Genealogy Trails

Cherokee Tribe
Newspaper Items, Obituaries
and Death Notices



The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) January 25, 1809
A gentleman lately present at the council of the Cherokee nation, has transmitted the following curious detail of the impeachment of their King and two Chiefs:

I am just returned from the Garrison of Highwassee where, in addition to the politeness I experienced from the officers, I was highly gratified by being present at the distribution of the annuity given to the Cherokee Indians, agreeably to the treaty with the U. States - there were nearly one thousand of the chiefs and warriors assembled on this occasion, adorned with all the pomp of savage greatness; which gave me an opportunity of seeing their customers and manners; and afforded me the satisfaction of being present at some of their councils.
In one of those councils their King and two of the principal Chiefs were accused of treachery to the nation - and as I know you admire an oratorical display of the passions, I could have wished you to have been present. The sachems and chiefs were all seated with solemn gravity, whilst the warriors stood with composure around; the charges were all read in English and repeated in sentences by an Indian Interpreter who stood in the center of the circle; the result was that after an animated debate the Kind and Chiefs were deposed and declared unfit to hold any office in the nation hereafter.
When the sentence was pronounced he arose with the dignity of Aborigine majesty, and declared his acquiescence; with a force of expression and vehemence of gesture which astonished me - he conclude (as the interpreter informed me) by saying. “I have led you to battle and to victory. I have grown old in your service, and have now learned that ingratitude is not peculiar to the whites; and that the man is yet unborn, perhaps will never come into existence, who can give general satisfaction to the Cherokee nation.” -- Clarion.

 James Vann
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. [The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) - Submitted by Nancy Piper]

Nashville, March 22 ---- VAN, the great Creek tyrant was shot a short time since by the same Indian who killed Doublehead. Van ought years ago to have paid his crimes and perfidy to the Creek nation with his forfeited life, but his life guards were too valiant for his enemies until the fatal moment.
[The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) June 7, 1809 - Submitted by Nancy Piper]

James Vann
Born:Spring Place, February 1765
Died:Near Vann's Ferry, February 21, 1809
The son of a Scottish trader and his Cherokee wife, Vann's father Joseph and step-father Clement were among the first white traders in the Cherokee Nation. Vann's early recognition came because he was one of the few Cherokee who could read English.
[Further reading at]

The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) January 24, 1810
The National Intelligencer of Monday last, contains a letter from Return J. Meigs, Esq. dated Highwasse, Dec. 1, 1809, to the Secretary of War, giving a lengthy view of the condition of Cherokee Nation of Indians, accompanied by a General Statistical Table of this Nation, exhibiting a view of their population, improvements &c, of which the following is a condensed view.

Number of Cherokee Males 6,116
Number of Cherokee Females 6,279
Horses 6,519
Black Cattle 19,165
Sheep 1,637
Swine 19,718
Spinning Wheels 1,572
Looms 429
Waggons 30
Ploughs 567
Grist Mills 13
Saw Mills 3
Salt Perre Works 2
Powder Mills 1
Silver Smiths 49
Schools 5
Children at School 94
White People 311
Negro Slaves 583

A considerable number of the white men are married to Cherokee women, others are employed as croppers for the Cherokees.

Col. Oge, who carried on the making Salt Petre at this town (Nickejack) told Mr. Meigs last year, that he had made in five years upwards of 60,000 pounds of Salt petre, a considerable part of which he used in the making of powder.

This property has been acquired by the Cherokees within a few years.
Mr. Meigs observes, that The Cherokees on the Arkansa and White rivers, are not included in the table now transmitted; it is estimated that there is about 1000, including men, women and children, on the west side of the Mississippi; they have also many cattle and horses, some of them being very wealthy.

