Saturday, August 27, 2011

John D. Chisholm

John D. Chisholm

In my new book-Doublehead: Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief, you can read about several people who had close ties to Doublehead.  A portion of the text about Captain John D. Chisholm and Doublehead's relationship is found below.  You can read the complete story of these two infamous men in the soon to be published book about Doublehead.

John D. Chisholm and Doublehead were friends for several years and probably first met in 1791 at the signing of the Treaty of Holston.  Both of their names are on the treaty as members of the signing party ratifying the terms of the agreement between the Cherokees and United States.  As an agent for the Cherokees under the direction of Governor William Blount, John D. Chisholm and Doublehead established a friendship that lasted until Doublehead’s death in 1807.  Chisholm acted as Doublehead’s attorney in his business affairs and wrote numerous letters for Doublehead.  Chisholm eventually helped him establish Doublehead's Company and Reserve that leased land to many white settlers along the Muscle Shoals.

John D. Chisholm was born in Scotland between 1737 and 1742 and migrated from Drum, Scotland to America in 1777.  He was a large man with a fair complexion and had very red hair which is characteristic of Celtic people.  He was married at least three times to the following women:  Elizabeth Sims; Martha Holmes; and Patsy Brown, a Cherokee woman.  John and his wives had several children.

John moved to General James White’s Fort (Knoxville) with Governor William Blount in 1790.  He built Chisholm Tavern on the same block as the William Blount Mansion and completed it about 1792.  He became involved in the Blount Conspiracy that plotted to conquer Florida from the Spanish and make a new colony.  He asked his brother-in-law Colonel Richard Brown, a prominent Cherokee leader, to accompany him to England to defend himself in the conspiracy.  Brown refused to go, but Chisholm got cleared by English authorities and returned to America.  In the Spring of 1792, he worked for Governor Blount as an Indian agent and messenger to the Creek Chief Alexander McGillivray.
The crossing of the Tennessee River at Doublehead’s Town was known as Brown’s Ferry from the Cherokee Indian family of John Brown.  Captain John D. Chisholm, who served as a legal advisor to Doublehead, married Patsy Brown, one of John Brown’s Cherokee daughters. Patsy was the sister of Colonel Richard Brown who fought with General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horse Shoe Bend during the Creek Indian War.  John D. Chisholm and Patsy got a divorce in 1799 as follows:

His wife and seemed to be much attached.  This deponent believes they lived together as man and wife and that he, John Chisholm, said he never would live with his wife Patsy Chisholm again and further did not.
M. Miller
Sworn before Joseph Greer, Justice of Peace, Knox County, Territory, October 4, 1799.  After Patsy Chisholm obtained her divorce, she married William Brent.

James Chisholm, the Cherokee mixed-blood son of Patsy and John D. Chisholm, had several scrapes with the legal authorities who tried to remove him from Indian Territory.  John D. Chisholm’s son Ignatius married the daughter of Old Tassel, Doublehead’s brother.  Ignatius’s son, Jesse Chisholm, became important in history working with western tribes and for his namesake the Chisholm Trail.

After Doublehead’s death, John D. Chisholm continued to act as an advisor to Doublehead’s nephew Tahlonteskee Benge in Arkansas.  He went west with the Cherokees in 1809 under the authority of President Thomas Jefferson.  The Chickasaws wanted the United States Government, not only to remove all the white settlers and intruders on Doublehead’s Reserve, but also remove John D. Chisholm from their country.

Read more about John D. Chisholm including the letter from the Chickasaws asking for his removal.  In addition, John D. Chisholm was the legal adviser to Doublehead in most of his business deals and treaties that were designed to benefit both.  You can read all about it in the new book.  Sign up for your copy today.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Delaware (Algonquian)

Delaware (Algonquian)

          In my new book, Doublehead: Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief, I discuss in detail each tribal faction that made up Doublehead's confederacy.  Even though the Delaware did not live in north Alabama, they were an important part of Doublehead's alliance.  Through intermarriage, the Delaware became members of Doublehead's extended family.

       Doublehead, as did Dragging Canoe, built alliances with surrounding tribes including the Delaware in efforts to stop white settlement on their sacred hunting grounds.  Doublehead’s third wife was a Delaware Indian probably from the northern part of Kentucky along the Ohio River.  His Delaware wife was thought to be born about 1750 and they had one daughter Corn Blossom who was born about 1770.  His marriage to the Delaware woman was an appropriate way to establish a friendly relationship with her people who controlled a great portion of the Ohio River Basin.  The Delaware alliance with the Chickamauga was helpful to Doublehead in controlling the northern portion of Tennessee and Kentucky.  The hunting areas from the Cumberland River to the Ohio River were assessable to all factions of the Chickamauga which included the Yuchi, Delaware, Shawnee, Upper Creek, and Lower Cherokee. 

