By E. C. Routh
In October, 1800, the Cherokees granted Moravian missionaries permission to establish a mission among them. The site finally selected was at Springplace, where James Vann lived, near the present location of Dalton, Georgia. In December the Secretary of War accorded the missionaries the privilege of laboring among the Cherokees. This mission continued until January, 1833, when the Moravians were dispossessed of their property after the Cherokee lands of Georgia had been distributed by lottery.1
The Brainerd Mission was begun in 1817 by the Rev. Cyrus Kingsbury, representing the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. At that time the name of the mission was Chickamaugah. Robert Sparks Walker has told the fascinating story of the Brainerd Mission from its beginning in 1817 to the closing hour, Sunday, August 19, 1838, when the Cherokees were leaving on their enforced migration to the West.
"Its activities were now over forever. There was the little cemetery nearby that held in its confines the remains of many of their loved ones....The church house in which they had worshiped so long had to be left behind. The Cherokees with whom they had labored earnestly were almost ready to bid farewell to the land which they so passionately loved, soon to be occupied by the race which had so persistently pressed upon them for many decades."2
Some of the revered names associated with Brainerd were Cyrus Kingsbury, who a little later, in 1820, opened work among the Choctaws in Mississippi and came West in 1836; and Elizur Butler and Samuel Austin Worcester, who were arrested and imprisoned by the state of Georgia for residing in the Cherokee country without swearing allegiance to the state of Georgia and
1According to Grant Foreman, the thrilling story of the Moravian missions among the Cherokees is related in the records preserved at Salem College, established by the Moravians in 1772 at what is now Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
obtaining a permit from the Governor. Both Butler and Worcester moved West with the Cherokees.3
In this study will be traced a little more in detail the lives and labors of Jesse Bushyhead and Evan Jones, Baptist missionaries, who preached in the Cherokee country before the Removal and led a detachment of Cherokees West in 1838.
Jesse Bushyhead's grandmother, Susannah Emory, a Cherokee woman, married Captain Stuart, commander of a company of British soldiers at Fort Loudon, Tennessee, whom she saved by her entreaties when he was attacked in 1759 by Cherokee soldiers. They had one child named "Bushyhead" because of his bushy hair. When Bushyhead grew into manhood he married Nancy Foreman, another full-blood Cherokee woman. She was the mother of Jesse Bushyhead, who was born September, 1804, in a small Cherokee settlement a short distance north of Cleveland, Tennessee.4 He was educated at Candy Creek Mission and taught several schools for boys in the Candy Creek section. He was swindled out of his property by a worthless white man.5
In the report of the American Baptist Board for the year ending April 24, 1833, is the following reference to Jesse Bushyhead:
"Three years ago, Mr. Jesse Bushyhead, a Cherokee...took a journey of twenty miles to attend one of their meetings [Baptist] and made an open profession of his faith....On this occasion there was a missionary present from Tennessee who soon after visited the neighborhood of Mr. Bushyhead and commenced preaching once a month. His labors were blessed, and in a little time a church was gathered....To this church Mr. Bushyhead belongs and by them he has been licensed to preach. He reads English with ease, and is capable of acquiring knowledge from any books published in the language, and consequently of preparing himself for much usefulness. It is proposed by the Board to take him into their service so soon as the negotiations for this purpose can be completed."6
3The graphic story of their experiences is found in The Cherokee Messenger, by Althea Bass, and in numerous other volumes.
4Recently I visited what was said to be the farm on which Jesse Bushyhead lived, two or three miles northwest of Cleveland.
5J. P. Brown, Chattanooga, who has in MSS form "Old Frontiers," a history of the Cherokees prior to their removal.
