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|By Dan Troxell
On Friday, August 10th 1810, the Great Cherokee Children Massacre took place at Ywahoo Falls in southeast Kentucky ...... the Cherokee village leaders of the Cumberland Plateau territory from Knoxville Tennessee to the Cumberland River in Kentucky were led by the northern provisional Thunderbolt District Chief, Beloved Woman/War Woman "Cornblossom", the highly honored daughter of the famous Thunderbolt War Chief Doublehead. Several months before this date, Beloved Woman/War Woman Cornblossom, was preparing the people in all the Cherokee villages of southeast Kentucky and northern Tennessee to bring all their children to the sacred Ywahoo Falls area of refuge and safety.
Once all the Cherokee children were gathered, they were to make a journey to Reverend Gideon Blackburns' Presbyterian Indian School at Sequatchie Valley outside of Chattanooga Tennessee in order to save the children of the Cherokee Nation remaining in Kentucky and northern Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau.
This area of Sequatchie Valley was very near to Lookout Mountain at Chattanooga, the once long held Chickamauga National capital of the Thunderbolts. Near Lookout Mountain, just on the other side in northeast Alabama, was the rendezvous point for the Chickamaugan Cherokees and their allies the Creek Nation. For by this time, many Creek and Chickamaugan Thunderbolt Cherokee were defending the rest of the Indian Nations there as well. The arrangements to save the Cherokee children through Gideon Blackburns' white protection Christian Indian Schools, had been made earlier by Cornblossoms father War Chief Doublehead, who had also several years earlier been assassinated by non-traditionalist of the southern Cherokee Nation of the Carolinas and far eastern Tennessee.
A huge gathering area underneath Ywahoo Falls itself was to be the central meeting place for these women and children to gather and wait. Then all the children of all ages would go as one group southward to the school to safety from the many Indian fighters gathering in the neighboring counties of Wayne and Pulaski in Kentucky. These Indian fighters were led by an old Franklinite militiaman from Tennessee named Hiram "Big Tooth" Gregory who came from Sullivan County Tennessee at the settlement of Franklin and had fought many Franklinite campaigns under John Sevier to eliminate all the traditional Thunderbolt Cherokees totally and without mercy. Big Tooth Gregory, sanctioned by the United States government, War Department, and Governor of the territory, carried on the ill famous Indian hating battle cry of John Seveir that "nits make lice". Orders were understood by these Cherokee haters that nits (baby lice) would grow up to be adults and especially targeted in all the campaigns of John Seveir Franklinites were the Cherokees women, pregnant women, and children of all ages. John Seveir, Big Tooth Gregory, and all the rest of the Franklinites philosophy was that if they could destroy the children of the Cherokee, there would be no Cherokees and no Cherokee Nation to contend with in their expansion of white settlements, the white churches, and the claiming of territory for the United States. Orders were issued to the Franklinites to split open the belly of any pregnant Cherokee woman, remove the baby inside her, and slice it as well. To the Franklinites, the Cherokee baby inside the mother was the nit that would eventually make lice.
In all the earlier campaigns of the Franklintes in the late 1700s, the blood and screams of the Cherokee children were constantly heard throughout the Cumberland Plateau territory from todays' Knoxville Tennessee to the Cumberland River in southeast Kentucky to all their adjoining territories. From as far in Kentucky as present day London/Corbin and the lands within the present Daniel Boone National Forest the cries could be heard. The Lands from London to Cumberland Falls were ruled by many war leaders, among them was a great warrior and friend to Cornblossom, War Chief Red Bird called Chief Cutsuwah, descendent of the Great War Woman Cutsuwah that fell during the French and Indian War at Burnside Kentucky. Red Bird was also a close relative to Cornblossom, War Chief Peter Troxell and their descendants. The cries of Red Birds women and children echoed many times in this genocide campaign of the Franklinites to rid the area of powerful Cherokee leaders. The blood of many warriors, men and women, was spilled trying to defend their Cherokee people. From where todays Pickett State Park lays in northern Tennessee just below the Kentucky Tennessee State Line lying south of present day Wayne County Kentucky, the cries of women and children and fallen warriors of War Chief The Fox could also be heard. The Fox was sometimes called Black Fox or Captain Fox. He became known as Captain Fox when Doublehead and his loyal Thunderbolt war parties in the late 1700s attacked a militia in Kentucky, killing their leader which was a Captain in the American Army. As The Fox was the one who killed the Captain, he took his militia overcoat in victory and wore it constantly. A frenzied whoop dance was performed on Lookout Mountain by Dragging Canoe, Doublehead, and the Bloody 7 over this victory attack on the Kentucky militia. The Fox then became known to all the Cherokees as Captain Fox. Now the villages under Chief Captain Fox came under attack by the Franklinites.
