Nancy Ward, Ghi-ga-u, ‘Beloved Woman of the Cherokees’

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Na-ni (ᎾᏅᏰᎯ) ‘Nancy’ Ward

Cherokee: ᎾᏅᏰᎯ
Also Known As: "Nanyehi", "One who goes about", "Beloved Woman Of The Cherokee", "Beloved Woman of Cherokee Nanye hi The Ghi Ga -u", "Beloved Woman of the Cherokee", "Na Ye Hi", "Nancy Ward"
Birthplace: Cherokee Nation (East), Chota, Polk County (now Monroe), Tennessee, Colonial America
Death: circa April 1824 (80-97)
Cherokee Nation (East), (at her home) Woman Killer Ford of the Ocowee River, (near) Benton, (now) Polk County, Tennessee, United States
Place of Burial: (halfway between Ocoee & Benton), (now) Polk County, Tennessee, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Unknown and Unknown
Wife of Tsu La ‘Kingfisher’ and Bryant Ward
Mother of Catherine ‘Katie’ (Ka-ti) Harlan; “Littlefellow” Hi-s-ki-ti-hi Fivekiller and Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Martin
Sister of Tuskeegee Teehee ‘Longfellow of Chistatoa’

Occupation: Beloved Woman of The Cherokee, Nanyehi the Ghi-Ga-U, Agigaue (Agi-ga-u-e), Wildrose, Nancy Ward, Nanye-hi, Cherokee, "Tsituna-Gus-Ke" (Wild Rose), Wife
AKA: Nanye'hi, ᎾᏅᏰᎯ
Clan: ᎠᏂᏩᏯ aniwaya (Cherokee wolf clan)
DAR Ancestor #: A120623
DNA: mtDNA Haplogroup C1c Earliest Known Ancestor.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Nancy Ward, Ghi-ga-u, ‘Beloved Woman of the Cherokees’
Nancy was a Cherokee Woman
Nanyehi or Nani (Cherokee: ᎾᏅᏰᎯ: "One who goes about"), known in English as Nancy Ward (c. 1738 – 1822)

Section 1 from The WikiTree Native American Project (edited)

Na-ni (ᎾᏅᏰᎯ) ‘Nancy’

Also known as: Nan-ye-hi; commonly know as Nancy Ward
Title: Ghi-ga-u, ‘Beloved Woman of the Cherokees’
Birth: about 1736 in Chota, Cherokee Nation (East)
Death: 1822 in in Cherokee Nation (East)
Parents: unknown. There was no ‘Tame Deer.’
Brother: Tuskeegeeteehee, called "Longfellow"
Wife of Tsu-la = ‘Kingfisher’ — married 1752 in Cherokee Nation (East).
Their children:
1) Ka-ti. Married 1) Samuel Candy 2) John Walker 3) Ellis Harlan.
2) Hiskyteehee. Married Katy.
Wife of Bryant Ward — married after 1756 in Cherokee Nation (East).
Their child:
3) Elizabeth (Betsy) Ward. Married 1) Joseph Martin 2) Daniel Hughes


Nan-ye-hi, the Cherokee woman commonly known as Nancy Ward, was probably born about 1738 in the Cherokee town of Chota, in what is now Monroe County, Tennessee.
Detail of Henry Timberlake's 1765 "Draught of the Cherokee Country," showing the location and layout of the Cherokee town of Chota. The Chota site is now submerged under Tellico Lake in Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The "Virginia Fort," built in 1756 but never garrisoned, is at the lower left. Tanasi ("Tennessee") is at the lower right, separated by the stream.

A fictional account of her life (The Wild Rose of Cherokee or Nancy Ward, Pocahontas of the West) written in 1895 by E. Sterling King, translates her name as 'Wild Rose', and gives her mother's name as 'Tame Doe,' but there is no evidence for either of these and that book has resulted in a great deal of mythology about her. Although Nan-ye-hi's parents' names are unknown her mother was a member of the Wolf Clan. Nan-ye-hi had one brother, Tuskeegeeteehee called 'Longfellow' by the English. Attacullaculla, later the leading chief of the Cherokee, has been called her uncle (this could mean a blood relative or just an older man of her clan).[1]

Nan-ye-hi’s first husband was a Cherokee man from the Deer Clan, named Tsula or Kingfisher. They were the parents of two children, a daughter named Ka-ti born about 1752 and a son named Hiskyteehee or 'Fivekiller,' born about 1754. In 1755 Nan-ye-hi accompanied her husband to war against the Muskogee (Creek) Indians. According to the story during the Battle of Taliwa she knelt by his side chewing his bullets to make them more deadly. When Kingfisher was killed Nan-ye-hi took his rifle and rallied the Cherokee, leading to victory.[2] Because of her valor she was given the title of Ghigau meaning beloved, honored, or war woman. This gave her a great deal of power including the right to speak and vote at Cherokee councils and to determine the fate of captives. Nan-ye-hi used her position to promote peace between the Cherokee and the white settlers, the British, the French, and other tribes.[3] Although it may be part of her myth, Nan-ye-hi is said to be an early slaveholder and that she learned dairying from a white captive, Lydia Bean, whose life she had saved.[4]

