By Carolyn Thomas Foreman
The Cherokee War Path, Written by John Ridge (1) in Washington City as Narrated by the Cherokee Warrior of Arkansas, John Smith (2) who was present and principal actor in the Warlike Expeditions in the Pararies of the Far West. March 25th, 1836.
When the Cherokees were still residing in the territory of Arkansas, one year before the treaty of exchange of land for the country we occupy, nine years ago, six warriors led by a half breed Creek Indian named Jim'3 went
1John Ridge, the son of Major Ridge attended the mission schools at Spring-place Georgia, and Brainerd Mission in Tennessee. Because of his unusual intelligence he was sent to the Foreign Mission School at Cornwall, Connecticut in 1819. He was very handsome and distinguished in appearance but suffered from a scrofulous complaint which rendered him lame for a number of years. John P. Northrup, steward of the Cornwall School had Ridge cared for in his home during his long illness and the handsome young invalid won the hand and heart of Sarah Bird Northrup, the daughter of his host and they were married in January 1824.
Ridge, his father, and Elias Boudinot were killed because they signed the treaty of 1835 for the removal of the Cherokees to the West. John Ridge was dragged from his house near the Arkansas line on Saturday, June 22, 1839. He was stabbed repeatedly after which his jugular vein was severed. He was about forty years of age.
Ridge frequently represented his nation in transacting business in Washington and the above account was written by him in that city in 1836. The manuscript is the property of the Huntington Library at San Marino, California, and the officials kindly gave permission for it to be published in this magazine since the events narrated hold a great interest for Oklahoma citizens.
2Smith, "an athletic, powerful, fine looking Cherokee was an influential man in the tribe and a great warrior. Though called a civilized Indian he was a shrewd, determined, and active warrior, and esteemed as one of their best captains. He lived in a comfortable cabin within three quarters of a mile of Fort Gibson." (A. P. Chouteau to S. C. Stamaugh n The Pennsylvanian copied in The Arkansas Gazette. August 21, 1833).
3Office of Indian Affairs. 1830 Cherokee West. G. W. Brown & Co. (Claims against duVal & Carnes)." Head Quarters 7th Infy. Cantonment Gibson, 20th July 1830. Sir, A party of Cherokee accompanied by one Creek left the Arkansas River last winter they have returned with many scalps and it is said they have acted with the Cherokees of Red River, and that it is probable the scalps were taken from the heads of Caddo Indians . . . M. Arbuckle, Colo. 7th Infy. Commandg. P. S.—A Cherokee Chief called Smith who returned of late with scalps from the Red River, I am informed is now employed in raising a war party of the Cherokees on Arkansas with the object, as it is said, of joining the Cherokees, Dutch and other Bands on Red River, in a war against the Pawnees. It is probable that Smith and his party will arrive on Red River in all the month of September next. M. Arbuckle [To] Major Brooks, Agent for the Caddos Sulphur Fork, Red River.
"1830 Caddoes (Agency) Jehiel Brooks (Report of interview with Col. Bean rel. to differences between Texas Indian & the Caddos, etc.). . . I have received a letter from Col. Arbuckle . . . it strengthens other reports which have reached me within a few days past: That the Cherokees in Texas, at the close of last month, were daily expecting a large party to join them from the Cherokees on Arkansas, and that they meant to attack the Caddos in the first place, say in the course of this month, and that they were only waiting for said reinforcements, and for the return of Col. Bean to Nacadochy & Col. Arbuckle however is mistaken in respect to the scalps. They were taken in Texas from the Tewackinees and Wacos . . . J. Brooks, Ind. Agent on Red River to Hon. John H. Eaton."
to take horses from a tribe of Indians, the Tar-wargans4 inhabiting the grand Western pararie in Texas, five hundred miles from the Cherokee Nation on the Arkansas. Within four days journey of the Tar wargan town, they travelled on horse back, when at a creek of water whose banks were lined with thin scattered timber, but furnishing a fine pasture, they hobbled their horses, & advanced on foot to the town. Within view of the village which is situated on a small river, they sheltered themselves in a briar patch in the midst of a forest of thick growth of cedar, in the afternoon of the day. A few low post oak trees grew here & there on the side of a low ridge which terminated to the stream near which they had sheltered. In one of these post oak trees, they discovered wild honey bees going into a hollow. Notwithstanding the village was in view Jim climbed the tree & cut with his tomahawk the side of the tree and from it extracted the honey combs upon which they feasted. They waited for the night in the shadow of which they cautiously proceeded to the vil-
4The Tawakoni Indians were a Caddoan tribe of the Wichita Group on the Brazos and Trinity rivers in Texas. The name Three Canes by which they are sometimes called is a translation of the French vocal equivalent but is not a translation of the native name. They were driven into Texas about the middle of the 18th century by the Osage from the northeast and the Comanche from the northwest. They settled in two groups but by 1779 the town on the Trinity River had also moved to the Brazos and the Tawakoni became a settled people. Their village on the west side of the Brazos River was situated in a fertile plain and protected from overflow by a high bluff, at the foot of which poured an abundant spring. Eight leagues above was a larger village belonging to the tribe and this section was remarkable for its numerous springs and creeks. By 1824 this village is said to have been moved back to the Trinity River.(Handbook of American Indians vol. 2, p. 701.)
John Sibley in a letter to General Dearborn from Natchitoches, April 5, 1805, relates that the "Tawakenoes, or Three Canes are called by both names indifferently, live on the west side of the Brazes . . . Their usual residence is about two hundred miles to the westward of Nacogdoches . . . are good hunters; have guns, but hunt principally with the bow . . ." (American State Papers, Indian Affairs, vol. 1, p. 723).
lage, crossing the river which was very shallow, with the determination to supply themselves with horses from the village & then to kill some of the inhabitants & to escape, & in their progress pass to the place where they left their own horses & return home. But they had been seen, three days previous by the enemy who had closely watched their progress. The river being passed twenty five yards, these warriors silently treading their way to the village close at hand, thinking of the fine pararie horses they should loosen from the stakes, & of the scalps they would take off some of the sleeping villagers, they were unexpectedly fired upon & three of them fell & in the next instant tomahawked and scalped themselves. The balance fled.
Two of the warriors ran off together, but the other, whose name was Smoke rushed into the briar patch with his rifle and lay flat on the ground. After a short search the Tarwargans, returned & with loud yells of triumph dragged the slain into the dancing ground of their Nation. Three stakes were driven into the earth near the dancing ground to which the naked and scalpless dead bodies were fastened in an upright posture, representing in mockery, as the spectators of the derision of their own scalps, which was now celebrated in the scalp dance of the victors!5
5(Cherokee Phoenix, October 1, 1830, p. 4, col. 4). Account from Texas Gazette of warfare between Cherokees, Shawnees, Delawares and other tribes of northern Indians, lately removed to Texas and the Tahuacanies, Wacos and Comanches. Col. Bean writes from Nacodoches under date of 29th May to a gentleman, in this place that the Cherokees, Shawnees, and Kickapoos have gone to war with the Tahuacanies and Wacos; that they had one battle, in which the latter lost thirty killed, and the former five." (Texas Gazette, June 12, 1830, p. 3, col. 1).