Standing Fern from the Ywahoo Falls area sent many warriors and war women to counter the Franklinites move on their boundaries many times as did Cornblossom and War Chief Peter Troxell. War Chief Peter Troxell had attacked to the west of Ywahoo Falls in 1806 and 1807 the settlers of Wayne and Pulaski counties, bringing many settlers to the point of utter fear for their encroachments against the Cherokees of the now Daniel Boone National Forest of southeast Kentucky. But in 1807, War Chief Peter Troxell had been granted official amnesty by the Governor of Kentucky if he and his Cherokee war parties from neighboring McCreary County stop their raids into Wayne and Pulaski County. War Chief Peter Troxell agreed and turned over his scalping knife with 9 notches to the authorities at the courthouse in Wayne County. Peace would last just a short time when the settlers of Wayne and Pulaski banded together in 1810 to break this peace treaty at the massacre of Ywahoo Falls. Many of the Cherokee who tried to protect their people during these times simply did not return, dwindling the people down to small factions, and the Indian fighters knew it. But these small factions of Cherokee traditionalist in southeast Kentucky became more determined to save their people as ever. And from all this, the Thunderbolts endured the militia of the Franklinites, continued encroachments of white settlers, land speculators, the many Southern Cherokee who allied themselves with the United States government trying to defeat the traditionalist of Kentucky Georgia and Tennessee, all, resulting in the Chickamaugan Cherokee separating even more from the southern Cherokee of the Carolinas to fight this continuing drastic change.
Politically, Two (2) Cherokee Nations had been formed during Dragging Canoe and Doubleheads' fight for freedom of the traditionalist: The Southern Cherokees of the Carolinas and far eastern Tennessee and the Chickamaugan Cherokee of Georgia, eastern Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. For you see, over the many years, many of the southern Cherokee of the Carolinas who lived more close to the white settlements leaned toward the US Governments policy of change, many became inbred within the white society and did as the whites did collecting black and Indian slaves for themselves and to sell, with some becoming rich, many did away with the "Old Ways" and played into the hands of politicians and land speculators to steal land as they themselves would now own land unto themselves. Many of the Southern Cherokee would also condemn the Thunderbolt traditional Cherokees in Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky who would not change and accept the new ways of the Europeans, shamed and banished any Carolina Cherokees who would not accept the white mans ways. Many Cherokees in the Carolinas and elsewhere isolated themselves in the mountains way before the trail of tears during this social civil strife between the people. These conformed Cherokees would brand any and all who kept their ancient Cherokee heritage as traitors to the Cherokee people. And from all of this strife of change many traditional Cherokee protectors arose. Dragging Canoe and Doublehead arose to defend the people. But by this date of 1810 Dragging Canoe and the rest of the so- called Bloody Seven had either died a natural death or been killed and War Chief Doublehead, Cornblossoms father, had met his death by means of assassination at the hands of the Cherokee conformist from the south.
And now, in 1810, one more attempt would be made to destroy the Cherokees who kept the old traditional ways. One more attempt would be made to destroy the "nits that make lice" as the many Cherokee women with their children began coming to Ywahoo Falls in order to make the great "Children" migration to Seqatchie Valley near Chattanooga, Tennessee. In southeast Kentucky, underneath Ywahoo Falls itself, was War Woman Standing Fern and over 100 women and children, others stationed themselves out from the falls. Standing Fern was the mighty woman war leader of the Ywahoo Falls area and was married to the 1st born of Cornblossom. She was married to War Chief Peter Troxell. At this time Cornblossom was married to the famous "Big Jake" Jacob Troxell, a half breed Delaware Warrior from Pennsylvania who had been sent by the personal staff of President George Washington earlier to sway the Cherokee away from the Spanish of Florida and more towards the New Americans in alliance. But Jacob had ended up joining the Cherokee instead which came about over the inhumane cruelty the incoming settlers of Kentucky and Tennessee were inflicting on the Cherokee and other tribes of southeast Kentucky and northern Tennessee. To the New Americans he had "turned injun"(again). By 1810, "Little Jake" Peter Troxell was a mighty War Chief riding along side his mother Cornblossom in all her campaigns and protecting the sacred sites with his wife Standing Fern. They were true Cherokee Thunderbolts and wore the sacred emblem and mark of the Thunder People: the Lightning Bolt. Standing Fern was in charge of the gathered children who by August 10th had almost all assembled. Now they would wait for Cornblossom to bring her younger children to the falls, then all would be ready and they would go southward in a children fleeing journey more closer to the Thunderbolts of the south who were more stronger.