The Delaware, known as Leni Lenape meaning “Real People” or “Human Beings”, originated around the Delaware River Basin, but they were forced westward by white encroachment into their homelands.  By the 1750’s, many of the Delaware were living in the Ohio River Valley.  The Delaware were considered by some historians to be one of the oldest tribes in the northeastern United States, and the parent tribe of the Cherokee people who migrated from the north and settled in the mountainous Appalachain region of the Southeast.  The Cherokee and Delaware had many cultural similarities.

The factions of the Chickamauga made raids that overlapped into the territories of each tribe making up the confederacy.  Doublehead and his war parties made raids into Delaware territory against white settlers on the Rolling Fork section of the Salt River Basin in northern Kentucky. Even though the Delaware were not documented inhabitants of the Muscle Shoals area of the Tennessee River Valley, they also considered the Cumberland River Valley their hunting grounds.  The Delaware were documented taking part in raids on the Cumberland settlements within the territory claimed by the Lower Cherokee.  During some of the Cumberland raids, the Delaware faction of the Chickamauga was particularly brutal by cutting up some of their victims and scattering the remains in the yard around their log cabins.  Some of the Delaware warriors would take the heads of victims as war trophies.

Dragging Canoe, in his speech to the delegation after the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals in 1775, mentions the Delaware as a vanishing people being destroyed by the encroaching white settlers.  At this time, he said the Delaware tribe was only a remnant of its once great nation.  Eventually the Delaware were defeated in 1794 by General Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.  By June of the same year of this defeat, Doublehead signed a peace agreement with President George Washington.  Doublehead probably saw the handwriting on the wall and knew that his days were numbered if he did not make the change from war to peace.

The Delaware had tried to stop further white settlement of their new Ohio lands in order to protect their homes and save their people from destruction.  They were not successful, and many Delaware were later forced on to the lands of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.

If you are interested in reading my stories, become a member of my blog and you will receive each one as they are posted.  Be sure to let me know if you wish to obtain a copy of my Doublehead book and I will put you on the list.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Doublehead's War

Doublehead’s War

In my latest book-Doublehead: Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief, you can read much more about Doublehead's war.  Hopefully, the book will be available before the end of the year. Below are a few excerpts from several pages about the Chickamauga-Settler conflicts.

Doublehead’s personal war against encroaching settlers lasted for some 25 years from 1770 through June 1795.  From the southwestern most portions of the Cherokee land claims along the Muscle Shoals, Doublehead made his own declarations of war against the white settlers moving into his hunting grounds.  He decided when and where to attack whether it was only two, two hundred, or two thousand in his party.  If they were with him, he was in charge. 

Doublehead was considered the most ruthless, brutal, violent, and blood thirsty Chickamauga warrior to ever live along the Tennessee River's Muscle Shoals.  Even though his nephew Robert Benge personally took 45 scalps, historians agree that Doublehead far surpassed that mark.  Some forty years of his life was spent on the warpath-killing, scalping, stealing, burning, and destroying.  However, one day in June 1795, Doublehead ceased all hostilities against the white settlers and was never recorded on another raid to the day he died some twelve years later.     

Doublehead continued to build an Indian alliance as his predecessor Dragging Canoe had done the day before he died. Doublehead, John Watts, Jr., Bloody Fellow, and "Young Dragging Canoe" (Tsula) continued Dragging Canoe's policy of Indian unity, including an agreement with Creek Chief Alexander McGillivray of the Upper Muscogee to build joint blockhouses or trading posts from which warriors of both tribes could operate.  One trading post was at South West Point near the junction of the Tennessee and Clinch Rivers, one at Running Water on the Tennessee River in northeast Alabama, and one at Muscle Shoals.  Doublehead’s base of operations was at the mouth of Blue Water Creek on Big Muscle Shoals in order to be close to his Muscogee allies. At this site, Doublehead had a large trading post where the 100 mile long Doublehead’s Trace from Franklin, Tennessee crossed the Tennessee River at the mouth of Blue Water Creek.

