10 August 2011

Timeline of Cherokee history

This is a timeline of Cherokee history extending back to the time before there were any "Cherokee"; that is a whole lot more recent than you may think.  There's a hefty amount of detail on events leading up to and the Treaty of New Echota and its immediate aftermath.

If you are wondering why the entries of events and peoples in the north at the beginning, that is because it is from there that the ancestors of the Cherokee came in the mid-seventeenth century, certainly the Erie with a hefty contribution from the Huron, both once large and powerful confederacies in the Great Lakes region that fell to the war packs of the Haudenosaunee of the Five Nations.


1540 – Members of DeSoto’s party encounter a people called the Chelaque (by their Cusseta guides) on the Savannah River, in the towns of Chalaque (called Orati by Pardo), Guaqili, Xuala, and Guasili, just after their stay at Cotifachequi (chief town of the Cusseta).  These Chelaque were Siouan-speakers, not the later “Cherokee”.

1567 – On a lengthy journey into the interior from Santa Elena, then the planned capital of Spanish Florida, Pardo establishes the Presidio of San Juan next to the town of Joara (Xualla of DeSoto), now a paramount chiefdom, later known as the Cheraw or Sara.  On later journeys, he encounters the towns of Nequasse, Tocae, Quetua, and other towns on several occasions at the town of Cauchi.  The names were later reused by the towns of the Cherokee confederacy.

1613 – Champlain, governor of New France, begins to refer to the Huron as the “Chariouquois” (also “Charioquet” and “Charokay”), which he continues to do until 1633.

1649 - After the Haudenosaunee destroy two of their mission towns following many years of brutal warfare, the Huron burn their remaining fifteen and leave their area, some joining with the Petun, the rest fleeing to sanctuary with the Erie and the Chonnonton (Neutrals).  At the end of the year, the Iroquois destroy the Petun, some of whom migrate west with the Huron among them to become the Wyandot.

1651-1652 – The Iroquois war against the Atrakwaeronon subtribe of the Erie confederacy, ending in its destruction in the summer of 1652.

1653 – The Chonnonton confederacy disintegrates under the weight of Iroquois attacks, some of its people surrendering to the Iroquois, the rest, including some of the Huron refugees, seeking sanctuary with the Erie confederacy, which is granted.

The Erie confederacy begin a war with the Haudenosaunee with a counterattack on the Seneca in retaliation for the destruction of the Atrakwaeronon, destroying one of their towns.

1654 – The Haudenosaunee destroy Arrigha (Rique) town of the Erie confederacy after a lengthy siege, and the surviving Riqueronon disperse.  The bodycount is enormous on both sides, and the invading army remains two months before it is able to return east.

Later that year, the “Richahechrian” take up residence on the upper James River.

1655 – The Iroquois, through the Onondaga, seek French military assistance against the Erie in their war.

1656 – The Iroquois take and destroy the major Erie town of Genaienton, which many historians inaccurately count as the end of their war.

Colonial rangers from Jamestown, supported by a force of Pamunkey, attack the “Richahecrian” village of 600–700 warriors in the vicinity of the later Richmond, Virginia, and are soundly defeated at the Battle of Bloody Run.

1662 – The Honniasont (Oniasontke), a subdivision of the former Erie confederacy later known as the Black Minqua, take up residence with the Andaste (Susquehannock) to aid the latter in their war with the Iroquois.

1664 – Final defeat of the Erie, according to the Jesuits’ Iroquois informants.  Some have fled to the Wyandot, some have been assimilated into the Seneca, and some have joined their cousins who earlier migrated southeast to the “country of the Muscogi”, according to John Norton.

1669 – Abbe Galinee, companion of La Salle, journeys down the Ohio River and is told to expect towns of Honniasontkeronon and Chaouanon (Shawnee) above the Falls of the Ohio, i.e. above what is now Louisville, Kentucky.

1670-1730 – Peak of the Indian slave trade through the port of Charles Town.

1670 – The German trader James Lederer encounters the “Rickahockan” in the mountains in the west of what later becomes North Carolina when he travels from Virginia to Catawba territory near the newly-established colony of Carolina.

1674 – While Henry Woodward of the Province of Carolina visits the town of Hickauhaugau on the Savannah, two Shawnee from Hathawakela town on the same river arrive to warn the Westo of an attack by the “Cussetaws, Checsaws, & Chiokees”.  This is the first historical mention of the “Cherokee” as such from any source.

A smallpox epidemic ravages the Cherokee, especially those in the Lower Towns.

1679 – The last mention in records of the Honniasont, who moved north to live with the Haudenosaunee.

1682 - The last remaining group of Erie in the north, some six hundred persons living near Virginia, surrenders to the Iroquois.  All its people are adopted into the Seneca, though probably remain on location, probably at Mingo Flats, West Virginia.

1684 – Eight leaders from the towns of Toxaway and Keowee sign a trade treaty with the English of the Province of Carolina.

French cartographer Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin produces a map of the new territory of La Louisiane showing the Tchalaka, the Katowagi, and the Taligui on the upper Kaskinampo (Tennessee) River.

1688 - Franquelin produces another map of La Louisiane showing the following towns or tribes on the upper Kaskinampo River: Tchalak, Tamghi, Cattoughi.

Late 1680’s-early 1690’s – Cherokee begin cautiously migrating north back to the now deserted Allegheny-Upper Ohio Valley from which they came, centering on the town of Allegheny at the confluence of the Kiskiminetas and Allegheny Rivers, what is now Schenley, Pennsylvania.

1693 – A delegation from the Lower Towns visits Charlestown seeking its help in regaining their people sold as slaves by the Catawba, Shawnee, and Congaree, only to be told they have already been shipped to plantations in the Caribbean.

1698 – Having accepted an invitation from the Iroquois to inhabit land in western Pennsylvania and the eastern Ohio Country, the Lenape begin a war against the Cherokee there, whom later Lenape legends refer to as the Talligewi.

1701 – The Great Peace of Montreal is signed by New France and thirteen hundred leaders of forty First Nations, ending the Beaver Wars.

1701-1768 – Cherokee-Iroquois War; the recent peace in the north gave the Haudenosaunee freedom to attack their former enemies, and vice versa.

1703 – Delegates to the Carolina assembly complain that the Cherokee have been capturing too many of the colony’s settlement Indians for their slave trade with the Province of Virginia.

1705 – Nicholas de Fer publishes a map of La Louisiane with the towns or tribes Tchalak, Tatighi, and Katoughi in the upper Kaskinampo River.

In his map of North America, Daniel Coxe first identifies the people in the above location as “Cherakees”.

1708 – According to ethnologist James Mooney, Bishop Johannes Ettwein of the Moravian Brethren, the Lenape, and the Cherokee themselves, the last town of the Cherokee in the Upper Ohio Valley is destroyed and its people driven off this year.

Further to the south, the Cherokee, along with the Abikha and Catawba, supported the Alabama in attacking the French at La Mobilia, then capital of La Louisiane, and Fort Sainte-Louis on Mobile Bay.  The four thousand-strong force settled for burning out the nearby Mobile Indians who were allies of the French.

1710–1715 – Cumberland Valley War; the Cherokee and Chickasaw against the Chillicothe and the Kispoko bands of the Shawnee in the Cumberland Basin after part of the Hathawekela band arrived from the Savannah River.

1711–1715 – The Tuscarora War, in which the Cherokee take part alongside other tribes against their longtime Tuscarora enemies as allies of the Province of South Carolina.

1714 – The brief Cherokee-Yuchi War, encompassing solely the destruction of the Yuchi town in the Hiwassee Valley vicinity, often said to be Chestowee on the Hiwassee River near the mouth of North Mouse Creek but more likely Euchee Old Fields in Rhea County.

1715–1717 – The Yamasee War, in which the Cherokee begin as allies of the various Indian groups (primarily the Yamasee, Catawba, and Lower Creek), attacking South Carolina, only to later switch sides, ensuring the defeat of their erstwhile fellow combatants.

1716–1755 – The Cherokee-Creek War, culminating in the Battle of Taliwa.

1718 - De Fer’s map of this year shows “many villages” of “les Cheraqui” west of the mountains of southern Virginia and on the head waters of three rivers west of Carolina.