This insult to the Cherokees was communicated to the colony of Cherokees in Texas6 over whom the Big-Mush7 is the chief, by five of the Gul-loo-lar-chee warriors who were there in the village at the time the dance was held over the Cherokee scalps, & who were friendly to both parties. The Cherokees in Texas wrote a letter to us in Arkansas,8 telling us of the triumph of our enemies over the corpses of our people. Previous to this however the survivors had arrived after escaping a severe pursuit and the greatest dangers of hunger, & the roving Indians in the Pararie. We heard of their loss, but the conduct of the enemy over the Cherokee scalps was unknown until the letter written in the Cherokee character, by our Texan friends, which was addressed to eight of our warriors had been received.
We determined to seek satisfaction in revenging the death of our friends, & appointed the day when we should start. On that day I, John Smith & James Daris-
6Ten years before this Stephen F Austin had written Richard Fields and other chiefs and warriors of the Cherokee Nation, living in Texas that the Mexican Government was calling on the new settlers of the colony to fight their enemies, the Wacos, Tawakanies, and Toweash Indians. The Cherokees were reminded that they had come to seek a new home and secure lands from the Mexican Government and that they were in duty bound to fight the enemies of the Mexican people. Austin said he had no doubt that if the Cherokees took part in this expedition and destroyed the "Tawakany village on the head of the Navisot, that it will be the means of securing you land in the country for as many of your Nation as wish to remove here . . ." The Cherokees notified Austin, that they could furnish 350 men and that they would be ready and anxious to join in the expedition as soon as their crops were laid by. (Annual report of the American Historical Association for the year 1919. "The Austin Papers" Edited by Eugene C. Barker Washington, 1924, Vol. II, pp. 1307, 1308, 1332).
7Big Mush was a celebrated warrior and second in command to The Bowl. He assisted in quelling disorders in Texas in 1826 and was awarded a civil badge at the request of Austin. The Bowl and Chief Big Mush were killed in July 1839 in an attack on the Cherokees who refused to leave Texas when they were accused of entering into a conspiracy with Mexico against Texas.
8This expedition was determined on at a war dance and council held by the Indians at Bayou Menard east of Fort Gibson. It was attended by Sam Houston who came from the home of chief John Jolly; as Jolly was too ill to attend, he bore from that chief a messag to the warriors urging them not to engage in another war expedition. But instead of heeding the words of peace, they lent themselves to the warlike mood of Capt. John Smith who had great influence over them. Houston was mortified, he said, in a letter to Colonel Arbuckle, "to witness in despite of all my efforts the raising of the Tomahawk of War by seven Cherokees. The Creeks did not join and I trust that you may by attending their council be enabled to prevent them at any future day. Tho' I am sensible that Smith will use every persuasion in his power with them to unite with him and his partisans in this unjust and impolitic war." (Grant Foreman, Indians and Pioneers, New Haven, 1930, p. 271).
sou, a Creek Indian, started together for the Cherokee settlements in Texas. The balance of the warriors were to follow. It required five days to reach Red river, which is the boundary line between the United States & Mexico. When we had started, the grass had just sprung up out of the ground, & when we reached Red river, which is in the south it was above 6 inches high, covering the landscape in a luxuriance of the deep green, spread over the country like a green cloth. The forest was ornamented with the early leaves of spring, & the wind blew through the glades giving a joyous animation to the developments of nature. The earth disenthralled of winters' frost, laid open its bosom to the genial rays of the sun—all was peace, but the heart of the sorrowful warriors, the bones of whose friends lay bleaching unburied in the prairie, & whose scalps hung in triumph on the Warpole of the enemy's village, the scorn of the boastful warriors & the ridicule of the women of the Grand pararie!
We staid all night, & the next day found us in the Mexican Country. The sun declined to the West 8 times & as many times did we sleep by ourselves in the boundless regions of the pararie before we reached the Sabine river, where we discovered ripe blackberries growing on vines which run on the ground. Before we reached the Sabine we came across ten hunters from Cherokees who inhabit Texas, & one of them piloted us to cross the river. It was very high in consequence of recent rains, having overflown the bank next to us for the breadth of one mile. We gazed upon its dark waters—which seemed to repose sluggishly under the swamp & forest of trees & the briars and cane brakes—the narrow path which we had treaded seemed to have, like a snake, dived in the dark water, & the old blazes of the trees winding round in the terminations of cane brakes, scarcely perceptible, were the only guide to direct us on our route. On the other side of the river the ground was high, a low range of hills bordering on the river appeared to our view. The Sabine within its natural bank is about forty yards yide.
After looking at the river, we struck fire & camped for the night and turned our horses loose in the rich pasture of the prarie. In the morning we hunted dry logs of equal size, of 10 feet in length & bound them together
with grape vines and attached to the end of this raft a grape vine also & launched it upon the stream. Upon this we laid our saddles, blankets, rifles & clothes having undressed, and the Texian Cherokee hunter pulled it along. We rode our horses on their barebacks leading the hunters horse & followed the raft. The hunter followed the windings of the path as denoted by the blazes of the trees treading cautiously where he could, & swimming over deep spaces when he was too short to touch the bottom without sinking until he reached shallow places where he could rest. At these deep places, when the horses began to swim, we dismounted, holding their manes with one hand & guiding the reins of the bridles with the other, & extended ourselves on the surface of the water by their sides until they would strike the ground, where we all would stand to breathe & rest. This was done about eight times, alternating either in wading or swimming until we reached the bank of the river, which being higher than the back low grounds, the water here was shallow & did not quite reach the lower girths of the horses. Here we hitched the horses to the limbs of trees, & assisted the hunter to float the raft over the main, strong & swift current of the river. He held the end of the vine with his teeth & pulled the raft as he struck the waves with his vigorous arms & feet, & we swam behind & pushed it across in safety. The hunter & my companion swam back for the horses & guided them across. While we were preparing to pursue our Journey we saw three huge & long alligators swimming slowly up stream near to the bank where we had landed. These destructive monsters are numerous in these rivers, but we did not feel any apprehensions of exposure to them while we were travelling tediously in their element, & it was only when we saw their huge heads, that we congratulated ourselves in the safe passage of the river.
The sun was straight above our heads in the heavens when we crossed the river & the Cherokee settlement lay six miles distant.9 Before we reached it, a small ridge of
9Texas State Library. "Committee Room 12th Octo. 1837. The Standing Committee on 'Indian Affairs,' Beg Leave to report . . . The Cherokees whom your committee have chosen to mention last because intimately connected with important subjects to be discussed in this Report, live also in the County of Nacogdoches on the waters of the Augustine, Neches & Sabine rivers; they are about 220 in number, are farmers & hunters, raise stock, have some domestic manufactures, and read & write their own language. Their War Chief is called Bowles, their Civil Chief is called Big Mush.
"They are a branch of the old nation of that name which they left some 40 or 50 years since setling first on the St. Francis afterwards on the arkansas river and finally about 10 years since in Texas. They are good riflemen and have elevated views of their own importance and claims. They also appear desirous of taking the lead and forming an union of the different tribes in Texas. They trade with and are in continual communication with the Praire Indians with whom until the commencement of our revolution they were at war."
hills covered with a fine forest rose before us & having ascended, from its top thro the undulating ridges of descending country, finely chequered with the openings of small pararies, we destinctly saw the field & Cabins of my friend, the Great Cherokee Warrior, whose name is Dutch.10 At his door he stood attentively looking at us as we approached, & when he recognized me, he ran to us & gave us a cordial reception—Insisted that we should make his house our home, while we sojourned in that Country. The Warrior's wife, her sister & his niece made haste & furnished us a dinner consisting of boiled pork, Connohena, (which is made of Indian corn pounded into grits & boiled with water until it is cooked, which is a delicious drink as well as nutritious food) bread mixed with beans & sweet
10Tahchee, called Dutch by the white people, was born at Turkey-town on the Coosa River in Alabama about 1790. He was an early emigrant to the West where he became a member of the band of Cherokee Indians living on the south side of the Arkansas River. Incensed by the demands of the Government that they move to the north side of the river, in September, 1825, Dutch and his adherents removed to Texas and settled on the Red River, above the mouth of the Kiamichi. Later he joined members of his tribe living further south and he frequently took part in the warfare against the wild Indians in the west.
