Oconastota Moytoy, First Beloved Man of the Cherokee

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Oconastota Moytoy (Uku of Chota), First Beloved Man of the Cherokee

Also Known As: "Oconostota", "Stalking Turkey", "/ Aganstata (Cunne Shote) James BEAVER Jr", "Oconosyota Cunne", "Groundhog Sausage", "Beloved Warrior", "Skiagunsta Chote", "Oconastota Moytoy", "Oganatoga", "Chote", "Choat", "Cumnacatogue"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Cherokee Territory, Occoee, Tennessee
Death: Died in East Chatanooga, Tennessee
Place of Burial: Chota Townhouse Site, Cherokee Nation East, Monroe, TN, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Smallpox Conjuror of Settico and Aganunitsi Quatie, of the Wolf Clan
Husband of Oo-Loo-Sta Moytoy (Oolootas Octlootsa Holly Clan); Quatsis Ani-Wa'Di; Do-Yo-Sti (Polly), Paint Clan; Unknown Cherokee Woman and Lucy Loo Ward
Father of Ghi-Go-Ne-Li Moytoy; Son; Tavchee Moytoy; Kah-Yahn-Tee-Hee Moytoy; Ollie Nionee Oconostota, Ani'-Wa'Ya (Wolf) Clan and 20 others
Brother of Aisley Moytoy, of the Wolf Clan and Ostenaco Outacite "Mankiller" of Settico, Cherokee Emissary to England
Half brother of Caulunna, the Raven of Chota

Occupation: Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Chief, Cherokee War Chief
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Oconastota Moytoy, First Beloved Man of the Cherokee

NATIVE NAME: Aganstata

ENGLISH NAME: James BEAVER Jr

ALTERNATE NAMES: Oconostota, Oconastota Moytoy, Cunne Shote, Warrior of Chota, Stalking Turkey (a name which causes confusion with his uncle Kanagatucko, who was known as "Standing Turkey"), Groundhog Sausage, Beloved Warrior, First Warrior, Great Warrior, Skiagunsta Chote

ALTERNATE SPELLINGS: Oconastota, Oconostata, Oganatoga, Shote is a variant of Chote or Choat or Choate, Cumnacatogue

MEANING OF NAMES: • Aganstata was translated as Groundhog Sausage, from "agana" = groundhog, and "tsistau" = "I am pounding it" as in pounding meat in a mortar. • Cunne Shote may be the English mispronunciation of the Cherokee words for Stalking Turkey. BIRTHPLACE / DATE: Oconostota was born in the Overhill towns of the Cherokee in the Little Tennessee Valley. His exact birth date is unknown, but usually given as 1710. Some sources say he was born around 1704 - 1706, and he may have been born as early as 1680.

DEATH DATE / LOCATION: Oconostota is believed to have died in either 1782 or 1783 at Chota.

BURIAL PLACE: Oconostota's remains were uncovered during the archaeological digs around the site of Chota for the Tellico Reservoir impoundment. His burial site was at the front door of the Chota Council House. This was a high honor that indicated he was regarded as being above the stature of most Cherokee leaders. The members of the Council would have to walk over his grave to enter the structure and remember his contributions to the Chota village.

Oconostota was identified by a pair of reading glasses that he owned which were buried with him. He had been buried in his canoe. Oconostota was re-interred at Chota in the portion raised by TVA (which includes the site of the council house) and has a gravestone marking the site. His name is given as Oconastota (with two a's) on his grave marker near the original site of Chota in Monroe County, Tennessee.

The columns of the Chota Council House and his grave were placed back in their original positions, then concrete was poured over them to prevent looting of the site. It is now under the dominion of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian and overseen by the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore.

The site is still used in ceremonies by the Cherokee and regarded as the most sacred site of the Cherokee Nation. It is located south of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and Fort Loudoun State Park on the same stretch of road.

MOTHER: Aganunitsi, was one of the daughters of Chief Amatoya Moytoy (b. about 1640) and Quatsy of Tellico.She was an elder sister of Chief Old Hop.

FATHER: Moytoy Pigeon of Tellico (Moytoy II), also known as Smallpox Conjuror of Settico

SIBLINGS: One of eleven children. • Kittagusta aka Prince Skalilosken (who went to London with Attakullakulla). Also spelled Kitegiska. • Chief Outacite aka Skiagusta • Savanukah, the Raven of Chote, son of a Shawnee brave. • ? • ? • ? • ? • ? • ? • ? • ? OTHER RELATIVES: Oconostota was a cousin of Attacullaculla through his aunt, Nancy Moytoy.

