Chief Charles Renatus Hicks

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Charles Renatus Hicks, Principal Chief

Also Known As: "Principal Chief"
Birthdate: (59)
Birthplace: Hiawassee River,Cherokee,Nation East,Georgia
Death: January 20, 1827 (59)
Spring Place,Georgia
Place of Burial: Old Mission Churchyard, Murray, Georgia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Nathaniel Hicks, Sr. and Nan-Ye-Hi Elizabeth Hicks, Wolf Clan
Husband of Nancy Anna Felicitas Hicks; Lydia (Qualyuka) Qua La Yu Ga Hicks and NN Sister of Gahno
Father of William Hicks; Nathan Wolf Hicks; Charles Renatus Hicks, Jr.; Nancy Hicks; Elijah Hicks and 9 others
Brother of NN Douglas / Bigby / Wilson; Nathan Wolf Hicks, Jr.; Go-Sa-Du-I-Sga (Sarah) Hicks; Elizabeth Fields; Chief William Abraham Hicks and 2 others

Occupation: missionary & chief, 1/2 Cherokee Ani-Waya Wolf Clan
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Chief Charles Renatus Hicks

Note: I have been in touch with a few more Nathan HICKS researchers and also a few in Cherokee Genealogy and History research and they agree that Nancy Broom was married to Nathan's son - Charles. Na'Ye'He (of the Wolf Clan) was Charles' mother and wife of Nathan Hicks, the Scots Trader. Many get Na'Ye'He' and Nancy Broom mixed up now and so did some early researchers. But, the old Clan Mothers and direct HICKS descendents know who is who. Many mistake Na'Ye'He' as Nancy and therefore mistakenly assume that Na'Ye'He' is Nancy Broom.

Charles Renatus Hicks (23 December 1767 - 20 January 1827, age 59) was one of the most important Cherokee leaders in the early 19th century and the first non fullblood to be chosen as Principal Chief of the tribe. Born Dec. 23, 1767 in the town of Tomotly on the Hiwassee River, his parents are believed to be a white trader named Nathan Hicks and Nan-Ye-Hi, a half-blood Cherokee woman. She and her brother Gunrod were children of a Swiss national named Jacob Conrad and a native wife. Gunrod was the father of Cherokees named Hair Conrad, Rattlinggoard, Terrapan Head, Young Wolf, and Quatie.

The principal wife of Charles Hicks was Nancy, daughter of Chief Broom of Broomstown. Hicks served as interpreter to U.S. Agent Return Jonathan Meigs, acted as treasurer for the Cherokee Nation, and fought against the Creek Red Sticks in the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Allied with the former warriors James Vann and Major Ridge, Hicks was one of the most influential leaders in the Nation during the period after the Chickamauga wars to just past the first quarter of the 19th century. He was baptized by Moravian missionaries as Charles Renatus ("Born Again") Hicks on April 8, 1813.[1] Extremely well-read and acculturated, his personal library was one of the biggest on the continent, public or private. In an 1826 letter to John Ross, Charles Hicks wrote about events in Cherokee history that occurred during his youth, including his encounters with Oconostota, Attacullaculla, and the early European trader Cornelius Dougherty.

He was elected Second Principal Chief under Pathkiller in 1817, but after the "revolt of the young chiefs" two years later, partly over land deals, Hicks became de facto head of government with Pathkiller serving as a mere figurehead. Upon Pathkiller's death in 1827, Hicks became the first mixed-blood to become Cherokee Principal Chief, but died on January 20, 1827, just two weeks after assuming office. His younger brother William Abraham Hicks served as interim Principal Chief, but John Ross, as President of the National Committee, and Major Ridge, as Speaker of the National Council, were the real power brokers in the Nation. Later in 1828 John Ross was elected as the new Principal Chief and served in this capacity until his death in 1867.