Runners brought word to Standing Fern at the falls that her husband War Chief Peter Troxell and Cornblossom were on their way to Ywahoo Falls with the last of the children. Traveling with Cornblossom and War Chief Peter Troxell were Chief Red Bird of the Cumberland Falls area and their children, the youngest children of Cornblossom, and all the children of War Chief Peter Troxell. When they arrived at Ywahoo Falls the journey southward would begin. But before Cornblossom, Red Bird, War Chief Peter Troxell, and the children with them arrived, the old Franklinite "Indian fighter" by the name of Hiram "Big Tooth" Gregory had heard of the planned trip several days prior and headed immediately for the falls area to kill them all with all he could muster to kill the Cherokee.
Breaking the 1807 peace treaty between War Chief Peter Troxell and the Governor of Kentucky, Big Tooth Gregorys band of Indian fighters crossed into Cherokee territory and came in two directions, one group from Wayne County, the other from neighboring Pulaski county in southeast Kentucky. The Indian fighters on horseback joined together at what is now called Flat Rock Kentucky and headed into the Ywahoo Falls area with fiery hatred. Big Tooth Gregory and his Indian fighters could not allow these children (nits) to escape. Being only 1 good accessible way in by land and 1 way in by water, Gregorys band of Indian fighters chose the quick way by land, sending a few side skirmishers by way to block anyone trying to escape. Before they reached the falls, at todays entrance to Ywahoo Falls, the Indian fighters encountered a front Cherokee guard consisting of "Big Jake" Jacob Troxell (husband to Cornblossom), a few long hunters friendly to the Cherokee mainly through intermarriage and some remaining Thunderbolt warriors, all who were guarding the entrance to the falls. This occurred shortly after midnight in the early morning hours of darkness before the rising of the sun. This will be the night morning of screams. This will be the last day of many children. This will be the day that will forever mark the Troxell Cherokee heritage in history.
Jacob Troxell, the long hunters, and warriors instantly sense the trouble, a Cherokee runner takes off in flight to attempt to warn Standing Fern at the falls but is cut down by 2 side skirmishers on the way. At the same time Jacob Troxell and the front guards lock in a fierce battle of flintlock against flintlock and hand to hand fighting, trying to keep Gregory and his band out, but are overcome in a short time by the numbers of the Indian fighters. All the front guard is killed at this entrance to Ywahoo Falls. It was said through the memories of the Cherokee people of southeast Kentucky that Jacob Troxell and 1 renowned great warrior were the last to fall of the front guards. Jacob, now swinging a half broken highly decorated war club in one hand and a large skinning knife in the other, stood fighting hand to hand with blood coming out of his mouth from several bodily wounds and was said to have kept screaming to the end in a loud voice over and over, "The Children!". The Great Warrior witnessed the fall of Jacob as the Indian fighters took sharp aim and fired a whole volley of lead into Jacobs body finally downing and scalping him. Jacob will survive this attack but is mortally wounded and will live 2 months before he dies as a result from this massacre. So some say that Jacob died at this massacre to denote his final breath to save the children because that was where his heart was - defending the children of a now forgotten people lost within the hills and valleys of southeast Kentucky waiting for remembrance of their families. The Great Warrior, who was still standing and the last to fall, was jumped by several Indian fighters and downed to the ground. Breaking his arms the Indian fighters then cut his throat and scalped him.
This had all been witnessed and watched by a hidden son of one of the front Cherokee guards who was given orders to flee into the woods upon the Indian fighters approach. This hidden Cherokee son would carry down this memory for generations (today at this entrance to Ywahoo Falls there is only one lonely memorial grave marker with the name "Jacob Troxell" only, to mark remembrance of this incident, the Ywahoo Falls area is part of the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area of the National Park Service and is the tallest waterfall in Kentucky which drops 113 feet, underneath and behind the falls is an open huge gigantic rock shelter where the children and Standing Fern had gathered).