1st WIFE: Creek Woman, also known as Aniwaya Woman of the Paint Clan. She was 1/2 Shawnee, born about 1704. They married about 1720. CHILDREN WITH 1ST WIFE: • Nionne Ollie, of the Paint Clan. Born about 1720. ◦ Ollie married Attakullakulla and they were the parents of Dutsi Tarchee aka Dutch born about 1740. Dutch was the father of Major Ridge and Oowatie. Oowatie, born about 1773, married Susanna Reese. • Wollenawoa • Daughter (name unknown) born about 1730, married THE BARK, born about 1750 • The TERRAPIN, born about 1736, died sometime after 1796. 2nd WIFE: Quatsis, Shawnee. They married about 1736. CHILDREN WITH WIFE #2: • Adopted father of Daughter of Quatsis (name unknown), 1/2 Shawnee-Cherokee 3rd WIFE: Lucy Ward, a former lady-in-waiting to the Queen of England whom he had met in 1730. They married about 1737. She was adopted by the Cherokee. She died in 1758, shortly after childbirth. CHILDREN WITH WIFE #3: • Lucy Ward II • Ollie • Jennie 4th WIFE: Ooloosta I CHILDREN WITH WIFE #4: • Ooloosta II • Chief Tekahmih Oconostota was only married to one wife at a time. After each wife died, he married another. BAND / CLAN AFFILIATIONS: Moytoy II band. Clan unknown, probably Wolf.

SIGNIFICANT POSITIONS: War Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1775 to 1780.

MISCELLANEOUS HISTORY:

Oconostota was 1/2 Shawnee, but was raised and lived in his mother's Cherokee culture.

Oconostota is believed to be the Native American on the central emblem of the flag of Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1730, Oconostota was one of six Cherokee delegates who visited England. It was there that he first met one of his future wives, Lucy Ward, who was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen. He made a return trip with two other Cherokee in 1762 to meet King George III. The painting pictured above was of him in his court attire on that visit, which did not go well. Although he had been schooled in the proper protocols when meeting British royalty, he greeted the King with the customary Cherokee hug, which shocked the court, and he was shunned by British society.

Oconostota became the Principal Chief of the Cherokee following the death of his cousin Attacullaculla, sometime around 1775-1777. He was suceeded by Rayetayah (Hanging Maw), who married a granddaughter of Moytoy I (and sister of Attacullculla).

By the time of the American Revolution, Oconostota was a great chief in his tribe, who had great influence with other allied tribes, as well. Hollywood and other fictitious portrayals of Native American leadership have always illustrated chiefs as being hereditary "kings" of their tribes. This, especially among the Cherokee, is a myth that has been perpetuated throughout the years.

A Native Americanís abilities in war, trade, and diplomacy brought them influence and the right to serve as a consultant to the tribal council. The power of these political structures was found in an individualís ability to influence others. Once such a position was attained, it had to be held and proven over and over.

Oconostota in any European context would be likened to a famous general. His ability to respond quickly to threats and his fearless courage in battle made him a natural leader among the Cherokee and other southeastern tribes. There were many contemporary descriptions of him in British and French writings of the day and even President George Washington wrote of him and the problems he could pose to American security.

As the Anglo-American crisis escalated, Oconostota struggled to avoid open warfare with the Americans. Younger chiefs of the Cherokee tribe, however, angered at continued pressure on their lands, urged warfare, and the American Revolution gave them an opportunity.

While Oconostota continually applied to Virginia and Continental officials to negotiate, his people, led by the younger chiefs, were defeated again and again.

Oconostota sided with the English in the war with France, but afterward, exasperated by an attack on a party of his men by settlers, who accused them of horse-stealing, he gathered an alliance of 10,000 Creeks and Cherokees. They massacred the commander of Fort Prince George, and soon reduced Fort Loudon to the alternative of surrender or starvation.

Being allowed to retain their arms and promised safe conduct to Virginia, the garrison of two hundred surrendered, but was treacherously attacked at the close of the first day's march, and all but Captain John Stuart, Isaac Thomas, a scout, and a soldier named Jack, were killed.

