D. Ray Smith - Early Tennessee History, Cherokee History (Nancy Ward, Dragging Canoe)

D. Ray Smith

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Early Tennessee History and Cherokee History are Areas of Interest:

"Nancy Ward" and "Historic Trails" are the titles of two of my articles that have just recently been published in the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. I authored an earlier article on Nancy Ward's history which was published in The East Tennessee Encyclopedia of History several years ago.

Historic Trails describe the earliest roads from East Tennessee to Middle Tennessee. The Emery Road and The Walton Road formed northern and southern routes which were first cut and cleared in the late 1780's and early 1790's.

"Dragging Canoe", the son of Attakullakulla (The Little Carpenter, so named for his skill at crafting treaty language acceptable to all) and cousin of Nancy Ward occupies much of my current research time. He was a fierce warrior, pockmarked by smallpox when a young child, tall and stately in appearance, and the primary leading force in the Cherokee's resistance to white settlement on Cherokee lands. He strongly resisted the sale of Cherokee lands to whites and spoke at treaty negotiations vehemently objecting to the continued sale of Cherokee land.

At the conclusion of the Transylvania Treaty of 1775, Dragging Canoe spoke against the sale of Cherokee land. He rose and said "Whole Indian nations have melted away like snowballs in the sun before the white man's advance. They leave scarcely a name of our people except those wrongly recorded by their destroyers. Where are the Delawares? They have been reduced to a mere shadow of their former greatness. We had hoped that the white men would not be willing to travel beyond the mountains. Now that hope is gone. They have passed the mountains, and have settled upon Cherokee land. They wish to have that action sanctioned by treaty. When that is gained, the same encroaching spirit will lead them upon other land of the Cherokees. New cessions will be asked. Finally the whole country, which the Cherokees and their fathers have so long occupied, will be demanded, and the remnant of Ani-Yunwiya, THE REAL PEOPLE, once so great and formidable, will be compelled to seek refuge in some distant wilderness. There they will be permitted to stay only a short while, until they again behold the advancing banners of the same greedy host. Not being able to point out any further retreat for th miserable Cherokees, the extinction of the whole race will be proclaimed. Should we not therefore run all risks, and incur all consequences, rather than submit to further loss of our country? Such treaties may be alright for men who are too old to hunt or fight. As for me, I have my young warriors about me. We will have our lands. A-WANINSKI, I have spoken."

Dragging Canoe's mighty speech had such a strong influence on the chiefs that they closed the Treaty Council without more talk. Yet, the white men prepared another huge feast with rum and were able to persuade the Cherokee Chiefs to sit in another Treaty Council for further discussion of land sale. The land being sought was the primary hunting lands of the Cherokee. Attakullakulla, Dragging Canoe's father, spoke in favor of selling the land, as did Raven, who was jealous of Dragging Canoe's growing power among the young warriors. The deed was signed. Richard Henderson, being very bold, now that his plan was succeeding and they had bought such a huge portion of land, sought to secure a safe path to the new lands. Saying "he did not want to walk over the land of my brothers", he asked to "buy a road" through Cherokee lands. This last insult was more than Dragging Canoe could tolerate. He became very angry and rising from his seat and stomping the ground he spoke saying "We have given you this, why do you ask for more? You have bought a fair land. When you have this you have all. There is no more game left between the Watauga and the Cumberland. There is a cloud hanging over it. You will find its settlement DARK and BLOODY."

For the next 17 years Dragging Canoe did his best to make the white settlement of these lands "Dark and Bloody". He attacked the settlers at every opportunity. He became known as "The Dragon" because of his fierce fighting and relentless persuit of destroying all white settlements on what he considered THE REAL PEOPLE'S land. Not much is written about his history, yet he was by far the most ferocious opponent the settlers faced.

To learn more about Dragging Canoe go to: Dragging Canoe Page)

My List of History Related Links

SmithDRay's Home Page
Who and What is SmithDRay? Links to other SmithDRay's pages.
Women in Tennessee History
Middle Tennessee State University's page of women who have contributed significantly to Tennessee History
SmithDRay's Books page
Good books are like close friends.
Nancy Ward Page
History of Nancy Ward as published in the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 1998.