Gregory with his Indian fighters after scalping all the front guards, then moved onward in a rush to the falls area. Lining themselves all along the top rim of the bluff surrounding the falls and large "rock house" below it, they began firing from all sides down on War Woman Standing Fern and over 100 children now trapped directly underneath them. The ones out from the falls ran, hid, and escaped. Trapping the 100 children with other old men, pregnant women, and mothers underneath the falls, Gregory and his men worked their way down into the gigantic area of the rock house on the 2 downward side paths while the ones on top kept them bottled in. As children and women fell all around her from the volley of lead above, War Woman Standing Fern and her few warriors now take to the two left and right inclining side paths that lead into the huge rock shelter hoping to meet and stop the Indian fighters. Looking outward from underneath the falls itself, Standing Fern and several warriors took the right hand path that would lead upward, the other few warriors took the left path. The trapped Cherokee people and the children old enough to hold a weapon grabbed what ever they could in their grasps to defend themselves. Some would have a knife or hatchet, while most would only have a rock or a clay cooking bowl to throw or nothing at all to use as a weapon. Some of the ones who escaped out from the falls, hid among the rocks, water, and trees and would watch in horror with tears to tell the story for generations so that we may remember what happened that day, Friday, August 10th, 1810.
Standing Fern and her warriors were very quickly overcome by the Indian fighters and brutally killed but not before Standing Fern fought with a passion of defense taking with her several of the Indian fighters in hand to hand combat along the right path while the other warriors fought with the ever fevered courage of a Thunderbolt as well. The fall of Standing Fern occurred at a narrow spot on the right path fighting several of the Indian fighters with the swinging of a hatchet in hand to hand combat. As she was fighting she was shot twice, once in the shoulder and once in the hip, and gutted in the belly with an unforeseen knife. As the knife entered her belly, at the same time she was shoved over the ravine by several Indian Fighters, but not before taking some with her.
With Standing Fern and all her warriors now defeated and murdered, the Indian fighters set upon the children and others that were trapped under the falls, rushing it with more volleys of lead and close attack. Using what useless weapons they had, the women, old men, and children fell prey to the evil dark designs of the attackers. They screamed an earthquake of death and tears. The water and ground ran red.
Hiram Big Tooth Gregory and all his Indian fighters raped the women and younger female children of all ages, pillaged, cut bellies open, murdered, and scalped over 100 Chickamaugan Cherokee women and children that had been trapped underneath Ywahoo Falls, killing most of them as they ran, begged, huddled together, and screamed and pleaded for life.
Meanwhile this same day the party of Cornblossom approached with her children. As her party came closer to the falls area, it is said a hawk flew above them and lit in a nearby tree and acted strange. Investigating this remarkable occurrence, it was found that the tree was bleeding blood out of its bark, the leaves trembled, and the sound of the hawk was as a cry and scream of a baby. Fearing something wrong, Cornblosom and her party pushed onward in a frantic pace to get her children to the falls and safety. When Cornblossom arrived at the falls entrance area, she found all of the front guards brutally scalped and killed with her husband "Big Jake" Jacob Troxell. Leaving the children with some women at the front guard entrance, Cornblossom, her son War Chief Peter Troxell, Red Bird, and their party of warriors and war women then rushed to the Falls itself, where they find some of Gregorys murderers who had remained behind still finishing their evil work of rape, torture, and scalping. Cornblossom screams for her warriors, Redbird, and her son Chief Peter Troxell to kill these remaining men with a blow of passion. Her famous cry was once again heard as she had always shouted in all her many campaigns: "Shoot Twice Not Once!". War Chief Peter Troxell, Chief Redbird, and the Thunderbolt Warriors, along with Beloved Woman / War Woman Cornblossom, charge the murderers with screaming Cherokee war hoops and passion of justice, a battle ensues with a short volley of rifle fire and close hand to hand combat with all its fierceness. All the remaining men of Gregorys Indian fighters are cut down to never more harm the Cherokee people.