In a letter to the treasurer of the Board, dated September 17, 1833, Jesse Bushyhead wrote:
"I came here the day before the protracted meeting, which commenced on the 29th of August, and continued till the second of September. On Thursday the 29th, the congregation was not very large, but appeared solemn; and also at night. On Friday, worship was held very early in the morning, and about ten o'clock preaching commenced. The number of people increased; and truly in the evening it appeared that Jesus was amongst his people. His followers appeared to be glad they had come; and sinners were made to mourn on account of sin. A considerable number came forward to express their desire, and wished the church to pray with and for them. On Saturday morning, worship was held, and at this time brother H. Posey arrived from North Carolina. About ten o'clock, preaching commenced. The presence of the Lord continued, and the number of people increased. In the evening, the church attended to the examination of candidates, and five were received. At night, it was a time of shaking among the dry bones. On Sabbath morning, worship was held early. After breakfast, preaching commenced. After one sermon, a church meeting was again held, seven were received, and others were put off till another time. Then we went down to the water to see eleven Cherokees and one white man follow the footsteps of the meek and lowly Jesus. Again, at night, the mourners were many. On Monday, worship was held early. About nine o'clock preaching commenced. One sermon was given through an interpreter, by Brother Posey, and an exhortation in Cherokee; and it was truly a day of days. Mourners were again called up; considerable numbers came forward to express their desires, and I do believe the Christians were truly with one heart engaged to God for sinners. The meeting concluded on Monday, about 11 or 12 o'clock."7
Solomon Peck, for a long time secretary of the American Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, has this to say concerning Jesse Bushyhead:
"Jesse Bushyhead has been known for several years to the public as a noble-minded man, and a missionary. He lived 75 miles from Hiwassee. He spoke both English and Cherokee. Before he had ever seen a religious teacher, his attention was excited by reading the Bible, and...he became convinced of sin, and by faith laid hold of offers of mercy through atoning blood. He sought the acquaintance of some pious people who live 20 miles distant, and there made a public profession of religion, a minister from Tennessee being present on the occasion. This was probably in 1830. A church was organized there, and in 1832 contained 73 members. Mr. Bushy-
head was taken into the service of the Board as a missionary, in 1833."8
The Amohee Church, the site of which was near the Hiwassee River, was organized September 8, 1835, by Bushyhead. This church, after its removal West, was known as Flint Church. Eight miles east of Flint was the Tinsawattie Church which was moved from Georgia.9
"At Tinsawattie the school continued to prosper, under the instruction of Mr. O'Briant....The attachment of the Indians to Mr. O'Briant was peculiarly strong, and the salutary influence of the school and mission family upon them, very evident in their improvement in agriculture and housewifery. In 1829, the school was removed about ten miles down the High Tower (Etowee) river to Hickory Log. But the families, and the little church at Tinsawattie continued under Mr. O'Briant's pastoral care. In 1830, there were thirty professors of religion at the two places. In 1831, the Indians of these two congregations, to the number of about eighty families, concluded to remove to the Arkansas Territory, and strongly urged their minister to go with them. With the consent of the Board, he decided to accompany them, and he and his church were dismissed from the ecclesiastical Association with which they were connected. A public meeting was held and a sermon preached, on the occasion, to a deeply affected audience. They soon took their departure, and in May, 1832, became settled in their new residence in the Western Cherokee Country, two miles from the northern boundary of the Arkansas Territory, and seventy miles north of Fort Smith.10 It is a rich and abundantly productive district, and the Indians were prompt and industrious in providing for a comfortable mode of living. A saw-mill and grist mill were soon erected on an unfailing stream of water. The missionary was equally provident for their spiritual welfare. Before he had finished his log house, he opened it on the Sabbath, and collected the little congregation for religious worship. There were fifteen professors of religion,—three having died on the journey. In the course of the year, a building for worship and for school was built. The school contained twenty pupils. On the 25th of August, 1834, Mr. O'Briant died, after an illness of eleven days. He was a zealous missionary, and possessed the confidence of all who knew him."11
In the spring of 1835, after a treaty had been drawn up and signed unofficially at New Echota, Georgia, December 29, 1835,
10Isaac McCoy (McCoy MSS in Topeka) says that the Tinsawattie Church was "reopened" in the West, November 19, 1832.
ceding all of the Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi, Jesse Bushyhead and a fellow preacher, Oganaya, were appointed on a delegation to Washington for the purpose of adjusting the difficulties of the Indians with Georgia. They were absent six months. The treaty, although not signed by any of the officials of the Cherokee Nation and never ratified by a great body of the Cherokees was ratified by the United States Senate with a majority of only one vote.
