How a cult of White Cherokee Princesses changed the maps and the history books

Part of a special series for the Creek New Year – 2021


“Cousin Sam Bone helps solve the mystery of the wacko female bureaucrats in the Georgia Department of Archives and History.”

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

Image Above: This is the northern half of the first official map of the State of Georgia, published in 1785. It shows almost all of northern Georgia occupied by the Creek Confederacy or their allies, the Chickasaws. A tiny sliver of land, north of the Tallulah River is in Cherokee Territory. A narrow corridor of territory, owned by the State of Georgia parallels the Savannah River up to the mouth of the Tugaloo River. We now know that the sliver of Cherokee land was actually occupied by non-Cherokees . . . the Uchees in present-day Rabun County and descendants of South American immigrants in Towns County.

Actually, by the time the map was printed and distributed to the public, the United States and Georgia had secretly been given most of the Creek lands in northwest and north-central Georgia to the Cherokees as their hunting lands. When the Creek Confederacy learned in 1790 of this duplicity five years later, it declared war on Georgia, but professed continued friendship with the United States. President Washington dispatched Colonel Marinus Willett to Georgia in order to explain that war against Georgia now meant war against the United States. The Creek Confederacy quickly withdrew its declaration of war, but bands of Upper Creeks, allied with the hostile Chickamauga Cherokees continued to raid the Georgia frontier for four more years.

Now look at the official US Government Map of Traditional Tribal Territories, as adopted by the US Department of the Interior and Congress in 1991. The original map denoted all of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky as traditional Cherokee territory. As a compromise to complaints by the Muskogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma, the US Department of the Interior relabeled most of Georgia as being “Unknown Tribal Affiliation.

Eyewitness accounts of the indigenous peoples of the future Southeastern United States, made during the Colonial Period (1500 AD-1783) contrast sharply with what one reads today in official state history textbooks, anthropology textbooks and online references.  It was not a matter of competing interpretations of archaeological discoveries as certain archeologists tried to make you believe during the 2012 “Mayas in Georgia” controversy. The process of falsifying history became an intentional process during the late 20th century . . . propelled by political and occult agenda . . . to erase well documented facts and even entire indigenous ethnic groups.

During the 1980s and 1990s,  my mother and I were eyewitnesses to the falsification of history.  Neither one of us intentionally dived into the controversy,  but just happened to be on the scene during at the right place and right time.  Then again in the early 21st century, I was a witness to the attempt to further fictionalize Georgia history. In my mother’s case, she was named Georgia Teacher of the Year then subsequently appointed to the Georgia State History Book curriculum committee, since she taught Social Studies and Georgia History. 

Future State Teacher of the Year

My mother was in the first generation of her family, who was allowed to attend public schools in Georgia. This was a result of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. Georgia didn’t officially give American Indians the right to vote until the first year that Jimmy Carter was governor, 1971. Nevertheless, there had been little obstruction to mixblood Indian descendants voting since 1924. In reality my mother’s family had been citizens of Georgia since the 1780s, when given Revolutionary War veteran reserves for service to the Patriot Cause. The Southern Confederacy had considered them full citizens, however. My grandmother had to attend a 1-8th grade school for Indian children at Ruckersville Methodist Church on the Savannah River.

At age 16, my mother was valedictorian of her graduating class. She received a full university scholarship and four years later, graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Georgia. In later years, she went on to obtain a Masters Degree and a Six Year Degree. She finished her career teaching education courses at the University of West Georgia.

On the right is a photo of her and me at the Williams Estate in Waycross, GA when she was 28. Like their relatives in the Southern Mexico Highlands, Itsate and Tamale Creek women tend to have very gracile physiques. Until birthing me, she had very long black hair. I only realized recently that at 27, my mother closely resembled a beautiful French lady, who I fell in love with when she was 27. One of Vivi’s grandmothers is a Indian from the section of Mexico, where the Itsate Creeks originated. Both of these lovely ladies were born on December 16th! Life is indeed a box of chocolates.

