Was Bushyhead Tahlonteeskee?
On the Treaty of Hopewell (Keowee) 28 November 1785 a “Tulatiska of Chaway”
signs with the warriors. This is Tah-lah-tee-skee of Cheowee (Chilhowee).
On the Treaty of Holston (Tennessee) of 2 July 1791,Talohteske, or the Upsetter
is one of the signers.
On the Treaty of Tellico (Tennessee) of 24 October 1804, Tolluntuskie is the
first signer of the Cherokees.
“Tolluntuskee” signed a letter on 9 August 1805 next to Doublehead and before
John Watts (Kunoskeeskee or Kutageeskee), indicating an important position
among the Chicamauga:
August 9, 1805
To: Black Fox, Dick Justice, Turtle at Home, Chinowe, Slave Boy, Eusanalee, Toochelar, Parched Corn Flour, Taugustuska
We have with much care and attention considered the results of the late Conference [in July] with the Commissioners on the Highwassee, and we think that . . . we shall agree to the request of our Father, at least in part. . . . the Agent had informed us that he could not be Justified in continuing the presents of wheels, cards, and implements of husbandry and in giving corn and provisions [in time of famine] as he had done before [unless there was cooperation from us].
Doublehead, Tolluntuskee, Katigiskee [John Watts],
the Seed, Sequeechee, Sikula, the Redbird [i]
On the Treaty of Tellico (Tennessee) of 25 October 1805, Tallotiskee is one of
the signers, as is John Jolly or “Eulatakee” of the Cherokees.
During negotiations with President Thomas Jefferson, Tahlonteskee delivered
February 16, 1808
Tahlonteskee of the Lower Towns –
Tell our Great Father, the President, that our game has disappeared, and we wish to follow it to the West. We are his friends, and we hope he will grant our petition, which is to remove our people toward the setting sun. But we shall give up a fine country, fertile in soil, abounding in water-courses, and well adapted for the residence of white people. For all this we must have a good price.
On the Treaty of Turkey Town of 14 September 1816, “Oohulookee” is one of the
first signers for the Cherokees (east) without Tahlonteeskee (who went west).
On the Treaty of Cherokee Agency (East & West) of 8 July 1817, John Jolly
is a signer as a chief of the Arkansas Cherokees without Tahlonteeskee.
Tahlonteeskee, who went west, is not mentioned after 1818.
Historians identify John Jolly as Chief Oo-loo-teka, who adopted Sam Houston
into the tribe c.1811, and who went west (to Arkansas territory) in 1818. John
Jolly is also regarded as a brother of Tahlonteeskee.
To solve this mystery, we have to take a look at John Jolly.
He was b.c.1770 and he was the “uncle” of Tiana Rogers. He emigrated
in 1818 and was therefore an “Old Settler”. Emmett Starr and other Cherokee researchers have identified him with the Emory family and with Robert Dewes
(Due). He died in 1838, at about the same time Tiana Rogers died. The Jolly
name is rare among the tribe but common in South Carolina, where the mother
of Bushyhead (Susannah Emory) could be found after the Cherokee War. So
it is logical that the mother of Bushyhead had a son by John Jolly in South
Carolina. She died rather young (before 1784, probably before 1776) so her
sons were taken in by her sisters.
Jolly had one son and two or three daughters. The Jolly name is not continued
in the tribe. His son John Jolly was killed in the War of 1812 as a Cherokee.
Emigrated west to Arkansas Territory in 1818. As early as 1820, he was made Principal Chief of the Old Settlers, and he held this office until his death in 1838.
He was a wealthy merchant and planter. Jolly spoke no English, and dressed in buckskin with a hunting shirt, leggings and moccasins.
He was a brother of Old Settler Chief Tahlonteeskee, and both were uncles of Cherokee Chief John Rogers. He was also the uncle of Tiana Rogers, Sam Houston’s Cherokee wife and of Chief John Rogers, Jr.
This next source claims Tahlonteeskee emigrated west in 1809 and died c.1818.
Both are reasonable, though the claim that Bowl went west in 1794 is not.
