1826 – The History of the Cherokee People by Principal Chief Charles R. Hicks

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner

This is going to be a historical bombshell!

In 1826, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Charles Renatus Hicks (December 23, 1767 – January 20, 1827) wrote eight long letters to the John Ross, President of the Cherokee National Committee. Ross had been hand-picked by the “Old Guard” of the Nation . . . Pathkiller, the Hicks Brothers, Major Ridge, David Uwate, James Vann, Alexander Saunders and others . . . to lead the Cherokee People in trying times. Pathkiller was officially the Principal Chief, but because apparently afflicted by senility or Alzheimer’s Disease, Charles Hicks had been de facto Principal Chief for a decade. After Pathkiller died, Hicks became Principal Chief, but thought he was dying himself. The problem was that Ross was at most 1/8th Native American and knew very little about the history and culture of the Cherokee People.

The letters constituted the eight chapters of a book, which Hicks intended the newly authorized Cherokee printing press to publish after being edited. Instead, after being chosen as editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, Elias Boudinot, read the letters, made some notes on the letters for content changes, but never got around to printing the book. Part of the reason is that Boudinot quickly created a different version of Cherokee history in the Cherokee Phoenix for his white readers in the Northeast. It would be quite embarrassing for his white audience to know the real history.

For unknown reasons, the letters did not accompany Ross to the Indian Territory in 1838, but bounced around several collectors, colleges and libraries before being sold to a purchaser far to the north in the mid-20th century. By that time, Cherokee history was headed rapidly into the world of fiction. It is clear that the university library, which formerly owned the letters, did not want the public to see them. White academicians, in particular certain anthropology and history professors in North Carolina, had taken the understanding of the Cherokee’s past out into lala land.

I have transcribed the 194 year old handwriting of Charles Hicks with the exact spelling and punctuation he used. You will notice that he wrote enormous one sentence paragraphs! This will be a verbatim copy of a man’s work and his times. It will be published in a book along with annotations, in the same manner that Cherokee scholar, Marilyn Rae, and I published the translation of Charles de Rochefort’s ten chapters on the ancestors of the Creeks of 17th century Georgia in the book, The Apalache Chronicles.

The writing in faint, but can be read with a computer enlargement.

Charles Renatus Hicks, the Renaissance Man

More so than any other person, it was Charles Hicks, who led the amazing renaissance of the Cherokee People in the first three decades of the 19th century. He was at most, 1/4th Native American . . . and his mother was Tamatli . . . an Itsate Creek living in North Carolina. Yet, he totally submerged himself into Cherokee culture, was a Chickamauga Cherokee warrior . . . then after the Chickamaugas were slaughtered at the Battle of Etowah Cliffs in Rome, GA . . . self-taught himself into becoming a brilliant intellectual. Astonishingly, by the mid-1820s, Charles Hicks owned the largest personal library in the United States! He is a far more credible source on Cherokee history than any other person of his era or today.

Hicks tells us that the Cherokees arrived in the Southeast a little after Charleston was founded. He said that their first town in the South was Tellico . . . not Kituya as we are now told. That is the reason that Tallequah was made the capital of the Cherokees in Oklahoma. The 1684 map of North America by Jean Baptiste Franquelin backs him up. There is Tellico and Chalaka, the capital of the Chillicothe Shawnee, side by side, on the Holston River. Chalaka eventually moved to the Tallapoosa River in Alabama and joined the Creek Confederacy.

He said that the Cherokees NEVER built any mounds or stone structures. After a terrible plague greatly weakened the “mound-builders” in the North Carolina . . . presumably the Smallpox Plague of 1696 . . . the Cherokees entered North Carolina through three river valleys. They killed or drove off the mound-builders, burned their temples atop the mounds and in their place, built Cherokee town houses.

He said that for many years prior to then the Creeks and Cherokees got along fine, but that the British and French manipulated the two peoples into a forty year long war. Initially, with British guns, the Cherokees captured many Creek prisoners and much land. However, after several smallpox plagues, the Cherokees lost most of the land that they had gained and were almost always on the defensive. After the Creeks were able to obtain munitions from the Colony of Georgia, entire hunting and war parties would be wiped out by Creek attacks. The Valley Cherokee towns were “rubbed out” while the Creek towns were now fortified and impossible to seize.

