“Are you Kituwah’s son?”
Cherokee Nationalism and the Civil War

By Patrick Minges
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
© Copyright 1994, 1998, All Rights Reserved
Used With Permission


Chaplain Reverend Lewis Downing of the First Cherokee Mounted Rifles awoke at the dawn of a new day, December 9, 1861. He stood amidst officers of the Creek and Cherokee Nations in what was to become the Kansas Indian Regiments of the Army of the United States of America. Among the warriors lie free Africans, maroons, and fugitive slaves from the deep south hoping to move "on to Kansas" and freedom on the border. There were many battles yet to come, but for this morning, Chaplain Downing felt safe.

Across the corn field lie what was left of the First Cherokee Mounted Rifles of the Army of the Confederate States of America under the leadership of Colonel John Drew. Behind Colonel Drew's men lie the seccessionist troops of Albert Pike's "Indian Brigades," including the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Regiment, the Choctaw Battallion, the 1st Creek Regiment and the Second Cherokee Mounted Rifles under Colonel Stand Watie. On the other side of the Confederate Army lie Chaplain Downing's home, his family, and the rest of the Cherokee Nation.

It was the issue of slavery that ripped the Cherokee Nation asunder leading up to the Civil War, but it was also something older and much deeper. Yet, for this moment as he looked about him, Chaplain Downing could see only the faces of those about him fleeing the racist slavocracy of the deep South and seeking “the promised land” of freedom and equality in Kansas. African faces fleeing slavery had long ago found refuge and identity among the full-bloods of the “Five Nations” of the Southeastern United States. Though the "underground railroad" which fled North was more famous, the flight South to freedom among the Seminole and Creek Nations was older and played an equally critical role in United States history. [1]

The rich tapestry of colors found amongst those who surrounded him reminded Chaplain Downing of the gospel message of equality brought to him by the missionaries. Chaplain Downing, an ordained Baptist minister, had found confirmation in the gospels for that which the had known all along; all humanity has a common origin and ultimately, a collective responsibility. This was the message that the first missionaries had brought to the Cherokee nation in the middle of the eighteenth century.

Christian Pryber, Jesuit missionary to the Cherokee from 1736-1743 had attempted to establish a "kingdom of paradise" among the Cherokee people. [2] Welcome in this paradise were all runaway slaves, African as well as Native American and "all others who would fly thither Justice or their Masters." [3] It was his pursuit of a vision of a strong and independent Cherokee Nation founded upon the notion of equality that got the visionary Pryber a prison cell and death and the hands of the English governors.

John Marrant, a free African minister, also brought this message of equality to the Cherokee and the Creek Nations in the years preceeding the Revolutionary War. Marrant, converted by the preaching of George Whitefield, had fled to the Cherokee Nation after his family had rejected him and his Christian mission to them. Living among the Cherokee nation, he adopted the social and cultural patterns of the Cherokee. Marrant's story of his life among the Cherokee is one of the enduring stories of colonial history and a critical text in African American literature. [4] Marrant went on to be a prominent member of the African-American Community, served in the Revolutionary War, and was one of the founding members of Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons, a militant nationalist/abolitionist organization. Early members of Prince Hall were ministers Richard Allen and Absolum Jones. [5]

The message of equality based upon a monogenetic theory of origins as preached by these early missionaries found ready acceptance among a people who failed to distinguish on the basis of race. All accounts of the Native American record "no evidence that the northern Indian made any distinction between Negro and white on the basis of skin color, at least, not in the early period and when uninfluenced by white settlers." [6] Among the people of the Chickamagua region and those who spoke the Kituwan dialect, there was a particular "ethnic openness" and the people were "more receptive to racial diversity within their towns than the mainstream Cherokees." [7]

In the latter part of the eighteenth century, white colonists began to recognize that, especially in areas such as S.C. and GA. where Africans and Indians outnumbered whites 4 to 1, a great need existed "to make Indians & Negro's a checque upon each other least by their Vastly Superior Numbers, we should be crushed by one or the other." [8] A key element element in this "divide and conquer" scheme was the new "civilization program" of the United States government which sought to change the economic base of Cherokee society by promoting a shift from a subsistence based agricultural system to a plantation based large-scale farming system.

George Washington's Indian policy stated that "missionaries of excellent moral character should be appointed to reside in their nation who should be well supplied with all the implements of husbandry and the necessary stock for a model farm." [9] It went further to state "It is particularly important that something of this nature should be attempted with the Southern nations of Indians, whose confined situation might render them proper subjects for the experiment." [10] With the establishment of the first model farms and missions among the Five Nations of the Southeastern United States, one of the key tools used in this civilization process was the implementation of African slaves as laborers in the building and operation of the model farms and missions. [11]

In order to accomodate this new outlook on life, the missionaries began to teach a new message concerning the origins of humanity. Gone was the message of equality, a new creation myth arose which spoke of a common origin but a specific curse upon the black race, which meant "that the negro must work for the red and white man, and it has been so ever since." [12] Some government agents attributed the progress made by the Five Nations to the growth of the practice of slavery among them; one such agent stated, "I am clearly of the opinion that the rapid advancement of the Cherokees is owing in part to the fact of their being slave holders." [13]

Encouraged by the missionaries, many of the indigenous people of the Southeast believed that by emulating white society, they would be accepted by the enveloping culture. The use of African bondsmen to develop large agricultural plantations was part of the "christianization/civilization" program. Its use spread especially among the upper class of mixed-blood members of the Cherokee Nation. Many of the highest political figures in the Cherokee Nation became slaveholders. [14]

Farms grew into plantations, buildings grew into towns. As the program of civilization pursued its goals, slavery spread among the Cherokee. Individuals who held positions of power and land began to grow wealthy and to buy black slaves to extend their fields and tend to their livestock. Intermarriage among the Cherokee and the whites who served among them increased; mixed-blood natives who spoke English began to adopt the social and cultural patterns of the missionaries and white farmers who surrounded them, including slavery. Gradually the Cherokee developed a landed elite and a small group of shopkeepers and entrepreneurs formed a bourgeois element that became dominant in national affairs. It was among this group of the rich and powerful, the assimilated peoples of the Cherokee Nation, that slavery became most accepted. [15]

Yet, the adoptance of the "civilization" plan and its slavery component was by no means accepted by large numbers of people within the Cherokee nation. A decisive split occurred within the nations as to those who pursued the path of assimilation, commonly referred to as "progressives," and those who clung to traditional religious, social, and political values, the "conservatives." Especially in the light of a pan-Indian religious awakening inspired by Tecumseh/Tenskwatawa that spread among the nations in the east in the early nineteenth century, many of the full blooded members of the Southeastern Nations rebelled against assimilation by reasserting the traditional methods of living. This left little room for colonial institutions, including slavery, among large populations of the of full-blooded members of the Southeastern Nations who did not adopt plantation agriculture and mercantile capitalism. [16]

In the late 1820's, the abolition movement spread among the Cherokee of North Carolina near where Lewis Downing was born; the Cherokee American Colonization Society was formed in 1828. Cherokee David Walker spoke for many full-blood Cherokees in 1825 when he said, "There are some Africans among us;... they are generally well treated and they much prefer living in the nation as a residence in the United States...The presumption is that the Cherokees will, at no distant date, cooperate with the humane efforts of those who are liberating and sending this prescribed race to the land of their fathers." [17] Even before Baptist missionary John Jones began to preach his abolitionist message among the Cherokee, there is little doubt that the message had found deep roots among them. [18]

In 1827, the Cherokee people took what it considered its final steps towards "civilization" by the establishment of a constitution, a bicameral legislature, a judicial system, and an electoral process which elected John Ross as principal chief. [19] The Cherokee leaders, in order to reflect the racism it perceived a critical component to white "civilization," set forth provisions in the Cherokee Consitution which prohibited blacks from voting or holding office. It also saw free blacks as "intruders" and denied their right to live among the Cherokee with specific written permission from the Cherokee Nation. [20]

