Nancy Ward, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee

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Nanye'hi Ward

Birthplace: Cherokee nation, Chota, City of Refuge, Tennessee, United States
Death: Died in Womankiller Ford, Benton, Tennessee, United States
Place of Burial: Benton, Polk, Tennessee, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Skayagustuegwo Fivekiller, the Raven of Chota; Francis "Fivekiller" Ward; Tame Doe, of the Wolf Clan and Tame Doe
Wife of Tsu-la Red Fox Chutlow Kingfisher and Bryant Ward
Mother of Meli Ward, (Full Blood Cherokee) Adopted; William S. Taylor, (1/4 Cherokee) Adopted; Ka-Ti Harlan **; Littlefellow Hi-s-ki-ti-hi Fivekiller; Elizabeth Ward, "frontier wife" and 1 other
Sister of Longfellow Tuskeegeeteehee "Creek Warrior Killer"; Unknown Springston and helizikinopo ounaconoa moytoy
Half sister of A-tso-s-ta Nancy, Paint Clan

Occupation: Beloved Woman of The Cherokee, Nanyehi the Ghi-Ga-U, Agigaue (Agi-ga-u-e), Wildrose, Nancy Ward, Nanye-hi, Cherokee
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About Nancy Ward, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee

Nancy Prophetess Na-ni Ghi-Ga-U aka Nancy Ward Nanye-hi ("One Who Goes About") Ward (Ani'-Wa'ya = Wolf Clan (Nanye'hi)) Click to view Nancy Prophetess Na-ni Ghi-Ga-U aka Nancy Ward Nanye-hi ("One Who Goes About") Ward (Ani'-Wa'ya = Wolf Clan (Nanye'hi)) in the family tree View timeline for this person's branch of the family tree

Nancy Prophetess was born in 1728 in Chota, City of Refuge, Cherokee Nation, Tennessee. Nancy Prophetess' father was Francis FiveKiller Hi-s-ki-ti-hi Skayagustuegwo Ward (part Deleware) I and her mother was Tame Doe Carpenter (Ani'-Wa'ya = Wolf Clan). Her paternal grandparents are Sir Francis Ward and <Unknown>; her maternal grandparents were Chief Amahetai MoyToy MA'TAYI' Pigeon of Tellico "Trader Tom" Carpenter (Ani'-Wa'ya = Wolf Clan (Quatsy)) II and Nancy Aganunitsi Shawnee (Ani'-Ga'tage'wi=Kituah or Wild Potato (Gu-u-li-si)). She had a brother named Longfellow Ward. She was the older of the two children. She died at the age of 94 in 1822 in Womankiller Ford, Benton TN.


National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Record:


DAR Ancestor #: A120623






Residence: 1) City: ECHOTA - District: CHEROKEE NATION - State: NORTH CAROLINA


from :

Nanye-hi was born in 1738. She was the daughter of Tame Doe, a member of the Wolf Clan and sister to Attakullakulla. She married Kingfisher and had two children by him. Nanye-hi accompanied her husband on a raid of the Creeks during the Battle of Taliwa in 1755. Kingfisher was killed in the battle and Nanye-hi filled his place in the battle. She took his rifle and rallied the warriors to victory.

For her bravery she was bestowed with the title of Ghigua. The Ghigua, or Beloved Woman of the Cherokee, was a prestigious title given to extraordinary women by the Cherokee clans. The Ghigua headed the Council of Women and held a voting seat in the Council of Chiefs. The Ghigua was given the responsibility of prisoners and would decide their fate.

Nanye-hi, or Nancy, married a second time, this time to a white man. Bryant Ward, a trader who took up residence within the Cherokee Nation, married Nancy in the late 1750s. The two had a daughter before Bryant returned to South Carolina to live with his white family. Nancy and her daughter would often visit Bryant Ward and his family; they were always treated well. They were not officially divorced, but it is safe to say their marriage ended in 1760.

Nancy Ward was a respected woman among the Cherokees and the white settlers. She was an outspoken supporter of peace. On at least two occasions she sent warnings to white settlements of impending Indian attacks, for fear that surprise attacks would further erode the strained relationship between the Cherokees and the settlers.