1721 – Treaty with the province of South Carolina ceding land between the Santee, Saluda, and Edisto Rivers.  After this, the first reported band of Cherokee emigres cross the Mississippi River supposedly led by a warrior named Dangerous Man (Yunwiusgaseti).  One group of this band is supposed to have made it to the Rocky Mountains and survived into the 19th century. It was in pursuit of this band that Sequoyah later left Indian Territory and disappeared into Mexico.

1725 – Col. George Chicken of the Province of South Carolina becomes the first documented European to travel through the Cherokee Country, travelling through the Lower Towns to the Upper Towns, where Tanasee is the seat of the Overhill Towns council-fire.  At this time, the Lower Towns seem to be the largest division of the Cherokee confederacy, with twenty-four towns versus twelve Upper Towns, half of which were then east of the mountains.

1729 – Another smallpox epidemic strikes the Cherokee, again hitting the Lower Towns, who have most contact with Charles Town and South Carolina, the hardest.

1730 – Sir Alexander Cumming, who “crowned” Moytoy of Tellico as “Emperor of the Cherokee”, takes seven Cherokee leaders (among them Attakullakulla) to London, England, where they meet with George I and sign the “Articles of Trade and Friendship” between the Cherokee and the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1735 - According to James Adair in History of the American Indians published in 1775, the Cherokee at this time had sixty-four towns and villages, with about six thousand warriors, making a population of roughly twenty-four thousand.

1738 – A smallpox epidemic rips throughout the Southeast, hitting the Cherokee, especially in the Overhill Towns, particularly hard, halving their numbers.

1748 – The Province of South Carolina ends its slave trade with the Cherokee.

1752 – D’Anville’s map of this year shows “R. Tsalaqui”, a northern tributary of the Ohio River, but not the Tennessee River, which is named “Cherakee R.” on the map.

Another smallpox epidemic strikes the Cherokee this year.

1753 – British authorities send Maj. George Washington of the Virginia militia on a diplomatic expedition to Detroit, where he refers to Lake Huron as Lake Quatoghi, the latter being the Mohawk name for the Huron, now the Wyandot.  “Quatoghi” remains the favored term of the British and the Americans for the Huron through the nineteenth century.

1754–1763 – The French and Indian War.  In the beginning, the Cherokee are allies of the British, but ill treatment and failure of supplies and pay lead nearly all the warriors to return to their homes.

1755 – Treaty with South Carolina ceding land between the Wateree and Santee Rivers.

For convenience of organizing trade with the Cherokee, South Carolina divides the thirty-eight towns of the nation into six districts: Overhills, Valley, Middle, Keowee, Out, and Lower.

1758–1769 – The Cherokee-Chickasaw War, culminating in the Battle of Chickasaw Old Fields.

1758–1761 – The Anglo-Cherokee War, in which the Cherokee fought both South Carolina and Virginia.

1761 - Treaty of Long Island-on-the-Holston with the Colony of Virginia, ending the war between the colony and the Cherokee.

1762 - Treaty of Charlestown with the Colony of South Carolina, ending the war between the colony and the Cherokee.

May 1762 – Lt. Henry Timberlake takes three Cherokee leaders—Ostenaco (Ustanakwa) of Tomotley, Standing Turkey (Kunagadoga) of Chota, Wood Pigeon (Ata-wayi) of Keowee—to meet with King George III of England in London to reaffirm the peace treaties of 1761 ending the Anglo-Cherokee War.

1763 – Treaty of Paris, ending the French and Indian War.

7 October 1763 – George III issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763 established a boundary line along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains and the Ogeechee River beyond which colonists are forbidden to settle, creating the Indian Reserve.

1766 - The Moravian Brethren produce a map dividing the Cherokee towns into four groups: the Upper Settlements, with 19 towns; the Valley Settlements, with 5 or 6 towns; the Lower Settlements, with 9 towns; and the Middle Settlements, with 5 towns.  That is 38 or 39 in all.

February 1768 – Treaty of Johnson Hall between the Cherokee and Iroquois, mediated by Sir William Johnson, British Superintendent for Northern Indian Affairs, ending their long wars.

October 1768 – Treaty of Hard Labour with John Stuart, British Superintendent for Southern Indian Affairs, ceding land in southwestern Virginia.

1770 – Treaty of Lochaber with Stuart ceding land in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

1772 – Treaty with Virginia ceding land in Virginia and eastern Kentucky; the Watauga Lease.

1773 – Treaty of Augusta ceding over two million acres (8,000 km²) to the province of Georgia.

1773–1774 – Lord Dunmore’s War.

1774 – Mingo refugees from Dunmore’s War leave the Scioto River to settle with the Seneca on the Sandusky, who are themselves actually Mingo.

1775  Treaty of Sycamore Shoals with the Transylvania Company.

Watauga Purchase and establishment of the Watauga Association.

A group of Cherokee defeats Spanish miners in the Mine La Motte area of Missouri.

In the last days before the American Revolution, William Bartram travels among the Cherokee and counts forty-three towns divided into five council-fires: Lower, Middle, Out, Valley, and Overhill.


1775–1783 – The American Revolution.

1776-1795 – The Cherokee-American Wars.  These were intertwined with three larger conflicts: the Revolution, in which the Cherokee fought as allies of the British; the Northwest Indian War, in which the Cherokee fought as allies and founding members of the Western Confederacy under British sponsorship; and the Indian Wars of the Old Southwest, fought after the Revolution ended, mostly sponsored by the Spanish.  They worked most closely with the Shawnee overall and in the north, and in the south most closely with the Creek.

1776 – The Cherokee War.  The Cherokee of all five sections attack the colonies/states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.  In the subsequent counterattack, the Cherokee suffer such devastation that no large scale action from any native force occurs until the focus of the war and the British effort swings south.

1777 – Treaty of DeWitts’ Corner with South Carolina and Georgia ceding the lands of the Lower Towns, and the Treaty of Fort Henry with Virginia and North Carolina, confirming the Watauga concessions. As a result, Cherokee of the Lower Towns migrate westward into North Georgia, while Dragging Canoe removes southwestward leading a large group of like-minded Cherokee, mostly from the Overhill Towns, to what is now the Chattanooga area in Southeast Tennessee.

1778-1783 – The British southern campaign of the Revolutionary War, with the Cherokee, Creek, Shawnee, and Choctaw as allies of the British, and the Catawba and the Chickasaw as allies of the Americans.

1779 – Evan Shelby of the Watauga Association invades the Chickamauga region and destroys the eleven towns of the Cherokee there, but casualties are light due to the warriors being in the field with the British in south Carolina.

1782 – A group of Cherokee under Kunagadoga, or Standing Turkey, receives permission to emigrate west of the Mississippi from the governor of Spanish Louisiana, into what is later Southeast Missouri.

Dragging Canoe leads his people further westward and southwestward into what becomes known as the Five Lower Towns area, eventually penetrating Northeast Alabama as more Cherokee refugees migrate to the area.

1783-1796 – The Indian Wars of the Old Southwest, primarily involving the Cherokee and the Muscogee, with some participation of the Shawnee, against the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the Trans-Appalachian territories of those states in the Overmountain region and Cumberland Basin.

1783 – Treaty of Paris ending the American Revolution, and, with it, open British sponsorship of resistance in the Old Southwest.

In the Treaty of Long Swamp Creek between the Cherokee and the State of Georgia, the former are forced to cede most of the land between the Savannah and Chattahoochee Rivers.

1785-1795 – Northwest Indian War, in which the members of the Western Confederacy, including the Cherokee who are founding members, fight against encroachment by invaders from the new United States.

28 November 1785 – Treaty of Hopewell with the United States

Treaty of Dumplin Creek with the Free State of Franklin.

1786 - Treaty of Coyatee with the Free State of Franklin.

1788 – The seat of the Cherokee nation is permanently moved from Chota on the Little Tennessee River to Ustanali, near what is now Calhoun, Georgia, after a raid by settlers from East Tennessee, in which Old Tassel, the First Beloved Man, and several other leaders are assassinated. Little Turkey, a former Chickamauga/Lower Cherokee warrior, is elected Principal Chief of the Nation, but Hanging Maw, headman of Chota and of the Overhill towns, claims the title by tradition.

The Cherokee-Franklin War, the bloodiest and most widespread since 1776, takes place after the murder of a number of peaceful chiefs at the town of Chilhowee.