According to treaty negotiations among sovereign states, the Cherokee believed themselves to be a free and independent nation located within a loose confederation of states. However, in 1828, the people of the United States elected Andrew Jackson, noted Indian fighter and slave holder, to the presidency of the United States. Less than a month after his inauguration and in his first message to Congress, Andrew Jackson set forth his plan for the removal of all of the Southeastern Indian nations to lands west of the Mississippi River. Eleven days after Jackson's message to Congress, the state of Georgia (bolstered by "their man in the White House") nullified all Cherokee laws, prohibited the Cherokee government from meeting, and ordered the arrest of anyone opposing emigration westward. [21]

The relationship between slavery and removal was not one that was lost upon the Cherokees, though their understanding of the situation was propelled by a different focus. Following a sermon by Northern Baptist minister Evan Jones in one of the Valley Towns of North Carolina, a discussion ensued regarding what sins could have turned God's face away from the Cherokee Nation. "God cannot be pleased with slavery," said one of the Cherokees. There followed "some discussion respecting the expediency of setting slaves at liberty." When one of those present noted that freeing the slaves might cause more harm than good, a native Baptist preacher replied, "I never heard tell of any hurt coming from doing right." [22]

In the fall of 1835, a movement to free the African slaves that lived in the Cherokee nation was put into motion by several "influential men" of the nation. They were making arrangements to emancipate the slaves and receive them as Cherokee citizens. The following December, the "treaty party" of the largely assimilated slave-owning Cherokees associated with John Ridge, Elias Boudinot and Stand Watie, signed the Treaty of New Echota which relinquished all lands east of the Mississippi and agreed to migrate to the Indian Territory beyond the Mississippi. [23] According to American Board missionary Elizur Butler, the Treaty of New Echota prevented the abolition of slavery within the Cherokee nation. [24]

In the spring of 1838, the process of removal began for the Cherokee. An African-American member of the Cherokee Nation described the process:

The weeks that followed General Scott's order to remove the Cherokees were filled with horror and suffering for the unfortunate Cherokees and their slaves. The women and children were driven from their homes, sometimes with blows and close on the heels of the retreating Indians came greedy whites to pillage the Indian's homes, drive off their cattle, horses, and pigs, and they even rifled the graves for any jewelry, or other ornaments that might have been buried with the dead.

The Cherokees, after having been driven from their homes, were divided into detachments of nearly equal size and late in October, 1838, the first detachment started, the others following one by one. The aged, sick and young children rode in the wagons, which carried provisions and bedding, while others went on foot. The trip was made in the dead of winter and many died from exposure from sleet and snow, and all who lived to make this trip, or had parents who made it, will long remember it, as a bitter memory. [25]

A Georgia volunteer was later to remark on the cruelty imposed upon the Indians on the Trail of Tears, "I fought through the civil war and have seen men shot to pieces and slaughtered by thousands, but the Cherokee removal was the cruelest work I ever knew." [26]

However, what for the Cherokee became known as "the trail where we cried" [27] was for the Africans amidst the Cherokee Nation an exodus. [28] Large numbers of slaves and free africans fled with the Cherokee and the other southern nations to Indian Territory. The route to Oklahoma was blazed by African-Americans: "my grandparents were helped and protected by very faithful Negro slaves who...went ahead of the wagons and killed any wild beast who came along." [29] In spite of the fact that there were given the responsibility to guard with "axes and guns" the caravans at night, few of the slaves made their escape. The entire maroon community from among the Seminoles was granted freedom by the U.S. Government and relocated among the Creeks and the Cherokee. [30] By the outbreak of the Civil War, the African-American population within the Cherokee nation would amount to about 20% of the nation. [31]

It was about the time of removal that another peculiar institution arose within the “Five Nations, and began to spread throughout the Indian Territory. J. Fred Latham describes this phenomena in The Story of Oklahoma Masonry:

A number of the Indian Chiefs and other leaders had received their Masonic degrees in Washington, D.C., while there on official business. They, with the officers and enlisted men in the Army taking them to Indian Territory were members of the Craft. Seemingly this was the first time that any considerable number of Masons were domiciled in this area.

The history of the Indian Territory, and indeed that of freemasonry in the present state of Oklahoma, is so closely interwoven with that of the Five Civilized Tribes it would be difficult--almost impossible--and entirely undesirable to attempt to seperate them. [32]

Cherokee Lodge No. 10 was chartered in Tahlequah, the Capital of the Cherokee Nation on November 8, 1848 by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. The officers were sworn in at Supreme Court Headquarters on Keetoowah St. on July 12, 1849; it is the first lodge of Masons established among Native Americans. [33]

Once in the "Indian Territory" of Oklahoma, the dissension that had led up to the removal of the Cherokee Nation continued with a vengeance. Following the assassination of prominent members of the "Treaty Party," a factional dispute ripped through the Cherokee Nation with the killings on both sides being so great as to bring it to the brink of civil war. [34] Though the dispute was largely between the "Treaty Party" and the "mountain Indians" who were the last to be removed, the factionalism also broke down quite evenly among those "ardent and enterprising" Cherokees who owned 90% of the nation's slaves and those "ignorant and but slightly progressed in moral and intellectual improvement" who owned few, if any, slaves. [35] Aside from the impact of the factional dispute among the Cherokee themselves, Baptist missionary Evan Jones was censured by the American Board for having "taken a decided and earnest political course...[and being] not disposed apparently to exercise due watchfulness over the churches." [36]

In 1846, due to the outstanding leadership of Cherokee Chief John Ross, the disputes were ameliorated to the point in which a sense of placidity began to spread through the Cherokee Nation. To nearly everyone's amazement enemies John Ross and Stand Watie shook hands at the signing of the Treaty of 1846, pledging themselves to peace, harmony, and general welfare of the reunited Cherokee Nation. In this period of prosperity the Cherokee Nation began to reclaim its heritage and struggled to distance itself from the cruel legacy of forced displacement. Many members of the Cherokee Nation were meeting with prosperity and making great strides in education, political, and social autonomy. However, the gap between the rich and the poor (the assimilated and the full-bloods) began to widen and the cultural chasm within the Cherokee Nation began to reflect the economic one. [37] As this chasm widened, it laid the foundations for the coming struggle over the issue of slavery.

The years 1846-1855 continued to be prosperous ones for the Cherokee Nation, but they were ones where the issue of slavery moved from the background of the factional struggle between conservatives and progressives and came to eclipse all the issues that beset this new nation. The number of slaves within the Cherokee nation had grown immensely in the years following removal; in 1839 slaves represented ten percent of the Nation but by 1860 they represented nearly twenty-five percent. The 4,000 slaves in the Cherokee Nation were owned by ten percent of the population. [38] Slave revolts among the Cherokee in 1842, 1846, and 1847, (following the preaching of abolitionist ministers) solidified the Cherokee elite in the belief of the efficacy and importance of slavery. [39]

Among the full-bloods (who were largely Northern Baptists as opposed to the elite who were often Southern Baptists and Methodists), the abolitionist message continued to spread and gain strength. Only 5 of the 1100 Cherokee Baptists owned slaves and fifty slaves were members of the Baptist missions even though their owners were not. Even though the Baptist missionaries never publicly preached against slavery, the Cherokees came to "look forward to the extinction of slavery." [40] According to Baptist missionary Evan Jones, noted that among the strongest opponents of slavery were the native preachers who "are decidedly and steadfastly opposed to slavery....We have no apology to make for slavery nor a single argument to urge in its defence, and our sincere desire and earnest prayer is that it may be speedily brought to an end." [41] Federal agent George Butler wrote that the Northern Baptist missionaries were "fanatically pursuing a course which, if persisted in, must lead to mischievous and pernicious consequences." [42]

