Trader John Watts

Is your surname Watts?

Research the Watts family

Trader John Watts's Geni Profile

Records for John Watts

2,602,875 Records

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!


John Watts, Interpreter

Cherokee: John ., Interpreter
Also Known As: "Trader John Watts", "Crunk"
Birthdate: (46)
Birthplace: Bowling Green, Carolyn County, Virginia
Death: Died in Willstown, 2 mi N of present Fort Payne, Alabama
Immediate Family:

Son of George Watts and Elizabeth Tassel Coody, of the Long Hair Clan
Husband of Mahallie "Mahallie Uskwali Gu Hanging Maw" Watts; Gi-Go-Ne-Li Watts; Sister of or Corn Tassel Corn Tassel; Wer-Teh; Gi-Yo-Sti-Ko-Yo-He of the Bird Clan and 1 other
Father of Nanyehi "Nannie" Lowrey; Utsvtiselu Kai-Ya-Tah-Hee 'Onitositah' Kaallaha Corntassel, Uku of Chota; Chief John "Young Tassel" Watts; Tala-Dane-Giski Nettle Carrier; Daughter Corntassel and 8 others
Half brother of Arthur Archibald Coody, Sr.; Mary Susannah Emory; Peggy Gouedy; Kiunagree Gouedy and Nancy Gouedy

Occupation: Interpreter/Trader
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Trader John Watts

Descendants of Trader/Interpreter John Watts

Compiled on March 28, 2002 by: Ginny Mangum Contact at

Research is still being conducted on John Watts who was born about 1720 in, some researchers say Scotland, some say Bowling Green, VA. We know that he died between October 20, 1770 and March 4, 1771. He worked October 13 - 20, 1770 for a meeting between principal Cherokee Chiefs and John Stuart about a boundary line with Virginia. (Gage Papers #5317 137:10). In a letter dated April 29, 1771 from Alexander Cameron to John Stuart about a March 4, 1771 meeting, it mentioned that John Watts was deceased!! (Gage Papers #5295 102).

John Watts was first hired by Christian Quest [Guest], grandfather of Sequoia, to work for the Virginia Land Company. He was known as a Virginia Trader; they worked out of Charleston, S.C. Researcher Robert D. Epps (see Watts Genforum Message Board, #2001,, says “In 1754 a John Watts married a Joppe Stuart in Charleston, S.C. John and Charles Stuart were British Indian agents into the Cherokee Nation. John Watts worked as an interpreter for them. Most likely there is a Town Family, as well as the Native American Family.” Could this be true???

John Watts entered the original Cherokee county about the middle of the 18th century (prior to 1750). As an interpreter, he accompanied Ammonscossitte, Young Emperor of the Cherokees, on a trip from Tellico in Tennessee to Williamsburg, Virginia in 1752. (See, “The CHEROKEE FRONTIER: CONFLICT AND SURVIVAL”, by David Corkran, page 437). He also served Captain Raymond Demere as interpreter during the building of British Fort Loudon in 1756-1757. During this time, he was accused of stirring up trouble between the Cherokees and the white settlers. In a letter from Littleton to Demere, Littleton says, “I’m well convinced that this talk proceeded from something that was told the Indians by John Elliot and John Watts. Watts speaks their language well. Elliott and Watts are a couple of dangerous people.” (Old Frontiers by J. P. Brown).

As stated in “Diplomacy and the Indian Gifts” by Wilbur Jacobs, John Watts was in New York December 2 - 17, 1755 with Thomas Pownall, Olivery Delancy, Goldbrow Banyar, Daniel Claus and Peter Wraxall to plan the downfall of Sir William Shirle[y]. One of John’s sons, Garrett Watts, was born on January 8, 1756 in Caroline County, VA. It doesn’t seem possible that John would have made it back for the birthing. (As noted by Betty Watts, whose husband Noel E. Watts is a 4th great grandson of Garrett.)

