Sunday, October 30, 2011

Celtic-Indians of Warrior Mountains/Freedom Hills


       Between the 1700's and early1800's, many of the Southeastern Indians intermingled by marriage with Celtic traders of Irish and Scot-Irish ancestry and became mixed blood members of the Indian nations.  The Celtic traders were contracted by the English subjects loyal to the Crown because a proclamation of 1736 prohibited the English from crossing the Appalachians; therefore, Scots-Irish traders came in contact with Indian people and married their maidens. By the early 1800's, these mixed bloods became the leaders of the Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee tribes of the Southeast.  Alexander McGillivary  became Chief of the Creek Nation.  John Watts, Jr. and John Ross became Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation; and, George and Levi Colbert became the Chiefs of the Chickasaw Nation.  

       Many of these mixed Celtic-Indian people were eventually forced into hiding or denial of their Indian ancestry because of their fear of removal to the west by the United States Government.  The newly established southern states, still in their infancy in the early 1800’s, refused the right of the Cherokee, Creek, or Chickasaw to establish Indian nations within the newly recognized sovereign states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

       The “Documents on United States Indian Policy” written by Francis P. Prucha gives a quote on December 8, 1829, from President Andrew Jackson as, “the Southern tribes, having mingled much with the whites and made some progress in the arts of civilized life, have lately attempted to erect an independent government within the limits of Georgia and Alabama.  These States, claiming to be the only sovereigns within their territories, extended their laws over the Indians, which induced the latter to call upon the United States for protections.”  Jackson went on the say, “It seems to me visionary to suppose that in this state of things claims can be allowed on tracts of country on which they have neither dwelt nor made improvements, merely because they have seen them from the mountain or passed them in the chase.”  Jackson, the great Indian fighter of the Southeast, believed in the spoils system, “To the victor belongs the spoils of war.”  After the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814 and on November 22, 1816, Jackson laid claim to the Celtic-Cherokee Indian farmland at Melton’s Bluff in Lawrence County, Alabama.  The land Jackson took had been farmed by Irishman John Melton who had married Doublehead's youngest sister Ocuma.  The son of John and Ocuma, David Melton signed the deed with Jackson.  As he took from the local Celtic-Indian people at Melton’s Bluff prior to the time that any legal land claims could be made, Jackson had no reservations about eliminating all Indian lands east of the Mississippi River after becoming President of the United States in 1828.

       During the turbulent times in the early history of the Southeastern United States, Celtic people, who have always been somewhat rebellious freedom seekers, migrated into the Indian homelands, mingled with the native people, and married into their tribes.  As the Federal Government forced the Indian removal issue during the 1830’s under Jackson’s administration, mixed-blood Celtic-Indians began moving from the Cherokee Nation in Alabama, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee into the Warrior Mountains or Freedom Hills of northern Alabama.  The hills and mountains provided isolation and protection as long as they denied their Indian backgrounds.  The Celtic-Indians, who were of dark complexion, would many times claim to be Black Dutch or Black Irish and deny their rightful Indian descent in order to stay in their aboriginal lands.

       Those who question the idea of intermarriage of Celtic and Indian people, who settled primarily on the poor isolated lands found in the Warrior Mountains of north Alabama as well as other isolated areas, are merely misinformed.  After looking into their eyes and examining the features of those who make efforts to reclaim links to their Indian past, many common threads appear which not only strengthen but confirm that the vast majority of these people are truly Celtic-Indians afflicted with over 150 years of denial.  Isolationism and intermarriage forced their complexions fairer through the genetic sieve of the Scots-Irish which transcends nearly two centuries.  However, from within their hearts they speak with a straight tongue of their Indian ancestors who survived in the Warrior Mountains or Freedom Hills of North Alabama.

       One of the most common characteristics of the true Warrior Mountains Celtic-Indians is the direct line of descent from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, or Creek originating around the 1830’s just prior to the Great Removal.  Another common occurrence was the intermarriage within family units, where cousins married cousins, sisters of one family married brothers of another family, two different families intermarried over several years, and children from the same mother and different fathers took the mother’s last name.  One would be amazed at the number of mixed Indian people having the same great-grandparents on two sides of their family.  An original Warrior Mountains Celtic-Indian, who is at least a quarter blood Indian, will many times have the same great-grandparents on more than one side of their family.  Another common thread is the migration of their Celtic ancestors from the Carolinas and Georgia to Tennessee and Alabama.  Intermarriage between Celtic and Indian people most often occurred in the Carolinas, East Tennessee, North Georgia, and Northeast Alabama which made up the Cherokee Nation until 1838.  The remnants of the Warrior Mountains Celtic-Indian mixed-bloods still survive in the Southeastern United States under common Celtic family names.

       A famous mixed-blood Cherokee by the name of John Ridge stated in 1832,"Cherokee blood, if not destroyed,will win its course in beings of fair complexions, who will read that their ancestors became civilized under the frowns of misfortune, and the causes of their enemies."    Today, remnants of the Celtic-Indian people of the Warrior Mountains or Freedom Hills of north Alabama have read about their mixed ancestors in this blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Killer Coyotes Eat Deer

Killer Coyotes

       Early yesterday morning October 25, 2011, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the remains of a buck that probably weighed close to 175 pounds.  At 5:30 in the afternoon, I shot the buck with my bow at some 25 yards and was not exactly certain where the arrow had hid the deer; therefore, the outdoors shows' theme raced through my mind, "When in doubt, back out".  I did what I thought was a correct response and backed out since it was dark when I climbed out of my tree; however, to my disappointment a pack of coyotes had found my deer and left only the head, horns, hoofs, part of the hide, and a little of the backbone.  There was not enough meat left on that buck to make a single hamburger.  Evidently, a pack of coyotes can put away a lot of meat in some 12 hours.  My shot must have been excellent since the deer ran about 50 yards into a pine thicket before dying.  My new theme is, "When in doubt, check it out".  A blind man could have followed that blood trail which was two feet wide.

       A pack of coyotes can put a hurt on a deer herd, especially young fawns.  A recent outdoor magazine stated that some 80% of the fawn mortality on the nuclear facility on the Savannah River was due to coyotes.   The study also predicted a decline in the population of the deer herd in the southeast due to the increase in the coyote population.  There is no doubt that the population of coyotes is increasing in this area each year.  Folks around here complain of the increased frequency of being awakened at night by the howling of a pack of coyotes.

