In this village there is an Indian woman of great authority and following whom they call... 'great lady.' Her house is very large and has many rooms. The rest of the nation brings presents and gifts to
her. She has many Indian men and women in her service and these are like priests and captains among them. -- Spanish traveller Solis, 1767

The Ancient countries of the region lie between southern Appalachia and Arkansas. Here is found   mounds, temples, inscribed tablets, sculpture, sacred pipes and  shell ornaments. This is the  
home of the ancient temple and mound builders, the Etowah, Adena and  Cahokia.

This area is also the link  to my Native American heritage, the Cherokee , through the NANCY WARD line ,  the last of the GHIGUA.

The Cherokee were a matriarch society, where the women were equal to the men. Clan kinship followed the mother's side of the family. The children grew up in the mother's house, and it was the
duty of an uncle on the mother's side to teach the boys how to hunt, fish, and perform certain tribal duties. The women owned the houses and their furnishings. Marriages were carefully negotiated,
but if a woman decided to divorce her spouse, she simply placed his belongings outside the house.

Nancy Ward, or
Nan'yehi (nan yay hee), is the most famous of the Cherokee "Beloved Woman" . The role of Beloved Woman,Ghigau (Ghee gah oo), was the highest a Cherokee woman could
aspire to. A Ghigau had a voice and vote in General Council, leadership of the Woman's Council, the honor of preparing and serving the ceremonial Black Drink, the duty of ambassador of
peace-negotiator, and the right to save the life of a prisoner already condemned to execution.

The title Ghigau also translates to 'War Woman," and Nan'yehi earned this while leading her people to victory during a battle against the Creeks, after her husband was mortally wounded.

It was important to the Cherokee that their losses be compensated with the same number of prisoners or lives. Woman led in the execution of prisoners. It was their right and responsibility as
mothers. Women had the right to claim prisoners as slaves, adopt them as kin, or condemn them to death "with the wave of a swan's wing."

In the Cherokee society , your Clan was your family. Children belonged to the entire Clan, and when orphaned were simply taken into a different household. Marriages were often short term, and
there was no punishment for divorce or adultery. Cherokee women were free to marry traders, surveyors, and soldiers, as well as their own tribesmen. Cherokee girls learned by example how to be
warriors and healers.

In her role as Beloved Woman, Nanyehi  performed such duties as sitting in General Council (where she had full voice and vote), heading the Women's Council, preparing the Black Drink for the
Green Corn (busk) ceremony, and acting as a negotiator in treaty parlays. It is noted that in meeting with John Sevier to strike peace terms wit the Americans (Little Pigeon River, Tennessee, 1781),
she was appalled that he had no women negotiators. He was equally  appalled that she was trusted with such an important task. It has been recorded that she admonished him to return to his
people and explain the terms to the women, saying, "Let your women hear our words."

As a Beloved Woman, Nancy Ward also had the right to save a captive already condemned to death. In 1780 she saved the life of Mrs. Bean, a white woman captive about to be immolated. Ward
nursed her back to health and then set her free.

She participated in several treaty negotiations and even spoke at the Treaty of Hopewell in 1785 where she spoke about her hopes for a continued peace.

Enormous changes took place during her lifetime as the Indians adopted the commercial agricultural lifestyle of the nearby settlers and pressed for a republican form of government. Unlike the old
system of clan and tribal loyalty, the new Cherokee government provided no place for a "Beloved Woman."

The Hiwassee Purchase of 1819 forced Ward to abandon Chota. She moved south and settled on the Ocoee River near present-day Benton. There she operated an inn on the Federal Road until
her death in 1822.
Many honors have been bestowed in her name since her death. Among these, the Nashville, Tennessee, chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is named for her.