From the book, “John Stuart and the Southern Colonial Frontier”, by John Richard Alden, we find that in 1757, John Watts was a supervisor of parties of Cherokees and Catawabas coming into Virginia, along with Richard Smith and Thomas Rutherford, all of whom were given the titles of “Conductors and Guides”. The book also mentions that in 1761, John Watts escorted Tistoe of Keowee, and Slavecatcher of Tomotley back to Ouconnostotah. John at the time was Captain in the Provincial Rangers.

In 1763, John Watts acted as interpreter at the treaty of Augusta, as mentioned in “Tennesse during the Revolutionary War”, by Samuel Cole Williams. In 1767, John Watts accompanied Attokullalulla and Ouconnastotoah and their children, as mentor and interpreter, to Charleston. Stuart permitted only eight persons to go.

See “Who Was Among the Southern Indians, a Genealogical Notebook”, 1698-1907, by Don Martini: Page 691: Watts, John - Cherokee Trader, lived at Ninety-Six, South Carolina in 1751. He was a British interpreter for the Cherokees at Fort Loudoun (S.C.) in 1758 and at Augusta in 1763, and continued to fill that position at the 1770 treaty negotiations. He died early in 1771, and was replaced by John Vann. Married to a sister of Doublehead, he was the father of Chief John Watts.

There is a lot of speculation as to the actual wife of John Watts. Some say she is the daughter of Chief Atakullakulla and some say she is the daughter of Chief Great Eagle. J. P. Brown, in his book “Old Frontiers”, says that John Watts married the sister of Chiefs Old Tassel, Doublehead, and Pumpkin Boy. Their other sister was Wurteh (mother of Sequoah). I have seen her name as: Xaiyantshee, Onitositah, Kay-i-o, GHI-GO-NE-II, etc. Research will continue.

I have nine children listed on my Descendants List for John and his wife (as taken from various sources). They are noted as #2 and their children are noted as #3.

The following quotation from a petition by Garret Watts (son of John) for a Revolutionary War Pension was posted on the Watts Genforum Board (, message #929: “I was born on the 08 day of January, 1756 in Caroline County in Virginia. At the age of 12, moved to North Carolina where I entered the service of the U.S. My age is recorded in my father’s bible which is in possession of some of his descendants I know not. When I was first called, I lived in Casswell County, North Carolina. After the war, I moved to Jefferson City, Georgia, then to Perry City in the State of Alabama where I now live.”

CHIEF JOHN WATTS: 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.


interpreter at the Cherokee treaty with the British at Augusta, Georgia, in 1763

Watts, John

Birth : ABT 1726 Bowling Green, Carolyn County, Virginia

Death : ABT 1771

Gender: Male


       Willenawah, Daughter of
       Birth : ABT 1732 Cherokee Nation-East
       Gender: Female
           Father: Tanassee, Willenawah "the Great Eagle" of
           Mother: Ani'-W'di, Wurteh of
       Watts, Wurteh

John Watts, a Scots Irish trader among the Cherokees was the official British government Indian interpreter for the area —until his death in 1770.

Notes for JOHN TRADER WATTS, SR: John Watts Little Tassel Old Forked Tongue

  • ***********************

Old Frontiers, John P Brown, pg 353; ...a white trader who served Captain Demere as interpreter during the building of Ft Loudoun. His wife was the sister of chief's Old Tassel, Doublehead, and Pumpkin Boy.

John Watts Sr. married a white wife in Charleston in 1754: Jossie Stuart, but continued to spend much of his time among the Cherokee. He went with the Cherokee to New York in 1755. [SC Docs Ind. Affairs (3) : 336] He had children by his white wife Stuart, including sons Thomas and John, who settled in the Abbeville (Old 96) District (South Carolina) on Turkey Creek, on the trading path (Keowee Road).

view all 21

Trader John Watts's Timeline

Cherokee Nation East, Toqua, United States
Bowling Green, Carolyn County, Virginia
Age 22
Edgecombe County or near Anson County, North Carolina
Age 24
Cherokee Nation East near Chattanooga, North Carolina, United States
Age 26
Cherokee Nation, Toqua, United States
Age 26
Tuskegee on the Little Tennessee River, TN or VA
January 6, 1756
Age 32
Bowling Green, Caroline County, Province of Virginia
Age 36
Cherokee Nation East, Toqua, United States