Cherokee Tragedy: The Ridge Family and the Decimation of a People

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University of Oklahoma Press, Jul 1, 1989 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages
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Beginning with the birth of the Cherokee patriarch Major Ridge in the 1770’s, Thurman Wilkins tells the events that led to the Trail of Tears, through the eyes of the illustrious Ridge family. Major Ridge and his Connecticut-educated son John were willing to abandon the rich tribal homelands in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia and emigrate west to the Indian Territory to escape the white invaders.

During the decades of fruitless negotiations that culminated in the infamous Treaty of New Echota, Georgia, in 1835, the Ridges and their relatives Elias Boudinot and Stand Watie became persuaded that further protests by the Cherokees would lead only to their annihilation at the hands of the whites. The pro-treaty Ridge faction was opposed by fiery John Ross, the leader of the majority National Party, who wanted to stay and fight in the Southeast against all odds.

In this revised edition of his great work, Thurman Wilkins addresses the new scholarship of the past fifteen years and reconsiders the important questions raised by Cherokee history aficionados: Were Major Ridge and John Ridge paid off by the United States for their support of removal? If not, how did these Cherokee patriots come to change their minds about emigrating west? Was Chief John Ross a hero or a villain?

Since Cherokee Tragedy was first published in 1970, it has been valued as a penetrating social and political history of neither the whole Cherokee Nation-nor just the Ridge family- from the last quarter of the eighteenth century to the 1838 Trail of Tears and the subsequent “execution” of the Ridges in Indian Territory.

 

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Cherokee Tragedy

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I love the book bc it clears up my Cherokee history and ancestors. Read full review

Contents

Border Warrior
3
Major Ridge in 1834
5
The Cherokee Country East 1213
8
Young Chief
28
The Creek War
52
Cherokee Diplomacy
81
The Battle of the Horseshoe 77
92
The Torchlight
97
The Reverend Samuel A Worcesters house restored
197
And Then the Reversal
214
Maneuvers of Desperation
242
Georgia Lottery Record for John Ridges Home Place
250
The Treaty of New Echota
264
First Signature Page Treaty of New Echota
288
Honey Creek
291
The Trail of Tears
316

The Reverend Elias Cornelius
113
Cornwall
119
The Foreign Mission School Cornwall Connecticut
122
Sequoyah Inventor of the Cherokee Syllabary
139
Agents for the Creeks
154
Major George Lowrey Assistant Principal Chief of
159
General William McIntosh Creek Chief
166
John Ridge in 1826
180
Not One More Foot of Land
186
Major Ridges house in Rome Georgia
187
General Winfield Scott
317
The Trail of Tears by Robert Lindneux
326
The Reckoning
329
Cherokee Nation West 1839
331
Epilogue 34
340
Notes
345
Selected Bibliography
383
Index 43
413
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About the author (1989)

Thurman Wilkins, Professor Emeritus of Englishnbsp;of New York's Queens College,nbsp;was also the author of widely acclaimed biographies of the geologist-surveyor Clarence King and the artist Thomas Moran.

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