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Major John RIDGE (A Cherokee Chief) c1771-1839


Fourth Generation! Deer Clan
Major RIDGE  [REF: #1] 
(a.k.a. Kah-nung-da-tla-geh or Nunna'hidihi Nunga'Hattarchee, Pathkiller II, 
Man On The Mountaintop or The Ridge, [REF:#57]
(1st s/o Dutsi Tachee -Paint Clan & Mother: Susannah Catherine)
(1Gs/o Onacona "White Owl" & Mother: Nionne Ollie - of the Paint Clan)
(2Gs/o White Owl Raven & Mother: Nancy of the Wolf Clan)
b. c1771 in Hiwassee Town, NC. (now Tennessee) [REF:#57]
b. c1771, in Highwassie Town, NC.  (Now in Monroe Co., TN ) [REF: #46 pg51]
d. 22 Jun 1839, a68y in Indian Territory [REF:#57]
He was killed on the same day as his Son JOHN RIDGE, Nephew ELIAS 
BOUDINOT on June 22, 1839., at the age of 68 years, at his home 
in Honey Creek, Park Hill, Indian Territory, (Now Oklahoma); 
At age 31 he married (bfr 1802) 
Miss Sehoya Schoya Susannah WICKETT;
(d/o Ah-Tah-Wn-Sti-Ske & Mother: Kate PARRIS
b. Unknown,
d. Unknown,
They had 5 Children born to this Union: [REF:#57]
  1. 1st Son: John   RIDGE b. c1802
  2. 2nd Son: Walter RIDGE b. c1810
  3. 1st Dau: Nannie RIDGE b. c1812
  4. 2nd Dau: Sarah  RIDGE b: c1814
  5. 3rd Son: George RIDGE b. c1816

They had 5 Children born to this Union: [REF:#46 Pg51]
  1. 1st Dau: NANCY RIDGE;            b. c1802
  2. 1st Son: JOHN RIDGE;             b. c1803
  3. 1st Unk: died infant;            b. c1804
  4. 2nd Son: BUCK (deficient mind);  b. c1805
  4. 3rd Son: WALTER RIDGE;           b. c1806
  5. 2nd Dau: SARAH, 1 "Sally" RIDGE; b. c1808

1. NANCY RIDGE;
(1st Dau Major & Su-San-NA (Wickett) Ridge)
b. about 1802, in the Cherokee town Uy'gilagi (abbreviated 
Tsuyu'gila'gi), which was located along the Ougillogy Creek of 
the Oostanaula River, now located near the present day Calhoun, 
Gordon Co., GA. [REF: #19]
NANCY RIDGE who had married a Cherokee, died 
about 1819, at the age of 17 years old giving birth. [REF: #46 pg147]


JOHN RIDGE, Jr. (A Cherokee Interpreter) (1803-1839)

1.2 1st Son: JOHN RIDGE, Jr.
(Son Major & Su-San-NA (Wickett) Ridge)
b. about 1803, in the Cherokee town Uy'gilagi (abbreviated 
Tsuyu'gila'gi), which was located along the Ougillogy Creek of 
the Oostanaula River, now located near the present day Calhoun, 
Gordon Co., GA. He was killed on June 22, 1839., at the age of 36 
years, at his home in Honey Creek, Park Hill, Indian Territory, 
(Now Oklahoma); he met and married when as a student at the 
Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut to the then 16 
year old, white Miss SARAH, 2 "Sally" BIRD NORTHRUP; b. Unknown; 
d. Unknown; They had at least Seven Children born to this Union: 
46 pg363
   1.1 1st Son: JOHN ROLLIN RIDGE;    b. Unk.
   1.2 2nd Son: HERMAN  RIDGE;        b. Unk.
   1.3 1st Dau: AENEAS  RIDGE;        b. Unk.
   1.4 2nd Dau: SUSAN  RIDGE;         b. Unk.
   1.5 3rd Son: ANDREW JACKSON RIDGE; b. Unk.
   1.6 3rd Dau: FLORA  RIDGE;         b. Unk.
   1.7 4th Dau: CLARINDA RIDGE;       b. Unk.

The subject of this sketch was a son of Major RIDGE,{47} a 
distinguished Cherokee chief. Major RIDGE was a remarkable 
instance of one born and brought up in savage life, accustomed to 
war and hunting, and to the habits and modes of thought of the 
Indian warrior, yet abandoning those habits, and by deliberate 
choice adopting the customs of civilized men, and persevering in 
them unchangeably through life. There have, doubtless, been other 
instances, but we know of none in which the change was so 
thorough and the result so successful. Commencing life as a mere 
savage, with no knowledge but that of the hunter, he adopted with 
energy the forms of civilization, became a successful farmer, and 
a public spirited citizen, and reared his family in the 
observance of the social duties and virtues of civilized life. 
His wife Mrs. Su-San-Nah (WICKETT) RIDGE zealously seconded his 
views, and though bred in a wigwam, learned after her marriage 
the domestic arts appertaining to good housewifery, and became as 
skillful in housekeeping and agriculture as she was industrious 
and persevering.

JOHN RIDGE. Jr. was second of the five children of this sensible and 
worthy couple. The pains and expense bestowed upon his education 
show how thoroughly his parents were imbued with the principles 
of civilization, and how high an estimate they placed upon the 
possession of knowledge. On 12 Nov., 1810, at the age of 7 years, 
he was first put to school to the Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Gambold, 
Moravian missionaries at Spring Place, (Now Murray Co., GA.) {48} 
who taught him the alphabet, spelling, reading, English grammar, 
and some arithmetic. He was first sent to Brainerd,{49} a 
missionary station established by the American Board of 
Commissioners for Foreign Missions; then to a school at 
Knoxville, Tennessee; and afterwards to the Foreign Mission 
school at Cornwall in Connecticut, {50} where he spent four years 
under the able instruction of the Rev. Herman Daggett. These 
opportunities seem to have been well improved, and JOHN RIDGE 
acquired the essential parts of a good education; his attainments 
in literature were respectable, and, what was of more importance, 
his morals were correct and firmly established, his habits good, 
and his disposition mild and amiable.

While a student in Connecticut, he fell in love with a beautiful 
and excellent young lady, Miss SARAH "Sally" NORTHROP, who 
reciprocated his affection, and after an engagement of two years 
they were married. It must have required great strength of 
affection in this young lady to enable her to overcome the 
aversion which is usually entertained against alliances with a 
race so different from ourselves in many important particulars, 
as well as to nerve her for a life in which she could foresee 
little else than trouble. A contest had already commenced between 
the United States and the Cherokees, {51} which promised to be 
fruitful in discord, and which could only end in the discomfiture 
of the latter and then a new home, new neighbors, fresh troubles, 
and unknown difficulties awaited them in the wilderness. All 
this, however, she was willing to brave. She loved the young 
Indian, who, abandoning the bow and the tomahawk, had 
successfully cultivated the arts of peace, and the literature of 
the white man, and had exhibited a mildness and benevolence of 
character peculiarly interesting in the descendant of a wild and 
ferocious race. She possessed too, a missionary spirit, a deeply 
seated and fervent piety, which impressed her with the belief 
that it was her duty to embrace the opportunity offered her, of 
becoming a messenger of peace to the savage; and she followed her 
Indian husband to the Western forests, full of enthusiastic hope, 
pious aspirations, and plans for the civilization and conversion 
of the heathen.