Black Fox -- Died. The beginning of August,"Black Fox," a distinguished Chief of the Cherokee Indians, and a strong friend to the United States, who has often restrained his nation when they were about to make war on the whites. [20 Sep 1811; The Gleaner - Submitted by K. Torp]

Near Knoxville, Black Fox Chief of the Cherokee Tribe of Indians [30 Aug 1811; Newburyport Herald]

Death of the Black Fox
The death of this distinguished Chief of the Cherokees, is an event of importance to the people of this section of the Western country. Many of the young men of the nation it is known, have expressed themselves with jealous hostility of the whites, insomuch that on several occasions misunderstandings, like to produce bloodshed have frequently taken place. Notwithstanding detachments of the U.S. troops have frequently been employed in removing trespassers off the Indian lands, encroachments continue to be made, and continue to furnish just subjects of complaint to this tribe of Indians. Circumstances of this kind afford to the restless and designing the means of sowing the seeds of hostility in the minds of many. On such occasions the influence of the Black Fox never failed to in quieting the minds of his unreflecting brethren - and when it is considered that a commercial intercourse with Mobile, through the waters of the Coosa, which rise in and pass through a considerable part of the Cherokee country, is an object of particular interest to the people of this State, the death of a Chief whose information enabled him to estimate the advantages that would result to this tribe, from a measure of the kind, is so much to be regretted
[12 Aug 1811; Carthage Gazette - Submitted by K. Torp]
Small Pox
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
July 28, 1824
The Augusta Georgia Chronicle state that the small pox has appeared in the Cherokee nation, where it is spreading with serious mortality. Five Indians of the Nation, on their return from Philadelphia found their company attacked with this alarming disease on the journey – four of them died, and one unfortunately was attacked after he got home, and was the occasion of spreading the disease in the neighborhood. Sixteen persons, it is said, have already died with it, and in almost every case it proves mortal. An express was sent to Augusta for the purpose of procuring some of the vaccine matter, which it was hoped might be the instrument of arresting the course of this malignant and fatal disorder.

Cherokee Indians
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) June 14, 1826
From the Knoxville Register, May 24 --

Some curiosity have been expressed as to the laws of the Cherokee Nation, the following sketch of them may not be unacceptable to our readers.

They prohibit the introduction by white men of spirituous liquors into the nation. They have laws establishing and regulating turnpikes, prohibiting stealing and rape, requiring white men if they take a Cherokee wife, to be legally married to her and then the property of the wife is not thrown into the hands of the husband but remains at her own disposal; nor do they permit one man to have more than one wife.

The nation is laid off into eight judicial districts and a judge and marshal appointed in each district in order to the due administration of justice. They have their rangers to each district whose duty it is to post and advertise strays. Their taxes are regularly laid and collected by the marshals. Nor do they overlook the benefits of tuition in their missionary seminaries; they compel parents to pay the expenses of such children as leave the schools without any just cause. They permit the superintendant of these missionary stations, with the consent of the parents to bind out children to such trades as may be suitable for them and at the expiration of their apprenticeship, the nation is bound to procure them tools.

Each district is entitled to be represented in the National Council by four members. The pay of each member for his services one dollar per day and to the Speaker one dollar and fifty cents. The principal chief, the Path Killer is allowed $150 per annum and Charles K. Hicks in consequence of his extra services as interpreter and writer $300. The Committee men are allowed two dollars and their president three dollars and fifty cents per day during the sitting of the National Council.

For embezzling, intercepting and opening sealed letters, the punishment is a fine of one hundred dollars and one hundred stripes on the bare back.

The business of the council during its session shall be suspended on the Sabbath and all merchants, pedlars, and Mechanics at New Town shall close their doors during that day.

They have a law declaring what shall be a lawful fence; they have also a statute of limitations; but it does not operate on notes or liquidated accounts. The Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation is authorized to loan upon good security, such surplus funds as may remain after discharging the annual appropriations.

A marshal, a Sheriff, deputy sheriff and two constables are appointed in each district. These officers have superseded the companies of light horse, which before the passage of this regulation, executed the decrees of their courts and brought offenders to justice. The marshals are elected by the National committee; the sheriffs and constables by the people in each district. The duty of these officers are prescribed and security taken for their faithful performance. In pursuit of criminals they are allowed to summon as many men as may be necessary to assist them.

