enumeration dates for the 1870 census? Is there even wonder that the task is daunting when documenting family history given all the givens. There are obstacles like all the names associated with one person with a native american heritage, the misspellings of the names throughout documents, factions within families changing surnames over time. Further, there was the fact that in order to abide by white man’s law, you could not be in the state of Alabama and be a native american until 1964. No wonder that sometimes native americans would be documented to be ‘black dutch’ or ‘mulatto’ when the census takers required family information back in the early days of the census. For whatever reason, legal or otherwise, the ethnicity check box was left blank on some 1850 and 1860 census records, thus making documenting native family heritage even more difficult both legally and officially. This is the case with Chief George Colbert’s daughter, Nancy Catherine Colbert. On the 1850 and 1860 census records the ‘race’ section was left blank, but the 1870 census recorded her as ‘white.’ Not.
Nancy Catherine Colbert’s genealogy is quite remarkable as she was related to both Chief George Colbert and Chief Doublehead by blood. Doubly so, first by blood and then by marriage of her father to her mother’s sister.
Chief Doublehead, the son of Chief Great Eagle and Woman Ani Wadi, was born Birth 1744 in what is now Stearns, McCreary County, Kentucky. Doublehead was murdered 9 Aug 1807 at Hiwasee River, Cherokee, Washington, Tennessee, United States. He was known as Tal-tsu’ska’, Dsu-gwe-la-Delaware-gi and as Chuqualatague. His wives included Nannie Drumgoole, Kateeyeah Wilson, and Creat Prieber.
Chief Doublehead married first to Nannie Drumgoole and married second to Katteyeah Wilson who was born about 1770. He married a third time to Creat Prieber or Priber around 1757 in Stearns, KY. Creat Prieber was the daughter of Christian Prieber and Clogoittah. She was born in Tellico Plains, TN, and died about 1790 in Stearns, McCreary County, Kentucky. The following lists include the wives and children of Chief Doublehead known; there are others reported, but this author has not proved them yet. Proven corrections would be welcome but should be accompanied with valid documentation.
Children of CHIEF DOUBLEHEAD and KATEEYEAH WILSON are:
|Tahleysuscoh Tassel DOUBLEHEAD, was b. ca 1798; d. August 1807|
|Alcy DOUBLEHEAD, was b. ca 1800; d. Aft. 1838; m. Giles McNulty; b. ca 1790|
|Susannah DOUBLEHEAD, was b. ca 1805; d. aft 1838; m. George Chisholm; b. ca 1805|
|Sister DOUBLEHEAD, was b. 1807|
Chief Doublehead and Creat Prieber were married about 1757 in Stearns, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Christian Gottilieb Prieber and Clogoittah was born about 1740 in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. She died about 1790 in Stearns, McCreary, Kentucky. Chief Doublehead and Great Prieber had the following children:
Chief Doublehead and Nannie (Nan-que-se, The Pain) Drumgoole had the following children:
|Bird Tail DOUBLEHEAD, was b. ca 1795; d. 1857|
|Peggy DOUBLEHEAD, was b. ca 1800; d. bef 1838; m. William Wilson; b. ca 1800; d. bef 1838.|
Chief Doublehead and Nannie (Nan-que-se, The Pain) Drumgoole were married about 1794. Nannie was daughter of Alexander Drumgoole and Nancy Augusta and was born about 1775. She died on 23 Jul 1850. Nannie is a story unto herself. Documenting her properly will warrant a future article.
The Cherokee Advocate, Aug 6, 1850, records the Obituary of Nancy Springston: Nancy Springston. Born c. 1775 – died July 23, 1850. Her four surviving children were at her side at the time of her death at the house of Anderson Springston. She also had 73 grandchildren.
A Springston descendant, John L. Springston, provides additional information Nannie Drumgoole Doublehead on his Miller application:
The John L. Springston notes on his Miller Application:
Sir: My grandmother on my fathers side was named Nancy. She was a full blood Indian of the Cherokee Tribe. She had four sets of children, Springston, Foreman, Wilson and Doublehead and as I understand the case, she must have been enrolled in 1835,36. 1846 & 1833 or earlier than 1835. I want to find her name and her families by name. My grandfathers name was John. I think he had by his marriage to her three children – Anderson, my father, & Isaac & Edley Springston. My uncles by her Foreman marriage she had only one I am aware, his name was Jim or James Foreman. By her Doublehead marriage she had only one as far as I know, his name was Bird Doublehead. Her marriage to Wilson I am lost. She died prior to 1851 (this contradicts his other statement). Now as far as the Cherokee Indian record will show her I wish an examination thereof – my father Anderson Springston was born 10-13-1814 and I think Isaac was older than he – Edley I am unable to say.
Nancy, my said grandma had two brothers and two sisters as I was informed by my father & mother both and I ask as to who her census shows they were – if possible – as to claim on them. I cannot be any to certain, or not enough to swear to positive. I ask for such information as is possible from the rolls showing them so I can apply with a certainty.
They were all emigrants and resided in Delaware District Cherokee Nation West and I think in Tennessee East – not far from Gunters Landing on the Tennessee River. It is my desire to apply for all possible where (the rest is illegible). This is signed 10-8-1906.
In another letter he states that she had two brothers and two sisters,
Another letter states:
“Nan-que-se, my grandmother Nancy Springston’s niece — Nancy in same family, the relation bore to each I do not know– also, Isaac, sister of my grandmother Nancy –Che-ne-lern-ky — relationship only as fixed by the relationship existing between the named emigrants (Danielle Schijvijnck, RootsWeb).
Another bit of interesting data on Chief Doublehead from a lodger on the Reserve, Catherine Spencer. This comes from annotations of James Raymond Hicks’ Cherokee Lineages, updated August 29, 2004. Jim’s annotations of Emmet Starr’s work, based on materials in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. are a wonderful resource if you are a descendant of one of the lineages Starr traced. Unlike others who have set out to update Starr’s work, Jim is very respectful of the former’s research and simply adds relevant material and well- supported speculations about discrepancies.The [ ] mean that the text is transcribed as read:
“Came Catherine Spencer and makes oath that she lived at the house of Doublehead the Chief when he was killed which was many years ago, she thinks it was about 27 years ago, and that she lived in his family about 12 years. Applicant is the niece of Old Doublehead, and is the only daughter and child of E-yah-chu-tlee, a brother of Doublehead, and Chau-e-u-kah is her mother, and was then a grown woman about 19 years old; and affiant states that the following described property was there and belonged to Doublehead the Chief when he was killed – to wit,
One negro man named Andrew about 21 years old, very likely $1000.00 One young negro man named Joe a Race Rider, very smart $650.00 One mullatto boy named Ben, 16 years old $600.00 one brother of his named George, 14 years old $550.00 one negro boy named Jacob about 15 years old $550.00 -$2350.00
one negro man named Riddle about 22 years old 800,00 one negro woman named Phebe about 25 or 6 years old $500.00 and her four children, the oldest 10 & youngest 2 years old at $200 each on an average is $800.00 one negro woman named Mary or Polly about 23 years old $500.00 with her two children – $350.00
Austin, a man between thirty & 40 years old $600.00 and his wife Magon about 30 years old, a house woman, good cook, washer & Ironer $600.00 with five children the oldest a boy 12 years old & ranging from him down to the youngest about 2 years old, all worth on an average $200 each –$1000.00 This man and woman came by the death of the applicants father to the Old Chief Doublehead with this affiant when she was moved to his [quarters] after the death of her father, and from this man and woman these 5 children were raised and all these seven negros were [once] the right of this applicant but affiant does not know where it is now — affiant declares most solemnly on her oath that she never sold them to any body nor been paid one dollar for them–
all of the above described negroes were there before the Georgia negroes were brought there, & applicant states that a white man named Chisholm was gone to Georgia to collect money due Old Doublehead when he was killed & shortly after that Chisholm returned with nine grown negroes from Georgia and left them there as a part of Doubleheads property and said he got those nine negroes in place of the money due unto Doublehead – affiant and the other Cherakees [evidently?] then took these nine negroes and put them in the negro cabins with the other negroes and provided for them as for the other negroes of Doublehead and they remained there as a part of his estate untill taken off by the white men; five of these Georgia negroes were men worth $700 each — ?,00 and the other four women worth $500 each -$2000.00 all stout able negroes and well grown, the names not recalled nor the ages –
There were 30 head of cows & calves worth $12.00 each –$360.00 and about 100 head of fine stock cattle, big sturdy [heifers] all worth 5 to 8 dollars each $650.00 one fine stud horse at home worth as the people said $700.00 and one other stud horse at South West Point said by the people to be worth $1000.00 and there were 8 other fine mares and geldings bought of Rik-e-ti-yah, John Christy’s mother, worth $100 each –$800.00 and nine other head of common [draw?] horses [ruous?] and colts worth about 50 or 60 dollars each, say 55 on an average $495.00 and [five good eail?] horses called first rate & worth $500.00. Doublehead paid a fine negro named Mary for the 8 bought of John Christy’s mother with a view to increase his stock of horses, and that negro was not any of thoses housed here – this John Christy has gone to Sekausas.