       While on the Northwest Road in Bankhead Forest, two veteran runners begin their strides along the incline between the Mountain Springs Road and Borden Creek.  As the two runners raced along, a nearby agonizing bleat caught their attention.  Immediately the pair of runners stopped to examine the source of the cries and some 50 yards from their position, an adult doe was frantically running around the hillside.  Between the doe and the runners, a huge coyote was making the final killing bites on a small spotted fawn.  The coyote picked up the dying fawn in its jaws and trotted off through the woods. The runners said you could plainly see the fawn's legs dangling on either side of the big coyote's body.

       Some years back, a friend and I were scouting for deer sign when we ran across a recent deer kill.  As we approached the animal, a bunch of coyotes took off through the woods.  Fresh blood and muddy water indicated the deer had just been killed and only a small portion had been eaten by the predators.  Another eye witness account comes from a Bankhead land owner who said a group of coyotes began making a large disturbance in his pasture not far from his house.  The next morning he investigated to find the remains of an adult deer that had been about totally consume by the predators.  Coyotes have become the primary predators of adult whitetails in north Alabama and across the Southeastern United States.  They may be one of the primary reasons the Bankhead and other north Alabama deer herds have difficulty in maintaining larger deer populations.

       According to the Alabama Fur Takers Association, "Alabama trappers first reported catches of coyotes in the early 1970's".  Since that time, the range and population of coyotes have spread across the entire State of Alabama with their increasing numbers causing trouble for other prey species such as the rabbit, quail, and even foxes.  The decline in the number of foxes could be due in part to the competition for habitat and the ability of coyotes to kill foxes.  Some trappers report that coyotes literally destroy the foxes caught in their traps.

       Some folks believe that the coyotes migrated from the west and may have interbred with the red wolves that used to be found in the Southeastern United States.  The larger size of eastern coyotes may be due to genetics, cross-breeding, or may simply be due to the abundance of the food supply, climate, and habitat.  Whatever the reason of the eastern coyote's larger size and widespread dominance in northern Alabama, everyone agrees that the killer coyotes of the Warrior Mountains has become a dominate predator of many species of wildlife as well as goats, sheep, calves, and pets.

       I know from personal experience that a pack of coyotes can eat an entire deer in one setting; therefore, from this point on, I intend to try to kill every coyote that gives me the opportunity.  However, I know on full moon nights that the howl and yelp of the killer coyotes can be heard from one end of the Warrior Mountains to the other.  I know that the wily coyote is here to stay!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Warrior Mountains

Interesting Places of the Warrior Mountains

Sipsey Wilderness

       Sipsey Wilderness is found in the southwestern portion of Lawrence County, Alabama.  Many people enjoy the beauty of the Sipsey Wilderness Area of Bankhead Forest that lies in the heart of the Warrior Mountains.  Sipsey River Picnic Grounds are located on Sipsey River near the Cranal Road, the south border of the wilderness.  You can not only hike in the wilderness, but also drive along Highway 33 and the Cranal Road to enjoy the fall colors and splendors of the Sipsey Wilderness.  Sightseeing, hiking, canoeing, and horseback riding are only a few of the many outdoor recreational activities available to visitors from all over the Southeastern United States.  The Sipsey Wilderness is the place for those who want to get away from modern conveniences without the sound of traffic, telephones, and TV’s, but instead listening to the songs of warblers, the hammering beaks of woodpeckers, the hoot of the great horned owl, the howl of a lone coyote, and the sound of water running over numerous falls crashing on rocks and boulders of the many streams flowing through this portion of the Warrior Mountains.  Avid outdoors men and women cherish the stimulating sounds, sights, and smells that only mother nature can provide to those who visit the Sipsey Wilderness.

       The U.S. Forest Service has designated and established trails for hiking, horseback riding, and horse or mule drawn wagons.  These trails and roads provide access to secluded sandstone cliffs, wonderful waterfalls, fantastic fall foliage, beautiful wildflowers, and tremendous trees.  Designated hiking trails begin at Borden Creek Bridge on the Bunyan Hill Road, Sipsey River Picnic Area, and at Thompson Creek Bridge on the Northwest Road.  A hiker can spend a few hours or a few days hiking the trail systems in Sipsey Wilderness.  McDougal Hunter’s Camp is a campground for those hunting or hiking in the area.  A system of horse trails begins at Owl Creek Horse Camp and contain many miles of connected riding loops.  The new addition to Sipsey Wilderness can be used by horse or mule drawn wagons.  The wilderness access to wagons could provide rides for young, old, and disabled individuals through the most scenic portion of our Warrior Mountains.

       In addition to various types of trails and roads in the Sipsey Wilderness Area, primitive wilderness camping is available to those who really want to get away without driving for hours.  Two sites which I would strongly recommend for wilderness camping is Bee Branch and Ship Rock which are isolated areas with great sandstone bluffs and shelters located on either side of the canyons.

McDowell Cove

       McDowell Cove of Bankhead Forest is located primarily in Section 4 Township 8 South and Range 8 West.  McDowell Cove is on the upper drainages of Flanagin Creek and is one of the most beautiful canyons in the Warrior Mountains.  The Cove lies between Mountain Springs Road on the eastern ridge, Gum Pond Road located on the western ridge, and the Ridge road on the northern ridge.  In the center of McDowell Cove, an Indian mound is found in the front yard of Jack McDowell’s old log house.  The flat level top of the mound actually lies immediately east of the dog trot style log cabin.  The sides of the mound only rise some four to five feet at the highest point.  Around the mound, numerous flakes of flint can be found.  Throughout McDowell Cove, flint provides evidence of long term occupation of the cove by Indian inhabitants.

       The area has been known as Wallis Cove, Wilkerson Cove, and after many of the other families that inhabited the area in the past; however, since Jack McDowell was the first Forest Ranger of Bankhead and one of the last to make the Cove his home, the area is widely accepted as being McDowell Cove.  Wallis Cemetery, named after some of the Cove’s first residents, contains the graves of four Civil War soldiers.  Two old houses still stand in the flat valley – Jack McDowell’s home and the Wilkerson home.  The old Sally Ann House was sold to Mr. Norman Tidwell from Winston County and moved during 1993.  Open pasture or farm land located in the Cove which is privately owned.