A will, if found among the valuable papers of the deceased, although not witnessed is considered established if proved to be written and signed by the testator. A will to be regular according to their law should be signed by the testator, attested by two witnesses and its validity proved to the satisfaction of the court of the district. There are also some regulations about nuncupative wills.

The property of any person dying intestate is divided equally amongst the children and wife, the wife taking a child’s part. If there are no children, the wife is entitled to the fourth part and the residue goes to his nearest kin after the estate is freed from encumbrances. The property of the wife who has an exclusive right to it, is distributed in the same way between her children and husband.

This is a faint outline of some of the laws by which the Cherokee nation are governed. The Resolutions to procure two sets of types to establish at Newtown a printing office has already been noticed in a former paper; one set of types to be composed of English letters and the other of Cherokee characters, the invention of George Guist a Cherokee. This invention is much admired by those acquainted with it for its ingenuity, simplicity and usefulness; although there are perhaps more than seventy distinct characters, they are learned by the natives in a short time with great ease and in their own language they now correspond with each other in these characters.
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) July 5, 1826
Western Indians
We learn from the Arkansas Gazette of May 23d, that of a party of ten or twelve that were engaged in catching wild horses on the Foe-Washita, a branch of the Red river, five were killed by a party of Indians, believed to be Pawnees.
Some difficulties have arisen between the Cherokees and Osages at Arkansas. A council has been held at Cantonment Gibson, where the Cherokees demanded of the Osages satisfaction for the murder of some of their people and restitution for several horses which had been stolen by the latter nation. The council broke up without accommodation of their differences. The Osages objected to treating in consequence of the recent death of their Agent, Col. M’Nair and positively refused to make the satisfaction required by the other party until another Agent should be appointed.
The consequence of their refusal was an immediate declaration of war against them by the Cherokees – but, through the intercession of Col Arbuckle, they have consented to suspend hostilities for the space of three months, for the purpose of giving the Osages further time to deliberate upon the matter and for the appointment of an Agent and receipt of instructions from Washington, which, it is hoped, may have a tendency to prevent an effusion of blood between the parties.
Indian Newspaper
A weekly Newspaper is about to be issued at New Echota, in the Cherokee Nation, to be called “The Cherokee Phoenix.” A part of the paper is to be printed in the Cherokee language, according to an Alphabet lately invented by a native Cherokee. The price of the paper is to be two dollars and a half, if paid in advance, and the first number is expected to appear within the first week in the next month.
[Republican Compiler, Gettysburg, PA, January 2, 1828 - NP - Sub by a FoFG]

The Cherokees
The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, PA)
July 22, 1833
Page 3 Column 2

– We have this morning received a letter from a Cherokee Indian, dated New Echota, June 21st, from which we make the following extract:
"The Cherokees will make a strong effort at the next Congress for a definitive adjustment of the stupendous robbery of our property by the State of Georgia; and it is intended to present to the American people, the manner in which this property has been gambled off by the State. Hitherto words have had but comparatively little effect on the public mind, when we have been detailing the darkest crime ever perpetrated upon an unoffending people." – N.Y. Com. Adv.
[submitted by Nancy Piper]
Frank Conseen
Hon. Frank Conseen , a prominent citizen of the Cherokee Nation , is dead.

["Mexa Evening Ledger" - August 8, 1899 - Submitted by Tina Easley]
Richard Taylor
Death of a Cherokee Chief.
Richard Taylor, Second Chief of the Cherokee Nation, died at Tahlequah on the 19th ultimo. The Cherokee Advocate states that from his youth he has been more or less engaged in public capacities - such as United States Interpreter, Delegate to the Federal Government, member of the National Committee, Executive Committee, and two years since he was elected Second Chief of the nation. He was captain of a company of Cherokees under Gen. Jackson in the Creek war. At the time of his death he was a member of the Presbyterian Church, of which he had been an exemplary member for many years.
[The Adams Centinel - Jul 25, 1853]



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