Nan-ye-hi married white trader Bryant Ward about 1758 and became known as Nancy Ward. They had one daughter, Betsy, who had children by Gen. Joseph Martin (agent to the Cherokee) and a man named Hughes. A white man named James Robertson visited the Cherokee in 1774 and is thought to have met Nan-ye-hi, reporting that she was “queenly and commanding.”[5] Although her motives are unknown, since the Cherokee supported the British during the American Revolution, Nan-ye-hi is credited both with warning white settlers of an upcoming attack and with saving the life of a white captive in 1776.[6] As a result she is listed with the Daughters of the American Revolution for patriotic service.[7]

Daughters of the American Revolution
Nancy (Cherokee) Ward is a DAR Patriot Ancestor, A120623.
Ancestor #: A120623 @

In 1782 Nan-ye-hi and Betsy spent the winter with Joseph Martin and his son William, "Things were so bad in the Overhill settlement that in the fall of 1782, Joseph Martin took Nancy Ward and Oconastota back to Long Island [of Holston] to spend the winter. Scarcity of food and respect for Nancy, as well as friendship for the Old Chief, who was now almost blind, were sufficient reasons.“ William Martin wrote, "These two Cherokee greats, Nancy Ward and Oconostota, spent the winter of 1782-1783 in Joseph Martin's Long Island home, where Nancy's daughter, Betsy was able to care for their needs. With the coming of spring, Oconostota asked Martin to take him home. The Old Chief must have felt that his end was near, and he wanted to spend his last days at Chota. Martin realized that the ailing Chief would be unable to make the trip on horseback, so he arranged to take the party down river by boat.”[8]

Nan-ye-hi was a continuing voice in the tribe for peace with the whites and was present at the signing of the Treaty of Hopewell in 1785.[9] In 1817 Nan-ye-hi, her daughter Ka-ti Harlan, granddaughter Jenny Walker McIntosh and ten other women signed a petition opposing yet another land cession.[10]
Facsimile of Nancy Ward's appeal to the Cherokee Chiefs, 1817 - from "Nancy Ward, Ghighau of the Cherokees." by Norma Tucker -- The Georgia Historical Quarterly, June, 1969. pgs 192-200. @

She continued to participate in the affairs of the Cherokee Nation until 1819, sending her walking stick and her vote to ratify the Constitution of 1819 when she was not able to travel.[11][3] After the land near her home at Chota was ceded away Nancy took a reservation under the Treaty of 1819 near her granddaughter Jennie McIntosh, but never lived on the land.[12] She moved south into what was left of the Cherokee Nation, and operated an inn at Womankiller Ford, near what is now Benton, TN. She died in 1822 (Starr records spring of 1824) at her home. Witnesses say that a white light rose from her chest, swirled around the room, took the form of a swan, and flew out the window toward her beloved Chota.[13] Nancy is buried along with her brother and son near her former home.

Her grave is maintained as a state park by the state of Tennessee.[14]
The grave of Cherokee “Beloved Woman” Nancy Ward (right, with the plaque) and her son, Fivekiller (left), and her brother, Longfellow (middle) near Benton, Tennessee, in the Southeastern United States. This small cemetery is situated along US-411 on a small hill overlooking the Ocoee River.
(Photos: left photo of the original gravesite from the Tennessee State Library and Archives here: with caption that reads “Dedication of the Nancy Ward (1740-1822) Monument in Benton, Tennessee where she is buried next to her son, Fivekiller. The two (unnamed) young girls pictured are (said to be) descendants of Nancy Ward.” This monument was erected and dedicated in 1923 by the Nancy Ward chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The middle and right photos from the blog spot Big Daddy Dave @


1. ↑ Hampton, David. "Biography of Nancy Ward." Association of Descendants of Nancy Ward.
2. ↑ Starr, Emmet. History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folklore. Oklahoma City, OK: Warden Company, 1921.
3. ↑ 3.0 3.1 Cumfer, Cynthia. Nan-ye-hi (Nancy Ward): Diplomatic Mother. In Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times. Vol. 1. Edited by Sarah Wilkerson Freeman and Beverly Greene Bond. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 2009.
4. ↑ Starr, Emmet. History of the Cherokee Indians. Tulsa, OK: Oklahoma Yesterday Publications, 1979. p. 469.
5. ↑ Hampton, David. Cherokee Mixed-Bloods. Lincoln, AR: Arc Press of Cane Hill, 2005. p. 104.
6. ↑ "To Thomas Jefferson from Arthur Campbell, 15 January 1781." Founders Online. National Archives. Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Vol. 4. 1 October 1780 – 24 February 1781. Edited by Julian P. Boyd. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951. p. 359–363.
7. ↑ DAR Research System Nancy Ward, Ancestor #: A120623
8. ↑ Brown, John P. Old Frontiers. Kingsport, TN: Southern Publishers, Inc., 1938. p. 203. Brown is quoting a letter found the in Draper Manuscript collection.
9. ↑ United States Congress. American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive of the Congress of the United States. Class 2: Indian Affairs, Vol. 4. United States: Gales and Seaton, 1832. p. 41.
10. ↑ "Cherokee Indian/Native American Women to National Council at Amohee, May 2, 1817." Library of Congress. Andrew Jackson papers, 1775-1874. Series: Series 1, General Correspondence and Related Items, 1775-1885. MSS 27532, Vol. 44.
11. ↑ Hampton, David K. Cherokee Mixed-Bloods. p. 105.
12. ↑ Hampton, David K., transcriber. Cherokee Reservees. Oklahoma City, OK: Baker Publishing Co., 1979. p.7, 16, 22, and 24.
13. ↑ Hampton, Mixed-Bloods. p. 103.
14. ↑ "Nancy Ward Gravesite." Tennessee Overhill.

