. Her mother is full blood Cherokee. Any info sure would be helpful and greatly appreciated. Her daughter Hannah Edwards was recorded as 1/4 Cherokee
    At the Madison county courthouse.

      1. John Edwards was my gg grandfather. I am in the same boat you are I hit a wall at Mary Ann Edwards née Wilson. Maybe one day We can break through.

  10. My Great Great Grandmother was either full blooded Cherokee or Chickasaw of Jonesboro Arkansas, her name was Kitie Pretty penny, She was born in 1869, She was only 20 when she died in 1889. She married John Shaver and had one child named Almos Lee Shaver born in 10 October 1887, If anyone has any information on Kitie Pretty Penny or her tribal records please share them with her family. ( tribe name, father’s name, mother’s name, brothers and sisters, when born, where died, when died, marriage date ect.

  11. Virginia Faye Hayes

    I grew up being told my great grand mother was full blooded Black Foot
    Indian. I need help in finding more in fo. Pease. She was born Sarah B.
    Williams she also went by Sallie She was born in Kentucky. She married a man by the name of Robert Bryant. please could someone help me.

  12. Searching my family history. The last names I am familiar with are Standridge and Waits. My great great grandfather was full Cherokee and was in the infantry (have a picture of him in full dress). Our family is from Arkansas. Any feedback is welcome. Thanks.

  13. Patricia jean bradley pyle

    I am trying to find information about my Great-Grandmother who we were told that she was a full blood Cherokee Indian. She was born approximately 1835+/- in Kentucky according to census records. On census records her parent were listed as being born in Virginia. She married Ralph Bradley, who was my Great-Grandfather, on January 7, 1854 in Lawrence County, Kentucky. She listed her maiden name as Sarah Jane Bradley. Through the years, after marrying Ralph, they lived in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma, settling in El Reno, Oklahoma. She died on December 23, 1918 in Lowe, Washington County, Kansas, at the age of 83. She is buried in Washington, Kansas Cemetery. If anyone can help me with facts showing that Sarah Jane was Cherokee Indian and who were her parents, I will be very appreciative for the help as I have hit a brick wall.

  14. Like everyone else, searching my ancestry and need some help. My grandmother told me that my great grandmother was Cherokee Indian. Her name was Ampizonia Willis Flowers from Miller County, Doddridge, AR. I’m interested in my Great Great Grandmother, her name is Mahala Attaway she was born in 1820 in Alabama. Since there are no records of her mother and father I thought I would try here.

    1. Cynthia Flowers

      Hi, Janelle!!! My great grandmother is Ampizonia Willis Flowers. She was married to Robert Monroe Flowers and they lived in Blanchard, Louisiana. They had several children. One of their sons, Alfred Edward Flowers, Sr. is my daddy’s father. My grandfather passed away in 1995 and my daddy is currently living in south Louisiana. Do you have any information on Ampizonia??? Who is Mahala Attaway? I would love to get any information you can provide!

  15. My Grandmother told me that we had Cherokee blood on the Templeton side of our family. Though it showed very little on my DNA, I would like to know if I have any relatives that know for sure. My great grandmother was Hannah Adeline Templeton Sutton. I can’t get my brother to take the test since it came from my father’s side of the family.

  16. mimi Eskew Moeller

    I have been told my great great great (Maybe Great) grandfather was named Joshua Eskew. He was the father of Samuel Eskew, who was either the father or grand father of my grand father William Patrick Eskew. It is reported that Joshua Eskew was married to an Oconee Cherrokee. I don’t have her name, and I am trying to find out more information. Thank You.

  17. I’ve traced my great great great great grandparents to Christopher Borden and Sarah Lucinda Blizzard Borden. She was born 1770 and is listed as full blood Cherokee. Christopher was 1/2. Buried at Borden’s creek, Alabama. I don’t see any of their names on Cherokee rolls, nor any of their descendants. Any information would be welcome!

    1. Wondering if you have received any new info. I am researching a Elizabeth Bozarth (Borden) born 1738 in Virginia and is my 6-Great grandmother. She is suppose to be Cherokee by blood with number 327-471; any way that is what is showing on MyHeritage.

  18. My DNA shows a connection to the William Justice family of Rabun, Georgia. This was a surprise to me, as I knew that I had proof with family documents and letters that I descend from the Amos Robinson family of Marshall County, Alabama. My Andrew Ice (not Cherokee) married Cherokee Eliza Robinson, granddaughter of Amos Robinson, who was awarded a reservation near Guntersville Dam in Marshall Co. Because of this, he escaped the Trail of Tears.