In 1794 the first
group of Cherokees fled to the valley of the St. Francis River in Southeast
Missouri, after their leader, The Bowl led a massacre on trespassers. Though
later vindicated, he and his followers remained in the New Madrid area where in
1811, a massive earthquake caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards, and
for months tremors continued. Convinced the Great Spirit was displeased, they
moved to Arkansas. The Bowl remained chief until 1813, when he was succeeded by
Takatoka who was chief from 1813-18.
Led by Tahlonteeskee in 1809, 300 others including the aged chief Takatoka migrated to Arkansas. Here too, the Bowl and his followers stayed until they decided to go to Texas in 1819-20. Takatoka resisted missionary efforts, but it was at his place on the Illinois Bayou in Arkansas that Sequoyah first taught the use of his syllabary.
On a trip to Washington City, Takatoka died at Kaskaskia, IL. and, Tahlonteeskee, an uncle of Sequoyah, became the third chief of the Cherokees West. Tahlonteeskee and Doublehead, were signers of a treaty in 1805 that labeled them traitors. Tahlonteeskee departed for the West, Doublehead remained and was later slain by Major Ridge. Ridge later became a proponent of moving to the West, and because he had signed the Treaty of New Echota, he too, was killed by the anti treaty faction after the Removal (Trail of Tears).
Tahlonteeskee, permitted missionaries to establish Dwight Mission in Arkansas, the first western chief to allow Christianity to come to the Cherokees. Tahlonteeskee died ca 1818, his brother John Jolly then became chief. Jolly had moved west in 1817.
These early Cherokees migrated from Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama and were called Arkansas or Cherokees West, to distinguish them from their tribesmen who remained in the East. Later they were referred to as "Old Settlers."
Jolly’s birth year of 1770 is considered reliable.
Archaeologist Lawrence Alexander presented a history of Hiwassee Island, which is located across a waterway from the Park.
"Chief John Jolly was born here in 1770,' said Mr. Alexander. In 1805, Col. Jonathan Meigs came to the area, and a garrison was set up to protect the Cherokee and the white settlers from radicals of both sides.
In 1809, Sam Houston lived on Hiwassee Island and later married a relative of the Chief Jolly. Called "The Beloved Man,' Chief Jolly led some Cherokee to Oklahoma prior to the Trail of Tears.
Another source claims Tahlonteeskee went west in 1810. We must keep in mind
that Sam Houston encountered him at the Rogers Trading Post on the Hiwassee
sometime between 1809 and 1812, close to 1811.
In 1810, Duwali (or The Bowl), Tsulawi (or Fox), and Talontuskee moved their villages west of the Mississippi. Duwali, a half-blood, was Chief of his town of Little Hiwassee (present western North Carolina). Talontuskee became the nominal leader of all the "Western" Cherokee. These and other groups moving west settled on the White and St Francis Rivers in present NE Arkansas while others settled on either side of the Arkansas River in present west-central Arkansas. As early as 1807, Cherokees visited a trading post at Natchitoches (present Louisianna) and reported that they lived further up the Red River probably in present SW Arkansas. By 1808. the Osage complained about Cherokees hunting on the White River without permission. Small groups of Cherokees were reportedly settled in present SW Arkansas and NE Texas in 1816. . . .
In 1818, Tollunteeskee, chief of the Western Cherokee, requested the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions establish a mission in the west. Subsequently, Dwight Mission, near present Russellville AR, was established in the spring of 1820. Tollunteeskee, having died in the meantime, was succeeded as chief by his brother, John Jolly, the adopted father of Sam Houston, who had moved west in 1818.
Requesting a Christian mission agrees well with the disposition of the Bushyhead
family. Missions were the only form of schooling available to the Cherokee.
Why were the Bushyhead children left in the east while Tahlonteeskee went
west? First, the Arkansas expedition was dangerous: there was constant war
with the Osage, who resented the Cherokee. Second, the children were better
off receiving a little education at the missions and were in good hands with uncle
John Jolly, who could well afford to care for them.
The family linkage is there, and the vital dates agree. All the Bushyheads went
west (though some came back before 1830). Bushyhead is not recorded in any
tribal records, though we would expect him to be, given that his father was the
beloved Commissioner of Indian Affairs. If he appears as Tahlonteeskee, this
explains this absence. On the other hand, nothing is known of Tahlonteeskee’s
family, but if his family were known as Bushyhead, this would account for the
lack of data on Tahlonteeskee’s family. We conclude, therefore, that Bushyhead
and Tahlonteeskee are one and the same person.