See also:

  • Armstrong, Zella. History of Hamilton County and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga, TN: The Lookout Publishing Company, 1931.
  • Woodward, Grace Steele. The Cherokees. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963.
  • Wikipedia:Nancy_Ward
  • "Nancy Ward." Tennessee Encyclopedia.
  • "Nanyehi: The Story of Nancy Ward." A Musical.
  • David Ray Smith's Nancy Ward Index.

Source: The WikiTree Native American Project @

Section 2 from the Cherokee Lineages: Register Report of Amatoya Moytoy by James Hicks

NANCY WARD (TAME3DOE, NANCY2MOYTOY, A-MA-DO-YA1) was born 1738 in Chota, City of Refuge, CNE, [NC], and died 1824 in CNE, [Polk Co, TN]. ('Curator Note: Mr. Hicks has chosen to show descent for Nancy from Moytoy through Tame Doe but this error, there are ZERO contemporaneous records regarding Nancy’s parents. Some of the stories about her come from a great-grandson Jack Hildebrand who was about 4 when she died. In fact the entire Moytoy line is questionable, see “ So, will the real Amatoya Moytoy please stand up? @''')

She married (1) TSU-LA KINGFISHER Abt. 1752 in NC. He was born Abt. 1720, and died 1755 in Canton Co, GA.
She married (2) BRYAN WARD Bef. 1757. He was born Abt. 1720 in Amtrim County, Ireland, and died August 15, 1815 in Franklin Co, GA.
Nancy Ward, AKA (Curator Note: the following list of names are no where used in primary documents)

  • Nanye'hi -Cherokee form of Nancy
  • Pocahontas of the West
  • Tsistuna-gis-ke -birth name, "Wild Rose" (Wild Rose of the Cherokee)
  • Ghigau -title of "Beloved Woman"
  • Chicouelha [?] Moravian Diary entry
  • War Woman of Chota
  • Granny Ward


  • 1817 Reservations, 12/19/1818 res# 156; One mile below John McIntosh's on Mouse Creek where the old trace crosses said creek from Tellico Block House to Highwassee Garrison beginning at the ford and running down said creek for compliment, is by her for diverse causes and considerations bequeathed to her daughter [grandaughter] Jenny McIntosh [nee Walker ap Caty Kingfisher] and to her heirs forever.
  • 1817-19 Reservations: December 19, 1818, #156 as Nancy Ward, Native, 1 in family (see individual notes)
  • Blood: 1/4 Cherokee, 1/4 Algonquin, 1/2 Delaware?
  • Clan: Ani'-Wa'ya = Wolf Clan (Quatsy)
  • Starr's Notes: B668


  • Blood: Full Blood Cherokee
  • Clan: Ani'-Kawi' = Deer Clan (Tsu-la Kingfisher)

More About BRYAN WARD:

  • Blood: Non-Cherokee

52. i. CATHERINE5 KINGFISHER, b. Abt. 1752, CNE [TN]; d. Aft. 1825, CNE [TN].
53. ii. FIVEKILLER KINGFISHER, b. June 1755, CNE [TN]; d. Bef. 1826, Polk, TN.

Child of NANCY WARD and BRYAN WARD is:
54. iii. ELIZABETH BETSY5 WARD, b. September 18, 1757, CNE [TN]; d. Tennessee.

Source: Hicks, James R. “Cherokee Lineages: Register Report of Amatoya Moytoy”,, 2023,

Section 3 from History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folklore by Emmett Starr


Descendants of the Ghi-ga-u, commonly called Nancy Ward.

11 Ghi-ga-u. Kingfisher and Bryan Ward. A22
1122 Catherine. Samuel Candy, John Walker, Ellis Harlan. A23
2 Fivekiller. * Catherine.
OK 3 Elizabeth Ward. Joseph Martin and ____Hughes.
111213 Samuel Candy. Elizabeth West.
2 John Walker. Elizabeth Sevier nee Lowrey.
OK 3 Jennie Walker. Charles Fox, Taylor and John Mcintosh. A53
4 Nannie Harlan. Caleb Starr.
5 Sallie Harlan. Jacob West.
6 Ruth Harlan. Joseph Phillips.
7 Elizabeth Harlan. Peter Hildebrand. A25
8 George Harlan. Nannie Sanders, Annie May,* Eliza Riley. *
9 Ezekial Harlan. Hannah Lewis.
10 Susannah Harlan. Otterlifter.
111213 James Martin. *
2 Nannie Martin. Michael Hildebrand.
OK 3 Rachel Hughes. Charles Rogers

Starr Notes:

A22. A full blood Cherokee of the Wolf clan, whose name may have been Na-ni. Her first husband, Kingfisher, of the Deer clan, was the father of her first two children; Catherine and Fivekiller. In a battle with the Muskogees, Kingfisher was killed and his wife, who had been laying behind a log, chewing the bullets so that they would lacerate the more; picked up his rifle and fought as a warrior throughout the rest of the skirmish. The Muskogees were defeated and according to custom the captured spoils were divided among the victors. Kingfisher's widow was given a negro that had been captured from the vanquished and in this manner became the first slave owner among the Cherokees and by common consent she became the Ghi-ga-u, or Beloved Woman of the Cherokees, this life time distinction was only granted as an extreme mark of valorious merit and carried with it the right to speak, vote and act in all of the peace and war councils of the tribe, it also vested her with the supreme pardoning power of the tribe, a prerogative that was not granted to any other, not even the powerful peace or war chiefs.

She was described even after she was an old woman as a person of remarkable beauty, poise "with a queenly and commanding presence." Her second husband was Bryan Ward, a White man, a widower, who had located in the Cherokee country as a trader. Ward had brought his son John, whose deceased mother was a White woman, and John subsequently married Catherine McDaniel, a half breed Cherokee woman and is the ancestor of the numerous Ward family, among the Cherokees. Bryan Ward had one daughter; Elizabeth, by the Ghi-ga-u; whose first husband was Brigadier General Joseph Martin and her second husband was ______ Hughes, a trader. Bryan Ward lived only a few years after his marriage to The Ghi-ga-u.

In June 1776, Dragging Canoe, Abraham and Raven; war chiefs of the Cherokees, with about two hundred and fifty warriors each, at the instigation of the British, planned to attack the western settlements. But the effect of these raids were greatly modified by the Ghi-ga-u's timely warning to the settlers. On July 20, 1776, Abraham marching to attack Watauga, in East Tennessee, captured Mrs. Bean, wife of William Bean, the mother of the first White child born in Tennessee. On the return of the war party to the Cherokee country, Mrs. Bean was condemned by her captors to be burned at the stake. She was conducted to the top of the mound that stood in the center of Tuskeegee, which was located just above the mouth of Tellico or Little Tennessee River, where she was bound to the stake, the fagots were piled around her, but just as the torch was about to be applied, the Ghigau appeared, cut the thongs that bound her and took the captive to her home, where the grateful Mrs. Bean taught her how to keep house and make butter. As soon as it was safe to do so, the Ghigau sent Mrs. Bean under the escort of her brother, Tuskeegeeteehee or Longfellow of Chistatoa and her Mn Hiskyteehee, or Fivekiller, sometimes known as Little Fellow, to her husband and family.

Tuskeegee is the town name of one of the original eight subdivisions of the Cusetah, the primal peace town of the Coosas, the primordial mother tribe of the Muskogees, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Seminoles. The suffix tee-hee, means killer and therefore the Ghigau's brother's name was Tuskeegee killer, although he was known to the English by the descriptive name of Longfellow on account of his stature. Hisky is the Cherokee rendering of the number, five.

At the beginning of September 1780 Gates had been defeated at Camden. Savannah and Charlestown were in the hands of the British; Georgia and South Carolina were conquered; the enemy exultantly moved northwest to the conquest of North Carolina and Virginia. This was the critical moment of the Revolution. Alexander Cameron of Lochabar, the British agent among the Cherokees and an intermarried citizen of that nation had been able to sustain the alliance of the Chickamaugas and many other Cherokees as well as other tribesmen with the British interests. Brave and resourceful pioneer soldiers, dressed in homespun and buckskin, coon skinned capped with the peculiar rifle with which they were wont to shoot the head oft' of a squirrel in the tallest tree or cut the neck of the turkey at an incredible distance, held back the equally dangerous Indians and Tories while others of their kind destroyed Ferguson's crack troops at Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780 and turned the tide in favor of the Americans.

While a portion of the patriots won in the Kings Mountain campaign, that part that were rearguarding the frontier became short of rations. "Nancy Ward agreed to furnish beef and had some cattle driven in." She and her family had been consistent Americans since she had sent William Fawling and Isaac Thomas on a hundred and twenty mile trip to warn the settlers of the proposed attack of Dragging Canoe, Abraham and Raven with their pro British Cherokee commands in July 1776.

"When the Revolutionary War came, the British Government determined to employ the Indians against the southern and western frontiers. The organization of the southern tribes was intrusted to Superintendent Stuart. Their general plan which was only partially successful, was to land an army in west Florida, march them through the country of the Creeks and Chickasaws, who were each to furnish five hundred warriors and thence to Echota, the capital of the Cherokee nation. Being reinforced by the Cherokees, they were to invade the whole of the southern frontier, while the attention of the colonies was diverted by formidable naval and military demonstrations on the sea coast. Circular letters outlining the plan, intended for the information of the Tories who were expected to repair to the royal standards, were issued May 9, and reached the Watauga settlement May 18, 1776.

The Cherokees. when the plan was first submitted to them, were not prepared to take sides in the contest. A civil war was unknown to their nation, and they could hardly believe that the British government would make war against a part of its own people. Moreover, they had been at peace with the Americans since their treaty with Governor Bell, had no new complaint against them and were living heedless, happy lives in their own towns.