We are happy to say that the noble courage of this truly 
excellent lady was not exhibited in vain, nor were her hopes of 
usefulness disappointed. It is true that the plan of a separate 
government formed by some of the leading men of the Cherokees 
failed, and with it were crushed some benevolent schemes and some 
infant institutions which promised well; for they carried with 
them the elements of premature decay in the erroneous political 
views with which they were connected. But the pious labors of the 
devoted woman bud and blossom like the violet, untouched by the 
storm that rages in the political atmosphere. Her assiduity was 
unabated through all the vicissitudes which attended the 
Cherokees, and there is reason to believe that her example and 
her counsels were eminently useful to her adopted countrymen. And 
the full extent of her influence is yet to be developed and 
expanded by the character of her seven children, and are 
receiving the best education the United States can afford. 

JOHN RIDGE, Jr. was a conspicuous man among the Cherokees. He returned 
from college and commenced his active career as a public man at 
the period when his people were attempting to erect themselves 
into an independent nation -when the invention of the alphabet by 
SEQUOYAH or GEORGE GIST {52} gave them a written language and when 
the establishment of schools, missions, and a newspaper afforded 
them the facilities for instruction. JOHN RIDGE was fitted for 
the crisis in which he was an actor. He had youth, education, 
talents, piety, enthusiasm, and was a son of the race out of 
which it was proposed to rear a new nation. He was the son of a 
distinguished and popular chief, and had all the advantage of 
family influence. His fault, and that of those with whom he 
acted, was in cherishing a zeal without knowledge a zeal which, 
confiding in pure intentions, and in the goodness of the end in 
view, overlooked the impracticability of the scheme by which it 
was attempted to accomplish the object. JOHN RIDGE was an active 
man in all these scenes. He accompanied several of the 
delegations to Washington, and though not a chief, was usually an 
interpreter, a secretary, {53} or an agent, and exerted great 
influence in the negotiations. He was a writer for the Cherokee 
newspaper, {54} and a civil functionary under the Cherokee 
government during its brief existence.

We know little of the life of JOHN RIDGE, Jr. after the removal of his 
people to their lands west of the Mississippi. He continued to be 
a conspicuous man until about two years ago, when in consequence 
of a violent quarrel growing out of political differences, he was 
cruelly and basely murdered by a party of the opposing faction of 
his own countrymen. {55} We forbear a detail of the circumstances 
of this outrage, and any comment, because we are aware that, 
distant as we are from the scene, and limited as our knowledge of 
the parties and the facts must necessarily be, we could scarcely 
touch on such an event without the risk of injustice to some of 
the actors or sufferers.

1.4 2nd Son: BUCK RIDGE;
(Son Major & Su-San-NA (Wickett) Ridge)
b. abt 1805, in the Cherokee town Uy'gilagi (abbreviated 
Tsuyu'gila'gi), which was located along the Ougillogy Creek of 
the Oostanaula River, now located near the present day Calhoun, 
Gordon Co., GA. d. Unknown; Reported to have been "deficient 
mind".

1.5 2nd Dau: SARAH, 1 "Sally" RIDGE;
(Dau Major & Su-San-NA (Wickett) Ridge)
b. abt 1808, in the Cherokee town Uy'gilagi (abbreviated 
Tsuyu'gila'gi), which was located along the Ougillogy Creek of 
the Oostanaula River, now located near the present day Calhoun, 
Gordon Co., GA. d. Unknown; Attended the Salem Academy, operated 
by the Moravians in North Carolina; Married about 1836 (Date 
& Location Unknown  to the White Lieutenant GEORGE PASCHAL; b. 
Unknown; d. Unknown; Son of Unknown Parents; Issue Unknown. [REF: #46 
pg307 Issue Unknown.

Major RIDGE received from his parents, in infancy, the Indian 
name of Nung-noh-hut-tar-hee, or He who slays the enemy in the 
path. After arriving at the age of a hunter, on being asked, 
"Which way did you come into camp?"  he would reply, "I 
came along the top of the mountain."  This answer being 
frequently repeated, it was seized upon as indicating a 
characteristic habit in the young hunter, who was thence-forward 
called Kah-nungda-tla-geh, or "The man who walks on the 
mountain's top" . The name by which he has been subsequently 
known may have been derived from the Cherokee words which signify 
the summit or RIDGE of a mountain.[REF: #1]

The date of the birth of the 3/4 Degree of Indian Blood (D.I.B.)  
Major RIDGE is unknown, as the Cherokees, previous to the recent 
invention of an alphabet of their tongue,[REF: #2] possessed no means 
by which they could record the ages of their children. It is 
believed that the date of his nativity at about the year 1771. He 
was born of the Deer Caln [REF: #46 pg6 at a Cherokee town called 
Highwassie or Hiwassee, situated upon the Highwassie or 
Hi'-Wass'-ee' River at Savannah Ford, and on the edge of a 
beautiful prairie encircled by forest,[REF: #3]  in territory then 
claimed by the state of North Carolina, latter to be Monroe Co., 
Tennessee. 

The present County of Monroe, was organizied in 1820 at the home 
of WILLIAM DICKSON, whose home, was reported "on the Tennessee 
River", about which "more later". Later the Court met at 
CALDWELL'S, afterwards called the HENDERSON PLACE, about three 
miles East of the present Maidsonville, then known as Tellico.

The most prominent feature in the early reminiscences of young 
RIDGE at the age of 6 in 1776, refers to the distressed situation 
to which the Cherokees were reduced by the invasions of the white 
people, who burned their villages and killed their people. When 
his father, and mother wearied of these hostile incursions, 
resolved on flight, he could remember the canoe  his family used 
and the two days of water, much of it paddling up the Highwassie 
/ Hiwassee River to the Tennessee River, and ascended the smaller 
branches of that stream to the Sequochee [REF: #4a] mountains, in whose 
deep glens and rock-bound fastnesses they were secure from the 
white pursuit. Here the game abounded, and the young hunter 
received his first lessons. His father taught him to steal with 
noiseless tread upon the grazing animal- to deceive the timid doe 
by mimicking the cry of the fawn- or to entice the wary buck 
within the reach of his missile by decorating his own head with 
antlers. He was inured to patience! fatigue, self-denial, and 
exposure, and acquired the sagacity which enabled him to chase 
with success the wild cat, the bear, and the panther. He watched 
the haunts, and studied the habits of wild animals, and  became 
expert in the arts which enable the Indian hunter at all seasons 
to procure food from the stream or the forest. 