Oconostota told Stuart to work the captured guns, with which he proposed to reduce Fort Prince George, and, on his refusal, threatened to burn him at the stake. Attakullakulla intervened and escorted him to Virginia. The English then destroyed the Cherokee towns, and reduced the nation to the last extremities. Peace was finally granted them only on the intercession of Attakullakulla.

Oconostota had learned how to efficiently use a rifle early in life and was regarded as an exceptional marksmen among his people. In addition, he was a clever tactician and strategist and knew what it took to win on the battlefield. Whether it was fighting other tribes or European traders, he understood their weaknesses and strengths and knew how to stage a battle to win. His quick mind and wise decisions soon earned him recognition in the tribe as one of its greatest warriors.

While he did not have the diplomatic and oratory skills of his colleague Attakullakulla, Oconostota did have the natural skills of battlefield leadership and that was the catalyst that caused him to rise to prominence in the Cherokee Nation.

In 1770 a handful of pioneers, under James Robertson, crossed the Alleghanies and settled upon the Cherokee territory at Watauga. Oconostota granted them an eight year lease, but in March, 1775, they demanded an absolute cession of the territory.

At the treaty council, Oconostota opposed this in an eloquent speech in which he predicted the fate of his nation. His speech was so impassioned that the other indian leaders got up and left the negotiations. However, then the negotiators prepared a great feast and invited the Indians, getting them drunk on rum in the process.

Eventually the council reconvened and Oconostota was overruled by the other leaders. The cession of the Watauga lands was made, and also of the Cherokee claim to all of Kentucky.

When Oconostota had signed the treaties he turned to Daniel Boone, who had been active in the negotiations, and said to him: "Young man, we have sold you a fine territory, but I fear you will have some blood spilled getting it settled."

In a little more than a month the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought. John Stuart, who had been appointed British superintendent of the southern Indians, at once conceived a gigantic scheme for crushing the southern colonies by a combined front and rear attack. A British land and naval force was to descend upon the seaboard, while Oconostota, at the head of 20,000 combined Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Cherokees, should attack the back settlements.

A year of time and millions of dollars were expended in the preparation, and in July, 1776, the execution of the plan was attempted. Sir Peter Parker descended upon Charleston, but was beaten off, and a like fate befell the scattered rear attacks, Oconostota himself being driven back by John Sevier with only forty men.

A five years' struggle followed, during which Sevier, with at first only 200 men and with never more than 1,000, inflicted defeat after defeat upon the old king and his 10,000 warriors. At last the nation dethroned Oconostota and elected in his place the peace-loving Rayetayah.

This broke the spirit of the old monarch, and he sought oblivion in alcohol. For nearly thirty more years he is known to have wandered about, a homeless, weak, besotted, and despised old man, begging a meal or a gallon of whiskey from the "white brother" he so intensely hated.

The last recorded account of Oconostota, before his bones were dug up, is in the letters of Return J. Meigs, United States agent among the Cherokees. He writes in 1809 that his study of the classics was often interrupted by the intrusion into his tent of the "greasy old Oconostota," who would wail for hours over his departed greatness.

_______________________________________

For more pictures go to the Media section.

Nationality: Cherokee, Title: Leading Chief of the Cherokee, Predecessor: Attacullaculla, Successor: Hanging Maw

Oconostota (ca. 1710-1783) was the Warrior (skiagusta) of Chota and the war chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1775 to 1780. On the flag of Nashville, Tennessee, he is believed to be the Native American on the central emblem.

Cherokee name, according to Mooney, was Aganstata, which he translated as "groundhog-sausage" (agana = groundhog, and tsistau = "I am pounding it" as in pounding meat in a mortar). It appears as "Oconastota" (with two "a"s) on his grave marker at the site of Chota.

Oconostota may have been a son of Moytoy of Tellico, and was born around 1704, one of eleven children. The identity of Oconostota's first wife is a mystery, although she was of the Paint Clan. Their daughter, Nionne Ollie, was the wife of his predecessor, Attakullakulla.

After the death of his first wife, Oconostota invited Lucy Ward, a former lady-in-waiting to the Queen of England whom he had met in 1730, to join him in Chota. They were married and had one daughter, Lucy Ward II. The identity of Oconostota's third wife (after Lucy's death in 1758) is unknown.

