Matching family tree profiles for Sarah "Sallie" Pix
About Sarah "Sallie" Pix
The following biography was written by Sallie Ridge Pascal Pix's 3rd great granddaughter, Dorothy "Dottie" Ridenour and can be found at http://www.paulridenour.com/sarahridge.doc:
Sarah Ridge was born in 1814 in the Cherokee Nation. She was raised with the influence of Cherokee and white culture in a politically active and influential family. Her father Major Ridge (circa 1771-1839) was a noted orator who served in several capacities in Cherokee national government including judge in charge of the Lighthorse Guard, member of the National Committee, ambassador to the Creek Nation, and Speaker of the National Council. Her mother was a Cherokee named Sehoya “Susanna” Wickett (1779 -1849).
Sarah grew up in a family standing between two worlds: traditional Cherokee culture and the European-based culture of the whites. Her father had been raised by traditional custom to be a warrior. In his book Cherokee Tragedy, Thurman Wilkins described how agents of the US government visited the Cherokee Nation and “encouraged the Cherokee women to spin and weave; they also advised the men to give up the chase [hunting], which was now failing in results, and turn to agriculture and the raising of livestock. To accomplish this end, they suggested that the Cherokee families scatter from the villages into the forest and open individual farms.” Sarah’s father “decided to clear land like a white man’s farm and build a house like those he had seen while on the warpath.”
Sarah’s parents strongly supported her education. They believed it was essential for the future of their children and their people. Wilkins wrote how Sarah’s father “had placed his faith in education to ensure his people’s salvation--education that would furnish the younger generations with a more equal basis on which to compete with the whites and would prepare them to withstand the pressures of white encroachment with a better chance of success. He had become one of the staunchest champions of education in Cherokee history.” Sarah’s brother John wrote, “My father and mother are both ignorant of the English language, but it is astonishing to see them exert all their power to have their children educated, like the whites.” One of Sarah’s teachers, Miss Sawyer, characterized Sarah as “a full dark Cherokee…a young lady of superior talent…very interesting in her person and appearance.”
Sarah’s education was based in both Cherokee and white culture. Alice Taylor-Colbert described how Sarah was sent to the Moravian school at Spring Place where she was taught to “read and write [in English] using Noah Webster’s speller…how to spin, sew, and weave” and received “lessons from the Bible…teaching Christian morality and behavior.” She completed her education at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina from 1826-1829. From the Cherokee, Sarah learned how to use natural methods such as herbs to treat illnesses; knowledge she would use throughout her life to care for the sick in her community.
Sarah lived in one of the most turbulent and pivotal times in Cherokee history where the Cherokee nation was struggling to maintain its sovereignty against white encroachment. Even though the Cherokee had adopted a constitution for their nation based on the US constitution, Wilkins wrote that “in December, 1827, the Georgia legislature proclaimed that the Cherokee title to land in the commonwealth was only temporary, that the Indians were tenants at will, and that the state was empowered to take possession of the lands by any necessary means and extend over them the laws of Georgia.” With the discovery of gold, Cherokee land became even more coveted.
In 1830, the US congress passed the Indian Removal Bill. The Cherokee sought help through the court system. In his book Stand Watie and the Agony of the Cherokee Nation, Kenny Franks wrote “the refusal of President Jackson and Georgia officials to enforce the decisions in favor of the Cherokees, made by the United States Supreme Court in the cases of Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia and Worcester vs. Georgia, spelled doom for the Cherokee Nation.” Wilkins wrote how Sarah’s brother John Ridge “secured an audience at the White House. When he asked point-blank ‘whether the power of the United States would be exerted to execute the decision and put down the legislation of Georgia,’ the president brusquely replied that it would not.” “This was the moment [John] Ridge reversed his stand: ‘Ridge left the President with the melancholy feeling that he had [heard] the truth. From that moment he was convinced that the only alternative to save his people from moral and physical death was to make the best terms they could with the government, and remove out of the limits of the States.’” “It was not easy for Major Ridge to change his mind about removal, the course against which he had worked so long and hard, but the logic of [his son] John’s arguments finally prevailed, and The Ridge was persuaded that the time had come for the Cherokees to treat and remove, to buy time as a separate and distinct community in the West, where with ever more education they could meet the whites on an equal footing.”
Franks wrote “In the fall of 1832, the Georgia Land Lottery was held to divide the Cherokee lands. The Cherokee Nation was surveyed into plots and a lottery conducted to distribute the land among the white citizens of Georgia.” By the mid 1830s, the other members of the Five Civilized Tribes, the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles, had all given up “their ancestral homes to migrate westward.” “Only the Cherokees remained to withstand the onslaught of the whites.” In the past Sarah’s family had fought against ceding tribal lands, but according to Wilkins, Sarah’s brother John “begged the Cherokees to heed the voice of reason and go west before their plight became unendurable.” In 1835 and 1836, Sarah’s father, brother, cousins Stand Watie and Elias Boudinot, Andrew Ross, James Starr, John A. Bell, George W. Adair, John Gunter, and other prominent Cherokees signed the Treaty of New Echota, dated 12/29/1835, which ceded tribal lands in exchange for land in what is now Oklahoma. Sarah’s father said he expected to die for it. “They were no traitors…their leaders acted, in the words of their defenders, ‘not for the injury of their nation, but to save it from further calamities, [perhaps even] from utter extinction.’”