Changing the history of Georgia

My mother had no idea what she was getting into, when joining the curriculum committee. Her main interest was encouraging the state to produce more documentary films about its history and also encouraging more student field trips to museums and archaeological sites. She found that her students were far more enthusiastic to these modes of learning than conventional history books.

What my mother encountered instead were a group of very powerful white women in the state government and in Northside Atlanta society, who were systematically erasing the roles of Creeks and Uchees in Georgia’s history and then replacing the factual history with a grossly exaggerated fairytales. They instructed state employees to prepare maps, showing all of Georgia being occupied by the Cherokees. They wanted to change the museum exhibits at Etowah and Kolomoki Mounds to label all artifacts as Cherokee. They had already successfully pushed through a US Forest Service Museums on top of Brasstown Bald Mountain, which was entitled “10,000 years of Cherokee History in Georgia.” They were planning a similar museum at the Brasstown State Resort near Track Rock Gap with the same theme.

Our region’s early history is now so distorted in the 21st century, that readers from other regions and nations might not know the truth. The Cherokees had virtually no interaction with the Colony of Georgia or the young state of Georgia until 1825, when Georgia began demanding that the US Government honor its agreement to relocate the Cherokees to the portion of their reserve in Northeast Alabama . . . then in 1832 to the Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma.

The survival of the Colony of Georgia was due to its continued alliance with the Creek Confederacy. From the very beginning both British and Creek leaders encouraged intermarriage and cultural exchange. Thus, southern fried chicken, southern fried fish, hushpuppies and Brunswick stew entered the mainstream of Southern culture. The famous Creek mikko (chief) William McIntosh was the first cousin Georgia Governor George Troup. McIntosh went on to command a brigade under the overall command of Andrew Jackson, during the Redstick War.

Eastern Creeks fought at the side of white Georgians in the wars with Spain, the French and Indian War, the Anglo-Cherokee War, the Second Cherokee War, the American Revolution, the Chickamauga Cherokee War, the War of 1812, the Creek Redstick War, the Seminole Wars, the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. Several of my ggg-grandfathers and one gg-grandfather were in Cobb’s Legion, Army of Northern Virginia, CSA. The 550 member Cobb’s Legion was featured in the movie, “Gods and Generals” when it stopped an entire division of Union soldiers at Burnside’s Bridge at the Battle of Antietam. Otherwise, General Robert E. Lee’s army would have been wiped out.

And yet . . . today, as a result of the changes in the 1980s, there are four times as many pages devoted to the Cherokees than the Creeks in the official Georgia State History Syllabus. The Chickasaws and Uchees are not even mentioned in the coursework. Most of the pages about the Cherokees are actually about events and persons in North Carolina and Tennessee!

These wacko women were being aided by archaeologist Roy S. Dickens, who claimed that archaeologists had found proof that all the mounds in Georgia were built by the Cherokees. My mother contacted me to fact-check Dickens. I was living in the Reems Creek Valley, near Asheville, NC at the time, but through my friendship with the recently deceased, but still very famous archaeologist, Arthur Kelly, I knew that Dickens was telling the curriculum committee, caca de toro. I told her so. However, when she relayed this info to the committee, the wacko women in the Department of Archives and History responded that I was not an archaeologist.

The Princess Chewanee “breakthrough”

Neither my mother nor I could not figure out why these affluent women in the Department of History and Archives were obsessed with a North Carolina tribe or why they had so much influence on educational matters. Then one of my mother’s first cousins and my second cousins, Sam Bone, Jr. contacted me. He was developing an estate subdivision in NE Metro Atlanta. One of the houses that he purchased in order to assemble the land, had a basement filled with books on American Indians and American Indian artifacts.

He had contacted the deceased woman’s children. They wanted absolutely nothing to do with her “Indian things.” Sam invited me to down from Asheville to take any books I wanted, plus a portion of the artifacts that he did not want. She also had two large file cabinets, filled with “Indian” documents. He said I could take anything I wanted from the file cabinets. In fact, I could have the file cabinets for use in my goat cheese creamery.

The woman had re-named herself “Princess Chewanee” and proclaimed herself Cherokee, even though she didn’t have a drop of Native American blood in her. She has some interesting tourist type booklets and some very old books, which were possibly valuable. It was blistering hot in Atlanta, so I decided to just load the file cabinets in the back of my pickup and head back to the cool North Carolina Mountains.