In 1854, the issue of slavery continued to be plague the Cherokee Nation and the even more troublesome issue of "Southern Rights" arose within the Cherokee Nation. John Ross and the leadership of the Cherokee Nation struggled to maintain a position of neutrality, which was exceedingly difficult considering the location of the Cherokee Nation deep within the South and the proximity of "bleeding Kansas." However, in 1854 the Ross party lost votes to an increasingly hard-line Southern-Rights party that believed an alliance with white southerners in the defense of slavery would be the best course for the nation. The pro slavery Southern Rights party was largely composed of those pro-assimilationist "Treaty Party" members who represented the elite ten-percent of the Nation. [43]

In 1855, Chief John Ross discovered the emergence of "a secret society organized in Delaware and Saline Districts" dedicated to the promotion of slavery and the removal of abolitionist interests from the Cherokee Nation. [44] Forming the core of this "sinister plot" were members of the so-called "Blue Lodges" (Freemasons) that had been organized by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. The Grand Lodge of Arkansas was being used effectively in the promotion of the pro-Southern effort in Kansas and Oklahoma from Arkansas. [45] Many of the pro-slavery factions in the Cherokee Nation had ties to Arkansas. John Ross, a Freemason himself, believed that these elements were spreading the pro-southern message among the "Blue Lodges" within the Cherokee Nation.

Some of the members of the "Blue Lodges" later formed the "Knights of the Golden Circle," an organization that functioned somewhere in the blurred regions between Freemasonry and the Ku Klux Klan. [46] The Constitution of the Knights of the Golden Circle, as chartered on August 28, 1860 states:

“No person shall become a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle in the Cherokee Nation who is not a pro-slavery man...

The Captain, or in case of his refusal, then the Lieutenant has the power to compell each and every member of their encampments to turn out and assist in capturing and punishing any and all abolitionists in their minds who are interfering with slavery....

You do solemnly swear that you will keep all the secrets of this order and that you will, to the best of your abilities protect and defend the interests of the Knights of the Golden Circle in this Nation, so help you God.” [47]

The leader of the Knights of the Golden Circle was Stand Watie, a Freemason, and members of the Knights of the Golden Circle included many of the elites of the Cherokee Nation, John Rollin Ridge; Elias Boudinot; William Penn Adair; James Bell -- all leaders of the Southern Rights party. [48]

The leadership of the Northern Baptist Churches of the Cherokee Nation sought a mechanism to respond to the growing militancy of the Cherokees now associated with "Confederate" Cherokee Stand Watie. [49] At the encouragement of Chief John Ross, the Baptists missionaries Evan and John Jones approached the native ministers who met with the concerned laypersons of their missions. Those most committed to "loyalty" to the United States and to their people formed the Keetoowah Society within the Peavine Baptist Church, in the Going-Snake district of the Cherokee Nation. Reverend John B. Jones, a Freemason, worked with the Peavine Baptist Church's native miniisters Lewis Downing and Budd Gritts to organize, or reorganize the the Keetoowah Society. [50]

The Keetoowah Society sought to combine the traditional religion of the Cherokee with the virtues of the newly acquired Christianity. It also sought to preserve Cherokee sovereignty by establishing full-blood dominance in the political and social affairs of the Nation. Finally, it believed that the more the Cherokee Nation disestablished its ties with the institution of slavery, the better it could sustain its own national identity and control its own sovereignty. It is these basic concerns that led to the organization of the Keetoowah Society. [51]

Derived from the Cherokee term "Ani-kitu-hwagi" meaning "the real people," the name Keetoowah was synonymous with the fullblood element of the Cherokee Nation. Members of the Keetoowah society believe that their name comes from God and bespeaks their special relationship with the divine. [52] The name Keetoowah also refers to an ancient town North Carolina that formed the nucleus of the most conservative elements of the Cherokee Nation. It was also with this most conservative element that the opposition to the enslavement of Africans first spread. [53] Many fullblood Cherokees having been slaves themselves in the mid-eighteenth century, opposition to slavery ran deep. [54]

A central element in the belief system of the Keetoowah Society is its focus upon national/spiritual identity and the preservation of cultural integrity. The Reverend Budd Gritts, the fullblood Baptist preacher of Peavine Church, detailed the aims of the organization in the The Constitution of the Keetoowah Society:

As lovers of the government of the Cherokees, loyal members of Keetoowah Society, in the name of the mass of the people, we began to study and inves tigate the way our nation was going on, so much different from the long past history of our Keetoowah forefathers who loved and lived as free people and had never surrendered to anybody: They loved one another for they were just like one family, just as if they had been raised from one family. They all came as a unit to their fire to smoke, to aid one another and to protect their government with what little powder and lead they had to use in protecting it...

Now let us Cherokees study the condition of our government. We are separated into two parts and cannot agree and they have taken lead of us. It is clear to see that the Federal Government has two political parties, North and South. South are the people who took our lands away from us which lands the Creator had given to us, where our forefathers were raised. Their greed was the worst kind; they had no love and they are still following us to put their feet on us to get the last land we have. It is plain that they have come in on us secretly, different organizations are with them and they have agreed to help one another in everything. They control our political offices because our masses of the people are not organized.

We therefore now declare and bind ourselves together the same as under our oaths to abide by our laws and assist one another. There must he a confidential captain and lodges in numerous places and confidential meetings, the time and place to he designated by the captains. But we shall continue on making more laws. If any member divulges any secret to any other organization it shall be considered that he gave up thereby his life. But every time the meet they must fully explain what their society stands for. They must have a membership roll in order to reorganize one another.

... Our secret society shall be named Keetoowah. All of the members of the Keetoowah Society shall be like one family. It should be our intention that we must abide with each other in love...We must not surrender under any circumstance until we shall "fall to the ground united." We must lead one another by the hand with all our strength. Our government is being destroyed. We must resort to bravery to stop it." [55]

According to historian T.L. Ballenger, national identity and spiritual integrity were congruent for the Keetoowah: "with them the Great Spirit and national patriotism seemed to be synonymous terms. They were supposed to stand for the autonomy of the Cherokee race--to keep it pure from within and free from outside interference and intermixture with other peoples." [56] From its beginnings, the Keetoowah Society limited its membership to full-blood, non-literate in English, Cherokee speaking citizens of the Cherokee Nation. [57]

Albert Pike, a Freemason and friend of John Ross, was appointed Confederate Commissioner to the Indian Nations in May 15, 1861. [58] On May 17, 1861 Chief John Ross declared the Cherokee Nation's neutrality concerning the Civil War by emphasizing that the Cherokee wished to “take no part in the present deplorable state of affairs” and hoped that “they should not be called upon to participate in the threatened fratricidal war...” [59] The following day, Stand Watie was approached by Southern agents and encouraged to “join in our efforts for mutual defense” by forming Confederate Cherokee batallions and assured that they would be armed within weeks. On July 12, 1861, Stand Watie was commissioned a Colonel in the Confederate States of America Army and his battalion was stationed near the Arkansas border. [60]

On the eve of the Civil War, a chasm located specifically along racial, economic, and political lines ripped the Cherokee Nation asunder. On the one side lay the “progressives” of the Southern Rights party who sought to align themselves with the South and the enveloping culture of slavery; on the other lay the “conservatives” who believed that Cherokee national identity lie with the interests of “the people” and the preservation of the Cherokee Nation. Nowhere was this struggle more evident than in an incident in June, 1861 in which a Baptist minister who had left the Keetoowah Society was held accountable to his code of honor:

The Native Minister, an inoffensive and pious man, was murdered -- callled out of his house at night and shot; he ran -- they followed him and cut his throat. The cause is hard to ascertain. Three rumors here: 1st, Because he would not leave the Southern Baptist Church...2nd, Because he had withdrawn from a secret organization known here by the term `Pins,' he refusing to be united [with them] again; 3rd, Because of his money, of which everybody that knew him knew that he did not have one red cent. [61]

In July, a company of pro-Southern Cherokees led by Stand Watie attempted to raise the Confederate flag over the Cherokee Nation. Senator William Doublehead and 150 full-bloods confronted the Confederate Cherokees and bloodshed was only narrowly averted by the intervention of John Drew, a member of Chief John Ross's family. [62]

On August 21, 1861, Chief John Ross addressed a meeting of some four thousand Cherokee meeting to discuss the Nation's stand in the coming Civil War and encouraged them to maintain neutrality: “the great object with me has been to have the Cherokee people's harmonious and united in the free exercise and enjoyment of all their rights of person and property. Union is strength; dissension is weakness, misery, ruin.” [63] When the discussion was over, the Cherokee Nation had maintained its unity, but lost its neutrality. The Cherokee Nation became the last great nation to side with the Confederate States of America when it signed a treaty on October 7, 1861. [64]

Two Confederate regiments were raised by the Cherokee Nation. Brigadier General Ben McCulloch of the Confederate Army described them: “Colonel Drew's Regiment will be mostly full-bloods, whilst those with Col. Stand Watie will be half-breeds, and good soldiers anywhere, in or out of the Nation.” [65] The membership in the two units fell directly upon party lines and membership in the corresponding secret societies. The largest part of the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles were members of the Keetoowah Society and supporters of John Ross; most of the 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles were members of the Knights of the Golden Circle and followers of Colonel Stand Watie. [66] The leadership of both parties was composed of former Freemasons from Cherokee Lodge #21, Fort Gibson Lodge #35, and Flint Lodge #74. [67]

Reverend Lewis Downing, ordained Baptist minister, was 38 years old when he was appointed Chaplain of the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles. [68] John Drew's Regiment was not only largely composed of Keetoowah, but many of them were from the paramilitary branch of the Keetoowah called the “Pins.” “Pin Indians” were called such because they wore two crossed pins on their lapels. The “Pins” had other signs such as touching their hats or the lapels on their jackets in a certain manner when they encountered each other. When going into battle, “Pins” would wear strips of split corn husk in their hair. At night when two Pins met, a password was required, “Who are you?” The reply was “Tahlequah -- who are you?” The proper response was, “I am Keetoowah's son.” [69]

In addition to being minister at Peavine Baptist Church, Lewis Downing was also head of the Cherokee Baptist Missionary Society and, as such, engaged in frequent missions to the Creek Nation. Pastor Downing often preached to congregations and camp-meetings of Muscogean and African citizens of the Creek Nation. [70] It is well known that the Mucogean people were much more integrated than any other Southern Nation. [71] It was to these people that Downing spread the gospel of abolition as well as the message of unity, organization and activism which were at the heart of the Keetoowah Society. Among those members of the Upper Creek Nation were those who had participated in the “Red Stick” rebellion and had fought a tremendous war against removal. Some of these traditional people adopted the Keetoowah message and became “Pin” Indians. [72]

The leader of the Muscogean “Pins” was Chief Opothleyahola, a Freemason and former leader of the “Red Stick” rebellion.Opothleyahola believed that the Muscogean people should remain neutral in the Civil War. He and his followers, accounting for at least one third of the Muscogean people, criticized the Creek Nation for siding with the Confederacy and set about a policy of resistance. [73] When the Creek Nation passed a law giving free Negroes within the Creek nation ten days to “choose a master” or face the trading block, many chose Chief Opothleyahola. [74] Free Africans, runaway slaves, as well as large numbers of Chickasaw and Seminole began to flee to Chief Opothleyahola's two thousand acres in the Creek Nation. [75] The prospect of armed resistance by Africans and Native Americans (as had been experienced in the Second Seminole War - the costliest war in American history prior to the Civil War) was a grave fear for the Confederacy. [76]

When members of his followers faced forced conscription, Chief Opothleyahola saw no recourse but to take his assembled band of dissidents and refugees and attempt to cross the border to Kansas where he believed that the Federal Army would protect them. [77] Believing that his Keetoowah brothers in the Cherokee Nation, or perhaps having an agreement of the sort, Opothleyahola set forth plans in September to flee across the Cherokee Nation to Kansas. When approached by Chief John Ross and Albert Pike (both Freemasons) to discuss the matter, Chief Opothleyahola refused to meet with anyone associated with the Confederacy. [78] David McIntosh, a Creek leader, wrote to John Drew of Chief Opothleyahola and his followers:

It is now certain that he has combined with his party all the surrounding wild tribes and has openly declared himself the enemy of the South. Negroes are fleeing to him from all quarters -- not less than 150 have left within the last three days. [this rebellion] should be put down immediately...I hope you will come in all haste and join in an undertaking for the interest of all...this state of things cannot long exist here without seriously effecting your country. [79]

General Ben McCulloch, the Confederate Commander in Arkansas, ordered Drew's regiment to “proceed without delay” and join forces with Colonel Daniel McIntosh's and Colonel Douglas Cooper's command to move against Chief Opothleyahola's band of nearly 10,000 refugees, including 1500 Creek soldiers and 700 armed blacks. McIntosh's and Cooper's troops caught up with Opothleyahola's troops near Bird Creek before Drew's regiment could arrive. [80]

Colonel Drew's Cherokee forces hurried to make their rendezvous with the Army of the Confederate States at Bird Creek on December 7, 1861. Following encampment at Camp Melton on that evening and the capture of Creek scouts, several members of the Keetoowah Society met and planned what would be their course of action over the next several days. The next day Chief Opothleyahola sent of message to Colonel Cooper of the Army of the Confederacy “expressing a desire to make peace.” Following a meeting between Colonel Drew and Colonel Cooper, members of Drew's regiment were to be sent to the opposing camp, expressing the concern that “they did not desire the shedding of blood among Indians.”

The peace delegation sent from Drew's delegation was composed entirely of officers (including Chaplain Lewis Downing) who were led to Chief Opotheyahola's camp by the Creek scouts who had been captured earlier. After the officers had fled to Opotheyahola's camp, the remaining Keetoowah spread the rumor among the regiment of an impending assault by an overwhelming force of Africans and Native-Americans under the leadership of the former Red-Stick Opotheyahola. Unwilling to fight against their brother Keetoowahs in the opposing camp, three-quarters of Drew's regiment tied cornhusks in their hair and made their way across the cornfield to the other side. As they passed one another, the Keetoowah brothers would ask “Who are you?” The reply from the other side would come, “Tahlequah -- who are you?” Defenses were lowered and unity restored with the words, “I am Keetoowah's son.” [81] In all, some six hundred Confederate soldiers would desert and join Chief Opotheyahola's forces and eventually the Army of the United States of America. [82]

On December 9, 1861 the Civil War within the Cherokee Nation began:

They called the old Creek, who was leaving for the North, “Old Gouge.” All our family join up with him, and there was lots of Creek Indians and slaves in the outfit when they made a break for the North. The runaways was riding ponies stolen from their masters.

When they get to the hilly country farther north in that country that belonged to the Cherokee Indians, they made a big camp on a big creek and there the Rebel Indian soldiers caught up, but they was fought back.