The US military was in Georgia to remove the Cherokee to the west. Sarah met a young white lieutenant named George Washington Paschal (1812-1878) who was assigned as an aide-de-camp to General Wool. Wilkins wrote, “She was graceful in form and movements. She dressed well, mostly in blue calico, then considered a fine fabric, and more than one white man wanted to marry her. According to the legend that grew up around her: She was a most accomplished rider…Once her lover, the man she at last married, ‘bought from a Tennessee drover a nag for Miss Sally to ride on.’ He presented it to her, saddled and bridled, and begged the pleasure of riding with her. She mounted on the pony gaily, but something about the bridle needed adjusting, the lover slipped it off the pony’s head to fix it. No sooner loose than the pony bounded off unfettered, and he and Miss Sally, for thirteen miles, tried for the mastery of the situation. ‘Miss Sally rode him down’, it is said, and ever afterward the pony seemed a dispirited animal.”
Sarah and George W. Paschal married in East Brainerd, Tennessee on February 27, 1837, and settled in Van Buren, Arkansas. The Handbook of Texas states, “Before he was thirty years old, Paschal [an attorney] was selected by the Arkansas legislature as chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court.” “The Paschals had six children, of whom three survived to adulthood.”
The treaty party and their families voluntarily moved in 1837. The Cherokees who remained in Georgia were rounded up and forcibly removed by the US government in 1838. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died in the move to the west and it is known as the Trail of Tears. After the Cherokees had completed the journey, Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot were killed in coordinated assassinations on June 22, 1839. Stand Watie was warned and escaped. Stand later killed James Foreman, one of the accused killers of Sarah’s father, after Foreman confronted him. Stand was put on trial for the killing and Sarah’s husband helped defend him. He was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.
Sarah expressed her opinion of the assassinations in a letter addressed to the editor of the Arkansas Gazette, published January 15, 1840:
“Like many other logicians who rush to conclusions because they are told that the majority are of the same opinion, he [the editor of the Times and Advocate] assumes it as certain, that the Ross party [followers of Principal Chief John Ross] compose the greatest number of the Cherokee people. Now granting, that this is true, and does it follow that they have a right to annihilate the government of the old settlers, and stealthily and in the most cowardly manner to assassinate the leaders of the emigrants who entertain different views to themselves? Men, too, whose whole lives had been devoted to the work of the civilization and elevation of the Cherokee people. For, without disparagement to others, no impartial person at all acquainted with the history of this unfortunate people can deny that the slain were the most devoted friends of civilization and the promulgation of the Christian religion, that the Cherokee people ever had. At the time of the bloody tragedy, one of their number [Elias Boudinot] was engaged in the translation of the scriptures, and was the only man in the nation who united the ability, and the religious zeal necessary to the successful prosecution of the benevolent undertaking. He was a devout Christian, educated in the higher schools of the United States, and perfectly acquainted with the Cherokee tongue. For many years he was known as the accomplished editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, and had perhaps effected more in a short life towards the moral improvement of his people, than the whole of the Ross party combined.”
Sarah continued to write “I have no disposition to elicit a controversy with Mr. Ross, or any of his amanuenses. Experience has too woefully taught me that they do not defend their principles with paper or argument. The knife, the ambush, and the bullet, are their means of disposing of their enemies. But if they desire to know who it is that dares expose their principles and atrocities, let them be answered that she is the daughter of him whom a dozen of their young men shot from a lofty precipice, the sister of the man who was awakened from his slumber by twenty-five ghastly wounds and the cousin of him whom they slaughtered with a tomahawk and Bowie-knife, just as he was answering their petition for charity.”
The Paschals moved to Texas circa 1847. Stand Watie was given power of attorney over Sarah’s affairs in the Cherokee Nation. Forest McNeir wrote, “[Paschal] studied Spanish on the ride to Texas, and in six weeks could read, write, and speak the language.” George was admitted to practice before the Texas Supreme Court on December 28, 1847. The Handbook of Texas states that “the family moved to Galveston in 1848. Sarah, using medical lore from her Cherokee background, helped to treat many yellow fever victims in Galveston in 1850 and turned her home into a hospital.”
The Paschals were divorced in Galveston on December 30, 1850. George moved to Austin, Texas, where he unsuccessfully ran for state attorney general and served as editor of a newspaper called the Southern Intelligencer. George later wrote Digest of the Laws of Texas (1866) and The Constitution of the United States Defined and Carefully Annotated (1868) and was a lecturer in the law school at Georgetown University.