Having continued in this primary and parental school until he reached 
the age of twelve, the young Indian was considered as having made 
a proficiency which entitled him to be advanced to a higher grade 
of studies; and a superstitious rite [REF: #5] was required to be performed 
to give due solemnity to the occasion. The usages of the nation made 
it requisite that his martial training should be preceded by a formal 
dedication to the life and business of a warrior, and an invocation 
to the Great Spirit to endue him with courage and good fortune. For 
this purpose his parents solicited the assistance of an aged warrior, 
whose numerous achievements in battle had established for him a high 
reputation; and whose sagacity and valor gave him, in the estimation 
of his tribe, the envied rank of an Ulysses. The assent of the war 
chief was conveyed in the brief avowal that he would make him dreadful. 
The ceremony took place immediately. The hoary brave, standing upon 
the brink of a mountain stream, called upon the Great Spirit to fill 
the mind of the young warrior with warlike inclinations and his heart 
with courage. He then, with the bone of a wolf, the end of which terminated 
in several sharp points, scratched the naked boy from the palm of 
one hand along the front of the arm, across the breast, and along 
the other arm to the hand- and in like manner lines were drawn from 
the heels upward to the shoulders, and from the shoulders over the 
breast downward to the feet- and from the back of one hand along the 
arm, across the back, and to the back of the other hand. The lines 
thus made each covered a space of two inches in width, and consisted 
of parallel incisions which penetrated through the skin, and caused 
an effusion of blood along their entire extent.[REF: #6] He was then required 
to plunge into the stream and bathe, after which the war chief washed 
his whole body with a decotion of medicinal herbs; and, in conclusion, 
he was commanded not to associate with the female children, nor to 
sit near a woman, nor, in short, to suffer the touch of one of that 
sex during the space of seven days. At the end of this term the war 
chief came to him, and after delivering an address to the Great 
Spirit, placed before the young candidate food, consisting of 
partridges and mush. The partridge was used on this occasion 
because, in its flight, this bird makes a noise with its wings 
resembling thunder, while in sitting or walking it is remarkably 
silent and difficult to discover- and thus were indicated the 
clamor of the onset, and the cautious stealth which should govern 
the movements of the warrior at all other times. It is thus that 
the Indian is made in early life the subject of superstition, is 
taught to believe himself supernaturally endued with courage, and 
is artificially supplied with qualities which might otherwise 
never have been developed in his mind. 

In 1785, when RIDGE was fourteen years of age, a war party was 
made up at Cheestooyee, [REF: #7] where his parents then resided; the 
warriors danced the war dance, and sung war songs to induce the 
young men to join in the expedition. These martial exercises had 
such an effect upon young RIDGE, that he volunteered against his 
father's wishes and in despite of the tears of his mother, and 
went, with two hundred of the tribe, against a fort of the 
Americans in Tennessee, which was assaulted without success. In 
this expedition he endured, without a murmur, great hardship and 
dangers. In the same year the whites made an irruption at a place 
called the Cherokee Orchard, and retired after killing one 
Indian. The Cherokees, expecting that their enemies would return, 
arranged a force of about two hundred men in an ambuscade, near 
the Orchard, and had spies posted to watch the fords of the river 
Tennessee, where it was expected the white people would cross. It 
was soon reported that thirty horsemen and six men on foot were 
approaching. The Cherokees were divided into two parties, one of 
which was to attack the whites in front, while the other was to 
throw itself across their rear, to intercept their retreat. The 
whites being taken by surprise, were beaten, and sought safety in 
flight. Those on foot were taken and killed, while the horsemen 
plunged into the river, where they continued to maintain the 
unequal conflict with great obstinacy. A few who rode strong and 
fleet horses, escaped by clambering up a steep bank and the rest 
were slain. One of the Cherokees having overtaken a white man who 
was ascending the bank after recrossing the river, grappled with 
him in deadly fight. The white man being the stronger, threw the 
Indian, when a second came to the assistance of the latter, and 
while the gallant Tennessean was combating with two foes, RIDGE, 
who was armed with only a spear, came up and dispatched the 
unfortunate white man, by plunging his weapon into him. This 
affair was considered highly creditable to RIDGE, the Indians 
regarding not courage only, but success, as indicative of merit, 
and appreciating highly the good fortune which enables one of 
their number to shed the blood of an enemy, in however accidental 
or stealthy a manner.

Soon after this affair, he conducted his father, who was sick, to 
a place more distant from the probable scene of war, and then joined 
a large army composed of the combined forces of the Creeks and Cherokees; 
the latter led by the chiefs Little Turkey[REF: #8] and White Dog, and 
the former by Chinnubbee. [REF: #9] The object of this enterprise was to 
take Knoxville, then the chief place in Tennessee; but it was not 
successful. In consequence of a disagreement among the chiefs, they 
returned without attacking the headquarters of the white settlements, 
after capturing a small garrison near Maryville. [REF: #10]

In another affair RIDGE was scarcely more fortunate. He joined a 
company of hunters, and passed the Cumberland mountain into Kentucky, 
to chase the buffalo and the bear. While thus engaged, their 
leader, who was called Tah-cung-stee-skee, or (The Remover), 
proposed to kill some white men for the purpose of supplying the 
party with tobacco, their whole store of which had been consumed. 
RIDGE was left with an old man to guard the camp; the remainder 
of the party set out upon this righteous war, and after a brief 
absence returned with several scalps and some tobacco, which had 
been taken out of the pockets of the slain. This incident affords 
an example of the slight cause which is considered among savages 
a sufficient inducement for the shedding of blood. We know not 
who were the unhappy victims; they might have been hunters, but 
were as probably the members of some emigrant family which had 
settled in the wilderness, whose slumbers were broken at midnight 
by the war whoop, and who saw each other butchered in cold blood 
by a party of marauders who sought to renew their exhausted store 
of tobacco! We are told that RIDGE was so greatly mortified at 
having been obliged to remain inactive, far from the scene of 
danger, that he actually wept over the loss of honor he had 
sustained, and that his grief was with difficulty appeased.

RIDGE returned home after an absence of seven months, and found 
that both his parents had died during that period, leaving him, still 
a youth, with two younger brothers and a sister, to provide for themselves, 
or to depend upon the cold charity of relatives, whose scanty subsistence 
was derived from the chase. Under these depressing circumstances he 
spent several years in obscurity, but always actively engaged either 
upon the war-path in predatory excursions against the whites, or in 
hunting expeditions to remote places where the game abounded. On one 
occasion, when he was about seventeen years of age, he with four others 
killed some white men upon the waters of Holston, during one of those 
brief seasons of peace which sometimes beamed on the frontier, like 
sunny days in the depth of winter- a peace having been declared during 
the absence of this party. That unfortunate act was the cause of a 
new war. The enraged whites collected a force, invaded the Cherokees 
who were holding a council at Tellico, [REF: #11] and killed a large number 
of their warriors. This event affords another illustration of the 
brittle nature of compacts between the inhabitants of the frontier, 
accustomed to mutual aggression, and ever on the watch to revenge 
an insult, or to injure a hated foe; while it shows also that the 
beginnings of these wars are often the result of the most fortuitous 
causes- growing more frequently out of the mistakes or lawless acts 
of individuals than from any deliberate national decision.

