Cherokee Phoenix


Published April, 24, 1828

Page 2 Column 4a


The execution of Sway Back a cherokee [sic] at Crawfish Court House for the murder of murphy [sic] under the sentence of Judge Brown, is an additional event of the strict prosecution to some of the Cherokee laws. The circumstances of this murder appears to have had its origin in a drinking frolick [sic], and committed during a state of extreme intoxication. The parties prior to this melanchaly [sic] catastrophy [sic] had been known to have maintained the common habits of friendship. Hence no cause of malevolence is assigned to give the least countenance for the commission of this palpable homicide. The weapon which he employed, was a large oak stick cut for the purpose of wife wood, on which had been left some pointed knots from trimming its boughs, with this instrument of considerable weight, the criminal advanced unobserved behind Murphy's back, who was seated near a fire, deliberately and forceably [sic] made a blow on the juncture of the neck and head, which nearly crushed to pieces the back part of the cranium, with this destructive blow death followed as an inevitable consequence. There were other Cherokees indulging themselves in a similar intemperance at the same time and place, on discovering the murder, they secured the criminal with fetters around the legs and hands, and kept him in this confinement until the marshal took him in possession. But during this affecting occasion when the marshal was about to proceed with him towards the place of trial, he begged permission of the officer to speak the last words to his child of two or three years old, though delivered hastily, yet reflects much credit on the affection of a Cherokee. Permission being given, embraced his child, and observed, I am speaking the last words--I am on my way to my place of trial and death-if I die it will be at court and not before-but if I live, it will be after court when life shall have been continued and to me newly exist again--Farewell. How far his secret monitor of wright [sic] and wrong operated a punishment in consequence of his crime, may be learnt from the remarkable fact, that from the time he committed the offence until his trial, which was nearly two weeks, was not known to have shewn [sic] the least uneasiness of his crime or danger, a stranger to inquietude and unconcerned in regard to his approaching fate. During his trial on being asked if he had any objections to any of his jurors, he replied with calmness and apparently without solicitude, that there were none to whom he objected, for said he, I know nothing of my act.--After a short trial and painful as it is to relate, it is nevertheless true, that he was condemned to die, by the testimony of his own wife preponderating to the truth of the crime. But during the solemn and may be added to him an awful investigation, continued without confuse, but inspired by the poetical line, 'the sons of Alknomock will never complain.'

We are informed that the criminal was to be executed by hanging.