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The Chickamauga Cherokees of Southern Kentucky and Northern Tennessee
From an Historical Account by Dan Troxell
From the time since the 1st sounds of a native people echoed through the hills and valleys of the Cumberland Plateau, the native people lived, held sacred, and died amongst the greatest wonders this side of the Mississippi River.
For 100,000 years the Native American culture existed over this huge continent of the Americas including southeast Kentucky and Wayne County. And from their existence came the most advanced civilization to ever take on the meaning of life itself. From the most accurate calendar system in the world to the highly advanced study of the stars and nature, the Native culture gave unto human beings a shining star for wisdom.
Many Chickamauga Cherokee and KY Cumberland River Shawnee inhabited Wayne/Pulaski/McCreary Counties as permanent dwellers, building upon themselves a social sophisticated society that marvel scholars today. And in the middle of their existence roamed other tribal hunters and gatherers who came from many different lands as far as Canada to the tip of South America, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. They interchanged cultural bonds, traded in extensive commerce, and lived a life of deep respect between their discrete Indian Nations.
From the Totelo Sioux to the southern River Shawnee and Chickamauga Cherokee, the greatest of all Indian Nations placed their historical mark in Kentucky at the sacred lands of Wayne County and at all its mighty sacred geological wonders of the Cumberland Plateau. A mark to forever be remembered in Native American history as the Land of Lightning, the Land of the Thunderbolt. The counties area and the lands surrounding it became the center of the universe for many Chickamauga Cherokee and southern River Shawnee and most holy sacred grounds to many other Indian Nations east of the Mississippi River, especially to the River Shawnee and Chickamauga Cherokee Nations who became its guardians and protectors. The painted and crafted Lightning Bolt was worn by these Chickamaga protectors and guardians of the sacred mirror, crescent moon, double sun, and paradise Bear mountains. The Cumberland River was called Ta-Eache, River of the Blue Flute by the ruling Chickamaugans whereas the southern River Shawnee called it the River of the Shawandasse. Burnside KY became a huge Chickamauga Cherokee commerce center. This commerce center was called Salachi by the Chickamaugans, later Fort Somerset was built by the invading settlers which became a disgrace to the whites. And Wayne County KY at "Doublehead's Cave" (Hines Cave) near present day Mill Springs in Wayne County became the most used diplomatic center for the Chickamauga Cherokees northern provincial capital. Chickamauga Cherokee and southern River Shawnee performed GREAT ceremonial bonding there. This was an area dominated, controlled, and ruled by the Chickamaugas on which the southern Cumberland River Shawnee and Chickasaws allied their support. The GREAT honored burial chambers at Doublehead's Cave were the resting places of a GREAT PEOPLE, the Chickamauga Cherokee! The 3 Great falls area of McCreary County became the most holy of sacred grounds: Yahoo Falls, Cumberland Falls, and Eagle Falls. All was the Land of the Thunderbolt People, the Cherokees, THE THUNDER PEOPLE of the northern territorial nation of Chickamaugas, and on the other side of the Cumberland River the mighty territory of the southern River Shawandasse. Both Shawnee and Chickamauga Cherokee lived on both sides of the Cumberland River yet both understood this territorial marker between the two mighty nations. The KY Cumberland River was the traditional northern marker of the mighty Cherokee Nation. This was the Cherokees in the north.
Out of the Cumberland Plateau (Ky-Tenn) including the counties of southern and eastern KY walked the most mighty of Chiefs, War Women, and medicine people of the Cherokee and Shawnee Nations. Of the Cherokees walked Moytoy, War Chief Doublehead, War Chief Gilala (who fought with the Miami with Tecumseh (Account of his visit among the Chickasaw), War Chief Dragging Canoe, Warrior Middlestriker, War Chief Peter Troxell, Beloved Woman Cornblossom, War Woman Standing Fern, William "Little Loud Wolf" Troxell, and many more. Other mighty famous leaders also walked and visited the area such as Chiefs Black Fish, Blue Jacket, Walking Bear, Broken Stick, and Tecumseh of the Shawnee, Pontiac of the Ottawa, and Mad Dog and "The Mortar" of the Creeks, to name a few. All who defended and protected their people, their culture, their land, and their sacred sites to the end. All of the mirrored Thunder Bolt and sacred tree of beginnings.