Oconostota became the Principal Chief of the Cherokee following the death of his cousin Attakullakulla, sometime around 1775-1777. (He was sometimes called "Stalking Turkey", a fact which caused confusion in identifying Oconostota versus his uncle Kanagatucko, "Standing Turkey"). His tenure was fraught with warfare and struggle, which culminated in 1780 in the destruction of Chota-Tanasi by the American revolutionary forces. Oconostota was believed to have died in either 1782 or 1783. He was buried with his hands on his chest holding a broadsword pointing down his body.

Oconostota's grave was first at the Chota memorial in Monroe Co., TN. During the archaeological digs at the site of Chota prior to the Tellico Reservoir impoundment, the remains of Oconostota were found. They were identified by a pair of reading glasses which he owned and that were buried with him. Oconostota's remains were re-interred at Chota in the portion raised by TVA (which includes the site of the council house). A gravestone marks the site.

In 1730, Oconostota was one of six Cherokee delegates who visited England. It was there that he first met one of his future wives, Lucy Ward, who was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen. He made a return trip with two other Cherokee in 1762 to meet King George III. The painting pictured above was of him in his court attire on that visit, which did not go well. Although he had been schooled in the proper protocols when meeting British royalty, he greeted the King with the customary Cherokee hug, which shocked the court, and he was shunned by British society.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oconostota:

Litton, Gaston L. "The Principal Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation", Chronicles of Oklahoma 15:3 (September 1937) 253-270. (accessed August 28, 2006).

Mooney, James. Myths of the Cherokee, (1900, reprint 1995).

Kelly, James C. "Oconostota", Journal of Cherokee Studies 3:4 (Fall 1978), 221-238.

"Oconastota". Cherokee Chief. Find a Grave Memorial # 6584626

"Oconostota". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900.

http://www.aaanativearts.com/cherokee/Oconostota.htm

Subject: Lineage of Chief Oconostota - Tue, 14 Dec 1999 12:47:34 EST - Here is my record of the lineage of Chief Oconostota, aka Oganatoga, aka Ground Hog Sausage. He was the son of Smallpox Conjuror of Settico and Aganunitsi (b. abt 1680). Aganunitsi was one of the daughters of Chief Amatoya Moytoy (b. abt 1640) and Quatsy of Tellico. The brothers of Oconostota were Kittagusta aka Prince Skalilosken (who went to London with Attakullakulla) and Chief Outacite aka Skiagusta.

There is a biography of Oconostota in Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography by Dan L. Thrapp, Vol II, p. 1073.

Oconostota m. Ooloosta I and had daughter Ooloosta II and son Chief Tekahmih. By an unknown wife he had daughter Ollie I of the Paint Clan. Ollie married Attakullakulla and they were the parents of Dutsi Tarchee aka Dutch b. abt 1740. Dutch was the father of Major Ridge and Oowatie. Oowatie, b. abt 1773 m. Susanna Reese.

Gordon W. Pace

http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/Attakullakulla/1999-12/0945193654

OCONASTOTA - c.. 1710-1783

A prominent eighteenth-century Overhill Cherokee civil and military leader, Oconastota resided at Chota on the Little Tennessee River in present-day Monroe County. He was born around 1710. By the 1740s he had acquired the title Great Warrior of Chota. His reputation grew as he led successful war parties against the French and their Indian allies. During the 1750s, the British explicitly recognized Oconastota as the military and political leader of the Cherokees. He became the Headman, or Uko, at Chota and the effective chief of the Cherokee nation in 1768.

In 1759 the British took Oconastota and thirty of his followers hostage at Fort Prince George following misunderstandings concerning service against the French. Oconastota was released, but when he murdered a British officer outside the fort, the British killed the twenty-eight Cherokees still held captive. To avenge the deaths, the Cherokees, led by Oconastota, captured Fort Loudoun in 1760 and massacred most of its garrison as they were being marched toward Charleston. Despite British retaliation, including the destruction of the Lower Cherokee Towns, Oconastota's reputation rose among the Cherokees.

In subsequent years, Oconastota commanded campaigns against the Creeks, Choctaws, and Iroquois. He also conducted frequent negotiations with the British, as white settlers encroached on Cherokee land and forced the tribe to cede more and more territory. When Revolutionary War forces attacked the Overhill towns in 1776, Oconastota helped to negotiate their withdrawal and the peace treaty of 1777. Oconastota resigned his position as chief about 1780. He died in 1783, and Joseph Martin described his burial at Chota; archaeologists excavated his grave in 1969. Oconastota was returned to the Cherokee people and reinterred at Chota in 1987.