Bee Branch Canyon

       Bee Branch of the Sipsey Wilderness Area is located primarily in Section 26 of Township 8 South, Range 9 West.  Bee Branch is a deep canyon located east of Sipsey River.  The area is probably the most primeval site in the Warrior Mountains.  Most of the canyon was protected by the U.S. Forest Service as early as 1919.  Bee Branch is a forked canyon with seasonal and beautiful waterfalls in each fork.  The Bee Branch Falls plunge from 50 feet above the canyon floor.  Both forks are virtually box canyons forming a small creek that flows into Sipsey River.  The eastern fork of the canyon features the largest yellow poplar in the Southeastern United States.  The whole canyon is a botanical garden of a virgin gorge in the Warrior Mountains.

Tar Springs Hollow

       Located in the upper portion of Capsey Creek, once known as Capp’s Creek, is a place not found elsewhere in William B. Bankhead National Forest.  The creek begins at Cave Springs on Highway 41 and on the Leola Road at Basham Shelter and Spring.  The area, not noted for the two head water springs, is unique because of the two springs downstream in the middle of the big hollow.  These unusual downstream springs contained tar and the reason the site is known as Tar Springs Hollow.

       Capsey Creek is a tributary to Brushy Creek which empties its waters into Sipsey River on Smith Lake.  The Tar Springs Hollow on Capsey Creek contains two mineral tar springs which are located about once quarter mile apart in the southwest ¼ of Section 26, Township 8 South, and Range 6 West.  According to the Alabama Geological Survey as reported by geologist Jonathan Hunter, “These springs years ago were places of a resort for the afflicted who drank their waters and swallowed their tar or maltha, made into pills, and supposed that they were greatly benefitted thereby.  The hotel and cottages for the accommodations of the visitors to these springs are said to have stood on the hill just south of this lower spring.  Both of these springs, however, have been spoiled by blasting them for asphaltum.”  The article also indicated that barrels of tar were collected in holes made in the floor of the springs and shipped off.  In addition to the Tar Springs, oil wells were drilled in 1865 and 1867 that were between 700 and 800 feet deep.  The geological survey reports that Jonathan Watson probably drilled and got oil out of the wells in Tar Springs Hollow.

       Tar Springs Hollow Road was one route many settlers and visitors took to the Tar Springs Resort.  The early road lead from Melton’s Bluff to Oakville, then to Poplar Log Cove where the road forked.  The eastern fork was the main route and was the Black Warriors' Path or Mitchell Trace.  The south fork became known as the Tar Springs Hollow Road or Double Springs Road and traveled south up Wiggins Hollow.  The Double Springs Road crossed the High Town Path east of Center Church and passed down a long ridge into Tar Springs Hollow.

       From the 1800’s through the early 1900’s, prior to the establishment of  the national forest, many people lived in the area of Tar Springs Hollow.  Cave Springs Cemetery and Center Cemetery contain the remains of many who called the Tar Springs Hollow area home.  It appears from examinations of the tombstones in Cave Springs and Center Cemetery, that many of the people were descendants of the Creek and Cherokee Indians, the earlier inhabitants of the area.  Many of the family names of those who presently compose the Lawrence County Indian population are found in the old cemeteries.  The family names at Center Cemetery include Osborn, Smith, Williams, McVay, Hampton, Jackson, Steele, Holley, Looney, Wood, Eddy, Asherbranner, Poole, Burnett, Hogan, Rooks, Kelsoe, Johnson, Cooper, and many others.  These family names still persist in the southeastern part of Lawrence County.  

       In the area of Tar Springs, the forest seems eternal except for the occasional timber harvest activity.  In the late evening as the eerie sounds of a screech owl were emerging from the forest, it was hard to imagine how the area might have looked when the hotel and cottages within the rugged canyon were alive with people seeking the healing powers of the Tar Springs in the heart of the Warrior Mountains.

Poplar Log Cove

       Poplar Log Cove of the Warrior Mountains is located primarily in Section 10 of Township 8 South and Range 6 West.  Poplar Log Cove is on the upper portion of the West Fork of Flint Creek in Lawrence County’s northeastern portion of Bankhead Forest.  Black Warriors’ Path traversed through the Cove and passed by the Poplar Log Cove Spring which forms the headwaters of West Flint Creek.  Based on archaeological evidence, Poplar Log Cove was utilized by Indian people as early as the Paleo Period.  A Paleo scarper and Decatur Point were found and identified near the center of the Cove.  Poplar Log Cove was settled in the early 1800’s by Indian mixed-bloods and white people.  The Cove was flat with broad fertile valleys which were farmed in patches of cotton and corn.  Today, most of Poplar Log Cove is privately owned but remains one of the most beautiful valleys of the Warrior Mountains.
Indian Tomb Hollow

       Indian Tomb Hollow is located primarily in Section 2 Township 8 South, Range 7 West on the northern edge of William B. Bankhead National Forest.  In the distant hollows of Indian Tomb, the wood hen can be heard as the evening sun sinks behind the bluffs.  Three gracious waterfalls of the southwest fork echo eternal sounds that formed the sandstone canyon containing vertical walls reaching to the sky.  Looking down the canyon toward the northeast sandstone bluffs on either side of the canyon causes one to be in awe of the area because of its beauty.

       Early settlers and Indian mixed-bloods settled to the north and west of the hollow’s southwestern fork.  Several folks lived for a while in the old High House located on a small knoll at the mouth of Indian Tomb.  Families of the Warrior Mountains would enter the hollow from Chestnut Ridge, Beulah, and High House Hill not only to view and enjoy the beauty of the area, but to dig roots, herbs, and hunt.  It was in this same tradition that I was first introduced by my granddad Arthur Wilburn, to the mysterious but beautiful Indian Tomb Hollow.

       Mr. G. H. Melson tells of experiences he had as a small boy in Indian Tomb Hollow and was a wealth of information concerning an Indian fight occurring near the mouth of the famous canyon.  He told of his father working on the old plantation and passing down stories through many generations about the Indians of the area, the black slave cemetery, and the early settlers who called the area home.

       Over many years, the Gillespie family has traditionally been drawn to Indian Tomb.  Not only does the family consider the area a sacred Indian burial site, but their ancestor, James Richard Gillespie, a veteran of the Creek Indian War, is buried in the Gillespie Cemetery.  In addition, Gillespie Spring and Gillespie Creek, which runs through Indian Tomb Hollow, are named after the Gillespie Family of Lawrence County.  The ancient beech trees of Indian Tomb are a record of family traditions which have spanned over 200 years of time.  From early Indian drawings and settler names, the beeches of Indian Tomb bear record of visitation.  The markings also indicate that much of the time spent in Indian Tomb was recorded in the numerous beech carvings located throughout the canyon.  In addition, the Indian Marker Tree in Indian Tomb Hollow is a symbol considered sacred by the descendants of those who once roamed the beautiful valley.