22 February 1791 – Treaty of Holston.

November 1791 – The Battle of the Wabash.  The Cherokee participate with their Western Confederacy allies in delivering the worst defeat suffered by the United States at the hands of indigenous warriors, the body count far surpassing that at the Battle of Greasy Grass Creek (Little Bighorn), 933 casualties, with 632 KIA, versus 323 with 268 KIA.

1791-1796 – Southwest Indian War, between the newly-established Southwest Territory and the Cherokee, Creek, and Shawnee.  The Creek are the last to lay down arms, in 1796.

1 March 1792 – Dragging Canoe dies at Lookout Mountain Town (now Trenton, Georgia), and is buried at Running Water Town (now Whiteside, Tennessee). He is succeeded as leader of the Lower Cherokee by John Watts.

25 September 1793 – On the way to attack White's Fort (now Knoxville, Tennessee), a combined force of over one thousand Cherokee and Muscogee warriors under John Watts attacks a small fortified homestead called Cavett's Station. After Watts negotiates a surrender, another Cherokee chieftain, Doublehead, attacks and kills the family in violation of the terms despite the attempts of Watts and James Vann to prevent it. The incident causes the break-up of the invasion force and leads to a bitter rivalry between Vann and Doublehead that causes a rift in the Nation which lasts long past their deaths.

26 June 1794 – Treaty of Philadelphia, ceding land in exchange for money.

August 1794 – The Battle of Fallen Timbers, in which the Legion of the United States commanded by Mad Anthony Wayne delivers such a defeat to the Western Confederacy that effective large-scale resistance collapses.

September 1794 – The Nickajack Expedition by the U.S. Army, the Southwest Territory militia, and Kentucky volunteers destroys the towns on Nickajack and Running Water on the Tennessee River, with the slaughter of most of the inhabitants of the first while those of the latter escape, though the body count is lower than it may have been were not many residents at a stickball game in Willstown.

7 November 1794 – Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse, ending the Cherokee part in the Indian Wars of the Old Southwest.

1794 – Little Turkey, is finally recognized by all Cherokee as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. At this time, the Cherokee National Council is formally established as the legislative body of the nation. However, the two most populous groups, the Upper Towns (who favored acculturation and remaining in the East) and the Lower Towns (who favored maintaining older customs, though they also were highly acculturated, and emigrating to the West), remain estranged from each other with each having their own regional council; in addition, the towns of the Overhill area have their own council at Chota. The Hill and the Valley Towns in North Carolina remain largely isolated, and, with the town of Etowah in what later becomes North Georgia, the most conservative.

1795 – The Treaty of Greenville in December ends the Northwest Indian War, and most of the Cherokee in the north return home.

1796 – Mixed-blood and redhead Will Weber, whose town, Titsohili, became his name’s sake as Willstown, departs west over the Mississippi.

1797 - The National Council alters Cherokee law to make it so that a killing that is not premeditated does not have to be avenged by the clan of the dead person.

1799 - The distribution roll of Cherokee annuities for this year shows fifty-one towns and villages in the nation.

2 October 1798 – Treaty of Tellico affirming boundaries marked under previous treaty.

Spring 1801 – The Moravian Brethren establish Spring Place Mission on land given them by James Vann from his Diamond Hill plantation, the most important feature of which is a school.

1802 – In exchange for the State of Georgia surrendering to the federal government its claims to its western lands, President Thomas Jefferson agrees to extinguish the titles of the Muscogee and the Cherokee to their lands within its borders.

1803 – Little Turkey dies, and former Lower Cherokee warrior Black Fox is chosen to succeed him as principal chief.

30 April 1803 – The United States of America purchases from Napoleon I of France the Louisiana Territory for the ultimate amount of $23,213,568.

24 October 1804 – Treaty of Tellico for land cession.

1805 – At the suggestion of Louisiana Territory Gov. James Wilkinson, the Cherokee living in southeast Missouri on the Mississippi River move to the Arkansas River in what becomes Arkansas Territory.

25 October 1805 – Treaty of Tellico for more land cession, including for the Federal Road.

27 October 1805 – Treaty of Tellico ceding land for the Tennessee state assembly to meet upon.

7 January 1806 – Treaty of Washington ceding land.

August 1807 – Doublehead, Speaker of the Cherokee National Assembly, and one of those chiefly responsible for engaging in secret land deals for personal profit, is assassinated in a tavern at Walker’s Ferry near the Cherokee Agency (now Calhoun, Tennessee) by The Ridge and Alexander Saunders. James Vann, Doublehead's archrival, is originally designated the main assassin but is too inebriated to function at the time.

1807 - A group of Cayuga sell their lands in New York and join the Seneca on the Sandusky.  Other newcomers include Lenape and Wyandot (Huron).

1808 – Because of their attempt to make a secret deal for their own profit with U.S. Commissioner Return J. Meigs, Black Fox and his assistant principal chief, The Glass, are deposed from office at a council in Hiwassee Old Town, with Black Fox being replaced by fellow former Dragging Canoe warrior Pathkiller.

11 September 1808 – The National Council, meeting at Broomtown, authorizes the formation of the Cherokee Lighthorse Guard, a patrol of regulators to prevent squatting by whites, robbery, horse-stealing, and cattle-rustling; The Ridge is made head of the whole force.  In the same act, provision is made for patrilineal inheritance.

1809 – A large group of Cherokee under Tahlonteeskee (Ataluntiski), Doublehead’s brother, emigrates to lands in what is now Arkansas, where he becomes the first principal chief of the Cherokee Nation West. Later in the year, Meigs sends John Ross to these Cherokee as his deputy. • The Cherokee National Committee (of 13 leaders) is established to handle affairs of the Nation between meetings of the National Council.

19 February 1809 – James Vann, leader of the anti-treaty faction in the Nation, mentor to younger Cherokee Charles R. Hicks and The Ridge, and richest man in the Nation (east of the Mississippi River, in fact), is killed by a single shot while drinking at Buffington's Tavern, on the Federal Road northwest of Frogtown. Due to numerous persons having witnessed or been the victims of Vann's capricious fits of temper and drunken rages, possible suspects are nearly infinite.

September 1809 – Black Fox and The Glass are returned to their former positions with the ending of the division between the Upper and Lower towns, with the understanding that henceforth all councils will be truly national and that no land belonging to the Nation will be traded or sold without the approval of the council.

1810 – A party under John Bowl (aka Duwali), son of The Bowl, and Tsulawi leaves for the West. • The Cherokee Nation abolishes blood vengeance, with the clans surrendering that power to the government, in the Act of Oblivion.


1811 – The traditionalist movement which some call the “Cherokee Ghost Dance” movement, led at least in part by a former warrior of the Chickamauga Wars from Coosawattee named Tsali, begins.

Tecumseh's War begins.

Black Fox dies and is succeeded as principal chief by Pathkiller, with Charles R. Hicks as assistant principal chief.

1813–1814 – The Creek War, in which the Cherokee participate as part of Andrew Jackson's army, but only after being requested to do so by the Lower Muscogee when the latter become threatened by the Red Sticks.

1815 – John Ross opens a trading post on the Tennessee River that becomes known as Ross' Landing, with Timothy Meigs, brother of Return J. Meigs, as his partner.

22 March 1816 – Treaty of Washington, ceding last remaining territory in South Carolina to the state.

14 September 1816 – Treaty of Chickasaw Council House, ceding more land.

1817–1818 – The First Seminole War takes place, with a troop of Cherokee cavalry attached to the 1400-man force of Lower Muscogee warriors under William McIntosh accompanying Jackson’s army.

1817 – The Cherokee-Osage War begins in Arkansas Territory. John McLemore, one of the Lower Cherokee headmen, leads a group of twelve boats downriver from the Cherokee Nation East to assist.

February 1817 – The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions establishes Brainerd Mission across the river from the town of Chickamauga on land given to them by John McDonald, former British agent to the Cherokee, which was once the site of his trading post. Like the Moravian mission at Spring Place, the mission's most important feature is its school.

8 July 1817 – Treaty of the Cherokee Agency, recognizing the division between the Upper Towns who are resistant to emigration and the Lower Towns who favor emigration, providing benefits for those who chose to emigrate west and 640 acre reserves for those who don't with the possibility of citizenship.

Spring 1818 – The Battle of Claremore Mound takes place in Arkansas Territory when a force of Cherokee with Shawnee and Lenape allies attacks the Osage villages of Pasona and Pasuga in retaliation for a number of raids by the Osage against farms and for horse-stealing.

