whose name may have been Na-ni. Her first husband, Kingfisher, of the Deer clan, was the father of her first two children; Catherine and Fivekiller. in a battle with the Muskogees, Kingfisher was killed and his wife, who had been laying behind a log, chewing the bullets so that they would lacerate the more; picked up his rifle and fought as a warrior throughout the rest of the skirmish. The Muskogees were defeated and according to custom the captured spoils were divided among the victors. Kingfisher’s widow was given a negro that had been captured from the vanquished and in this manner became the first slave owner among the Cherokees and by common consent she became the Ghi-ga-u, or Beloved Woman of the Cherokees, this life time distinction was only granted as an extreme mark of valorous merit and carried with it the right to speak, vote and act in all of the peace and war councils of the tribe, it also vested her with the supreme pardoning power of the tribe, a prerogative that was not granted to any other, not even the powerful peace or war chiefs.
She was described even after she was an old woman as a person of remarkable beauty, poise “with a queenly and commanding presence. Her second husband was Bryan Ward, a White man, a widower, who had located in the Cherokee country as a trader. Ward had brought his son John, whose deceased mother was a White woman, and John subsequently married Catherine McDaniel, a half breed Cherokee woman and is the ancestor of the numerous Ward family, among the Cherokees. Bryan Ward had one daughter; Elizabeth, by the Ghi-ga-u, whose first husband was Brigadier General Joseph Martin and her second husband was ____Hughes, a trader. Bryan Ward lived only a few years after his marriage to The Ghi-ga-u.
In June 1 776, Dragging Canoe, Abraham and Raven; war chiefs of the Cherokees, with about two hundred and fifty warriors each, at the instigation of the British, planned to attack the western settlements. But the effect these raids were greatly modified by the Ghi-ga-u’s timely warning to the settlers. On July 20, 1776, Abraham marching to attack Watauga, in E Tennessee, captured Mrs. Bean, wife of William Bean, the mother of the first White child born in Tennessee. On the return of the war party to the Cherokee country, Mrs. Bean was condemned by her captors to be burned at the stake. She was conducted to the top of the mound that stood in the center of Tuskeegee1, which was located just above the mouth of Tellico or Little Tennessee River, where she was bound to the stake, the fagots were piled around her, but just as the torch was about to be applied, the Ghigau appeared, cut the thongs that bound her and took the captive to her home, where the grateful Mrs. Bean taught her how to keep house and make butter.
As soon as it was safe to do so, the Ghigau sent Mrs. Bean under the escort of her brother, Tuskeegeeteehee or Longfellow of Chistatoa and her son Hiskyteehee, or Fivekiller, sometimes known as Little Fellow, to her husband and family. Tuskeegee is the town name of one of the original eight subdivisions of the Cusetah, the primal peace town of the Coosas, the primordial mother tribe of the Muskogees, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Seminoles. The suffix tee-hee, means killer and therefore the Ghigau’s brother’s name was Tuskeegee killer, although he was known to the English by the descriptive name of Longfellow on account of his stature. Hisky is the Cherokee rendering of the number, five.
At the beginning of September 1780 Gates had been defeated at Camden. Savannah and Charlestown were in the hands of the British; Georgia and South Carolina were conquered; the enemy exultantly moved northwest to the conquest of North Carolina and Virginia. This was the critical moment of the Revolution. Alexander Cameron of Lochabar, the British agent among the Cherokees and an intermarried citizen of that nation had been able to sustain the alliance of the Chickamaugas and many other Cherokees as well as other tribesmen with the British interests. Brave and resourceful pioneer soldiers, dressed in homespun and buckskin, coon skinned capped with the peculiar rifle with which they were wont to shoot the head off of a squirrel in the tallest tree or cut the neck of the turkey at an incredible distance, held back the equally dangerous Indians and Tories while others of their kind destroyed Ferguson’s crack troops at Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780 and turned the tide in favor of the Americans.
While a portion of the patriots won in the Kings Mountain campaign, that part that were rear guarding the frontier became short of rations. “Nancy Ward agreed to furnish beef and had some cattle driven in.”1 She and her family had been consistent Americans since she had sent William Fawling2 and Isaac Thomas on a hundred and twenty mile trip to warn the settlers of the Proposed attack of Dragging Canoe, Abraham and Raven with their pro British Cherokee commands in July 1 776.3
“When the Revolutionary War came, the British Government determined to employ the Indians against the southern and western frontiers. The organization of the southern tribes was entrusted to Superintendent Stuart. Their general plan which was only partially successful, was to land an army in west Florida, march them through the country of the Creeks and Chickasaws, who Were each to furnish five hundred warriors and thence to Echota, the capital of the Cherokee nation. Being reinforced by the Cherokees, they were to invade the whole of the southern frontier, while the attention of the colonies Was diverted by formidable naval and military demonstrations on the sea coast. Circular letters outlining the plan, intended for the information of the Tories who were expected to repair to the royal standards, were issued May 9, and reached the Watauga settlement May 18, 1776.