The campaign was planned with the utmost secrecy. It was agreed that North Carolina and Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia should be attacked simultaneously; the Overhill towns were to fall upon the back settlements of North Carolina and Virginia; the Middle towns were to invade the outlying districts of South Carolina; and the Lower towns were to strike the frontiers of Georgia.
Cherokee settlements during the "Colonial Period" ranging from 1710-85 included the "Lower Towns" along the upper Savannah River and its tributaries. The "Overhill Towns" were along the upper Tennessee and lower Little Tennessee rivers. "Out, Middle and Valley Towns" included Cherokee settlements in North Carolina. The "Valley Towns" were along the upper Hiwassee, Nantahala and Valley rivers. The "Middle Towns" were situated along the upper Little Tennessee River drainage basin, while the "Out Towns" settlements were located along the Oconaluftee and Tuckaseegee Rivers. The "Out Towns" was the location of the current-day Qualla Boundary, commonly referred to today as the Cherokee Indian Reservation. (Map description by Anita Finger Smith)
Source: Chavez, Will, editor. “EBCI Ancestors remained east for various reasons” Cherokee Phoenix, 25 March 2016.

The Overhill towns which mustered about seven hundred warriors were to move in three divisions; the first, commanded by Chuconsene or Dragging Canoe, who has been called a savage Napoleon, was to march against the Holston settlements; the second under Ooskiah or Abraham of Chilhowie, a half breed chief who had fought under Washington on the frontiers of Virginia, was to attack Watauga; and the third led by Colonah or the Raven of Echota was to scour Carters Valley.

At this time there lived in Echota a famous Indian woman named Nancy Ward. She held the office of Ghigau or Beloved Woman, which not only gave her the right to speak in council, but conferred such great power that she might, by the wave of a swan's wing, deliver a prisoner condemned by the council, though already tied to the stake. She was of queenly and commanding presence and manners and her house was furnished in a style suitable to her high dignity. She was a successful cattle raiser and is said to have been the first to introduce that industry among the Cherokees.

When Nancy Ward found that her people had fallen in with the plans of Stuart and Cameron, she communicated the intelligence to a trader named Isaac Thomas and provided him with the means of setting out as an express to warn the back settlers of their danger. Thomas was a man of character and a true American, who has left distinguished descendants in the State of Louisiana. Accompanied by William Fawling, he lost no time in conveying the alarming intelligence to the people on the Watauga and Holston. His services were afterwards recognized and rewarded by the State of Virginia.

The information conveyed by Thomas produced great consternation on the border. Couriers were dispatched in every direction. They had not had an Indian war since the settlement was begun, some seven years before. There was not a fort or block house from Wolf Hills westward. But preparations for defense now became nervously active; the people rushed together in every neighborhood and hurriedly constructed forts and stockades. Dragging Canoe was met at Long Island on the Holston on July 20, 1776 and defeated. Fort Watauga was attacked at sunrise next morning by Abraham who was driven away after having captured Mrs. William Bean and Samuel Moore, a boy. Raven upon finding the Carter's Valley in forts and prepared and having heard of the repulses of Dragging Canoe and Abraham retired without doing any damage.

Upon the whole, the Indian invasion was a failure, owing to the timely warning of Nancy Ward, and the concentration of the inhabitants in forts built in consequence of the information she conveyed. If the well guarded secret of the Indian campaign had not been disclosed and they had been permitted to steal upon the defenseles backwoodsmen, who, in fancied security, had remained scattered over the extensive frontiers, every soul of them would probably have been swept from the borders of Tennessee. As it was, only slight injury was inflicted on the Whites; a few were killed, some were wounded and two were taken prisoners. The boy, Samuel Moore, was burned at the stake. The Tassel, afterwards asserted that he was the only White person burned by the Indians in Tennessee.

Ghigau for many years conducted an inn at Womankiller Ford of the Ocowee River and became quite wealthy, her property consisting of live stock slaves and money. The traveling public called her "Granny Ward" on account of her age and the fact that she was the widow of Bryan Ward. After she got so old that she could not attend the councils, she sent her walking cane and vote on all important questions and in this manner voted at Amoah, on May 6, 1817, the renounciation of her delegated rights and in favor of the first constitutional enactment of the Cherokees.
She died at her home at the Womankiller Ford of Ocowee River in the spring of 1824.

A23. Ellis Harlans direct line of descent was:
11. James Harlan, born about 1625 near Durham, England.
1112. George Harlan, married in County Armaugh, Ireland on September 17, 1678, Elizabeth Duck. Came to America and settled in Chester Co., Pennsylvania in 1687.
111213. Ezekial Harlan, born in County of Down, Ireland on June 16, 1679. Married Rachel Buffington.
11121314. Ezekial Harlan, born in Chester Co., Pennsylvania on May 19, 1707. Married October 23, 1724 Hannah Osborn, born February 21, 1707 in Delaware Co., Pennsylvania. Both lived and died in Chester Co., Pennsylvania.
1112131415. Ellis Harlan born about 1731. Married Mrs. Catherine Walker.