       A story called the “Battle of Indian Tomb Hollow” or “Ittaloknak” was originally printed in The Moulton Democrat in November 1856. The articles compose a beautiful love story that describes a fierce fight in Indian Tomb between the Creek and Chickasaw inhabitants of the Warrior Mountains.

Narrows Ridge

       Narrow Ridge is located in Bankhead Forest in Section 21 of Township 8 South and Range 8 West.  While walking south on a ridge from the Northwest Road, suddenly a high narrow strip of land emerges between two beautiful old growth hardwood valleys.  The valley to the east was the Borden Creek Canyon and the valley to the west was the Flanagin Creek Canyon.  The old settler road along the top of the ridge continued along the slender natural bridge of sandstone rock connecting the two mountaintop ridges which divided the beautiful creek bottoms.  To either side of the old road were the edges of bluffs which rose some 40 to 60 feet above the two hardwood valleys.  The narrow ridge runs in a north-south direction for approximately 100 yards narrowing to as little as some 12 feet wide.  The unique and beautiful ridge is known to most local people as the “Narrows Ridge.”  Narrows Ridge is now in the Sipsey Addition to the Wilderness Area which will provide protection for the beautiful hardwood valleys on either side of this natural ridge.

       It appears that early settlers in the area south of Narrows Ridge were also forced to use the connecting strip of rock to get to their valley farms and crops located near the forks of Borden and Flanagin Creeks.  The Henderson Family and Parker Family, whose descendants still live in the Moulton area, have roots in the Borden Creek portion of the area.  The Gooder Walker family had crops and farm land along the western portion of the area along lower Flanagin Creek.  The road leading to Narrows Ridge is about ¼ mile east of the Mountain Springs Road.  The log road runs south from the Northwest Road’s highest point between Borden Creek and Flanagin Creek.  About ½ mile west of Borden Creek, the log road turns south and runs ¾ mile prior to reaching Narrows Ridge.  Narrows Ridge is a unique but beautiful spot in the Warrior Mountains.

King Cove

       King Cove is located in Township 8 South, Range 9 West in Sections 22 and 27 of the southwestern portion of Lawrence County.  King Cove lies adjacent to the forks of Hubbard and Thompson Creeks which is the beginning of Sipsey River in the western portion of Bankhead Forest.  The King Cove extends up Thompson Creek to the forks of Tedford and Mattox (Thompson).  Ship rock is found at the southern end of King Cove and is just east of the forks of Hubbard and Thompson.  King Cove shows evidence of early Indian habitation.  Mortar Rock, located to the north across the creek from Ship Rock, contains five mortar holes and a huge nutting stone used by early Indian people.  Local folklore tells of numerous arrowheads and spear points picked up in the old creek bottom fields.

Parker Cove

       Parker Cove is located in Section 30 of Township 7 South and Range 7 West and is named from the Parker family who settled the cove long ago.  Parker Cove forms the headwater streams of Elam Creek on the north-central edge of Bankhead Forest.  The cove still contains three old log houses that were used over 100 years ago.  When going south on Highway 33, the main entrance to Parker Cove is along the first steep winding road turning east off of Wren Mountain.  The deep cove is visible east of the Wren Mountain portion of the Wilderness Parkway which runs through the center of the Warrior Mountains.

Blankenship Cove

       The lower portion of Blankenship Cove is still an active farming site and is located primarily in Section 2 of Township 8 South and Range 8 West on the upper portion of Borden Creek.  The cove was originally called Borden Cove, settled by the family of Christopher Borden.  The upper portion of Blankenship Cove extends through the northeast part of Sections 34 and 35 of Township 7 South and Range 8 West.  Some of the Borden Family originally settled along portions of the cove adjacent to Borden Creek.  The cove is presently owned by Glenn Whisenant, who bought the property from the heirs of his Granddaddy Willis Blankenship.  Two areas of the Blankenship Cove were known as the upper place and the lower place.  Willis Blankenship lived on the lower place.  Ownership of land in the early days of settlement gave priority in naming some of the Coves of Bankhead.  Many of the coves still found in Bankhead are beautiful isolated islands of open land nestled in the heart of the Warrior Mountains.

Ship Rock

       Ship Rock is located in the Sipsey Wilderness Area in Section 27 of Township 8 South and Range 9 West.  The large rock is located some 200 yards east of the forks of Hubbard and Thompson Creeks in the heart of the Sipsey Wilderness.  The site is known as Ship Rock, Herron Point, Boat Rock, Needle’s Eye, or the Windows.  The following text is a descriptive but symbolic version of the Ship Rock of Sipsey.  The mighty Ship Rock of the Black Warrior is sailing east dragging the mountains and canyons of unspeakable beauty through the universe.  In front of her awesome sandstone bow is the Tugboat Rock of the forest leading the way and breaking the bonds of time to allow the Ship Rock to meet her destiny beyond the knowledge of humankind.  The Tugboat Rock is always at her bow never allowing her voyage to be slowed by the forces of time. Near the stern of Tugboat Rock is the Needle’s Eye which focuses the last easterly flowing rays caught from the westerly setting sun to provide the brief sailing light toward the east before darkness again dims the mighty ship’s journey.  Thousands of years ago, the forces of time blasted the hole called the Windows or Needle’s Eye at the stern of Tugboat Rock yet undaunted the little sandstone tug maintains a true course guiding the mighty Ship Rock through the earth’s celestial sphere.  

       Out of Hubbard Creek Canyon, and through the middle of King Cove, she sails leaving a deep botanical trough and solid standing waves of sandstone which begin to close at the falling waters of Parker, Quillan, and Kinlock.  The waterfalls of the Warrior Mountains send the melodious sound waves of the true wilderness lapping at her sides.  At the bow of Ship Rock, the crest rises high, creating vast depressions of beautiful valleys through which the Sipsey and Thompson waters flow.  Forever eastward toward the rising sun, dawns a new day for her forested sea.  She plows and pulls the high bluffs as she churns constantly through the land of a thousand waterfalls.  From the botanical gardens of the limestone valleys, to the hardwood ridges of the sandstone slopes, she has sailed from before the time of the dinosaurs toward eternity with the timeless canyons of the Warrior Mountains lashed firmly to her stern.