from: Wikipedia


Charles R. Hicks, longtime Second Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and briefly Principal Chief himself in 1827 following the death of Pathkiller with John Ross as Second Principal Chief, before his own death just a few shorts weeks later brought that to an end. A protégé of the former warrior and Upper Towns chief James Vann, Hicks was one of the most influential leaders in the Nation during the period after the Chickamauga Wars to just past the first quarter of the 19th century. Extremely well-read and acculturated, his personal library was one of the biggest on the continent, public or private. A member of the Cherokee Triumvirate at the beginning of the 19th century, along with James Vann and Major Ridge. Elected Second Principal Chief under Pathkiller in 1811, a political dispute two years later left Hicks as de facto top chief with Pathkiller serving as a mere figurehead.


The United Brethren's Missionary Intelligencer and Religious Miscellany - Biography of our late brother Charles Renatus Hicks, Second principal chief of the Cherokee nation, who departed this life, January 20th, 1827, at Fortville, in the Cherokee country.

Our late Brother was born, December 23, 1767, at Thamaatly, on the Hiwassee river. His father was a white trader in the nation, and his mother a half Indian. In his youth, in consequence of a cold, an abcess formed in his leg, which induced him to go to South Carolina to be cured, where, under the blessing of God, he was happily restored. In the house of his host he acquired some knowledge of the first rudiments of science, which provided afterwards of essential service to him, when called to public offices in the nation. At that period already, as he often testified, he felt, when reading the bible, good impressions on his heart, which were never obliterated. In process of time he married, and lived very happily with his wife, the surviving widow, our Sister Ann Felicitas. Their union was blessed by God with five sons and three daughters, all of whom, together with nine grandchildren, are yet living. Being an upright man, possessed of a good understanding, and well acquainted with the English language, he was early employed in transacting national concerns. Thirty years ago he served in the capacity of an interpreter in the negotiation carried on between the Cherokees and the United States' government. Many years he filled the office of Secretary in the nation. In the year 1817, he was chosen second principal chief, and conducted the most important affairs of the nation with great fidelity and perserverance, assisted by the first principal chief, Pathkiller, who, thirteen days before him was also removed by death. The first acquaintence of the Brethren with him was formed on a visit, undertaken by the Brethren Abraham Steiner and Frederick Christian von Schweinitz from Salem, North Carolina, to the Cherokee country. Brother Steiner he ever after loved and esteemed as a friend. After the mission in Spring-Place had been commenced in the year 1801, he visited the missionaries from time to time, and proved himself to be their faithful friend. The gospel truths, as they were taught there, chiefly by Brother Gambold and his late wife, whom he always valued as his spiritual parents, and the instruments in the hands of God for his conversion, found entrance into his heart, and in him confirmed the truth that they are the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth. The word of the cross became precious to his soul, and in August, 1812, he made known to Brother Gambold his desire to be baptised. His wish was granted, April the 8th of the following year, when said Brother had the gratification to administer to him this sacred ordinance. September 7, 1814, having previously been confirmed in his baptismal covenant, he partook of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for the first time. Since his conversion he was deeply concerned for the salvation of his countrymen, and earnestly prayed for them at the throne of grace. The missionary establishments in the nation, were objects of his highest regard, and it was his delight to be of service to them. At the same time he did not forbear, as opportunities offered, to bear his own testimony concerning the atonement, and to direct his brethren to the Savior for the remission of their sins, and his testimony has not been without effect. When he observed that civilization and christianity, that is, genuine faith in Christ Jesus and him crucified, and a consequent change of heart, went hand in hand, and progressed, he was highly delighted, and never was he happier than when he heard of the success of the gospel in the nation. But of this truth he was perfectly convinced, that civilization without true christianity, is of little moment.