Children of Bushyhead
m(1) John Gunter Sr. (on 1817 Reservation Roll)
m(1) Catherine Ratliff [Starr] m(2) Ghigau Snake [Starr]
m(1) Guwohida Stofel [Starr]
iv. Nannie Bushyhead
b. 1799 – 1804 d.aft 1845 Missouri
m. George Washington Blackwell (1794 – 1867)
(per 1896 Cherokee application, Nannie’s mother died when she was
about 3 years old and she was raised by a different family but she
retained name Bushyhead); Blackwell’s 1st wife emigrated with the
tribe in 1817; he married “Nancy Bush or Bushhead” in 1819 TN.
He m(2) Nannie Foreman b.c.1784 d.1868 (daughter of John Anthony Foreman and Susie Gourd) and had:
v. Susannah (Susie) Bushyhead
m(1) Ezekiel Lyons [Starr]; m(2) L. P. Harris [Starr]
vi. Jesse Bushyhead
m(2) Eliza Wilkerson, dau. of Edward Wilkerson
vii. Nannie Bushyhead
m(1) John Walker Jr. (c.1798 – 1834); m(2) Lewis Hildebrand.
Monument built for her near Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She is
called “Princess Otahki” (“Otahki means daughter of a chief).
viii. Jacob Bushyhead
m(1) Nannie McDaniel [Starr]; m(2) Elizabeth Romine [Starr]
m(3) Elendor Holt 9 Aug 1849 Hunt Co, TX
ix. Charles Bushyhead
m(1) Pauline Starr [Starr]; m(2) Sallie (McCoy) Miller [Starr]
Note for Nannie Foreman: she is listed on the 1817 Emigration Roll as Nancy
Bushyhead. Her father first appeared with the tribe as a Tory (loyalist) soldier
in 1779 (see letter of Robert Dewes 9 April 1779). He remained with the tribe.
She died 1868 in Indian Territory. Some writers have confused her with her
daughter Nannie who died on the Trail of Tears.
These are probably Isaac and George, who would be of age (14-22) for war. Jesse, born 1804, would have been too young.
BUSHYHEAD, Jesse, chief justice of the Cherokees, died at the mission in the Cherokee nation, west, 17 July, 1844. He was a self-made man, acquired great distinction among his tribe, and filled with fidelity many public trusts.
Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM
Here are the parties leaving under their own supervision:
DETACHMENT DEPARTED ARRIVED
Hair Conrad Aug 23, 1838 Jan 17, 1839
Elijah Hicks Sep 1, 1838 Jan 4, 1839
Jesse Bushyhead Sep 3, 1838 Feb 27, 1839
John Benge Sep 28, 1838 Jan 17, 1839
Situwakee Sep 7, 1838 Feb 2, 1839
Old Field Sep 24, 1838 Feb 23, 1839
Moses Daniel Sep 30, 1838 Mar 2, 1839
Choowalooka Sep 14, 1838 Mar , 1839
James Brown Sep 10, 1838 Mar 5, 1839
George Hicks Sep 7, 1838 Mar 14, 1839
Richard Taylor Sep 20, 1838 Mar 24, 1839
Peter Hildebrand Oct 23, 1838 Mar 24, 1839
John Drew Dec 5, 1838 Mar 18, 1839
THORNTON STARR STATE PAPERS
-------------- ------ ---------------------
DETACHMENT DEPART ARRIVE BIRTHS DEATHS DESERTIONS ACCESSIONS
Hair Conrad 729 654 9 57 24 14
Elijah Hicks 858 744 5 54
Jesse Bushyhead 950 898 6 38 148 171
John Benge 1200 1132 3 33
Situwakee 1250 1033 5 71
Old Field 983 921 19 57 10 6
Moses Daniel 1035 924 6 48
Choowalooka 1150 970 NA
James Brown 850 717 3 34
George Hicks 1118 1039 NA
Richard Taylor 1029 942 15 55
Peter Hildebrand 1766 1311 NA
John Drew 231 219 NA
TOTAL 13149 11504 71 447 182 191
ACTUAL POSSIBLE TOTAL "LOST"
EXPECTED RECORDED "LOST" RECORDED PLUS
DETACHMENT ARRIVALS ARRIVALS CHEROKEES DESERTIONS DESERTIONS
Hair Conrad 674 654 20 24 44
Elijah Hicks 829 744 85 85
Jesse Bushyhead 941 898 43 148 191
John Benge 1170 1132 38 38
Situwakee 1184 1033 151 151
Old Field 941 921 20 10 30
Moses Daniel 993 924 69 69
Choowalooka 1150 970 180 180
James Brown 819 717 102 102
George Hicks 1118 1039 79 79
Richard Taylor 989 942 47 47
Peter Hildebrand 1766 1311 455 455
John Drew 231 219 12 12
TOTAL 12805 11504 1301 182 1483
DEAN'S OFFICE, COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES
PHILADELPHIA, PA 19122 USA
Originally posted to INDIAN-ROOTS Wed 20 Nov 1996, reprinted here by permission of Ralph Jenkins.