           Doublehead’s Chickamauga alliance was a confederacy of Lower Cherokee, Upper Creek, Shawnee, Yuchi, and mixed blood warriors that he would command from his stronghold of the shoals in the Great Bend.  Doublehead and his warriors ruled the Muscle Shoals that consisted of a series of six rapids covering some 40 miles of the Tennessee River.  Beginning at the upstream or eastern end was Elk River Shoals, Big Muscle Shoals, Little Muscle Shoals, Colbert Shoals, Bee Tree Shoals, and Waterloo Shoals was the western most of these shoals.  It was from his sanctuary along these Muscle Shoals of the Big Bend of the Tennessee River that Doublehead and the Chickamauga staged raids against white settlers to the north along the Cumberland River, into Kentucky, and east to Virginia. 

           The Chickamauga made raids upon the frontiers of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, and left dark and bloody suffering on the side of white settlers.  The Chickamauga people were fighting for their families, their way of life, the preservation of their homelands, and their sacred hunting grounds.  White settlers were seeking the opportunities among unfamiliar people in a remote frontier that could be theirs for the taking but at some sacrifice, and many of these settlers made the supreme sacrifice.  From 1791 through the middle of 1795, Doublehead’s Chickamauga warriors killed several hundred white settlers with a large number wounded, and over two thousand horses were stolen.  Many more unknown white settlers were killed and not recorded or failed to be counted as casualties. 

            In the near future release of the book, many of the documented raids and battles waged by Doublehead’s Chickamauga will be identified by place and date in chronological order.  Details of death and destruction by the Chickamauga (Ravagers of the Cumberlands) will be revealed; therefore, be sure to sign up for your copy now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

John Melton

John Melton-Doublehead’s white brother-in-law

The Great Eagle had ten children including Doublehead.  In the book-Doublehead: Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief , you can read about all of Doublehead’s siblings and all of his five wives and fifteen children.  Two of Doublehead’s sisters married white men and several of his children married white people or mixed bloods; however, this particular blog is about his youngest sister Ocuma who married John Melton.  Ocuma and John had at least eight children who were half Irish and half Cherokee.  They lived at Melton’s Bluff in Lawrence County, Alabama from about 1780 until 1813 when they moved to the north side of the Tennessee River below Fort Hampton in Limestone County, Alabama.  John died on the north side of the river on June 7, 1815.

Doublehead thought enough of his white Irish brother-in-law John Melton that in the Cotton Gin Treaty of 1806, he negotiated for a cotton cleaning machine to be placed at Melton’s Bluff by the United States Government. The following is stipulations of the Treaty of January 7, 1806:  The United States agree to pay in consideration for the foregoing cession, $2,000.00 in money upon ratification; $8,000.00 in four equal annual installments; to erect a grist-mill within one year in the Cherokee country; to furnish a machine for cleaning cotton; and to pay the Cherokee Chief, Black Fox, $100.00 annually for the rest of his life.

John Melton was married to Doublehead’s youngest sister, Ocuma; and therefore, he was a member of Doublehead’s extended family.  The Cherokee village at Melton’s Bluff was located in present-day Lawrence, County, Alabama between Mallard Creek and Spring Creek on the Tennessee River.  The high flat land above the river bluff was the home of old Irishman John Melton, his Cherokee wife, and his half-blood Cherokee children.  Their home was described as a large mansion by Anne Royall with an impressive courtyard that fronted the house.  The house was a large two-storied home that was the central building with many outlying slave quarters, a cotton gin, stables, visitors’ cabins that lined the bluff, and an inn for travelers.  One guest said he never fared better in any part of the United States, but their bill was excessively high.  By the time Ms. Royall described the village in 1818, it contained two large houses of entertainment, several doctors, one hatters shop, one warehouse, and several mechanics.  From the front of the house, one could see east upriver eight miles to Brown’s Ferry where Doublehead’s home was located from 1790 until 1802.   

Melton owned large farms and a great number of slaves.  Cotton was a very important Cherokee product and the use of black slaves in the early 1800s was common among the Cherokee.  Melton’s Bluff was located about eight miles west of Brown’s Ferry somewhat near the middle of Elk River Shoals on the Tennessee River in Lawrence County, Alabama.  Melton had several children by his Indian wife, most married white people.  According to William Lindsey McDonald’s book, Lore of The River, third edition (2007) “John Melton and his Cherokee wife had a number of children; the names of some of them are believed to have been Moses, James, Charles, David, Thomas, and Merida.”   Moses Melton is listed in microfilm archives as the son of Lewis; therefore, he was Melton’s grandson.