The Creek Indians and the slaves with them tried to fight off them soldiers like they did before, but they get scattered around and seperated so they lose the battle. Lost their horses and wagons, and the soldiers killed lots of Creeks and Negroes, and some of the slaves were captured and carried back to their masters....Dead all over the hills when we get away; some of the Negroes shot and wounded so bad the blood run down the saddle skirts, and some fell off their horses miles from the battle ground, and lay still on the ground. Daddy and Uncle Jacob keep our family together somehow and head across the line into Kansas. [83]

In spite of Colonel Cooper's contention that “they did not desire the shedding of blood among Indians,” the Civil War within the Cherokee Nation was a terrible and fearsome ordeal:

The events of the war brought to them more of the desolation and ruin than perhaps to any other community. Raided and saced alternately, not only by Confederate and Union forces, but by the vindictive ferocity and hate of their own factional divisions, their country became a blackened and desolate waste. Driven from comfortable homes, exposed to want, misery, and the elements, they perished like sheep in a snowstorm. Their houses, fences, and other improvements were burned, their orchards destroyed, their flocks and herds were slaughtered or driven off, their schools broken up, their schoolhouses given to the flames, and their churches and public buildings subjected to a similar fate; and that entire portion of their country which had been occupied by their settlements was distinguishable from the virgin prarie only by the scorched and blackened chimneys and the plowed but now neglected fields. [84]

By the time the war was over in 1866, seven thousand Cherokee had lost their lives; this amounted to from 1/4 to 1/3 of the Cherokee Nation. [85] No state suffered greater losses than did the Indian Territory in the Civil War. [86] General Stand Watie of the Knights of the Golden Circle was the last General of The Confederate States of America to surrender. With Watie's surrender, the Civil War within the Cherokee Nation was over.

The Cherokee treaty was completed in Washington, D.C. on July 19, 1866. The terms of the treaty stipulated that the Cherokee Nation was “brought back under the protection of the United States.” The treaty followed up on an 1863 Keetowah decision by abolishing slavery within the Cherokee Nation and granting tribal citizenship to all former slaves and freedman residing in the Cherokee Nation. However, using the Five Nations participation in the Civil War as an excuse, the federal government seized eight thousand acres of Cherokee lands, granted the railways right of passage on Cherokee Lands, and settled members of other nations on Cherokee lands. [87]

Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Downing of the Union 3d Kansas Indian Home Guard regiment helped craft the Treaty of 1866 which abolished slavery within the Cherokee Nation and made former slaves citizens of the Cherokee Nation. Following Chief John Ross's death in August of 1866, Lewis Downing became acting principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation until William P. Ross was elected Chief in October. When the younger Ross sought to exclude the former Confederate Cherokee from the Cherokee nation, Downing (with the assistance of of the Reverend Evan Jones) unseated him by forming a coalition party made up of former enemies. In 1867, Downing was elected Principal Chief and remained so until his death in 1872. The Downing Party kept the Nation together even through the terrible struggle that came when Senator Henry Dawes of Massachusetts decided the government of the Cherokee was too much like “Henry George's system.” [88]

Following the deaths of Downing in 1872 and Evan Jones in 1876, the Keetoowah Society would not be able to survive the struggle over the Dawes Allotment Act intact. In 1889, the Constitution and Laws of Government of the Keetoowah Society was changed so that the organization became more of a political entity than a religious one. From this period on, the differences between the “Christian Keetoowahs” and the “Ancient Keetoowahs” became more marked and a lack of harmony ensued. [89] To this day, the Keetoowah remain split between the United Keetoowah Band and the Nighthawk Keetoowahs. [90]

In a curious footnote, Cherokee Freemasonic Lodge #21 had difficulty gaining reinstatement of its charter from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas following the Civil War. From 1867-1877, the Lodge applied repeatedly for reinstatement by was refused repeatedly. It seems that the lodge had been divided by the Civil War and leading members of Cherokee Lodge #21 had sympathized with the North. Even though the lodge was preserved, its charter intact, and its membership consistent, Cherokee Lodge #21 was never reorganized. In 1877, Cherokee Lodge #10 was organized and granted a charter by the Grand Lodge of Indian Territory. From that day forward, Cherokee Lodge #10 has continued to function within the Cherokee Nation. [91]


Footnotes

[1] For excellent surveys and discussions of this phenomenon, see Kenneth W. Porter, Relations Between Negroes and Indians Within the Present United States (Washington, D.C.: The Association for Negro Life and History, 1931); J. Leitch Wright, The Only Land They Knew:The Tragic Story of the American Indian in the Old South (New York: Free Press, 1981) ; Jack Forbes, Africans and Native Americans: The Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black Peoples (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993); George Foster, Negro-Indian Relations in the Southeast (Philadelphia, n.p. 1935); William McLoughlin, "Red, White, and Black in the Antebellum South" in The Cherokee Ghost Dance: Essays on the Southeastern Indians (Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1984) Joel Martin, Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees Struggle for a New World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991); Joshua Giddings, The exiles of Florida: or, The crimes committed by our government against the Maroons, who fled from South Carolina and other slave states, seeking protection under Spanish laws. (Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster and Company., 1858) . Kevin Mulroy, Freedom on the Border (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1993) J. Leitch Wright, Creeks and Seminoles, (Lincoln: University. of Nebraska Press, 1986); Daniel Littlefield, Africans and Seminoles Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977, The Cherokee freedmen: from emancipation to American citizenship. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978, Africans and Creeks: from the colonial period to the Civil War . Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979; Theda Perdue, Slavery and the Evolution of Cherokee Society 1540-1866 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979).

[2] Verner Crane, a later historian would refer to the utopia as a "communistic establishment." It was the attempt to limit such “Henry George” style socialism among the Indians that led to the development of the Dawes Allotment Act in the latter half of the 19th century which dismantled collective ownership of property in many of the Native American Nations.

[3] Verner F. Crane "The Lost Utopia on the American Frontier." Sewanee Review, XXVII (1919), 48.

[4] See John Marrant, A Narrative of the Life of John Marrant, of New York, in North America With [an] account of the conversion of the king of the Cherokees and his daughter, (London: C.J. Farncombe, n.d.); Arthur Schomburg, “Two Negro Missionaries to the American Indians, John Marrant and John Stewart, in The Journal of Negro History, v. xxi, n.1, January, 1936; Henry Louis Gates, “Writing Race and the Difference it Makes” in Critical Inquiry, V 12, n1, 1985; Henry Louis Gates, “The Blackness of Blackness - A Critique of the Sign and the Signifying Monkey,” in Critical Inquiry, v. 9, n4, 1983; Rafia Zafar, Capturing the Captivity: African Americans among the Puritans. The Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS), Amherst, MA., vol. 17 no. 2, 1991-1992 Summer, 19-35; Benilde Montgomery, “Recapturing John Marrant” in Shuffelton, Frank (ed.). A Mixed Race: Ethnicity in Early America. New York: Oxford UP, 1993. viii, 105-15.

[5] See Harry E. Davis, A History of Freemasonry Among Negroes in America, (N.Y.: United Supreme Council, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Northern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., 1946); Harry Williamson, Prince Hall Primer, N.Y.: n.p. , 1946; Martin Delaney, The Origins and Objects of Ancient Freemasonry, Its Introduction into the United States and Legitimacy among Colored Men, (Pittsburgh, n.p., 1853); William Muraskin, Middle Class Blacks in a White Society:Prince Hall Freemasonry in America, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975). Loretta J. Williams, Black Freemasonry and Middle-class Realities, (Columbia : University of Missouri Press, 1980).

[6] Kenneth W. Porter, Relations Between Negroes and Indians Within the Present United States (Washington, D.C.: The Association for Negro Life and History, 1931,) 16. See also William McLoughlin, The Cherokee Ghost Dance: Essays on the Southeastern Indians (Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1984) 266; Theda Perdue, Slavery and the Evolution of Cherokee Society 1540-1866 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979) 36.

[7] The Chickamagua towns were composed of those Cherokees who had fled west from the encroaching Virginians and established five new towns on the western border with the Creek Nation. These towns were noted for their racial diversity and openness to people of all nationality. They were seen as being “ethnically open in a way that the older [Cherokee] towns were not.” Tom Hatley, The Dividing Path: Cherokees and South Carolinians therough the Revolutionary Era. ( New York; Oxford University Press, 1995) 225.