1818 – John Jolly, who had adopted Sam Houston and who had previously succeeded his brother Ataluntiski as headman of Cayuga (on Hiwassee, or Jolly’s, Island) upon the latter’s emigration to the west, himself emigrates to the west bringing the remaining residents of Cayuga with him.

1819 – Two parties, one under The Bowl (Diwali) and another under Richard Fields, emigrate to Tejas, then part of Viceroyalty of New Spain, settling nearby each other.

27 February 1819 – Treaty of Washington, largely reaffirming immediately previous treaty.

March 1819 – After the treaty in Washington City this year, mostly reaffirming earlier treaties but also guaranteeing individual reservations to certain prominent Cherokee, John Walker, Jr., storms into the room of John Ross, protege of Major Ridge (as The Ridge has been known since the Creek War), and attempts to knife him.

1820 – Ataluntiski dies and is succeeded as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation West, by his brother, John Jolly. • The National Council establishes eight judicial districts with courts in each to handle civil disputes. The districts also serve for elections and legislative matters.  The Council becomes the lower house of a bicameral legislature, with Major Ridge as its Speaker, and the National Committee becomes the upper house, with John Ross as its president.

1822 – The Cherokee Supreme Court is established.

8 November 1822 – Treaty of San Antonio de Bexar, granting land in the province of Tejas in Spanish Mexico upon which the Cherokee band of The Bowl could live. Though signed by the Spanish governor of Tejas, the treaty was never ratified, neither by the Viceroyalty of New Spain nor by the succeeding Mexican Empire nor the Republic of Mexico.

1823 – George Guess, better known as Sequoyah, a distant relative of the Ridge and Watie families and a long-time advocate of Cherokee emigration west, himself emigrates to the Cherokee Nation West. • In the Cherokee Nation East, the National Committee is given the power to review acts of the National Council.

Winter 1823 – The last battle between the Cherokee and the Osage takes place, after which both nations agree to an end to hostilities.

1824 – Whitepath (Nunna'hi-dihi) of Turniptown (near Ellijay) leads a protest movement of traditionalists against acculturation and the changes in the structure of tribal government which forms its own council under Big Tiger; the schism last for four years. • After years of legal action and negotiations over rights to land within the bounds of the State of North Carolina, the Cherokee living beyond the bounds of the Cherokee Nation after the treaties of 1817 and 1819 are confirmed in their lands, the center of which is Quallatown on the Oconaluftee River. Yonaguska is chosen as their principal chief.

1825 – Census figures for the Cherokee Nation East, show 13,563 Cherokee natives, 1277 slaves, and 220 intermarried whites within the eastern nation.

1826 – Whitepath is removed from the Cherokee National Council, but is reinstated two years later when the schism collapses.

December 1826 – Pathkiller dies and is succeeded as principal chief by his assistant, Charles R. Hicks for what is left of his term.

January 1827 – Charles Hicks dies a mere two weeks after Pathkiller, and government of the Cherokee Nation falls on Major Ridge, as Speaker of the National Council, and John Ross, as president of the National Committee.

26 July 1827 – The Cherokee Nation East, adopts a constitution detailing a three-branch government with a bicameral legislature and eight legislative-judicial districts.

Fall 1827 – The Council chooses William Hicks to serve out the remainder of Pathkiller’s term.

1828 – Gold is discovered near Dahlonega on Ward’s Creek, a tributary of the Chestatee River, within the Cherokee Nation East.

21 February 1828 – Elias Boudinot begins publication of the Cherokee Phoenix at New Echota.

6 May 1828 – Treaty of Washington in which the Cherokee Nation West, cedes its lands in Arkansas Territory for lands in what becomes Indian Territory, though many remain for some time.

October 1828 – Elections are held under the new constitution of the Cherokee Nation East, with John Ross, (Guwisguwi), being elected principal chief and George Lowery assistant principal chief; Major Ridge is appointed Ross’ chief counselor.

Later in 1828 – A delegation from the Cherokee Nation West, including Sequoyah, travels to Washington City where they are pressured into signing the Treaty of Washington giving up their lands in Arkansas Territory for lands in Indian Territory that are essentially what becomes the Cherokee Nation after the Removal. Once there, they adopt a constitution similar to the one adopted by the Cherokee Nation East.

4 March 1829 – Andrew Jackson becomes President of the United States of America.

19 December 1829 – The State of Georgia passes an act appropriating the lands of the Cherokee Nation within the territorial limits claimed by Georgia and extending the laws of that state to all persons living within its boundaries. The State of Alabama does likewise. The Georgia act in addition stipulates that all laws of the Cherokee Nation are null and void, prohibits the election of any officers, and declares that no Cherokee can testify in court against any white person.


1830 – During this year 561 Cherokee emigrate of their own accord to the western lands.

4 January 1830 – A party of thirty warriors under Major Ridge expels several families of white squatters who’d taken over the farmsteads of Cherokee emigres to the west in a detached section of Cherokee land inside South Georgia.

3 June 1830 – Governor Gilmer declares the Georgia legislative act of the previous December to be in effect and that all Cherokee lands, including the gold mines there, are now the property of the State of Georgia.

28 May 1830 – Congress passes the Indian Removal Act, aimed at the “Five Civilized Tribes”.

October 1830 – The Cherokee Nation holds its National Council meeting at New Echota, the last time it is held there. John Ridge becomes president of the National Committee, Going Snake becomes Speaker of the Council, and Alexander McCoy, who’d earlier been deposed for considering emigration, its clerk. Ridge, William Shorey Coody (John Ross’ nephew), and Richard Taylor are chosen to lead a delegation to Washington to protest the harassment of the Nation.

January 1831 – December 1832 – 907 Cherokee emigrate to the western lands in these two years. Most of these were in two parties, 347 in one and 422 in the other (including 127 slaves).

1831 - The Seneca on the Sandusky sell their lands in Ohio and move to Oklahoma to live with the Cherokee Nation West.

Early 1831 – The State of Georgia passes a law requiring whites living within the Cherokee Nation to take a loyalty oath and to obtain permission from the State in order to continue living inside the Nation. The law is aimed at missionaries, particularly those at Brainerd Mission near Chickamauga.

24 February 1831 – Members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are granted citizenship of the United States of America in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, which also cedes the land of the Choctaw Nation to the government of the USA.

12 March 1831 – Samuel Worcester and several others at Etowah Mission, a satellite of Brainerd, are arrested by a party of 25 Georgia Guard.

7 July 1831 – Worcester is arrested again along with two others. The following day nine other whites are arrested.

15 September 1831 – The trial of the eleven takes place in Lawrenceville, Georgia, with the jury finding the men guilty and the judge sentencing each to four years hard labor. Upon their arrival at the prison in Milledgeville, Gov. Gilmer offers to pardon them if they take the loyalty oath and leave the state. All but two, Drs. Worcester and Butler, agree to do so.

30 November 1831 – An attempt is made on the lives of John Ross and his brother Andrew by a white advocate of Cherokee Removal.

December 1831 – A delegation from the Cherokee Nation East, composed of John Ridge, Elias Boudinot, James Martin, and William Shorey Coody, arrives in Washington City to present Cherokee grievances against the State of Georgia.

1832 - The Mixed Band of Seneca and Shawnee in Ohio sell their lands and move to live with the "Seneca" formerly of Sandusky.  Together, they are recognized as the United Nation of Seneca and Shawnee.

3 March 1832 – In the case of Worcester v. Georgia, Chief Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court declares the recent laws of the State of Georgia null and void and that the Cherokee Nation East has the right to protection of the federal government from harassments by the states, and orders the release of Worcester and Butler.

24 March 1832 – Treaty of Cusseta between the Muscogee Nation and the United States of America, offering equal lands for those choosing to emigrate to Indian Territory and individual ownership of current lands with submission to Alabama state laws. After violence breaks out stemming from speculators defrauding Muscogee out of their land, the federal government sends General Winfield Scott to forcibly remove them.

April 1832 – After a meeting with President Jackson who bluntly informs him that the United States will take no measures to enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Worcester v. Georgia case and that the Cherokee should prepare themselves for to go west, John Ridge reverses his stand against removal. Later, the other members of the delegation come to a like decision.