Dutch and his band lived in Texas until 1831 when they were removed to the mouth of the Canadian River near a creek which was given his name but which has become Dutchess Creek on present day maps. Here Dutch built up an extensive plantation surrounded by a large settlement of Cherokee.
Dutch was a distinguished warrior and he is said to have engaged in numerous battles with his greatest enemy the Osages as well as other tribes. Catlin describes him as one of the most extraordinary men of the frontier, both as to his force of character and his fine face and figure. He was five feet eleven inches in height, was very strong and active. His extensive knowledge of the frontier and his resourcefulness made him a valuable guide and he served on numerous missions for the Government. Capt. William Dutch, as he became known, died November 12, 1848, in Flint District of the Cherokee Nation. (The George Catlin Indian Gallery, 1836, with Memoir and Statistics by Thomas Donaldson Grant Foreman, Indians and Pioneers, 1930 p. 238).
potatoes. We were very hungry & it was a rich feast to us. At night he stretched out his camp tent made of canvass by the side of his cabin laid boards down on the ground & covered them with the best kind of dressed buffaloe skins, & having our own blankets we reposed finely in the refreshing breezes of the night under the tent.
Two nights after our arrival runners sent from our warriors by brother Moses Smith & Soowakee came up with us & informed us of the approach of 11 Warriors beside themselves & requesting us to wait for them until they could overtake us. We felt glad; light came into our hearts & expelled the dark doubts of the coming of our braves from our Country on the Arkansas. When the sun had gone down below the tops of the western trees, & his rays could be seen half way up the stems of the forest, the warriors arrived on horse back, well armed with rifles, butcher knives, & Swords & Tomahawks. If a warrior had not a sword he had a Tomahawk, which is used for three purposes by the Indians—to kill the enemy, to chop wood for fires, or stakes to erect a camp & to smoke sumach & tobacco, the top of the ax being surmounted with a bowl with a hole downward passing to the handle & thence, for the passage of the smoke, it extends to the end of the handle to which the mouth is applied to draw the smoke; from thence it is thrown out in puffs, which flows in beautiful curls of smoke diffusing the fragrance of the Sumach in the air—this mixture of Sumach & tobacco is considered a great luxury by all the Indian tribes in America. The white people I believe have not yet adopted this mixture.
When Dutch saw the armed warriors, he asked me, as I had not told him, "Are you thinking something?" I answered, we have received your letter & we are going to the grand pararies to revenge upon the inhabitants the death of our Warriors! He said "I will help." He talked with his warriors & 19 besides himself volunteered to go out of his settlement. Fifteen miles beyond this, was another Cherokee settlement where the head chief, the Boiling Mush of the Cherokees in Texas resides. He heard of us & appointed the great Council of the tribe to convene and invited us to attend. Dutch & his warriors went with us to the Coun-
cil which was numerously attended by the people, consisting of men, women & children; the Chiefs directed a long bench to be placed & told us to sit down. When we were seated, the chief gave us a speech of welcome, & in it told his people that we had come to pay them a visit & that they all must take us by the hand. He set the example with his old men, who came one after the other like a string of beads, stretched out at length & shook us by the hand. After these wise men, came the young warriors in the same way & performing the same ceremony & passed to their places.
Then came the old women, with the young maidens, modest & timid like the harmless fawn—then last of all came along the boys who finished the ceremony of our reception. The ensuing night was devoted to dancing—it passed happily away, the song, the whoop, the rattle of the terrapin shells, were heard—We danced with them also—No one slept. The next day the great Council was convened, to which we stated the nature of our journey— they heard us—the chiefs gave us no answer this day—it passed off in conversation upon their colonial affairs & their contentment & happiness in this remote region. The next night came which again passed off in another dance. The next day, we then asked the Council concerning the spilling of our blood by the pararie Indians. We said is all that we have heard concerning the insults of the enemy over the dead, true? They said it is true. We then said that we were in pursuit of revenge. We are in the war path—you see us—the pararie has drank the blood of our warriors—their blood cries from the Ground—we have heard the cry & the Great Spirit knows that it has reached our ears. Are we right? Is our tho't good? They said it is right—it is good. Men shall not fall unrevenged.
Then the second chief, the Pan, & speaker of the Council arose and delivered a speech to his people—he said our friends are in the War path; they seek revenge; you see them & you have heard their talk. It is straight like the eagles flight for the crouching bird. Warriors never receive commands to start on the War path; they are free to go or stay; it is as the heart of the warrior directs. He then asked me when we desired to start; I told him that
I could not say. My Moccassins & leggings were ready to put on; you have to get them ready & you must appoint the time. Having consulted apart & then returned & said after 11 nights we will meet at Marshals Saline two days journey towards the setting sun. From thence we will proceed together.
We returned to Dutch's settlement & spent four days in preparation for our Journey. The women parched corn in their pots & pounded it into meal, & put it up in separate bags for each warrior. We also danced four nights in succession the war Dance. The Warrior Dutch shaved his hair close to his skin, leaving only a small tuft of hair on his head top to fasten his head dress which were the short feathers of the hawk; he painted his shaved head red & half the length of the feathers, leaving them tipt with white in the original color. He was at that time about forty years old. He is 6 feet high, possessing a powerful frame & of fine proportions, erect in his stature, fleet & active, elastic in his gait, wild & fierce in the expression of his countenance. Equally brave & cunning. He loves his friends with all his heart & with all his heart hates his enemies. He is skilled in War songs & War dances. His eyes are always moving which are keen & sharp. Withal he is a good speaker, his voice is strong like his heart & sounds like the roar of waters.
The Cherokees are divided into 7 clans; each clan having a peculiar name, & are considered one family & are not permitted to intermarry in their own clan under the penalty of death. It is an ancient, civil institution of our forefathers. The names of these clans are the Wolf, the Deer, the Paint, the Blind Savana, the Green holley, with the sharp thorney leaf, The long flowing down hair, and the Deaf. The last of these is mine & that of Dutch—we are brothers. Two nights previous to the appointed rendevouz of the Warriors at the Saline, we took the path, Dutch on his War horse leading & singing the War song as we marched. I shall speak of his War horse hereafter.
The company, consisting of horsemen & footmen, our progress was not so rapid as heretofore, but more uniform, & at night we struck with a steel & flint upon dry spark & kindled a fire & camped & supped upon the provisions brought from the settlement. On the morrow took our line of march without any occurrence of interest until the middle of the day, when a snake ran off close by the path. It proved to be the swiftest species of the Snake known to the Indians, & is called Choo-tee-tli signifying that it is composed of two "distinct parts united." The young Warriors pursued it in the open forest, under which grew luxuriant vegitation, & rich grape vines here & there abounded in clusters, in one of which it took shelter & was surrounded, & having darted its beautiful neck & finely finished head out of the grapevines, it was struck with the handle of a lance, which caused it to fold itself into the constrictions of a dying snake. It proved to be about 7 feet long & of the size of a man's arm; from the middle of its back including the head, was of a pale yellow color, beautifully transparent. The other part was of a glossy black, like the black snake, gradually tapering down like the string of a whip; near the end of its tail it is furnished with teeth of the same description of other species of snakes, only situated at the opposite end. When it bites it runs by its object & strikes it with his tail, which is fatal. It is the most beautiful of the Snake kind in its form, motions, swiftness & action. While this rare snake was coiling under the blow, Dutch went & opened its mouth & loosed the skin around its edges & pulled the skin off & left the snake naked on the ground & having adjusted the skin by pulling the right side out he tied it round his neck, the head part hanging to his breast & the tail down to his legs close to the ground.