    I have lots of pictures and documents for the Amos Robinson family, and just need to connect this family to the Justice family in Rabun, Ga. Amos Robinson was said to be born in TN or NC. The Justice family came to GA from Franklin Co, North Carolina. I have a lot of proof on the Robinson connection, but none for the Justice Family. I do, however, have lots of DNA connection to the Justice family. Just can’t figure it out. Andrew Jackson Justice is also in my DNA.

    1. Dolly Cheatham Bair

      Carol Smith…I want to have a DNA test and since yours shows a connection to the William Justice family would like to know which DNA test did you take? Thank you very much! My email:

        DNA connection to Justice/Justus? Kilby/ York in Cottonville, Alabama and Rabun, Georgia

    2. I am interested in Amos Robinson. My father in law told his children there was Indian blood in his family. Unfortunately he dies before we could talk about this. He was born in Jackson co Alabama. His family is sometimes spelled robinson and sometimes Robertson, they lived in Rocky Holler. Haven’t been able to find that. His grandparents were Stovalls and McCollum. Both those families were in Franklin and Lincoln co Tn. The Stovall are well researched. My brick walls stop with the other two families. My father in laws father was John Robert Robertson described as tall, hair black as a crows wing and was a sheriff. He died st 48-9 years old from exposure from riding the hills in bad weather. Is it possible he might show up in your list?

      1. Hi Gene,
        John is one of the obvious first names in this family. I am just looking at these messages for the first time, and will be back to you. Email me with questions. The Robertson/Robinson reservation is still on the current maps, along with the other reservations in the area. Jackson Co. and Marshall Co. were one in the old days, and back to the Miss. Territory times. I don’t know Rocky Holler, but the reservation was very close to Cottonville, Marshall Co. I will check on your Stovalls and Mc Collum families. My other family is that of Andrew Ice and Eliza Robinson, who married, and sold reservation land before moving to Rusk Co. TX. Eliza died at Shreveport, La before they reached Texas. Cholera.

      2. I will keep an eye out for John Robert Robertson. He is not in my database at present, but I am still trying to backwards from Amos Robinson. Tough. Good luck, and keep in touch.

      3. hello, my grandmother was Iva Irene Robertson daughter of William Carroll Robertson, Jr. I show a John R. Robertson married to a Mary Gower. He would be my 6th great Grandpa. I have been trying to trace our Native American tie. I hope we can help each other. I have found Phoebe GooChee Crews as a full blood connection but she is not on any of the rolls. She was the link to Melissa Crews — Great Great Grandpa William Sr. wife. If you have found any of her siblings that would be great.

    3. Carol Smith—You may want to look on There is a lot of information on Chief William Justice there. Good luck! Jenny

    4. I research family Robertson/Robinson. Brothers Richard and Samuel came to Alabama before 1810. Richard’s son ,Amos, was said to have gone to the Indian nation. The family was in North Carolina and Pendleton, SC before coming to Madison County/ Limestone County which was Mississippi Territory at the time. You can see the story of the family in The Limestone Legacy which is published by he Historical Society of Limestone County, Alabama. The series ran in 2004. I would like to learn more about Amos Robinson.

    5. Re: Amos Robinson in my March 10, 2018 entry. Eliza Robinson was daughter, not granddaughter of Amos Robinson,

    6. Dear Carol,
      I research Samuel Robertson originally from Maryland, a Rev Vet, moved to Tennessee and then Alabama in 1808. Had a son or grandson, Amos, who was said to have married and gone into the Cherokee Nation. We have lots on the family but little on Amos. I have been looking a long time for time. He could have been in Marshall County in the time period 1810 to 1850. Samuel had a brother Richard and their father was Ephraim and his father was Amos. That Amos came from Great Britain
      and lived in Baltimore County, Maryland. I have not found anything helpful after Samuel’s birth in 1760 in Maryland.

    7. William Justice is my 6th great-grandfather through my mothers side. I am researching the Justice family and found William Justice and Sarah Troutman on the Henderson roll call. My great-grandfather had 12 children and although he was blond and blue-eyed, half of his children were very dark complected, high cheekbones and dark eyes. I’ve been curious about that since I was a small child. Any who, I’m still digging myself for info and if I run across any, I’ll let you know.

