Dragging Canoe’s Timeline
March 1 Dragging Canoe went to Mobile AL to escort 2 British Commissioners,
Cameron (Dragging Canoe's adopted brother), to bring a pack train to the
Cherokee back to Chota & give the British line regarding the upcoming American
Revolution. Dragging Canoe was in full agreement.
April Back at Chota. Alexander Cameron advises Indian neutrality because there
were Loyalists among whites - Indians wouldn't know the difference. Cameron &
Stuart sent letters to whites in the area. Text was altered to promote
anti-Indian sentiment (fear of attack).
Delegation of northern Indians, predominantly (but not totally) Shawnee
(Cornstalk?), came to Chota requesting a Cherokee alliance against the American.
Raven of Chota led an attack against the Carter Valley sentiments - burned
houses, but Americans had withdrawn. Nancy Ward, a "Beloved Woman of the
Cherokee, having been a warrior in her day, forewarned the Americans.
Abram of Chilhowee led the attack against Fort Watauga where Sevier was at the
time. Laid siege, nothing happened, so the Cherokee withdrew.
Dragging Canoe went against the Holston River settlements, including the Eton
Station fort, but the Americans, forewarned by Nancy Ward, were prepared and
successfully defended themselves. The Cherokee attacked, Dragging Canoe got shot
through both legs; his brother, Little Owl, also got hit. The Cherokee withdrew
for lack of numbers.
**Elders, including Oconostota, wanted to capitulate and offered a reward of 100
pounds on the heads of Dragging Canoe and Alexander Cameron. No record of known
attempts on their lives. The Cherokee Council sent a message that Dragging
canoe's faction were no longer citizens of the Cherokee Nation.**
Dragging Canoe responded by saying the peaceful Cherokee were nothing more than
"Virginians and Rogues," withdrawing from the area and moved with his people
closer to the Chattanooga area. Joined by survivors of the Lower Towns of South
Carolina. ****This is where he joined forces with the Chikamaka. It is not known
for sure when they wandered into the Tennessee Valley, but after this union they
become the Powerful tribe known today by the anglicized name "Chickamauga."****
1776 July 700 Chikamaka attacked two American forts in North Carolina: Eaton's
Station and Fort Watauga. Both assaults failed, but the raids set off a series
of attacks by other Cherokee and the Upper Creek on frontier settlements in
Tennessee and Alabama.
The Wataugans, led by their popular and soon-to-be-famous Indian fighter John
Sevier, repulsed the onslaught and swiftly counter-attacked. With the help of
militia from North Carolina and Virginia, they invaded the heartland of the
Cherokee and put their towns to the torch. John Sevier's son later married into
the Cherokee Nation.
1776 At the outbreak of the American Revolution, lives father up north Knoxville
way, moves families down river to Chickamauga & Chattanooga & Running Water with
the Creeks ... Upper & Lower Towns.
[At the beginning of the year Dragging Canoe wanted to attack the American
whites, and vice versa. However, most of the Cherokee were opposed to war.
British didn't want Indians involved. A Letter was copied and faked, with
derisive comments about Indians added. Copies were circulated to stir up
anti-British hate among Indians. Dragging Canoe was very militant. He led an
attack against whites. Rather than capitulate with the older men, he and other
warriors (1000 warriors and families,) moved south to Chattanooga with the
Chikamaka Creeks and became the war some Chikamaka waging war against the
settlers for the next twenty years. A Confederacy involving numerous tribes and
Tory allies is formed.]
1776 September Americans destroyed more than 36 Cherokee towns killing every
man, woman and child they could find. [Rather than killing all the Indians,
impromptu slave auctions on site were held to raise money for the White militia
by selling Native women & children. ]
1777 Unable to continue resistance, the Cherokee in the area asked for peace.
The Treaties of DeWitt's Corner (May) and Long Island (or Holston) (July) were
signed at gunpoint and forced the Cherokee to cede almost all of their remaining
land in the Carolinas.
1777 Summer Dragging Canoe led raids against American settlers as far up as
southern Virginia - killing whites whenever they could find them & burning
1778-79 Most Cherokee fighters (made up of many half-bloods & mixed-bloods,
predominantly a white mix - French, English, Irish, Spanish & American-born
whites, Cherokee, Shawnee, Creek, and free Blacks) went to Georgia to join the
British forces in the Georgia campaign
1776-82 Cherokee under Dragging Canoe joined the side of Great Britain in the
American Revolution against encroaching white settlement.