50 head of sows & pigs & shoots and small stock hogs running about the house $3.00 each –$150.00 one hundred head of large hogs running out in the woods worth $5.00 is –$500.00
4 large first rate beds & bedding & bedsteads worth $40 each –$160.00
6 [windsor?] chairs at 2.00 each 12.00
12 common du .50 cts 6.00
1 case of bottles & liquor –10.00
4 doz plates –4.00
8 dishes, all large –6.00
2 good tables –8.00
1 fine du –1.50
2 large pots –10.00
3 large ovens –9.00
2 smaller pots –2.00
1 dinner pot –2.00
1 brass kettle, common size 2.50
1 tea kettle –1.50
3 pair of iron fire dogs 4.50
1 saddle & bridle & brace of pistols
a good saddle part worn =15.00
the pistols first rate with a case & working 30.00
[Prince] according to her best [yu agrement] of the value of such articles of property & affiant states that Doublehead had a store there and a white man named Phillips was the clerk and [rate for ach] and the Cherokee people came there daily and bought goods for cash and Phillips refused to sell goods on a credit to the Cherokees. it was a comendable stock worth about two or three thousand dollars, and Doublehead told affiant just before he was killed that he had three thousand dollars in a trunk in the store room – – affiant saw large quantities of money in Phillips hands but cannot state how much as she never counted it; affiant did not know of her uncle buying any thing after that time and thinks there would have been as much as more than $3000 cash on hand- affiant admits it to be true that she does not know so well about the store and the money because Phillips the white man had the entire IOU that of it when Doublehead was died and and did not show the money any more and did not communicate the situation of it to affiant – that year a white man named Samuel [Llebarrinan alrevceed] for Doublehead and was making a good crop and [anocianally] all the big negroes [icraekill] out. — The [Observer] quit there [loan] after Doublehead was killed — Bird Doublehead and his brother were sent to school and boarding at the [Clarks] and Peggy Peggy and Sucunnah and [Fley] will [aff aho] None of the children of Doublehead were there nor does affiant recollect of their comming there — they were all very young. Bird was the aldest & many years younger than this affiant and no claims came through to protect their rights or secure their property –[lit surrued] that after their father was killed by his people that the children were also endangered by the nation –this affiant [averried] and managed as well as she could do.
Affiant states that as soon as the news came that Doublehead was killed Phillips shut up the store and kept it shut up and quit selling goods — The crop was continued working by the negroes the others [heuinep] of Doublehead went on untill towards fall when four white men came there and stayed four or five days, — these white men talked to Phillips a good long time and they seemed to be counselling together but affiant could not understand them — these white men after talked to the negroes and after about four days councelling the white men asked affiant and her Aunts & [Soney] Thau-ti-ne – all Doublehead and Wah-hatch a brother of Doublehead to [guerite] a [loam] and these one of the white man named Black proposed that all the negroes and horses and cattle and hogs and all the removable property should be taken care off for the children of Old Doublehead this Black was the man with whom Bird Doublehead had been and was there boording at whoal – It was asked by the whites whether this should be done or not and none of the Cherokees countered to it, but Phillips the store keeper gave his consent to it and he went off with the three white men and they carried all the goods boxes and trunks and all belongings to the store (off with them) and all the above described articles of property and negroes, and cattle and horses and hogs [t&] off with them and they [neuii] ande paid for [norletuiua] any more — one of the negroes named Andrew who could speak and understand both English & Cherokee stated to affiant that he understood what the white men said and he told this affiant that these white men were not [meaning] to save the negroes and the other property for the children of Doublehead and that they were [meaning] to get it all for their own use and fixing to steal it and that if the white men did act so with the property he Andrew would run away and come back to the nation again. The other negroes seemed to be concerned that these white men would take them to where Bird Doublehead was and went cheerfully and the negroes assisted the white men in collecting the stock and loading up the waggon and one of the negroes drove off the team and the plantation was left without any human beeing on it but her aunts and Wah-ha-ti-hi It was the understanding with all the Indians that the children were to have all this property at last. Wah-ha-ti-hi got some Indians to [aprint hein] and they gathered the crops and put it away and no more white men came there to [couriett] for the goods of the heirs of Old Doublehead, and this affiant and her two Aunts [Sorrey & Ks-ti-e-ie-ah Doublehead and Wah-ha-ti-hi [mode urea it thermires] — Black and these other white men did not say that Doublehead owed them money, but only said that the property should be taken care of for the use of his heirs and this affiant and other [kinfolks] did not consent [uren] to that for this affiant these thoughts are known at the time that this affiant and the other Cherokees could have taken as good care of it as these friendly white men could do.”
Swarn to transcribed
before me this 8th June 1838
Catherine X Spencer mark (Reprinted by Jim Hicks)
So, Chief Doublehead seems to have been extremely well off. His children did not benefit from his death as his material goods were carted off by a few white men. Chief Doublehead’s double son-in-law, Chief and Colonel George Colbert, excelled at wealth building as well. Chief George Colbert’s sons, Major William Colbert, Colonel George Colbert, and Major James Colbert led 350 Chickasaw braves to join Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orléans. Jackson’s troops crossing the Tennessee River at Colbert’s Ferry were charged 50 cents for a foot soldier and a dollar for a hose and its rider. Chief Colbert was noted to have made $20,000 a year from running his ferry. The Lane, Goodloe, Pride and Rutland familiesof Colbert County have a history of being friends with Colbert’s wife and sons; the Lanes still own the land where Chief Colbert’s house was located. He was said to be the first native american millionaire as he amassed great wealth from trade and his ferry on the Tennessee River.
George Colbert married Chief Doubleheads daughters, Sa-Li-Tsi Saleechie Tuscahootie and Du-S-Gi-A-Hu-Te Doublehead. Saleechie was born at Echota Village in what is now Monroe County, Alabama and died at the Indian Nation in Cherokee, Oklahoma.
Saleechie and George Colbert were married in 1807. They had the following children: George Colbert 1785 – 1879, Levitia Hettie Colbert 1790 – 1860, Pitman Colbert 1797 – 1853, Samuel B Colbert 1797 – 1853, Susan Colbert 1798 – 1818, Jane Colbert 1800 – 1827, John Colbert 1800 – 1832, Nancy Colbert 1805 – 1878, William Colbert 1805 – 1870, George Colbert 1809 – 1879, Susan Sukey Colbert 1810 – 1860, Sarah Colbert 1815 – 1855, John Colbert 1818 – 1834 and Vicy Colbert 1818 – 1846.
To this point, no children have been discovered for Du-S-Gi-A-Hu-Te Doublehead and George Colbert. It is possible that some of the children listed above are hers, but research does not lead to that as a probability.
Some further notes on George and Saleechie Colbert follow:
George Colbert, or Tootemastubbe, was perhaps the most prepossessing of the Colbert brothers in appearance and manners. He was supposedly opposed to innovation, and an enemy to education, missions and whiskey. He lived on Wolf creek four miles south of Booneville. Shullachie, or Saleechie, was the name of his wife. She lived where Tupelo is now. He had two sons, Pit-man and George, and one daughter, Vicy. He “was illiterate but had some influence and stood tolerably fair; talked very common English. His son, Pitman, had a very fair education.” George Colbert himself moved to the West.
Win. Henry Gates is authority for the following statement:
“My father, William Gates, went to McNairy county, Tenn., and bought the running gear for two six-horse wagons, sold them to Colbert, and the latter moved to the nation in them.”Edwin G. Thomas says:
“In 1836 I attended the land sales at Pontotoc. The first night in the nation I stayed at Saleechie (or Shullechie) Colbert’s four miles west of where Tupelo now stands. She was a woman well-fixed up, had a good house, and gave good fare.”The author of Cotton Gin Port and Gaines’ Trace, in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, VII., 269 appears to be mistaken as to Selitia Colbert being “one of the wives of Levi Colbert.
In 1821 Alexander Dugger first became acquainted with the Indians at Cotton Gin. George Colbert lived near Harrisburg, in what is now Lee county, on a place afterward owned by Shannon. Pitman Colbert lived with his father on the same place. They were very wealthy, working 140 hands; had a large farm near Colbert’s Ferry in Alabama. Vicy Colbert was an educated woman, and wealthy, as wealth was counted in those days. She owned three sections of land, all of which Colonel Doxey sold to Wm. Duncan for $13,000. She lived south of the old Chickasaw King, though she lived for a while in the Cherry creek neighborhood. She went west with the Indians .(http://www.natchezbelle.org/ahgp-ms/chiefs/chiefs1.htm)
Martha Ann Hargett who married Robert Duncan (source: Elizabeth D. Pearson material; “History of AL and Dictionary of AL Biography” by Thomas M. Owens, Vol. III; pg. 516-9.) and Mary Hargett who married John Duncan, is related to George and Saleechie Colbert. The father of John Duncan, William Duncan, married Vicy Colbert, daughter of Genl. Chief George Colbert of Muscle Shoals, AL, and his wife, Saleechie, daughter of “Chief Doublehead”, Lauderdale Co. AL. (source: “The Morketts Anne (Duncan) Smallwood Lineage” from notebooks of Kay D. Hampton). (http://www.elvisandhistory.com/hargett.html).