We went forward & at night camped as before. The fires are usually made long enough to divide the Warriors into equal parties who are not permited to talk across the fire to the others. The conversation, is by rule, confined to their respective sides of the fire. We sent a runner before day of Marshall's Saline, the place of rendevouz to announce our approach, & directed him to meet us at a
branch of water, half way to the Saline. In the morning before breakfast advanced to the place appointed & made a fire there & turned the horses loose to feed. The runner returned to us at noon, having the best token, of the arrival of the warriors who had gone from the other parts of the Cherokee settlements, a Green scalp which they had taken the day previous from one of the Tarwargan tribes against whom we were advancing. Black hair grew out of the scalp, which was divided into two plats carefully braided into strings which must have extended down to the belt of the Warrior.
We directed the footmen to advance, & in sight of the saline to wait for us. When we came up with them & descending a small timbered ridge & turned round a hill, Marshal's Saline opened to our view. A range of hills encircled it nearly round like the moon when it is near meeting its extreme points. The level ground which was a pararie is of about a mile wide, but a little longer. The hills in the background were covered with timber, near which the Gul loo lar chee tribe of Indians, had their camps erected & fires kindled. The salt spring broke out running strong out of the base of the middle of the semi circular range of hills, which was ornamented with a fine grove of cedar. The Saline ran in a clear branch of fifteen feet wide over fine sand & pebbles, a distance of one quarter of a mile where it formed a pool of water covering about two acres of land, & thence it progressed in a small stream until it emptied into a large branch of fresh water which ran thru the valley to the S. West. This Saline in its course nearly divides in equal parts this beautiful pararie. Near the source of this Saline is a pretty spring of fresh water, which breaks out at the distance of forty five feet and after running a short distance it joins the salt stream.
Near the source of the Saline were two Cabins in which a white man, an American named Marshal lived, having about fifty kettles to make salt. We saw at his house two white women & some workmen of the same nation & a negro fellow. Marshal possessed a large stock of horses, cattle & hogs, and also a store of goods. He was rich. The tribe of Indians who were camped near the forest as stated were his friends with whom he traded for skins. These
Indians also possessed horses & cattle. When our fellow Cherokees saw us advancing, they saluted us with the sound of a single whoop & then followed it with a united war shout with the discharge of their rifles. We returned the salute by raising the same kind of whoop & firing our rifles in platoons. By this time a large crowd of the Gul loo lare chee Indians consisting of men, women & children had come to witness the scene. Marshal did not appear—he was afraid.
The history of the scalp which had been sent to us in this: One of the Gul loo lar chee warriors had been in the west to trade powder to the Tarwargan tribe, the same tribe who had slain our warriors, & he had induced one of the chiefs to visit his tribe. When the Cherokee arrived on their War path he had the imprudence to bring him along & told them from whence he came. The Cherokees insisted on taking the western Indian's scalp, but the Gul-loo-lar chee warrior defended him strenuously with a peace talk, until the Cherokees threatened to kill him also. Still pleading yet fearful of the danger, Ha, nee, lee a Cherokee warrior sent his tomahawk side ways & struck the western warrior in the head, near the ear, who fell & gasped away his life on the ground. When Haneelee pulled his tomahawk out the brains came down the warrior's cheek. They then scalped & threw him into the cedar forest where he lay unburied when our party arrived.
After joining our countrymen, we rested about two hours & then all, consisting of 63 warriors marched forward & at the distance of four miles, came to a swamp thru which & across the creek, Marshal had made a road on which to run his carts. This swamp was overflowed & without stopping we took water for a quarter of a mile, when it became too deep to wade—here we gathered floating logs & made rafts, upon which we placed our baggage & arms. The young warriors dragged them forward, swimming over deep spaces & wading when they could, until they got to the main Creek over which they passed in safety. Then came the horsemen & swam across with their horses. When we all touched the dry ground it was like an island, a sheet of wide shallow water was on the other side of the elevation of dry land. It was now getting dark
& here we camped for the night. In the morning of the next day we started in a severe & heavy rain attended with lightning & thunder.
In the morning we proceeded & about the middle of the day, three messengers of the Gul-loo-lar-chee & three of the Dar wah lee ya tribes came up with us just as the rain ceased & we were thinking of halting to dry our things. They said that we must not proceed as they were our friends & that some of their people were out to buy horses from the tribe against whom our war path was directed. We told them that we would not turn back, but that they could go with us to watch for the lives of their friends. They agreed to go, & returned to their tribes to prepare for the journey. It was considered that these men might deceive us & advise our enemies of our approach. It was therefore decided to go forward with great expedition, which was done for seven days in succession, during which we were in the heavy, rainy seasons of that Country. It rained upon us every day & almost every night for seven days. On the 8th day we arrived early in the morning to a river whose source is in the West. This country being a flat country the inundations of water are always very extensive. It was the case with this. We ascended a small ridge timbered with hickory & which continued down to the lands to where the inundation of the river extended. Here we sent men to examine the best place of crossing where it was deemed the flood was not so wide.
We proceeded to make the rafts, & after breakfast commenced to cross—the first deep space being passed, our rafts grounded & we waded when the water was shallow under a beautiful growth of tall forest of timber; then when we reached deep places we would make other rafts, & which was done 8 times before we arrived at the proper banks of the river. The air was still, but in consequence of the soaking state of the ground, the big old trees once in a while would fall with tremendous crash, breaking down the small growth & thundering upon the water in the still-
ness of the woods. The river Kinjacy11 is tolerably wide, a man can't throw a stone over it. Here we had to make rafts for the ninth time on which we placed our baggage, which were pulled & pushed along by companies as before described. Before all crossed Moses Smith & Soo-wa-kee were sent to examine in advance. It must be recollected that we were traversing this unpleasant forest and inundation without the blazes on the trees to guide our course. When the rafts reached the other side, the horses stood in the water while they were saddled, Moses Smith & Soowahke returned & reported that they did not believe that we could find dry land during the day and that we had to struggle for safety. The Briars had scratched our naked bodies & our legs were dreadfully lacerated & were bleeding. We were also chilled with cold, but yet not daunted, the men were whooping & singing as they plunged along in the water.
After we had left the main current of the river we had to make two more sets of rafts at different places, & then for a while we were favored with shallow water. The sun was low towards its setting, when we came to a deep hollow where from the rotundity & largeness of the trunks of the forest towards the ground we perceived that it was a natural pond. On the other side a small dry ground of an acre in extent, surrounded by water, appeared to our view, which we decided to reach & rest for the night. We made rafts & crossed to it, & kindled fires, hitched our horses to the trees & rejoiced that we had a resting place for our heavy limbs. Still the young men would laugh, sing & make fun as humor directed. Particularly a young man the "Women Enter" who was really saucy in his remarks & seemed to be inexhaustible of buoyant spirits.