A53. Tradition avers that Jennie Taylor, a Scotch woman married a member of the English aristocracy named Fox. That they had two sons and then separated, the father retaining the elder, on whom "the right of primogeniture would vest the estates and she kept the younger brother, who was thence forward known as Charles Fox-Taylor. The widow later married a Hollander named Conrad and emigrated to America, settling in the vicinity of the Cherokees. Charles Fox-Taylor married Jennie Walker, a grand daughter of the Ghi-ga-u, and his half brother; Hamilton Conrad married Onai, a full blood Cherokee woman of the Bird clan. The descendants Charles Fox-Taylor were known as Taylors.

Hamilton and Onai Conrad had five children; Rattlinggourd, Hair, Youngwolf, Quatie and Terrapinhead Conrad. Although Hair Conrad was the only one except a grandson of Terrepinhead who retained his full patronymic. Rattlinggourd and his descent were always known as Rattlinggourds. Youngwolfs generation were known by the family name of Wolf and Terrapinhead's children and descendants were known as Terrapins, with the exception of his youngest son, who although a full brother to the other children was known as Thomas Fox Conrad.

Terrapinhead's only daughter, Jennie, married a half blood Spanish-Cherokee whose only name was So-sa or Goose but he became locally known as Dick Spaniard, on acount of his extraction. Upon his enlistment in the Confederate service he gave the name So-sa and upon the adjutants query for a christian name, he said Johnson or as the Cherokees pronounced it, Jonson would do. He was killed in a skirmish at Tahlequah and Jennie named their posthumous son; John Johnson using the father's assumed christian name for his surname.

A25. Peter Hildebrand, born May 10, 1782 in Germany. Married Elizabeth Harlan, born August 15, 1793. She died September 19, 1826. He was one of the Captains of Emigrant detachments in 1838-39 and located on Flint Creek where he operated a saw, turning and grist mill. He died on December 11, 1851.

Source: Starr, Emmett. “History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folklore.” Warden Company, 1922.

Section 4 from “Life Story: Nanyehi Nancy Ward.” Women and the American Story by Lee Boomer

Life Story: Nanyehi Nancy Ward (1738–1822)
Henry Timberlake, A Draught of the Cherokee Country, 1765. Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, 5549.

Nanyehi (“She who walks among the spirits”) was born in 1738 in the Cherokee town of Chota, in what is now eastern Tennessee. Cherokee society is matrilineal, so Nanyehi was born into her mother’s clan, the Wolf Clan. Through her mother, Nanyehi was the niece of Attakullakulla, an important chief in the Cherokee Nation. Throughout Nanyehi’s childhood, Attakullakulla pursued a path of cooperation with the British colonists who continually encroached on his people’s land. He believed that the best chance for Cherokee survival was for the two peoples to learn to peacefully co-exist. His beliefs had a profound impact on his niece.

Nanyehi rose to power in the Cherokee Nation when she was 17 years old. She was already married to a man named Tsu-la (“King Fisher”) and the mother of two children when she joined her husband on a Cherokee campaign against the Creek Nation. Nanyehi fought alongside her husband, reportedly chewing his lead bullets before he loaded them to make them more deadly. When Tsu-la was killed, she took up his rifle and led the warriors to a victory that expanded Cherokee territory in northwest Georgia.

For her courage and leadership, Nanyehi was named a Ghigau, a Beloved Woman of the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee believed that the Ghigau spoke with the authority of the spirit world and honored them accordingly. Nanyehi was given a seat next to the war and peace chiefs at the ceremonial fire in Chota. She led the Women’s Council of Clan Representatives, one of the two political bodies that governed the Cherokee Nation. She was the only woman with a vote in the other governing political body, the Cherokee General Council. She also had absolute power over the fate of prisoners taken in raids and battles.

In the late 1750s, Nanyehi married an English trader named Bryan Ward, and took the anglicized name Nancy Ward. Together they had one daughter. This marriage may have been part of her uncle’s larger efforts to create lasting bonds between the Cherokee and white settlers. Within a few years, Bryan returned to live with his English wife and family in South Carolina, and Nancy and her daughter visited them from time to time. Relations between the two families were friendly.

Like most communities living within the geographic area of the thirteen colonies, the Cherokee Nation was divided over how to respond to the outbreak of the American Revolution. Nanyehi and her uncle Attakullakulla counseled restraint and patience, while her cousin and his son Tsiyu Gansini (“Dragging Canoe”) wanted to take the opportunity to drive out colonists who had been slowly encroaching on Cherokee lands. In the summer of 1776, Tsiyu Gansini announced he would make a raid on the white settlements along the Watauga River, and asked Nanyehi to create the traditional black drink that would protect the Cherokee warriors during battle.

Nanyehi prepared the drink, but she also used her position as Ghigau to counteract his plans. She released three white prisoners, told them about the raid, and asked them to hurry to warn the colonists. Her actions gave the white settlers time to evacuate most of the women and children to a fort and set up an ambush for Tsiyu Gansini.

Tsiyu Gansini was injured in the ambush and lost thirteen of his warriors, but he still sent the surviving members of his party to destroy the settlement. The warriors captured a woman named Mrs. William Bean, and brought her back to Chota. They planned to burn her alive, but Nanyehi stepped in and used her authority to save the woman. She eventually allowed Mrs. Bean to return to her people, where she joined the other prisoners freed by Nanyehi in spreading the story of the Ghigau who wanted her people to peacefully co-exist with the white settlers.