From this last fight of Cornblossom, her son War Chief Peter Troxell was himself killed at the huge rock shelter underneath the falls and Cornblossom herself received an agonizing long rifle gunshot injury. Cornblossom will live 2 days before this wound takes its full toll on her life. Beloved Woman Cornblossom, wounded and in much pain from wound and sorrow, will sing and wail the "Death song of the Cherokees" underneath and atop the ancient sacred grounds of Ywahoo Falls over and over for 2 days and nights. Clinching her raised fists and raised open arms to the Great Spirit, day and night, she kept screaming the words of her father Doublehead, son War Chief Peter Troxell, and daughter-n-law War Woman Standing Fern: "WE ARE NOT CONQUERED YET!". And on the 3rd day, as the blazing eastern morning sun would rise over the mountains and valleys of Kentucky, Cornblossom passed on into Cherokee history as a great woman of her people and a great mother of future generations. May we not forget her or her childrens children. Remember her with a Cherokee tear and with honor.
From this massacre, Jacob Troxell (husband to Cornblossom), the Great Warrior, and all the front guards killed, War Woman Standing Fern (wife to War Chief Peter Troxell) and her elite Thunderbolt warriors all killed defending the children below the falls, War Chief Peter Troxell killed in the last fight, and over 100 women and children waiting to go south to safety in a children journey to a Christian mission school, all lay dead, massacred, raped, tortured, and scalped, by these "Indian fighters". It was said that "Bones and Blood ran so deep underneath Ywahoo Falls that the murdered dead were all put there together in a heap to be their grave". The place of innocence and the Ancient Ones now became a place of death of the innocent. The Falls ran red that day of darkness, Friday, August 10, 1810. No more will they witness the Blessed Moonbow at Cumberland Falls and receive its sacred Blessing, no more will they hear great orations spoken at Ywahoo Falls by not only the many Cherokee leaders of the Nation but other great orators from other tribal neighbors as well. No more will they roam and see the land of paradise and the geological wonders of the area. William Troxell the youngest son of Cornblossom will forever keep the fires of memory alive so all may know what happened on Friday August 10, 1810. These fires will be carried by William to Alabama were the stories are etched and burned into the generations to come of the Troxells and whoever may listen and remember.
They will now wait for remembrance of themselves, their land, their culture, and their hearts. They will wait for someone to say "I remember".
A relative Troxell and a Blevins man of the area reports this incident to the Sheriff of Wayne County but nothing is done, nor is Hiram Big Tooth Gregory brought to justice for many of the local non-Indians believed that "nits make lice".
Beloved Woman Cornblossom wails and suffers so much over the dead that she dies from grief a couple of days after the massacre of her husband, her son, her daughter-n-law, and over 100 loved women and children of her Cherokee people. Her grief was sorrowful and hard. It is said that on her last breath to leave her body was the soft words "WE ARE NOT CONQUERED YET ... REMEMBER MY CHILDREN .... REMEMBER MY PEOPLE".
This massacre ended all power of the mighty Chickamaugan Thunderbolt Cherokee people in Kentucky to Knoxville Tennessee. Cornblossom and Standing Fern were the last powerful "Beloved Women/War Women" of the Thunderbolt Cherokees of the Cumberland Plateau. War Chief Peter Troxell, son of Cornblossom, was the last of the great powerful Cherokee "War Chiefs" of Kentucky and the Cumberland Plateau. These people of southeast Kentucky and northern Tennessee held out unto death. And as it is often said "Today was a good day to die" for "We are not conquered yet". The rest of the children of Cornblossom, the children of Standing Fern, War Chiefs Redbird and Peter Troxell were spared from this tragedy, to live on, generation after generation, some keeping the memory and history alive of the Cherokee Nation. With no powerful Cherokee leaders left in Kentucky and the Cumberland Plateau to hold any strong power, many Cherokee leave the South Fork area of southeast Kentucky and northern Tennessee after this Great Massacre in fear of the whites, while others become isolated and hide in the mountains. The childrens children of War Chief Peter Troxell, Standing Fern, and Cornblossom will isolate themselves in the valleys and mountains of southeast Kentucky with some holding on to the memory of their Great Cherokee heritage, to not speak openly or too much until the time has come for remembrance. I, Dan Troxell, Deni U-Gu-Ku, direct descendant through Cornblossom and her last born son William Troxell, comes out from isolation and proclaims our history alive for I am a Real Human Being, I am a Thunderbolt, I am Cherokee. The Thunderbolt people will now wait for a remembrance.