Cui Canacina or Tsiyugunsini (Dragging Canoe) and the Chikamaka refused the
Overhill Cherokee Treaty and kept raiding the new settlements. At the outbreak
of the Revolution, the Cherokee received requests from the Mohawk, Shawnee, and
Ottawa to join them against the Americans, but the majority of the Cherokee
decided to remain neutral in the white man's war. The Chikamaka, however,
remained at war with the Americans and formed an alliance with the Shawnee and
numerous other Northern Indian Nations.
1779 Evan Shelby attacks & burns 11 Chikamaka towns between the Knoxville and
the Chattanooga area while Dragging Canoe was in Georgia. Upon learning of this,
Dragging Canoe & men come back, Cameron with British arms also.
At this time a Shawnee delegation came down to see if the burning of the towns
had broken the Cherokee resistance. Dragging Canoe assured them that he would
keep fighting. Alexander Cameron recorded Dragging Canoe's speech, "We are not
A group of Cherokee went to the Shawnee to fight with them and to assure
consolidation of will. Likewise, a group of Shawnee, including Tecumseh's
widowed mother, her son, Tecumseh, a boy, and his triplet brothers, including
the later White Prophet, came down. Their older brother fought with distinction,
but was killed a few years later in the raid on Nashville.
Dragging Canoe again moves Chikamaka this time to the region between Chattanooga
and The South Cumberland Plateau. He resides in Lower Town of Running Water;
Breath established Nickajack by Nickajack Cave - across the river from Little
Cedar Mountain. THERE WERE SEVERAL TOWNS, CAMPS AND VILLAGES. SOME WERE KNOWN
AND DOCUMENTED AND OTHERS WERE NOT. SOME OF THESE NOT DOCUMENTED ARE NOW KNOWN
TO US AND SADLY SOME ARE FORGOTTEN BECAUSE OF OUR NEED TO ASSIMILATE IN ORDER
TO ACCOMPLISH OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: LAND PRESERVATION
1780 Dragging Canoe rescued the British Col. Brown in the American Siege of
Augusta. Returned home.
The Chikamaka remained hostile and renewed their attacks against western
settlements in Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. Continued his resistance,
attacks Nashville against Cumberland settlements.
1781 July After more fighting, the forced second Treaty of Long Island of
Holston confirmed the 1777 forced cessions and then took more Cherokee land.
1782 The English give up the war effort and sued for peace. Dragging Canoe
established contact with the Spanish in Florida and British in Canada and
1785/6 Treaty of Hopewell (SC) - The Cherokee thought this would be the end of
the settlers' invasion of Cherokee land. Within 3 years bitter fighting had
erupted as settlers continued to move into the Cherokee Nation. This treaty is
the basis for the term "Talking Leaves," the name of the tribe's written
language. The Cherokee felt that written words were like leaves, when they were
no longer of use they withered and died.
1790 Chikamakas continued action with the Shawnee in the Ohio Valley: the Ohio
1790-94 "Little Turtle's War" of the Miami in the Ohio Valley with the Wyandot,
Delaware, Hurons, Mohawks and Dakota. After their initial victories, from here
had the unofficial encouragement of the Spanish governments of Florida and
Louisiana and continued attacking American settlements. One of these incidents
almost killed a young Nashville attorney/land speculator named Andrew Jackson,
which may explain his later attitude regarding the Cherokee.
1791 January Chikamaka Chief Glass/"Catawba Killer" captured James Hubbard and
16 men building a blockhouse at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and released them with a
warning not to return.
1791 November 4 Combined force of Chikamaka, Creek, Asshinnabe (Chippewa),
Shawnee, Delaware, Iroquois, Miami, Wyandot and Dakota totally annihilated the
forces of American Gen. Arthur St. Clair at the Wabash River in Indiana. "St.
Clair's Defeat" - the biggest (number of whites killed) united Native triumph in
history. (Bigger than Little Big Horn...Custer's demise.)
1791 - Treaty of Holston signed. Includes a call for the U.S. to advance
civilization of the Cherokees by giving them farm tools and technical advice.
1792 February 17 Chikamaka Chief Glass and Dragging Canoe's brother, Turtle At
Home, waylaid the John Collingsworth family near Nashville, killing the father,
mother, and a daughter, and capturing an eight-year-old girl. Returning to
Lookout Town (near Trenton, Georgia), they held a scalp dance, grinding one of
the scalps in his teeth as he performed. Dragging canoe, recently returned from
Mississippi after meeting with Choctaws, celebrated the occasion so strenuously
that he died the following morning, age ±54. John Watts of Will's Town (near
Fort Payne, Alabama), became the new Chikamaka leader of the united war effort.
Chikamaka resistance continues - led a big campaign against settlements in
Nashville (Buchanan Station 1793) and in upper east Tennessee led the combined
Cherokee-Creek attack at Cavett's Station in 1793 in which there were no white