Red over Black: Black Slavery among the Cherokee Indians

By R. Halliburton Jr. | Go to book overview

flotilla of eleven flatboats lashed to two steamers. They were the first party to emigrate under the "Schermerhorn treaty." Ridge was accompanied by eighteen slaves. After arriving in the West, he settled on the north side of Honey Creek and put his blacks to work clearing land. Ridge's son John sent his slaves West but kept three with him--a woman to cook, a man to drive the carriage, and a governess for the children. Upon arrival at Honey Creek he built "a good double log house" and put his slaves to clearing, fencing, and breaking land. He owned twenty-four blacks at that time.26

Believing that total removal was inevitable, the John Martin and George Washington Adair families left Georgia for the West in 1837. They traveled in covered wagons and took their livestock and black slaves with them. These families had black nurses for the children, maids for the kitchen and household chores, and many field hands. Adair settled on Saline Creek near the present town of Salina, and Martin made his home on Grand River near the present Locust Grove, two miles south of the Adair family.27 About 2,000 Cherokees, mostly members of the Ridge faction, migrated under the terms of the Treaty of New Echota.

By this time there were about 8,000 people in the West and more than 1,000 farms had been established. Missionaries' correspondence indicates that it was an exceptional case to find a family of Cherokees without at least one slave to do the more arduous work.28


NOTES
1.
Laws of the Cherokee Nation: Adopted by the Council at Various Periods (Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation: Cherokee Advocate Office, 1852), pp. 242-243.
2.
Chattanooga Times, April 27, 1948.
3.
Althea Bass, Cherokee Messenger ( Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1936), p. 108.
4.
Glen Fleischmann, The Cherokee Removal, 1838 ( New York: Franklin Watts, Inc., 1971), p. 22.
5.
Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs ( Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1836), p. 391.
6.
Don L. Shadburn, "Cherokee Statesmen: The John Rogers Family of Chattahoochee," Chronicles of Oklahoma 50, no. 1 (Spring 1972), p. 16.
7.
Cherokee Phoenix. June 24, 1829.

-59-

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