16 April 1832 – Secretary of War Lewis Cass meets with the Cherokee delegation and offers them extensive lands in Indian Territory, sovereignty over their affairs after removing there, an annuity of equal value to their cession, payment for “improvements” to their ceded lands, support for schools and industries, and various other inducements in return for the cession of their lands in the East.

9 May 1832 – Treaty of Payne's Landing with a small faction of Seminole who favor removal. It is not ratified by the U.S. Senate for another two years.

23 July 1832 – The Cherokee National Council, meeting for the first time at Red Clay, passes a resolution not to hold elections as mandated by their constitution and to allow the same officers to continue, including John Ross as Principal Chief; after this all officials in the Cherokee Nation are unelected. Elias Boudinot resigns as editor of The Cherokee Phoenix after Ross refuses to allow him to publish the report of the recent delegation to Washington favoring removal; he is ultimately replaced by Elijah Hicks, one of Ross’ brothers-in-law.

This council marks the beginning of the sharp division between what are later called the Treaty Party and the National Party. Leading treaty advocates at this time include John Ridge, Major Ridge, Boudinot, David Watie, Stand Watie, William Shorey Coody, William Hicks, Andrew Ross, John Walker Jr., John Fields, John Gunter, David Vann, Charles Vann, Alexander McCoy, W.A. Davis, James A. Bell, Samuel Bell, John West, Ezekial West, Archilla Smith, and James Starr, among others.

20 October 1832 – Treaty of Pontotoc between the Chickasaw Nation and the United States of America ceding their lands east of the Mississippi River for financial compensation and equal lands in Indian Territory.

22 October 1832 – The Georgia Land Lottery for the lands seized from the Cherokee in Georgia begins.


14 January 1833 – Worcester and Butler are finally released from prison.

February 1833 – President Jackson offers John Ross $3 million dollars and equivalent land in the west for those of the Cherokee Nation East; Ross refuses.

14 February 1833 – Treaty of Fort Gibson correcting conflicts between land guarantees to the Cherokee and land guarantees to the Muscogee.

Sometime in 1833 – Tatsi, aka Captain Dutch, leads a party of Old Settlers from the north to join the Texas Cherokee in what is then the Republic of Mexico, and among them is Sam Houston, adopted son of John Jolly.

November 1833 – The Cherokee who have enrolled for emigration, including most of the Treaty Party, meet at the Cherokee Agency at Calhoun, Tennessee, where they elect William Hicks as principal chief of their faction and John McIntosh as his assistant. They send a delegation to Washington City to represent their interests which includes Andrew Ross.

13 March 1834 – An emigration party under Lt. Joseph Harris departs from the Cherokee Agency. Through later accessions, it eventually numbers 903.

Spring 1834 – John Ross proposes to Secretary Cass that the Nation be allowed to remain in the East on a small part of their land, subject to the laws of the respective states in which they live, and eventually assimilate into American society. His brother Andrew, on the other hand, signs a removal treaty that even the other removal advocates boycott. Major Ridge takes the middle way, condemning both extremes, citing, to John Ross, the extreme destitution and dissolution of the Catawba who had followed that course.

16 May 1834 – Harris’ party arrives at the Cherokee Nation West. Deaths en route number 120 due to a typhus epidemic.

19 June 1834 – The U.S. concludes a treaty with the party of Andrew Ross, brother of John Ross, over the objections of both the Ross party and the Ridge party, and is rejected by both the U.S. Senate and the Cherokee National Council.

24 June 1834 – John Walker, Jr. (Sequaneyoho), one of the leading advocates of Removal, is assassinated by James Foreman and his half-brother Anderson Springston on the road from Spring Place while returning home from a meeting of the National Council.  This assassination marks the beginning of the First Cherokee Civil War, which last for two years with the death rate averaging one per week.

August 1834 – Elijah Hicks presents to the National Council a petition charging Major Ridge, John Ridge, and David Vann with treason and calling for their impeachment and removal from office. The three are never tried, nor are the charges ever dropped.

27 November 1834 – The Treaty Party holds its own council at Running Waters, the plantation of John Ridge not far from Oothcaloga (now Calhoun, Georgia).

The 1835 Census of the Cherokee Nation, East (not including the Oconaluftee Cherokee under Yonaguska in Haywood County, North Carolina, who are considered citizens of that state) shows—Georgia: 8946 "Indians", 776 slaves, 68 whites; North Carolina: 3644 "Indians", 37 slaves, 22 whites; Tennessee: 2528 "Indians", 480 slaves, 79 whites; and Alabama: 1424 "Indians", 299 slaves, 32 whites. This makes a total of 16,542 "Indians", 1592 slaves, and 201 whites living in the Cherokee Nation East, for a grand total of 18,335 persons overall. This total includes 376 Muscogee living in the Cherokee Nation East, since the Creek War. The estimated number of Cherokee in the West is about 5000.

14 March 1835 – U.S. envoy John F. Schermerhorn offers the Ridge delegation $3,250,000 for the lands of the Cherokee Nation East. The Ross delegation counters with a demand for $20,000,000, and when that offer is rejected outright, promises to accept an amount set by the U.S. Senate. The Senate almost immediately offers $5,000,000, but the Ross delegation reneges on their promise. Schermerhorn eventually concludes a preliminary treaty with the Ridge delegation offering $4,500,000 for the Cherokee lands in the East plus other financial considerations.

18 July 1835 – Hundreds of Cherokee, not from just the Treaty Party but also from the National Party (including John Ross), converge on John Ridge’s plantation of Running Waters (a few miles distant from New Echota) to meet with Shermerhorn, Return J. Meigs, Jr., and other officials representing the United States government. After the conclusion of the conclave, members of the National Party murder members of the Treaty Party at a rate of at least one a week.

24 August 1835 – John Ridge holds a Green Corn Dance at the council grounds at his Running Waters plantation attended by hundreds, the primary purpose of the gathering being to build up support for a removal treaty. John Ross attempts to hold dances elsewhere to counter Ridge's, but the Georgia Guard disperses all of those.

October 1835 – The Cherokee Council rejects the offered treaty in October, but appoints twenty men, including not only John Ross, but treaty advocates John Ridge, Charles Vann, and Elias Boudinot (later replaced by Stand Watie), to represent the Cherokee Nation for a removal treaty with the stipulation that it has to be for more than five million dollars. Schermerhorn, meanwhile, calls for a convention to negotiate a removal treaty at New Echota in the upcoming December.

2 October 1835 – The Texas Revolution begins. Although the forces of the rebels are mixed, the majority are Tejano rather than Texian.

7 November 1835 – The Georgia Guard invades what will later be Southeast Tennessee by crossing its own declared stateline on the way to Flint Springs in what is to become Bradley County to arrest John Ross at his house, where they also find and arrest John Howard Payne, taking both men to a make-shift jail at Spring Place. Ross is released nine days later, immediately heading to Washington City, but Payne is held an additional 3 ½ days.

1835–1842 – The Second Seminole War between the U.S. Army and the St. Augustine Militia versus the Seminoles under Osceola.

22 December 1835 – Some four hundred persons, exclusively from the Upper and Lower Towns areas with none from the Hill and Valley Towns in the west of North Carolina, converge on New Echota for Treaty negotiations with U.S. Commissioner Schermerhorn.

29 December 1835 – After a week of negotiations, the price for the land of the Cherokee Nation is brought up to (1) five million dollars to be disbursed on a per capita basis, (2) an additional half-million dollars for educational funds, (3) title in perpetuity to an equal amount of land in Indian Territory to that given up, (4) full compensation for all property left in the East, and (5) provision for those Cherokee who so desire to remain and become citizens of the states in which they reside on 160 acres of land.

The negotiating committee reports the results to the full council (all persons present) gathered at New Echota, which approves the treaty unanimously. The Treaty of New Echota specifying terms and conditions for Cherokee removal to the west of the Mississippi river is then signed by Major Ridge, Elias Boudinot, James Foster, Testaesky, Charles Moore, George Chambers, Tahyeske, Archilla Smith, Andrew Ross, William Lassley, Caetehee, Tegaheske, Robert Rogers, John Gunter, John A. Bell, Charles Foreman, William Rogers, George W. Adair, James Starr, and Jesse Halfbreed.