The story of Otahki is not a legend. Her English name was Nancy or Nanny Bushyhead Walker Hildebrand. Some history books list her as the daughter of Jesse and Eliza Wilkerson Bushyhead, other books list her as a sister of Jesse Bushyhead. Recent research suggests however, that she was the sister of Reverend Jesse Bushyhead, an ordained Baptist minister.
She was married to John Walker, Jr. while living near Cleveland, Tennessee. Since Walker was married already to a woman named Emily Stanfield Meigs, Otahki was a second wife and continued to live with her brother, Jesse Bushyhead. She was the mother of two children by Walker, Ebenezer and Sara, both of whom made it to Oklahoma.
It should be noted that plural marriages were not illegal at this time, and such arrangements were not unknown among the Cherokees or whites.
After the death of Walker, who was ambushed and killed on the way home from a council meeting in 1834, she married Lewis Hildebrand. Lewis always went by the name of "Lew" and was a courier for Chief John Rose. They were both on the Trail of Tears and after crossing the Mississippi River and while camping in the now Trail of Tears State Park, she died.
Her husband and Jesse Bushyhead erected a wooden marker on her grave. After the Cherokees had been removed to Oklahoma, this marker was maintained by local people.
About 30 to 35 years later the wooden marker was burned in a woods fire. Local people then mounded rocks and erected an iron cross, made of welding rods to mark the spot.
In 1962, the Rotary Club of Cape Girardeau erected a pagoda not only as a memorial to Otahki, but to all the Cherokee who lost their lives on the Trail.
The Otahki Memorial is known as the "Princess Otahki Crave". Since the Cherokee do not recognize royalty, the title of "Princess" is not authentic. It was a courtesy title given her by those who lived in the area where she was buried. All the chiefs were and still are elected.
The Bushyheads continued to be active in tribal leadership. Chief Dennis
Wolfe Bushyhead is one of the better-known:
A conspicuous character whose public service is interwoven with the history of the Cherokees during the latter years of their tribal life in the West, was Dennis Wolfe Bushyhead, a chieftain of his people from the year 1879 to 1887, inclusive. His career was picturesque and his background is of dramatic interest. . . .
Capt. Stuart became known among the Cherokees as Oo-na-du-to or Bushyhead because of his heavy growth of blonde hair.2 The ambitious captain, during the early days of our War of the Revolution, conceived a plan to exterminate the rebellious whig colonists in one grand uprising and butchery by the Indians led by English tories, in June 1776, confiscate their property and allot their lands to new loyalist colonists. The entire scheme failed and Capt. Stuart was subsequently stationed at Pensacola, Florida, where he died on February 21, 1779. His only son, also known as Oo-na-du-to or Bushyhead, married Nancy Foreman, the half-blood Cherokee Indian daughter of Anthony Foreman, a Scotchman, and lived, died and was buried in Georgia. Nancy removed with a contingent of the Cherokees led by her son Jesse Bushyhead to the West, in the spring of 1839. She is reputed to have lived to the advanced age of 104 years and died in 1868 in the Illinois river country near Tahlequah.