Gerald F. Schroedl, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Suggested Reading(s): James C. Kelly, "Oconastota," Journal of Cherokee Studies 3 (1978): 221-38.

Oconostota (who is also sometimes known as "Stalking Turkey," a fact which causes much confusion with his uncle Kanagatucko, "Standing Turkey") became the Principal Chief of the Cherokee following the death of his cousin Attacullaculla, sometime around 1775-1777. His tenure was wrought with warfare and struggle, which culminated in the destruction of Chota-Tanasi by the American revolutionary forces in 1780. He is believed to have died in either 1782 or 1783.

Following the destruction of Chota, the chiefs descended from Amatoya Moytoy (Moytoy I) effectively lost much of their powerbase. However, Oconostota's successor, Hanging Maw, married a granddaughter of Moytoy I (and sister of Attacullculla).

Memorial - His remains were uncovered during the archaeological digs around the site of Chota for the Tellico Reservoir impoundment. He was identified by a pair of reading glasses that he owned and were buried with him. He was re-interred at Chota in the portion raised by TVA (which includes the site of the council house) and has a gravestone marking the site.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oconostota

Info from familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/h/i/c/James-R-Hicks/BOO....

Names: A'gansta'ta, The Great Warrior of Chota, Groundhog Sausage

From Don Chestnut's web page: www.users.mis.net/~chesnut/pages/cherokee.htm

A'gansta'ta: "groundhog-sausage", from a'gana, groundhog, and tsista'u "I am pounding it", understood to refer to pounding meat, etc., in a mortar, after having first crisped it before the fire. A war chief, noted in the Cherokee war of 1760, and prominent until about the close of the Revolution, known to the whites as Oconostota. Also the cherokee name for Colonel Gideon Morgan of the war of 1812, for Washington Morgan, his son, of the Civil War, and now for a full-blood upon the reservation, know to the whites as Morgan Calhoun.

Old Frontiers, John P. Brown, pg 165;

Oconostota references "my nephew, Savenooka, Raven of Chote"

Signer: March 1775, Henderson's Treaty, Sycamore Shoals

Relation: His nephew, Savenooka, the Raven (son of Ah-nee-wa-kee)

His nephew, Go-ohsohly, taken prisoner near Ft. Pitt

Here is my record of the lineage of Chief Oconostota, aka Oganatoga, aka Ground Hog Sausage. He was the son of Smallpox Conjuror of Settico and Aganunitsi (b. abt 1680). Aganunitsi was one of the daughters of Chief Amatoya Moytoy (b. abt 1640) and Quatsy of Tellico. The brothers of Oconostota were Kittagusta aka Prince Skalilosken (who went to London with Attakullakulla) and Chief Outacite aka Skiagusta. There is a biography of Oconostota in Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography by

Dan L. Thrapp, Vol II, p. 1073. Oconostota m. Ooloosta I and had daughter Ooloosta II and son Chief Tekahmih.

By an unknown wife he had daughter Ollie I of the Paint Clan. Ollie married Attakullakulla and they were the parents of Dutsi Tarchee aka Dutch b. abt 1740.

Dutch was the father of Major Ridge and Oowatie. Oowatie, b. abt 1773 m. Susanna Reese.

http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/Attakullakulla/1999-12/0945193654

6. CHIEF3 OCONOSTOTA (AGANUNITSI2, CHIEF MOYTOY I (AMADOHIYI) OF1 CHOTA) was born Abt. 1704, and died March 1783. He married (1) CHEROKEE WOMAN OF PAINT CLAN. He married (2) OOLOOSTA I.

More About CHIEF OCONOSTOTA:

Fact 1: The Great Warrior, Aganstata (Groundhog Sausage), War Chief 1760

Fact 2: March 1775, Signer of Henderson's Treaty

Fact 3: 1730, Attended delegation to King George II (?)

Children of CHIEF OCONOSTOTA and CHEROKEE CLAN are:

	i. 	  	OLLIE
 	ii. 	  	DAUGHTER OCONOSTOTA, b. Abt. 1730.
 	iii. 	  	THE TERRAPIN, b. Abt. 1736; d. Aft. 1796.
    