She participated in several treaty negotiations and even spoke at the Treaty of Hopewell in 1785 where she spoke about her hopes for a continued peace.

Sadly, Nancy would live to see dramatic developments which would forever change the Cherokee Nation. Numerous treaties that agreed to honor Cherokee land rights were broken. In 1819 the Hiwassee Purchases forced Nancy to abandon her home in Chota and settle further south on the Ocoee River.

Nancy's efforts for peace did help to avoid large-scale war with the white settlers, but in the end nothing could protect the Cherokee Nation from white encroachment. Nancy died in 1822 and is buried near Benton, Tennessee. Less than a decade later the Indian Removal Act was passed, and by 1838 a forced removal to Indian Territory in present day Oklahoma was taking place.

Nancy Ward was the last Ghigua. The Cherokee government changed dramatically during Nancy's lifetime and the Cherokee, once ruled by clan loyalty, were moving toward a republican form of government. There was no longer a place in their government for a Ghigua.

Nancy WARD

A noted halfbreed Cherokee woman, the date and place of whose birth and death are alike unknown. It is said that her father was a British officer named Ward and her mother a sister of Ata-kullakulla, principal chief of the Nation at the time of the first Cherokee war. She was probably related to Brian Ward, an oldtime trader among the Cherokee, mentioned elsewhere in connection with the battle of Tali'wa.

During the Revolutionary period she resided at Echota, the national capital, where she held the office of "Beloved Woman," or "Pretty Woman," by virtue of which she was entitled to speak in councils and to decide the fate of captives. She distinguished herself by her constant friendship for the Americans, always using her best effort to bring about peace between them and her own people, and frequently giving timely warning of projected Indian raids, notably on the occasion of the great invasion of the Watauga and Holston settlements in 1776. A Mrs Bean, captured during this incursion, was saved by her interposition after having been condemned to death and already bound to the stake.

In 1780, on occasion of another Cherokee outbreak, she as sisted a number of traders to escape, and the next year was sent by the chiefs to make peace with Sevier andCampbell, who were advancing against the Cherokee towns. Campbell speaks of her in his report as "the famous Indian woman, Nancy Ward." Although peace

was not then granted, her relatives, when brought in later with other prisoners, were treated with the consideration due in return for her good offices.

She is described by Robertson, who visited her about this time, as "queenly and commanding" in appearance and manner, and her house as furnished in accordance with her high dignity.

When among the Arkansas Cherokee in 1819, Nuttall was told that she had introduced the first cows into the Nation, and that by her own and her children's influence the condition of the Cherokee had been greatly elevated. He was told also that her advice and counsel bordered on supreme, and that her interference was allowed to be decisive even in affairs of life and death. Although he speaks in the present tense, it is hardly probable that she was then still alive, and he does not claim to have met her. Her descendants are still found in the Nation.

See Haywood, Natural and Aboriginal Tennessee;

Ramsey, Tennessee;

Nuttall, Travels, p. 130, 1821;

Campbell letter, 1781, and Springstone deposition, 1781, in Virginia

State Papers i, pp. 435, 436, 447, 1875;

Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography.

The Cherokee People, by Thomas E. MAILS - Page 193, Writes:

Nancy WARD holds a postion of great significance in Cherokee history, and must be mentioned here. In 1738, Tame Doe, the sister of Attakullakulla, gave birth to a daughter named Nancy, who in time became the last true "Beloved Woman" of the Cherokees, and who in her views regarding Cherokee and white relationships was an ally of Little Carpenter.

In the early 1750s, she married the noted war leader, Kingfisher of the Deer Clan, and was at his side when in 1755 he was killed by Creek warriors at the battle of Taliwa. She immediately picked up his weapons and rallied the Cherokee warriors to overwhelming victory.

Her first tangible reward was a black slave who had been left behind by the retreating Creeks, and legend has it that this was the beginning of black slavery among the Cherokees.

Back at Chota, she was chosen to fill the vacant position of a "Beloved Woman". It was believed that the Supreme Beings often spoke to the people through the beloved women, and they were given absolute power in the question of what to do with prisoners taken in war.

