Cherokee Phoenix


Published July, 2, 1831

Page 2 Column 2a-5b




In our last we barely had time to notice the arrest of the Rev. John Thompson by the Georgia Guard. A few particulars relating to this affair may be interesting.

It appears Mr. Thompson had removed his family to Brainerd previously, before the expiration of the ten days allowed him by Col. Sanford upon the authority of a letter from the Governor of Georgia which we published sometime since. The health of Mrs. Thompson, ' other circumstances made a change of residence in the view of Mr. T. necessary; while at the same time he intended to pursue his missionary labors in preaching from place to place. He had commenced his tour for that purpose, ' had just arrived at the station in Hightower with an interpreter; to preach to the people there on the following day when he was arrested. In relating the circumstances of his arrest we cannot do better than to publish an extract of a letter from Miss Fuller, the teacher of the school at that station to Mr. Worcester.

HIGHTOWER June 23, 1831

Rev. S. A. Worcester, New Echota,

Dear Sir:- It falls to my lot to communicate to you a notice of Mr. Thompson's second arrest, together with the circumstances which led to it, so far as they have come under my observation. Last evening, about 6 o'clock, Col. Nelson called on me, inquired for Mr. Thompson, and also respecting my situation and made a single remark respecting the loneliness of it. Mr. Thompson was absent, of course, I told him so. He then remarked that, as he found me here, situated as I am, he should not occupy this house last night, but with much assurance added, ' We shall occupy it tomorrow night.' He further said, 'You can go or stay as you please, if you stay you shall be protected.' My reply was, 'I must stay.' 'Very well,' said he, and again repeated his promise of protection. He then remarked that they considered it their privilege to occupy these places, spoke of being somewhat troubled for forage for their horses, and intimated that what was now growing on these places belonged to them-that nothing of last year's growth would be required, but only the present; for said he, we consider them as intrusions upon our state.- However much I might have felt disposed to remonstrate, I had not sufficient command of my feelings at the moment to permit me to do it. Supposing it must be so if Mr. Thompson did not return before the appointed time, and not being certain that he would, I asked Col. Nelson what part of the House he should occupy? 'One room will be sufficient, there are only ten of us,' was his answer.- Providentially, however, Mr. Thompson arrived in about an hour after Col. Nelson's call. He felt it to be his plain duty, not positively to yield the possession of this house into Col. Nelson's hands, and accordingly despatched a messenger to him, early this morning; with a letter of which the following is a copy.


June 23

Col. Charles H. Nelson,

Sir:- I have been informed that you design to occupy the Mission house this evening with a detachment of the Georgia Guard. In regard to this subject, I can only say, that we have not the accommodation desirable for the entertainment of yourself and company, and for this, and other reasons, you will excuse me in saying that if your design is effected, it will be without my consent.

Permit me to add, that if an interview with me about this or any other subject is desired, it may be obtained at this place, at any time during the course of this day.

I am, Sir, very respectfully, your obedient Servant.


Both Mr. Thompson and myself were expecting that it would result in his arrest, therefore we were prepared to see armed men (which we did) and to hear one of them say, 'you may consider yourself a prisoner, Sir.' Mr. Thompson was all ready and did not detain them five minutes. They told him he would have no use for his horse, so of course he walked. They have spent the day at Major Dawson's about two miles distant. Mr. Sanders, who returned with him from Carmel last evening has been to see him this afternoon. The company are to leave for Head Quarters tomorrow. This is all I can tell you respecting this affair.