[8] William S. Willis, Jr., "Divide and Rule:Red, White, and Black in the Southeast," Journal of Negro History, 48 (1963): 165; Luis Rachames, “ The Sources of Racial Thought in Colonial America” Journal of Negro History, 52 (1967): 251-272; Gary Nash, “The image of the Indian in the southern colonial mind.” William and Mary Quarterly 29 (2 1972): 197-230; John J. Lofton, “White, Indian, and Negro Contacts in Colonial South Carolina.” Southern Indian Studies 1 (1949): 3-12. Donald Horowitz, “Color Differentiation in the American System of Slavery.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 3 (1973): 509-541; Lerone Bennett, “The Road Not Taken:Colonies Turn Fateful Fork by Systematically Dividing the Races.” Ebony 25 (August 1970 1970): 71-77.

[9] American State Papers:Indian Affairs, Vols. I and II, Documents, Legislative and Executive of the Congress of theUnited States, ed. Walter Lowrie, Walter S. Franklin, and Matthew St. Clair Clarke (Washington, D.C.: Gales and Seaton,1832,1834), Vol I, 53.

[10] ibid.

[11] Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallis, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993), 26; Perdue, 54. Michael D. Roethler, “Negro slavery among the Cherokee Indians, 1540-1866.” (1964) Ph.D. Dissertation, Fordham University.

[12] McLoughlin, The Cherokee Ghost Dance: Essays on the Southeastern Indians, 257.

[13] George Butler in Commisioner of Indian Affairs, Report, 1859, p. 712.

[14] Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallis, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993), 77-78; Robert T. Lewit, The Conflict of Evangelical and Humanitarian Ideals: A Case Study (MA Thesis, Harvard University, 1959), 35-53; Micael D. Roethler, “Negro slavery among the Cherokee Indians, 1540-1866.” (1964) Ph.D. Dissertation, Fordham University; Laurence Foster, Negro-Indian Relationships in the Southeast. Philadelphia: Thesis (PH. D.)-University of Pennsylvania, 1931, 1935; J.B. Davis, “Slavery in the Cherokee Nation.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 11 (1933): 1056-72.

[15] Mankiller and Wallis, 123. see also William Gerald McLoughlin,. Champions of the Cherokees: Evan and John B. Jones. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990; After the Trail of Tears: the Cherokees' struggle for sovereignty, 1839-1880. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993. William G. McLoughlinand Walter H. Conser. The Cherokees and Christianity, 1794-1870: essays on Acculturation and Cultural Persistence. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994); Lewis Gray, History of Agriculture in the Southeastern United States. New York: 1933.

[16] See Joel Martin, Sacred Revolt : the Muskogees' Struggle for a New World. Boston : Beacon Press, 1991. Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallis, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. Joshua Giddings, The exiles of Florida: or, The crimes committed by our government against the Maroons, who fled from South Carolina and other slave states, seeking protection under Spanish laws. (Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster and Company., 1858) . Kevin Mulroy, Freedom on the Border (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1993) J. Leitch Wright, Creeks and Seminoles, (Lincoln: University. of Nebraska Press, 1986); Daniel Littlefield, Africans and Seminoles: Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977, The Cherokee freedmen: from emancipation to American citizenship. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978, Africans and Creeks: from the colonial period to the Civil War . Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979; T heda Perdue, Slavery and the Evolution of Cherokee Society 1540-1866 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979)

[17] American State Papers II, 651.

[18] Caught between Benjamin Lundy in Tennessee (whose abolitionist newspaper The Genius of Universal Emancipation had once employed William Garrison) in the West and the Manumission Society of North Carolina in the East., it is quite probable that the Cherokee were exposed to ant-slavery thought. The presence of large numbers of Quakers in North Carolina and Tennessee played a profound role in the development of anti-slavery sentiments. Benjamin lundy estimated in 1827 that there were 106 anti-slavery socities int the South as compared with 24 in the Northern states. See Carl Degler, The Other South: Southern Dissenters in the Nineteenth Century, (New York:Harper and Row,1974), Carter G. Woodson, “Freedom and Slavery in Appalachian America,” Journal of Negro History , v.1, n.1, January 1916.

[19] Angie Debo, A History of the Indians of the United States (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,1970), 113.

[20] J.B. Davis, “Slavery in the Cherokee Nation.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 11 (1933): 1060.

[21] Michael Roethler, "Negro Slavery among the Cherokee Indians, 1540-1866" (Ph.D. Dissertation.,Fordham Univ.,1964) pp. 135-136

[22] Robert Walker, Torchlights to the Cherokees:The Brainerd Mission (New York: 1931), 298-299.

[23] See American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. “Papers, 1796-1964 (inclusive).” (1796); Elias Boudinot, An address to the whites. (Philadelphia: W.F. Geddes, 1826). John Brown, Old Frontiers: The Story of the Cherokee Indians from Earliest Times to Their Removal to the West. (Kingsport, TN.: 1838); Cherokee Nation. “Memorial of a delegation from the Cherokee Indians.” (1831): (Norman: Western History Collection); Andrew Jackson, “To the Cherokee tribe of Indians east of the Mississippi River.” (1835): Norman, OK.:Western History Collection; Gary Moulton, ed., Papers of Chief John Ross. (Norman: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1984). George Oglethorpe and William Cumming. “Georgia and the Supreme Court: An examination of the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, at January term, 1832. Delivered by Mr. Cheif Justice Marshall, in the case of Samuel A. Worcester, plaintiff in error, versus the state of Georgia.” (1832); John Howard Payne, John Howard Payne Papers. Chicago, IL: Newberry Library; Slave Narratives. A Folk History of Slavery in the United States, from Interviews with Former Slaves. (St. Clair Shores, 1976. United States). Congress. House. Committee on Indian Affairs. “Removal of Indians: report Indians--Cherokees.” (1830- 1840): Washington, D.C. Francis Paul Prucha, “Andrew Jackson's Indian Policy.” Journal of American History 56 (1969): 527-39. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “A Letter to the President Concerning the Removal of the Cherokee Indians.” American Indian 5 (1950): 28-31.

[24] Elizur Butler to David Green, March 5, 1845, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. “Papers, 1796-1964 (inclusive).” (1796)

[25] Elizur Butler to David Green, March 5, 1845, records of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

[26] John G. Burnett, “Cherokee Removal Through the Eyes of A Private Soldier.” Journal of Cherokee Studies 3.3 (1978): 183;

James Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees,(Cherokee, N.C. Cherokee Heritage Books, 1982), 124.

[27] Mankiller, 46

[28] J.M. Gaskins, History of Black Baptists in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City: Messenger Press, 1992 ; Kenneth W. Porter, “Negroes on the Southern Frontier.” Journal of Negro History 33 (1948): 53-78; Jimmie Lewis Franklin, The Blacks of Oklahoma, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980). Arthur Tolson, Black Oklahomans: A History 1541-1972. (New Orleans: 1974). Eugene Richards, “Trends of Negro Life in Oklahoma as Reflected by Census Reports” in Journal of Negro History 33 (1948): 38-52; Kay M. Teall, ed., Black History in Oklahoma: A Resource Book. Oklahoma City, OK: 1971. Eugene C Routh, The Story of Oklahoma Baptists. (Oklahoma City: Baptist general convention, 1932). William L Katz, Black Indians: a hidden heritage. 1st ed., (New York: Atheneum, 1986); William L. Katz, The Negro on the American frontier. (New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1971); John Boles, edit. Black Southerners, 1619-1869.( Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, c1983); Daniel Littlefield, F. The Cherokee freedmen: from emancipation to American citizenship. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978).