RIDGE and his companions, having been detained by the sickness of 
one of their number, did not arrive at the encampment of the tribe, 
at the Pine Log,[REF: #12] until after the consequences of their rash 
act had been realized in the slaughter of some of the principal men 
of the nation by the white people. They were coldly received: the 
relatives of the slain were incensed, and disposed to take revenge 
for their loss upon the young men who had occasioned the misfortune, 
nor were there wanting accusers to upbraid them openly as the authors 
of a great public calamity. Having no excuse to offer, RIDGE, with 
a becoming spirit, proposed to repair his error as far as possible, 
by warding off its effects from his countrymen. He raised the war 
whoop, entered the village as is customary with those who return victorious, 
and called for volunteers to march against the enemy- but there was 
no response; the village was still, no veteran warrior greeted the 
party as victors, and those who mourned over deceased relatives scowled 
at them as they passed. The usual triumph was not allowed, and the 
young aggressors, so far from being joined by others in a new expedition, 
fell back abashed by the chilling and contemptuous reception which 
they met. One old man alone, a conjurer, who had prophesied that when 
these young men should return, the war pole would be ornamented with 
the scalps of their enemies, felt disposed to verify his own prediction 
by having those bloody trophies paraded upon the war post, and he 
exerted himself to effect a change in the public mind. At length the 
voice of one chief declared that fallen relatives would be poorly 
revenged by shedding the blood of friends, and that if satisfaction 
was required it should be taken from the pale faces. He then commenced 
the war song, at the sound of which the habitual thirst of the Indian 
for vengeance began to be excited; the young men responded, and volunteers 
offered themselves to go against the common enemy, among whom RIDGE 
was the first. The party proceeded immediately against a small fort 
on the frontier, which they took, and murdered all the inmates- men, 
women, and children. RIDGE has since frequently related the fact, 
that the women and children were at first made prisoners, but were 
hewn down by the ferocious leader DOUBLEHEAD, who afterwards became 
a conspicuous man, and a tyrant in the nation; he spoke of this foul 
deed with abhorrence, and declared that he turned aside, and looked 
another way, unwilling to witness that which he could not prevent.[REF: #13]

We pass over the events of the border wars which succeeded, and continued 
for two years to harass this unhappy reign, embracing a vast number 
of skirmishes and petty massacres, which gave scope to individual 
address and boldness, but produced no military movements upon any 
extended scale, nor any general battle. The last invasion by the 
whites was conducted by General SEVIER, who penetrated to the 
head of Coosa, and then returned to Tennessee.[REF: #14] Two years 
afterwards a general peace was concluded with President 
WASHINGTON by a Cherokee delegation, sent to the American 
capital, at the head of which was the celebrated Chief 
DOUBLEHEAD. They returned, bringing a treaty of peace, and 
accompanied by an agent of the American Government, Colonel SILAS 
DINSMORE, who took up his residence in the Cherokee country, and 
commenced instructing the Indians in the use of the plow, the 
spinning-wheel, and the loom.[REF: #15] 

The government of the Cherokee nation was, at that time, vested in 
a council, composed of the principal chief, the second principal chief, 
and the leading men of the several villages, who made treaties and 
laws, filled the vacancies in their own body, increased its number 
at will, and in short, exercised all the functions of sovereignty. 
The executive and more active duties were performed chiefly by the 
junior members, a requisite number of whom were admitted for that 
purpose. In 1792, at the age of twenty-one young RIDGE was 
selected, we are not told at whose instance, as a member of this 
body, from the town of which PINE LOG was the head man. RIDGE  
had no property but the clothes he wore, a few silver ornaments, 
and a white pony, stinted, old, and ugly, which he rode to the 
council. The Indians are fond of show, and pay great respect to 
personal appearance and exterior decoration. On public occasions 
they appear well mounted, and are ostentatious in the display of 
their wealth, which consists in horses, weapons, trinkets, and 
the trophies of war and hunting; and this pride is the more 
natural as the property thus exhibited consists of the spoils won 
by the wearer. A mean appearance is, therefore, in some degree an 
evidence of demerit; and when RIDGE presented himself before the 
assembled nation, wretchedly mounted and in meager attire, he was 
held in such contempt that it was proposed to exclude him from 
the council. But the old men invited him to a seat near them, and 
shook him by the hand, and the younger members one by one 
reluctantly extended to him the same sign of fellowship. During 
the first council he did no more than listen to the speeches of 
the orators, seldom indicating any opinion of his own. The powers 
of the mind are but little exercised in an Indian council, 
especially in a season of peace, when there is nothing to provoke 
discussion, and these assemblages are convened rather in 
obedience to custom than for the actual discharge of business. 
But the time was approaching when the public concerns of the 
Cherokees were to become more complicated and important, and its 
councils to assume a higher dignity and interest. 

In 1793, the young RIDGE, age 22 went courting in the traditional 
way. First he had prepared himself for a hunt; he found a deer 
and silently asked it for permission to kill it, then shot it 
with his rifle, which he had taken in a raid. He dressed the deer 
and selected the parts he wanted:  two for his hungry brothersd 
and sisters; one roast for the neighbors, who helped take care of 
the family while he was warring; and the saddle of the deer for 
her Seh'-oya', also called Su-San-Na WHICKET

It would be difficult to point out with accuracy the primary causes, 
or to detect the first germs, of the partial civilization which 
has been introduced among the Cherokees. In the memoir of 
SEQUOYAH we briefly suggested several incidents which, as we 
suppose, exerted a combined influence in the production of this 
benign effect. Referring the reader to that paragraph, we shall 
only remark here that RIDGE entered upon public life just at the 
period when a portion of his nation began to turn their attention  
to agriculture, and of course to acquire property, and to need 
the protection of law. New regulations and restraints were 
requisite to suit the novel exigencies of a forming state of 
society; while the less intelligent part of the people withheld 
from war, and not yet initiated in the arts of peace, remained in 
a state of restless and discontented idleness but little in 
unison with the enterprising spirit of their leaders, and as 
little congenial with the growth of civilization. It was 
necessary, therefore, that those who executed the laws should be 
firm and vigorous men; and among this class RIDGE was soon 
distinguished as one possessing the energy of character so 
important in a ruler. At the second council in which he sat, one 
of the ancient laws of the Cherokees was abrogated at his 
suggestion. According to immemorial usage, the life of a murderer 
was at the disposal of the relatives of the deceased, who might 
put him to death, or accept a price for the injury. Blood for 
Blood was the rule, and if the guilty party fled, his nearest 
relative might be sacrificed in his place. The nation was divided 
into seven tribes, each preserving a distinct genealogy, traced 
through the female line of descent: and these tribes were held 
sacredly bound to administer this law, each within its own 
jurisdiction, and to afford facilities for its execution when the 
aggressor fled from one tribe to another.[REF: #17] And we may remark 
here as a curious illustration of the principle of Indian 
justice, that the object of this law was not to punish guilt, to 
preserve life, or to prevent crime; neither the protection of the 
weaker, nor the conservation of the peace of society was its 
object; it was the Lex'- Talionis administered simply to appease 
individual passion- its sole purpose was revenge. For if anyone 
killed another by accident, his life was as much forfeited as if 
he committed a willful homicide, and if he could not be readily 
found, the blood of his innocent relative might be shed; the most 
inoffensive and respect able person might be sacrificed to atone 
for the crime or the carelessness of a vagabond kinsman.