At the council of the Cherokees held in July, 1837, at Red Clay, near the Georgia-Tennessee line, some 3000 or 4000 Cherokees were assembled to protest against the Echota Treaty. Morning worship was daily attended, with preaching almost every evening and on Sunday. Jesse Bushyhead interpreted the discourses on Sunday by Evan Jones.
"Bushyhead entered with all his soul into the spirit of the discourse. He is a large, noble-looking man, and the best interpreter in the nation. He was all life and eloquence in interpreting; his actions increased with the life of the discourse; his gestures were elegant and forcible, upon forcible expressions. But when to 'Calvary they turned,' when the preacher brought forth the soul-stirring doctrine of a God, sending his Son to die for sinful man—the spirit of Bushyhead began to melt; his countenance swelled; the big tears started in his eyes; his voice choked—and for a moment he was hardly able to give utterance to the discourse. One burst of his feelings, however, freed him from his embarrassment, and he proceeded in the melting strains of dying love. I looked around upon the vast number of Cherokees, to see if the emotion of Bushyhead had been caught by the sympathies of the audience, as I had been accustomed to see in white congregations, and I was convinced that the effect was even more general than what we usually witness at large meetings. In the afternoon Bushyhead preached in Cherokee, and his emotions at times would nearly prevent his proceeding....One circumstance particularly struck my attention, —the interesting and correct manner in which the music was conducted. Their hymns were all in Cherokee; the music was the common tunes we are accustomed to in our churches, and was performed with far more correctness, as regards time, enunciation and effect, than what is found among the white congregations at the south and west."12
In the fall of the next year, 1837, Jesse Bushyhead was named by Chief John Ross as a member of the deputation to the Semi-
noles in Florida to seek to adjust the difficulties between the Seminoles and the United States citizens. Other members of the delegation were Hair Conrad, Thomas Woodward, Richard Fields, and the interpreter, Major Polecat.13 The Seminoles who came to St. Augustine under a flag of truce to make overtures of peace were imprisoned. "Disappointed, mortified, and indignant as he must have been at this civilized treachery, this outrage against the law of nations and every natural principle of honor,—Mr. Bushyhead seized the occasion to preach to the oppressed Seminoles."14
In the "Report of Cherokee Deputation into Florida" is a more detailed account of the experiences of this deputation, with a number of references to Jesse Bushyhead.
"On the morning of the sixth Mr. Bushyhead and our interpreter set out to visit the camp of Opiocca [chief of the Tallahassee band] to assure him of the strong desire of Genl. Jesup to have him come in and enter into terms of peace, but when Mr. Bushyhead arrived at the encampment of this chief he found him and his people already dissatisfied with the proposed terms of Genl. Jesup." ...The report signed by Bushyhead and other members, closed with the opinion, "We do not hesitate to say, that if Genl. Jesup had persued a more just course toward the Indians, that an end might have been effected to the War."15
The repeated protests to Washington against ratification of the New Echota Treaty availed nothing, and the "Removal" began.
Here Jesse Bushyhead played an important part not only as a preacher, but as an influential leader of his people. When all efforts to void the New Echota Treaty failed, Bushyhead used his influence to persuade the Cherokees to yield to the forces of the United States. Evan Jones writes under date of July 11, 1938:
"As soon as General Scott agreed to suspend the transportation of the prisoners till autumn, I accompanied brother Bushyhead, who, by permission of the General, carried a message from the chiefs to those Cherokees who had evaded the troops by flight to the mountains. We had no difficulty in finding them. They all agreed to come in, on our advice, and surrender themselves to the forces of
the United States; though, with the whole nation, they are still as strenuously opposed to the treaty as ever."16
W. P. Upham, who was associated with Bushyhead at Baptist Mission, in the printing of Christian literature, said: "How would it have been if the gospel had not been received by the Cherokees? Such a forcible removal of 20,000 Indians would have produced terrible scenes of bloodshed. In the removal of a few hundred Seminoles from Florida, hundreds of valuable lives were sacrificed,"—besides the expenditure of much money.17
Bushyhead and Jones each led a detachment of Cherokees from East Tennessee to the new home in the West.
