NEW ECHOTA, FEBRUARY 17, 1830
If we judge from what has heretofore been said in cases similar to the affair we briefly noticed in our last, we may reasonably expect much ado about 'Indian troubles,' 'Indian war' 'c. with our brethren of the type. Many will try their best to misrepresent. With the reflecting part of the community, however, the following communication will be sufficient.- We have no room this week to offer any remarks which naturally grow out of the fact stated below.
HEAD OF COOSA, CHER. NA.
February 13th, 1830
Mr. Elias Boudinott. Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix. Sir- With the view of preventing erroneous impressions from growing out of the various reports which will no doubt be circulated, respecting the late occurrences with the intruders, I deem it my duty to make a true statement of facts.
It is generally known that there are divers intruders on Cherokee land, on the frontiers of the adjoining States, some of them being men of the most infamous character, and that the General Council at its last session made it my duty to remove such of them as may be found amidst our citizens in possession of the improvements recently abandoned by the Cherokees, who have emigrated to the Arkansas; and having been strongly urged by our good citizens to enforce said law, with the view of securing tranquility ' the safety of their property, I complied with the request, without intending to disregard or interfere in the least degree with the instructions of the Secretary of War to the Agent. Therefore on the 4th instant, Major Ridge and other citizens were authorized ' instructed to extend towards them all possible lenity and humanity. The men were prohibited from using ardent spirits whilst on duty. The intruders living on the public road leading to Alabama and at Saunders' old place were turned out of doors with all their effects. The company were fully persuaded that if the houses were not destroyed the intruders would not go away; they therefore determined on the expediency of setting fire to them. There were eighteen families of intruders thus removed, and having executed this duty with the utmost lenity towards them, and not having injured any of their property, the Cherokees felt no uneasiness, or alarm from any quarter, and returned home in small detached parties. Unfortunately, four of them became intoxicated and remained at Samuel Rowe's house where there was whiskey. In the course of the night of the 5th inst. a party of intruders, upwards of twenty men, armed with guns, came and arrested them; that is, The Waggon, Daniel Mills, Rattling Gourd, and Chuwoyee. The first named was found in strings by the intruders, the Indians having tied him to prevent him from doing injury, and the second was beaten with a gun and stampled (sic) by the intruders, and the third was not hurt, but the fourth, who was unable to walk (being very drunk) was tied and put upon a horse, but not being able to sit on, and falling off once or twice, he was most barbarously beaten with guns 'c. in the head, face, breast and arms, and was then thrown across the pummel of a saddle on a horse, and carried by the rider in that situation about one mile and then thrown off. The poor unfortunate man died the next morning and his corpse was left on the ground without any person to take care of it. The other three were sent into Carroll County, Georgia, under a guard.
As soon as I received intelligence of this unhappy affair, and understanding that the lawless intruders had threatened to kill Major Ridge and myself, and to burn our dwellings, I despatched an express to the Agent with all possible speed, demanding the arrest and punishment of the murderers, and the restoration of the prisoners, and also requesting the immediate interposition of his authority in preserving peace and harmony on the frontier. On the 7th I despatched a small waggon (sic) after the corpse of the murdered man, and on the 8th he was decently buried at his own house by the side of the graves of his father and mother. The corpse was shockingly mangled. Without reflection, after the burial, a platoon of small arms was fired, and heard a number of miles off, which alarmed the people, and led them to suspect that the intruders had attacked us; this caused messengers forthwith to run from Turnip Mountain in various directions. In the course of that night and the following day, a number of men came in to ascertain the fact. In the meantime, The Waggon ' Daniel Mills, two of the prisoners who were taken into Carrol County, returned, having made their escape from the guard, when within a few miles of Carrolton. The Wagon received a severe stab in the breast with a butcher knife, and a cut across his left wrist, from the hands of the notorious Old Philpot. The Cherokees who had thus collected here from the false alarm were advised with the utmost earnestness to remain peaceably and quietly at their homes, and to remove all fears, and not to seek or attempt any private revenge for the death of their Countryman, as the interposition of the United States agents authority was called for and expected.
On the evening of the 10th, the sub agent, Col. Williams arrived under instructions from the agent, and a few hours thereafter, a messenger arrived from Turnip Mountain with intelligence that a party of armed mounted white men had made descent upon Mr. Chas. Vann. Mr. West, his son Ezekiel, Charles Fields, one or two other Cherokees who happened at the same time to be there. When this band were seen in full speed coming up the lane, swearing and yelling in the most savage manner, it was proposed by Mr. Vann to his friends that they should get out of the way; consequently himself and the two Mr. Wests mounted their horses, (the others entered into an adjacent thicket), and in galloping up the road near Tally's place, Mr. West was fired upon; he then dismounted his horse and returned the fire; fortunately, there was no execution done. As soon as this was heard at Turnip Mountain, messengers were immediately sent from there in various directions, presuming that Major Ridge and I would also be attacked. In the course of that night several Cherokees came in, and the next morning Col. Williams determined to pursue the party who had fired on Mr. West, with the view of endeavoring to prevent any farther attempt of disturbing the peace and harmony of the Cherokees. Being convinced from the expresses which I understood had been sent from Turnip Mountain, that a great many men from various places would soon come in, I suggested to Col. Williams the propriety of keeping them together until he was heard from. I recommended this course with the view of preventing further alarms, and if compulsion required, to act defensively, and that on their retirement, such man may be prepared to state facts for the satisfaction of the people.
I have since been informed that the Sheriff of Carroll County was at the head of the band who fired on Mr. West, and that when Mr. West returned the fire, they made a sudden halt and turned back to the Turnpike gate.- In the course of that night Messrs. David Vann and Daniel Griffin revisited them, and had some conversation with the Sheriff, who had a number of warrants for the arrest of the persons and property of those Cherokees who were engaged in removing the intruders and burning the Indians' houses occupied by them. Upon being prevailed upon, the Sheriff agreed that if Messrs. Vann and Griffin would go with him, and two or three of his men, he would in the morning come over to see me. This was agreed upon, but as soon as Mr. Vann returned home, the Sheriff and his men decamped with all possible haste for Carroll County. It is also stated that the number of armed men who escorted the Sheriff was about 25. The most of them were intruders upon Cherokee lands and of debased character, and that some of them were also accessary to the murder of Chuwoyee.
If it is thus that the laws of Georgia are to be extended and executed over the Cherokees, it is very obvious that justice and humanity are not to be respected. The very occurrences of these illegal and vicious proceedings testify to the fact in columns not to be mistaken, because a part of the very intruders who were peaceably removed by the Cherokees are said to be men of such vile character as could not live under their own laws even in Carroll County. Agreeably to treaty stipulation, which is the supreme law of the land, these very men, by their own acts, had forfeited the protection of the United States, and had made themselves liable to be punished by the Cherokees or not as they please. Is it not strange and unaccountable that they should be protected by the laws of Georgia, when they commit outrageous acts upon the peaceable and inoffensive Cherokees, upon whose lands they have intruded?
The Cherokees have no intention of seeking or attempting private or public revenge for the murder of one of their inoffensive citizens, but they will patiently wait for justice through the proper tribunal.
Your ob't Serv't