RIDGE, in an able speech, exposed the injustice of that part of 
this law which substituted a relative for a fugitive murderer, 
and successfully advocated its repeal. The more difficult task 
remained, of enforcing obedience to the repealing statute- a task 
which involved the breaking up of an ancient usage, and the 
curbing into subjection one of the wildest impulses of the human 
bosom, the master passion of the savage revenge; and this was to 
be effected in a community newly reorganized, still barbarous, 
and unused to the metes and bounds of a settled government. But 
RIDGE, having proposed the measure, was required to carry it into 
effect, and readily assumed upon himself that responsibility; 
taking the precaution, however, to exact from every chief a 
promise that he would advocate the principle of the new law, and 
stand prepared to punish its infringement. It was not long before 
an opportunity occurred to test the sincerity of these pledges. A 
man who had killed another, fled. The relations of the deceased 
were numerous, fearless, and vindictive, prompt to take offense, 
and eager to imbue their hands in blood upon the slightest 
provocation. They determined to resent the injury by killing the 
brother of the offender. The friends of the latter dispatched a 
messenger to RIDGE, to advise him of the intended violation of 
the new law, and implore his protection; and he, with a 
creditable promptitude, sent word to the persons who proposed to 
revenge themselves, that he would take upon himself the office of 
killing the individual who should put such a purpose into 
execution. This threat had the desired effect, not only in that 
instance, but in causing the practice of substituting a relative 
in the place of an escaped homicide, to be abandoned.

About this time the subject of this memoir was married to a 
Cherokee girl, Sus'-Ann'-Ah' who is represented as having been 
handsome and sensible who possessed a fine person, and an 
engaging countenance, and sustained through life an excellent 
character.

The Cherokees lived at that time in villages, having corn fields, 
cultivated by the squaws, and enclosed in a common fence, which, by 
excluding the idea of separate property, cut off the strongest inducement 
to industry. Their dwellings were rude cabins, with earthen floors, 
and without chimneys. RIDGE determined, after his marriage, to build 
a house, and cultivate a farm; and accordingly he removed into the 
wilderness, and reared a mansion of logs, which had the luxury of 
a door and the extravagant addition of a chimney. Nor was this all: 
a roof was added, of long boards, split from logs, and confined in 
their places by weight poles- and thus was completed the usual log 
cabin of the frontier settler, an edifice which ranks in architecture 
next above the lodge or wigwam. And here did the Indian warrior and 
his bride, forsaking the habits of their race, betake themselves to 
ploughing and chopping, knitting and weaving, and other Christian 
employments, while insensibly they dropped also the unpronounceable 
heathen names in which they had hitherto rejoiced, and became known 
as Major RIDGE and SUSANNAH. It is hardly necessary to remark, that 
one of the first things which the Indian learns from his civilized 
neighbor is his love of titles, and finding that every gentleman of 
standing on the frontier had one, and that neither a commission nor 
a military employment are necessarily inferred from the assumption 
of a martial designation, he usually, on taking an English name, prefixes 
to it the title of Captain or Major.[REF: #18]

The residence of Major RIDGE was in the Ookellogee valley, where 
he lived more than eighteen years, employed in rural pursuits, and 
gathering about him herds and other property.[REF: #19] He seems to have 
entirely abandoned the savage life, and settled quietly down in the 
enjoyment of the comforts of civilization. His family consisted of 
five children, one of whom died in infancy, another was deficient 
in mind, and the other three were well educated. His son John,[REF: #20] 
after attending the mission school at Brainerd, was sent to Cornwall 
in Connecticut, where he spent four years under the instruction of 
the Reverend Herman Daggett. He here fell in love with a 
beautiful and excellent young lady, Miss NORTHROP, who 
reciprocated his affection, and after an engagement of two years 
they were married- she leaving for him, her parents, brothers, 
sisters, and friends, and identifying herself with the Cherokees, 
among whom she has ever since resided. This couple have six 
children. The influence of this lady has already been most 
benignantly exerted over the rude people with whom her lot has 
been cast; but the extent of her usefulness will not be fully 
known nor appreciated until it shall be seen in the exertions of 
her children, whom she is carefully training up in the precepts 
of the Bible. The daughters of Major RIDGE were also educated. 
One of them married and died early; the other is an accomplished 
young lady, of superior mind, who has traveled through most of 
the States of the Union, and who devotes herself with a Christian 
and patriotic ardor to the improvement of her countrywomen. The 
whole family are professors of religion, and are exemplary in 
their lives.

The interesting domestic avocations in which Major RIDGE was now 
busily engaged did not withdraw him from his public duties. He continued 
to be an active member of the council, in which he gradually rose 
to be an influential leader, and he was the orator usually chosen 
to announce and explain to the people the decrees of that body. He 
was also engaged in riding what was termed the judicial circuit. To 
enforce the laws among a barbarous people required a vigorous administration, 
and this office was assigned to twelve horsemen, persons of courage 
and intelligence, who were the judges, jurors, and executors of justice. 
Major RIDGE was placed at the head of this corps, whose duty it 
was to ride through the nation, to take cognizance of all crimes and 
breaches of law, and to decide all controversies between individuals. 
In the unsettled state of the community, the want of forms, and the 
absence of precedent, much was left to their discretion; and after 
all, these decisions were enforced rather by the number, energy, and 
physical power of the judges, than through any respect paid to the 
law itself.

In addition to these arduous duties as a magistrate, Major RIDGE 
was active and useful in his example as a private man. He encouraged 
the opening of roads, and caused some to be made at his own expense. 
He advocated all public improvements, and endeavored to inculcate 
a taste for the refinements of civilization. He built a house, planted 
an orchard, and went forward in the march of improvement, until his 
farm was in a higher state of cultivation and his buildings better 
than those of any other person in that region, the whites not excepted.