Nancy did not hesitate to use the power. She was also head of the influential woman's council that consisted of a representative from each clan, and she sat as a voting member of the council of chiefs.

In the late 1750s, she married an already wed white trader named Bryant Ward, who before 1760 left her and returned to his white wife and children in South Carolina.

In 1772, an English diplomat named Robertson visited Nancy's home at Chota, which he described as being furnished in a barbaric splendor that befitted her high rank. She was then thirty-five years old, and he pictured her as "queenly and commanding."3

Tennessee Cousins, by Worth S. RAY - Page 203, Writes:

In 1775 the Indians had a plan to attack the settlement on the "Watauga", Nancy WARD, [a37yrs], who was nearly allied to some of the principal Chiefs, obtained knowledge of the plan, and without delay communicated it to Isaac THOMAS "a trader" her friend and a true' American.

He immediatley set out to worn them of the dandanger, which he opportunely did, and proceeded without delay, to the Committee of Safety in Virginia.

He was accompanied by William FALLIN (or FEWLIN) as far as the "Holston" settlement.

Tennessee Cousins, by Worth S. RAY - Page 510, Writes:

Nancy WARD, the "Pocahontis" of those days, and friend of the white people, lived at "Woman-Killer Ford" on the OCOEE, in present Polk or Bradley County, TN. where she is buried, and has a marker at her tomb. It is one of the land-marks of the section.

Nanye-hi (ᎾᏅᏰᎯ: "One who goes about"), known in English as Nancy Ward (c. 1738–1822 or 1824) was a ghigau, or beloved woman of the Cherokee nation, which meant that she was allowed to sit in councils and to make decisions, along with the other Beloved Women, on pardons. She believed in peaceful coexistence with white people.

   * 1 Beloved Woman
   * 2 Changes to Cherokee society
   * 3 Later life
   * 4 Death, burial and remembrance
   * 5 References
   * 6 External links
   * 7 Further reading

[edit] Beloved Woman

Nancy Ward was born in the Cherokee town of Chota, a member of the Wolf Clan. Her mother, whose actual name is not known, is often called Tame Doe, and was a sister of Attakullakulla.[1] Her father was probably part Delaware, also known as the Leni Lenape. Her first husband was the Cherokee man Kingfisher. Nanye-hi and Kingfisher fought side by side at the Battle of Taliwa against the Creeks in 1755. When he was killed, she took up his rifle and led the Cherokee to victory. This was the action which, at the age of 18, gave her the title of Ghigau.

Nancy Ward first married Kingfisher, who was killed in Battle with the Creeks. They had two children, Catherine and Fivekiller. Nancy then married Bryant Ward, a South Carolina colonist and Indian trader, and their child was Elizabeth Ward, the Cherokee wife of General Joseph Martin.

In the revolutionary War, Ward warned the whites of an impending attack by Dragging Canoe, an act that has made her a Patriot for the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

[edit] Changes to Cherokee society

As a Ghigau, Nancy had the power to spare captives. In 1776, following a Cherokee attack on the Fort Watauga settlement on the Watauga River (at present day Elizabethton, Tennessee), she used that power to spare a Mrs. William (Lydia Russell) Bean, whom she took into her house and nursed back to health from injuries suffered in the battle. Mrs. Bean taught Nanye-hi how to weave, revolutionizing the Cherokee garments, which at the time were a combination of hides and cloth bought from traders. But this weaving revolution also changed the roles of women in the Cherokee society, as they took on the weaving and left men to do the planting, which had traditionally been a woman's job.

Mrs. Bean also rescued two of her dairy cows from the settlement, and brought them to Nanye-hi. Nanye-hi learned to raise the cattle and to eat dairy products, which would sustain the Cherokee when hunting was bad.

The combination of weaving and raising of animals turned the Cherokee from a communal agricultural society into a society very similar to that of their European-American neighbors, with family plots and the need for ever-more labor. Thus the Cherokee began buying and selling slaves. Nanye-hi was among the first Cherokee to own black slaves.

Around the same time Sequoyah introduced the first written language for the tribe. A complete Bible was first printed in the 1830's, hence the Cherokee were considered one of the Five Civilized Tribes

[edit] Later life

Nanye-hi objected to the sale of Cherokee lands to whites, but her objections were largely ignored. In 1808 and again in 1817, the Women's Council came out in opposition to the sale of more and more land.