    8. Hi there! I am trying to find information on the Justice family. The only name I know is Bert Justice. I believe he lived in Texas and passed away from cancer within the last 15-20 years.

  19. Hello all, just doing research on a few family members. Mabel Elizabeth (Daniel) Ryan, Drucilla May (Roach) Daniel, John Robert Daniel of Vinita, OK. I already know their Roll #’s and that they’re Cherokees, I’m looking for any relatives and/or people who may know personal accounts or info on them. Mabel is my paternal great grandma. Thank you!

  20. Aloha~

    Pleaee help. I grew up being told we are Cherokee. But, it wasn’t so popular, like it seems to be now. I also understand an ancestor was supposedly a key figure in the negotiations of a Cherokee Treaty as well as an ancestor whom supposedly murdered (motive(s) for name changes)? I’ve ran into strange problems. Surname changes BERRY = CRAWFORD, family Bibles w/yet another handwritten surname (JACKSON next to slightly different birthdays for my father and 2 aunts).
    **APRIL 10th, 1969 Oklahoma name change from KEY. BERRY. to Key Berry Crawford
    My Great-grandfather; FRANK CRAWFORD
    (wife was FREEDMAN) both buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetary, Oklahoma.
    Who am I really?
    What do I tell my now grown children who think I made up “being Indian”???


  21. Ok some of my information was not right, Jesse William Padgett was born in Georgia around 1915. My grandmother told me that he was full blooded Cherokee. Of anyone has any information I would gladly appreciate it.

  22. Hello! I’m trying to find information on my great, great grandfather. His name was James Milton Blackwood. Thought to have been 1/2 Cherokee. Possibly married woman with last name of Brooks, first name unknown. Said to hail from Georgia. Thanks so much!

  23. I was told my mother’s father was full blooded Cherokee. I have never met him, but on her birth certificate his name is Jesse William Padgett and his birthplace is Alabama. I think he was born in 1910 or 1911. If anyone could help me find information I would much appreciate it.

  24. I’m looking for any information on my grandmother believe to be full blooded Cherokee Liddy (rebecka ) Brown Married to ed lee My father John b Lee I found the 1940 census listed as inmate with other children ages 4 to 18 in Davidson co. Tennesse I can find no other information

    1. Eudie

      Saw your post of august ,17 What caught my eye was the last name BROWN my grandmother was last name Brown,had sister -twin- that g,mother was born i 1896 ,died in 1925 in cleveland tenn. She was married to Claude Beck of cleveland.

      let me know if any of this RINGS a bell.


      1. Jolynn Gibson-Jacobs

        Hello, I know this is an old post but I couldn’t help but ask about the last name of Brown. My grandmother was full Cherokee, her name is Fannie Brown and she married a British man named Sidney Gibson. My great grandfather was named George Washington Brown. My grandmother also had a sister with a name like Liddy which also made me curious. If any of this matches anybody else please let me know. I’m still researching the Cherokee family tree.

  25. I have been told my father’s mother was full Cherokee. she died before I was born. Is there anyway to find out about her? Her name was Myrtle Margaret Baker. she was born around 1900’s and died in 1949.

  26. Elizabeth was born in 1720. Elizabeth Bunch … She passed away in 1807. [1]

    William came to America in 1727 with his family at age 15, settling first in Pennsylvania. He settled in Augusta (now Rockingham) Co, Virginia in 1738. He was a blacksmith, and is often called “William the Blacksmith” in genealogical works. He was probably born Catholic, and was baptized Presbyterian in 1749. He was an Indian Agent for Virginia to the Cherokee. William and his family survived raids by the Shawnee leader Cornstalk, once on 10 Oct 1759 (French and Indian War), and again on 17 Jul 1763 (Pontiac’s War).

    Elizabeth is said by one source to be Cherokee, though no evidence for this is cited. She was a heroine in Cornstalk’s second raid in 1763. Word came of the Shawnees approaching, but William was not home. Elizabeth rode on horseback up Cowpasture Valley to warn all the settlers, and they were able to gather and defend themselves. Many of the settlers on nearby Kerr Valley, including William’s brother Charles, were killed.

    This profile is a collaborative work-in-progress. Can you contribute information or sources?