George and Saleechie’s daughter Nancy Colbert 1805 in Buncombe, North Carolina and died in 1875 or 1878 in Colbert, Alabama. Nancy Catherine Colbert married Hezekiah Tharp in 1830 in Franklin County, Alabama. Hezekiah Tharp lived 1795 – 1873. Hezekiah and Nancy Colbert Tharp had a large family of children: Hulda Caroline Tharp 1828 – 1914, Robert F Tharp 1830 – 1878, Thomas F Tharp 1836, Martin Tharp 1837 – 1864, Elizabeth Tharp 1838 – 1860, Permelia A Tharp 1841 – ,Nancy Catherine Tharp 1842 – 1939, Hezekiah Tharp 1842 – 1864, Presley Tharp 1844 – 1892, Rufus Tharp 1847 – ,Lancey Tharp? 1850 – , James Tharp 1850 – , and Reece Tharp 1855 – 1921. It is through the Chief George Colbert’s many relatives and through these children that a large number of Shoals people are related to this historic figures. A family that was in the territory before statehood or thereabouts would likely be related in some form or another.
Their son, Robert F Tharp was born 11 May 1830 in Franklin, Alabama and died 12 Oct 1878 in Colbert, Alabama. He married Sarah Ann Prentice who was born 5 Jan 1839 in Marshall, Alabama and died 15 May 1904 in Colbert Heights, Colbert County, Alabama. The text of their marriage certificate is given as:
The state of Alabama Lauderdale County
To any Judge, Minister of the gospel or Justice of the Peace legally
You are hereby authorized and required to solemnize the rights of Matrimony
between Robert Tharp and Sarah Ann Prentice agreeable to the state in such
case made and provided and a due return make to the Office of Probate for
the County aforesaid.
Given under my hand this 1st day of May 1858 W. T. Hawkins P. Judge
The rites of matrimony solemnized by me this 16th day of May 1858. B. F.
Kursman, J. Peace
To this marriage were born the following children: James Orman Tharp 1853 – 1940, Martha E Tharp 1856 – , Mary Jane Tharp 1861 – 1946, Safronia McClellan Tharp 1865 – 1919, Robert Tharp 1868 – 1914, Caldona Tharp 1870 – 1900, Mary Jane Tharp 1873 – 1880, Susan Evaline Tharp 1873 – 1961, William Coleman Tharp 1874 – , and James Tharp 1877 – .
Martha F Tharp born 1856 in Franklin County, Alabama married James R Yocum who was born 11 May 1830 in Franklin County and died 12 Oct 1878 in Colbert County, Alabama. They married 10 Nov 1871 in Colbert County, Alabama. Their children were: Laura E. Yocum 1873 – 1890, Sarah A. Yocum 1875 – , James R. Yocum 1877 – , and Mary Julia Julie Yocum 1879 – .
Martha Tharp Yocum and James R Yocum’s daughter Laura Yocum died sometime after 1890 probably in Franklin County, Alabama. Laura married on 13 Nov 1871 to William Houston “Bud” Fisher who was born in 1868 and died in 1909 in Franklin County, Alabama. Together they had Mary Florence Fisher who was born 15 Sep 1890 and died in June 1982 in Russellville, Franklin, Alabama.
Mary Florence Fisher married Drewery Gerture James who was born 4 Nov 1889 and died 31 Mar 1981 in Russellville, Franklin, Alabama.They married 22 Dec 1907 in Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama. He was eighteen and she fifteen. The photo of Mary Florence James above is believed to have been made around the time of her wedding.They had the following children: Mary Lou James 1909 – 2000, Willie Mae James 1912 – 1986, Elizabeth Modena James 1915 – 1996, Maggie Irine Jones 1918 – , Warren Gamuel James 1921 – 2002, Kate James 1928 – , and Drewery Gerture “D G” James 1932 – 1962.Willie Mae James was born 18 Jan 1912 at Pleasant Site, Franklin, Alabama and died 7 Nov 1986 in Sheffield, Colbert, Alabama. She married Edward Osmond Crowell who was born 20 Feb 1905 in Rockwood, Franklin County, Alabama and died Jan 1975 in Rogersville, Lauderdale, Alabama. They had the following children: Edward Osmond Crowell 1928 – 1975, Jerry Trapp Crowell 1935 – 1982, and Donald Autry Crowell 1943 – 2002.Edward Osmond Crowell, Jr. was born 10 November 1928 in Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama. He died 17 November 1975 in Town Creek, Lawrence County, Alabama from complications of diabetes. He entered the Navy on December 7, 1947 and retired as a Disabled Veteran in 1950. He married in 16 January 1952 in Lawrence County, Alabama. His daughter is Joni Crowell. Family photos will follow:
Drewery Gerture James
Edward Osmond Crowell, Sr
Edward Osmond Crowell, Jr
Ed Crowell, Sr,
Willie Mae James Crowell
and Don Crowell
1950-1960s , Alabama
Joni stated that “my father thought it was crazy for a man to drive a pink car, but my grandmother like the pink color, so my grandfather bought it.”
are the legends and the lore of the Five Civilized Tribes. When Europeans began to enter the Alabama portion of the Tennessee Basin in the early 1800s there were three Native American tribes that habitated there. In total there were five tribes, considered civilized, in the territory. They were the Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Creek and the Seminole.
In general, the Tennessee River served as the dividing line between the Chickasaw and the Cherokee at Muscle Shoals.The Chickasaw occupied north Mississippi, eastern Tennessee and southwest Kentucky. Members of this tribe were perhaps the first tatoo artists as they inscribed their bodies with indelible ink and this relatively small band of people were quite impressive to encounter. Fierce warriors that they were, according to the white man, they almost succeeded in wiping out the DeSoto expedition in Mississippi in 1541; DeSoto had tried to enslave two hundred Chickasaw warriors. DeSoto would have used the native Chickasaw as load carriers.
History records no group that valued cleanliness more than the Chickasaw. Summer and winter they would bathe daily. They were known to have broken the ice on the river bank in order to enter the water at bath time. Some believe this high regard for cleanliness as one reason the Chickasaw positioned itself on the side with the English traders rather than the French or Spanish.
One of the best known Chickasaw chiefs during the years of European and American occupation was Chief George Colbert (Kahl-burt) who was half Chickasaw and half Scot. In 1798 he operated a critical ferry across the otherwise not crossable Tennessee River that came to be known as Colbert’s Ferry. This ferry, located at the mouth of Bear Creek, was the only crossing for the famed trade route the Natchez Trace, a former buffalo run. The Colbert’s were the first millionaire native americans in history.
His father, James Logan Colbert, was a legend in his own right. He was a Scotsman who lived among the Chickasaw, adopting their ways and even joining them in battle. He took on three Chickasaw brides and fathered eight children, many of whom, like George, gained notoriety amongst the Chickasaw. James Logan Colbert 1721 – 1784 and wife Sopha Minta Hoya 1721 – 1836 were the parents of George Colbert.
George Colbert went on to serve as the chief of the Chickasaw for 12 years, and one of his brothers served under General Andrew Jackson during his campaigns against the Creeks. For a time, the Chickasaw trusted and admired Andrew Jackson. The Chickasaw had their loyalty rewarded by Jackson seeing to it that they were removed by treaty and by force from their ancestral home. This removal decimated the native american ‘s families, culture, and erased their once proud history. The removal, and events leading up to it and beyond, were acts of cruelty against a nation of people.
In 1774 the Chickasaw refused the Henderson Land Company access to the mouth of Occochapo Creek (present day Bear Creek). After the treaty of 1816, most of the Chickasaw land was ceded to the U.S. The area of the Cherokee nation occupied was in northeast Alabama, much of Tennessee and northwest Georgia. Some of the villages were settled at Muscle Shoals. This represented the southwestern tip of their domain.
Perhaps the most interesting of the Cherokee chiefs in the Tennessee Basin of Alabama was Chief Doublehead or TaloTiske meaning “two heads.” Chief Doublehead established a town on the Tennessee River at the head of Muscle Shoals in 1790. This village sat at the mouth of Blue Water Creek in Lauderdale County. Muscle Shoals had always been an area of dispute between Chickasaw and Cherokee, even though it was known as Chickasaw Hunting Grounds. When Doublehead’s occupation of Muscle Shoals came into question, Chief George Colbert of the Chickasaw confirmed that Doublehead was at Muscle Shoals by his permission. This new agreement seems less unusual considering that Colbert had married two of Doublehead’s daughters.
Doublehead’s brother was Chief Old Tassel, one of the Cherokees most well-known and beloved chiefs. When he was murdered with the aid of the white mayor James Hubbert, Doublehead went on the rampage, attacking white settlers throughout the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. This six-year warpath from 1788 to 1794 is well chronicled, and though it was no doubt exaggerated by the afflicted, the chiefs terrible atrocities certainly add up to a significant sum. He was even accused of encouraging his warriors to cannibalize the dead during this escapade.
At the end of his warpath, Doublehead met with President George Washington at the nation’s capital, and he returned a changed man. Though he began to mimic the ways of the whites and built a large cabin, he continued to defend the Cherokees land rights in various treaties until his death. On the surface his change of heart was characteristic of the Cherokees during this time, many of whom adopted the manners and customs of the whites; but ultimately Chief Doublehead would pay with his life for this abrupt change of heart. He even went as far as forming the Doublehead Company that leased 1,000 acres to more than 50 white settlers between the Elk River and Cypress Creek.
