John Finger, "The Saga of Tsali: Legend vs. Reality"
In this iconoclastic article on the legend of Tsali, John Finger indicates that Tsali was really about 60 years old, that his wife was not killed by the soldiers, that Euchella’s Band of Cherokees recaptured Tsali’s Band and executed the men in the presence of the Army and that Tsali himself was captured after the soldiers had left the area and was executed by Euchella’s Band. Still Tsali should remain a legitimate symbol of Cherokees who resisted removal and desired to remain in their homeland at all costs.
- John Finger, "The Saga of Tsali: Legend Versus Reality," North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. LVI, No. 1 (Winter, 1979) 1-18. Reprinted with permission from the North Carolina Historical Review. For subscriptions and back issues, please write to 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh, NC 27611.
Sarah Hill, "The Diary of Lt. John Phelps"
The Diary of Lt. John Phelps is the record of a young soldier sympathetic to the Cherokees who was present in North Carolina during removal. He records the Cherokees arrival at Fort Butler, their expectations regarding John Ross and the New Echota Treaty, and their departure for Tennessee. Phelps also describes camp life, weather conditions, local vegetation, and customs of both Cherokees and rural whites.
-"The Diary of Lt. John Phelps," Sarah Hill ed. Journal of Cherokee Studies, vol. XXI, 5-79.
John Finger, "The Abortive Second Removal"
After the Cherokee removal in 1838, about 1400 Cherokee Indians remained in western North Carolina or in nearby Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Between 1841 and 1844 a further attempt was made to remove these remaining Cherokees. This attempt failed because the Cherokees did not wish to go, North Carolinians were not pushing to have them removed, and several prominent whites (including William H. Thomas and Felix Alley) opposed the move. Ultimately, general indifference deprived the government of any leverage and no one was willing to force removal.
- John Finger, "The Abortive Second Removal, 1841-1844," Journal of Southern History, Vol. 47, No. 2, (May, 1981) 207-226.
Present State of Civilization among the Cherokees of Qualla Town (1845)
Statements by Thomas on the progress of the Qualla Cherokees. “They now subsist by agriculture instead of depending upon the chace [sic]. They now have their own mechanics, own farmers, own school teachers, and own preachers.” Written to prevent anymore removal ideas and to establish the Cherokees’ right of permanent residency and citizenship, the former was not established until after the Civil War and the latter was not resolved until after WWII.
-Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881, National Archives, Washington D.C., Record Group 75, M-234, roll 89, frame 542-3.
Memorial of Cherokee Indians Residing in North Carolina (1846)
This Memorial, with supporting documents, requests that the Qualla Cherokees be granted the $53.33 allowed for removal and subsistence (as were the Cherokees in Georgia).
-"Memorial of the Cherokee Indians Residing in North Carolina," June 25, 1846, Senate Document 408, 29th Congress, 1st Session, 1846
Treaty of 1846
The Treaty of 1846, due largely to the efforts of William H. Thomas, was important to the Eastern Cherokees. Article 9 upheld the right of Eastern Cherokees to share in the per-capita fund and Article 10 was a tacit admission by the federal government that the Eastern Cherokees would remain distinct from the Nation. Article 10 became a cornerstone for claims the Eastern Band held against the US and the Cherokee Nation.
-Courtesy of the Digital Library of Oklahoma State University.
John Finger, "North Carolina Cherokees (1838-1866): Traditionalism, Progressivism,
and Affirmation of Citizenship"
Under the leadership of William Holland Thomas, Cherokee Indians living in North Carolina struggled with the state of North Carolina and the federal government for recognition as citizens and for payment of claims under the Treaty of New Echota. Thomas’s efforts, including his organization of some Cherokees into a Confederate unit, finally won recognition by state and local governments for some rights, especially permanent residency, but the unquestioned right of citizenship did not come until the mid-twentieth century.
John Finger, "North Carolina Cherokees (1838-1866): Traditionalism, Progressivism, and Affirmation of Citizenship," Journal of Cherokee Studies, (Spring, 1980) 17-29.
Laurence Hauptman, "Confederate Rangers of the Smokies"
Describes the role and activities of the 400 Cherokees who served in the Confederate Army under William Holland Thomas. Stationed at Strawberry Plains (near Knoxville), the Cherokees first engagement was at Baptist Gap near Rogersville, Tennessee (Sept. 1862). Here the grandson of Junaluska was killed and the Cherokees scalped several Union soldiers in retaliation. Cherokees saw little combat, but spent most of their time protecting the railroad and rounding up conscripts and deserters. Some Cherokees did fight on the Union side and they were credited with bringing the smallpox epidemic after the War. The Cherokees were rewarded for their support when the North Carolina Assembly granted the right of permanent residency (Feb. 19, 1866).
-Laurence Hauptman, Between Two Fires: American Indians in the Civil War, (Free Press: New York, 1995), 103-122.
Vernon Crow, Storm in the Mountains, List of Cherokees Serving the Confederacy Under Col. W.H. Thomas
List of Cherokees who fought in the Thomas Legion includes dates of enlistment and place of residence.
-Vernon Crow, Storm in the Mountains: Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers, (Press of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian: Cherokee, NC, 1982), 156-160.