Nanye-hi became a sort of ambassador between the Cherokee and the whites, learning the art of diplomacy from her maternal uncle, the influential chief Attakullakulla ("Little Carpenter"). In 1781, when the Cherokee met with an American delegation led by John Sevier to discuss American settlements along the Little Pigeon River, Nanye-hi expressed surprise that there were no women negotiators among the Americans. Sevier was equally appalled that such important work should be given to a woman. Nanye-hi told him, "You know that women are always looked upon as nothing; but we are your mothers; you are our sons. Our cry is all for peace; let it continue. This peace must last forever. Let your women's son's be ours; our sons be yours. Let your women hear our words." An American observer said that her speech was very moving.

On July 5, 1807, the Moravian mission school at Spring Place, Georgia, in the Cherokee Nation, was visited by three elderly women, including a very distinguished lady who had been a widow of fifty years and almost hundred years old. She was described as "an unusually sensible person, honored and loved by both brown and white people." "This old woman, named Chiconehla, is supposed to have been in a war against an enemy nation and was wounded numerous times...Her left arm is decorated with some designs, which she said were fashionable during her youth...." Chiconehla stayed for two days, entertained by the students and discussing theology with the missionaries with the aid of translating by her distant relative, Mrs. James Vann (Margaret Scott). The circumstances of this high status woman leave little doubt that this Cherokee named Chiconehla was identical to the person known as Nancy Ward.[2]

[edit] Death, burial and remembrance

Memorial to Nancy Ward, located near Benton, TN.

According to her son, Fivekiller, Nancy was buried in her home town of Chota. In 1923 the Nancy Ward chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, based in Chattanooga, placed a memorial marker next to Fivekiller's grave in Benton, Tennessee. Polk County, Tennessee, where Benton is located, is trying to raise money to create a Nancy Ward Museum. The Polk County Historical and Genealogical Society currently maintains a Nancy Ward Room in their genealogy library until such a time as the museum is created.

Ward was the last woman to receive the title of Beloved Woman until the late 20th century.

A statue of Nancy Ward, carved by James Abraham Walker,[3] stood in a cemetery in Grainger County, Tennessee for about 70 years before it was stolen in the early 1980's.[4]

The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, Tennessee holds an annual Nancy Ward Cherokee Heritage Days celebration in her honor.

Nancy Ward is not only remembered as an important figure to the Cherokee people but is also considered an early pioneer for women in American politics as she advocated for a woman's voice during a turbulent period in her tribe's history.

Nancy Ward was a well known historical figure from the Cherokee tribe born into the Wolf Clan around 1738 at Chota, near Fort Loudon, Tennessee. She was born around the time of a smallpox epidemic that caused the deaths of approximately half of the Cherokee population living at that time.

Her father was Fivekiller, a Cherokee-Delaware man, and her mother was Tame Deer (sometimes recorded as Tame Doe, known popularly as Catherine), the sister of Attakullakulla (also spelled Attacullaculla, or Little Carpenter in English). Her cousin, Dragging Canoe (Tsi'yu-gunsini) became a famous Chickamaugas Chief.

Nancy Ward first married Kingfisher, a Cherokee of the Deer clan, and they had two children, Catherine, and Fivekiller. After he was killed at the Battle of Taliwa, she later married Briant (Bryant) Ward, an English trader, and they had another daughter named Elizabeth, who was often called Betsy or Betty.

Ward was already married to a white woman when he wed Nancy, and later returned to his European wife. He also had a previous son by his white wife, who later came looking for him while he was still living with the Cherokee, and John (Jack) Ward ended up staying himself, taking a Cherokee wife of his own. Many of their decendants later became prominent in the Cherokee tribe.