Doublehead was murdered in a savagely interesting tale chronicled by the famous Indian canoe fighter, Sam Dale. On a trip to a ball game on the Hiwasee River, Doublehead engaged in a series of arguments with two Cherokee warriors and a white Indian trader. There are many accounts of Doublehead death; all well worth the time spent reading.
Historian Bill McDonald wrote an article in 2004 which was published by the Times Daily newspaper on Sunday April 4, 2004. Bill McDonald was appointed city historian for Florence, Alabama in 1989. The text of the article follows:
About 1790 the fierce and feared Chief Doublehead, along with 40 of his warriors and their families lived in Moneetown. This Cherokee village was near the head of the Shoals and on the south bank of the Tennessee River, across from the present day Brown’s Ferry Nuclear Plant.
Legends have it that he was at other places at the Muscle Shoals from time to time.One site was near the home of his double son-in-law, George Colbert, in present Colbert County where there is a nearby “Doublehead Spring.” old stories remembered by the family of James Jackson tell that Doublehead lived briefly on the knoll where the mansion of the Forks of Cypress once stood. In recent years, trade beads and other Indian artifacts were uncovered at an early log house at this site.A few miles west of the Forks of Cypress was a cave where Old-timers remembered seeing an Indian carving showing double heads at the entrance.
Sometime around 1800 when his raids against white people had ended, Doublehead established a village between Center Star and Elgin in east Lauderdale County. His brother-in-law Tahlonteeskee lived there before he moved to Blue Water Creek in Arkansas following the Treaty of Tellico.
Early pioneers described Doublehead’s village as being on the east bank of Blue Water Creek. On one side of the bank is a high palisade on the Tennesee River that appears on early maps as “Doublehead Bluff.” Nearby is another “Doublehead Spring.”
The rich bottomlands around his BlueWater Creek village did not always produce an abundant harvest. A severe drought in 1804 brought an appeal for help. The Cherokee Agent at Hiwasee sent 300 bushels of corn for which he billed Doublehead a total of $150 for this relief. However, records reveal that this amount was later returned to the village by the U. S. War Department.
According to legend Doublehead built a large two-story house log house overlooking his village. It was styled after the homes of white people he had seen in Tennessee. Daniel White purchased this place in 1818 and used the log structure as a stage stop known as Wayside Inn. Some think that White may have had a “claim” to this house as early as 1812. A number of White’s descendants believe that he, not Doublehad, built this house.
Territorial records reveal that the house that Doublehead lived in was commodious. On one occasion he wrote the Cherokee Agent requesting aid for two poor middle age women living on his property with large families composed only of girls. This may have been the Samuel Adams family.
On July 20, 1802, Doublehead had requested for permission for this family of 16 people to enter his village “in the plan of promoting civilization amongst the Cherokees.” Later that summer, Silas Dinsmore, Choctaw Indian Agent, while travelling over the Natchez Trace was surprised to find this family here. He called them a “pretty dismal group – lazy and shiftless.”
There are those that write that the wily old chief was a wife beater, and that prior to his assassination, his fierce attack on his wife resulted in her horrible death. One of her brothers was said to have been involved in a conspiracy that led to Doublehead’s death on the Hiwasee River in 1807.
The story of Doublehead is surely a paradox. It involves a blood thirsty villain who led raids into middle and eastern Tennessee. It was said that no song ever came from his lips. He admitted that he had tasted the white man’s flesh and found it too salty. Then, he suddenly changed to become a friend of the white settlers who first arrived at the Muscle Shoals around 1806 at his invitation.
Although this strange and minor chief among the Cherokee People lived at various places and various times , he nevertheless left his footprints in the history of the Muscle Shoals in northwest Alabama.
The Creek Nation (a confederacy of Musckogean tribes) inhabited parts of present day Colbert and Lauderdale counties for a time during the late 18th century. The Creeks were known for their ruthlessness in battle, mutilating the bodies of fallen enemies by cutting off the arms and the legs and removing the scalp by cutting a circle around the head just above the ears. By the way, it was first the white settlers who practiced the gruesome art of scalping victims. They adorned their bodies with shell jewelry and freshwater pearls obtained from the large mussel populations of the Tennessee.
In general, the Tennessee basin served as the dividing line between the Chickasaw and the Cherokees at the Muscle Shoals area. About a thousand years before the establishment of Florence, Alabama in 1818, located at the top of the hill, there was a thriving community at the bottom of the hill. The ceremonial mound there was called “Wawamanona” by the native americans. The mound was established between 400A.D. and 1500A.D., according to the research by Lore. After the natives were removed small towns slowly became river ports and ferries across the river were quite common. Many of the ferry sites have histories of their own, much as the Colbert Ferry that transported settlers across the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama.
In 1819 Alabama was admitted into the Union as a state and Huntsville was designated as its first capital and seat of the state constitutional convention.The Moulton Valley was an important southern fruit supplier, and so much grain was produced in this area that it became known as the South”s Cereal Belt.
During the Civil War, many battles were fought throughout Alabama”s Tennessee Basin, including many led by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Ulysses S. Grant made his first marks upon the Civil War by understanding the strategic importance of the river at his first victories at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson on the nearby Cumberland tributary to the upper Tennessee. Many of the Civil War”s Union troops, upon discovering the rich untapped resources of the area returned to the region following the war”s conclusion. Andrew Jackson and James Madison owned tracts of land in northwest Alabama.
Meanwhile, there were factions forming that opposed Doublehead. The rise to power of the Hicks-Ridge-Pathkiller leadership was assisted by the death of Chief Doublehead in 1807 and by Chief Vann in 1809. Doublehead’s authority had been undermined by the rewards he reaped from the Treaty of 1805 and by his agreement to the secret clauses in the Treaty of 1806 that surrendered tribal land and enriched him and his friends. The assassination of Chief Doublehead was plotted by Upper Town chiefs who privately agreed that he had betrayed his nation. And it appears from later events that this group saw themselves as agents of tribal justice and their acts were basically accepted as just by the majority of the tribal members. With all the tension and stress involved in establishing new leadership, this transition of the shift in power remains historically important for its lack of bloodshed (McLoughlin, page 89).
Since this is a lengthy article and writing on this subject could go on forever, this little bit of history telling will continue with the next article which will chronicle Doublehead and Colbert family history.
- Controversy… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
- Cherokee Nation Revokes Citizenship Rights of Black Slave Descendants (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes Fight for Water Rights (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
always seems to follow accounts of the native americans that portray the white settlers as the savages. But it is true more often than not that the white settlers were hands down more savage than those they termed savage. Take into consideration the 1810 event that rid the earth of over a hundred ‘nits.’ This story is ‘fiction’ according to some, and is an intricately woven part of the native history according to those who had no hand in writing the history books and whose ancestors lived the events.
The Massacre at Ywahoo Falls (or the Great Cherokee Children Massacre) is alleged to have occurred on Friday, August 10, 1810, at Yahoo Falls, now in the Daniel Boone National Forest in southeast Kentucky, in which women and children of the Cherokee were allegedly massacred in a most gruesome manner even for a massacre. The primary source of the story is “The Great Cherokee Children Massacre at Ywahoo Falls”, written by Dan Troxell. The story is also mentioned in the 1999 book, Hiking the Big South Fork, which gives Troxell as its source. Eventually the tale caught the attention of Dr. Kenneth Tankersley of the Native American Studies program at Northern Kentucky University who wrote an article called “Yahoo Falls Massacre, McCreary County, Kentucky” in the mid-2000s (for the book, Kentucky Cherokee: People of the Cave), though the only references he supplies directly related to the story of the massacre itself are oral interviews with members of the Troxell family.
A descendant of Cornblossom writes the following:
Cornblossom Chuqualatgue Doublehead 1760 – 1810
My 6th great-grandfather ((Chief Chuqualatague4 Doublehead, chief Great3 Eagle, Chief Moytoy2 of Tellico, Amatoya1 Moytoy))
THE MARRIAGE OF JACOB TROXELL & CORNBLOSSOM-
The Cherokee wedding was held at and around Doubleheads cave (Wayne County). The ceremony was tribal. It is said in true memories and stories handed down through my generations of ancestors that the country side was in its late spring beauty. Wild Tree and field flowers were still in full bloom, especially the wild mountain laurel. The “Beloved Woman”, then young Cornblossom, was said to have charmed everyone with her beauty as her blood ancestor, War Woman, She who carries the sun” (for her people) had done during the French and Indian War. Blossom of the Corn (cornblossom) was said to have worn specially made wedding clothes, highly decorated beaded sandals, and a special jewelled traditonal Chickamaugan head piece made by the Clan Mothers, over her left ear was said to be a beautiful ornamental wing of a bluebird. It was said that Cornblossom carried many blossom’s and wild roses that perfumed the air with sweetness, and also an ear of special Clan Field Corn. This special ear of corn from the field of her Cherokee people clan symbolized the first woman who was called Selu in Cherokee. Jacob Troxell brought and carried the finest of meat partly symbolizing his care of the first man who was called Kanati in cherokee. The first man and woman on this world can be found in the stories of the Cherokee of the “Story of the Cornmaiden”. Cornblossom walked with a great Thrunderbolt War Chief and Chickamaugan Principal Chief Dragging Canoe. Dragging Canoe was said to have led Cornblossom to the center front of Doublehead’s cave (Hines Cave, at Mill Springs, Monitcello Kentucky). This special cave was the burial chambers of the ancients and diplomatic party headquarters of the northern provisional capital of the Chickamaugan Cherokee Nation. “Big Jake” Jacob Troxell was accompanied by the famous Cherokee Thunderbolt Peace Chief, Hanging Maw from another direction. Some say Cherokee War Chief Doublehead performed the marriage himself but according to the Cherokee Custom this was not allowed. Some strongly believe that Dick Justice performed this marriage.
