Thursday, March 7, 2013

Are There Any Cherokee in Kentucky Today? Part 4

Thomas H. Troxell wrote a book, "Legion of the Lost Mine" that was published by Comet Publishers in 1958. It is my unrstanding that it is in the public domain. Here we have the origin of some of the stories floating around the internet about Doublehead, Priber, Cortblossom, Tuckahoe, and others. I have included this book in the previous two blog posts.
           But notice in the forward of the book -- it says;
           The location of this story is along the Cumberland River and Great Cumberland Plateau in Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee.
           The time is before Kentucky became a commonwealth or Tennessee became a state.
           The names of some of the characters are fictitious, and any resemblence these may have to those of persons now living is purely coincidental.
            This is all I have time for at the moment -- have to go to work I will be adding a few things yet to this topic. As I have shown yall -- MY direct family -- my Gist's -- LIVED in this region of Kentucky and can be traced there to at least 1775 at Gist's Station's Camp on the opposite side of the Cumberland River from the mouth of Pitman Creek, just a few miles south of Somerset.
            Yet I can't help but notice the author of this novel of short stories says the names of some of the characters are fictitcius.
            I have much more to say but no time to say it at the present. Will return as I can.
            Well I am back posting. It is Sunday morning, 3-10-13, 0852, CDT; in Altus, Oklahoma.
            Research means very little until you gete back to the primary source. That is, the story from which all the others are derived. The earliest source I have discovered for many of these stories seems to be Thomas Troxall's book. Many of the origins of these stories, the stories of Tuckahoe and Cornblossom, can be traced back to these stories, but not all.
            Another point of origin of some of these stories can be found in the book that can be found online at:
A HISTORY OF THE DANIEL BOONE NATIONAL FOREST  1770 – 1970; By Robert F. Collins U.S. Forest Service – Retired;  Winchester, Kentucky;  Edited by Betty B. Ellison;  Lexington, Kentucky 1975; U.S. Department of Agriculture;  Forest Service;  Southern Region
Click on “Table of contents and then click on “Chapter 17”. That will take you here:
First, there is mention of Daniel Boone, and whose loyalty to the Revolution was in question. Boone was summoned before a court martial where he was charged with treason, aiding the British, surrendering the salt makers, and aiding the forces that had attacked Fort Boonesborough. Collins goes on to say Captain Boone appeared before the court martial and proved, to the entire satisfaction of the court, that all of the acts mentioned were patriotic and in the interest of the settlement. He proved that his conduct at both the salt camp and at the treaty conference were deceptions and strategy necessitated by the emergencies of war and practiced entirely for the advantage of the settlers and in defense of the fort. After due deliberation by the court martial, he was not only completely exonerated of the charges, but his conduct was endorsed by the court and he was promoted to the rank of Major in the Virginia Militia Unfortunately Collins provides no date for these court martial proceedings.
Collins continues: The act of the first session of the Virginia legislature, passed on December 7, 1776, created the County of Kentucky out of all of the territory west of the mountains, including the Transylvania Company's purchase from the Cherokees. It implied that the government of Virginia did not honor Judge Henderson's claim; that this act had been prefaced by the resolution of the Virginia convention, adopted June 24, 1776, against purchases of land from the Indians without authority from the State; and by their act of July 3, 1776, appointing commissioners to examine into such a legal purchase, which indicated that the matter had been thoroughly considered.
There exists a 1775 treaty signed by Boone indicating he was working for Henderson, and it included the signatures of several Cherokee chiefs, notably absent is of course, Dragging Canoe. Well, back to Collins’ book.
The state of Virginia did not recognize Henderson’s treaty, and by extrapolation could not have recognized Boone’s Treaty either, as he acted as an agent for Henderson, per the treaty itself. If you'd like a copy of this document remind me and I'll get it to you  I found it online a few years back and have rediscovered it in one of my folders, one I haven’t accessed in years. Collins says; On November 4, 1778, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution which stated, "Resolved, That all purchases of lands, made or to be made, of the Indians, within the chartered bounds of this commonwealth, as described by the constitution or form of government, by any private persons not authorized by public authority, are void."
The same resolution continued, "Resolved, That the purchase heretofore made by Richard Henderson and Company, of that tract of land called Transylvania, within this commonwealth, of the Cherokee Indians, is void; . . . . ."
Please consider the timeframe. Our Nathaniel Gist had a “Gist’s Station’s Camp” in southern Kentucky RIGHT THERE at that timeframe, in 1775. Hmmm . . ., I have never heard of it being attacked by the warring faction of the Cherokees (known as the Chickamauga) and their allies. I’ll have to look into that at a later time. Back to Collins’ book.
Oh, this is interesting, same page from chapter 17:
In spite of the warning some four weeks in advance, the invading force of Indians and Canadians under Captain Bird reached the heart of Kentucky without resistance and without discovery. On June 22, [1780] this force appeared before Ruddle's and Martin's Stations, and after a brief demonstration with their artillery, both stations surrendered. The fact that this force had cannons with them spread throughout the Kentucky frontier, and again the citizens of Boonesborough felt that they were doomed. Collins mentions Ruddell’s Station! Two Ruddle boys were captured and raised by the Shawnee after this attack, and weren’t released until after the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1795. They even fought with the Shawnee in several battles against the settlers. They knew Tecumseh personally. When on one of them, Abraham Ruddle, emigrated to Arkansas in 1815, my Wayland ancestors travelled with him [see “Pioneers and Makers of Arkansas”, p 339-342 by Josiah H. Shinn, A. M]. Sorry, I keep getting sidetracked. Collins continues with the story of the founding of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Then in chapter 19 he mentions the origin of his sources. the primary source, about the Thomas Troxell book mentioned earlier:
Collins says; The story, pieced together from military records of General George Washington's army, from folk tales of Indian tribes, from court and land records in county courthouses, and from stories handed down in white families of the area, is reproduced here from the records and writings of a present-day descendent of Jacob Troxel and Princess Cornblossom, Thomas H. Troxel, the Scott County surveyor in Oneida, Tennessee. He has researched the details over many years and procured records of his ancestor's service in the Continental Army sufficient to satisfy the Army Quartermaster to the point of issuing the official grave marker which today marks the last resting place of Jacob Troxel beside the Old Alum Ford Trail.
He proceeds to retell most of the stories we are farmiliar with all over the internet, of Doublehead, Christian Priber, Cornblossom, Tuckahoe, and others. But remember that in the introduction to his book, Thomas Troxell says some of the characters in his book are FICTIONAL! Collins neglects to mention this. Althoughhe mentions records of Washington's Army,Indian fold tales, court and trial records, he doesn't provide these references directly. He does provede records from Troxell's book, however.
Collins story continues with Doublehead being killed and buried in Southern Kentucky. Collins says; Thus in the year of 1807 ended the life of the last great Indian chief to rule over the Indians of the Cumberland Plateau. Chief Doublehead was buried where he fell. His grave may still be found at Doublehead Gap on the Little South Fork near the town of Monticello. Unfortunately for Collins, Doublehead’s actual death is well documented. More on this later. This is definitely fiction. In the footnote section of his book Troxell says there are two “legends” about Doublehead’s death. The other however, is NOT a legend! It is a well-known and well documented event – again, more on this later.
Troxell’s book ends with Cornblossom getting married. Collins writings however, don’t. He goes on, never mentioning to the reader he is no longer taking Troxell’s book as his source. He says:
“In the fall of 1810, an arrangement with the Indian school having been agreed upon, word went out to all members that the tribe of Princess Cornblossom was to leave the Cumberland River area and move to the Sequatchie Valley in Tennessee. They were directed to assemble at a large rock house just to the west of the Old Tellico Trail. This location is now known as the Yahoo Falls Recreation Area in the Sterns District of the Daniel Boone National Forest.
“In the late fall of 1810, when the moon was round and full, all that remained of Chief Doublehead's tribe of the Cherokee gathered at the big rock house below the cliffs where Yahoo Creek plunges some eighty feet from the great Cumberland Plateau to the bottom of the gorge which carries it to the Cumberland River, waiting for Princess Cornblossom to lead them south over the old Tellico Trail to Tennessee. Some of the squaws had already shouldered their packs of furs or sleeping mats for the children and were about to start when shots rang out from the darkness in front of the rock house. Bunched under the rock house and stunned by the unexpected attack, escape was impossible. The braves were the first to fall followed quickly by the mothers and children until not a single Indian was left standing and the floor of the rock house was covered with the dead and dying and ran red with their blood.
“After the firing ceased and the little band of white men who had committed this foul murder were about to leave, the situation was suddenly reversed. Day was just breaking as Princess Cornblossom and her notorious son, Little Jake arrived on the scene ready to lead their people to the safety that awaited them in Tennessee. Taking in the situation at a glance and occupying a commanding position among the rocks which blocked the white men's escape route, they opened fire. The white party had been reduced to three, but only one of these three survived the firing squad of Princess Cornblossom and her son. Before the execution the Princess pronounced the death sentence in scathing terms such as "You paleface-treaty with Indians — if Indian no steal horse paleface no kill Indian. You palefaces kill our braves. You kill our squaws and our babies. Their blood made red the land you steal."
“Princess Cornblossom, grief stricken by the massacre of her people, died in a few days and was buried by the large flat rock beside the old Tellico Trail that had been travelled by her people for so many years. This flat rock is now within the town of Stearns, Kentucky . . .”
Collins does NOT mention the source of this story, nor ar there any historical documents ANYWHERE, including Southern Kentucky, that reveal the source of the legend. The state of Kentucky however, has placed a historical marker there. Again, there is no record in any government document, local newspaper, NOTHING, that reveals any mention of this event. The only original source seems to be Collins himself.
Since my family DID LIVE THERE (I have proven that through previous blog entries), I’d have loved to have found something more – but it simply doesn’t exist. I still think the stories of mixed blood people living there are true, and my family was one of them (we were there before the Troxell’s arrived). I suspect however as with many family sotries, some family members, not knowing the origin of their roots, simply made up stories to account for their origins. Perhaps these Troxell’s did just that. I suspect they DO have Indian blood, but it got there some other way.
To be continued.







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