It should be pointed out that General John Coffee’s diary specifically mentioned Charles Melton who moved east after the Turkey Town Treaty of 1816 and established the Cherokee Indian town known as Meltonsville.  James Melton became a keel boat guide for Malcolm Gilchrist and some of his family remains in Lawrence County, Alabama today.  David Melton sold Andrew Jackson all the land at Melton’s Bluff and some 60 slaves.  Lewis’ son Moses Melton and Charles Hicks were given by treaty a tract of land at Spring Creek on the south side of the Tennessee River near Melton’s Bluff.  Elick Melton was one of the signers of a letter from The Gourd, who established Gourd’s Settlement at present-day Courtland, Alabama. 

You can read much more about Doublehead’s Cherokee family genealogy in the soon to be published book.  Also in the book, you will find a copy of Ocuma Melton’s letter to Colonel Return J. Meigs about her husband John’s death.  Each of Doublehead’s wives and his children will be discussed in detail; therefore, be sure to sign up for your copy of this book that gives important Indian history of north Alabama.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bledsoe's Lick

   Bledsoe’s Lick
June 3, 1787—Most of Doublehead’s raids against white settlements were made in the Cumberland River Valley.  Many Chickamauga attacks were made by Doublehead’s Chickamauga warriors from 1780 through 1795.  This is one of the first of several raids made against Bledsoe’s Station just north of the Cumberland River on a small tributary known as Bledsoe’s Creek.  In the soon to be published text-Doublehead: Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief, many raids will be discussed by date and place in chronological order.  This is just one of the many raids made by the Chickamauga that will be include in the book.  
Bledsoe’s Lick was named after Isaac Bledsoe a long hunter who in 1769 rode east from Station Camp Creek on a buffalo trace in what is now Sumner County, Tennessee.  When Bledsoe came within two miles of the broad salt lick later named for him, his horse dashed into a galloping buffalo herd.  He told Casper Mansker that the lick was covered with a moving mass of buffaloes, which he could not estimate by hundreds, but by thousands (Belue, 1996).  Isaac and his brother Anthony came back in a few years and established a settlement near the lick.
The great buffalo and deer herds that used the huge mineral licks along the Cumberland River Valley was the reason Dragging Canoe, Doublehead, and other Chickamaugans strongly opposed giving up their sacred hunting grounds in the area and the reason they fought so hard to keep white settlers from moving into the Cumberland River Valley.  At the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals in 1775, the first Chickamauga Chief Dragging Canoe pointed toward Kentucky and said, “the buffalo are our cattle.”  Dragging Canoe told Henderson, “ You have bought a fair land, but there is a black cloud hanging over it.  You will find its settlement dark and bloody”.   
The huge Bledsoe’s mineral lick, caused by sulpher water springs that left deposits of salt and minerals, was used by great buffalo herds and numerous whitetail deer.  The lick was located some 30 miles east of Nashville between present-day Gallatin, Tennessee and Hartsville, Tennessee near highway 25 which connects the two cities in Sumner County, Tennessee.  The north side Sumner County borders the south boundary of the State of Kentucky.  Bledsoe’s Lick is in Bledsoe Creek Valley not far north of the Cumberland River which flows west toward Nashville, Tennessee.
On June 3, 1787, while Major William Hall was attending a Chickamauga conference in Nashville as requested by Colonel James Robertson, a party of fifteen Chickamauga Indians formed an ambush between his house and his neighbor Gibson.  Major Hall’s two sons, James and William, were going to the pasture to get their horses when they were attacked by the party.  James was killed and scalped and William barely made his escape by out running his pursuers. 
Major James Lynn from Bledsoe’s Station and five other men started in pursuit and intersected the Indians at Goose Creek wounding two.  Goose Creek runs into Shoals Creek in present-day Lauderdale County, Alabama, and Shoals Creek runs into the Tennessee River between Little Muscle Shoals and Big Muscle Shoals, the stronghold of Doublehead. 
Eventually, both the Bledsoe brothers who built Bledsoe Station and established a settlement on the Avery Trace were killed by Doublehead’s Chickamauga warriors.  Colonel Anthony Bledsoe was killed on July 20, 1788, near Bledsoe’s Lick.  Colonel Isaac Bledsoe was killed on April 9, 1793, at Bledsoe’s Fort by the Chickamaugans.   Many other people were killed in attacks led by Doublehead in the area and are discussed in detail in the Doublehead book.