Without perceiving it, two of the warriors on horse back had proceeded without stopping. One of them is called Sar, gih, yar. We did not sleep—the waters were encroaching on all sides & drawing its circles closer &
11University of Texas, Austin, May 9, 1931. Office of Librarian: " . . . In an old Spanish map, of 1807, I find the Tahuacana village on the Brazos River. To the East of the river and nearby is an unnamed lake. A comparison with a later map shows in the vicinity a river marked Kinachi which is very much like your Kinjacy . . ." (Mrs.) Mattie Austin Hatcher.
closer until our horses stood in the water & we had but a small space of ground. It was now proposed to kill the horses to put them out of misery, but it was opposed by some. At midnight which was not lighted by the moon and only the pale stars struggling against total darkness, we heard two men whooping in the distance towards our course. We then found out the missing. We answered by shooting off two rifles; they came & reported that they had crossed & that the water still extended one mile & a half. That the dry land was a beautiful pararie, which afforded an excellent pasture for horses where they had theirs feeding. And the only way they had found the way back was by feeling with their feet under the water for the tracks of their horses. They were extremely cold, shivering with chills.
Early in the morning we made rafts & commenced our Journey. But now we knew the distance across from the report of our hardy Warriors. Having passed to the next shallow place, we traversed it & came to another place of deep water where we again made rafts & it was the middle of the day when we reached the dry land where the two warriors had left their horses. Here we stopped & unsaddled the horses & turned them loose to feed. But they were too nearly exhausted, that instead of feeding they all laid down upon the ground. The Warriors did the same. The moon having changed, the clouds had passed off & the sun had shone forth in his brightness. When we counted our warriors, we found two missing. We had lost two in the passage of the river. But they did not die, having stood upon a floating log, near the main current on this side, they had reposed on it all night & the next day they had made a raft & had returned safely home. This we found to be the fact on our return.
Late in the evening we started forward for about five miles and camped at night near a small stream of water and enjoyed a refreshing sleep. Our horses began to feel better and browsed the verdent grass with avidity. Before it was clear day, we gathered our horses, and standing in
need of fresh meat, my brother Moses Smith advanced before us to hunt. Near the middle of the day, we came across a strip of country of about a mile wide which abounded in a forest of black oak trees, which having shed acorns in abundance during the last winter it afforded a good range for Bears, & Moses Smith had killed a fine, fat one which he was skinning when we overtook him. The Cooks then finished skinning it & it was carried on by the men. Smith said there was great sign of Bear in the forest, and in order to kill more of them, we extended over the face of the forest in a line to the right & left & at a suitable distance apart the warriors walked thro the wood. The firing of the rifles told a language not to be misunderstood, & descending a hill we crossed a dark creek abounding with soft black rocks. The warriors who walked in the center of this hunt to the other side, halted at a spring & kindled fires. The hunters brot in the Bear Meat having killed eight more Bears, but threw away the skins which we had not the time to dry. Here we had a great barbecue, feasted & had plenty of provisions to carry along.
Having thus refreshed ourselves, & the spies to the right & left having returned, those who had been to the right stated that they had heard the sound of trees falling, meaning the reports of the firing of Guns. It was proposed to make from here a forced march to reach the enemies country before any of the wandering tribes could give the alarm. We travelled fast in a westerly direction until near midnight when we camped, kindled fires, and hobbled our horses. The Kinjacy tribe of Indians, consisting of about fifty lodges or families with all their men, women & children had been hunting & had heard the Guns in the Bear hunt, and in consequence of it had made a forced retreat to the West in the same direction, and had camped half a mile above us but without kindling fires. We heard horses neighing in that dircetion, but they had been tied to stakes & and did not wander towards us, & we attributed their neighing to our own.
Our fires being kindled & refreshment being neded at one of the long fires, the war song sounded from a Warrior who had undressed & began to dance. This occurrence
excited the martial spirit in us all, & in a short time all undressed, being naked to the breech cloth & even a number threw aside even this garment, and formed themslves into the dance & joined in the chorus. When the first finished his dance, he stuck his tomahawk in the ground, & the second raised it, danced, & the balance sung the chorus for him & so on. In this dance, the actor dances & sings himself & the others strike for him the chorus & the war whoop. At this dance the "Women Enter" exhibited his comical and saucy propensities. Having rested from his late hardships & being tinctured a little with white blood, his skin was tolerable fair, and having plenty of Bear meat in his stomach, he came forth stark naked as he was born, danced & cut all sorts of capers. While we thus imprudently danced, the Kinjacy warriors had sneaked up to see our dance. As we had thrown off all prudence they imagined that we were on the peace path. Early the next morning we advanced forward. We sent 6 spies in front, 6 to the left & 6 to the right, all on horse back to look abroad on the face of the pararie. In this manner we had proceeded a quarter of a mile, when the spies to the right spoke to us to halt. In the next moment we saw, merging out of the morning fog as it were, four naked warriors on horse back with bows & four arrows, & all having a case of arrows across their backs, which were strung from their left shoulder, declining towards their right hips, ready to be pulled out with the right hand.
They came up at full speed & reached the place where the spies were standing who caught their horses' bridles & held them fast. We rushed up & surrounded them. They pointed to where their tribe had camped & directed us the way. Ascending a small hill, we saw some of the Warriors near the branch & their horses fastened to portable stakes, & on the other side the women & children were running off like a thing in great alarm. It was proposed by some to kill them all, & in particular I & Dutch insisted upon it. We said that a number of years ago, these same people had killed some Cherokees belonging to Dutch's settlement, & now a good opportunity had occurred to take revenge. The Chief, Gah wah na ning, a brave warrior said that that blood had dried, which had been spilt by this
Tribe— peace had been made— he did not like to kill peaceable people. Go to the battle against the enemy, you shall see that I am willing to strike as you are. The majority agreed with him. We then told this tribe that they must not go further on to the west, or send runners to the Tar, wah, guns; if they did that we should kill them. Dutch then said to me, that as they will not let us do bad, we will do a little bad. My brother's horse is a little hame & I will swap it for this beautiful dark filley, which is no doubt fleet. I said well. He unsaddled his brother's horse & put the saddle on the filley & loosed her from the stake & tied the lame horse in its place, and told his brother to mount. We left the frightened tribe to abide by this way of swaping horses.
This day, being apprehensive that these Indians might give the alarm, we made a rapid march. Near the middle of the day we saw the blue mounds apparently above four feet high above the surface of the pararie, & those acquainted with the country said that they were hills near the enemies village. Here we selected drivers to hurry the march & pressed forward under an excessively hot sun.
Here we will stop & make a small digression in the narrative. The state of civilization varies in all the races of mankind, and even in the people of one Nation, district or Township. All are not Statesmen, Politicians, Philosophers or Christians; and by far all are not humane. The Cherokees have been & are perhaps the most civilized Nation of Indians, and it may be with great surprise to some to read this expedition of great hardship, danger & tragedy merely to take revenge. And that an unjust one. Many of these warriors had left their Nation in the east in early youth & the others had been born & raised in the remote frontier, under the guidance of hunters, warriors & superstitious Conjurers who are the most savage of the Cherokee race. The Indians who inhabit the frontier of the U. States, the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, Shawnese, the Senecas &c. are partially civilized, live in houses & pursue agriculture, are decently dressed.