About the close of the administration of President Jefferson, the 
question as to emigrating to the west of the Mississippi began to 
be agitated among the Cherokees. Enolee, or Black Fox, [REF: #21] the successor 
of Little Turkey, was head chief of the nation. He, with Tah-lon-tus-kee,[REF: #22] 
Too-chay-lor, (The Glass), [REF: #23] "The Turtle" at Home, and others, began 
to advocate the removal; the public mind became greatly excited, and 
those who possessed oratorical talents employed them in popular harangues. 
While the people were discussing the subject, the chiefs had matured 
their plan, and were proceeding to carry it into effect without the 
public consent which the usages of the nation required, but for which 
they intended to substitute a hasty vote of the council. Accordingly, 
at a council held at a post within the limits of Tennessee, Black 
Fox, and a few other leaders, acting in concert with Colonel R. J. 
Meigs, the agent of the United States, brought forward a project for 
sending a delegation to Washington, to exchange their country for 
lands farther west.  The deputies were already nominated by the head 
chief; his talk to the President of the United States was delivered 
to Tah-lon-tus-kee, the leader of the deputation; and a vote of the 
council only was wanting to sanction what had been done, and to authorize 
the making of a treaty under which the nation should be removed to 
a far distant wilderness. That talk was in substance as follows:- 
 
 "Tell our Great Father, the President, that our game has disappeared, 
 and we wish to follow it to the West. We are his friends, and we hope 
 he will grant our petition, which is to remove our people towards 
 the setting sun. But we shall give up a fine country, fertile in soil, 
 abounding in watercourses, and well adapted for the residence of white 
 people. For all this we must have a good price." This bold and artful 
 movement had the desired effect: the people, who had discussed the 
 subject without reference to a decision so sudden and conclusive, 
 were not ready for the question: they were taken by surprise, and 
 as it was not expected that anyone would have the moral courage to 
 rise in opposition under such circumstances, it only remained to take 
 a vote, which would so far commit the nation as to preclude any future 
 debate. A dead silence ensued- the assembly was apparently awed, or 
 cajoled into compliance, when RIDGE, who had a spirit equal to the 
 occasion, and who saw with indignation that the old men kept their 
 seats, rose from the midst of the younger chiefs, and with a manner 
 and tone evincing great excitement, addressed the people.  "My friends," 
 said he, "you have heard the talk of the principal chief He points 
 to the region of the setting sun as the future habitation of this 
 people. As a man he has a right to give his opinion; but the opinion 
 he has given as the chief of this nation is not binding; it was not 
 formed in council in the light of day, but was made up in a corner-to 
 drag this people, without their consent, from their own country, to 
 the dark land of the setting sun. I resist it here in my place as 
 a man, as a chief, as a Cherokee, having the right to be consulted 
 in a matter of such importance. What are your heads placed on your 
 bodies for, but to think, and if to think, why should you not be consulted? 
 I scorn this movement of a few men to unsettle the nation, and trifle 
 with our attachment to the land of our forefathers! Look abroad over 
 the face of this country -along the rivers, the creeks, and their 
 branches, and you behold the dwellings of the people who repose in 
 content and security. Why is this grand scheme projected to lead away 
 to another country the people who are happy here? I, for one, abandon 
 my respect for the will of a chief, and regard only the will of thousands 
 of our people. Do I speak without the response of any heart in 
 this assembly, or do I speak as a free man to men who are free 
 and know their rights? I pause to hear." He sat down in the midst 
 of acclamations. The people declared that his talk was good, that 
 the talk of the head chief was bad; the latter was deposed upon 
 the spot, and another appointed in his place. The delegation was 
 changed, so that a majority of it were opposed to emigration, and 
 Major RIDGE was added to the number.[REF: #24]

The advantage of traveling through the United States was not thrown 
away upon this intelligent and liberal minded Indian. He visited the 
capital of a great nation, passing through many populous towns and 
a great extent of cultivated country- was introduced to President 
Jefferson, and became acquainted with many refined persons He returned 
with a mind enlarged by travel, and with a renewed ardor in the cause 
of civilization. 

The authority which we follow, having supplied us with few dates, 
we are not able to state at what time the ferocious DOUBLEHEAD rose 
into power among the Cherokees, nor is it very important.[REF: #25] He 
was bold, ambitious, and possessed of uncommon sagacity and talent. 
He had strong friends, and, by prudently amassing such property as 
the condition of the country rendered attainable, was considered wealthy. 
With these advantages he became a prominent man; and when the Cherokees 
began to establish something like a civil government, and to create 
offices, he succeeded in placing himself in the most lucrative posts. 
But as he sought office with selfish views, he very naturally abused 
it, and made himself odious by his arbitrary conduct. He not only 
executed the laws according to his own pleasure, but caused innocent 
men to be put to death who thwarted his views. The chiefs and the 
people began alike to fear him, and a decree was privately made that 
he should be put to death. Major RIDGE was chosen to perform the 
office of executioner, which he boldly discharged, by going with a 
few followers to DOUBLEHEAD's house and killing him in the midst of 
his family; after which, he addressed the crowd who were drawn together 
by this act of violence, and explained his authority and his reasons. 
It is impossible for us to decide how far such an act may have been 
justified by the demerits of the victim, and the patriotic motives 
of him who assumed the office of avenger. To settle the relative merits 
of the Brutes and the Caesar, is seldom an easy task; and it is rendered 
the more difficult in this instance, in consequence of the absence 
of all evidence but that of the friends of the parties. There seems, 
however, to be sufficient reason to believe that Major RIDGE sincerely 
desired to promote the civilization of his race, that DOUBLEHEAD, 
his equal in talent and influence, but a savage at heart, entertained 
less liberal views, and that the removal of the latter was necessary 
to the fair operation of the great experiment to which Major RIDGE 
was now devoting all his energies.

Shortly after the return of Major RIDGE from Washington, a great 
excitement occurred among the Cherokees, on the subject of civilization. 
Heretofore the improvement of this nation had been gradual and almost 
imperceptible. A variety of causes acting together, led to a chain 
of natural consequences which, by easy degrees, had produced important 
changes in the habits of the people. The insulated position of the 
nation, the intermixture of a half-breed race, the vicinity of the 
white settlements, the visits of the missionaries, and the almost 
miraculous invention of Sequoyah, had all contributed to infuse the 
spirit of civilization. But though many were converted, the great 
majority remained wrapped in the impenetrable mantle of barbarism, 
unaffected by these beneficent efforts, or regarding them with sullen 
apathy or stupid suspicion. A mass of ignorance, prejudice, and vice 
excluded the rays of civilization, as the clouds of unwholesome vapor 
exhaled from the earth shade her bosom from the genial warmth of the 
sun. But what, previous to the period at which we have arrived, had 
been merely doubt or disinclination, now began to assume the form 
of opposition. Some of the Cherokees dreamed dreams, and others received, 
in various ways, communications from the Great Spirit all tending 
to discredit the scheme of civilization. A large collection of these 
deluded creatures met at Oostanalee town,[REF: #26] where they held a 
grand savage feast, and celebrated a great medicine dance, which was 
performed exclusively by women, wearing terrapin shells, filled with 
pebbles, on their limbs, to rattle in concert with their wild uncouth 
songs. An old man chanted a song of ancient times. No conversation 
was allowed during the ceremony; the fierce visage of the Indian was 
bent in mute attention upon the exciting scene, and the congregated 
mass of mind was doubtless pervaded by the solemnizing conviction 
that the Great Spirit was among them. At this opportune crisis, a 
deputation from Coosa Wathla[REF: #27] introduced a half-breed Cherokee 
from the mountains, who professed to be the bearer of a message from 
heaven. His name was Charles.[REF: #28] He was received with marked 
respect, and seated close to Major RIDGE, the principal person 
present, and who, though he deplored the superstition that 
induced the meeting, had thought proper to attend, and ostensibly 
to join in the ceremonies. The savage missionary did not keep 
them long in suspense; he rose and announced that the Great 
Spirit had sent him to deliver a message to his people; he said 
he had already delivered it to some of the Cherokees in the 
mountains, but they disbelieved, and had beaten him. But he would 
not desist; he would declare the will of the Great Spirit at all 
hazards. The Great Spirit said that the Cherokees were adopting 
the customs of the white people. They had mills, clothes, feather 
beds, and tables- worse still, they had books, and domestic cats! 
This was not good-therefore the buffaloes and other game were 
disappearing. The Great Spirit was angry, and had withdrawn his 
protection. The nation must return to the customs of their 
fathers. They must kill their cats, cut short their frocks, and 
dress as became Indians and warriors. 