As Nanyehi and Attakullakulla had feared, Tsiyu Gansini’s attack sparked a full-scale war with the Americans. Soldiers invaded Cherokee territory from Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina in 1777, and destroyed all the major Cherokee towns except Chota, which was spared out of respect for Nanyehi. The fighting between the Cherokee and the Americans dragged on throughout the American Revolution, with Tsiyu Gansini always agitating for more war, and Nanyehi continually working toward peace.

In 1781, Nanyehi addressed the U.S. treaty commissioners who were working with conservative Cherokee leaders to negotiate a treaty to end the fighting. She believed that peace would come only if Native people and white settlers saw themselves as one people, and she thought only the women on the two sides could make this happen. “Let your women’s sons be ours; our sons be yours,” she said to the commissioners. “Let your women hear our words.” Nanyehi’s speech reflected the political and cultural importance of women in Cherokee society, but it baffled her American audience, who lived in a society where women were not allowed to participate in public life. Regardless, her reputation continued to grow, and, as the fighting became fiercer, American commanders made a point of helping Nanyehi and her family escape.

In November 1785, Nanyehi accompanied the new Cherokee chief Utsi’dsata (“Old Tassel”) to another council with the Americans. At this meeting, the Cherokee learned about the resolution of the American Revolution, and the Cherokee laid out their full grievances to the representatives of the new nation. A new treaty was signed, and Nanyehi spoke to give the treaty her blessing. Shortly thereafter, her daughter with Bryan Ward married the Virginia Indian commissioner, creating a new tie between the two nations.

Nanyehi’s actions during the American Revolution have earned her an honored place in American history, but her reputation among the Cherokee is complicated. Nanyehi played a critical role in moving the Cherokee Nation away from their traditions and toward a more Westernized way of life. She is credited with introducing slaveholding, cattle farming, dairy production, and spinning to her community, and her attitude of acceptance toward white settlers gave them the ability to encroach on Cherokee territory. Today some Cherokees consider her a traitor, while Tsiyu Gansini is considered a hero for advocating armed resistance.

Nanyehi believed that peace would come only if Native people and white settlers saw themselves as one people, and she thought only the women on the two sides could make this happen.

In the years after the Revolution, America’s white population grew quickly, and more settlers moved into Cherokee territory because the land was ideal for growing cotton. George Washington’s administration tried to prevent settlers from seizing Cherokee land illegally, but failed to stop them. Fighting between the Cherokees and settlers continued, and representatives from both nations signed many treaties that white settlers ignored.

Some Cherokee decided that the best course of action was to sell their remaining land to the settlers or the government in exchange for land farther west, but this was a controversial decision. In 1816, some Cherokee leaders signed a treaty that gave away a large portion of land in modern day Alabama in exchange for land in Arkansas. The Cherokee National Council called the treaty treason. On May 2, 1817, the Cherokee Women’s Council urged the National Council to hold on to what remained of Cherokee land. Nanyehi, nearly 80 years old, sent her son to read a written plea that was signed by twelve other women, including her daughter and granddaughter: “Our beloved children and head men of the Cherokee Nation, we address you warriors in council. We have raised all of you on the land which we now have. . . . We know that our country has once been extensive, but by repeated sales has become circumscribed to a small track. . . . Your mothers, your sisters ask and beg of you not to part with any more of our land.” Nanyehi had come to realize that her people were being driven from the peaceful coexistence she had championed her whole life.

But the land sales continued. In 1819, the U.S. government purchased a large portion of the Cherokee Nation territory that included Chota. Nanyehi became an innkeeper, and her son cared for her in her final years. She died in 1822.

Source: Boomer, Lee. “Life Story: Nanyehi Nancy Ward.” Women &; the American Story, 8 Feb. 2023,

Section 5

Local genealogist publishes ‘Nancy Ward and Her Descendants’ books
BY WILL CHAVEZ Assistant Editor, Cherokee Phoenix

TAHLEQUAH – Genealogist David Hampton has been researching and tracing his ancestry since 1961. For 30 of those 61 years he has concentrated on researching and locating the descendants of Cherokee beloved woman, Nanyehi or Nancy Ward.

Ward was a political leader born in 1738 in Chota in what is now southeastern Tennessee. She died in 1822 or 1824 near Benton, Tennessee, and her gravesite near Benton is maintained by the state. Along with genealogy, in his book Hampton provides a biography about Ward’s life and her influence on Cherokee history and politics.

She was a member of the Wolf Clan and came from an important family in Cherokee politics, but her parents are unknown. About 1751, Nancy married Kingfisher who was a member of the Deer Clan, and they had two children, Katy and Little Fellow, who later used the name Fivekiller.

Nancy first took part in Cherokee affairs and became noticed about 1755 during the battle of Taliwa fought with the Muscogee (Creek) for northern Georgia. The battle took place in what is now Cherokee County near the Etowah River and pitted 500 Cherokee against twice that number of Muscogee. At first, the Cherokee fell back but rallied and drove the Muscogee from their cover. Kingfisher was killed during the battle, and Nancy picked up his rifle and continued to fight. Her valor in battle made her famous. The defeat was so great the Muscogee left the upper portions of Georgia and Alabama and never returned.