"A company of 1,033 Cherokee from the Valley Towns of East Tennessee in charge of Rev. Evan Jones arrived February 2; these were all that remained of the original party numbering 1,250, headed by Situakee, who traveled with sixty-two wagons and 560 horses. There were seventy-one deaths and five births among them. The people of this party were strongly religious and maintained their church organization and services on the road with the inspiration of their Baptist conductor. Next behind them was the party headed by Rev. Jesse Bushyhead, a Cherokee Baptist minister who interpreted for Mr. Jones. His people numbered at the beginning 950, but he lost thirty-eight by death and after accounting for six births, he delivered 898 in their new home, February 23."18
In the December, 1838, number of The Baptist, published at Nashville, is a reference to the parties led by Evan Jones and Bushyhead:
"Four detachments of the emigrating Cherokees have, within a few days, passed through our city, and seven others are behind, and are expected to pass in a week or two. They average about a thousand each. Of the third party our brother Evan Jones, who has been eighteen years a missionary in the nation, is Conductor; and the fourth is under the direction of the celebrated Dta-ske-ge-de-hee, known among us as Bushyhead. In the two parties they direct we learn there are upwards of five hundred Baptists. During two or three days that their business detained them in the vicinity of this city, we have had the pleasure of some intercourse with these and others of our Cherokee brethren; and more lovely, and excellent Christians, we have never seen. On Monday evening last,
the 5th of November, several of them were with us, at the monthly concert of prayer for missions....Brother Bushyhead (Dta-ske-ge-de-hee) addressed us in English, after prayer and a hymn in Cherokee, on the subject of missions. After pointing out the scripture authority and obligations to the holy work, he told us that he could very well remember when his nation knew nothing of Jesus Christ; he detailed to us some particulars in relation to their religious opinions, and method of spending their time, their habits, and domestic manners, and contrasted them with the present condition and character of his people, and thus illustrated the happy effects already produced among them by the Gospel. He told us he recollected most distinctly the first time he ever heard the name of the Saviour; he recounted to us some particulars of his conversion, and that of his Father and Mother, and gave us a short account of the effects of his own, and the preaching of Oganiah, and others, among his countrymen, and especially of the glorious revival that prevailed among them in their camps this summer, during which himself and Ga-ne-tuh and others had baptized over a hundred and seventy,—upwards of fifty of whom were immersed on one occasion. He adverted to the opposition to missions waged by some Tennessee Baptists, and presented himself and hundreds of his brethren as living instances of the blessing of God upon missionary labours. He closed by stating that it was now seen that Cherokees could be christians,—commending his nation, particularly, and the Indians generally, to the prayers of the Lord's people, and beseeching them still to sustain the preaching of the Gospel among them. He set down in tears."19
Bushyhead located at a site about four miles north of Westville, Oklahoma, which he called Pleasant Hill. Because rations were issued here, it was known as "Breadtown." Later it was called "Baptist Mission." The mission was removed to Tahlequah by John B. Jones in 1867. About a mile north of the cemetery in which Jesse Bushyhead is buried is a large two-story house built around what is regarded as a part of the original Bushyhead home.