[29] Nathaniel Willis in Indian Pioneer Papers in Western History Collection, University of Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma, v.L, 117.

[30] Mulroy, 33. Grant Foreman, Indian removal: the emigration of the five civilized tribes of Indians. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1932), 265-275

[31] Russell Thornton, The Cherokees: A Population History, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,1990) 89.

[32] J. Fred Latham. The Story of Oklahoma Masonry, Oklahoma City: Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, 195-, 8

[33] T.L. Ballenger, History of Cherokee Lodge #10, T.L. Ballenger Papers, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL., 5 ; see also J. Fred Latham. The Story of Oklahoma Masonry, Oklahoma City: Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, 195-, 8; Ted Byron Hall, Oklahoma: Indian Territory (Fort Worth : American Reference Publishers,1971), 257, Emmet Starr, History of the Cherokee Indians. Oklahoma City: Indian Heriatge Association, 1921), 184-185.

[34] Mankiller and Wallis, 118-119. Edward E. Dale, and Gaston Litton. Cherokee cavaliers: forty years of Cherokee history as told in the correspondence of the Ridge-Watie-Boudinot family. "First edition." ed., Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1940. Gerard A. Reed,The Ross-Watie conflict factionalism in the Cherokee Nation, 1839-1865. Norman, Okla.: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Oklahoma, 1967. William G. McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears: the Cherokees' struggle for sovereignty, 1839-1880. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993. Wiiliam G. McLoughlin and Walter H. Conser. The Cherokees and Christianity, 1794-1870: essays on acculturation and cultural persistence. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994. Emmett Starr, History of the Cherokee Indians. Oklahoma City:Ok: 1921. Morris Wardell, A political history of the Cherokee nation, 1838-1907. "First edition 1938." ed., Vol. no. [17]. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1938.

[35] William G. Mc Loughlin, After the Trail of Tears (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993), 39.; Mankiller and Wallis, 123; Thornton, 87; Perdue, 105-106.

[36] William G. Mc Loughlin, Champions of the CherokeesEvan and John B. Jones, (Princeton: Princetone University Press,1990), 267; See also Evan Jones, letters, American Baptist Missionary Union records, Rochester, N.Y. American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. “Papers,” 1846-1847; Robert T. Lewit, The Conflict of Evangelical and Humanitarian Ideals: A Case Study (MA Thesis, Harvard University, 1959); William Gerald McLoughlin,.Cherokees and Missionaries, 1789-1839. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984.

[37] Mankiller and Wallis, 123.

[38] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears,125; Thornton, 99-104; Michael D. Roethler, “Negro slavery among the Cherokee Indians, 1540-1866.” (1964) Ph.D. Dissertation, Fordham University; John Drennen, and Charlene Hook, The 1851 Drennen roll of the Cherokee Indians. [Tulsa, Okla.: Indian Nations Press, 195-.

[39] Alvin Rucker, “The Story of a Slave Uprising in Oklahoma.” Daily Oklahoman, Oct. 30, 1932; Daniel Littlefield, and Underhill, Lonnie. “Slave `Revolt' in the Cherokee Nation 1842.” American Indian Quarterly 3 (1977): 121-133.

[40] Evan Jones quoted in McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 140.

[41] ibid.

[42] Rudy Halliburton, Red Over Black: Black Slavery Among the Cherokee Indians. (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1977), 99.

[43] Mankiller, 123 ; McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 125; See also Annie Abel, Slaveholding Indians. Cleveland, OH: 1915-1925. Edward R. Crowther, Southern Protestants, slavery and secession [microform] : a study in religious ideology, 1830-1861. MA Thesis. 1986. Rudi Halliburton, Red Over Black: Black Slavery Among the Cherokee Indians. Westport, Conn.: 1977. Moulton, Gary E., ed. Papers of Chief John Ross. Norman: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1984. Theda Perdue, Slavery and the evolution of Cherokee society, 1540-1866. 1st ed., Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979 Gerard A. Reed, The Ross-Watie conflict factionalism in the Cherokee Nation, 1839-1865. Norman, Okla.: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Oklahoma, 1967. Morris Wardell, A political history of the Cherokee nation, 1838-1907. "First edition 1938." ed., Vol. no. [17]. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1938. Michael D. Roethler, “Negro slavery among the Cherokee Indians, 1540-1866.” (1964) Ph.D. Dissertation, Fordham University. Raleigh Wilson, “Negro and indian relations in the five civilized tribes from 1865 to 1907.” Ph.D. Dissertation. Iowa City: University of Iowa 1949 .

[44] Halliburton, Red Over Black,119-120; Mankiller, 124; McLoughlin, Cherokees and Christianity, 226, 257-259; Mooney, 148; Perdue, 129-130

[45] One of the purposes of my dissertation is to ascertain an understanding of the origin and the role of these "Blue Lodges." The term "Blue Lodge" is used by Freemasons to denote the first three degrees of Freemasonry. Freemasonic records detail the strength and growth of the lodges among the Five Nations. It is also important to note that Albert Pike, Confederate Liaison to the Five Civilized Tribes during the Civil War is an important figure in Masonic history.

[46] Mankiller and Wallis, 124.

[47] Knights of the Golden Circle. Constitution and By-Laws. Cherokee Collection: Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, OK, 1-2.

[48] McLoughlin, Cherokees and Christianity, p. 258

[49] “Militancy” in this contexts means assaults upon members of the abolitionist movement, breaking up of Baptist religious meetings, and threats to the life and well being of the Northern Baptist missionaries and clergy.

[50] Though the Keetoowah had its formal organization by the Joneses in 1858, most sources refer to the Society as having existed "from time immemorial." See T.L. Ballenger, “The Keetoowahs” in Ballenger papers, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL.; Howard Tyner, The Keetoowah Society in Cherokee History. (MA, University of Tulsa, 1949); Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallis, Mankiller: A Chief and her People, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993); Janey Hendrix, “Redbird Smith and The Nighthawk Keetoowahs.” Journal of Cherokee Studies 8 (Fall 1983): 24; William McLoughlin and Walter H. Conser, The Cherokees and Christianity, 1794-1870:Essays on Acculturation and Cultural Persistence, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994); James Mooney, Myths of the Cherokees, (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1900. Part I); John Howard Payne papers, Newberry Library, Chicago IL; Evan Jones, letters, American Baptist Missionary Union records, Rochester, N.Y.; John Jones, letters, American Baptist Missionary Union records, Rochester, N.Y.

[51] Mankiller and Wallis, 125. James Duncan, “The Keetoowah Society.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 4 (1926): 251-55.

[52] Interview with David Whitekiller in Georgia Rae Leeds, The United Keetoowah Band of Indians in Oklahoma:1950 to the Present, (University of Oklahoma: Ph.D. dissertation, 1992) , 5.

[53] Mankiller and Wallis, 124.

[54] See Almon Lauber, Indian Slavery in Colonial Times within the Present Limits of the United States.(New York:Doctoral Dissertation. Columbia University, 1933), Barbara Olexer, The Enslavement of the American Indian.Monroe,N.Y.:Library Research Associates,1982), J. Leitch Wright. The Only Land They Knew:The Tragic Story of the American Indian in the Old South. (New York:Free Press, 1981); Gary Nash, Red,White and Black: The Peoples of Early America. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1974. Tom Hatley, The Dividing Path: Cherokees and South Carolinians therough the Revolutionary Era. ( New York; Oxford University Press, 1995) Sanford Winston, “Indian Slavery in the Carolina Region, “ Journal of Negro History, v. 19, n. 1, (1934), 431-439. William Snell, “Indian Slavery in Colonial South Carolina.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. of Alabama, 1972.; Patrick Minges, “Evangelism and Enslavement.” (Unpublished Manuscript,1992).

[55] "Keetoowah Laws - April 29, 1859" in Howard Tyner, The Keetoowah Society in Cherokee History. (MA, University of Tulsa, 1949), 102.