  27. Hello I am hoping to find out more about our lineage. This is as far back as i know, my great grandmother is Nora virgina doyle born 02- 14- 1905 born in VA died in OH December 10th, we think 1981 but might be 1982. Her spouse my great grandfather name is lewis Henry Lee he died in VA. We don’t know much about him.

    1. @Angel
      Looks like your great grandma was born to John and Ann, both from Virginia. Her older sisters were Rena, Florence and Christine. Her younger sister, Lulu. Louis Henry and Nora V separated in 1953 but didn’t divorce Until 1977 and he remarried within a month. He and his other wife are buried here:
      Louis Henry Lee

      Was not able to find her death certificate, but she lived in Summit County Ohio and you are eligible to get her death certificate with your family connection in most states, enjoy searching!

  28. I am searching for Mary S. Chandler b. May 9, 1810 NC and was living in south central Tenn. She married Lewis S. Deaver. She is believed to be full blood Cherokee.

  29. I am searching for my ggrandmother who was said to be full blood Cherokee from south central Tenn. Her name was Mary Chandler she married Lewis Singleton Deaver. Mary was born May 9,1810 NC.

  30. Im not sure who i can ask about this,but maybe you can help?
    i have family who has filled out family history talking about my great great grandmother who resided on indian territory at the time she met my grandfather,and family pictures of my great grandmother and grandfather who are clearly indian. (dark skin,high cheekbones, black straight hair)
    but when i do research on them all of their census records say white. I’m just wondering why/how they could’ve got away with this? or why they would’ve wanted to,possibly something to do with the government?

    1. I think that it was just the way they recorded race on the census records in so many places. They were considered white, opposed to black.

  31. Hi got some info on my father side of the family that my Uncle had been to his great Grandmothers reservation in North Carolina and that she never left there.My question is how do I find out more on her?I was told her name is Matilda Davis Born 1882 to 1914 any help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Amanda Mask. I’m having an issue uncovering details from a family story as well. Our family story begins between 1865-1870 in TN where my great grandfather John Lamdrum Davis was an Indian. When he was about 3 years old, his family, along woth a group of people, were traveling from TN to NC and his family was killed. There was an older man that took him and raised him. The story goes he was given the name Davis. They crossed into NC and the only name he had was Thomas Davis was his father. Have you found any information yet? Do you know how I might find more information?

  32. Searching for info on Sallie Young a Cherokee. Married to Robert
    Burchfiel a white man in Tennessee. Their son Joseph Burchfiel,
    settled in Crawford Co. Arkansas in 1845. Sallie is said to lived
    among the Cherokee Indians in the old Cherokee Nation in the state of Tennessee. Thank you.

  33. Hi, I would like to know more about my family. My Mother told me that my grandmother’s grandmother was Cherokee. My grandmother’s name was Sara Jeanette York. My mother was born in Demorest, GA, Habersham County in GA in 1932. I remember going to visit my mother’s family in North GA as a child. I had an uncle by the name of Julius York. If anyone has any information on how to locate my family please let me know.
    Thank you so much for any help.

    1. Hi Tommy,

      I am having problems finding your grandmother in the 1940 census. While there were no York families residing in Demorest in 1940, there were 2 York families in nearby Cornelius, however neither of them had a child identified as Sara or Jeannette. There was a Lessie or Lessia in one family of the age of your grandmother, but that is as close as I could get. Would any in your living family know Sara’s parents names?

    2. Hi,
      My DNA connects me to a Cherokee family–William Justice from Rabun, GA. It also connects to the Martha Zenobia York b. 1850 Rabun GA. Family. She married Andrew Jackson Justice b. 1849 in NC. Her father was William Seymour York b. in SC and died in Rabun, GA. Anything that might help?

      1. Hi.. sorry to bother but your last name caught my attention. My grandmother’s maiden name is Smth and her father was Cherokee?? You wouldn’t happent to think we’re related, do you?

    3. Good afternoon,
      Can you help locate any information of my grandparents, I know they both have connections to the Cherokee nation, but I know nothing more then that. My grandpa, his name was Frank Richard Hightower, and he his father didn’t speak English only the Cherokee language he lived on the reservation with his wife and my grandpa, his son. My grandmother’s is a bit harder, her family lived in the mountains of Tennessee and her name is Margaret Edder Geneva Heron (her maiden name) (Woody was her widowed name before taking on my grandpa’s, Hightower). I would greatly appreciate even a lead on where to go.

      Best wishes and regards.

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