Nancy Ward was born in 1738 at Chota , the sacred "Mother Town" of the Cherokees,and was given the name Nanye-hi which  means "one who goes about." The name of her father is not known,
reason that the  Cherokee society was matrilineal and  lineage was only tracked through the female line. . Nanye-hi's mother was Tame Doe, of the Wolf Clan and was the sister of Attakullakulla,
civil chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Nanyehi was  baptized in July 13, 1940, and endowed November 12, 1940 into the Salt Lake Temple.
Of interest to me was the July 13th date,- the reason being  that  my 'birthdate' was also July

Nanyehi had three children. Two by her first who was full blooded Cherokee and one by her second husband who was white.

According to noted President of the Nancy Ward Society , Cherokee Author and descendant of Nancy Ward, David Hampton
Her second husband was  Bryan (Bryant) WARD. The two had a daughter before Bryant returned to South Carolina to live with his white family.  Their daughter was born in  1759 at the Cherokee
Nation , now Tennessee, and given the name  Elizabeth WARD.
Elizabeth Ward  later went on to marry and have children by  Joseph MARTIN who was the son of Joseph Martin and Susannah CHILDS (Chiles).
It was through the Childs/Nanyehi blood that I
inherited the Nanyehi  lineage.

As the story goes, General Joseph Martin, from Virginia, was appointed Indian Agent to the Cherokees. Having much in common with Bryant Ward, they became close friends. On one of his trips into
Upper South Carolina he met Nancy Ward and her daughter Elizabeth Ward. He was entranced by the beauty of this daughter of his friend, Bryant Ward, and asked for and was granted her hand in

He and his bride bought land adjacent to Bryant when they settled on the west branch of the Toogaloo River in an area that later became old Franlkin County in northeast Georgia.

Not much is known about the history but I was able to find the following  reference to hard times during 1782 From an excerpt of Draper's Manuscript:

"Things were so bad in the Overhill settlement that in the fall of 1782 Joseph Martin took Nancy Ward and Oconostota back to Long Island [of Holston] to spend the winter. Scarcity of food and
respect for Nancy, as well as friendhip for the Old Chief who was now almost blind, were sufficient reasons. Draper's Manuscript records this quote from William Martin, son of Joseph: 'I am of the
opinion that Oconostota was one of the noblest and best of humankind. He had a powerful frame, and in his prime must have weighed more than two hundred pounds, with a head of enormous
size. He was, when I saw him, very lean, stooped, and emaciated.'"

"These two Cherokee greats, Nancy Ward and Oconostota, spent the winter of 1782-1783 in Joseph Martin's Long Island [of Holston] home, where Nancy's daughter, Betsy, was able to care for their
needs. With the coming of spring, Oconostota asked Martin to take him home. The Old Chief must have felt that his end was near, and he wanted to spend his last days at Chota. Martin realized that
the ailing Chief would be unable to make the trip on horseback, so he arranged to take the party down river by boat. Sometime later, when the veteran Chief breathed his last breath, Martin buried the
Old Chief with Christian rites, using a dugout canoe for a coffin."

Nanyehi - Nancy Ward - The last of the Ghigua
My Cherokee (Nanyehi) Lineage
by Mary Sutherland  Copyright 2006
The Nvnehi
The Nvnehiâ (Spirit Warriors) are very seldom spoken of, but are well known of by the Cherokee Peoples.  Roughly translated Nvnehi means  "people who live
anywhere". They were believed to be of an immortal spiritual race and
lived throughout the Cherokee lands - from high on top of the mountains, where trees
don't grow, to below the mounds in the earth "

The Nvnehi have been described to have the same  physical characteristics of ordinary people.  Most were always kind and generously good hearted, but never
considered ghosts or evil spirits , nor have they been  related to as gods in the Cherokee world.

According to Cherokee Legend, the Nvnehi were a tribe of people who were known to live together in townhouses. They were usually unseen by human eyes, but
when seen, no obvious difference could be told. At least, not until they disappeared right before your eyes
Click Here for More on the Nvnehi Spirit Warriors
Another link on the Nvnehi
Click Here for this Ancient Race that I believe the Cherokee may be referring to.

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