The farther you advance to the westward you will approach the Indians who have no clothes, except to cover their nakedness, as was the case of our first parents, Adam
& Eve. The pararie Indian men wore belts, thru which is inserted, cloth of a foot wide, passing under the breeches. The eagle's or some other bird's feather, on their heads & a loose robe of dressed skin constitute their dress, which is often thrown aside. The women have about one yard of cloth or dressed skin to wrap themselves around their hips & thighs. In addition to which more effectively to screen their modesty, they wear long Moss in the same manner as the men to answer for breech cloths & a strip of cloth is slung to cover their breasts from the gaze of men. Many of their young maidens do not even cover their breasts, who walk abroad in their innocence & beauty, the best models of human cemetry, proportions & comely grace.
After they get husbands and raise children, in addition to the hard work they have to do, they become dispirited, dejected, broken down, & fall to the condition of the abject slave. Their appearance of elasticity is lost & in consequence of carrying heavy burdens become ugly in a short time. The warriors do not love their wives as they ought, they are compelled to make the tents, dress & care [for] the meat, hunt & take care of the horses, saddle & unsaddle for the men. They have hardly time to clean themselves & take care of their hair. And as the men have no regular hours for repose, the women are doomed to be disturbed at all hours of the night by the jokes, songs, war exploits & superstitious stories of the warriors, who sleep & idle away the time as they please.
The reason why the Indian tribes do not increase in population can then well be imagined. In addition to this, their War incursions upon each other diminishes in one single attack, their numbers to an extent which requires years to fill up. This horrid state of things deserves the consideration of the Philanthropist & the Christian. Nothing short of civilization can remove these evils. The Cherokees & other Indian tribes who are expelled by the avidity of the States from the land of their forefathers, will be, in the hand of providence a great blessing to these tribes. They will instill peaceable dispositions in their own people & encourage commercial intercourse with these remote tribes, which will be a cord of mutual interest & friendship thro which the light of letters & christainity will pass to shed abroad their blessings upon these benighted people.
The drivers placed the footmen in advance, but in consequence of the grape vines, grass &c. they tripped up & fell so many times, that the horsemen were ordered ahead to beat down the vegitation, whose progress made a path, after whom the footmen ran. Two hours after dark we struck a plain, wide path, which was well traveled & pursued it. It led to the enemies village. We crossed a small stream or rather a shallow pool of water—then a large creek, but it had so far dried, that its waters stood in puddles, of which the warriors quenched their thirst. Ascending a small elevation, we saw very unexpectedly a beautiful patch of corn, waist high, which grew on the edge of the pararie next to a narrow ledge of timber. There was no fence, but was surrounded with bushes laid in piles. We turned our horses into it to feed, & then the spies were sent in all directions to find the inhabitants, who returned & reported "no people." Some runners were sent ahead to reconnoitre but they returned & had seen no other sign but the road leading towards the village. We advanced to the place where they had been, halted, & sent runners ahead, who were gone a long time, but returned without any discovery. We set forward with great expedition, apprehending that the night would pass off before we reached the village. Having gone some distance in great haste we halted and sent runners to look. Moses Smith went with them who hung a horse bell to his belt which he stopped with leaves & said, when you hear this bell on our return you may know that we have seen the village. After a good while we heard the bell—they came—said, We have seen it. It is some distance off. March fast or the day will come before we can strike.
We pressed forward & reached the place where the runners had been & saw the village which was situated on a level ground. We stood upon a low flat, which in rainy seasons no doubt ran with water but it was dry. Here & there grew scrubby elm trees with branches & limbs extending low down, to which we hitched our horses. We sent the spies to reconnoitre the village—to pass around it & report. Here we threw away our provisions, depending for more from the anticipated victory. While the spies
were gone, the warriors painted themselves, adjusted their head dresses, which were a bundle of white feathers painted red half way & the balance was white. It was proposed to undress entirely naked, but some of our men were so very dark & resembled the pararie Indians so much I feared that in the heat of battle they could not be distinguished from the enemy. I proposed to leave the shirts on the warriors which was agreed to. The spies returned & reported that the country was level & no hills near enough to the village to hide us from discovery.
We waited until they painted, put on their feathers & to undress as we had done. We left the horses without a guard; cautiously advanced down the dry branch until we came to a beautiful spring of water which ran off in the opposite direction. It was the watering place of the whole village. The right end of it extended within thirty yards of the spring branch, from thence the lodges scattered irregularly to the left & in advance from our position. The chickens were crowing rapidly & the night was nearly gone. Bending low to the ground we marched without order, creeping like a heard of partridges in silence. There was no noise, except the rattle of our powder horns on the stiffened pouches.
We reached a little patch of beans fenced round with three saplings fastened one above the other, leaving large spaces, to stakes driven in the ground. Close to this we squatted low & sent four men among whom was Moses Smith, to wait at the doors of the lodges to begin the slaughter whenever any one came out. It was still dark, but we saw two of our men station themselves close to the side of the lodge, within which an old man judging from the sound of his voice was singing. The two others, stationed themselves by the door of another lodge. But now numerous voices in the song was heard thro the village according to their national custom at the dawning of every day. The shadow of lingering night rose up, growing lighter & lighter until like a fog it dispersed, and objects began to be clear.
No one came out. It was a time of awful silence & suspense with us. Awful is the dark cloud charged with rain—the forked lightning quivers along the cloud—the
Spirit's thunder sounds & the rain flows down to the ground. But more awful is the silence of Warriors preceding the fire of rifles, the war whoop & the flow of human blood. The signal gun was not shot, when two women came out of another lodge to the right. Discovery was apparently the consequence, & we decided to make that their sight of us should be the signal for the charge. On they came. And came near us, stood still & surveyed the landscape to the east. They overlooked the warriors who were ready to spring like Panthers from the ground. They returned into the lodge. The red & white feathers looked finely on our heads.
Towards the center of the village the inhabitants began to loosen their horses from the stakes who played and thundered off in their fleetness to the pastures. It is strange that the dog did not perceive us. It was now light. Out of two different lodges, almost at the same instant came a woman & a man. The rifles cracked, the woman bounded high in the air and fell. The Tomahawk descended on her head. The man was only wounded & it required several blows with the Tomahawk to dispatch him. He gave a scream and died. But now we had entered the village with the War whoop. Scarcely any guns were fired, but the Tomahawk drank human gore. The inhabitants were not spared in the lodges & out of the lodges as they hurdled upon each other in consternation.
Panic struck wakened from repose by the War shout, nature true to itself, spoke in the hearts of mothers to run off with their suckling babes—but they were not spared. As the mother fell dead, the babe was slung against the hard ground or the rocks. Death raged in all its horrors. The lamentations of the people rose in the air which singularly discorded with the war shout. We passed thro the village with the spirit of extermination, but our work was not done. The survivors were in great numbers running down a shallow vale consisting of men, women & children, upon whom we commenced. The men had guns, bows, & arrows but did not defend themselves, their wives & children. They were cut down as fast as overtaken, until a remnent sheltered themselves in their briar patch which was surrounded & they all were killed. Before however this was
done, from the briar patch came out a man, striking his breast, holding out his right hand in token of friendship, saying, "I am Gul loo larchee." He gesticulated in vain, the bullet passed threw his body, he fell & expired. As we returned to the village we gathered the scattered people who had been missed by the tomahawk & made them prisoners.