After Shermerhorn returns to Washington City with the signed treaty, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot add their names. John Ross refuses to sign, returning to the Cherokee Nation, and implying to his supporters that he has worked out a deal with the government that if the Cherokee follow him, they will not have to remove.

The clause in the treaty as signed at New Echota allowing Cherokee who so desire to remain and become citizens of the states in which they reside is stricken out by President Jackson.


February 1836 – The Treaty of New Echota is overwhelmingly rejected by the Cherokee National Council meeting at Red Clay.

23 February-6 March – Siege of the Alamo by the Mexican Army of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna against Tejas/Texas rebels in the Mission San Antonio de Valero in the town of Bexar, consisting regulars under Lt. Col. William Travis, volunteers under Col. Jim Bowie, the New Orleans Greys, and Tennesseans under Col. David Crockett.

23 February 1836 – Treaty of Bowles Village with the Republic of Texas, granting nearly 4000 km2 of east Texas land to the Texas Cherokees and twelve associated tribes.

2 March 1836 – The Republic of Texas declares its independence from Mexico as the Mexican army under President-General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna begins waging a war of retribution. Sam Houston, President of the Provisional Government, and later Republic, of Texas signs a treaty with the Texas Cherokee guaranteeing them their lands, but the treaty is rejected by the Texas Senate the next year.

27 March 1836 – The Massacre of Goliad.

21 April 1836 – The Battle of San Jacinto ends the Texas Revolution with the defeat of Santa Anna’s army by those of Pres. & Gen. Sam Houston.

18 May 1836 – The Treaty of New Echota is ratified in the United States Senate by just the single vote necessary for the required number.

23 May 1836 – President Jackson proclaims the Treaty of New Echota to the American people.

June 1836 – Federal troops under General John E. Wool, with support from East Tennessee volunteers under Brigadier General R. G. Dunlap, move into the Cherokee Nation to prevent disorder.

September 1836 – Dunlap disbands his brigade of volunteers and sends them home.

1 January 1837 – 600 members of the Treaty Party depart for the Cherokee Nation West, paying their own way.

3 March 1837 – The first party removed at the expense of the U.S. government, composed of 466 person including the Ridge and Watie families, departs from Ross’ Landing (near present-day Chattanooga, Tennessee) under Dr. John S. Young.

4 March 1837 – Martin Van Buren becomes President of the United States of America.

28 March 1837 – Dr. Young’s party arrives at Fort Smith, Arkansas, with most unloading and refusing to go further. A small number continues the next day to Fort Coffee, Indian Territory.

1 July 1837 – General Wool is relieved from duty at his own request, with Colonel William Lindsey taking his place in command of the troops in the Cherokee Nation East.

September 1837 – A delegation of Cherokee sent by John Ross travels to Florida at the invitation of the federal government to act as intermediaries between the Seminole and the government, the latter hoping the Cherokee will convince the Seminole to stop resisting removal. The Cherokee deputation—consisting of Hair Conrad, Jesse Bushyhead, Richard Fields, Thomas Woodward, and Pole Cat—employs stalling tactics and leaves convinced that the Seminole have chosen the correct course.

14 October 1837 – The second party voluntarily removed by the U.S. government, composed of 365 persons, leaves from the Cherokee Agency under B. B. Cannon.

27 December 1837 – Cannon’s party arrives in the Cherokee Nation West, with 18 people having died along the way.


8 January 1838 – The War Department reports that 2103 Cherokee have departed for the west, 1258 having used their own resources.

8 May 1838 – Major General Winfield Scott arrives in Charleston to supervise the erection of forts for the troops and stockades for the internees throughout the Cherokee Nation.

Forts in Tennessee: Fort Cass (Cherokee Agency), Fort Foster (halfway between Fort Cass and the current Cleveland, Tennessee), Camp Worth (Rattlesnake Springs), Camp Ross (Red Clay Council Ground), Fort Marr (southeast Bradley County), Fort Wood (east of Ross’ Landing), and Fort near Indian Springs.

Forts in Georgia: Fort Hetzel (Ellijay, Gilmer Co.), Fort Scudder (Frogtown Creek north of Dahlonega), Fort Talking Rock (near Jasper, Pickens Co.), Fort Gilmer (Coosawatie), Fort Buffington (near Canton), Fort Hoskins (Spring Place), Fort Wool (New Echota), Fort at Head of Coosa (now Rome, Georgia), Fort Means (halfway between New Echota and Cedartown), Fort at Cedartown, Fort Campbell (halfway between Dahlonega and Canton), Fort Newman (halfway between Ft. Gilmer and Ft. Campbell), and Fort Cumming (Lafayette).

Forts in North Carolina: Fort Lindsay (Bryson City), Fort Scott (Aquone), Fort Montgomery (Robbinsville), Fort Hembrie (Hayesville), Fort Delaney (Valleytown), and Fort Butler (Murphy).

Forts in Alabama: Fort Payne, Fort Turkeytown, Fort Lovell, Fort Likens, Fort Armstrong (DeKalb Co.), and Fort Deposit (downstream from Gunter’s Landing).

10 May 1838 – General Scott issues a proclamation to the Cherokee Nation that troops are coming to round them up and enforce obedience to the Treaty of New Echota.

26 May 1838 – Beginning of the round-up of the Cherokee in Georgia, with most being crowded into Camp Cherokee at Ross’ Landing.

4 June 1838 – Beginning of the round-up of the Cherokee left in North Carolina, with most being taken to camps in Bradley County.

5 June 1838 – Beginning of the round-up of the Cherokee in Tennessee.

Internment camps in Bradley County: Cherokee Agency, Rattlesnake Springs, South Mouse Creek No. 1, South Mouse Creek No. 2, Gunstocker Spring, Upper Chatata, Beeler Ridge, Chestua Creek, Camp Ross at Red Clay, Bedwell’s Springs, Wildwood Spring, Camp Hetzel (Cleveland), and Candy’s Creek.

Internment camps in Hamilton County: Camp Cherokee near Ross’ Landing and Camp Clanewaugh at Indian Springs (headwaters of Citico Creek).

6 June 1838 – First group of forced exiles, numbering about 800, departs from Ross’ Landing under Lieutenant Deas. The group takes on additional members at Brown’s Ferry, just downriver near the mouth of Lookout Creek.

12 June 1838 – Beginning of the round-up of Cherokee in Alabama, with detainees held at Fort Payne.

13 June 1838 – Second group of forced exiles, numbering about 875, departs from Ross’ Landing under Lieutenant R. H. K. Whitely.

17 June 1838 – Third group of forced exiles, numbering about 1070, departs from Ross’ Landing.

19 June 1838 – Lieutenant Deas’ party arrives at Fort Smith, where most emigrants disembark and refuse to get back on.  Those who remain aboard disembark at Fort Coffee the following day.

19 June 1838 – General Scott grants the request from Ross and the National Council to suspend removal until better weather in the fall (the date suggested is 1 September). In spite of this, Capt. Drane refuses to halt his group, which has left just two days before. Scott estimates in his report that at the time there are about 3000 in the camps around the Cherokee Agency, 2500 at Ross’ Landing, and 1250 at camps between those two points, with 2000–3000 at interiors forts waiting to be moved to the concentration camps and around 200 remaining to be captured.

12 July 1838 – The boats from Lieutenant Whitely’s party run aground at Benson’s Bar, and the party continues overland eight days later.

25 July 1838 – General Scott agrees to the plan of Ross and the National Council for the Cherokee to supervise their own removal, accepting the bid of Ross and his brother Lewis to do so at a price of $65 per head. Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, and John Jolly, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation West, had put in a bid for just $9.

 (A few decades later, the Mormon Church was allotting $45 to bring members all the way from England to Utah.)

1–7 August 1838 – Last council meeting of the Cherokee Nation east of the Mississippi River, at Aquohee Camp in the current Bradley County, Tennessee, at the site now known as Rattlesnake Springs.

5 August 1838 – Whitely’s party arrives at the Cherokee Nation West with only 602 person remaining; 143 have escaped from the party but the rest of those missing have died.

7 August 1838 – Drane’s party arrives at the Cherokee Nation West with only 722 persons remaining. About 100 persons escaped before the party arrived in Bellefonte, Alabama, and another 300 while the party was stopped there, though many of the latter are recaptured. Seventy-six more escape before Waterloo.

19 August 1838 – Last communion of the Baptist Church of Christ at Chickamauga, the church at Brainerd Mission. The missionaries accompany the Cherokee to the West.