       Ship Rock has a great deck nearly 1,000 feet in length and over 100 feet wide.  Her bow is a sharp rising crest which rides high in the waves of the air reaching nearly 60 feet above first contact with her timbered and stony sea.  Her stern is broad with the great force of Mother Nature driving her through the mountainous sea, always leaving the beginning of Sipsey in her wake.  Her sides, adorned with big flowered trillium, Virginia bluebells, blue cohosh, and Dutchman’s breeches, rise some 50 feet to the mountain laurel and Virginia pine covered deck.  Ship Rock is a moment in time and a symbol of persistence before the age of the great reptilian dinosaurs, the age of the gigantic mammals, and the age of the red man who once inhabited her great forested seas.  No time, force, or age is her master, for God is her pilot and only he knows her true destiny.  As God spins the eternal swirl of the universe, Ship Rock holds steady while dragging the Warrior Mountains along with the rest of the world.  

       Where is the huge Ship Rock, the Tugboat Rock, and the Needle’s Eye?  These geologic wonders are woven into the fabric of Lawrence County’s Warrior Mountains.  The magnificent weaver left his Needle’s Eye as a guide for those who may think they are lost to the great ship and the little tug.  Now for directions: From the Byler road, turn east on the Northwest Road and go to the dead end at Thompson Creek Bridge.  Take the wilderness trail which turns south down the east side of the beautiful Thompson Creek Canyon.  You will hike about one and a half hours before you see a large hole in the face of the bluff just prior to reaching the forks of Thompson and Hubbard Creeks.  You have arrived at the Ship Rock of the Warrior Mountains.
Kinlock Rock Shelter

       Kinlock Rock Shelter is located in Section 31 of Township 8 South and Range 9 West.  The shelter is one of the largest of its kind with an overhang of sandstone rock some 250 feet wide, 30 to 100 feet deep, and 30 to 150 feet high.  The Indian shelter is a premier petroglyph site of prehistoric Indian occupation.  The sacred Indian shelter is still actively used by American Indians for ceremonies.  Presently, Kinlock Bluff Shelter could be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.
Pine Torch Church

       The oldest original log church in the State of Alabama is located on the Pine Torch Road in Bankhead Forest in Section 29 of Township 8 South and Range 7 West.  The old poplar log church was originally moved from Holmes Chapel, east of Brushy Lake, and reassembled.  The log church is 24 feet wide and 27 feet long, and is over 170 years old.  The first logs were hand hewed in the early 1820’s by the Holmes and Nicholson family (1820 Census of Lawrence County).  It was originally used for worship services by the congregation known as “Hard-shell Baptists.”  Blazing pine knots were used to light the church at night.  Thus, the church was named Pine Torch.  Dr. Charles Borden comments on the protection of the historic Pine Torch Church: “The Pine Torch Preservation Society, of which I am president, was formed in 1981 to preserve and perpetuate the historical attributes and uses of this memorable part of our heritage.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spooning Spots on Smith Lake

Spooning Spotted Bass on Smith Lake

       Yesterday afternoon October 12, 2011, my brother-in-law and I fished Smith Lake for about four hours and landed 18 spotted bass.  The bass were caught on Hopkins spoons in about 20 to 30 feet of water on the inside of rocky points.  September and October are two of the best months for vertical jigging a spoon for catching spotted bass.  The spoon mimics the actions of shad minnows that school in the cool water at depths from 15 feet to over 30 feet deep.

       Beginning on Labor Day of each year and lasting until late Fall, you can catch the spotted bass that are chasing the schools of minnows on Hopkins spoons.  Jigging spoons are some of the most enjoyable days I spend on the water fishing.  I love to catch those fighting fish in the deep clear waters of Smith Lake, and I even enjoy eating those delicious fish which I did when I got home.  Every once in a while, you are surprised and delighted to see a mature bald eagle like we saw yesterday cruising the shoreline.

       My favorite place to pursue the Smith Lake's famous spotted bass is in the area between Yellow Creek and the Houston Recreational Area on the northwest side of the lake.  I have landed two spots in excess of six pounds and have one of them on my wall.  Smith Lake, at one time, held the world's record spotted bass.  Smith Lake spots stocked in California lakes now lay claim to the world record.

       When my dad was alive, he and I enjoyed many days fishing for the fighting spots of the forest lake and at the same time enjoyed the beauty and serenity the lake has to offer.  This time of the year, especially during the week, the lake is totally free of much of the boat traffic.  Yesterday, only two other fishermen were seen on the water.  During one of our days on the water, I caught 77 spots and my dad caught 43 spots while we were jigging spoons.  Of course that was one of the best and memorable days of spooning for the spots of Smith Lake.

       Nearly all the fish I catch are on the 5/8 and 3/4 ounce Hopkins spoons vertically jigged around 20 feet deep.  The spots travel in large schools chasing the shad and are constantly on the move.  A good depth finder is a must to watch the schools some 20 feet deep and to try to stay on top of the fish.  Many times I will catch four or five as quick as I can drop the spoon back in the water; therefore, it is extremely important to get the spoon back in the water as quickly as possible.  One time within a minute or so, I caught nine spots as fast as the spoon could be dropped and the bass lifted into the boat.  When on a hot school, it is important to act as quickly as possible.

       I jig the 3/4 ounce spoon on 30 pound test line and a seven foot, nine inch heavy rod with a long handle to prevent wearing out my wrists and arms.  The 5/8 ounce spoon is usually jigged on 20 pound test line with a seven foot heavy rod.  The advantage of the heavy line is being able to save a snagged spoon that costs four to five dollars each.  Another advantage of the heavy line is a salt water striper or flathead catfish that may weigh over 50 pounds.

       Using the long seven foot rods, I pull off about 18 to 20 feet of line and never wind, but grab my line and lift the rod to swing the fish in the boat.  I can then drop the spoon back to the same depth and go to jigging again within a few seconds.  Also by pulling of a set length of line, you can spoon at various depths by pulling line between the first eye and the reel making the spoon jig shallow.  Then by releasing the line in your hand, the spoon can return to the deeper depths.  This method easily allows you to fish at different depths in order to catch fish at various levels.