3Perhaps no character in all Cherokee history was more revered and respected by his people than was Jesse Bushyhead, who was born in southeastern Tennessee in September 1804. The family home was situated some three miles north of the present town of Cleveland, Tennessee and it was from there that the young Baptist minister inaugurated and carried on his years of faithful service to the welfare of his people. In 1837, Rev. Jesse Bushyhead was dispatched with a commission, by Chief John Ross to contact the Seminoles in Florida in an effort to compose their differences with the United States Government and on November 10th of that year he met a delegation of the Seminoles at St. Augustine. He was a strong adherent of the Ross faction and while he vigorously opposed the en masse removal policy of the Cherokees, by the Government, he accepted the inevitable uncomplainingly and headed a party of approximately one thousand Cherokees in their trek to the West. With his group, he departed from the East on October 9, 1838, arriving at their destination, near where is now situated the town of Westville in Adair County, on February 23, 1839. He immediately established the Baptist Mission and resumed his labor for the spiritual welfare of his people. He became chief justice of the Cherokee Nation upon the death of John Martin in 1840 and held this position until his death, which occurred on July 17, 1844, at the old Baptist Mission north of Westville where he lies buried. Rev. Bushyhead was married twice, his second wife being Eliza Wilkinson of the "Wolf Clan" of the Cherokee Nation. . . .
4Dennis Wolfe Bushyhead, eldest son of Rev. Jesse Bushyhead and Elizabeth Wilkinson, his wife, was born on Mouse Creek about three miles north of the present town of Cleveland, Tennessee in what is today Bradley County of that State, on March 18, 1826. His initial school was the Candy Creek Mission in charge of Rev. Holland, his subsequent enrollment being at a mission school conducted by Rev. Evan Jones at Valley River, North Carolina, in 1835. As a lad, young Bushyhead came West with the contingent of Cherokees led by his father in the early spring of 1839 and in the succeeding year he attended school at Park Hill under the tutelage of Dr. Samuel A. Worcester. He was sent to school at Lawrenceville, New Jersey in January 1841 where he remained in attendance until he completed his scholastic course in July 1844. In his departure for Lawrenceville in January 1841, he accompanied a Cherokee delegation headed by Chief John Ross, to Washington, where he was privileged to witness the presidential inauguration of Gen. William Henry Harrison. He graduated from Lawrenceville and had entered the Sophomore class of Princeton University when his father died and he returned home. The young graduate upon his return from school entered
By 1852 George Bushyhead returned to the east, following or going with some of
the Fields family. It’s possible that a Bushyhead avoided deportation and lived
on the Valley River in North Carolina, and this could be the above George. The
presence of Bushyheads in the Eastern tribe was strong thereafter.
Story last updated at 12:09 p.m.
on Tuesday, November 24, 1998
Cherokee, 85, saves native tongue
CHEROKEE, N.C. (AP)
-- Robert Bushyhead, 85, grew up speaking Cherokee. Now he and his daughter
spend each day working on the Kituhwa Language Project, an effort by the Eastern
Band of the Cherokee. Kituhwa is a principal dialect of Cherokee.
"Dad is my key resource person. Nobody around here is as strong in both Cherokee and English as my father," said Jean Bushyhead, the project director. Recently, the Bushyheads worked on a computerized-voice dictionary of the Cherokee language. It contains about 2,000 entries, with pronunciations provided by Bushyhead.
It features the pronunciation of a word in both Cherokee and English by Bushyhead or one of the other native speakers working with the project. The word is then used in a sentence to provide context.
While making an entry in the computerized dictionary, Bushyhead often repeats the word or phrase several times to make sure he gets the pronunciation exactly right. In spoken Cherokee, a word or phrase's meaning can change with even a slight shift in tone by the speaker.
"Inflection is so important. Change the inflection and you've said something other than what you wanted," he said.
Bushyhead, like most members of his generation, learned to speak Cherokee as his first language. However, because children at that time would be punished by teachers at the reservation's government boarding school if they spoke Cherokee, the language began to be replaced by English in daily conversation.
"Many of the older ones didn't teach their children so their kids wouldn't have to go through what they did at school," Bushyhead said.
Resuscitating the language hasn't been easy. Still, the reward of seeing young children learning and embracing the language is heartwarming for the father and daughter.
"The younger kids don't have any trouble with the pronunciation," she said. "They aren't inhibited by the learning process. They just blurt it out and don't worry about it. If you speak to them in Cherokee, they'll speak back."
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