Children of CHIEF OCONOSTOTA and OOLOOSTA are:

iv. GHI-GO-NE-LI4.

 	v. 	  	OOLOOSTA II.
 	vi. 	  	CHIEF TEKAHMIH.

http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/p/a/n/Donald-N-Pantheryates/GENE5-0003.html

--------------------

OCONASTOTA

ca. 1710-1783

A prominent eighteenth-century Overhill Cherokee civil and military leader, Oconastota resided at Chota on the Little Tennessee River in present-day Monroe County. He was born around 1710. By the 1740s he had acquired the title Great Warrior of Chota. His reputation grew as he led successful war parties against the French and their Indian allies. During the 1750s, the British explicitly recognized Oconastota as the military and political leader of the Cherokees. He became the Headman, or Uko, at Chota and the effective chief of the Cherokee nation in 1768.

1. Info from familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/h/i/c/James-R-Hicks/BOO....

Names: A'gansta'ta, The Great Warrior of Chota, Groundhog Sausage

From Don Chestnut's web page: www.users.mis.net/~chesnut/pages/cherokee.htm

NATIVE NAME: Aganstata

ENGLISH NAME: James BEAVER Jr

ALTERNATE NAMES: Oconostota, Oconastota Moytoy, Cunne Shote, Warrior of Chota, Stalking Turkey (a name which causes confusion with his uncle Kanagatucko, who was known as "Standing Turkey"), Groundhog Sausage, Beloved Warrior, First Warrior, Great Warrior, Skiagunsta Chote

ALTERNATE SPELLINGS: Oconastota, Oconostata, Oganatoga, Shote is a variant of Chote or Choat or Choate, Cumnacatog

BIRTHPLACE / DATE: Oconostota was born in the Overhill towns of the Cherokee in the Little Tennessee Valley. His exact birth date is unknown, but usually given as 1710. Some sources say he was born around 1704 - 1706, and he may have been born as early as 1680. DEATH DATE / LOCATION: Oconostota is believed to have died in either 1782 or 1783 at Chota.

BURIAL PLACE: Oconostota's remains were uncovered during the archaeological digs around the site of Chota for the Tellico Reservoir impoundment. His burial site was at the front door of the Chota Council House. This was a high honor that indicated he was regarded as being above the stature of most Cherokee leaders. The members of the Council would have to walk over his grave to enter the structure and remember his contributions to the Chota village.

Oconostota was identified by a pair of reading glasses that he owned which were buried with him. He had been buried in his canoe. Oconostota was re-interred at Chota in the portion raised by TVA (which includes the site of the council house) and has a gravestone marking the site. His name is given as Oconastota (with two a's) on his grave marker near the original site of Chota in Monroe County, Tennessee.

The columns of the Chota Council House and his grave were placed back in their original positions, then concrete was poured over them to prevent looting of the site. It is now under the dominion of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian and overseen by the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore.

The site is still used in ceremonies by the Cherokee and regarded as the most sacred site of the Cherokee Nation. It is located south of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and Fort Loudoun State Park on the same stretch of road.

MOTHER: Aganunitsi, was one of the daughters of Chief Amatoya Moytoy (b. about 1640) and Quatsy of Tellico.She was an elder sister of Chief Old Hop.

FATHER: Moytoy Pigeon of Tellico (Moytoy II), also known as Smallpox Conjuror of Settico

SIBLINGS: One of eleven children.

   * Kittagusta aka Prince Skalilosken (who went to London with Attakullakulla). Also spelled Kitegiska.
   * Chief Outacite aka Skiagusta
   * Savanukah, the Raven of Chote, son of a Shawnee brave.
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?

SIGNIFICANT POSITIONS: War Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1775 to 1780.

Oconostota became the Principal Chief of the Cherokee following the death of his cousin Attacullaculla, sometime around 1775-1777. He was suceeded by Rayetayah (Hanging Maw), who married a granddaughter of Moytoy I (and sister of Attacullculla).

By the time of the American Revolution, Oconostota was a great chief in his tribe, who had great influence with other allied tribes, as well. Hollywood and other fictitious portrayals of Native American leadership have always illustrated chiefs as being hereditary "kings" of their tribes. This, especially among the Cherokee, is a myth that has been perpetuated throughout the years.