The Great Cherokee Children’s Massacre Ywahoo Falls Kentucky 1810
On Friday, August 10th 1810, the Great Cherokee Children Massacre took place at Ywahoo Falls in southeast Kentucky. The Cherokee village leaders of the Cumberland Plateau territory from Knoxville Tennessee to the Cumberland River in Kentucky was led by the northern provisional Thunderbolt District Chief Beloved Woman – War Woman “Cornblossom”, the highly honored daughter of the famous Thunderbolt War Chief Doublehead.
Several months before this date, War Woman Cornblossom was preparing the people in all the Cherokee villages of southeast Kentucky and northern Tennessee to bring all their children to the sacred Ywahoo Falls area of refuge and safety. Once all the Cherokee children were gathered they were to make a journey to Reverend Gideon Blackburns Presbyterian Indian School at Sequatchie Valley outside of Chattanooga Tennessee in order to save the children of the Cherokee Nation remaining in Kentucky and northern Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau. This area of Sequatchie Valley was very near to Lookout Mountain at Chattanooga, the once long held Chickamauga National capital of the Thunderbolts. The arrangements to save the Cherokee children thru Gideon Blackburns white protection Christian Indian Schools had been made earlier by Cornblossom’s father War Chief Doublehead, who had also several years earlier been assassinated by non-traditionalist of the southern Cherokee Nation of the Carolinas and far eastern Tennessee.
A huge large gathering area underneath Ywahoo Falls itself was to be the center meeting place for these women and children to gather and wait, then all the children of all ages would go as one group southward to the school to safety from the many Indian fighters gathering in the neighboring counties of Wayne and Pulaski in Kentucky. These Indian fighters were led by an old Franklinite militiaman from Tennessee named Hiram “Big Tooth” Gregory who came from Sullivan County Tennessee at the settlement of Franklin and had fought many Franklinite campaigns under John Sevier to eliminate all the traditional Thunderbolt Cherokee totally and without mercy. Big Tooth Gregory, sanctioned by the United States government, war department, and governor of the territory, carried on the ill famous Indian hating battle cry of John Seveir that “nits make lice”. Orders were understood by these Cherokee haters that nits (baby lice) would grow up to be adults and especially targeted in all the campaigns of John Sevier’s Franklinites were the Cherokee women, pregnant women, and children of all ages. John Sevier, Big Tooth Gregory, and all the rest of the Franklinites philosophy was that if they could destroy the children of the Cherokee, there would be no Cherokee and no Cherokee Nation to contend with in their expansion of white settlements, the white churches, and the claiming of territory for the United States. Orders were issued to the Franklinites to split open the belly of any pregnant Cherokee woman, remove the baby inside her, and slice it as well. To the Franklinites, the Cherokee baby inside the mother was the nit that would eventually make lice.
Runners brought word to Standing Fern at the falls that her husband War Chief Peter Troxell and Cornblossom were on their way to Ywahoo Falls with the last of the children. Traveling with Cornblossom and War Chief Peter Troxell were Chief Red Bird of the Cumberland Falls area and their children, the youngest children of Cornblossom, and all the children of War Chief Peter Troxell.
When they arrived at Ywahoo Falls the journey southward would begin. But before Cornblossom, Red Bird, War Chief Peter Troxell, and the children with them arrived, the old Franklinite “Indian fighter” by the name of Hiram “Big Tooth” Gregory had heard of the planned trip several days prior and headed immediately for the falls area to kill them all with all he could muster to kill the Cherokee. Breaking the 1807 peace treaty between War Chief Peter Troxell and the Governor of Kentucky, Big Tooth Gregorys band of Indian fighters crossed into Cherokee territory and came in two directions, one group from Wayne County, the other from neighboring Pulaski county in southeast Kentucky. The Indian fighters on horseback joined together at what is now called Flat Rock Kentucky and headed into the Ywahoo Falls area with fiery hatred. Big Tooth Gregory and his Indian fighters could not allow these children (nits) to escape. Being only 1 good accessible way in by land and 1 way in by water, Gregorys band of Indian fighters chose the quick way by land, sending a few side skirmishers by way to block anyone trying to escape.
Before they reached the falls, at todays entrance to Ywahoo Falls, the Indian fighters encountered a front Cherokee guard consisting of “Big Jake” Jacob Troxell (husband to Cornblossom), a few longhunters friendly to the Cherokee mainly thru intermarriage and some remaining Thunderbolt warriors, all who were guarding the entrance to the falls. This occurred shortly after midnight in the early morning hours of darkness before the rising of the sun. This will be the night morning of screams. This will be the last day of many children. From this massacre, Jacob Troxell (husband to Cornblossom), the Great Warrior, and all the front guards killed, War Woman Standing Fern (wife to War Chief Peter Troxell) and her elite Thunderbolt warriors all killed defending the children below the falls, War Chief Peter Troxell killed in the last fight, and over 100 women and children waiting to go south to safety in a children journey to a Christian mission school, all lay dead, massacred, raped, tortured, and scalped, by these “Indian fighters”.
It was said that “Bones and Blood ran so deep underneath Ywahoo Falls that the murdered dead were all put there together in a heap to be their grave”. The place of innocence and the Ancient Ones now became a place of death of the innocent. The Falls ran red that day of darkness, Friday, August 10, 1810. This massacre ended all power of the mighty Chickamaugan Thunderbolt Cherokee people in Kentucky to Knoxville Tennessee. These people of southeast Kentucky and northern Tennessee held out unto death. And as it is often said “Today was a good day to die” for “We are not conquered.” We know today That Big Jake and Peter did not die , in this Massacre,and alot of this writing by A Dan Troxell stretched the truth that is why its such a fight to save our heritage, because of the story was passed down gen to gen with somethings being added, PLEASE NOTE; this did really happened.
…Bayonets cut open the wombs of pregnant women and pulled out the fetuses. Some of the militia wrapped the fetuses around their hats as war trophies. After the women were raped the soldiers split their skulls open with hatchets. Babies and toddlers were grabbed and their heads bashed against trees. Chief Bear Hunter was stripped, beaten, kicked, and whipped bloody. When he refused to cry out in pain or anguish to his tormenters, a soldier heated his bayonet in a camp fire to a glowing red hot, and ran it through Bear Hunter’s ears. Colonel O’Connor then allowed his men to pillage anything that was left. Whatever the militia could not steal or plunder was put to the torch, including the last of food staples for any survivors. The intent was to exterminate the entire tribe.
Native American Studies Program
Northern Kentucky University
Yahoo Falls is located in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, National Park Service, McCreary County, Kentucky. “Yahoo” is a local variation of the Cherokee word, Ya-hu-la, used in reference to a story about a trader who lived in a great stone house and was taken away by the Nu-ne-hi, the Spirit People. 4 Ya-hu-la would sing his favorite songs as the bells hanging around the necks of his ponies tinkled, echoing through the mountains along the Great Tellico Trail. One time, all the warriors left on a hunt, but when it was over and they returned, Ya-hu-la was nowhere to be found-the Nu-ne-hi had taken him to the Spirit World. While he was there, Ya-hu-la made the mistake of eating the food of the Nu-ne-hi, which meant that he could never return to his people except as a spirit. Although he was never seen again, the Cherokee believe that the songs of Ya-hu-la and the tinkling bells of his horses can still be heard at night near the running water of Yahoo Falls. On the Trail of Tears, the story of Ya-hu-la was used to urge the people forward into Indian Territory by saying, “Maybe Ya-hu-la has gone there and we shall hear him.” They never did. The story of Ya-hu-la is hauntingly similar to the story of Big Jake Troxel.
Yahoo Falls, McCreary County, Kentucky
A Sacred Place
Many Innocent Indian Women
and Children who Knew No Wrong
Were Massacred by Indian Fighters
On August 10, 1810
Let us Remember them
With a Cherokee Tear
In Loving Memory of Red Bird do-tsu-wa Dedicated 12 Aug 2006 with an Inter-tribal Ceremony
The Great Tellico Trail of the Cherokee is known today as US 27. It extended from the Sequatchie Valley, near present-day Chattanooga, Tennessee, to the Cumberland River Valley of Kentucky, and beyond. 2 The Alum Ford Trail, SR 700, connected the Great Tellico Trail with east-central Tennessee by way of an enormous sandstone rock shelter, i.e., rock house, located behind one of the tallest waterfalls in the state of Kentucky, Yahoo Falls.
