Catherine Gunter (Lowery) (1770 - 1835) Transparent

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Nicknames: "Ghe-No-He-Li", "Katy Gunter"
Birthdate:
Death: Died in Guntersville, Marshall County, Alabama, United States
Managed by: Heather Van Derzee
Last Updated:

About Catherine Gunter (Lowery)

From the English Wikipedia page for Guntersville:

Guntersville was founded by German immigrant John Gunter (1765-1835) (the great-grandfather of American humorist Will Rogers), the wealthy owner of a salt mine in the early 19th century. In order to obtain more land to mine, John struck a deal with the Cherokee tribe that inhabited the area to use in his household as servants. As part of the deal, John married the daughter (Ghe-No-He-Li, aka Katy and Cathrine) of the tribe's chief (Chief Bushyhead of the Paint Clan) and agreed to give salt to the tribe. A town sprung up next to the mine and was named after Gunter.

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From Winter of Discontent: the Influence of Will Rogers' Indian heritage upon his life and philosophy, by S. Fred Roach, Kennesaw College:

http://archives.columbusstate.edu/GAH/1984/15-23.pdf

John Gunther married a 15-year-old full-blood (Cherokee) girl, Catherine by name, of the Paint Clan. Gunther, who owned a salt flat, acquired his wife's hand in marriage by offering salt to her Clan "white the grass grows and the rivers run." Evidently, Catherine never learned to speak English, and John Gunther would not consent to their children learning Cherokee. The result of this situation was the torturing experience of a mother being unable to communicate with her children. The bleakness of Catherine's existence imposed such pain upon her that she would visit her own people for weeks at a time. The desire to see her children tormented the distraught mother, and she would return home for short periods, during which she was virtually unnoticed by both her husband and children [25]. This type of traumatic experience, although it is obviously impossible to prove, could easily have a lasting impression on the family of John Gunther and their descendants. And just as easily, it could have planted extremely negative feelings in that family concerning its Indian heritage.

Footnote:

  • 25. Telephone interview with James B. Rogers (Will Rogers' son), 6 January 1985; Day, Will Rogers: A Biography, p. 3. It should be noticed that James B. Rogers does not recall his father manifesting any sense of inferiority due to his Indian ancestry.
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Catherine Gunter's Timeline

1770
1770
1796
1796
Age 26
1798
1798
Age 28
1800
1800
Age 30
1802
1802
Age 32
1804
1804
Age 34
Creek Path or Kusanunnahiyi (Present Guntersville), Cherokee Territory (Present Marshall County), Alabama, United States
1806
1806
Age 36
1811
May, 1811
Age 41
Gunter's Landing (Present Guntersville), Cherokee Country (Present Marshall County), Mississippi Territory (Present Alabama), United States
1835
August 11, 1835
Age 65
Guntersville, Marshall County, Alabama, United States
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