The Cherokees, when the play was first submitted to them, were not prepared to take sides in the contest. A civil war was unknown to their nation, and they could hardly believe that the British government would make war against a part of its own people. Moreover, they had been at peace with the Americans since their treaty with Governor Bell, had no new complaint against them and were living heedless, happy lives in their own towns.
The campaign was planned with the utmost secrecy. It was agreed that North Carolina and Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia should be attacked simultaneously; the Overhill towns were to fall upon the back settlements of North Carolina and Virginia; the Middle towns were to invade the outlying districts of South Carolina; and the Lower towns were to strike the frontiers of Georgia.
The Overhill towns which mustered about seven hundred warriors were to move in three divisions; the first, commanded by Chuconsene or Dragging Canoe, who has been called a savage Napoleon, was to march against the Holston settlements; the second under Ooskiah or Abraham of Chilhowie, a half breed chief who had fought under Washington on the frontiers of Virginia, was to attack Watauga; and the third led by Colonah or the Raven of Echota was to scour Carters Valley.
At this time there lived in Echota a famous Indian woman named Nancy Ward. She held the office of Ghigau or Beloved Woman, which not only gave her the right to speak in council, but conferred such great power that she might, by the wave of a swan’s wing, deliver a prisoner condemned by the council, though already tied to the stake. She was of queenly and commanding presence and manners and her house was furnished in a style suitable to her high dignity. She was a successful cattle raiser and is said to have been the first to introduce that industry among the Cherokees.
When Nancy Ward found that her people had fallen in with the plans of Stuart and Cameron, she communicated the intelligence to a trader named Isaac Thomas and provided him with the means of setting out as an expres~ to warn the back settlers of their danger. Thomas was a man of character and a true American, who has left distinguished descendants in the State of Louisiana. Accompanied by William Fawling, he lost no time in conveying the alarming intelligence to the people on the Watauga and Holston. H. services were afterwards recognized and rewarded by the State of Virginia.
The information conveyed by Thomas produced great consternation o, the border. Couriers were dispatched in every direction. They had not h an Indian war since the settlement was begun, some seven years before. The was not a fort or block house from Wolf Hills westward. But preparations for defense now became nervously active; the people rushed together in eve neighborhood and hurriedly constructed forts and stockades. Dragging Canoe, was met at Long Island on the Holston on July 20, 1776 and defeated. Fort Watauga was attacked at sunrise next morning by Abraham who was driven away after having captured Mrs. William Bean and Samuel Moore, a b Raven upon finding the Carter’s Valley in forts and prepared and having heard of the repulses of Dragging Canoe and Abraham retired without doing any damage.
Upon the whole, the Indian invasion was a failure, owing to the timely warning of Nancy Ward, and the concentration of the inhabitants in forts built. in consequence of the information she conveyed. If the well guarded secret of the Indian campaign had not been disclosed and they had been permitted to steal upon the defenseles backwoodsmen, who, in fancied security, had remained scattered over the extensive frontiers, every soul of them would probably have been swept from the borders of Tennessee. As it was, only slight injury was inflicted on the Whites; a few were killed, some were wounded and two were taken prisoners. The boy, Samuel Moore, was burned at the stake. The Tassel, afterwards asserted that he was the only White person burned by the Indians in Tennessee.
Ghigau for many years conducted an inn at Womankiller ford of the Ocowee River and became quite wealthy, her property consisting of live stock slaves and money. The traveling public called her “Granny Ward on account of her age and the fact that she was the widow of Bryan Ward. After she got so old that she could not attend the councils, she sent her walking cane and vote on all important questions and in this manner voted at Amoah, on May 6, 1817, the renounciation of her delegated rights and in favor of the first constitutional enactment of the Cherokees.
She died at her home at the Womankiller Ford of Ocowee River in the spring of 1824.
A39. George Ward, born March 17, 1787. Married December 15, 1805. Lucy Mayes, a White woman and sister of Samuel Mayes. He was assassinated during the civil war by Pin Indians and Mrs. Ward died on November 11, 1867.