A Native American’s abilities in war, trade, and diplomacy brought them influence and the right to serve as a consultant to the tribal council. The power of these political structures was found in an individual’s ability to influence others. Once such a position was attained, it had to be held and proven over and over.

Oconostota in any European context would be likened to a famous general. His ability to respond quickly to threats and his fearless courage in battle made him a natural leader among the Cherokee and other southeastern tribes. There were many contemporary descriptions of him in British and French writings of the day and even President George Washington wrote of him and the problems he could pose to American security.

As the Anglo-American crisis escalated, Oconostota struggled to avoid open warfare with the Americans. Younger chiefs of the Cherokee tribe, however, angered at continued pressure on their lands, urged warfare, and the American Revolution gave them an opportunity. While Oconostota continually applied to Virginia and Continental officials to negotiate, his people, led by the younger chiefs, were defeated again and again.

During the French and Indian War, although he apparently did not like or trust the British colonists, he made an allegiance with them in order to collect on promises of clothing, guns, and ammunition. He gained a powerful reputation as a warrior as he led successful war parties against the French and their Indian allies. He acquired the title Great Warrior of Chota, and the British recognized Oconastota as the military and political leader of the Cherokee. In 1759 the British took Oconastota and thirty of his followers hostage. When Oconastota was released, he killed a British officer outside the fort and the British then killed the twenty-eight Cherokees still held captive. In a revenge raid led by Oconastota, the Cherokee captured Fort Loudoun in 1760 and massacred most of the garrison. He became the Headman at Chota at about the same time. In his subsequent career, he commanded campaigns against the Creeks, Choctaws, and Iroquois, entered into treaty negotiations with the British including the Treaty Sycamore Shoals in 1775, and became the Principal Chief at about that time, a position he held for five years, resigning in 1780. He died about three years later and was buried at Chota. His remains were unearthed during the archaeological surveys of the Chota site during the preperation for the Tellico Reservoir impoundment. His body was reportedly identified by a pair of reading glasses that were known to have been buried with him. He was re-interred near Chota in 1987.

Oconostota sided with the English in the war with France, but afterward, exasperated by an attack on a party of his men by settlers, who accused them of horse-stealing, he gathered an alliance of 10,000 Creeks and Cherokees. They massacred the commander of Fort Prince George, and soon reduced Fort Loudon to the alternative of surrender or starvation. Being allowed to retain their arms and promised safe conduct to Virginia, the garrison of two hundred surrendered, but was treacherously attacked at the close of the first day's march, and all but Captain John Stuart, Isaac Thomas, a scout, and a soldier named Jack, were killed. Oconostota told Stuart to work the captured guns, with which he proposed to reduce Fort Prince George, and, on his refusal, threatened to burn him at the stake. Attakullakulla intervened and escorted him to Virginia. The English then destroyed the Cherokee towns, and reduced the nation to the last extremities. Peace was finally granted them only on the intercession of Attakullakulla.

Oconostota had learned how to efficiently use a rifle early in life and was regarded as an exceptional marksmen among his people. In addition, he was a clever tactician and strategist and knew what it took to win on the battlefield. Whether it was fighting other tribes or European traders, he understood their weaknesses and strengths and knew how to stage a battle to win. His quick mind and wise decisions soon earned him recognition in the tribe as one of its greatest warriors. While he did not have the diplomatic and oratory skills of his colleague Attakullakulla, Oconostota did have the natural skills of battlefield leadership and that was the catalyst that caused him to rise to prominence in the Cherokee Nation.

In 1770 a handful of pioneers, under James Robertson, crossed the Alleghanies and settled upon the Cherokee territory at Watauga. Oconostota granted them an eight year lease, but in March, 1775, they demanded an absolute cession of the territory. At the treaty council, Oconostota opposed this in an eloquent speech in which he predicted the fate of his nation. His speech was so impassioned that the other indian leaders got up and left the negotiations. However, then the negotiators prepared a great feast and invited the Indians, getting them drunk on rum in the process. Eventually the council reconvened and Oconostota was overruled by the other leaders. The cession of the Watauga lands was made, and also of the Cherokee claim to all of Kentucky. When Oconostota had signed the treaties he turned to Daniel Boone, who had been active in the negotiations, and said to him: "Young man, we have sold you a fine territory, but I fear you will have some blood spilled getting it settled."