OMG! Princess Chewanee had been one of leaders of a wannabe Cherokee cult for affluent Northside Atlanta females. The two cabinets were filled with also sorts of reports, photos, letters and meeting minutes that tracked the activities of this cult back to the 1950s.

John S. Pennington

There were dozens of archaeological reports from the former wife of a friend of mine, John S. Pennington, a writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution until he went off to Washington to work for the Carter Administration. We had first met at the 9FU14 archaeological site, when I was a sophomore. John was a Creek Indian and grew up in Americus, GA about 10 miles from Jimmy Carter’s birthplace near Plains. They were lifelong friends. He was also a friend of Dr. Arthur Kelly, my first archaeological mentor.

Most of the women in the photos had dyed black hair and were wearing the types of suede clothing associated with Plains Indian women. Some of the women had dyed black hair and wore dresses typical of Cherokee women. I guess it was the way that this affluent women like to play hippie.

They had intentionally worked themselves into positions of influence in the state government. There were confidential memos from administrators of all the state agencies, who had been pressuring the state history curriculum committee. Then I opened file drawer full of love letters. Most of these secret lovers were officially married to men, but obviously in sexual relationships with fellow wannabe Cherokees. It obvious that the driving force behind this cult was that it offered “respectable” married women a means to carry on lesbian relationships.

Lt. Henry Timberlake wrote in his Memoirs (1764) that the only stable love relationship among most of the Overhill Cherokee women were their long term female lovers. Their “husbands” would come and go . . . sometimes staying only a month or so. The men rarely had a permanent residence. Children were never sure, who their fathers were. Their mothers’ brothers were their male parents.

Thus, the elaborate genealogies often prepared by self-proclaimed Cherokee descendants in Tennessee and their equally inaccurate history conjured on internet message boards are virtually meaningless. While working as a land planning consultant for the Eastern Band of Cherokees, I did notice an unusually high percentage of bisexual and lesbian women, but certainly not the entire tribe as described by Timberlake.

At this point, it all came together. John Pennington had told me that his wife had repeatedly complained of being unhappy in a heterosexual relationship. She left him to live for over a year with a Cherokee woman on the reservation in North Carolina. While there, she came under the heavy influence of Cherokee conjurers. They told the future by looking into fires and receiving instructions from demons within the fire. She ultimately returned to Atlanta claiming that she was the reincarnation of a Cherokee princess. At this time, she also became involved in the Northside Atlanta Wannabe Cherokee cult.

His wife eventually obtained a Masters Degree in Anthropology and was hired as an archaeologist by the State of Georgia. He rose up the ranks to a fairly high level of importance within her agency. John complained, though, that he felt she was entirely too influenced professionally by the conjurors on the Cherokee Reservation. They knew very little about the actually history of the Cherokees and certainly nothing about the Creeks. Yet she would let the conjurors influence her on the interpretation of Georgia archaeological sites.

As for my mother, she soon realized that she had been appointed to be a rubber stamp for bureaucrats on the curriculum committee. I believe that she only stayed on the committee one term then went back to her love of training young teachers.

The White Cherokee princesses got most of what they wanted during the 1980s. By the year 2000, though, most of the original White Cherokee Princesses had passed on to their wannabe happy hunting ground. Then again in the early 21st century there was a new push to Cherokee-nize Georgia so that a Cherokee gambling casino might be approved. I noticed that without exception, the push was coming from newly appointed female division and section heads in the state government with the lame support of some male archaeological lackies. This time, however, I understood from the beginning that whatever caco de toro, the female administrators and inadequately-educated male archaeologists said, the driving force was occult . . . not anything to do with science or factual history.


  1. Richard, Absolutely spellbinding information! I’ve just returned from a trip up to Virginia and visited both the Pamunkey and Mattaponi reservations there. Fascinating history there as well. I’d planned to call you soon anyway to catch up AND see if we could arrange a brief visit. (I’d drive over to meet you of course)

    Best regards,

    Bill Bridges

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

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