Red over Black: Black Slavery among the Cherokee Indians

By R. Halliburton Jr. | Go to book overview

It is easily understood why Cherokee owners were indulgent in giving their slaves time to attend religious services. Moreover, some slaves attended church to interpret for masters who did not speak English.

Some Cherokees, even slaveowners, resisted the efforts of the missionaries, however. One was Drowning Bear (Yonaguska), a chief who resisted every persuasion to emigrate west and was suspicious of Christianity. He refused to allow the Scriptures to be read to his people until he had first heard them. After hearing one or two chapters of the Book of Matthew, the chief remarked, "Well, it, seems to be a good book--strange that the white people are not better, after having had it so long."41

The Methodists made the last large-scale mission effort among the Cherokees and they experienced the quickest success. In one year's time they converted 189 Indians and 63 black slaves.42 John Ross was one of that number.


NOTES
1.
James Mooney, "Myths of the Cherokees," Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology ( Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1900), p. 214.
2.
F. A. Michaux, "Travels to the West of the Allegheny Mountains in the States of Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee," in Ruben Gold Thwaites, Early Western Travels ( Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1904- 1907), vol. 18, p. 28.
3.
Henry Thompson Malone, Cherokees of the Old South: A People in Transition ( Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1956), p. 138.
4.
Ibid.
5.
Thurman Wilkins, Cherokee Tragedy: The Story of the Ridge Family and the Decimation of a People ( London: The Macmillan Company, 1970), p. 30.
6.
Ibid., p. 181.
7.
Ibid., p. 182.
8.
Ibid., pp. 182-183.
9.
National Archives, Paul Smith to Henry Dearborn, Secretary of War Files, Indian Division, No. 1484 ( 1805).
10.
Lillian Delly, "Episode at Cornwall," Chronicles of Oklahoma 51, no. 4 (Winter 1973-74), pp. 444-445.
11.
"The Foreign Mission School at Cornwall, Connecticut," Chronicles of Oklahoma 7, no. 3 ( September 1929), p. 247.
12.
Edward Everett Dale and Gaston Litton, Cherokee Cavaliers ( Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939), p. 7.

-29-

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Red over Black: Black Slavery among the Cherokee Indians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Origins of Black Slavery in the Cherokee Country 3
  • Notes 16
  • 2 - Early Cherokee Planters and Plantations 20
  • Notes 29
  • 3 - Maturity and Westward Movement 32
  • Notes 46
  • 4 - The Last Decade in the East 50
  • Notes 59
  • 5 - The New Nation in the West 61
  • Notes 77
  • 6 - Great Runaway and Stricter Controls 80
  • Notes 91
  • 7 - Missionaries and Abolitionism 93
  • Notes 103
  • 8 - The Prewar Years 106
  • Notes 120
  • 9 - The Civil War 122
  • Notes 136
  • 10 - Conclusion 139
  • Appendix A 145
  • Appendix B 181
  • Appendix C - A Cherokee Adoption Rite 193
  • Notes 194
  • Bibliography 195
  • Index 209
  • About the Author 219
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