       You must add a large barrel swivel attached with a split ring to the spoon, since they do not come with the swivel attached.  The swivel prevents the line from becoming twisted and allows the spoon much more freedom of movement as it flutters toward the bottom.  Most strikes come as the spoon flashes downward imitating an injured shad minnow.  If while dropping the spoon the line stops moving downward, you need to jerk upward because a bass has caught the spoon on the way down.

       The best areas on Smith Lake seem to be large open flats some 20 to 30 feet deep with drop offs into much deeper water.  Fish these deep edges far from the bank and look for schools of fish on your depth finders and graphs.  As soon as you find a school of fish, drop your spoon to about 18 feet deep and begin jigging your spoon making strokes seven to ten feet by letting your rod tip to the water and moving the rod tip up over your head.  Remember while fishing a spoon, make quick upward jerks and quickly lower your rod to let the spoon flutter freely back down.  Never allow the spoon to sit still but always keep it in motion.

       Spooning is hard but enjoyable work which pays great dividends after pulling your chair up to the table for a fish dinner.  Who knows, you may be lucky enough to haul in the next world record spotted bass from the beautiful waters of Lewis Smith Lake of north Alabama.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Christian Gottleib Priber-Doublehead' father-in-law

Christain Gottleib Priber

            In my new book-Doublehead: Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief, you can read about all of Doublehead's family.  This story is about the white genius father-in-law of Doublehead.  

Doublehead's first wife was Creat (Drags Blanket) Priber, half German and half Cherokee, who was born between 1735 and 1740 in a Cherokee town at Tellico Plains in Monroe County, Tennessee.  Creat Priber was the daughter of Christian Gottlieb Priber (Anglo-German) who was born on March 21, 1697, and Clogittah (Cherokee) who was the daughter of the great Cherokee Chief Moytoy.  Clogittah was born between 1705 and 1720 and died about 1790.  Clogittah was the aunt of Doublehead; therefore, Creat was Doublehead’s first cousin.  Moytoy was the grandfather of both Doublehead and Creat Priber.

Christian Gottlieb Priber, the father-in-law to Doublehead, was such an important figure among the Cherokee, it is necessary to discuss his life and his beliefs that were carried out to some degree by Doublehead and the Chickamauga.  Priber believed in a united Indian alliance and attempted to establish a confederacy with the Creek Nation as the Chickamauga eventually succeeded.  Doublehead in some degree accomplished his father-in-law’s dream by commanding a strong alliance of Creek warriors during the Chickamauga War.  Doublehead’s older brother Red Bird married Susan Priber who was also the daughter of Christian G. Priber.

Christian Gottleib Priber, a Utopian Socialist (Black Robe or Jesuit), was born in Saxony, Germany on March 21, 1697.  On June 13, 1735, he petitions London to be allowed to leave the country on the next ship to Georgia in America.  He left a wife and four children in Saxony when he was forced to leave the country, they would not go with him.  Priber said, “I was married to Christiane Dorothea Hoffman in Zittau, Germany and we had four girls together. She was a portrait painter and very educated woman. Her father was the rector of the Classical College, a senator and noted printer. I had wanted to bring my wife and children with me when I left Germany, but her father wouldn’t allow it.”

Priber arrived in Old Charles Town, South Carolina and applied for land in Amelia Township, stating he was a family of six persons in the province, including a wife, a servant and four small children from Saxony, Germany.  On February 27, 1736, he petitions the state of South Carolina for a warrant of survey to buy land. He is a wealthy man who is dressing very well. He was an odd ugly little man who speakes languages fluently including Latin, French, German, English, Greek and Spanish. In December of that same year, he sold all of his worldly goods, clothes, wigs, spatter dashes of fine Holland, shoes, boots, guns, pistols, powder, a silver repeating watch, a sword with a silver gilt hilt, English seeds, beds and a fine chest drawer. He was preparing to go to the Cherokee Nation which he did after being granted the land.  He went to the Commissioner of Indian Trade Captain Charles Russell with Henry Spacks, John Pearson and George Chicken and traveled to the Cherokee Nation in 1736 where he took up residence in Great Tellico.

Through his good works and marriage to Cloggitah, Moytoy’s daughter, Priber established himself firmly in the confidence of the Cherokees.  In deference in the red men’s taste for stately ceremonial, he had devised an impressive new ritual for the crowning of the emperor and a variety of imposing titles for the other chiefs who constituted the nobles of the court, reserving for himself the title of secretary of state or prime minister. 

Priber founded an empire, crowned Moytoy Emperor, and declared himself the prime minister. He declared Moytoy the Emperor and gave high sounding titles to all the chief warriors. He called them the His Majesty’s Red Court.  He made himself the Imperial Majesty’s Principle Secretary of State.  He signed all letters to the British with this title, which infuriated them. He stated that the Europeans should get out of America or he would throw them out.  He continued his task of remaking the world. 

Over the next several months, trader James Adair grew to like the man.  Adair was then sent south to trade with the Creeks, but asked Priber to continue correspondence with him. Priber agreed, but after the attempts to capture him by the English, he lost trust in Adair and told the Cherokee that Adair was the devil’s clerk and to destroy any letters arriving from him.  Over a short period of time, he had become an Indian.  The tribe had adopted him as a great beloved man.  He learned their language with ease and became their teacher and counselor.  Priber was probably one of the smartest men to live among the Cherokee and would be considered genius.

Priber claimed to be a Jesuit acing under orders of his superior in Germany to bring steady industry, an organized government, and civilized living to the Cherokees.  He has a strong memory, stronger than anyone Adair has ever met. He learns their language in about a month.  When he arrives, the Cherokee are often ambushing the French.  They often bring back scalps, booty and prisoners whom they sometimes torture.  Many times the Cherokee would adopt captives into the tribe.  Many of the French adoptees promoted the French cause when becoming a Cherokee.

Antoine Bonnefoy, captured along the Ohio River in 1741, escaped the next year and managed to find his way to French Fort Toulouse (Montgomery, Alabama).  He had been Priber’s second secretary and had desired to go on a hunting party.  He kept a journal of his experiences, in which he told how the Cherokee truly felt about the French and English and what influences Priber had on them. 

