For 100,000 years the
Native American culture existed over this huge continent of the Americas including southeast Kentucky
and Wayne County. And from their existence came the most advanced civilization to ever take on the meaning
of life itself. From the most accurate calendar system in the world to the highly advanced study of the stars and nature,
the Native culture the Cherokee gave unto human beings a shining star for wisdom.
Many Chickamauga Cherokee and Kentucky Cumberland River Shawnee inhabited Wayne/Pulaski/McCreary
Counties as permanent dwellers in south central Kentucky, building upon themselves a social sophisticated society that marvel scholars
today. And in the middle of their existence roamed other tribal hunters and gatherers who came from many different lands as
far as Canada to the tip of South
America, from the Atlantic Ocean to the
Pacific. They interchanged cultural bonds, traded in extensive commerce, and lived a life of deep respect between their discrete
From the Totelo Sioux
to the southern River Shawnee and Chickamauga Cherokee, the greatest of all Indian Nations placed their historical mark in
south central southeastern Kentucky counties at the sacred lands of Wayne, McCreary,
Clinton, Pulaski, and more. And at all its mighty sacred geological wonders of the Cumberland Plateau. The Plateau that
runs all the way from Moorehead to London Kentucky in the north to south central southeastern Kentucky in the south, to all
the way to Chattanooga Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. A mark to forever be remembered in Native American history as the Land
of Lightning, the Land of the Thunderbolt.
The area of south central
Kentucky and northern Tennessee
and the lands surrounding it became the center of the universe for many Chickamauga Cherokee and southern River Shawnee and
most holy sacred grounds to many other Indian Nations east of the Mississippi River, especially to
the River Shawnee and Chickamauga Cherokee Nations who became its guardians and protectors.
The painted and crafted
Lightning Bolt was worn by these Chickamaga protectors and guardians of the sacred mirror, crescent moon, double sun, and
paradise Bear mountains. The area of south central southeastern Kentucky
was also the LAND OF THE HUMMINGBIRD.
The Cumberland River was
called Ta-Eache, meaning the River of the Blue Flute by the ruling Chickamaugans whereas the southern River Shawnee called it the River of the
Shawandasse. Burnside Ky became a huge Chickamauga Cherokee commerce center. This commerce center was called Salachi by the Chickamaugans, later Fort
Somerset was built by the invading settlers which became a disgrace to the whites. And Wayne
County Ky at "Doubleheads Cave" (Hines Cave) near present day Mill Springs in Wayne County
became the most used diplomatic center for the Chickamauga Cherokee northern provincial capital. Chickamauga Cherokee and southern River Shawnee performed ceremonial bonding there. This was an area dominated, controlled, and ruled by the Chickamaugans
on which the southern Cumberland River Shawnee and Chickasaws allied their support.
The honored burial
chambers at Doubleheads Cave in southeast Kentucky were the resting places of a great people, the Chickamauga Cherokee! The three
Great falls area of McCreary County became the most holy of sacred grounds: Ywahoo
Falls, Cumberland Falls, and Eagle Falls. All was the Land of the Thunder-Bolt People, the Cherokee, THE THUNDER PEOPLE of the northern
territorial nation of Chickamaugans, and on the other side of the Cumberland
River the mighty territory of the southern River Shawandasse.
Both Shawnee and Chickamauga Cherokee lived on both sides of the Cumberland
River yet both understood this territorial marker between
the two mighty nations. The Ky Cumberland River was the traditional northern marker of the mighty Cherokee Nation. This was the Cherokee in the north.
Out of the Cumberland Plateau (Ky-Tenn)
including the counties of southern and eastern Ky walked the most mighty of Chiefs, War Women, and medicine people of the
Cherokee and Shawnee Nations. Of the Cherokee walked Moytoy, War Chief Doublehead, War Chief Gilala (who fought with the Miami
with Tecumseh, War Chief Dragging Canoe, Warrior Middlestriker, War Chief Peter Troxell, Beloved Woman Cornblossom, War Woman
Standing Fern, William "Little Loud Wolf" Troxell, and many more. Other mighty famous leaders also walked and visited the
area such as Chiefs Black Fish, Blue Jacket, Walking Bear, Broken Stick, and Tecumseh of the Shawnee, Pontiac of the Ottawa,
and Mad Dog and "The Mortar" of the Creeks, to name a few.
After the Ywahoo Falls
massacre of 1810 (see the story of the Cherokee Children Massacre below) this resistance movement would ally friendship with
the northern Miami in the Tecumseh Wars and send a force of Chickamauga Cherokee under Ky Chickamaga leader Gilala of the
Ky Cumberland River area to aid Tecumseh while in the meantime an underground railroad is formed out of Alabama and Georgia.
The Great Cherokee Children's Massacre
Ywahoo Falls Kentucky 1810
On Friday, August 10th
1810, the Great Cherokee Children Massacre took place
at Ywahoo Falls in southeast Kentucky . The Cherokee village leaders of the Cumberland Plateau territory from Knoxville
Tennessee to the Cumberland River in Kentucky was led by the northern provisional Thunderbolt District Chief Beloved Woman
- War Woman "Cornblossom", the highly honored daughter of the famous Thunderbolt War Chief Doublehead. Several months before
this date, War Woman Cornblossom was preparing the people in all the Cherokee villages of southeast Kentucky
and northern Tennessee to bring all their children to the sacred Ywahoo
Falls area of refuge and safety.