After the massacre at Ywahoo Falls, Reverend Blackburns "Indian schools" in Tennessee are discontinued due to Blackburns illness and grief over the many women and children killed at Ywahoo Falls in southeast Kentucky. Reverend Blackburn is caught with a boatload of whiskey and becomes an alcoholic. Chief Redbird isolates his people that live near Cumberland Falls and sends any remaining people into hiding until the remembrance. The children of Cornblossom and Standing Fern survived. William Troxell the youngest son of Cornblossom, and my descent, survived and removed himself to northeastern Alabama 7 yrs after the massacre, lived with the Creeks, and became a link between the hidden Cherokee of Kentucky and Tennessee before and after the Trail of Tears.
But there is more to be told that came after the massacre, events that will shape history into meaning of not only the Doublehead legacy but for all who were to survive the invasion of settlers. Survival of the children and their generations to come. And this will center on the descendants in southeastern Kentucky and William Troxell and his father Jacob Troxell and the legacy that will now transpire in Alabama. In order to protect the children and their generations many things were done to persevere, hidden things, things on one hand presented to the settlers to be true while in reality other things came about, and this tactic of survival was given to them earlier by Doublehead.
As there were Cherokee survivors to this massacre many did die a brutal death from it. Doubleheads' descent of his children and their children were considered by the settlers to be not only a threat but a future threat as well. Also in the last fight of Cornblossom, Peter Troxell, and Redbird when they attacked the remaining murderers at the Falls, 3 of the white men were held and spared briefly and executed personally by the hidden children who had escaped and run into the nearby hill. This execution of justice came shortly after the passing of Cornblossom on the 3rd day after being weighed in judgment by the Cherokee Council of Women of Redbird. The first blow was said to be struck by the son of the Great Warrior who fell among the front guards. His name was Tommy Bright Star, who will also remove himself to Alabama later with William Troxell. One of the 3 white men executed by the children was close blood kin to the Indian fighter leader Hiram "Big Tooth" Gregory, his name was Homer Gregory, believed to be the brother of Hiram.
The many Indian hating settlers along with the Kentucky and Tennessee militia deemed this massacre the last of the resistance movement of the Kentucky Cherokees and northern Tennessee. The aftermath of this Cherokee massacre brought new questionable ideals to the now so-called victorious gloated settlers. Questions like: Is the Cherokee resistance truly over or will somewhere retaliation occur? Are they truly conquered and defeated? And what of the children, will they assimilate into non-Indian society, or must they be dealt with harshly, or what? Many questions, much pondering on what next. The settlers, now feeling powerful and self dominated, ponder on the next steps to take in the Cherokee matters.
Foreseeing more tragic events in southeast Kentucky and northern Tennessee, and understanding that the Indian fighters are now receiving bits and pieces of rumors that some of the Cherokee leaders are NOT dead and possibly survived, and that Homer Gregory and two others were executed, the Cherokees must keep one step ahead of the settlers by making widely known that the massacre event had killed all their leaders, especially the ones of the Doublehead/Cornblossom connection and descent who had any Cherokee power as their known leaders. True: Cornblossom, Peter Troxell, Standing Fern, the Great Warrior, many front guards, and over 100 Cherokee women and children were slaughtered in the massacre. All who had strong connections with the Doublehead legacy. However, what is kept from the settlers is that Jacob Troxell and some others did not die from their wounds. The others were the ones who had escaped when the massacre began. But Jacob will suffer much pain from his wounds. William Troxell (Dan Troxell direct descent), 7 yrs after the massacre in the year 1817, will concealingly take Jacob and some other Cherokee with him to northeast Alabama. War Chief Peter Troxell became known as the last father of the people, father of his brothers and sisters in honor, and that is why some will say that Peter is of their descent, so no one will forget him as well.
But first ALL things must be concealed from the non-Indians. Jacobs 3 trading posts are burned by the Cherokee with any goods distributed to the PEOPLE. Caves are deliberately sand walled and collapsed in southeast Ky and northern Tennessee. Some Cherokee traveled into the non-Indian KY territories of Wayne, Pulaski, and Green to conceal THINGS of importance, while other THINGS are secretly transported to northeast Alabama through the guise of Cherokee War Women acting like non-Indian Women. Villages, burial grounds, and other important things of past leaders are shuffled to conceal. On and On. To the settlers, Jacob Troxell could not be allowed to live, he was politically a threat, as he was married to the daughter of Doublehead which could stir up the Cherokees again to resistance. If any of the leaders were to have survived, bloodshed after bloodshed could have maybe occurred. With all Cherokee power now gone, the killing of innocent Cherokee must end. This hope to save the people must now obscure itself into time and history.