In ALL the areas of the Cumberland Plateau, at all the trails you walk in southeast Kentucky, at all the geological wonders you see and encounter along the many Rivers of the Plateau, all the sounds you hear in the darkest wood to the brightest meadow, to all the wondrous land you encounter in the area, all still have the essence of a Native people that will touch the hearts and minds of everyone who rendezvous with its most greatest wonders. The essence of the mighty Chickamauga Cherokee and River Shawnee. Everyplace you go, there was the footstep of a people. Earth, Sky, Wind, Water, and Fire. Listen closely, for the Land of the Thunderbolt, the Land of Lightning, the Land of Wayne County, the Land of the Kentucky Cherokees is speaking for all to hear its story. For all to feel its design. For all to remember its culture. Forevermore. Listen closely, for within the essence of the land is the beating heart of a people. The beating heart of the Chickamauga Cherokee and River Shawnee.
This as told to me by my ancestors, handed down to them, as handed down to me, all handed down the Cherokee way, and not as non-Indians tend to lose context through time.
Wurty, (Wurteh), Doublehead's sister and Sequoyah's mother (also the mother of Robert Benge), was born in the Chickamauga commerce capital at Burnside KY, she meets Nathaniel Gist from over the mountains, they remove themselves to Tennessee and there Sequaoyah is born in Tennessee. (Later life of Sequoyah) Sequoyah is George Gist (Guess). Sequoyahs lineage is deeply rooted in the Chickamaugans.
General Colbert married two daughters of Doublehead. Since the following account occurred at a 'diplomatic center' or 'white' site (white is peace red is war), then one might assume this daughter was 'white' and the other 'red'. That would explain why my father's mother's family remained at the 'Forks of the Piney and Duck River' after the Trail of Tears. The ones who stayed behind were all 'red' or war. The concept of white and red also gives rise to the question; is there another Doublehead's Cave? One is white then there must be another that is red as this was the way of the Chickamaugan people. The 'town site' at the Forks of the Piney and Duck Rivers became known as Council's Bend and is located in Hickman County Tennessee. For a time Principal Chief General Colbert and his son-in-law War Chief Samuel Seely resided there which was near the second agency built at Pigeon Roost in 1825.
The daughter of Doublehead and sister of Cornblossom marries the high leader of the Chickasaws called George Colbert and because of this an unbreakable strong bonded alliance is formed between the KY Chickasaws, Chickamauga Cherokee of KY and northern Tennessee, and the southern KY Cumberland River Shawnee (the northern Shawnee and KY Shawnee sometimes conflicted in their loyalties to the KY Chickamauga Cherokee: Their bond was the resistance their separation was territorial boundary's above the KY Cumberland River into central KY). This alliance resistance movement struck terror into the invading early settlers of southern, central, and eastern Kentucky and northern Tennessee. Some special small bands of upper Creeks would join under the father of Red Eagle then later the mighty Creek leader Red Eagle himself provided a link to gunpowder and arms and some few elite Creek warriors from the south. The new Americans referred to these Creeks as Redsticks. After the Ywahoo Falls massacre of 1810 (see the story of the Cherokee Children Massacre) this resistance movement would ally friendship with the northern Miami in the Tecumseh Wars and send a force of Chickamauga Cherokee under KY Chickamaga leader Gilala of the KY Cumberland River area to aid Tecumseh while in the meantime an underground railroad is formed out of Alabama and Georgia. The KY Chickasaws, southern KY Cumberland River Shawnee, and Chickamauga Cherokee tradtionals isolate themselves after the Yahoo Falls massacre of 1810. To survive among the invasion of more settlers the traditionals used the term: Black Cuttaway.
Black Cutsaway or Cutswah referred to the Chickamaugans who remained there, descendants of Cutsawah, and to save theirselves had to become literal black slaves to the settlers.
My Direct descendants through Doublehead's daughter:
Of Principal Chief Moytoy,
Peace Chief Attakullakulla called the "Little Carpenter" (son of Moytoy),
War Chief/Principal Chief Doublehead (son of Attakullakulla),
Jesuit Priest "Black Robe" Christian Priber,
Beloved Woman Cornblossom, Half Delaware/Shawnee Tribal Indian from Pennsylvania
Revolutionary War Tribal Hero "Big Jake" Jacob Troxell,
William Troxell called Little Willie or Little Loud Wolf,
Also through the daughter of Martin Chartier who was married to a northern Shawnee maiden, led to the KY Cumberland River area by 5 Chickamauga Cherokee guides in the late 1600s,
This daughter, along with her father Martin Chartier, later leaves the KY Cumberland River area to Pennsylvania, where she meets Jacob's father, they marry, and have a son who is Big Jake- Jacob Troxell (1/2 Shawnee),
While in Pennsylvania these KY Cumberland River Shawnee assimilate into the
Delaware Nation, Jacob is sent to KY where he meets and marries the daughter
of Doublehead: Cornblossom