Is your surname Boudinot?

Research the Boudinot family

Elias Boudinot's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Elias Boudinot

Also Known As: "Kilakeena", "Buck", "Gallegina", "Watie"
Birthdate: (37)
Birthplace: Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation, Georgia, United States
Death: June 22, 1839 (37)
Worcester Cemetery, Park HIll, Oklahoma - Indian Territory, United States (Attacked and stabbed to death)
Place of Burial: Park Hill, Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of David Watie and Susannah Charity Watie
Husband of Harriet Ruggles Boudinot (Gold) and Delight Watie
Father of Eleanor Susan Church; Mary Harriette Case; William Penn Boudinot; Sarah Parkhill Boudinot; Elias Cornelius Boudinot and 1 other
Brother of Dawnee Watie; Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, (CSA), Principal Chief; Nancy Paschal Wheeler; Thomas Black Watie; Mary Ann Candy and 5 others

Occupation: Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Elias Boudinot

For more pictures go to the Media section. There is a picture of Elias Boudinot in his Indian dressage.

Elias Boudinot (1802–June 22, 1839) was a Cherokee Indian who started and edited the tribe's first newspaper. He was born in Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation (now Calhoun, Georgia) as Gallegina Watie (also known as "Buck" Watie or Buck Oowatie), edited the Cherokee Phoenix in the New Echota, and died in Oklahoma. Gallegina means Deer; therefore, he was called "Buck" Watie before changing his name. He took the name "Elias Boudinot" from the man who paid for his education. The newspaper he edited, The Cherokee Phoenix, was the first Indian newspaper in the country. He was a missionary who translated the New Testament Bible and hymns into Cherokee with the help of a missionary friend, Samuel A. Worcester.

Boudinot and the Cherokee Nation

Boudinot was part of a prominent Cherokee family, the son of David Watie (Uwati), brother of Stand Watie, nephew of Major Ridge and cousin of John Ridge. He was also, allegedly, a descendant of Attacullaculla and the chiefs of Chota-Tanasi. Boudinot, the Ridges, John Ross, Charles R. Hicks, and his son, Elijah Hicks formed the ruling elite of the Cherokee Nation, which came to believed that rapid acculturation was critical to Cherokee surivial. Elias' Cherokee Phoenix published partially in Sequoyah's syllabary, but mostly in English, was meant to showcase Cherokee "civilization" including New Echota, the capital.

The United States, particularly the state of Georgia, despite professed aims of "civilizing" the Cherokee by moving them westwards, were only interested in the land the Cherokee occupied. White settlers began to encroach on Cherokee land through violence and quasi-legal actions such as the Georgia land lottery. The Cherokees' defense of their land climaxed in two Supreme Court cases argued by former United States attorney general William Wirt: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia. Although the Supreme Court acknowledged the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation, President Andrew Jackson refused to take action that would force Georgia to abide by the Court's decision.

Boudinot and John Ridge's thinking on relations with the United States were profoundly effected by an unusual meeting in May 1832 with Supreme Court Justice John McLean, in which McLean advocated removal to the Indian Territory and ultimate entry into the United States. On August 1, 1832, Boudinot resigned as editor of the Cherokee Phoenix after Ross refused to allow Boudinot to write editorials which suggested removal as an option for the nation.

Cherokee removal

In May 1834, Boudinot, Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Andrew Ross, brother of John Ross, collectively the "Ridge Party," met with John H. Eaton, secretary of war with the goal of signing a treaty of removal. Unable to bridge their differences with anti-removal forces, the Ridge Party signed the Treaty of New Echota on December 29, 1835.


On the morning of June 22, 1839, three small bands of Cherokees carried out “blood law” upon Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot – three prominent Cherokees who signed the Treaty of New Echota in 1835 calling for the tribe’s removal to Indian Territory. Tribal Councilor Jack Baker said he believes “blood law” was the basis for the men’s assassinations. “Although they did not follow all of the procedures, I do believe that was the basis for the executions,” Baker said. “I believe the proper procedure should have been followed. They should have been brought to trial and that was not done.” The Cherokee General Council put the law, which had existed for years, into writing on Oct. 24, 1829. According to Thurman Wilkins’ “Cherokee Tragedy,” the law stated “if any citizen or citizens of this Nation should treat and dispose of any lands belonging to this Nation without special permission from the National authorities, he or they shall suffer death; Therefore…any person or persons who shall, contrary to the will and consent of the legislative council of this Nation…enter into a treaty with any commissioner or commissioners of the United States, or any officers instructed for that purpose, and agree to sell or dispose of any part or portion of the National lands defined in this Constitution of this Nation, he or they so offending, upon conviction before any of the circuit judges aforesaid are authorized to call a court for the trial of any such person or persons so transgressing. Be it Further Resolved; that any person or persons, who shall violate the provisions of this act, and shall refuse, by resistance, to appear at the place designated for trial, or abscond, are hereby declared to be outlaws; and any person or persons, citizens of this Nation, may kill him or them so offending, in any manner most convenient…and shall not be held accountable for the same.”

Elias Boudinot, Major Ridge and John Ridge were assassinated June 22, 1839 by members of the Ross faction, who stabbed them to death. The three had joined the established political structure of the Old Settlers, those who had emigrated prior to the Treaty of New Echota.

view all 16

Elias Boudinot's Timeline

Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation, Georgia, United States
May 4, 1827
Age 25
Cherokee Nation East, United States
October 5, 1828
Age 26
February 4, 1830
Age 28
February 24, 1832
Age 30