In 1759, Nancy married a trader named Bryant Ward and they had one daughter named Betsy.

Hampton, who is a 7th great grandson of Ward, said his intention for compiling the book was to include the names of all of Ward’s fourth-great grandchildren.

“While there are likely some stragglers I have not discovered, I have been mostly successful. It goes against my grain to publish when I have not fleshed out easily found information. But as I get older, I have realized that it is publish now or never,” Hampton said. “I was somewhat surprised to discover that there are, perhaps, a couple of dozen fourth-great grandchildren who are still living.”

In addition, Hampton said, he prepared a new biography about Ward using online digitization of old newspapers, journals, congressional documents and other sources.

“She lived during a time of great change in the Cherokee way of life and the tribe’s relationship to other Native people, the British and the Americans,” he said. “Starting a few years after Nancy’s death, the Cherokee people went through times of tremendous change and turmoil. The voluntary and forced removal of the 1830s, the Civil War and Reconstruction of the 1860s and the allotment period of the 1900s were pivotal events directly impacting every Cherokee citizen.”

Hampton, a Cherokee Nation citizen, added it is difficult to determine how many Nancy Ward descendants may be living today, but his educated guess is about 40,000 people. It is also difficult for him to determine how many on Ward’s descendants he has met and corresponded with during the last 60 years, but it is more than 2,000.

He has been the president of the Association of the Descendants of Nancy Ward since its inception in 1994, and said he meets additional descendants every year. He tries to share freely his findings about Ward with all of her descendants, he said. This year, the association will meet at 2 p.m., Sept. 3 during the Cherokee National Holiday at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center in downtown Tahlequah.

Source: Chavez, Will, editor. “Local Genealogist Publishes ‘Nancy Ward and Her Descendants’ Books.” Cherokee Phoenix, 26 Aug. 2022.

Section 6
Lillard, Roy G. “Ward, Superior Woman.” Cleveland Daily Banner Shoppet, 16 July 1975, pp. 4–4.
(Curator note: discount references to parentage as previously indicated)

Suggested Reading
1. James C. Kelly, “Oconastota,” Journal of Cherokee Studies 3 (1978): 221-38
2. Benjamin C. Nance, The Trail of Tears in Tennessee: A Study of the Routes Used During the Cherokee Removal of 1838
3. Wikipedia contributors. "Nancy Ward." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 20 Apr. 2023. Web. 26 Apr. 2023.
4. Berry, Christina. “Nancy Ward: Beloved Woman Of The Cherokee.” All Things Cherokee, 20 Oct. 2021,
5. Berry, Christina. “Nancy Ward’s Gravesite.” All Things Cherokee, 20 Oct. 2021,
6. Rider, Shirley W. “Tulsa Annals.”, 1998, Accessed 26 Apr. 2023. (Much good information in numerous articles)
7. Descendants of Nanye’hi the Ghi-ga-u aka Beloved Woman of the Cherokees by David Hampton (President of The Association of Descendants oh Nancy Ward) @
8. “Nancy Ward” by David Ray Smith — Tennessee Encyclopedia, March 1, 2018. @
9. BIOGRAPHY OF NANCY WARD By David Hampton @ (David Hampton is probably the foremost Cherokee genealogist of our time and president of The Association of the Descendants of Nancy Ward)
10. Watson, Bruce. “George Catlin’s Obsession.” Smithsonian Magazine, Dec. 2002. @
(Curator Note: for example, this image by Catlin has invaded the internet as an image of Nancy Ward, IT IS NOT, it is only a ‘said to be Cherokee’ a woman’ by Catlin himself! Even Wikipedia Commons has it wrong by labeling the image “Nanyehi
10. Estes, Roberta. “What Is the Native Heritage Project?” Native Heritage Project, Family Tree DNA, 2023, (Roberta is a National Geographic Society, Genographic Project affiliate scientific researcher. Roberta manages over 20 DNA projects with an emphasis on Native American heritage. See “ DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy, Discovering Your Ancestors – One Gene at a Time @
11. Pylant, James. “Cherokee-White Intermarriages: Citizenship by Intermarriage in the Cherokee Nation.” |, 5 July 2022, (See 11 downloadable attachments)

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Nancy Ward, Ghi-ga-u, ‘Beloved Woman of the Cherokees’'s Timeline

Cherokee Nation (East), Chota, Polk County (now Monroe), Tennessee, Colonial America
Cherokee Nation (East), Tennessee, Colonial America
June 1755
Tennessee, Cherokee Nation East
Age 35
Battle of Taliwa, near the confluence of Long-Swamp Creek and the Etowah River, Muscogee Creek Nation (East), Ball Ground ( which some believe is a corruption of “Battleground”) (near) Canton, Cherokee County, Georgia, United States
Age 41
Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States
Cherokee Nation (East)
April 1824
Age 89
Cherokee Nation (East), (at her home) Woman Killer Ford of the Ocowee River, (near) Benton, (now) Polk County, Tennessee, United States
Nancy Ward Cemetery, (halfway between Ocoee & Benton), (now) Polk County, Tennessee, United States