About Chief John "Young Tassel" Watts
Elected Chief of the Chickamauga Cherokee after the death of Dragging Canoe on March 1, 1792.
Married to Wurtagua, b 1760, daughter of Attakullakulla and Ollie Married 2nd to Kay-I-Oh, b. 1765, daughter of Hanging Maw and Betsy
John Watts, or Kunokeski, also known as Young Tassel, was one of the leaders of the Chickamauga/Lower Cherokee during the Chickamauga wars, particularly after the murder of his uncle, Old Tassel, by marauding frontiersmen firing upon delegates at a peace conference in 1788. A mixed-blood son of a Scots-Irish trader named John Watts who resided in the Overhill Towns on the Little Tennessee River, who may have other wives (both white and Cherokee). Trader Watts was the official government interpreter until his death in 1770. The younger John Watts was only occasionally involved with the warriors of Dragging Canoe until that time, after which he moved first to Running Water and later to Willstown and eventually became Dragging Canoe's hand-picked successor. His mother was a sister of Old Tassel, Doublehead, and Pumpkin Boy. Under the Cherokee clan system, a maternal uncle-nephew link was more important than a father-son lineage (since clan identity was that of one's mother). It is very likely that a sister of young John Watts was Wurte Watts, the mother of the famous Sequoyah, who was a great-nephew of both Old Tassel and Doublehead. A brother of John Watts was known as Whiteman Killer Watts.
JOHN GA-NO-DI-S-GI WATTS, II, CHIEF (SISTER OF DOUBLEHEAD, GREAT EAGLE, MOYTOY , A-MA-DO-YA) was born Abt. 1746 in Willstown, AL, and died 1808 in Willstown, AL.
He married (2) WA-TA-GE Abt. 1780, daughter of A-TA-GU-LA-GU-LA and A-LI ANI'-WA'YA.She was born Abt. 1760.
He married (5) TSI-YU-GI Abt. 1800.She was born Abt. 1780, and died Aft. 1833 in CNW.
Notes for JOHN GA-NO-DI-S-GI WATTS, II, CHIEF: John Watts, Jr Young Tassel Kunoskeskie More About JOHN GA-NO-DI-S-GI WATTS, II, CHIEF: Aka (Facts Pg): Young Tassel; Ga-no-di-s-gi [Ga-no-di-s-gi does not mean Young Tassel] Clan: Ani'-Wâ'di = Red Paint (Wurteh) More About WA-TA-GE: Blood: 3/4 Cherokee Clan: Ani'-Wa'ya = Wolf Clan (Peggy Scott?) More About TSI-YU-GI: Blood: Full Blood Cherokee
Child of JOHN GA-NO-DI-S-GI WATTS, II, CHIEF is: 189. i. JOHN6 WATTS, III, CPT, COUNCILOR, b. Abt. 1768; d. Abt. 1840.
Child is listed above under (19) Wa-ta-ge.
Children of JOHN GA-NO-DI-S-GI WATTS, II, CHIEF are: 190. ii. THOMAS6 WATTS, b. Abt. 1780; d. Bef. 1838. 191. iii. TWO WOOD WATTS, b. Abt. 1786. 192. iv. PEACHEATER WATTS, b. Abt. 1790.
Children of JOHN GA-NO-DI-S-GI WATTS, II, CHIEF are: 193. v. _____6 WATTS, b. Abt. 1790; d. Abt. 1852.
vi. SOUP WATTS, b. Abt. 1794. vii. FISHTAIL WATTS, b. Abt. 1796.
Children of JOHN WATTS and TSI-YU-GI are:
viii. RACHEL6 WATTS, b. Abt. 1800; m. (1) _____ THOMPSON, Bef. 1832; b. Abt. 1790; m. (2) ISAAC VANN, Bef. 1833; b. Abt. 1792; d. Aft. 1837. More About _____ THOMPSON:
Blood: Non-Cherokee Residence: Abt. 1830, [1842 Claim, Canadian, Bk 1, #72] ...he went home to his wife in Augusta, GA
More About ISAAC VANN:
1817-19 Reservations: July 1817, # 46, Sweet Water, 2 in family Emigration: 1833, CNE to CNW Spring of 1833 to make a crop 194. ix. _____ WATTS, b. Abt. 1804. 195. x. MARY POLLY WATTS, b. Abt. 1806; d. September 1836, en-route on the Cherokee Removal
CHIEF JOHN WATTS
Compiled on March 28, 2002 by:
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FROM "WHO WAS WHO AMONG THE SOUTHERN INDIANS, A GENEALOGICAL NOTEBOOK", 1698-1907 by Don Martini: Watts, John - Cherokee Chief, was born in 1753, the son of Trader John Watts. Also known as Kettiegesta, he was for many years a leading chief of the warlike Chickamauga faction of Cherokees that waged war on the American Frontier. He fought against John Sevier at Boyd's Creek in 1780. Two years later, he served as a guide for Sevier, but he led the General's troops from the Chickamauga towns. In May, 1792, he was described as a "bold, sensible, and friendly half breed" and as a "stout, bold and enterprising man". Despite all the compliments by the Americans, he continued to wage war on the frontier. He was severely wounded in a raid on Buchanan's Station, near Nashville, on September 30, 1792. While recuperating, he met with Governor William Blount of the Southwest Territory at Henry's Station, near Long Island on the Holston, in April, 1793. After his daughter was killed by whites on June 16, 1793, he again went on the warpath. In September, 1793, he, Doublehead, and James Vann led 1000 warriors toward Knoxville, only to abort the raid. He is said to have joined Chief Bowl and others in the attack on whites at Muscle Shoals in June, 1794. In November, 1794, following Major James Ore's successful invasion of the Chickamauga towns, Watts and other Cherokees sued for peace. In December 1796, he visited President Washington in Philadelphia, and in October, 1800, he met with Moravian missionaries at Spring Place. He signed the treaty of 1805. Once described as the greatest ballplayer in the Cherokee Nation, he died either on the Mississippi River about 1805 or at Willstown (AL), with burial there. He was a brother to Unacata and to a Cherokee killed at Boyd's Creek, and was the father of John Watts, Big Rattlinggourd, and perhaps Hard Mush (Gatunuali).