In the Memoirs of Narcissa Owen, is a reference to the family and the location of the home:
"I went to school with Eliza [born January 3, 1839, soon after the crossing of the Mississippi River], who is much younger than myself, and with Caroline, who is now Mrs. Caroline Quarles, of 'Baptist' (a United States postoffice), Indian Territory. Jesse Bushyhead's family consisted of nine children—Dennis, Daniel, Edward, and Jesse, Jr., and his daughters, Mrs. Jane Drew, Charlotte
Mayes, Caroline Quarles, Eliza Alberty, and now Mrs. Dr. Felix McNair. Rev. Jesse Bushyhead was a noted Baptist preacher, and was interested in the work of Rev. Evan Jones and Mr. Upham, the printer, who published the Bible in the Cherokee language, they having a printing office near the home of Rev. Jesse Bushyhead. The neighborhood consisted of Mr. Evan Jones's home, the schoolhouse, which was near by, and then came Granny Bushyhead's house, and then Mr. Upham's and the home of the widow of Rev. Jesse Bushyhead."20
There was much complaint of the imposition on the Indians by the issuing agents, most of whom neglected their duties. Repeated efforts were made to have these abuses corrected. The sessions of the Cherokee Council insisted, also, on the right of the people, in conformity with the treaties, to govern themselves under a system providing for majority rule, and to select a chief of their choice by a majority vote. After the removal of the offending general, Major Ethan Allen Hitchcock spent several months in a searching investigation of the conditions among the Cherokees. "Hitchcock was an honest and fearless investigator and his report corroborated in unequivocal language the charges of fraud committed by remorseless contractors on the helpless Indian immigrants."21 Major Hitchcock describes a meeting of the Council December 1, 1841, when Chief John Ross, after his return from Washington where he had endeavored to obtain a new treaty for the Cherokees, secured a letter from President Tyler the preceding August which seemed to promise a new treaty with full indemnity to the Cherokees for all their losses and "wrongs." The written report by Chief Ross was translated into Cherokee by Chief Justice Bushyhead.22 On December 21, Major Hitchcock wrote:
"The Cherokee Council has adjourned amicably and the members have been appointed a delegation to proceed to Washington to negotiate a treaty. The delegation is composed of John Ross, Jesse Bushyhead, David Vann, Capt. Benge, and William Coudy [Coodey]. Jesse Bushyhead, between 35 and 40 years of age—resides near old Fort Wayne,23 is of mixed blood—the Chief Justice of the Nation—
22Foreman (ed.), A Traveler in Indian Territory, the Journal of Ethan Allen Hitchcock (Cedar Rapids, 1930), 38, 39.
a regular Baptist preacher—speaks English fluently and is considered the best interpreter in the Nation. He is universally respected and beloved. His mere opinion in the Nation has great weight and his persuasion upon almost any subject can win the people to his views. He is a fair minded man and if he can be satisfied the Nation ought to acquiesce. If he is not satisfied, it may suggest a doubt whether some concessions may not be proper."24
Jesse Bushyhead was impartial in his interest and activities and in his unceasing desire to promote the highest interest of his people. "His disinterestedness in the feudal and political troubles among his people gained for him the peculiar distinction of being the only man of any consequence among the Cherokees who habitually traveled among his people in the troublous period of 1839-49 unarmed, except, as he said with his Bible."25
Jesse Bushyhead was named one the signers of the "Act of Union," written by W. S. Coodey and adopted July 12, 1839, whereby the "Old Settlers," or Western Cherokees, and the Ross party composed their differences and were declared to be "one body politic under the style and title of the Cherokee Nation."
He became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Cherokees, succeeding John Martin who died October 17, 1840, and rendered a distinctive and distinguished service in that capacity until his death. In the American Baptist Magazine in 1844 is this tribute to his ability and courage: "Being a man of undaunted courage, it had devolved on him to try and condemn men of the most abandoned character when no other judge in the nation would have dared to perform the duty." Given in an intimate view of the judicial mind of Jesse Bushyhead as Chief Justice, his charge to the jury is of particular interest:
25Starr, History of the Cherokee Indians (Oklahoma City, 1921), 256. Mr. George Mayes, a grandson of Bushyhead, calls attention to the fact that Jesse Bushyhead was one of the leaders of the Ross faction and yet was friendly with the Ridge or peace faction, and the doors of both factions were open to him. For example, he would go to the home of Joe Lynch, one of the leaders of the treaty faction and stay all night with him. Lynch was a good wrestler, but Bushyhead could throw any man in the country. When he was challenged by one of the men to wrestle with Ridge, he said, "If you don't bet, I will wrestle." They wrestled for a while and then quit before either was thrown. Lynch said of Bushyhead, "Bushyhead is the stoutest man I ever had hold of." He settled many difficulties with both sides.