They must discard all the fashions of the whites, abandon the useof 
any communication with each other except by word of mouth, and give 
up their mills, their houses, and all the arts learned from the white 
people. He promised, that if they believed and obeyed, then would 
game again abound, the white man would disappear, and God would love 
his people. He urged them to paint themselves, to hold feasts, and 
to dance- to listen to his words, and to the words the Great Spirit 
would whisper in their dreams. He concluded by saying, if anyone says 
that he does not believe, the Great Spirit will cut him off from the 
living.

This speech, artfully framed to suit the prejudices of the Indians, 
and to inflame the latent discontent of such as were not fully enlisted 
in the work of reform, caused a great excitement among them. They 
cried out that the talk was good. Major RIDGE perceived at once 
the evil effect that would be produced by such harangues, and, with 
his usual decision, determined not to tamper with the popular feeling, 
but to oppose and correct it. He rose in his place, and addressing 
the tumultuous assemblage with his wonted energy, said: "My friends, 
the talk you have heard is not good. It would lead us to war with 
the United States, and we should suffer. It is false; it is not a 
talk from the Great Spirit. I stand here and defy the threat that 
he who disbelieves shall die. Let the death come upon me. I offer 
to test this scheme of impostors!"  The people, mad with superstition, 
rushed upon the orator who dared thus to brave their fury, and rebuke 
their folly, and would probably have put him to death, had he not 
defended himself being an athletic man, he struck down several of 
the assailants, but was at last thrown to the ground, and his friend, 
John Harris, stabbed at his side. Jesse Vaun[REF: #29] and others rallied 
round him, and beating back the crowd, enabled him to rise; and at 
length an old chief had sufficient influence over the infuriated savages 
to quell the tumult. As the tempest of passion subsided, the fanaticism 
which had caused it died away.

The threat of the pretended messenger of heaven had proved false. 
His challenge had been accepted, and the daring individual who had 
defied him, lived, an evidence of his imposition. 

The storm of fanaticism passed on to the Creek nation, among whom 
dreams were dreamed, and prophets arose who professed to have talked 
with the Great Spirit. The daring and restless Tecumthe, who had traversed 
the wilderness, for several hundred miles, for the purpose of stirring 
the savages to war against the Americans, appeared among the Creeks 
at this juncture, and artfully availed himself of a state of things 
so well suited to his purpose. Besides bringing tidings from the Great 
Spirit, he brought assurances from the British king, and greetings 
from the Shawanee nation. The Creeks rose against their chiefs, broke 
out into war against the United States, and having surprised the frontier 
post of Fort Mimms, massacred the whole garrison, with-out distinction 
of age or sex.[REF: #30]

These events occurred at a period the most gloomy in the history of 
our frontier settlements, the most hapless in the melancholy record 
of the destiny of the red man. The jealousies between Great Britain 
and America were rapidly approaching to a crisis, and the prospect 
of a war between these nations opened a wide field for the turbulence 
of savage passion and the craft of savage intrigue. The extensive 
frontier of the United States, from the Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, 
became agitated. Emissaries, prophets, and mercenary traders were 
at work in every direction, having various interests and purposes, 
but alike bent upon setting all the elements of discord in motion. 

General William McIntosh,[REF: #31] a half-breed Creek, and one of
their head men from Coweta, was on a visit to the Cherokee nation, 
when the faithless and tragic outrage was perpetrated at Fort Mimms 
(1882); and. by order of the chiefs, he was escorted back to his own 
country by a chosen band of Cherokees, at the head of whom was Major 
RIDGE. On their arrival at Coweta, they found the council of the 
Creek nation assembled. The head chief, Big Warrior,[REF: #33] of Tuckabachee,[REF: #34] 
was there, endeavoring to devise measures to secure his people from 
the impending danger of a civil war and a war with the United States. 
The chiefs were in favor of a pacific policy, but they were overruled 
by a large majority, who, under the malign influence of the prophets, 
breathed only vengeance against the whites, and uncompromising hostility 
against every measure and every advocate of Christianity or civilization. 
The Big Warrior, having drawn a band of faithful friends about him 
for his present protection, applied to the United States authorities 
for assistance to put down this rebellion; and sent to the Cherokee 
nation a talk, together with a piece of Tobacco, tied with a string 
of various colored beads, to be smoked in their council. Major 
RIDGE was the bearer of the tobacco and the talk of the Creek 
chief, and in his name demanded aid to put down the Red Sticks, 
as the insurgent party were called [REF: #35]; and, in an animated 
speech, he urged the object of his mission before the council at 
Oostanalee. He maintained that the hostile portion of the Creeks, 
in making war against the whites, had placed the Cherokees in a 
condition which obliged them to take one side or the other. That 
in the unsettled state of the country, no distinction would be 
known but that of Indians and white men, and a hostile movement 
by any tribe would involve the whole in war. He insisted further, 
that if the Creeks were permitted to put down their chiefs, and 
be ruled by the prophets, the work of civilization would be 
subverted, and the Red Sticks, in their efforts to re-establish a 
state of barbarism, would destroy all the southern tribes. The 
council listened with attention, and having considered the 
arguments of RIDGE, declared that they would not interfere in the 
affairs of their neighbors, but would look on, and be at peace. 
"Then," said Major RIDGE, "I will act with volunteers. I call 
upon my friends to join me." A number of brave men, the most 
conspicuous persons in the nation, came forward; the people 
imbibed the spirit, until at last the chiefs were constrained to 
reverse their recent decision in council, and declare war.

The Government of the United States had, by this time, taken steps 
to punish the massacre at Fort Mimms, and to protect the border settlements. 
General White,[REF: #36] of Tennessee, with a body of the militia of that 
State, accompanied by Major RIDGE and a number of Cherokee 
warriors, marched into the Creek nation, and returned with many 
prisoners.