Bonnefoy is amazed that Priber speaks French fluently.  Priber tells Bonnefoy and the others with him that he is sorry about their misfortune, but it may prove to be their happiness, and he would explain it to them.  Priber tells Bonnefoy to call him Pierre Albert, took him into his cabin and told him what he wished him to understand.  Bonnefoy wants to know what this happiness is that he had spoken of earlier.  Guillaume Potier and Jean Arlut were prisoners with Bonnefoy.  Priber says it will take time and he will tell Bonnefoy and the others later.  He did say that he wished for all three of them to join his society.  Priber offered to include Bonnefoy in the Republic and Bonnefoy played along.  

The English were soon out to get Priber.  They were convinced that he was an agent to turn the Cherokee’s against them and favor the French.  Priber actually did not attempt to turn the Cherokee against the English, he only taught them the use of weights and measures and how they were getting short changed in trading.  He also taught them to play the French against the English to obtain better prices for the goods they traded. 

The governments of South Carolina and Georgia are greatly concerned about Christian G. Priber and his government. They were concerned most about him allowing the French and black slaves to live freely and as equals in the kingdom of paradise.  British Commander Oglethorpe’s true enemies are the Spanish who control Florida and also the French, so he suspects Priber of being in touch with the Spanish also.  

There was another more serious problem with Priber.  He was teaching the Cherokees that they must hold on to all their land and never cede another inch to the Europeans.  Priber believes in establishing an empire by having peace between all Indians and having them drive the white man back to Europe.  Prior to signing a peace agreement with President George Washington, Doublehead had exactly the same beliefs as his father-in-law Priber.  Soon there were stories being brought back by the traders and hunters about how the Cherokee would soon drive the English off the continent. 

The governor of South Carolina received a letter from Priber which gave him a severe shock.  It was an official communication from Great Tellico, capital of the Cherokee Nation and in effect, it informed his Excellency the Governor in a polite but firm manner that the sooner he and his English got out of America the better.  Priber said that America belonged to the Indians and the Indians intended to keep it.  The letter was signed, “Christian Priber, Prime Minister.”

The South Carolina governor said, “The French envy our American colonies. Their choice of the man Priber as their emissary was genius, although the man was a stranger to the mountains and wilds, as well as to their language, his sagacity has won through and given him the proper place among them. He is slowly forming a red empire and that to the great danger of our southern colonies.”  Therefore, the Carolina governor ordered Ludovick Grant to arrest Priber.  Grant went into the Town House to see if it could be done, but when he attempted it, Priber laughed at him insolently and indicated the Indians would not permit it.  Grant was extremely angry and could hardly control himself from shooting Priber.  

The governor of South Carolina in Charles Town then sent messages to Priber trying to draw him away from town to take him, but Priber would not fall for it.  The governor then sent South Carolina agent, Colonel Joseph Fox, who actually attempted to seize him. The English Board of Trade offered to pay Fox 402 pounds in 1739 to get Priber.  He and his men escaped with their lives only because Priber himself intervened to save him.  Fox’s arms were stronger than his mind and seized Priber in the great square of their state house.  Fox gave a large oration on the occasion and when finished, a head warrior rose up.  He found himself surrounded by thousands of Indians.  He immediately stopped and let go of Priber’s arm.  

The head warrior told Fox, "stop, the man you intend to enslave has been made a great beloved man, and is now one of our own people.  How dare you enter into our Emperor’s Court and seize his prime minister and you being a foreign authority.  You cannot even support a charge of guilt against him.  The red people know his honesty, we know the secretary’s heart and it would never permit him to tell a lie.”

Priber had told them, “I am a foreigner and owe no allegiance to the British and only traveled through their country in a peaceful manner, paying for anything I got.  I feel sorry for the poverty and insecure state of the Cherokees.  I have traveled a great way and lived among the Cherokees as brothers.  I have tried to preserve our freedoms by opening a water communication between us and New Orleans.  My motive was only to do well and bring up sufficient numbers of Frenchmen to teach us the use of gunpowder.  I urge the tyrannical design of the English commissioner toward our principle secretary appears to be leveled against him, not because of having done any ill will toward the English, but his crime must be his love for the Cherokee.  If that is reckoned to be such a heinous crime in the eyes of the English, they send one of their military men to enslave me. It just further confirms all the honest speeches I have so often spoken.” 

An old warrior then stood up and said to Fox, “You should go to your superiors and tell them the Cherokee are desirous of continuing a peaceful union with the English as freemen and equals. We hope to receive no further uneasiness from them, for consulting their own interests, their reason dictated. Send no more bad papers to our country on any account and do not reckon us to be so base as to allow you to take any of our friends out of our presence and into slavery.”  After the warrior spoke, Priber insisted on providing Fox an escort for he feared for his safety after riling the Indians up to such an extent.  The Cherokee then allowed Fox and his men to leave, but Fox was afraid of being killed; therefore, the Cherokee guards escorted him far away from the Nation before leaving Fox, who safely returned to South Carolina.  

Over the years, Priber adopted some of the very things that he had taught against.  He soon owned a black slave. He thought back on the things he had accomplished and the things he wanted to accomplish. He had a town set up at the foot of the mountains for a place of refuge for criminals, debtors, and slaves.  Priber had been working on getting the Cherokee National Capital moved from Great Tellico closer to the French. He had been working on convincing Moytoy to move the capital to Coosawattee because it is situated on what he feels is better land.  Coosawattee is in Creek territory, but Priber justifies this by saying the land belonged to the Cherokees before the Creeks. 

After seven years of living with the Cherokees and convincing them to set up an alliance with the Creeks, Priber was making his way to Mobile to unite the Creeks with the Cherokees in his Republic.  During the trip to Mobile, Priber was accompanied with a few hand-picked Cherokees. They traveled by land to the great river of the Muskogee (Coosa) and there took canoes. He was joyous on the occasion and could hardly contain himself.  The empire was about to expand into a powerful force with this unification.  He wanted to unite all the southern tribes of Indians including the Chickasaw, Creek, Yuchi, Shawnee, Choctaw, and western Mississippi Indians into a Republic as a model to be set up in Europe at a later date.

 The English had tried many tricks on Priber to get him out of the way and to put a stop to his empire building.  It took them six years to lure him far enough away from his headquarters so that they could ambush and kill him which would end his republic of paradise.  Priber landed one evening at Tallapoose Town at nightfall.  His black slave jumped from the canoe into the river to make his escape and the English traders shot him dead.  Priber was seized by English traders among the Creeks, convinced the Creeks of his dangerousness, and took him to Georgia, where he was imprisoned for the remainder of his life. The traders bound him and carried him to Fort Augusta where Captain Kent was in command.  Kent apologized to Priber for the traders rough treatment and then sent him on to Fort Frederica in Georgia.