On May 18, 1856, Sarah, at age 41, married a 19-year old Englishman named Charles Sisson Pix in the home of former Republic of Texas president Mirabeau B. Lamar. The following year, she gave birth to their son, Charles Forest Pix. Sarah and Pix traded their home in Galveston for land in what is now Smith Point, Texas. Their plans for a sugar plantation failed, but they were able to raise cattle. The cattle brand Sarah used was in the shape of a lizard and was the same brand her father used on the family plantation in Georgia.
During the Civil War, Pix served on the side of the Confederacy as an aide to Sarah’s first cousin, Brigadier General Stand Watie, who led the First Indian Brigade and was the last Confederate general to surrender. Sarah was also a Confederate sympathizer. Sarah’s two older sons, George, Jr., and Ridge Paschal, who later became mayor of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, were Union sympathizers like their father. Her son George became a colonel in the Union army. In 1874, Sarah and Charles’ son died from malaria at 17 years of age. Sarah divorced Pix in September of 1880.
Sarah stayed on the land at Smith Point with her widowed daughter, Emily Agnes Paschal McNeir, and grandchildren Paschal and Forest. She continued to nurse the sick in her community. Sarah died on January 8, 1891, and is buried in the McNeir Cemetery.
- Dorothy (Doyen) Ridenour Endnotes:
Major Ridge’s home in Rome, Georgia, has been preserved as a national historical landmark called the Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home.
Sarah Ridge’s historical marker is located on FM 562, in Smith Point, Chambers County, Texas.
Sarah’s lizard brand is burned into the wall for Chambers County at the Kleberg Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
Wilkins, Thurman, “Cherokee Tragedy: The Ridge family and the Decimation of a People,” University of Oklahoma Press, Second Edition, Revised, 1986.
Franks, Kenny A., “Stand Watie and the Agony of a Nation,” Memphis State University Press, 1979.
McNeir, Forest W., “Forest McNeir of Texas,” The Naylor Company, 1956.
“An Open letter by Sarah Paschal” to the Arkansas Gazette, published January 15, 1840, Little Rock Public Library, Arkansas.
The Handbook of Texas Online, “Sarah Ridge Pix” and “George Washington Paschal,” The Texas State Historical Association, 1997, 1998, 1999.
“Living Between Two Cultures: The Story of the Ridge Family, ” Georgia Historical Society Fall Meeting, November 1, 1997, by Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert, Associate Professor of History, Shorter College, Rome, Georgia.
From Paul Ridenour @ http://www.paulridenour.com/mrcomplt.htm:
George Washington Paschal (11/23/1812-2/16/1878), was sent to guard the Cherokees on their journey (trail of Tears).
Sarah Ridge married George Washington Paschal in East Brainerd, TN 2/27/1837. George was a lawyer and became a Judge of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. After eight years, he went into private practice to help Indian claims against the United States. Sarah and George were good friends with Sam Houston.
George and Sarah's children were:
- Emily Anderson "Oo-loo-stah" Paschal - born Honey Creek, Cherokee Nation 5/18/1838 died 11/15/1844.
- George Walter Paschal - born Van Buren, AR 3/1/1841 - lawyer. He married Francis Tilley on 10/31/1872. Died in 1917 in DC.
- Susan Agnes "Soonie" Paschal - born Van Buren, AR 2/20/1843 died 4/4/1846 Washington, DC (buried in the Congressional Cemetery)
- Ridge Watie Paschal - born Van Buren, AR 7/27/1845 died 2/2/1907 in Tulsa, OK - lawyer. He was Mayor of Tahlequah 1894-1895 and 1897-1899. He married Virginia Winston on 8/5/1880.
- Emily Agnes Paschal - born Van Buren, AR 9/23/1847 died 3/15/1928 in Houston, TX (picture)
- (Emily Agnes became life-long friends with General Sam Houston's daughter Nettie)
- John Franklin Paschal - born Galveston, TX 2/18/1849 died 6 weeks (ones source indicates he died circa 2/1851).
George and Sarah Paschal moved to Galveston, TX, shortly Emily Agnes Paschal was born..
Stand Watie killed James Foreman in self-defense. George Washington Paschal represented Stand in court and Stand was found to be innocent.
Sarah and George divorced and she married Charles Sisson Pix (English). They were married in the home of Texas Governor Mirabeau B. Lamar. Sarah Pix traded her land in Galveston for 540 acres in Smith's Point. Sarah and Charles had one child, Charles Forest Pix (7/24/1857-11/13/1874). Sarah divorced Pix and was the first woman in Texas to keep her "disputed" property after a divorce. Emily Agnes Paschal wrote the legal brief for her mother.
When Sarah died on 1/8/1891 in Smith's Point, TX., all her possessions went to Emily Agnes Paschal.
- Handbook of Texas Online, Kevin Ladd, "Pix, Sarah Ridge," accessed May 26, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpi30.
Sarah "Sallie" Pix's Timeline
Rome, Floyd County, Georgia, United States
May 18, 1838
Honey Creek, Cherokee Nation
March 1, 1841
Van Buren, Crawford, Arkansas, United States
February 20, 1843
Van Buren, Crawford, Arkansas, United States
July 27, 1845
Van Buren, AR, USA
September 23, 1847
Van Buren County, Arkansas, United States