He was endowed with a sound and correct judgement, and by means of his public offices, and much reading, he had acquired an usual fund of practical knowledge. The doctrines of Salvation, contained in the word of God, he understood well, and knew how to apply them to his own heart. He discharged the duties of his station as second principal chief with uncommon faithfulness and assiduity, even at the risk of his, at all times, feeble constitution. In all deliberations he investigated the subject thoroughly, was not hasty in his conclusions, and generally gave a correct decision. In important cases his advise was almost universally sought. The services which he has rendered to to his nation, will always be remembered, and long will the Cherokees speak of him as of a great and good man. About eight years ago national affairs caused him to go to Washington, the seat of government of the United States, and his exertions there were crowned with success. But on this journey, through a cold which he took, the abcess on his leg again appeared, and from that time forward he enjoyed few days of health. During the last six years of his life he could visit but twice here in Spring-Place; the first time on the occasion of the funeral of his beloved niece, our late sister Margaret Ann Crutchfield, October 22, 1820, and again, August the 12th of last year, when three persons received holy baptism. We visited him as often as circumstances permitted, in Fortville, and administered to him the holy communion on such occasions, which always refreshed him, and drew from him the most feeling expressions of gratitude.

Last autumn he attended the council in Newtown for the last time. On his way home he was obliged to encamp a night in the woods, when he took fresh cold, after which his strength decreased daily, and his complaint assumed the character of a dropsy. He at length was confined to his bed altogether, and suffered very severe pain. Two days before his death, being visited by our Cherokee Brother Samuel, after he had saluted him, he addressed him as follows: "Brother, I am glad to see you once more; my time, it appears, is expired and I must depart; I am not afraid to die, for I know that my Redeemer livith, I know whom I have believed, and that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. I trust in Jesus' merits and his blood, I am his, and he will receive me, a poor sinner; we must all die, we have all to travel the same road, dust we are, and to dust we must return, this is God's appointment; if we believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God, who came into the world to save sinners, and ask of him the forgiveness of our sins, our souls after death come to him, and we inherit eternal life. The time is approaching when our mortal bodies shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body, &c." After this our late Brother grew weaker, till he gently fell asleep, January 20th, at 2 o'clock in the morning, in the 60th year of his age. According to his particular request his body was brought to Spring-Place on the 22d, and having been set down before the church, Major Ridge delivered an impressive exhortation to those assembled, concluding with the wish, that all present would follow the foot steps of this good man, who is now with God. Brother Smith then spoke a discourse in the church, upon the doctrinal text of the day of our Brother's departure, the 20th, being John xvii. 2, in connexion with Luke x. 42. After the Sermon we accompanied the corpse to our burying ground, where it was interred in the manner usual in the Brethren's church. Our prayer to the Saviour was, that he would grant us grace, to remain in close communion with him, and to live in reliance upon his merits, till our work here below be completed, and he call us from this vail of tears to his heavenly kingdom.

DEATH NOTICE 1827-03-14; Paper: Hallowell Gazette.

Find A Grave Memorial # 17696080.


The research of James R. Hicks []:

CHARLES RENATUS6 HICKS, CHIEF (NA-YE-HI5 CONRAD, JENNIE4 ANI'-WA'YA, OCONOSTOTA3, MOYTOY2, A-MA-DO-YA1) was born December 23, 1767 in Tamali, on the Hiwassee River, CNE [GA], and died January 20, 1827 in Fortville, CNE [GA]. He married (2) NANCY E BROOM Abt. 1797, daughter of CHIEF BROOM and A-TSO-S-TA. She was born Abt. 1770, and died Aft. 1842.


Notes on Starr's compilations:

1) Charles' father Nathan was married to a Na-ye-hi not to Nancy Broom.

2) Nancy Elizabeth Broom aka Anna Felicitas was married to Charles Renatus Hicks.