During the first forty years of the 20th century, blight devastated the American chestnuts. Although the blight provided an economic boom to the local timber industry, logging operations deforested the shallow unstable soils around Yahoo Falls. Unprecedented headward erosion extended into the great sandstone rock shelter behind the falls and exposed a mass grave filled with human skeletal remains. 1 2 7 9 Grave robbers, artifact collectors, curiosity seekers, and gravity began to disperse the bones down slope until it was impossible to walk into the shelter without stepping on them. Today, all that survives is an empty trench behind the falls, which approximates the size of the mass grave at Wounded Knee Memorial on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Historical Events Leading up to the Massacre
The story of the empty trench behind Yahoo Falls, and the human remains that once filled it, began in the winter of 1777-1778 when Jacob Troxel, known as Big Jake because of his height, was a private in the Continental Army at Valley Forge under the command General George Washington. 2 3 7 8 9 Big Jake, born in 1758, was the son of a Jewish immigrant from Switzerland and his mother was said to be Delaware. 2 3 7 8 9 In February 1778, word reached Washington that British forces had abandoned old French Post Vincennes, present-day Indiana, and it was in the hands of American militia. Primarily mixed-blood families, Piankeshaw Miami, Piqua Sept Shawnee, Chickamauga Cherokee, Jesuits, Voyagers, and Indian traders were using it. Washington’s staff assigned Big Jake to pose as a mixed-blood trader and go to Post Vincennes to persuade the Cherokee and Shawnee to support the Continental Army in their war against the British.
At Port Vincennes, Big Jake befriended a young Cherokee warrior, about his same age, from the Cumberland River valley, Tu-ka-ho, son of Doublehead and Creat Priber. 2 5 9 Doublehead (Tal-tsu’ska’), born in McCreary County, Kentucky, was the son of Great Eagle (Wilenawa), grandson of Moytoy, and great-grandson of Amatoya Moytoy – a fourth generation Principal Chief of the Cherokee. 4 5 Tu-ka-ho invited Big Jake to his village, Tsalachi, which was located near present-day Burnside, Kentucky. 2 9 In the summer of 1779, Chief Doublehead (Tal-tsu’ska’) welcomed his son’s new friend and invited him to stay and trade with his people. Not long afterwards, Big Jake became smitten over one of Doublehead’s four daughters.
Big Jake was adopted by the Chickamauga and learned about their sacred sites (Natural Arch, Doublehead’s cave and spring, and Yahoo Falls) in the vicinity of Tsalachi. They are associated with the Cherokee stories of Creation-How the World Was Made, Journey to the Sunrise, Daughter of the Sun, and Uktena. 4 Natural Arch is known as Gulkwa’gine Di’ga;un’latiyun,’ the seventh height, or seven handbreadths above the earth, the height that the sun rises. Doublehead’s Cave, known today as Hind’s and Hine’s Cave, is the place where people entered the underworld, a Cherokee ossuary. Like water, the bodies of the dead entered the cave. Their spirits followed the water inside and resurfaced at Doublehead’s spring, known today as Mill Springs. The great rock house behind Yahoo Falls is the place where the breath of Uktena can be felt. He is a malevolent Cherokee spirit that lives underground, a great warrior that was shape-shifted into a horned serpent by the Little People to kill the Daughter of the Sun-Totsu’hwa-Red Bird. It was also a place for great oratories, a place where large numbers of people could gather and listen to the Clan Mothers, Clan Chiefs, and Principal Chiefs of many nations, since time immemorial.
During the winter of 1779-1780, Tory infantry from Watauga, under the command of Major Patrick Ferguson, British Commander of the 71st regiment, were robbing and killing Cherokee hunters as they traversed the Great Tellico Trail. Big Jake accompanied Doublehead and his daughter in their attack on a Tory camp on the Little South Fork, in what is today Wayne County, Kentucky. 2 7 9 He used the incident to explain why Doublehead and his warriors should not support Ferguson’s British and Tory force. Big Jake had successfully completed his mission. At the decisive Battle of Kings Mountain, October 7, 1780, there were Cherokee warriors fighting against the British. Among them was King David Benge, nephew of Red Paint Clan Mother, Wurteh, (Wurteh Watts, granddaughter of Doublehead), and first cousin of Sequoyah.
Following the end of the American Revolution, Big Jake married Tu-ka-ho’s sister and was soon blessed with a son-Little Jake. 3 8 9 Their seemingly idyllic life in the Cumberland River valley was short lived. The Cherokee did not recognize England’s cession of Kentucky to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. This situation was worsened when a group of colonists illegally created the State of Franklin (1785-1788), from significant portions of Cherokee land in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. John Sevier, who had served as an ad hoc commander in the Battle of Kings Mountain, was elected as Governor. On May 31, 1785, Sevier and other representatives of the self-declared state met with Cherokee Chiefs to negotiate the “Treaty of Dumplin Creek.” Unbeknownst to the Cherokee, the United States government did not recognize the State of Franklin, thus, the treaty was completely illegal. Sevier and his Franklinites engendered a spirit of distrust between all subsequent treaty-makers and the Cherokee. Big Jake and his family were now in the middle of a bloody conflict over Cherokee homeland in the Cumberland River valley, which became nothing less than genocide.
The first official treaty between the United States and Cherokee Nation was negotiated at Hopewell, South Carolina, on November 28, 1785. The Hopewell Treaty included the cession of all land in Kentucky north of the Cumberland River and west of the Little South Fork. Although Cherokee Chief Corn Tassel, brother of Doublehead, signed the treaty, other leaders of the Red Paint Clan did not. Doublehead and his nephew (sister’s daughter’s son), Robert Benge, began a war with Euroamerican settlers in the Cumberland River valley. They fiercely resented the intrusion of immigrants and were determined upon their expulsion.
Many of Doublehead’s warriors joined the northern confederacy of the Shawnee-Delaware-Wyandot-Miami who continued to be supplied and encouraged by England to defeat the newly formed country. For the next thirteen years, they waged war upon the settlements in their land. Although most American history books do not include this war, it was the first to be declared by Congress in 1790. It has been referred to as President George Washington’s Indian War – the struggle for the old northwest. In December of 1790, Kentucky settlers petitioned Congress to fight the Cherokee in whatever way they saw fit. A Board of War was appointed, and on May 23, 1791, it authorized the destruction of Cherokee towns and food resources by burning their homes and crops.
In an attempt to make peace with the Cherokee, and redefine the new boundary lines in Kentucky, the United States negotiated the Treaty of Holston on July 2, 1791. It restated that the Cherokee land in Kentucky was restricted to the area east of the Little South Fork and south of the Cumberland River. The treaty was signed by Kentucky Cherokee Chief Doublehead, his brother, Chief Standing Turkey, their nephew, John Watts, and witnessed by Thomas Kennedy, representative of Kentucky in the Territory of the United States South of the Ohio River. 4 Unfortunately, the boundary line remained unclear and disputed by Robert Benge, not present at the treaty signing, and he continued to fight for the Cumberland River valley until he was shot to death on April 9, 1794. His warriors continued the fight for another year. One of the last skirmishes in Kentucky occurred at the salt works and Cherokee burial grounds on Goose Creek in Clay County, on March 28, 1795.
The Treaty of Greenville, negotiated in Ohio on August 3, 1795, ended the war. It was made between Major General Anthony Wayne, commander of the army of the United States, and the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Miami, Eel River, Wea, Kickapoo, Piankeshaw, and Kaskaskia. Although the treaty tried to settle controversies and restore harmony and friendly intercourse between the United States and all Indian Nations, Doublehead and his warriors were not permitted to attend. Cherokees who were living north of the Ohio River with the Piqua Sept Shawnee returned to their homes in the Cumberland River valley.
A treaty with the Cherokee was not made until October 2, 1798, the first Treaty of Tellico. It allowed for safe passage of settlers using the Kentucky road, running through Cherokee land between the Cumberland Mountain and the Cumberland River, in exchange for hunting rights on all relinquished lands, a further refinement of the Holston Treaty of 1791. By this time, the Cherokee of the Cumberland River valley were almost unrecognizable to the whites now settled in the area. Big Jake and his family, like other Cherokee, lived in a cabin, herded cattle, horses, and pigs, and used metal farming tools to tend crops of potatoes, native corn and beans, orchards of peach trees, and bees for honey and wax for trade.