[56] "The Keetoowahs" in T.L. Ballenger Papers, Newberry Library, Chicago Il. 105

[57] The Cherokee Nation in the early nineteenth century possessed its own alphabet devised specifically for the Cherokee syllabury by Sequoyah. Sequoyah's genius was such that it was the only alphabet known to humanity developed by a single individual. All of the records of the Keetoowah society were kept in the Sequoyan syllabury.

[58] Albert Pike is one of the most interesting figures in this entire story. Fluent in the classical languages including Sanskrit, he was also a gifted linguist in Native American languages. After being discredited following his stint as Commisioner, he retired to become a lead ing scholar on Freemasonry and the occult. He also donated a large collection of his research on Scottish Rites Freemasonry to the African American Freemasons, though he never accepted them as freemasons. See Albert Pike, Message of the President and Report of Albert Pike:Commissioner of the Confederate States to the Indian nations West of Arkansas. Richmond, 1861. Fred W. Allsop, The Life of Albert Pike. Little Rock: 1920. Robert L. Duncan, Reluctant General:The Life and Times of Albert Pike. New York: 1961. Roy Clifford, “The Indian Regiments in the Battle of Pea Ridge.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 25 (Winter 1947-48): 314-322. Ohland Morton, “Confederate Government Relations with the Five Civilized Tribes.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 31 (1953-54): 189-204.

[59] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 172

[60] Craig Gaines, The Confederate Cherokees: John Drew's Regiment of Mounted Rifles. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.) 8. See also H. T. Malone, Cherokees of the Old South; a people in transition. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1956. Thurman Wilkins, Cherokee Tragedy: The Story of the Ridge Family and the Decimation of a People. New York: 1970; Mabel Anderson, “General Stand Watie.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 10 (1932): 540-548. M. L. Cantrell, and Mac Harris. Kepis and Turkey Calls: An Anthology of the War Between the States in Indian Country. Oklahoma City: 1982. Edward E, Dale, and Gaston Litton, ed., Cherokee cavaliers: forty years of Cherokee history as told in the correspondence of the Ridge-Watie-Boudinot family. "First edition., Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1940. Dale, Edward E. “The Cherokees in the Confederacy.” Journal of Southern History 13 (1947): 159-85; Kenny Franks, Stand Watie. Memphis: Memphis State University Press, 1979. Alvin Josephy Jr., The Civil War in the American West. New York: Knopf Press, 1991. Ohland Morton, “Confederate Government Relations with the Five Civilized Tribes.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 31 (1953-54): 189-204.

[61] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 391.

[62] Albert Pike, Message of the President and Report of Albert Pike:Commissioner of the Confederate States to the Indian nations West of Arkansas. Richmond, 1861,1;Gaines, 16; Perdue, 130; McLoughlin, 264

[63] Gaines, 12;

[64] Mankiller, 125; Jay Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border, 1854-1865, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1955), 217-218; Annie Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 157-159; Roy A. Clifford, “The Indian Regiments in the Battle of Pea Ridge.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 25 (Winter 1947-48): 314-322. Dale, Edward E. “The Cherokees in the Confederacy.” Journal of Southern History 13 (1947): 159-85. Fairfax Downey, “The Blue, the Grey, and the Red.” Civil War Times 1 (July 1962): 6-9, 26-30. Leroy Fischer, “The Civil War in Indian Territory.” Journal of the West 12 (1973): 345-55.

[65] Gaines, 15; Perdue, 134

[66] McLoughlin, p. 269; Mankiller, 124.

[67] J. Fred Latham, The Story of Oklahoma Masonry, 6-11.

[68] At various times, several members of the Keetoowah Society were apponited Chaplain of the batallion including Budd Gritts and Reverend John Buttrick Jones. This was later when the members of the Drew's Regiment had become the First Kansas Indian Home Guards of the Army of the United States of America.

[69] Mankiller, p. 126; Dr. D.J. McGowan, “Indian Secret Societies” in Historical Magazine,X, 1866; McLoughlin, The Cherokees and Christianity, 220; Gaines, 21-22.

[70] Annual Reports, American Baptist Missionary Union, 1850-1860;

[71] See Joshua Giddings, The exiles of Florida:: or, The crimes committed by our government against the Maroons, who fled from South Carolina and other slave states, seeking protection under Spanish laws. Columbus, Ohio:: published by Follett, Foster and Company., 1858; Charles Colcock Jones, Antiquities of the southern Indians, particularly of the Georgia tribes. [Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1972; Kenneth Wiggins Porter, “Kenneth Wiggins Porter papers, 1912-1981.” (1912): New York: Schomburg Center for the Study of African-American Culture. George P. Rawick , ed., The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography. Westport CT.: 1972. Slave Narratives. A Folk History of Slavery in the United States, from Interviews with Former Slaves. St. Clair Shores, 1976. Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, inc. Relations between Negroes and Indians within the present limits of the United States. Washington, D.C.: Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, 1935. Laurence Foster, Negro-Indian relationships in the Southeast. Philadelphia: Thesis (PH. D.)-University of Pennsylvania, 1931, 1935; W.P. Harrison, . The Gospel among the slaves : a short account of missionary operations among the African slaves of the Southern States. Compiled from original sources and edited by W.P. Harrison. Nashville, Tenn.: Publishing house of the M.E. Church, South, 1893. Daniel Littlefield, Africans and Seminoles Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977; Joel Martin, Sacred revolt : the Muskogees' struggle for a new world. Boston : Beacon Press, c1991 Daniel Littlefield, Africans and Creeks: from the colonial period to the Civil War . Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979. J. Leitch Wright,Creeks and Seminoles, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986.

[72] John B. Jones Papers, November 17, 1859, American Baptist Missionary Union records, Rochester, N.Y.; Mooney, Myths of the Cherokees, 225-226.

[73] John B. Meserve, “Chief Opothleyahola,” The Chronicles of Oklahoma, v. 9 (December 1931), 441-450; Latham., 11.

[74] Gaines, 25

[75] Edwin C. Bearss, “The Civil War Comes to Indian Territory, 1861, The Flight of Opothleyoholo.” Journal of the West 11 (1972): 9-42; Monaghan, 219;

[76] Andre Paul DuChateau, “The Creek Nation on the Eve of the Civil War,” Chronicles of Oklahoma, LII (Fall, 1974), 299-300.

[77] ibid.; Dean Banks, “Civil War Refugees from Indian Territories to the North.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 41 (1963-64): 286-298;

McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 192; Pike, 4; Monaghan, 220-221.

[78] Pike, 6; Gaines, 27-28;

[79] David McIntosh to John Drew, September 11, 1861, in Drew Papers, Gilchrease Institute, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

[80] Abel, The Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 255; Monaghan, 220; McLoughlin, 194; Gaines, 45.

[81] Mooney, 226;

[82] Gaines, 46-47.

[83] Oklahoma Writers Project, Interview with Phoebe Banks, October 10, 1938, 2-3

[84] Charles Royce, “Cherokee Nation,” Fifth Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology, 376.

[85] Thornton, 94

[86] Gaines, 124

[87] Mankiller, 129

[88] Janey Hendrix, Redbird Smith and the Nighthawk Keetoowahs (Park Hill, OK: Cross-Cultural Education Center, 1983), 31; Mankiller, 130

[89] Starr, 480.

[90] Mankiller, 169

[91] T.L Ballenger, History of Lodge #10, T.L. Ballenger Papers, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, 12; Latham, 10.


This page last updated on Thursday, December 16, 2004

© USGenNet Inc., 2004, All Rights Reserved


Introduction
Beneath the Underdog
Are You Kituwah’s Son?
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Conclusion

Table of Content Pages

Minges Research Papers
United States
Repository Home Page