3) In the Halfbreed 1-x & 1-1-x family groups Starr depicts Lydia Halfbreed and Charles Hicks as the parents of George Hicks; however, Starr's un-published notes, pg 146-147, and the entries for the Spring Place Students lead me to believe that the spouse of Lydia Halfbreed should have been listed as Charles' brother William, and George as their son. This configuration is also suported by Miller application #7991 for Jennie Hicks nee Wilson who claims through her grand-parents George and Lucy Hicks, her g-gmother Lydia Chisholm [nee Halfbreed], and her great uncles and aunts; Ruth Beck, Anna French, Eli, William, Carrington, Charles and John Hicks; all known children of William Hicks.

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Joined the Church of the United Brethren at Spring Place and was baptised on Apr 10, 1813. At this time the missionaries conferred upon him the name of Renatus (Renewed): Charles Renatus Hicks.

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Cherokee Tragedy, The Ridge Family and the Decimation of a People, by Thurman Wilkins, University of Oklahoma Press, Morman and London:

On his way home from Salem, Major Ridge stopped at Spring Place on January 22, 1827, and found the mission in mourning. During his absence the Cherokee had lost in quick succession their principal chiefs: the aged Pathkiller had died first and two weeks later Charles Hicks lay in a walnut coffin at Spring Place. Hicks had attended the coulcil at New Echota the previous fall though badly ailing. On his way home he was forced to camp in the woods and had taken cold from the dampness. He had gone to bed with Dropsical complaints and had never risen again. Major Ridge, on taking a last look at his friend, learned that he had died gently on January 20 as though he had mearly fallen asleep. The Ridge delivered an impressive exhortation at the funeral.

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Cherokee Tragedy, The Ridge Family and the Decimation of a People, by Thurman Wilkins, University of Oklahoma Press, Morman and London:

Upon hearing of the death Charles Hicks, one Cherokee said "The Cherokee will sell their land now; those who are left have their price."

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1842 Cherokee Claims, Flint District, IT, claim# 33; To: Elijah, Betsey, Sarah, Jesse, Leonard, and Nancy, the heirs and widow of Charles R Hicks decd' Residence in the old Nation, Frkville, Chickamauga Creek (Valuation at Forkville) [list of losses] $8806.50 Nancy Hicks, the widow of Charles R Hicks, deceased, makes oath that the above described premises and improvements were the property of her late husband, that he resided there until his death which was in the year 1827, and after his death she still resided on the premises peaceably and unmolested until the Spring of 1834. [illegible]


  • 1842 Claims 1: FL1, pg 223, claim 33 dec'd, by widow Nancy Hicks [nee Broom] & heirs...
  • 1842 Claims 2: FL1, pg 223, claim 33 dec'd, by heirs; Elijah, Leonard, Jesse, Betsey Fields (wife of Archy Fields), Sarah McCoy
  • Blood: 1/2 Cherokee (1/4 per Moravian Biography)
  • Burial: January 22, 1827, Spring Place, GA
  • Chief: January 1827, Principal Chief, CN-East
  • Christened: April 08, 1813, Spring Place, GA
  • Note 1: Bet. 1806 - 1807, "Cherokee Patron" of Gideon Blackburn's School
  • Note 2: Killaneka's daughter is "Related to" Charles Renatus Hicks and his niece Peggy Scott
  • Occupation: Bet. 1817 - 1827, Assistant Principal Chief, under Pathkiller
  • Residence: October 1826, Chickamauga District, GA
  • Signer: February 27, 1819, Treaty of Washington
  • Starr's Notes: C641


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Chief Charles Renatus Hicks's Timeline

December 23, 1767
Hiawassee River,Cherokee,Nation East,Georgia
Age 14
Age 19
Chickmauga Idstrict Cherokee Nation, Tennessee, United States
Age 20
Cherokee, Alabama, USA
May 8, 1790
Age 22
Chickamauga, GA, United States
Age 22
Russell, KY, United States
Age 24
Age 26
Chickamauga, Cherokee, Georgia, USA
Age 27
Georgia, USA
June 21, 1797
Age 29
Chickamauga District, Georgia, United States