I trust none of you have any prejudice against the accused, and that you will all of you bear in mind that you break your solemn oath if you permit yourselves to consider anything in forming your judgment, but these facts which you conscientiously believe to have been unquestionably proven. There appears to me much in the evidence that bears heavily against Archilla Smith; and much too, of a suspicious complexion. I would beg you most scrupulously to separate the doubtful from the less doubtful; and not to permit any thing unsure to operate upon your verdict. It is a maxim, in these cases, of all good men, that it is better for ten guilty to escape than for one who is innocent to suffer. Bear this in mind, and if you feel in the slightest degree as if the accused has been accused wrongfully, let him be acquitted. We meet here only to do impartial justice to the living as well as to the dead; and he who is arraigned, and he who has gone to his account, are equally entitled to, it at your hands, and, I am persuaded, will receive it equally."26 When the jury reported to Chief Justice Bushyhead that they could not agree on a verdict, he sent them back with the comment: "The rights of the accused and of the nation equally require a decision; and a decision, one way or the other, must be given. If the accused is not guilty, it is unfair and injurious to detain him;—if guilty, it is equally hurtful to him and to all, to procrastinate a decision, which, sooner or later, must be made."27
The Cherokees, led by Jesse Bushyhead and Evan Jones and other temperance advocates, were very strict in their laws relative to the use and sale of intoxicating liquors. The Cherokee Messenger, in commenting on a temperance society organized among the Cherokees, said: "It is well known that the laws of Cherokee Nation are very strict in prohibiting the introducing and vending of ardent spirits, thus setting an example which the neighboring state of Arkansas is very backward in imitating. The pledge was drawn up and signed by twenty-four persons before the formation of the Society." Even before the Cherokees left their old home in the east, Evan Jones wrote in the American Baptist Magazine, "Temperance is gaining ground. All the members of the church are also members of the temperance society. There are many instances of the most inveterate abstinence in which a radical reformation has been effected, and apparently hopeless victims have been restored to respectability and usefulness in society."28
On Wednesday night, July 17, 1844, after a brief illness, Jesse Bushyhead, still a young man only forty years of age, was called to his reward. In the old "Baptist Mission" cemetery near Westville is a monument at his grave on which is this inscription: "Sacred to the memory of Rev. Jesse Bushyhead, born in the old Cherokee Nation in East Tennessee, September, 1804; died in the present Cherokee Nation, July 17, 1844. 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'" An inscription in Cherokee is at the bottom. On the other side is the inscription:
"Rev. Jesse Bushyhead was a man noble in person and noble in heart. His choice was to be a true and faithful minister of his Lord and Master rather than any high and wordly position. He loved his country and people, serving them from time to time in many important offices and missions. He united with the Baptist Church in his early manhood and died as he had lived, a devoted Christian."
Concerning Bushyhead, Solomon Peck, American Baptist Mission Secretary, paid the following deserved tribute:
"No one of our native preachers was more highly valued than Brother Bushyhead, none whose service seemed so useful and indispensable. His mature piety, his knowledge of divine truth, his sound judgment, his personal ministry of the Cherokee language, as well as a familiar acquaintance with our own, the confidence reposed in him by his countrymen and by us, and the rightness of preparation in all respects to do a great work for all his people, both in preaching and translating the Word of God, all seem to mark him as the one chosen of God to carry on the work of evangelizing the Nation to its completion."29
Jesse Bushyhead and Evan Jones were so intimately connected in their ministry to the Cherokees that any study of Bushyhead should include Evan Jones, also.
Evan Jones was born in Wales, in May, 1772. He resided thirteen years in London, as a merchant, before coming to America. He was appointed, July 24, 1821, missionary among the Cherokees.