In the middle of the village we found Gah wah na nah standing, watching the mouth of a large & long lodge which stood over a hole in the ground. His hand was pierced with a bullet—he was badly wounded. He said a great many have gone in that hole & most of them are warriors. As Gah wah na nah said this, one of our countrymen who had worn out his gun in killing arrived. He said give me an ax. They gave him a tomahawk & ran forth with a loud whoop in another direction. We never saw him any more. His name was Tar chee chee. We supposed he had gone in a lodge & had been overpowered & killed. The Big lodge where Gah wah na nah stood proved to be the arsenal of the tribe & a place of refuge. It was about forty five feet long & twelve feet wide. Posts were stuck in the ground in the centre of the hole which was dug about waist deep. A ridge pole extended horizontally across the posts, & ribs of poles extending from it down to the ground on each side which was covered with corn stalks covered over with dirt. Close to the mouth of this singular place of refuge & defence, stood a lodge which was unoccupied, which we used as a screen from the enemies shot.
It was now determined to burn out the enemy. All the sticks of wood we could find in haste were gathered & thrown to the mouth of the hole and set on fire, but the enemy dragged them in the hole and extinguished the fire. Some of the warriors tried to set the top of the lodge on fire. The barbed arrows flew out at them out of the holes which compelled them to jump down. They tried to set the side of the lodge on fire but the enemy began to take courage opened holes in the sides & shot their arrows which flew strait & strong. Our men were driven to the shelter behind the lodge. Another attempt was made to kindle the fire at the mouth of the lodge. We incessantly fired
into the lodge while others were throwing sticks to the mouth of it which rose in a pile. Our fire arms continued to be shot into the hole without intermission & one of our warriors squatted low under the range of the bullets & kindled the fire which blazed in an instant. We raised the yell of triumph. But to our surprize the sticks were all pulled inside & instantly extinguished. One of our warriors thrown off his guard was shot with a musket Ball thro the side of the head which passed thro. The brains came out & his eye balls protruded out of their sockets & he convulsed away in the agonies of death. Pull him away! pull him away! was the order, which was done. The chiefs said that is bad. Why do the prisoners live? Let them die! In a moment they were all Tomahawked & stabbed with knives.
When the prisoners were killed we renewed the attempt to burn the enemy in the lodge. We threw a large quantity of sticks to the mouth of the hole & shooting into the lodge at the same time. The pile grew & filled up the hole—torches being lighted to kindle it, one of the warriors passing the torch thro the hole in the side of our own lodge, it being made of grass it took fire & in a moment it was all in a blaze. We retired behind other lodges. We were now ordered to fetch our horses which was fortunate for us. We bro't the horses & had just arrived in the village when a large body of the enemy appeared on horse back with guns, lances, bows & arrows. They came in full gallop like a cloud tinged with reddish hues occasioned by the various colors of their feathers, shields & paint. They came in abreast in an unbroken line over the pararie & then divided, half galloping one side & half on the other. The footmen faced those on one side, and the horsemen on the other. Let them come closer! let them come closer! was the order but the footmen fired at them while they were too far to do execution. Their evolutions were excellently performed but at a distance.
One of their warriors, riding a dark horse with a flowing tail & mane which streamed in the wind, detached himself & advanced full speed to pass us to the fortified hole of the village. He had a crown of Eagle's feathers on his head & of the same feathers, his back was covered falling
down in regular lines like a shingled roof. He had two shields made of Buffalo skins which were painted green like grass with red borders and were suspended on his sides. His lance in hand, he rode swiftly, affording to our admiring eyes one of the finest specimens of horsemanship & Warlike appearance. Take good aim! take good aim, was the general murmer. The rifle cracked, the bullet struck him on the side, passing thro the shield. He bounced off as if he had been unseated from his horse by a whirlwind & he thundered to the ground. In the next instant he was tomahawked & scalped. His horse flew like a racer over the pararie & disappeared in the verge of the horizon.
At this time three of our young men mounted their horses to pursue this squadron which was hovering around us. We told them not to do it—that their horses would not do to pursue the pararie horses, but they had no "ear holes," and darted after the enemy who fled before them. They went off like a string, the footmen running also to sustain them. Those opposed to us stood still. We did the same & became the spectators of the chase. The flying enemy ran in a circuit for some time, when one of them detached himself, apparently riding an exhausted & fatigued horse. He seemed to an easy victim of conquest, against whom the Cherokee horsemen devoted the pursuit. The balance halted & also became spectators. The wild Indian on his slow horse was nearly overtaken, the next moment would embrace him in death, when of a sudden he wheeled around, swift as the arrow from his pursuers to the main body of his friends who also now rapidly advanced to the rescue, surrounded the Cherokees, pierced them thro and thro with lances. They fell & were scalped.
The Cherokee horses bounded onward in great freight, snorting with uplifted tails towards the West, chased by some of the wild Indians who wished to capture them. We looked at the chase until the animals appeared to be no larger than foxes & finally disappeared. Before however these three horsemen fell in the snare, Dutch mounted his horse which was of a beautiful dark bay color with black legs, mane & tail, which he had raised, sired by a wild stud taken from the Grand pararie. He was a finished horse, in form, of a noble carriage & well trained. Dutch's object
was to bring back the young men in the foolish pursuit. He was advancing rapidly when the young men were destroyed. When another of the enemy detached himself in a slow gallop in another direction. Dutch gave chase for some distance, when the horseman suddenly turned back to escape to his friends & lead Dutch to the snare. With us it was a time of awful suspense.
Dutch also let his horse out & the chase was for life & death. He overtook him before the rescue of his friends & knocked him off his horse with the barrel of a rifle with such violence that it peeled his scalp from the lower part of his head to the top. Dutch turned swiftly to his friends the footmen who had checked the enemy with their rifles. Then they all ran to the place where the warrior lay, whom they towahawked & scalped. We also got to them & marched to the scene where our horsemen had been slain. There they lay, scalpless, their bodies pierced with lances & stuck with barbed arrows. The two parties of horsemen opposed to us also united & halted at some distance, & then slowly marched after us as we faintly walked to the spring. We drank a large quantity of the spring water which we picked up & cleansed our stomachs of the touch phlegm. A little way from the Spring, grew two large trees affording shade under which we sat down.
The evening arrived at the village & the survivors came out of the fortified hole, and wept aloud, traversing the first rout of the slain to where the dead bodies terminated & then returned with great lamentations to the village. The enemy then formed with the intention as we tho't to charge on us, which they demonstrated, but instead of closing & massacring us, they bounded by at some distance & returned to their original position. We had reserved our fire to do them all the mischief if they had approached near enough. We now prepared for the retreat. Some of our own Warriors having left a large brass kettle which would hold about 8 gallons, I slung it on my back for some of our women in our Nation.
At a great distance from the village a strip of woodland appeared, which, those who knew said, extended to our settlements in Texas. We determined to go to it & follow it on our return. While marching we saw a herd
of gentle horses a little way off which Dutch drove up and were caught by the warriors. An other small herd appeared, among which were two mules which Dutch also drove to us & which we took along. It was dark when we reached the forest but fearing pursuit we travelled on until near day when we stopt without kindling a fire and slept. Dutch stood as sentinel. Early in the morning we pressed forward & about 10 o'clock the "Woman Enter" became exhausted & could not proceed. He sat down at the root of a tree, the picture of dispair. One of the warriors was leading one of the pararie horses which had saddle spots on his back & appeared gentle. We placed this once comical, saucy fellow on him, but the horse reared & plunged & threw him off with great violence. "Woman Enter" flew to the ground, ploughing it with his nose & which being but a poor—it was bruised & then from it the blood came out in a stream. He wept like a child which was a source of great amusement to Dutch. He told him this would not do, as we could not stay there. He must try it again. Dutch directed another warrior to hold the horse & lead him for him. "Women Enter" got up again, but the horse acted worse than ever, ran off, jerked the rope out of the warrior's hand, sprang across a branch and thew the weary rider on the hard ground. Here he wept like a boy. Then another warrior dismounted & lent him a gentle horse & we pushed forward.