On his arrival at home, Major RIDGE sent runners through the nation 
to collect volunteers for another expedition, and, with the assistance 
of the other chiefs, raised eight hundred warriors, whom he led 
to the headquarters of General Jackson,[REF: #37] at the Ten Islands, 
in Alabama. Under this commander, destined to become eminently 
successful in his military exploits, the army moved towards the 
position of the Creeks, who occupied a fortified camp in a bend 
of the Talapoosa River, which from its shape was called the 
Horseshoe.[REF: #38] This little peninsula was connected with the 
mainland by a narrow isthmus, across which the Creeks had thrown 
a strong breastwork of logs, pierced with loopholes, while the 
remainder of the circumference was surrounded and protected by 
the deep river. Within the area was a town and camp, in the midst 
of which was a high post painted red, and at the top of this were 
suspended the scalps of the white people who had been slain in 
the war. The Creek warriors, naked, and painted red, danced round 
this pole, and assembled about it, to narrate their exploits in 
battle, for the purpose of exciting in each other the principle 
of emulation, and the desire of vengeance. General Jackson, with 
his usual energy of purpose, resolved to attack the enemy without 
delay. The main body of his army advanced upon the breastwork, 
while General Coffee,[REF: #39] with a detachment of the militia and 
the Cherokee allies, forded the Talapoosa below, and surrounded 
the bend of the river. It was not intended that this division 
should cross into the camp, nor were they provided with boats; 
but the Cherokees becoming anxious to join in the assault, two of 
them swam over the river, and returned with two canoes. A third 
canoe was secured by the activity of a Cherokee, who brought it 
from the middle of the river, after the Creeks who occupied it 
had been shot by the Tennessee riflemen. Major RIDGE was the 
first to embark; and in these three boats the Cherokees crossed, 
a few at a time, until the whole body had penetrated to the 
enemy's camp. A spirited attack was made upon the rear of the 
enemy, by which their attention was diverted from the breastwork, 
and material aid given to a daring charge then making upon it, by 
the regulars and militia. The breastwork was carried; the troops 
poured into the camp, the Indians pressed upon its rear, and the 
Creeks sought shelter behind numerous logs and limbs of forest 
trees, which had been strewn about to impede the advance of the 
assailants, and afford protection to themselves in the last 
resort. Here they fought with desperation. Thinned by the 
sharpshooters, and hemmed in on all sides, they scorned to ask 
for quarter- or, perhaps, unaccustomed to that courtesy of 
civilized warfare which allows the vanquished to claim his life, 
they knew not how to make the demand. They continued to fight, 
and to shout the war whoop, selling their blood dearly to the 
last drop. Driven at last from their lurking places, they plunged 
into the thicket of reeds that margined the river, but the sword 
and the tomahawk found them here, and their last dismal refuge 
was in the deep current of the Talapoosa. Here too the rifle-ball 
overtook them, and the vindictive Cherokees rushed into the water 
in the fury of the pursuit. Few escaped to report the tragic 
story of that eventful day.

Major RIDGE was a distinguished actor in this bloody drama; and 
we are told that he was the first to leap into the river in pursuit 
of the fugitives. Six Creek warriors, some of whom had been previously 
wounded, fell by his hand. As he attempted to plunge his sword in 
one of these, the Creek closed with him, and a severe contest ensued. 
Two of the most athletic of their race were struggling in the water 
for life or death, each endeavoring to drown the other. Major RIDGE, 
forgetting his own knife, seized one which his antagonist wore and 
stabbed him; but the wound was not fatal, and the Creek still fought 
with an equal chance of success, when he was stabbed with a spear 
by one of Major RIDGE's friends, and thus fell a hero who deserved 
a nobler fate.[REF: #40]

Thus ended the massacre of the "Horseshoe Bend", the recital of which we 
have made as brief as was consistent with fidelity to our task. We 
take no pleasure in recording these deeds of extermination; but they 
form a portion of history, and, unhappily, the story of border warfare 
is always the same; for it is always war embittered by party feud, 
personal injury, and individual hatred- a national quarrel aggravated 
by private griefs and inflamed by bad passions. 

After the Creek war, Major RIDGE visited Washington as a delegate 
from his nation, to President Madison, to adjust the northern boundary 
of their country; and he again represented his people on a similar 
mission during the administration of Mr. Monroe.[REF: #41] He had now 
become a prominent man, and when Alexander Saunders, an influential 
Cherokee, and the personal friend of Major RIDGE, proposed to divide 
the nation and organize a new council, it was chiefly through his 
exertions that the scheme was defeated.

After the death of Charles R. HICKS, the Cherokees were governed by 
John Ross, who, being a person of some education, led them to adopt 
a constitution and laws in imitation of those of the United States.[REF: #42] 
We pass over the controversy that ensued between the Cherokees and 
the State of Georgia, and between the latter and the United States, 
with the single remark that Georgia objected to the organization of 
a government by Indians within her limits; and insisted that the American 
Government should extinguish the title of the Cherokees, and 
remove them to other lands.[REF: #43] Major RIDGE had been among those 
who were opposed to the emigration of his people; he had favored 
the plan of establishing a regular government, and the 
introduction of education and Christianity, and had believed that 
these improvements could be more successfully cultivated by 
remaining in their own country than in a region of wilderness 
where all the temptations to a relapse into savage habits would 
be presented. But when, after a bitter and fruitless contest, it 
was found that Georgia adhered inflexibly to her determination, 
and the Government of the United States would not interfere,[REF: #44] 
he saw that sooner or later the weaker party must submit or be 
crushed, and he now used his influence to induce the Indians to 
remove to the new home pointed out to them.

His views were supported by the members of a delegation that visited 
Washington in 1832, and who, after appealing to the Government and 
conversing with many eminent public men and intelligent citizens, 
whose sympathies were strongly enlisted in their cause, came to the 
conclusion that it would be best to do at once that to which they 
would be finally compelled. John Ross with a majority of the Cherokees 
maintained a different policy, and an unhappy spirit of party was 
engendered by this diversity of opinion Major RIDGE was accused 
of entertaining opinions hostile to the interest and happiness of 
the people -was regularly impeached, and cited to appear before a 
council to be held in the autumn of 1833, to answer a charge of treason. 
But when the time arrived his accusers endeavored to put off the trial; 
betraying evidently their own convictions of his innocence, and their 
willingness to hold over him an accusation which, while neither established 
nor refuted, might neutralize his influence. This attempt, however, 
failed, and the charge was dismissed.

Major RIDGE is one of the very few individuals who, after being 
reared in the habits of the savage, have embraced the employments 
and comforts of civilized life. In youth we have seen him pursuing 
the chase for a livelihood, and seeking the war-path with all the 
Indian avidity for bloodshed and plunder. Gradually withdrawing from 
these occupations, he became a cultivator of the soil, a legislator, 
and a civil magistrate; exhibiting in each capacity a discretion and 
dignity of character worthy of a better education. His house resembled 
in no respect the wigwam of the Indian--it was the home of the patriarch, 
the scene of plenty and hospitality.

He showed the sincerity of his own conversion from barbarism by giving 
to his children the advantages of education, and rearing them in habits 
of morality and temperance. All of them have professed the Christian 
religion and sustained fair reputations; while Major RIDGE, 
surrounded by his descendants, enjoyed in his old age the respect 
and confidence earned by a long life of active industry and 
energetic public service, untill his killing on 22 June 1839.[REF: #45]


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Text - Copyright © 1996-2003 Paul R. Sarrett, Jr.
Created: Dec. 01, 1996; Apr. 24, 2003