In 1825 he was ordained pastor and the Tinsawattie Church was received into the Hiwassee Association in Tenneessee.30 For several years he served in that particular mission field. After the Cherokee Phoenix was first issued at New Echota, March 1, 1828, by Elias Boudinot, Evan Jones wrote, "On my way to New Echota I saw some Indians sitting under a tree reading the Phoenix while their horses were feeding; a very pleasing change from the listless lounging in which they used to indulge."31
In 1840, after the Removal, an order came from the War Department prohibiting his continuance in the Cherokee Nation. A few months later that prohibition was revoked by order of the Secretary of War, stating that the charges were groundless.32 Jones was interested with Upham in the publication of the Cherokee Messenger, the first paper published in the Indian Territory. The statement is made in July, 1846, "Six numbers of the Messenger, each 1,000 edition, 20 pages, have been printed and are sought with great avidity. The last contains the conclusion of Genesis in Cherokee (Genesis had been translated by Bushyhead); also a portion of Luke's Gospel."33 One of the early issues of the Messenger contained extracts from Parley's Universal History; also, portions of Cherokee Grammar. According to Starr, about fourteen issues of the Cherokee Messenger were published. In July, 1848, a report of the printing press from the beginning was published showing that altogether nearly a million pages had been printed. Among the publications were portions of the Bible, Pilgrim's Progress, Parley's History, and a Tract on Maternal Duties. In 1845, Evan Jones wrote: "I have known aged Cherokees who would not go to hear the Gospel preached until some friend put the printed Word into their hands." The Cherokee Messenger was revived in June, 1859, for a brief season.
Among the churches in the Cherokee Nation which Jones named in his reports to the Board were Cherokee (Bushyheadville), Flint, Tinsawattee, Delaware, and Verdigris (between Grand and
Verdigris rivers). N. Sayre Harris, Secretary and General Agent of the Episcopal Church, made a tour of the Indian Territory in the spring of 1844, and named the following Baptist missionaries in the Cherokee Nation: at Cherokee, Rev. E. Jones, Mrs. J. T. Frye, W. P. Upham, Miss S. H. Hibbard, H. Upham; Delaware, Miss E. S. Moore; Flint, J. Bushyhead.34 Mr. Upham reported July, 1847, in the Indian Advocate: "Mr. Jones has some ten or twelve preaching places in the Nation and some 500 or 600 members." In 1854, according to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
"The Baptists maintained at their mission near the Arkansas line a press on which in 1854 were printed a large number of extracts from the Scriptures, translated from the English into Cherokee by John Butrick Jones. The Baptists had six churches and four branches with 1,200 members, mostly full-bloods; there were five hewn log meeting-houses erected by the Indians, varying from thirty feet square to seventy by thirty feet, and five smaller ones for neighborhood meetings. Some of the missionaries, however, were exasperating the slave-holding Indians by their discussions of the subject of emancipation."35
In 1856 Evan Jones was joined by his son, John B. Jones, who had been graduated from Rochester the preceding year. John B. Jones had grown up in the Cherokee Nation and in his early teens was his father's interpreter.
Early in the Conflict between the States the abolition question entered into the ministry of Evan Jones and his son, John B. Jones.36 A bill expelling all free Negroes from Cherokee soil passed the Upper House and by majority of two in the Lower House, but was vetoed by Chief John Ross. In July, 1861, J. B. Jones was driven from his post by order of the U. S. Indian agent on "false charges of intemperate abolitionist" and went to Upper Alton in Illinois.37 For example, the report of the Commission sent to the
34Carolyn Thomas Foreman (ed.) "Journal of a Tour in the Indian Country," Chronicles of Oklahoma, June, 1932, p. 256.
37Ibid., July, 1865. Much information concerning the question of slavery among the Cherokees and the attitude of Rev. Evan Jones may be found in the volumes by Anna Heloise Abel: The American Indian as Participant in the Civil War (Cleveland, 1919); The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist (Cleveland, 1915); and The American Indian under Reconstruction, (Cleveland, 1925). See also Angie Debo, "Southern Refugees of the Cherokee Nation," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly (Austin, 1897-), XXXV (1932), 256ff; Wiley Britton, "Some Reminiscences of the Cherokee People," Chronicles of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, 1921-), 163ff.