From page 353 of Old Frontiers, by J. P. Brown: “Chief John Watts was described by Governor Blount as “unquestionably the leading man in his Nation.” He possessed a talent for making friends, red and white. William Martin, son of General Joseph Martin, said of him, “He was one of the finest looking men I ever saw, large of stature, bold and magnanimous, a great friend of my father’s.” Major G. W. Sevier states: “He was a noble looking Indian, always considered a generous and honorable enemy,” and other pioneers paid high tribute to his “engaging personality.”
It is said that Chief John was married at least two or three times. I have seen several names that could be his wives but must research this further. See his list of children (as gathered from the Internet) on the Descendant list.
John Watts, or Kunokeski, also known as Young Tassel, was one of the leaders of the Chickamauga/Lower Cherokee during the Chickamauga wars, particularly after the murder of his uncle, Old Tassel, by marauding frontiersmen firing upon delegates at a peace conference in 1788. A mixed-blood son of a Scots-Irish trader named John Watts who resided in the Overhill Towns on the Little Tennessee River, who may have other wives (both white and Cherokee). Trader Watts was the official government interpreter until his death in 1770.
The younger John Watts was only occasionally involved with the warriors of Dragging Canoe until that time, after which he moved first to Running Water and later to Willstown and eventually became Dragging Canoe's hand-picked successor. His mother was a sister of Old Tassel, Doublehead, and Pumpkin Boy. Under the Cherokee clan system, a maternal uncle-nephew link was more important than a father-son lineage (since clan identity was that of one's mother). It is very likely that a sister of young John Watts was Wurte Watts, the mother of the famous Sequoyah, who was a great-nephew of both Old Tassel and Doublehead. A brother of John Watts was known as Whiteman Killer Watts.
WATTS, JOHN - He was from Toqua. Also called Young Tassel or Kunokeski. He became the Chickamauga Head warrior after Dragging Canoe's death in 1792. He was a seceding headman in 1777, and wounded at Buchanan's Station in 1792. In 1792, Watts led 167 Cherokees, 30 Shawnees (under Shawnee Warrior), and 83 Creeks (Under Talotiskee). At one point, he led 300 mounted troops, and in the attack on Knoxville, he supposedly led 1000 warriors, 1793. Died at Willstown in 1808. His mother was a sister of Old Tassel.
John Watts (or Kunokeski ), also known as Young Tassel, was one of the leaders of the Chickamauga (or "Lower Cherokee") during the Chickamauga Wars. Watts became particularly active in the fighting after the murder of his uncle, Old Tassel, by militant frontiersmen who attacked a band of delegates traveling to a peace conference in 1788.
Watts was a "mixed-blood" son of a Scots-Irish trader (who was also named John Watts, and was the official British government Indian interpreter for the area &mdash:until his death in 1770). His mother was a sister of Old Tassel, Doublehead, and Pumpkin Boy. Watts' parents resided in the Overhill Towns on the Little Tennessee River. It is very likely that a sister of the younger John Watts was Wurte Watts, the mother of the famous Sequoyah, who was a great-nephew of both Old Tassel and Doublehead. A brother of John Watts was known as Whiteman Killer Watts.
Separation from the Overhill Towns
Although he withdrew from the Overhill Towns along with Dragging Canoe's band, Watts was, at first, only occasionally involved in the activities of Dragging Canoe and his Chickamauga warriors. He moved first to Running Water, and later to Willstown.
Watts eventually became Dragging Canoe's hand-picked successor.
Watts first recorded military actions came in October 1788. Following Old Tassel's murder, he led a large war party —which included The Ridge (known as Nunnehidihi, or Ganundalegi)— into his first battle. They captured and burned Gillespie's Station, killing its defenders and taking several prisoners. The Cherokee warriors then proceeded against White's Fort (modern day Knoxville, Tennessee), where they were repulsed. Afterward, the group made camp along Flint Creek (in the area of the future Unicoi County, Tennessee), harassing, raiding, and attacking white settlers in the surrounding countryside. Their base was discovered (in January the following year) and they were attacked by a troop commanded by John Sevier.