In a little more than a month the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought. John Stuart, who had been appointed British superintendent of the southern Indians, at once conceived a gigantic scheme for crushing the southern colonies by a combined front and rear attack. A British land and naval force was to descend upon the seaboard, while Oconostota, at the head of 20,000 combined Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Cherokees, should attack the back settlements. A year of time and millions of dollars were expended in the preparation, and in July, 1776, the execution of the plan was attempted. Sir Peter Parker descended upon Charleston, but was beaten off, and a like fate befell the scattered rear attacks, Oconostota himself being driven back by John Sevier with only forty men. A five years' struggle followed, during which Sevier, with at first only 200 men and with never more than 1,000, inflicted defeat after defeat upon the old king and his 10,000 warriors. At last the nation dethroned Oconostota and elected in his place the peace-loving Rayetayah. This broke the spirit of the old monarch, and he sought oblivion in alcohol. For nearly thirty more years he is known to have wandered about, a homeless, weak, besotted, and despised old man, begging a meal or a gallon of whiskey from the "white brother" he so intensely hated.

The last recorded account of Oconostota, before his bones were dug up, is in the letters of Return J. Meigs, United States agent among the Cherokees. He writes in 1809 that his study of the classics was often interrupted by the intrusion into his tent of the "greasy old Oconostota," who would wail for hours over his departed greatness.

The site is still used in ceremonies by the Cherokee and regarded as the most sacred site of the Cherokee Nation. It is located south of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and Fort Loudoun State Park on the same stretch of road.

MOTHER: Aganunitsi, was one of the daughters of Chief Amatoya Moytoy (b. about 1640) and Quatsy of Tellico.She was an elder sister of Chief Old Hop.

FATHER: Moytoy Pigeon of Tellico (Moytoy II), also known as Smallpox Conjuror of Settico

SIBLINGS: One of eleven children.

   * Kittagusta aka Prince Skalilosken (who went to London with Attakullakulla). Also spelled Kitegiska.
   * Chief Outacite aka Skiagusta
   * Savanukah, the Raven of Chote, son of a Shawnee brave.
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?
   * ?

OTHER RELATIVES: Oconostota was a cousin of Attacullaculla through his aunt, Nancy Moytoy.

A. 1st WIFE: Creek Woman, also known as Aniwaya Woman of the Paint Clan. She was 1/2 Shawnee, born about 1704. They married about 1720.

  • CHILDREN WITH 1ST WIFE:

1. Nionne Ollie, of the Paint Clan. Born about 1720. Ollie married Attakullakulla and they were the parents of Dutsi Tarchee aka Dutch born about 1740. Dutch was the father of Major Ridge and Oowatie. Oowatie, born about 1773, married Susanna Reese. 2. Wollenawoa 3. Daughter (name unknown) born about 1730, married THE BARK, born about 1750 4. Terrapin, born c. 1736, died c. 1796.

B. 2nd WIFE: Quatsis, Shawnee. They married about 1736.

CHILDREN WITH WIFE #2: 1. Adopted father of Daughter of Quatsis (name unknown), 1/2 Shawnee-Cherokee

C. 3rd WIFE: Lucy Ward, a former lady-in-waiting to the Queen of England whom he had met in 1730. They married about 1737. She was adopted by the Cherokee. She died in 1758, shortly after childbirth.

CHILDREN WITH WIFE #3: 1. Lucy Ward II 2. Ollie 3. Jennie

D. 4th WIFE: Ooloosta I

CHILDREN WITH WIFE #4: 1. Ooloosta II 2. Chief Tekahmih

Oconostota was only married to one wife at a time. After each wife died, he married another. BAND / CLAN AFFILIATIONS: Moytoy II band. Clan unknown, probably Wolf.

Find A Grave Memorial # 6584626.


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Oconastota Moytoy, First Beloved Man of the Cherokee's Timeline

1704
1704
Occoee, Tennessee
1710
1710
Age 6
Cherokee, Alabama, USA
1720
1720
Age 16
Cherokee, Alabama, USA
1720
Age 16
Overhills, Great Tellico, Tennessee
1720
Age 16
1720
Age 16
1720
Age 16
1720
Age 16
Cherokee, Washington, Tennessee, USA
1728
1728
Age 24
1728
Age 24
Cherokee Nation East near Chatanooga, Tennessee