Indians from Texas to secure the friendship and co-operation of the Choctaws, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles, stated: "The fact is not to be denied or disguised that among the common Indians of the Cherokees there exists a considerable Abolition influence created by one Evan Jones, a Northern missionary of education and ability who has been among them for many years and who is said to exert no small influence on John Ross himself."38 Again, in one of the Abel volumes39 is a criticism of Evan Jones, "As a Baptist minister who is said to be an Abolitionist and a very dangerous man, meddling with the affairs of the Cherokees and teaching them Abolition principles." At one time Evan Jones is quoted as writing, "I feel assured that the Full Indians, the Creeks, Cherokees, Seminoles, and small bands living in Creek Nation, are faithful to the Government."40 But Evan Jones was counted a champion of the Indians and in the same volume reference is made to him: "The true friends of justice were men of the stamp of W. S. Robertson and the Reverend Evan Jones, who went out of their way to plead the Indian's cause and the detailed and extenuating circumstances surrounding his lamentable failure to keep faith....Jones wrote frequently and at great length on the subject of justice to the Cherokees."41
In a journal of that day was printed the following:
"Mr. Evan Jones, seeing the aspect of things around him becoming more and more alarming, especially for himself, left the country last summer, since which time he has resided at Lawrence in the State of Kansas where he has watched the current events and awaited, not without hope, the time when he might with safety return to his chosen people....His family remain at the old home in the Cherokee Nation."42
In a long letter written from Philadelphia in 1863, the statement was made that at the session of the National Council in Feb-
41Ibid, 225. There is reference to a lengthy appeal by Jones (January 21, 1862, Indian Office, Consolidated Files, Cherokee, J556, 1862).
ruary, 1863, the treaty forced on them by seceding states was abrogated and declared null and void and that "Slavery was unconditionally abolished within the limits of the Cherokee Nation."43 Evan Jones spent a large part of 1864 at Philadelphia further seeing to the interest of the Cherokees with the Federal Government. Women and children had been reduced to poverty and starvation. Many had died of exposure and want. As one writer expressed it:
"At last the war ended and it is safe to say that in all the South there was no equal area that showed half the wreckage and ruin, physical and social as that of the Cherokee Nation."44
In the missionary report published in July, 1865, the statement was made that J. B. Jones had been preaching to the Cherokees of an Indian regiment. A temporary church was founded at Fort Gibson with 120 members. A school for freedmen was established by J. B. Jones. In 1865 the Cherokee press and type were destroyed.
In 1866 the American Baptist Missionary transferred to the American Home Mission Society all title and interest belonging to the Missionary Union in the Cherokee Nation. However, the veteran Evan Jones was retained by the American Baptist Missionary Union and sustenance provided for him to make his declining days comfortable. The treasurer's report shows that such sustenance was paid him each year until his death at Tahlequah, August 18, 1872, at the age of eighty-three years and three months. His closing days were summarized in the following words:
"He was a man of scholarly attainments and acquired the Cherokee language and spoke and wrote it freely. The confidence in which he was held among the Cherokees who venerated him as a father, was never impaired. Even in the hours of his last illness, they came from far and near to hear a few last words of comfort in their native tongue from their revered friend. For the past three years he resided at Chetopa, Kansas, at the home of a daughter, and was on a visit to his son at Tahlequah at the time of his death. He was
sick only a few days. The previous Sabbath he attended church and heard his son preach."45
45American Baptist Magazine, 1872. The author is indebted to the following persons for information furnished: Robert Sparks Walker, J. P. Brown, and Mrs. Penelope Johnson Allen of Chattanooga, Tennessee; George Mayes, grandson of Chief Justice Bushyhead, of Oklahoma City; Mrs. J. W. MCSpadden, granddaughter of Bushyhead, of Tahlequah; Stanley Clark of Oklahoma City; Dr. B. D. Weeks, President of Bacone College, Muskogee; Rev. J. M. Wooten, Cleveland, Tennessee, who has several valuable scrapbooks which throw light on the early career of Jesse Bushyhead. He has also found helpful files of the Columbian Star, 1822-1825 in the Library of Congress and The Baptist, 1836 (Nashville) and the works of Emmett Starr.