28 August 1838 – The detachment of Hair Conrad, which includes Going Snake and Treaty-supporter (and Ross relative) William Shorey Coody, departs from the camp at Wildwood Spring. It crosses the Hiwassee River at Walker’s Ferry to the Agency, then the Tennessee River at Tucker’s Ferry before being forced to halt near the northern landing of Blythe’s Ferry because of a lack of drinking water due to the heavy drought.

1 September 1838 – The detachment of Elijah Hicks, which includes Whitepath, departs from the camps around the Agency following the same path as Conrad’s detachment only to be likewise halted at Gunstocker Spring.

3 September 1838 – The detachment of Jesse Bushyhead and Roman Nose departs from the camps around the Agency following the same route as the previous two, only to be halted before crossing the Tennessee River.

3 September 1838 – General Scott halts the emigration because the drought has dried up the springs and branches in the Cumberland Mountains.

1 October 1838 – The detachment of John Benge departs from Fort Payne.

3 October 1838 – Hicks’ and Conrad’s detachments, the latter now under Daniel Colston, get underway in that order. The detachment of Richard Taylor also departs from Ross’ Landing on this day. The rest of detachments gradually begin their journey on the land route in the following order under the listed supervisors: Situwakee, Bushyhead, Old Field, James Brown, Choowalooka (James Wofford), Moses Daniel, George Hicks, and Peter Hildebrand.

11 October 1838 – A detachment of 675 persons of the Treaty Party under John A. Bell departs from the Agency, having refused removal under Ross.

Sometime in October 1838 – Whitepath, fullblood leader of the traditionalists, dies near Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

1 November 1838 – Twelve members of a group of twenty Cherokee in western North Carolina who have evaded the round-up and forced emigration are captured and held under guard by three enlisted men and a lieutenant. During the night, two of the soldiers are killed and one wounded, while the lieutenant escapes into the night, as do the prisoners.

7 November 1838 – After seeing off the other detachments on the land route, the detachment of John Drew, which includes the families of John and or Lewis Ross as well as that of Joseph Vann, attempts to get underway on the luxury riverboat, but is delayed because by low water.

23 November 1838 – At this time all of the fugitives of Tsali’s band have been captured except for Tsali himself, formerly of Coosawatiyi and a leader of the Cherokee "Ghost Dance" movement of 1811-1812. On this day three of the men are executed by a firing squad composed of men from Yonaguska’s Oconaluftee Cherokee, who have citizenship in the State of North Carolina, and from Utsala’s Nantahala Cherokee, who live within the (now) former Cherokee Nation.

25 November 1838 – Utsala’s band finally captures Tsali and executes him by firing squad. For their part in helping quell this “rebellion”, his Nantahala Cherokee are allowed to join Yonaguska’s group.

5 December 1838 – Drew’s detachment finally gets underway.

28 December 1838 – Death of John Jolly, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation West. He is succeeded by John Looney.

1839-1844 - The Regulator-Moderator War in East Texas.


4 January 1839 – The detachment of Elijah Hicks arrives at Ft. Gibson.

7 January 1839 – The detachment of John Bell arrives at Ft. Gibson.

11 January 1839 – The detachment of John Benge arrives at Ft. Gibson.

16 January 1839 – The detachment of Daniel Colton arrives at Ft. Gibson.

2 February 1839 – The detachment of Situwakee arrives at Ft. Gibson.

23 February 1839 – The detachment of Old Field arrives at Ft. Gibson.

27 February 1839 – The detachment of Jesse Bushyhead arrives at Ft. Gibson.

1 March 1839 – The detachment of Choowalooka arrives at Ft. Gibson.

2 March 1839 – The detachment of Moses Daniel arrives at Ft. Gibson.

5 March 1839 – The detachment of James Brown arrives at Ft. Gibson.

14 March 1839 – The detachment of George Hicks arrives at Ft. Gibson.

18 March 1839 – The detachment of John Drew arrives at Ft. Gibson.

24 March 1839 – The detachment of Richard Taylor arrives at Ft. Gibson.

25 March 1839 – The detachment of Peter Hildebrand arrives ar Ft. Gibson.

The following are figures compiled by Emmet Starr, as a comparison for the three different accounts. Captain John Page was the disbursing officer at the Cherokee Nation, East. Stephenson was the receiving officer at Ft. Gibson. Page lists as 11,813 departures; Stephenson lists 11,494 arrivals; John Ross lists 13,149 transported in all.

According to Duane King, there were approximately 350 deaths during the Removal, about 200 of these deaths were in the camps centered around Rattlesnake Springs, the remaining 150 en route. The official figures for changes in numbers from the round-up to the last arrivals in Indian Territory were 424 deaths, 71 births, 182 disappearances, and 191 accessions (meaning persons picked up en route).

April 1839 – Yonaguska, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, dies and his adopted son, William Holland Thomas, succeeds him.

22 April 1839 – The Old Settlers hold an election to select new officers to strengthen their organization vis-a-vis the Latecomers under Ross. John Brown, formerly of Brown’s Tavern, Landing, and Ferry in Tuskegee (Lookout Valley) west of Moccasin Bend in the Tennessee River as well as former judge of the Chickamauga District of the Cherokee Nation East, becomes Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation West.

3 June 1839 – A council to form a union between the Old Settlers and the Late Immigrants convenes at Double Springs. The council breaks up sixteen days later without having reached an agreement when Brown becomes too frustrated with Ross’ intrangience and his insistence that the Old Settlers accept him as Principal Chief over the united Nation without an election. Ross’ partisans blame Brown’s actions on the members of the Treaty Party, particularly those who had emigrated prior to the forced removal such as the Ridge and Watie families.

19 June 1839 – A secret conclave is held by Ross’ partisans, allegedly without Ross’ knowledge, at which plans are made for the assassinations of Major Ridge, John Ridge, Elias Boudinot, Stand Watie, John A. Bell, James Starr, George Adair, and others. Notably absent from the list are Treaty Party leaders David Vann, Charles Vann, John Gunter, Charles Foreman, William Hicks, and Andrew Ross.

22 June 1839 – John Ridge is dragged out of his home and murdered in front of his wife and children by a party of twenty-five men that includes Daniel Colston, John Vann, Archibald Spear, James Spear, Joseph Spear, Hunter, and others.
Elias Boudinot is assassinated near his home by a party of some thirty men including Johnston, Soft-shelled, Turtle, Money Talker, Carsootawdy, Joseph Beanstalk, Edward Gunter, Sanders, and others.
Major Ridge is assassinated in the State of Arkansas by a party including James Foreman, Bird Doublehead, Jefferson Hair, James Hair, and two brothers named Springston.
A fourth party is sent to assassinate Stand Watie, but he fights them off and escapes to Missouri Territory.
With their deaths, the Second Cherokee Civil War begins. The Nation remains at war with itself and divided between the Old Settlers and the Treaty Party on one side, against the National Party one the other for several more decades with numerous murders for political reason each year.

15 July 1839 – In the Battle of Neches, the Republic of Texas, now under a new president, Mirabeau Lamar, attacks the chief settlement of the Cherokee in Texas, killing about 100, including Duwali (The Bowl), beginning Texas' Cherokee War. Many of the survivors leave for the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory.

Summer 1839 – John Brown and his officers are deposed by the Old Settlers for failure to reach a compromise with the Latecomers, and John Looney, then second chief, once again becomes Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation West.

6 September 1839 – Cherokee delegates meeting in Tahlequah, the new capital, composed mostly of National Party adherents but including a few Treaty Party members and some Old Settlers as well, sign a constitution for the reunited Cherokee Nation drafted by William Shorey Coody and signed by John Ross for the Latecomers and John Looney for the Old Settlers. John Ross becomes Principal Chief of the united Cherokee Nation.

22 September 1839 – The Commissioner of Indian Affairs reports to the Secretary of War that there are 1,046 Cherokee remaining in North Carolina, including the Oconaluftee Cherokee (now joined in the Quallatown area by the Nantahala Cherokee), the 300 Cherokee from the areas of North Carolina within the New Echota cession (Snowbird and Cheoah communities), and 46 refugees from the concentration camps. There are also another 300 in the states of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

11 October 1839 – A faction of the Old Settlers following John Rogers, the former third chief under John Brown's short term, meets in council and elects him as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation West, but their effort gains no further support and dies the next year.