Nancy Ward's early Cherokee name, Nanye-hi, "One Who Goes About," comes from the name of the mythological Spirit People of the Cherokee. As a young woman, she had the nickname Tsistunagiska, meaning "Wild Rose." After the Battle of Taliwa in 1755, where she battled alongside the male warriors, she was given the Cherokee honorary title of Ghighau, "Beloved Woman." This Cherokee title, by tradition, gave her a lifetime voice in the tribal councils of chiefs, as well as the power to pardon condemned captives, which she did on several occasions. She was also sometimes known as Agigaue (Agi-ga-u-e), meaning "War Woman."

Nancy Ward is credited with bringing the first cows to the Cherokee people, and being the only Cherokee woman allowed to speak at treaty negotiations.

Beloved Woman (Ghigau) of the Cherokees

Also known as "Ghi-Ga-U Nancy Fivekiller"

She was born in Chota Cherokee Nation East (now, Monroe, Tn.) to Tame Doe. (This information from

Birth: 1738 Death: 1822

Cherokee Beloved Woman. Born Nanye'hi, which roughly translates to "One who goes about," in the Cherokee settlement of Chota , Tennessee, she was the daughter of Tame Doe of the Wolf Clan. She married for the first time in her teens, a warrior called Kingfisher. By the time she was eighteen they had two children; Ka-ti and Hi-s-ki-ti-hi. In 1755 at the battle of Taliwa against the Creek, she fought by her husband's side. When he was killed, she took up his musket and rallied the Cherokee warriors to victory. Because of her bravery in battle, Nanye'hi was named Ghi-ga-u, or Beloved Woman of the Cherokee which granted her the right to head the Women's Council and sit on the Council of Chiefs. She was also awarded the authority to grant pardon. Within four years she married Bryant Ward, an English trader, and took the English name Nancy. They had one daughter. In 1780 she wielded the right of the Beloved Woman and spared white captive Lydia Bean from death. Bean stayed with her savior for some time, introducing her to the arts of weaving and the making butter and cheese. After Bean was repatriated, Ward brought dairy cattle to the Cherokee and introduced dairying to her people. She spoke eloquently at the 1781 Little Pigeon River treaty negotiations and again at the Treaty of Hopewell negotiations in 1785. With the changes in Cherokee government and American expansion after the Hiwassee Purchase of 1819, Ward left Chota and settled on the Ocoee River near present-day Benton where she operated an inn on the Federal Road until her death. A Tennessee chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is named for her. Vonore, Tennessee holds an annual Nancy Ward Cherokee Heritage Days celebration in her honor. (bio by: Iola)

Family links:

  • Tame Doe
  • Kingfisher (____ - 1755)*,
  • Bryan Ward (1720 - 1815)*
  • Elizabeth Ward Martin*
  • Ka-ti Kingfisher Harlan (1752 - ____)*
  • Hi-s-gi-di-hi Kingfisher (1755 - 1825)*

Phoebe's father may have been named Dutchi or Doochee. Phoebe's father may have been named Five Killer Goochee or Gough. Sources say that Phoebe's mother was Tame Doe, the mother of Nancy Ward.

Nancy Ward, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee

  • The source at mundia is sketchy and may be wrong and so Phoebe's parents may not be right here.**

Ann Crews parents were Hardy Crews and Phoebe Doochie/Goochie. Many publications for Hardy and phoebe, Hardy from Ireland was a land surveyor. As a record account goes: he chose a beautiful dark-haired Cherokee maiden, named Phoebe Doochie/Goochie. Phoebe is full blooded Cherokee Indian, of what is now the Smoky mountains area and Cherokee Indian reservation.(This was prior to the building of the fort(Prior to dawes roles)). Early to mid 1700's.

Reports indicate: Cherokee recognize Hardy/Phoebe of pure blood of having both land and rights. Joseph who married their daughter Ann Crews, she would be 1/2 blood Cherokee, which was entitled to NO land, but given all other Cherokee rights.

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Nancy Ward, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee's Timeline

Chota, City of Refuge, Tennessee, United States
Age 24
Tennessee, USA
Age 24
United States
June 1755
Age 27
Age 27
Taliwa, near present-day Canton, Georgia, USA
Age 27
Spartanburg, SC, USA
September 18, 1756
Age 28
Georgia, United States
September 18, 1757
Age 29
Cherokee Nation East (TN)
Age 46
Chota, Cherokee Nation, Tennessee
Age 47