They spent the day, as the letter states, at Dawson's and lodged there that night. On the morning Mr. Thompson was marched off in company with five of the Guard, ' two other prisoners, one a white man, and the other a Cherokee who had been arrested on the charge of digging gold. Mrs. Thompson had begged of the Col. the favor of riding his horse and gave as the reason of asking that favor, his indisposition. The Col. refused, and said he would not depart from his rule, and that if Mr. Thompson was not able to walk, he could have the privilege of riding in the baggage wagon. After walking a few miles, therefore, he was permitted to get into the wagon, in which he rode most of the way, except when approaching or leaving their stopping places, when he was required to walk. Having but partly recovered from a recent indisposition, the severe exercise of walking and riding in a rough and uncomfortable wagon brought on an acute headache, and other wise rendered him very weak. In this condition he was brought to Mr. Lay's for the night. His indisposition increased. After a while one of the Guard came with three chains for the purpose of fastening the prisoners for the night. Mr. Thompson requested that as he was unwell he might be permitted to lie down before the chain was put on him. This request was granted, after which a chain was put around one of his ankles. A short time after this the Col., who had taken a different route, arrived, through those orders, we presume the chain was taken off. The following morning they resumed their journey, and on that day arrived at Camp Gilmer. The prisoners were conducted to the jail, in which they were snugly lodged. Mr. Thompson had remained in jail but a few minutes, when the commander of the place, Col. Sanford sent for him and after a short interview told him he was discharged, and that he could go whenever he pleased.

Thus was Mr. Thompson taken forty or fifty miles from the place where he intended to preach the Gospel to the Cherokees, locked up in jail, and then discharged with the privilege of walking home, ' without an apology from those who had him in captivity. We have been thus particular because we think the public and the honor of the state of Georgia are concerned. We have endeavored to relate the material facts as we obtained them in conversation from Mr. Thompson himself.


Intruders.- This class of white people, we understand are becoming very numerous on the Alabama side. A friend directly from Creek Path informs us that it is supposed there are not less than 150 families in that little Valley. Most of these intruders in point of Character, belong to the same class with the Poney Club on the Georgia side. They were once removed and their crops of corn cut down by order of the President Jackson, but having, we apprehend received new light on the subject since, he permits them to continue their ravages on the rights and property of the devoted Cherokees. Over that portion of the nation the laws of the state have not been extended, and the land when purchased reverts to the United States. What reason will the government adduce for not enforcing the treaties and laws of the Union?

When intruders in such large bodies are permitted to trespass on the Indian lands difficulties of some sort must be the consequence. The reader knows the case of Chuwovee. Our friend from Creek Path states that there was quite a disturbance between the Cherokees and whites there. The former having punished one of the intruders for hog stealing were threatened with an invasion from the latter; and there was a show of guns on each side, the civilized party, who have laws, under which Major Eaton says the Indians will and must come being determined to take revenge in a summary manner.


A 'Notice to Cherokees,' signed by Col. Montgomery will be found in another part of our paper. It appears the Government is really about to make the experiment of paying the annuity to the individuals of the Cherokee Nation. What success the measure will meet with is best known to those who have it in charge. Some of the difficulties which will be necessary to encounter in the distribution of the annuity are strikingly set forth in Mr. Bate's speech in which we lately published. There are other difficulties which have not been stated, and one in particular which must assuredly defeat the project. We suppose the Cherokees will not be compelled to go and receive the money. Supposing they refuse to receive the annuity in the manner proposed? which we presume is very likely to be the case, from the fact that they have universally signed a protest against the measure.


Post Office Politeness- A Certain Postmaster (Editor who we believe) in Connecticut sent us a notice that one of our papers sent to his Office was not taken out and requesting that it may be discontinued. All this was proper. We accordingly erased the name from our subscription book. The very next mail, however, brought us the Phoenix from this P. Master charging us a cent and a half postage. Now we doubt whether this is right.- He ought to have given us time. But these are days of reform.


For the Cherokee Phoenix.


Of what heinous crime have the missionaries been guilty that they should be published to the world as a set of liars and rebels against the powers that be? Congress before last they were reported to both houses and published to the community as being guilty of 'pious fraud.' Now it seems they are guilty of a 'high misdemeanor,' and deserving of nothing less than to be torn from their families and spiritual charge by a military force, dragged about in chains tormented, imprisoned, condemned, and confined to the penitentiary of Georgia at hard labor for a term not less than four years! Is it not because they will tell the truth and refuse to take an oath in the name of God to oppress the Cherokees?