The 1755 Map of North America by John Mitchell verifies all of Principal Chief Hicks statements. In autumn of 1754, an army dispatched solely by the Creek tribal town of Coweta, burned all of the Cherokee villages south of the Snowbird Mountains and executed 32 Cherokee chiefs. The burned villages are marked by crosses on his map. The Cherokees signed a permanent peace treaty with the Creek Confederacy in December 1754, on the 40th anniversary of the murder of 32 Creek leaders at what was supposed to be a friendly diplomatic conference at the Uchee town of Tugaloo.

A chance meeting of two hunting parties in the extreme edge of Northeast Georgia eventually resulted in permanent peace between the two peoples. There was no Battle of Taliwa or Battle of Blood Mountain or great stick ball game, where the Cherokees won all of North Georgia as we are now told. Those stories are pure fiction, created by white settlers, and reinforced by white academicians and archaeologists, seeking to suck on the nipples of Cherokee casino profits.

An excerpt from Chapter Four

Although the Cherokees were relieved from the distress of the wars with the Creeks, they were by no means relieved from the incursions of the northern tribes – Nan, tu, wa, kees  (Mohawks or Senecas) , Shawnees, Yau, tan, nah, Neankessaws, Ut tau waws and Nantawegahs, who began the war the war with this nation – several years before the peace with the Creeks, and as the wars with the northern tribes which are connected with the occurrences of the nation will be related in the next number, yet it may not be amiss here to say something on the custom of war among the Cherokees, although well known such are the custom among the red people, as burning their prisoners at the stake, if taken in the warring against their nation, or immediate death; as such as been the practice among the Cherokees is certain against their enemies; but have never heard of a white man being brought to a stake in similar cases, and whether this custom among the ancestors before they emigrated into this country, or only been begun after arrival here, by reasons of the repeated wars,  that had been engaged in, is not known –  and as to the adoption of prisoners into the families of their conquerors which have been taken from their nation is too well known to need any remarks on this subject. But the custom of taking the scalp of a dead enemy has been introduced by the Natchee tribe after the arrival into this country; but it is probable that the taking of the hair of an enemy might have been in practice among the Cherokee  in case of hurry and when the danger was past in taking the scalp with hair with their bone knives was in use before iron and steel were known in the nation, it is likely that the Natchee may have adopted the above custom as a general rule of war – however be the case as it may, their unnecessary barbaritie is very easy to be embraced among the red people, not only by savages, but also more civilized people than ourselves.

I am respectfully yours,

Ch. H. Hicks

Mr. John Ross

President of the National Committee   


  1. Mr Thornton,
    Thank you for the interesting article. I am interested in seeing the letters from Hicks to Ross – will they be included in the book? When is the book expected to be available?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The original handwritten letters are copyrighted by the library that held them. I can only quote from the letters. However, there is another problem. The letters are missing from that library. The folder is there, but someone removed them and didn’t return them. I have certified copies, plus have given other copies to members of the Apalache Foundation board. Much of the book has been written, but right now I am focused on learning all the new technology I acquired last year . . . which is much more directly related to my professions as an architect and city planner. The book is likely to experience great hostility from the three federally-recognized tribes, because Charles Hicks history of the Cherokee People is quite different than what the three tribes tell the public and the media. Furthermore, he stated at the beginning that almost all Cherokees then living in 1826 had absolutely no knowledge of their past. He also listed the name of Elias Boudinot (editor of the Cherokee Phoenix) among those leaders, who knew nothing about their past. In the same package of documents was a letter from a close friend of Hicks, who said that most of the articles in the Cherokee Phoenix were actually written by the Rev. Samuel Worcester. Boudinot’s main responsibility was setting the types, but Worcester gave Boudinot credit for the authorship. This man also said that Samuel Worcester created the Cherokee Syllabary used today. Indeed, with a little searching I was able to find the real Sequoyah Syllabary. It is entirely different.


  2. Hello I’m wondering if I might be able to get a copy of those letters. I am a descendent of charles hicks through his daughter with Lydia Catherine and I would love to have a tangible piece of my heritage. Please let me know if this is possible and thank you for all your hard work I will definitely be purchasing a copy of the book.


    1. The originals are copyrighted by the library that owned them, but as of last spring, they are missing from the folder where they were stored. The history stated by Hicks was quite different than what the three federally-recognized Cherokee tribes say is there history now.


Leave a Reply to Nya Hammid Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.