To give the false story to the settlers that Jacob died with the rest, brought satisfaction to the settlers that the Cherokee resistance had completely ended. And this self assurance of conquering ALL the Cherokee leaders gave the Ky Cherokees the time they needed. This time allowed Jacob and his son William Troxell to safely travel to Alabama, set up a communication link, and survive.
The other children of Cornblossom in southeast Kentucky will inter- marry into early settlers and survive. The son of Hiram "Big Tooth" Gregory from Wayne County, whose name is also Hiram Gregory, a raving fire and brimstone mountain preacher, takes in marriage a woman by the name of Jane Stevenson. Jane Stevenson, a white woman, had also been married to War Chief Peter Troxell during the early 1800s. And this is also another reason that sparked the massacre, as Jane, before the massacre, had run off from the white settlers to join the Cherokee of Cornblossom, Jacob Troxell, and Peter. You see, Peter Troxell had 2 wives, Jane Stevenson and Standing Fern. And this stuck in the craw of all the white people who hated the Cherokee of south central Ky. Again, the real reason of the massacre was just because the Cherokee were there, and the children had to die, this feeling of a white woman, one of the settlers own, married to a Cherokee who had attacked them all the time, was just fuel that fired the flame of hatred. Jane Stevenson, whether forcibly or willingly, after the massacre, will take the children of her husband War Chief Peter Troxell and Standing Fern into survival through the marriage of the son of the one who killed her husband.
Seeing intermarriage with their own, the Indian hating populace feels secure that Doubleheads' grandchildrens' assimilation into white society will bring no threat to the area anymore. The Indian haters did not know that Jacob, William, and some other Cherokee will escape their reach and later to return to the area in generations to come with a history to tell. Many of the early settlers believed now that the Cherokees, their culture, history, and ideas, were now being devastated, and over time would be completely destroyed. They did not count on the Cornblossom legacy to ever return with what happened to a great people: the Thunderbolts.
On a very cold day, in early spring of 1994, during the Moonbow Event of Cumberland Falls, with many attending, Danny Troxell, direct descendent of Cornblossom and her last born son William Troxell, broke the silence of the falls for the 1st time by making the 1st Cherokee oration at Ywahoo Falls since the massacre of 1810. For 184 years, since the massacre, no Cherokee descent had spoken at the falls. But on that day a great tragedy chronicle of the Cherokee people was spoken. Today, (1996 - 186 years after the massacre) in southeast Kentucky and elsewhere, the descendants of Cornblossom and other Cherokee descendent are numerous.
William Troxell, last born of Cornblossom and Jacob Troxell, my direct descent line who was known as "Little Willie" or sometimes called "Little Loud Wolf", was 10 years old at the time of this great massacre. William was in the party with Cornblossom (his mother), Peter Troxell (his brother), and Red Bird (his very close relative).
Jacob Troxell did not ever recover from the massacre, he had been shot and scalped, his family and friends destroyed. His mind and thinking was gone, to never be recovered. So in memory, and the way it was, Jacob DID die at the massacre, never leaving his wife Cornblossom, his son and daughter-n-law, and the 100 Cherokee children and others. Even though his body was in Alabama, his mind was always at the Cherokee massacre, the people, and the lands he loved, THE CHEROKEE PEOPLE. Maybe someday a memorial will be erected to remember them all.
LET US NOT FORGET THEM
REMEMBER THEM WITH A CHEROKEE TEAR
Direct Descendent of Cornblossom (daughter of Doublehead) the Mighty Cumberland Plateau Thunderbolt Cherokees and the Southern Ky Cumberland River Shawnee
This is the true story of my family!
process of negotiating for an opportunity for the youth of his tribe to
obtain an education in the white man's school. In 1803, a school for Indians
had been established at Sequatchie Valley in Tennessee by the Reverend
Gideon Blackburn, a Presbyterian minister from Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Princess Comblossom now continued the negotiations started by her father
to secure educational training for the young people of her tribe at the
Blackburn Indian School. Young Jake had now become a hard-riding, fastshooting,
one-man army executing the orders of his mother, now the ruler of the
In the fall of 1810, an arrangement with the Indian school having
been agreed upon, word went out to all members that the tribe of
Princess Comblossom was to leave the Cumberland River area and move to the
Sequatchie Valley in Tennessee. They were directed to assemble
at a large rock house just to the west of the Old Tellico Trail. This
location is now known as the Yahoo Falls Recreation Area in the Stearns District of
the Daniel Boone National Forest.