By 1803, the demand for salt produced on Cherokee land in Kentucky dramatically increased when England seized American ships involved in the salt trade. In 1805, the remaining Cherokee land in Kentucky was considered crucial to the security of the United States. Between October 25 and 27, 1805, Kentucky Cherokee Chiefs Doublehead and Red Bird singed the final Treaties of Tellico, ceding the land south of the Cumberland River. By this time, Doublehead had built an estate near Muscle Shoals, Tennessee. His estate included twenty enslaved African Americans and at least one mixed blood, thirty head of cows, 100 head of fine stock cattle, two stud horses, eight mares and geldings, and nine head of common horses, fifty head of sows, pigs and small stock hogs, and 100 head of large hogs. His home was furnished with four large beds with contemporary bedding and bedsteads, six dining room and twelve sitting chairs, dining room and kitchen tables, dishes and tableware, large and small iron cooking pots, a brass kettle and teapot, three large ovens, and three pair of iron fire dogs. Doublehead’s immense fortune was thought to have come from money that he skimmed from treaty entitlements. Feeling that they had been betrayed and sold out, Doublehead was assassinated on August 9, 1807, in McIntosh Tavern, Hiwassee, Tennessee, by Charles Hicks, Alexander Saunders, and Major Ridge – his own people. 4 5
News of Doublehead’s murder spread across the Great Tellico Trail and into the Cumberland River valley. Without the protection of his powerful father, Tu-ka-ho Doublehead was powerless and vulnerable. His people were greatly reduced in number and dispirited from fighting off the advance of white settlers and smallpox. To make matters worse, Tu-ka-ho had married a white woman, Margaret Mounce, from Chery (sic) Fork, Tennessee, present-day Helenwood. 5 The white settlers’ prejudice and hatred of Doublehead’s people grew. Like other warriors his age, Big Jake’s friend and brother-in-law, Tu-ka-ho Doublehead was hunted down and murdered atop a ridge that still bears his name, Doublehead Gap, present-day Wayne County, Kentucky.
On January 15, 1810, the “War Hawks” of Congress expressed concern about the “Indian presence” in Kentucky and extinguished all Cherokee land claims. 4 Although the Cherokee in the Cumberland River valley had made every possible concession to maintain peace with the United States, many of the white settlers were former Franklinites, followers of John Sevier who considered the Cherokee subhuman. 3 8 9 Expecting the worse, Doublehead’s daughter realized that the only way her people could survive would be if they moved south on the Great Tellico Trail. Between 1803 and 1804, her father had helped Reverend Gideon Blackburn, a Presbyterian pastor from Big Jake’s hometown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, open a school on Cherokee land near present-day Chattanooga, Tennessee. 4 5 In the late summer of 1810, Blackburn agreed to offer protection and a “white man’s” education to all Cherokee women and children from the Cumberland River valley. Doublehead’s daughter sent Little Jake on horseback to spread the word that anyone seeking protection at the Blackburn school should meet in the great rock house behind Yahoo Falls when the moon was full and round.
All that remained of Doublehead’s people in the Cumberland River valley, mostly women and children, gathered at Yahoo Falls, waiting for Doublehead’s daughter and her son, Little Jake, to arrive and lead them to safety. Fearing that she was not going to show up, some of the mothers gathered their children, shouldered their packs, and began to walk out of the shelter. 2 3 6 7 8 9 A volley of gunfire erupted from the darkness in front of the falls. A local “Indian fighter,” Hiram Gregory, had learned of the gathering in the big rock house behind Yahoo Falls, enlisted a group of young vigilantes, and set out to exterminate the Cherokee from the Cumberland River valley once and for all. 2 7 8 9 Gregory’s mercenaries focused their initial attack on the few warriors that were present, and then they been began to slaughter the women and their children. Campfires illuminated them and the shelter was completely open and exposed-there was nowhere for them to run or hide. After it was all over, more than 100 Cherokee lay dead or dying behind Yahoo Falls.
As the sun began to rise, Little Jake and his mother arrived, just in time to find the murderous white men in the rock house, walking among the dead and dying, making sure that there were no survivors. Enraged at the grisly sight, Little Jake and his mother took a commanding position, which cut off the slayers’ escape route, and opened fire. 2 7 8 9 Now Gregory’s mercenaries were exposed to attack. Before resuming fire, Doublehead’s daughter recalled the words that were spoken to her father during the negotiations of the Treaty of Tellico, “if the Cherokee do not steal horses, then the white men will not kill the Cherokee.” 4 These white men had broken the treaty. Before resuming fire, she shouted out, “You kill our men. You kill our women and our babies. Their blood made red the land you steal.” 2 7 8 9 Two of the remaining white men were then shot dead. The third escaped. Doublehead’s daughter, died a few days later, likely from injuries received from gunfire. She was buried at the base of a large flat stone in what is today, Sterns, Kentucky, the birthplace of her father. 2 6 7 8 9 Big Jake Troxel was said to have lost his mind in grief. A mass grave was excavated in a high terrace behind the falls, the only place where the soil was deep enough to dig a trench. The bodies of the slain Cherokee men, women, and children were laid to rest until the grave was exposed during logging operations.
The exact date of this horrific event is unknown. Some say that the massacre occurred on the 130th anniversary of the Pueblo Revolt, August 10, 8 9 and others have placed it in the fall, 6 7 early October. 2 Regardless of the exact day and month, all of the published documents and family histories agree that the massacre of Yahoo Falls took place in the latter half of the year, 1810. 2 3 6 7 8 9 10
There is a similar misunderstanding on the date and place of death of Big Jake Troxel. Although the military tombstone along SR 700 reads Jacob Troxel, Pennsylvania, Pvt, 6 Co., Philadelphia, Co. Militia, Revolutionary War, January 18, 1758, October 10, 1810, family records indicate that he was taken to Alabama where he lived until 1817. 3 8 9 If he suffered catatonic depression following the death of his Cherokee wife as reported, then he would have been considered a living dead man, a person whose body was alive, but his spirit had left him, a situation not unlike the trader in the story of Ya-hu-la.
There is a great deal of confusion about the death of Doublehead. 3 What most people miss is that there were many Doubleheads because all of his thirteen children with four wives were named Doublehead-Tu-ka-ho Doublehead, Tuskiahoote Doublehead, Saleechie Doublehead, Ni-go-di-ge-yu Doublehead, and Gu-lu-sti-yu Doublehead with Creat Priber-Bird Tail Doublehead and Peggy Doublehead with Nannie Drumgoole-Tassel Doublehead, Alcy Doublehead, and Susannah Doublehead with Kateeyeah Wilson-Two Heads Doublehead, Doublehead Doublehead, and William Doublehead with an Cherokee woman whose name is unknown. 5 Because Tu-ka-ho Doublehead’s murder occurred in the same year as his father, 1807, the two events have been confused. Chief Doublehead was murdered in Tennessee and Tu-ka-ho Doublehead was killed in Kentucky.
Some versions of the massacre suggest that Chief Red Bird was with Doublehead’s daughter, and her son, Little Jake, at the scene of the massacre. 8 9 Chief Red Bird lived out his later years in Clay County, Kentucky, with friend or relative named Jack who may have been crippled at the massacre. They were brutally attacked in their sleep by a party of white men. An angry young man in the party that had lost his father, some say at the Yahoo Falls massacre, mutilated Chief Red Bird and Jack in their sleep with their own tomahawks, threw their bodies into the Red Bird River, and stole their belongings. Not long after the crime, Red Bird’s longtime friend, John Gilbert, discovered the slaughtered bodies. The angry young man, said to have had an odd surname, returned to the scene just as John Gilbert was pulling the bodies ashore. Together, they buried the elder Cherokee in the sandy floor of a nearby rock shelter where he frequently visited. Some of the traditional Cherokee symbols inscribed in the rock shelter are thought to be associated with the massacre, including death symbols of women, women with child, and children.
Perhaps the biggest problem with all versions of the massacre, written or oral histories, is that Big Jake’s wife, Tu-ka-ho’s sister, Doublehead’s daughter, was named “Princess Corn-blossom.” 2 6 7 8 9 The first problem with the name Princess Corn-blossom is that there was no such thing as a “Cherokee Princess.” The term came from the time when Moytoy (1730-1760) was the Principal Chief of the Cherokee. Sir Alexander Cuming proclaimed him as King of his people. If Moytoy was a King, then his daughters must have been princesses. Doublehead was the son of Great Eagle, who was the son of Moytoy, and tribal leadership was passed down from father to son. Princess is the way eighteenth century English communicated the kin term “daughter of a Chief.” Secondly, the name Corn-blossom is not a Cherokee word. While Corn-tassel (Utsi’dsata’ and Onidosita) and Corn-silk (Selu-u-ne-nu-di) are Cherokee words that approximate Corn-blossom, they are masculine names. One of Doublehead’s children by Kateeyeah Wislon was named Tassel, gender unknown and not born until about 1798.
Cherokee census and enrollment records indicate that Doublehead had four daughters living with him at the time Tu-ka-ho brought Big Jake to Tsalachi, and they were all very close in age-Tuskiahoote, Saleechie, Ni-go-di-ge-yu, and Gu-lu-sti-yu respectively. 5 Which one caught the eye of Big Jake Troxel? Tuskiahoote and Saleechie were both reported as the wives of Colonel George Colbert, and Ni-go-di-ge-yu and Gu-lu-sti-yu were reported as the wives of Samuel Riley. We can rule out Saleechie Doublehead because it is well documented that she survived the Trail of Tears and died in Indian Territory, Oklahoma in 1846. 5 Tuskiahoote Doublehead is thought to have lived until 1817, but we cannot rule her out because this date is by no means a certainty. It is also interesting that Tuskiahoote Doublehead’s death date not only matches that of Big Jake Troxel, she reportedly died in Alabama. 5
Samuel Riley is an especially interesting character because he seized most of Chief Doublehead’s personal property after his murder in 1807. 5 Furthermore, he was known as the “White Patron” of Gideon Blackburn’s School; the same school Doublehead’s daughter was taking the Cherokee of the Cumberland River valley to at the time of the massacre. Although Riley is reported to have fathered five children by Ni-go-di-ge-yu and eleven by Gu-lu-sti-yu, it is quite possible that he falsely claimed two wives in order to ensure his entitlements to Doublehead’s fortune. On April 28, 1819, Riley filed a suit for his entitlements, about fifteen days before he succumb to an illness. He is assumed to have been Doublehead’s son-in-law solely on the basis of his last will and testament, which was accepted by the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation on October 25, 1825, as recorded by John Martin. At this juncture, the best we can say is that Big Jake fell in love with the sister of Tu-ka-ho, daughter of Doublehead.