Always an advocate of peace (but not "peace at any price"), Watts signed the 1791 Treaty of Holston, along with fellow militants: Doublehead, Bloody Fellow, Black Fox (a future chief of the Cherokee Nation), The Badger (Dragging Canoe's brother), and Rising Fawn.]
Leader of the Lower Cherokee
In 1792, Dragging Canoe died suddenly. Watts, who had been living back in the Overhill area, succeeded Dragging Canoe as council head of the Lower Cherokee (in accordance with the old warrior's wishes).
Watts, along with Bloody Fellow, Doublehead, and "Young Dragging Canoe" (Tsula), continued Dragging Canoe's policy of Indian unity. He honored the agreement with McGillivray, of the Upper Muscogee, to build blockhouses (from which warriors of both tribes could operate) at Running Water, Muscle Shoals, and at the junction of the Tennessee and Clinch Rivers. Watts traveled to Pensacola to conclude a treaty with the Spanish governor of West Florida, Arturo O'Neill. The treaty provided them with arms and supplies with which to carry on the war. At about this time, Watts moved his base of operations to Willstown, which positioned them closer to their Muscogee allies while further insulating his band from the westward expansion of the new United States.
In September 1792, Watts assembled a large gathering of Cherokee and Muscogee warriors (which also included a contingent of cavalry). He planned to lead a campaign into the Cumberland region of Appalachia. It was to be a three-pronged attack: Tahlonteeskee would lead a force to ambush the Kentucky road; Middle Striker would take the Walton road; and Watts would lead the main army of 280 Cherokee, Shawnee, and Muscogee warriors against Nashville itself (then capital of the Mero District of the Southwest Territory). On the way to Nashville, the army encountered and attacked a settlement known as Buchanan's Station. It proved to be a disaster. Watts was seriously wounded, while Siksika (known as "The Shawnee Warrior," and an older brother of Tecumseh), Tahlonteeskee (or Talotiskee of the Broken Arrow) a Muscogee warrior); Little Owl, a brother of Dragging Canoe; and Pumpkin Boy, a brother of Doublehead, all died in the encounter.
A delegation of Shawnee is known to have stopped in Ustanali in 1793 on their way to the Muscogee and Choctaw settlements. The purpose of the trip was to ask the tribes to join in an united effort to punish the Chickasaw for joining St. Clair's army in the north.
Later in 1793, Watts sent envoys to Knoxville, (at the time the capital of the Southwest Territory) to meet with Governor Blount to discuss terms for a lasting peace. The party included Bob McLemore, Tahlonteeskee, Captain Charley of Running Water, and Doublehead, as well as the white delegates. Along the way, the group was attacked by a militant group of frontiersmen during a stop at the Overhill town of Coyatee. Hanging Maw was wounded, while his wife and daughter (along with several other Indians and one of the white delegates), were killed. The Cherokee people, along with Watts' Chickmauga warriors, agreed to await the outcome of the subsequent trial. In large part because the man responsible was a close friend of John Sevier, the trial proved to be a farce.
Watts responded by invading the Holston area with one of the largest Indian forces ever seen in the region —over one thousand Cherokee, Muscogee, and Shawnee— intending to attack Knoxville itself. On the way, the Cherokee leaders were discussing among themselves whether to kill all the inhabitants of Knoxville, or just the men. Doublehead argued for the former, while James Vann advocated the latter.
On the way to Knoxville, the war party encountered the small settlement of Cavett's Station. After they had surrounded the place, Bob Benge negotiated with the inhabitants, agreeing that if they surrendered, their lives would be spared. However, after the settlers had walked out, Doublehead's group and his Muscogee allies attacked and killed them. Vann managed to grab one small boy and pull him onto his saddle, only to have Doublehead smash the boy's skull in with an axe. Watts intervened in time to save another young boy, handing him to Vann, who put the boy behind him on his horse and later handed him over to three of the Muscogee for safe-keeping; unfortunately, one of the Muscogee chiefs killed the boy and scalped him a few days later.
With the defeat of the Western Confederacy at the Battle of Fallen Timbers and the destruction of Nickajack Town and Running Water Town, in September 1794, the leaders of the Lower Cherokee became convinced that continuing the war was futile. The council signed the Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse in November, officially ending hostilities.
Although a "national" government, complete with a Principal Chief and National Council, was elected in 1794, it had no real power, with individual regional councils for each of the four Cherokee divisions (Lower, Upper, Hill, and Valley) predominating. Watts himself spurned any "national office." He served as chief of the Lower Cherokee until his death in 1802, upon which he was succeeded by Doublehead.
John "Young Tassel" Watts was a member of the Paint Clan, Chickamauga Lower Cherokee tribe.
Chief John "Young Tassel" Watts's Timeline
Tuskegee on the Little Tennessee River, TN or VA
June 25, 1774
Burke, North Carolina
Wilkes County, North Carolina, United States
North Carolina, United States