In the late fall of 1810, when the moon was round and full, all
that remained of Chief Doublehead's tribe of the Cherokee gathered at
the big rock house below the cliffs where Yahoo Creek plunges some eighty
feet from the great Cumberland Plateau to the bottom of the gorge
which carries it to the Cumberland River, waiting for Princess Comblossom to
lead them south over the old Tellico Trail to Tennessee. Some of the squaws
had already shouldered their packs of furs or sleeping mats for the children
and were about to start when shots rang out from the darkness in front of
the rock house. Bunched under the rock house and stunned by the unexpected
attack, escape was impossible. The braves were the first to fall followed
quickly by the mothers and children until not a single Indian was left
standing and the floor of the rock house was covered with the dead and dying and
ran red with their blood.
After the firing ceased and the little band of white men who had
committed this foul murder were about to leave, the situation was
suddenly reversed. Day was just breaking as Princess Comblossom and her
notorious son, little Jake arrived on the scene ready to lead their people
to the safety that awaited them in Tennessee. Taking in the situation at a
glance and occupying a commanding position among the rocks which blocked the
white men's escape route, they opened fire. The white party had been
reduced to three, but only one of these three survived the firing squad of
Princess Cornblossom and her son. Before the execution the Princess pronounced
the death sentence in scathing terms such as "You paleface-treaty with
Indians-if Indian no steal horse paleface no kill Indian. You palefaces kill
our braves. You kill our squaws and our babies. Their blood made red the land
Princess Comblossom, grief stricken by the massacre of her
people, died in a few days and was buried by the large flat rock beside the old
Tellico Trail that had been traveled by her people for so many years. This
flat rock is now within the town of Stearns, Kentucky and the site is marked by an
appropriate marker and information sign placed there by the Kentucky
Historical Society, which reads:
Burial site of daughter of Chief Doublehead. legend is that as a
young girl she accompanied her father at signing of Treaty of Sycamore
Shoals, 1775, transferring Cherokee's land between Ohio and
Cumberland Rivers to Transylvania Society. As-Quaw Tribe settled in
region south of river. Protecting tribe's secret mine, she killed a
Married Big Jake, trader.
Two days later Big Jake, the trader who came to the Cumberland on
a mission for General Washington and the Continental Army and who
liked the life of the tribe of Chief Doublehead and Princess Comblossom so
well that he spent the rest of his life with them, died of a broken heart
and was buried beside the old trail to Alum Ford. This grave, marked by a U.S.
Army official headstone provided by a grateful government nearly 200 years
after he completed his military service, may be seen by the visiting
tourists at the entrance to the Yahoo Fails Recreation Area of the Daniel Boone National
For the next few years Little Jake Troxel, the halbreed,
terrorized the settlers along the Cumberland River. He finally surrendered to
the sheriff of Wayne County at Monticello, Kentucky in return for a promise of
amnesty. Surrendering his scalping knife with nine notches filed on the
handle, he settled down on his 180-acre homestead on the Little South Fork
River that today is a rice farm. Little Jake died in 1880, and is buried in
the old part of the graveyard at Parmleysville, Kentucky.
Following the double massacre at Yahoo Falls, local investigations
developed the information that the individual primarily
responsible for the tragedy was an old Indian hater and brave fighter by the name of
Hiram Gregory. He had learned of the proposed assembly of the Indians
at Yahoo Falls' Big Rock House and, enlisting the aid of a number of his
young neighbors, set up the ambush which ended in one of the major tragedies
of the early settlement of the area. It is said that Little Jake Troxel
once stated that although he and his famous mother arrived on the scene a bit late
they did arrive in time to kill the last of the white men, including
Homer (Big Tooth) Gregory.
The above information was assembled by Thomas H. Troxel, a direct
descendent of the Cherokee and of Christian Priber. He was the
great chief of the Cumberland River band of American Indians whose Council House
is in Whitley City, Kentucky. He has stated that while researching this
information many years ago he had lunch with Uncle Manuel Anderson, father of
George Anderson, a surveyor, with offices in Whitley County courthouse.
Mr. Anderson stated that he could remember when Indian bones were so
thick in the Big Rock House at Yahoo Falls that it was difficult to walk
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