Oglethorpe was informed that Christian Priber was captured in route to Fort Toulouse.  Oglethorpe was told that Priber was a monster, teaching the Indians the grossest of immoralities.  He is surprised to find Priber to be a polished gentleman in his manners and of a rare courage.  Priber tells Oglethorpe he is Jesuit acting under orders of his superior to introduce habits of steady industry, civilized arts, and a regular form of government among all the southern tribes, with a view to the ultimate founding of an independent Indian state.  Oglethorpe knows that the English all refuse to believe Priber is a Jesuit, but he also knows their reputation for scholarship, devotion and courage.  It appears to Oglethorpe that Priber has all those characteristics. 

Oglethorpe’s first impression of Priber was that of an Indian. He came in wearing only a shirt and flap as the Cherokee’s wore. His hair was cut off except for a small patch of hair on the crown. He could have passed for an Indian, except the man was very educated and highly intelligent. Priber even had tattooed his face in the manner of the Cherokees. The man was polite and gentlemanly in bearing.  Oglethorpe is fascinated with this odd little man.

Priber tells Oglethorpe, “All I am is a poor Jesuit Priest acting under orders from my superior. He asked me to introduce habits of industry, art and a regular form of government to these poor people.  Before leaving Germany, I served as a government counselor of the Supreme Court in Zittau, Germany in 1732.  I traveled over 500 miles by mountain trails to reach the Cherokees.  I taught the Indians the use of weights and measures. I tried to help them not be taken advantage of in trade by the Europeans and that is what I am guilty of. I also helped them learn the use of gunpowder and iron works. The Europeans want to exploit the Indians for their own greed.”  Oglethorpe knew that Priber would still be a free man if what he taught the Indians had not interfered with the greed of the English.

On May 30, 1743, according to the South Carolina Gazette excerpt in Charles Town, Oglethorpe has written letter from Fort Frederica in Georgia to South Carolina acting governor William Bulletin: “The Creek Indians finally brought Mr. Priber here as a prisoner.  It is a very unusual nature, he is a small ugly man, but he speaks nearly all languages flowing, particularly English, Dutch, French, Latin and all types of Indian languages. He speaks very blasphemous against all religions, but particularly against the Protestants.  He is guilty of building a city at the foot of the mountains for all criminals, debtors, and slaves to live.” 

After Priber is captured, a treaty is signed in Charles Town with the Cherokee.  The Cherokee agree to trade only with the English, to return run-away slaves, and expel non-English whites from their territory.  In return, the English sent them large amounts of guns, ammunition, and red paint.  After Priber’s abduction, the warriors at Great Tellico kept up a hostile attitude against the English for many years.

Oglethorpe still suspects that Priber was consorting with the French and the Spanish. The governor tells Oglethorpe that he is not to be kept in the same place as a felon, he is a foreigner and must be treated with honor.  He was not placed in a common prison with other felons, but kept in a military fort, because he was a foreigner.  Oglethorpe writes the governor of South Carolina saying, “Priber is an odd man who proposed to establish the “kingdom of paradise” in the Cherokee Nation.  I am impressed with the writings of Priber and they are the finest ever written about the Cherokee.”  His manuscripts, a book he was writing, and a Cherokee alphabet, were destroyed by the English government at Fort Frederica.   Oglethorpe was impressed that Priber spoke Cherokee, Creek and some other Indian languages.

Oglethorpe states, “Priber’s book speaks of all kinds of licentiousness. It is extremely wicked. It is very methodical and full of learned quotations.  In his book he brags on all his triumphs and glories, thinking highly of himself.  He speaks profanely against all religions, especially anything other than Catholicism.  He believes the English have printed his book and taken credit for his society and that it is being practiced in all of Europe.  He says his nation would have become a Utopia if his government had survived, but it would have spelled the end to the colonization dreams of England and the English have never allowed any one to stand in their way when bent on opening up a new country. He tells how he had studied law at the University of Erfurt where he published his inaugural dissertation in October 1722 on The Use of the Study of Roman Law and the Ignorance of the Law in the Public Life of Germany.”

Priber enjoyed considerable freedoms in his prison barracks.  He entertained the intelligentsia of Frederica. His best friends were Doctor Frederick Holtzendorff from Brandenburg and Lutheran pastor Johann Ulrich Drietzler. He helps Drietzler translate the Lord’s Prayer and some Bible verses into the Cherokee language. His cell in the barracks served for some time as a literary salon.  Oglethorpe has allowed Priber to collect quite a library in his cell, but his papers are confiscated and destroyed.  Priber does not know of this destruction.  Oglethorpe later allows Priber’s wives and children to come to Fort Frederica and live with him until his death.  

On March 22, 1743, there was a fire in the powder magazine which was near the barracks. Priber was in his cell reading when his guards ran and unlocked his door and yelled for him to make his escape before the magazine exploded.  The guards then ran.  If the magazine exploded, shells would rain down everywhere and probably knock the barracks down.  The magazine exploded, but did not do much damage and the guards soon returned.  They found him squatting in the middle of the room with both hands covering the top of his head. 

“You ignorant old fool,” one of the guards yelled. “You could have been killed. Why didn’t you run?”  Priber said, “I’ve learned when in imminent danger that is the best position to get in.”

The guards know the man is extremely intelligent, but having no common sense. They call him the educated fool. He often plays the devil’s advocate with the soldiers stationed in the barracks. He speaks profanely of all religions, especially the Protestants. He has come to believe that his manuscripts were stolen by the English and is now being used back in Europe as a model for all of the world’s governments.  His guards learn to respect the strange little man in their midst.  They are amazed at his memory.  He can remember every soldiers name after only hearing it once. 

He came down with a fever in 1744 and died. Some historians say Priber died in 1751.  Christian Gottleib Priber rests in an unmarked grave in Frederica, Georgia today.  Other historians indicate he was buried on Saint Simon’s Island off the coast of Georgia.

When missionaries begin to arrive, they are surprised at how much the Cherokees already know about the Bible.  Priber had taught them all of the Bible stories and the missionaries found the Cherokees the easiest tribe to convert because of this.

Read more about Doublehead's family in my new book.  Sign up for all my stories by clicking on the "Join This Site" at the right of my blog.  If you want a copy of the book, let me know and I will put you on the list.