Once all the Cherokee
children were gathered they were to make a journey to Reverend Gideon Blackburns Presbertearian Indian School at Sequatchie
Valley outside of Chattanooga Tennessee in order to save the children of the Cherokee Nation remaining in Kentucky and northern
Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau.
This area of Sequatchie
Valley was very near to Lookout Mountain at Chattanooga, the once long held Chickamauga National capital of the Thunderbolts.
The arrangements to save the Cherokee children thru Gideon Blackburns white protection Christian Indian Schools had been made
earlier by Cornblossoms father War Chief Doublehead, who had also several years earlier been assassinated by non-traditionalist
of the southern Cherokee Nation of the Carolinas and far eastern Tennessee.
A huge large gathering
area underneath Ywahoo Falls itself was
to be the center meeting place for these women and children to gather and wait, then all the children of all ages would go
as one group southward to the school to safety from the many Indian fighters gathering in the neighboring counties of Wayne
and Pulaski in Kentucky.
These Indian fighters
were led by an old Franklinite militiamen from Tennessee named Hiram "Big Tooth"
Gregory who came from Sullivan County Tennessee at the settlement of Franklin
and had fought many Franklinite campaigns under John Seveir to eliminate all the traditional Thunderbolt Cherokee totally
and without mercy. Big Tooth Gregory, sanctioned by the United States government, war department, and governor of the territory, carried on the ill famous
Indian hating battle cry of John Seveir that "nits make lice".
Orders were understood
by these Cherokee haters that nits (baby lice) would grow up to be adults and especially targeted in all the campaigns of
John Seveirs Franklinites were the Cherokee women, pregnant women, and children of all ages. John Seveir, Big Tooth Gregory,
and all the rest of the Franklinites philosophy was that if they could destroy the children of the Cherokee, there would be
no Cherokee and no Cherokee Nation to contend with in their expansion of white settlements, the white churches, and the claiming
of territory for the United States.
Orders were issued to
the Franklinites to split open the belly of any pregnant Cherokee woman, remove the baby inside her, and slice it as well.
To the Franklinites, the Cherokee baby inside the mother was the nit that would eventually make lice.
Runners brought word to
Standing Fern at the falls that her husband War Chief Peter Troxell and Cornblossom were on their way to Ywahoo
Falls with the last of the children. Traveling with Cornblossom and War Chief Peter Troxell were
Chief Red Bird of the Cumberland Falls area and their children, the youngest children of Cornblossom, and all the children of War
Chief Peter Troxell. When they arrived at Ywahoo Falls the journey southward would begin. But before Cornblossom, Red Bird, War Chief Peter Troxell,
and the children with them arrived, the old Franklinite "Indian fighter" by the name of Hiram "Big Tooth" Gregory had heard
of the planned trip several days prior and headed immediately for the falls area to kill them all with all he could muster
to kill the Cherokee.
Breaking the 1807 peace
treaty between War Chief Peter Troxell and the Governor of Kentucky, Big Tooth Gregorys band of Indian fighters crossed into
Cherokee territory and came in two directions, one group from Wayne County,
the other from neighboring Pulaski county in southeast Kentucky. The Indian
fighters on horseback joined together at what is now called Flat Rock Kentucky and headed into the Ywahoo
Falls area with fiery hatred. Big Tooth Gregory and his Indian fighters could not allow these children
(nits) to escape. Being only 1 good accessible way in by land and 1 way in by water, Gregorys band of Indian fighters chose
the quick way by land, sending a few side skirmishers by way to block anyone trying to escape. Before they reached the falls,
at todays entrance to Ywahoo Falls, the Indian fighters encountered a front Cherokee guard consisting of "Big Jake" Jacob
Troxell (husband to Cornblossom), a few longhunters friendly to the Cherokee mainly thru intermarriage and some remaining
Thunderbolt warriors, all who were guarding the entrance to the falls. This occurred shortly after in the early morning hours of darkness before the rising of the sun. This will be the night
morning of screams. This will be the last day of many children.
From this massacre, Jacob
Troxell (husband to Cornblossom), the Great Warrior, and all the front guards killed, War Woman Standing Fern (wife to War
Chief Peter Troxell) and her elite Thunderbolt warriors all killed defending the children below the falls, War Chief Peter
Troxell killed in the last fight, and over 100 women and children waiting to go south to safety in a children journey to a
Christian mission school, all lay dead, massacred, raped, tortured, and scalped, by these "Indian fighters". It was said that
"Bones and Blood ran so deep underneath Ywahoo Falls that the murdered dead were all put there together in a heap to be their grave". The place
of innocence and the Ancient Ones now became a place of death of the innocent. The Falls ran red that day of darkness, Friday, August 10,
This massacre ended all power of the mighty Chickamaugan Thunderbolt
Cherokee people in Kentucky to Knoxville Tennessee. These people of southeast Kentucky and northern Tennessee held out unto death. And as it is often said "Today was a good day
to die" for "We are not conquered.”