On January 31, 1811, just months after the Yahoo Falls massacre, the former Cherokee land was granted for sale at the minimal price of ten cents an acre in order to encourage the development of iron and salt works. As salt was an expensive commodity at $25.00 a barrel, the families who had orchestrated the Yahoo Falls massacre purchased the land containing salt springs and became rich.
Perhaps the most fitting words to describe the Yahoo Falls Massacre site can be found on Joseph Horn Cloud’s monument next to the mass grave site at Wounded Knee Memorial.
MANY INNOCENT WOMEN AND CHILDREN
WHO KNEW NO WRONG DIED HERE
1. Anderson, Manuel 1967
Personal Communication.2. Collins, Robert F. 1975
A History of the Daniel Boone National Forest. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Region.3. McBride, Kim A. and W. Stephen McBride 2000
Big South Fork Region Historic Context Study. Program for Archaeological Research, Department of Anthropology, Technical Report No. 412, University of Kentucky, Lexington.4. Mooney, James 1900
Myths of the Cherokee. Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1897-1898.5. Starr, Emmet 1921
History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folk Lore. Periodicals Service Company.6. Troxel, Thomas H. 1958
Legion of the Lost Mine. Cumberland Publishing Company, Oneida, Tennessee.7. Troxel, Thomas H. 1967
Family Oral History, Personal Communication, Scott County, Tennessee.8. Troxell, Dan 1996
Manuscript on file. Research Department, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky.9. Troxell, Dan 2002
Family Oral History, Personal Communication, McCreary County, Kentucky.10. Troxell, Mrs. Gilbert 1994
Family Oral History, Personal Communication, Wayne County, Kentucky.
in Colbert County suffered loss during the War of Northern Aggression and filed a Southern Claim. In this claim file there will be many recognizable names whose descendants remain in the area.
All information for Robert and Sarah has been supplied by Mildred King Enlow, 1010 N Montgomery Ave, Sheffield AL 35660 (1993).
In Dec 1875, Robert Tharp submitted a claim to the Southern Claims Commission Court for reimbursement for items taken by Union troops during t he Civil War. From that application we have this very interesting affidavit: “(During the war) I resided where I now reside…on my own land. My farm contains 320 acres, about 20 acres was in cultivation,
the balance was woodland.
I was a farmer, part of the time, part of the time I was engaged in avoiding the Confederates, who were attempting to put me in their service, part of the time a refugee in the Union lines, and a part of the time I was engaged as a guide for the Union Scouts of General Wilson’s Army.
Did not change my residence, but did change my occupation…I refused to go into the militia….I sympathized with the Union cause. My feelings and language were strongly in favor of the Union. I used my influence and cast my vote on the side of the Union. I did all I could and cast my vote in behalf of candidates for delegates to the Alabama Convention of 1861 (who were) opposed to the secession of said state and in favor of the United States (actually, the majority of people of that district voted likewise, however, when war started many did fight “in defense of the land”. (mlp)
The Ordinance of Secession was not submitted for ratification to a vote of the people in Alabama. I did not vote thereon, but would have voted against ratification if I had had the opportunity. I adhered to the Union Cause and did not with the State after the ordinance was adopted…In 1862 I was arrested by Confederate soldiers on account of my union sentiments, with my father, Hezekiah Tharp and others of my neighbors (Benjamin F Whitlock’s deposition names another as Hiram Osborne) and carried to Columbus Mississippi, where I was kept in prison three months. I was released by taking an oath not to bear arms against the Confederate states. I took this oath under duress and to avoid great injury which was constantly threatened against me.
In 1863 I was taken as a conscript by an officer and squad of Confederate Cavalry–was carried to Tullahoma, Tennessee, and was there put into the Confederate Army. I escaped and on my way home was arrested, and required to take an oath not to bear arms against the Confederate States, under threats of personal injury, if I did not do so. I was then discharged, it not being known I was a conscript. I always regarded these oaths as of no effect because taken under duress and under threats of great personal harm, unless I took them. … I was also arrested in 1864 about the last of April, in company with Martin Tharp, Hezekiah Tharp Jr, my brothers, Reese Tease, and James Pennington (not sure who this was–Lou [John Pennington was husband of Parmlia A Tharp daughter of Hezekiah Tharp]) by a squad of Confederate Soldiers commanded I think by one Lieutenant Russell and belonging to the command of Col Estes of the Conscript Bureau at Tuscumbia, Alabama.
We were carried to Mount Hope, Lawrence County, Alabama. Stayed there about 24 hours, were ordered to be carried across the mountains to Tuscaloosa. Were carried one days travel into the mountains, and at about 9 o’clock in the night were tied together and carried out to be shot all at once. The soldiers detailed to shoot us were brought up in front of us, and fired upon us, killing all of my companions outright, and riddling my clothes and cutting the ropes that bound me. I fell with the others, feigning to be dead. They left after rifling the pockets and taking the hats of those killed, even cutting the buttons from the military uniform of Reece Tease, who was a Union Soldier, belonging to the 1st Alabama Regiment, commanded by Col George E Spencer.
After they had left I arose and departed, lying out in places of safety until General Wilson’s Union Scouts came into the county where I lived. I went with them on their rounds, assisting them in their purpose s as a guide. Went with them to East Port Mississippi in Feb 1865 and went into the Union lines on a Federal steamboat to Nashville. Went from Nashville to Louisville, Kentucky, went to avoid conscription in the Confederate Service to escape injury…I also went to Missouri opposite Cairo Illinois, where I engaged in working on a farm.
I returned home to my family in Alabama about the 10th of June 1865, after the close of the war…In Mar 1862 Confederate Soldiers took one horse from me, I suppose for the use of the army. In 1864 General Hood’s Confederate Army on its retreat killed and used all of my hogs. I have never received any pay for any of said property…On or about April 1, 1863, while that portion of the United States Army, commanded by Col Straight, was on its march in the direction of Rome, Georgia, a large number of Soldiers belonging to said command came to my residence then in Franklin, now Colbert County, Alabama, commanded by officers, and took and carried away the box of Tobacco and the horse. Besides (500 or 600 soldiers) there was present myself, my wife Sarah, Henry Vandever, and Hezekiah Tharp, my father, now dead. I complained to the officer present. He said he could not help it. Said property was taken in the day time at about 12 o’clock, not taken secretly. The horse was about 5 years old, of large size and in very good order. Was worth then and there $125. The tobacco was a good article of manufactured tobacco and was worth $40. Said tobacco was a large sized box of 100 lbs about. I did not see the horse taken, but I know it was taken by said command because it was there when the command came and was gone when it left. … Sarah Tharp, his wife, made an affidavit to these events and said that she did see the troops of Col or Major Straight take the horse…William H Vandiver says he was in the employment of the claimant and over the field close to his house. He saw the said command passing and hastened to the house and found that the Iron gray horse about 5 years old…which was there just before and with which I had plowed was gone, having been taken by said command. On my arrival I found claimant’s wife in tears because said horse had been taken…I saw also that a store house which claimant had, had the door broken down. I knew claimant had tobacco in said store house and that all was gone on my arrival…
A Deposition by Benjamin F Whitlock (cousin of claimant): . ..I lived within four miles of Robert Tharp…I conversed with claimant often about the war–its causes and progress. I was myself an adherent of the Union cause and was so regarded by the claimant. Claimant always declared he was opposed to secession, the Confederacy and the war, that the war was caused by traitors for their own benefit and not for benefit of the people….I knew claimant’s opinions and sympathies to be in favor of the Union cause because he often expressed them both to me alone and also in the presence of other Union Men. His public reputation was that of a loyal Union man and he was so regarded by his loyal neighbors as well as Confederates themselves….
Another deposition by William McCorkle, not related to claimant, says he lived about a mile and a half from claimant, that he saw him once or twice a week, that he conversed with often about the war, and that he, William McCorkle, was an adherent of the Union cause and was so regarded by the claimant.
In Oct 1876, Robert Tharp Jr. was awarded $100 for the horse taken by Union troops, the tobacco being disallowed. I think he must have used the “Jr.” to distinguish himself from his uncle, Robert Tharp.
Robert Tharp was one son of a large family of children born to Hezekiah Tharp and Nancy Colbert. Colonel George Colbert (Chief George Colbert) did not wish his daughter Nancy to go on the sure-to-die-in-transit Trail of Tears. He solved that problem by marrying her to a white man, Hezekiah Tharp.
- President Lincoln Originally Offered the Union Army Command to General Lee (todayifoundout.com)
- Virginia Textbook Criticized on Claims About Black Confederate Soldiers (washingtonpost.com)