Other links to pages you might enjoy:

Sarcoidosis Page
Personal experience with sarcoid, links to helpful resources, and support groups.
Parenting Page
Parenting experience and commentary, list of links to parenting information and resources. Grandparent's perpsective.
Humor Page
Quotes, humor links, e-cards, and just good clean fun stuff.
History Page
Early Tennessee History, Cherokee History, and late 1700's United States History. This page contains draft materials on Dragging Canoe.
Historic Trails Page
Published article on the Emery Road and Walton Road the earliest road system from East Tennessee to Middle Tennessee.
Early Routes Page
An article on the early history of our nation and the westward expansion into Tennessee. Emphasis is on the trails and roads used in this expansion.
Books Page
Old, unique and unusual books for sell, swap, or buy. History, Tennessee, Cherokee, and past presidents (especially Jefferson) are areas of special interest.
Early American Pattern Glass Page
We collect Riverside ESTHER pattern early american pattern glass. We have several pieces of the green and gold ESTHER pattern and one piece of the clear ESTHER pattern. Links to other Early American Pattern Glass sites.
Bible Page
Religion, church of Christ, and Bible Search.

Several years ago a coal miner with a vision to place simple messages about God where people could read them and be caused to think about their relationship with God did much the same thing. However, his resources were limited yet he managed to place signs in many locations. Check out the following link:

Harrison Mayes Page

A unique and interesting story about one man's life-long dedication to displaying simple messages about God!

NEW SECTION OF PAGES! Check for updates often...

NEW Original POETRY Pages

Sunrise Page
View a beautiful sunrise and enjoy poetry about the beauty of sunrises

Fanny's Granny's Featherbed Page of original poetry
Fanny's memories of conversations with a special grandmother while laying on a featherbed...you may find this will bring back memories of your special grandmother's featherbed as well.


Baby Laugh Page
Experience the JOY of sound and the importance of Kids!

Sunset Page
Experience a Sunset to Raise your Spirits!

Wagon Page
Promotional page for America's Promise to Youth

Listen Page
Lesson in practical listening to increase understanding

Beachcomber Page
Wisdom and encouragement to show LOVE through ACTIONS!

Billboard Page
Simple messages with a powerful impact to make us think about our relationship with God

While these billboards are thought to be the efforts of one individual, they are not the first time this has been done. Several years earlier a coal miner with a vision to place simple messages about God where people could read them and be caused to think about their relationship with God did much the same thing. However, his resources were limited yet he managed to place signs in many locations. Check out the following link:

Harrison Mayes Page

A unique and interesting story about one man's life-long dedication to displaying simple messages about God!

Hypocrisy and The Boy's Ideal Page
The importance of example in parenting

Benjamin Franklin Page
Poor Richard's Maxims and other sage wit and wisdom by Benjamin Franklin

Flowers and Nature Pages

blue Iris Page
The beauty of blue Iris and encouragement to ENJOY LIFE!

Flame Azalea and Dogwood Page
One of the most beautiful scenic views from Gregory's Bald in the Great Smoky Mountains and a Dogwood bloom with thoughts about the BEAUTY OF NATURE

Trillium Page
The beauty of wildflowers (Trillium) and encouragement to APPRECIATE the small things and SPEND TIME with loved ones!

Additional Humor Pages

Eyes that follow your cursor everywhereThey WATCH YOUR EVERY MOVE

Optical Illusions Page
Seven Optical Illusions for your viewing pleasure


Smiley Page
Smiley page made for sharing with friends to make them SMILE

2nd Smiley Page
Smiley page made especially for sharing with children and Grannys to make them SMILE

3rd Smiley Page
A Smiley page to remind us of the importance of SMILING

Holiday Pages

Mother's Day Page
A tribute to Mothers with quotations and a really good story

4th of July Page
A holiday page made for sharing with friends and family

Father's Day Page
A Father's Day page made for sharing with that special Father in your family

Casper the Friendly Ghost Page
Links to Casper the Friendly Ghost pages for your entertainment

Yes Virginia Page
The editorial first published in the New York Sun in 1897 answering Virginia's question about Santa Claus

SmithDRay's Writers Page
Writers information, quotes, and links to resources.

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