We travelled a long day's Journey & staid all night without fire or food. The 3d day late in the evening crossed the Kinjacy river, which was now confined within its proper banks. We swimmed across & at night rested but made no fire. The fourth day at noon we found blackberries which afforded us some sustenance. At night camped & kindled fires but had no food. In the morning we started before day. On the fifth day we intersected the path which we had travelled on our expedition. Near the middle of this day one of our warriors killed a yearling deer which we divided in small pieces, & boiled it in my kettle. This was some relief to our craving appetites.
Our greatest hopes to find provisions was at Marshal's Saline which was yet two days Journey off. In our imagination we feasted on the fine cattle which we had seen
grazing there in the pararie. On the seventh day we reached the Saline & to our great astonishment found it deserted by the white people & the Indians, having carried off all their stock. Our visit & conduct had so frightened them that they had become alarmed for their lives & property. One of the men had killed a turkey & finding four chickens which had been missed by the inhabitants, we cooled them all in the kettle which afforded us a little taste of weak broth. From this place it required two days journey to reach the Cherokee settlements. We pushed forward & slept two nights on the rout. Our sufferings in consequence of hunger was almost intolerable. Our lips became dry, we lost flesh, & our bowels ached with pains.
The last night we camped we sent a runner to inform our people of our approach, to prepare them for our reception. Before day one of our old men went in advance & at a creek four miles this side of the Cherokee settlements he had gathered roots, & when we arrived he had his medicine prepared in a brass kettle. We all drank of it which acted as an emetic & we puked up the medicine & what else could be loosened from our stomach. Here we painted a long pine sapling which was pealed of its bark, leaving to the end of it a bunch of the green leaves. On this pole were strung the scalps which we had dried, & now combed out & painted red with vermilon, like the pole. We also painted ourselves of the same color. We were exceedingly hungry & feeble, but we had to go thro all the paraphernalia of a warlike entry into the village. At length we set forward & came in sight of the village, when Dutch sang the war song & gave as many whoops as we had scalps. In an open square were assembled all the people of both sexes that could collect. They had all sorts of food already cooked placed on the ground in vessels with a guard of men holding switches to drive the dogs from trespassing upon the provisions. The odour & appearance of the victuals were indeed attractive. Our eyes would wander to them while we were detained in the formalities of the reception. We had to endure the shaking hands with all the men & then all the women. The time to accomplish this seemed to be intolerable. At length the word was spoken
to us "to eat" and we commenced operations. Never was a feast to me, so good, so sweet & so welcome. I tho't I could eat everything up but was checked by my better judgment.
It had been decided to hold the great scalp dance the ensuing night which commenced after dark.12
12This manuscript account covers 53 pages seven and one half by ten inches in size in a blank book. About thirty of the remaining pages are filled with miscellaneous accounts and memoranda. The party of Cherokee emigrants including the Ridges, began the descent of the Tennessee River on March first, 1837, and four weeks later disembarked from their steamboat in the western Cherokee country near the Arkansas line. The first entry in the book after the account of the Cherokee war party acknoweldges that John Ridge has received from his father for safe keeping the sum of $8287.36 and takes credit for cash advanced to him from time to time leaving a balance of $6202.80 owing by John to his father.
During the year of their arrival in their new home, the Ridges began investing the money brought from the East. They purchased the Jones place for $125, and the Blevens place for $200, both on Honey Creek, and set up a trading store there. (Honey Creek crosses the Oklahoma line at Southwest City, Missouri, flows west and empties into Grand River near Grove, Oklahoma). During the winter they purchased hogs from Garrett for $712; corn from Griggs, Banlay, and Peters; 4716 feet of plank from Shears for $117.90, sixty chickens, and a bill of supplies at Fort Gibson costing $709.
William M. Childers was given $490 and other sums from time to time to go out over the country and buy corn and hogs; and on March 5, 1838, John Ridge made a contract with Childers by which the latter was to receive four hundred dollars yearly "for attending to my business & keeping a store for me to date from 1st Dec. 1837." A wagon was purchased from Mr. Starnes for $140 and twelve dollars was expended for Sappington's pills. (Dr. John Sappington was a pioneer in the use of quinine in the Mississippi Valley.) Joseph Rogers was loaned fifty dollars and Riley Thornton's order to pay Lewis Rogers was honored. 31 "pork hogs" weighing an average of 173 pounds each were purchased for five and one half cents per pound.
Rev. John Huss, the missionary was a customer and items of account with Mrs. Sussanah Ridge, and Mrs. B. N. Ridge and others appear. Large numbers of hogs were purchased from time to time for five cents per pound and corn was obtained to fatten them; more than one hundred were killed during the winter of 1838-39, and bacon was sold for 12 1/2 to 15 cents per pound.
One house was erected in March, 1838, and another in the following December; on the first George Starnes was paid $4 a square for 8 squares of flooring and $6 a square for 6 squares of ceiling; two doors cost $5.50 each and five window frames and shutters the same amount each; "72 sash lights, sputting on glass at 25 cts. per light, $18.00." Eight hands were engaged in raising the frame of the second house on December 21 and 22; carpenters were paid one dollar per day each.
George W. Paschal who married Ridge's sister, was charged with payment of a bill at Wilson's store at Beattie's Prairie including a pound of sulphur, ten and one half yards of calico for fifty cents per yard and twelve and one half yards at thirty-seven and one-half cents per yard for Mrs. Paschal; "1 pair of Gaither boots for Mrs. P."; a yard of linen at $1.25 and one stock at $2.50, ribbon and other items; "Starke on Evidence in two volumes at $13.50" for Mr. Paschal. One box of win-
dow glass cost $4.50, negro shoes $1.75 per pair, and salt $1.50 per bushel.
As 13,000 emigratng Cherokee Indians were arriving in their western home, in March, 1839, John Ridge and Childers left for New Orleans and New York to purchase goods for the store. They took with them $16,922, including a draft for $6182.70 borrowed from Major Ridge; two from Rev. S. A. Worcester amounting to $1100, doubtless for supplies for his printing press and missionary establishment at Park Hill; $600 borrowed from Boudinot, and five dollars sent by Stand Watie to purchase something desired by him; Arkansas and other currency amounting to $1035 and cash that had been kept at the house for safe keeping amounting to $1289.50.
No other items were written in the book; Ridge had not long since returned from New York when he and his father and Mr. Boudinot were killed on June 22, 1839, for their signing of the unpopular treaty of cession of the eastern home of the tribe to the United States.
After the killing, John Ridge's widow removed her family to Fayetteville, Arkansas. There was a twelve year old son named John Rollin Ridge who went to school in Fayetteville and later in New England. He afterward returned to Arkansas and then went to California to live where he developed some literary talent and became the author of a book of poems published in 1868 by Henry Payot and Company of San Francisco. It is probable that when he went west he carried with him the cherished volume containing his father's account of the Cherokee war party.
In my effort to learn how the Ridge Narrative arrived in the Huntington Library at San Marino, California, Capt. Reginald Berti Haselden, Curator of Manuscripts, informs me that it was "bought from Boutwell Dunlap, 66 Geary Street, San Francisco, and came into the Library on December 14, 1926." A letter of inquiry addressed to Mr. Dunlap at the San Francisco address was returned with a notation that it was unclaimed owing to the fact that he was dead.