Monday, May 29th, I was arrested at Two Runs by a detachment of the Georgia Guard in a warlike manner, and instead of being conducted immediately and directly to the nearest tribunal of justice in Georgia, I was marched off in a contrary direction and conducted in a circuitous route of about 110 miles to Head Quarters, at which place we arrived on Saturday evening the 3d of June. I was immediately ordered into prison and kept in close confinement until the Wednesday morning following, when I was brought forth from my gloomy cell and conducted to Lawrenceville, the county seat of Gwinnett, about 37 miles from Camp Gilmer. We arrived at Laurenceville on Friday about 12 o'clock A,M. I was brought before Esq. Mills ' bound in a bond of 500 dollars with sufficient security to appear at the Superior Court in September next. I was then set at liberty about 65 miles from my circuit without my horse and unable to walk.

During this military tour and confinement of twelve days, my sufferings both in body and soul were by no means inconsiderable, but notwithstanding my spirit also rejoiced in God my Savior.

I was permitted to ride my own horse only fourteen miles, when he was taken from me and I was compelled to walk until my feet became very sore, and such was my afliction otherwise, that I was in great pain and about to give out. I was then ordered into the baggage wagon and was afterwards hauled the most of the way to Camp Gilmer.

In order, I suppose, to alarm others as well, as to punish me before the time, I was chained four nights in succession ' compelled to lie on the floor with some prison and saddle blankets for my bedding, and they were by no means very clean or pleasant.

During my confinement at Camp Gilmer, a filthy prison, with some blankets spread on a rough puncheon floor was my portion day and night.

With Col. Sanford, the Governor's agent, I had but one interview, until the morning I was started to Lawrenceville, but this was enough. He asked me a great many irrelevant questions--preferred some serious complaints, and gave me a severe lecture on political and divine subjects. He made an apology for oppression, saying it was the order of the world. He declared that the Cherokees were going backward, and that they were incapable of understanding the Christian Religion, and that if God wished them to become religious he could make them so without so much concern on the part of the missionaries. He intimated as though I had a black heart. The above is the substance of his remarks, uttered, as I thought, rather in a lordly style.

The morning I left Head Quarters for Laurenceville, I was compelled to walk 12 miles at the outset in great pain without a single offer from either of the guard to let me ride. Afterwards I was permitted to ride occasionally, because it was almost impossible for me to walk.

The Col. appeared as prosecutor and witness, and gave in his testimony in an argumentative form. Mr. Dennis, my fellow sufferer in military bondage, was also committed, but being unable to give security, his word, through the kind intercession of the Col. was taken for his appearance. By the kind arrangement of my friend Mr. William Rogers, a Cherokee, I was soon conducted within twelve miles of my spiritual charge- the rest of the way I made out to walk.

How long I will be suffered to attend to my circuit is very uncertain, for according to the decision of Judge Clayton at the last Superior Court, I was guilty of a second offence so soon as I crossed Chattehoochee River and the Col. declared that if I remained in the charter longer than ten days after my return he would arrest me again. He, moreover, stated to me that he did not suppose the missionaries would be allowed to itinerate and preach in the territory of Georgia provided they were to remove their residence, for it was the determined policy of the state to expel from her charter all white persons who refuse to obey her laws and pursue a course detrimental to her interest.

In the above statements I have thought proper to pass over many facts in silence. It can be no gratification to the public to be informed of all the particulars relating to the deportment of the Guard while I was with them- the conduct of the officers, particularly their conversation intended for my ear. All I can add is I was in continual mental pain.--But I would fain forget all and remember it no more.

Now, Mr. Editor, we need be no longer in doubt with regard to the design of the laws makers of Georgia in some of their late acts. It is as clear as noon day that they designed to destroy the missions in that part of the nation which they so confidently claim. This, Sir, is not the first time that the state of Georgia has been employed in such business. Even in the days of her infancy, the immortal Wesley who crossed the great deep to proclaim the good news to the red man had to flee from her persecuting spirit and every person acquainted with the circumstances knows that she contributed no small share to the defeat of the Asbury mission.

With regard to the protection which the Cherokees are to receive from the Georgia Guard, we had a specimen during this late expedition. Messrs. David Vann, John West, Thomas Woodard, Col. W. S. Adair, Alexander McCoy, and Jos. Vann were arrested for nothing, to be plain, some of whom were insulted, and evil entreated in various ways, and then sooner or later set at liberty.