25 December 1839 – Last battle of the Cherokee War proper with the Republic of Texas, on the headwaters of the Sabine River, in which John Bowles, son of The Bowl/Duwali, is killed. After this, the remaining Texas Cherokees under Chicken Trotter joined Mexican forces in a guerrilla war.

18 May 1840 – John Ross submits his claim against the federal government for the expenses of the Removal.


5 July 1841 – Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott becomes general-in-chief of the United States Army.

September 1841 – The Santa Fe Expedition from the Republic of Texas, intended to conquer New Mexico, is surrounded by and surrenders to the Mexican Army,

March 1842 – Mexican troops under Rafael Vasquez briefly capture San Antonio.

August 1842 - A large Mexican force under French mercenary Gen. Adrian Woll composed of 1400 Mexican troops and 200 Cherokee scouts crosses into the Republic of Texas.

17 September 1842 – Republic of Texas forces under Col. Matthew Caldwell defeat Gen. Woll’s army at the Battle of Salado Creek.

November 1842 – The Cherokee Slave Revolt.

31 March 1843 – Treaty of Bird’s Fort with the Republic of Texas, ending hostilities among several Texas tribes, including the Cherokees, and, recognizing the tribal status of the Texas Indians as distinct, including the Cherokees that would later become known as the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands-Mount Tabor Indian Community. President of Texas Sam Houston, adopted son of former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation West John Jolly, signs for the Republic of Texas.

*9 December 1845 – The Republic of Texas enters the Union as the 28th state.

25 April 1846-2 February 1848 – The Mexican-American War.

6 August 1846 – The Treaty of Washington is signed between the three factions of the Cherokee Nation (Old Settlers, Treaty Party, Latecomers) in an attempt to end open hostilities and unite the Nation, at least on the surface.

1862 – The hidden divisions in the Nation break out into the open when Ross and a large contingent of his adherents break with the rest of the Nation over their support of the Confederacy during the Civil War and throw their support to the Union. Those remaining in the Cherokee Nation, two-thirds of the number prior to Ross' departure, elect Stand Watie as principal chief, a post Ross had abandoned when he fled to Washington City.

8 September 1865 – Treaty of Fort Smith is signed between the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Comanche, Creek, Osage, Quapaw, Seminole, Seneca, Shawnee, Wichita and Wyandot and the United States. Among other provisions, it recognizes the John Ross party as the sole legitimate representatives of the Cherokee Nation. Ignored were the claims of Stand Watie, principal chief of the Confederate Cherokee, who had summoned his nephew John Rollin Ridge from California to negotiate for recognition of a "Southern Cherokee Nation", aspirations for which died the same day.

19 July 1866 – Treaty of Tahlequah formally ending hostilities between the Cherokee Nation and the United States of America, as well as reuniting the Nation and at last putting aside the divisions which have riven it for more than three decades. Sentiments of resentment toward each other and their descendants, however, continued well past the dissolution of the Nation in 1907.

1867 - The Eastern Shawnee Tribe (now "of Oklahoma") separates from the United Nation of Seneca and Shawnee, which becomes the Seneca Tribe of Indian Territory.

27 July 1868 – Treaty of Washington, supplementing the treaty of 1866.

15 April 1872 – The Going Snake Massacre takes place in Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation.

1881 - A band of Cayuga from Canada join the Seneca Tribe in Indian Territory.

8 February 1887 – The Dawes Act breaks up the tribal land base of the Native Americans in Indian Territory into individual allotments.

28 June 1898 – The Curtis Act abolishes tribal constitutions and governments in preparation for the joining together of Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory into the State of Oklahoma.

1902 – Meeting in Eufaula, Indian Territory, the "Five Civilized Tribes" and other Indian nations begin planning a separate state.

1905 – William Rogers, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, is impeached and deposed by the Cherokee National Council for being "too cooperative" with the federal government regarding dissolution of the Cherokee Nation. The council replaces him with Frank J. Boudinot, then president of the Keetoowah Nighthawk Society, but the federal government reimposes Rogers in office the following year.

21 August 1905 – A constitutional convention meets in Muskogee to draft a constitution for the State of Sequoyah and appoints delegates to Washington, D.C. Though their efforts to be recognized are rejected by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, their constitution serves as the basis for that of the State of Oklahoma the next year.

3 March 1906 – The Cherokee Nation is officially dissolved, but some government function is retained to deal with land issues.

30 June 1914 – The last vestiges of the government of the Cherokee Nation are shut down.

26 June 1936 - The current Seneca-Cayuga Nation is recognized as the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, changing its name in 2014.

8 May 1950 – The constitution/bylaws and corporate charter of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians are ratified in accordance with the Indian Reorganization Act and the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act.

26 June 1976 – The constitution of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is ratified but disenfranchises the Texas Cherokee and Associated Bands which had previously been represented on the national committee of the Cherokee Nation.  At this time, Cherokee Freedmen are recognized as historical members of the Nation.

The Cherokee Council redefined membership requirements as limited to those persons directly descended from Cherokee listed on the Dawes Rolls, disfranchising nearly all Cherokee Freedmen.

26 July 2003 – The electorate of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma approves a new constitution.


*Alderman, Pat. Dragging Canoe: Cherokee-Chickamauga War Chief. (Johnson City: Overmountain Press, 1978).

*Anderson, William L. Cherokee Removal: Before and After. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992).

*Baker, Jack, transcriber. Cherokee Emigration Rolls 1817–1835. (Oklahoma City: Baker Publishing Co., 1977).

*Blankenship, Bob. Cherokee Roots, Volume 1: Eastern Cherokee Rolls. (Cherokee: Bob Blankenship, 1992). Contains the 1835 Henderson Roll of the Cherokee Nation East.

*Brown, John P. Old Frontiers: The Story of the Cherokee Indians from Earliest Times to the Date of Their Removal to the West, 1838. (Kingsport: Southern Publishers, 1938).

*Eckert, Allan W. A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh. (New York: Bantam, 1992).

*Ehle, John. The Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. (New York: Doubleday, 1989).

*Evans, E. Raymond. "Notable Persons in Cherokee History: Ostenaco". Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 41–54. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1976).

*Evans, E. Raymond. "Notable Persons in Cherokee History: Bob Benge". Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 98–106. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1976).

*Evans, E. Raymond. "Notable Persons in Cherokee History: Dragging Canoe". Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 176–189. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1977).

*Evans, E. Raymond, and Vicky Karhu. "Williams Island: A Source of Significant Material in the Collections of the Museum of the Cherokee". Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 10–34. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1984).

* Finger, John R. The Eastern Band of Cherokees 1819–1900. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984).

*Foreman, Grant. Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1932).

*Haywood, W.H. The Civil and Political History of the State of Tennessee from its Earliest Settlement up to the Year 1796. (Nashville: Methodist Episcopal Publishing House, 1891).

*King, Duane, ed. The Cherokee Indian Nation: A Troubled History. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979).

*King, Duane, and E. Raymond Evans. "The Trail of Tears: Primary Documents of the Cherokee Removal". Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 130–190. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1978).

*Klink, Karl, and James Talman, ed. The Journal of Major John Norton. (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1970).

*Lumpkin, Wilson. The Removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia. (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1907).

*McLoughlin, William G. Cherokee Ghost Dance Movement of 1811–1813. (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1984).

*McLoughlin, William G. Cherokee Renascence in the New Republic. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992).

*Mooney, James.  Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee. (Nashville: Charles and Randy Elder-Booksellers, 1982).

*Moore, John Trotwood and Austin P. Foster. Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769–1923, Vol. 1. (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1923).

*Moulton, Gary E., ed. The Papers of John Ross, Cherokee Chief. (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1978).

*Ramsey, James Gettys McGregor. The Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century. (Chattanooga: Judge David Campbell, 1926).

*Royce, Charles. The Cherokee Nation of Indians. (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1975).

*Starr, Emmet. Starr's History of the Cherokee Indians. (Fayetteville: Indian Heritage Assn., 1967).

*White, R. C. Cherokee Indian Removal from the Lower Hiwassie Valley. (Cleveland: Cleveland State Community College Press, 1973).

*Wilkins, Thurman. Cherokee Tragedy: The Ridge Family and the Decimation of a People. (New York: Macmillan Company, 1970).

No comments: