Pathkiller's two burial sites         
New Echota, Gordon County, northwest Georgia  &  Centre, Cherokee County, northeast Alabama

tomb 1:

"old Indian table tomb"

Indian Table Tomb

Robert Ross and Senator Newell Sanders are pictured as they viewed an old Indian "table tomb"
at New Echota on the occasion of Mr. Ross' visit here in 1930. A number of "table tombs" are
found near here where burials of this type were prevalent among the Indians.

- clipping from the files of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial
Library, from presumably one of the local newspapers operating after 1930,
The Chattanooga Times, The Free Press, or The Chattanooga News.

[compare this photo with the photo of the tomb below. note that there is no headstone or footstone visible on either end of the tomb in the 1930 photo, especially where Senator Newell is standing. obviously the marble marker to Pathkiller in the photos below was added after Ross and Newell's visit in 1930.]

[ most headstones are placed on the west end of the grave, at the head of the buried body, so the text - and the body - face east. note that the marble marker bearing Pathkiller's name (below) is on the east side of the tomb, facing east. this is either simply an unusual placement of a burial marker ... at the foot of a tomb as a footstone, probably to both face east and allow for the text to be read due to the stone's relative shortness compared to the tomb, or begs the question of whether or not there is a grave in front of the Pathkiller marble marker. ... which, along with the second Pathkiller grave site described below, begs the question of who, if anyone, is buried below the stone "table tomb" or in front of the modern marble marker? ]
Robert B. Ross
A notable figure in the history of the former Cherokee Nation and, therefore, of Oklahoma, passed from the scenes and activities of a long life when Robert B. Ross died at his home, at Park Hill, May 12, 1936. Robert Bruce Ross was born at Tahlequah, August 13, 1845, the eldest son of Allen and Jennie (Fields) Ross, who had been numbered among immigrant Cherokees of 1839. His paternal grandfather was the noted John Ross, who served as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, from 1828 until his death, in 1866. ...
Just before the end of his life, a signal honor was bestowed upon Mr. Ross, when he was invited to visit the homeland of his people, in the old Cherokee country, in the states of the Southern Appalachian region, more than ninety years after they had been virtually exiled therefrom. Going from Texas, where he had been spending a season with several of his children who live in that state, his first stop was made at Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he unveiled a bronze tablet which had been placed by the daughters of the American Revolution to mark the site of Ross' Landing, on the Tennessee River, which was the beginning of the beautiful and thriving city of to-day. Not far distant, at the foot of Lookout Mountain, in the year 1800, Daniel Ross, founder of the family among the Cherokees, built his home and trading post and, some years afterward, two sons, John and Lewis Ross, conducted a mercantile establishment at the Landing.
While in Chattanooga, Mr. Ross was the recipient of much social attention, all of which were accepted with a courtly yet modest bearing that won all hearts. From Tennessee he went to northern or "Cherokee Georgia," scenes of eventful occurrences in the history of the original inhabitants, and visited the site of New Echota, the old capital. It was At New Echota that the Cherokee constitution, the first in the history of Indian nations was adopted in 1827, and also the place where was established the first Indian newspaper in the history, the Cherokee Phoenix, in 1828. He visited historic Red Clay and its storied spring; sat in the room of the old home once owned and occupied by Chief John Ross; stood by the granite tomb of Pathkiller, last of the ancient regime to serve as chief before the beginning of the ascendancy of the "new Cherokees," more than one hundred years ago, and in the same burial place visited the grave of Mrs. Harriet Gold Boudinot, first wife of Elias Boudinot, the first Indian editor, her death having occurred in 1836. His photograph, made as he stood near the final resting places of these notable characters of Cherokee history, was the first ever made of a citizen of Oklahoma amid scenes familiar to the founders of the Cherokee Nation in the West. In other places he looked upon scenes famous in the annals of the Cherokees. " ]
[ Newell Sanders (1850-1939) of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee, born in Owen County, Indiana, 12 July 1850. Tennessee Republican state chair, 1894-96, 1906-12; delegate to Republican National Convention from Tennessee, 1900, 1908, 1924; member of Republican National Committee from Tennessee, 1912-16; U.S. Senator from Tennessee, 1912-13; defeated, 1922. Baptist. President of Chattanooga Plow Co., 1882-1901, 1915-19. Leader of alcohol prohibition movement in Tennessee. Died 26 January 1939. Interment at Forest Hills Cemetery, Chattanooga, Tennessee.]

[ note: i have not been able to substantiate the claim of other nearby Indian "table tombs". tribespeople to the west of the Cumberland Plateau, the ancestors of the Muscogeans, Chickasaw and Choctaw, used a type of "stone box" for old burials, but these have been dated as being from the Mississippian period (900-1600 CE), are always underground, and were five-sided (four side and one top stone/"capstone") stone grave liners to keep the dirt away for ceremony rather than fitted transportable "boxes" to hold the remains within. there are, however, modern (19th-20th century) Cherokee cemeteries in Oklahoma with many above-ground table-tombs which are actually cenotaphs that do not contain bodies. more on them later. -tpk ]

Pathkiller's tomb, New Echota, june 2001

"Pathkiller's tomb"
New Echota, june 2001

Georgia state historic marker posted on the roadside ...

On the hilltop, 100 yards to the south, is the cemetery for the village of New Echota. The marked graves are those of Pathkiller, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation until his death in 1827 and a colonel in Morgan's regiment in the War of 1812, and Harriet Gold Boudinot, born in Connecticut in 1805, wife of Elias Boudinot, editor of the Cherokee Phoenix. One of the unmarked graves is that of Jerusha Worcester, infant daughter of Samuel and Ann Worcester, the mission family at New Echota.

Georgia Historical Commission

Col. Pathkiller's tomb

[ "Path Killer" actually served as a colonel from
7 October 1813 to 11 April 1814 with other Cherokees in the
"Regiment of Cherokees Commanded by Colo. Gideon Morgan
in the division Commanded by Major General Cocke & Jackson
in the Service of the United States against the Hostile Creeks",
which culminated in the battle at Horseshoe Bend.
[ the Cherokee Council adopted a resolution to make New Echota the Cherokee nation's capital on 12 November 1825. ]
[ note that the Cherokee Phoenix never (as best as i can tell) printed an obituary, nor did it ever mention the death of Pathkiller. ]

[marble marker]

WAR OF 1812

[ age 85 ]

New Echota, Georgia tomb of Colonel Path Killer

tomb 2:

Chief Pathkiller Powerful Intellectual Progressive

Chief Pathkiller 1764-1828 Referred to as the Last of the Cherokee Kings

gravesite of Chief Pathkiller
in the woods just outside the fenced and well-maintained
Garrett family cemetery,
next to the Coosa River, in the town of Centre,
Cherokee County, northeast Alabama

there are three (3) stones in all:
1. a presumed headstone and plinth on the west (river) side
with the inscription facing east:

2. the seven-foot-long domed cement
grave liner lid with four iron handles set in it
resting on the ground like a ledger stone.

3. a presumed footstone and plinth on the east side
with the inscription facing east:
1764 - 1828

[ age 64 ]

all stones are aligned to the east according to
Christian burial customs. they are the only markers
located outside the fenced cemetery.
i believe both the marble markers and cement
grave liner lid date from the early to mid 1990s.

Chief Pathkiller, buried at Garrett's Ferry, 1828, was born in 1764. Legend has it that he was powerful, intellectual and progressive. He is referred to as the last of the Cherokee Kings. Hugh Cardon was instrumental in marking his grave. (Note: At New Echota, Chief Pathkiller has a marked grave, also!)
- Mrs. Frank Ross Stewart, Cherokee County History 1836-1956, Volume 1 (Centre, Alabama 1958) p 206

[ re. "Hugh Cardon" -- two are buried in Garrett Cemetery:
Hugh Walker Cardon 1849-1903, father of Samuel Garrett Cardon, and
Hugh W. Cardon 1909-1953, son of Samuel Garrett Cardon.
- from Cemetery Records of Cherokee County, Alabama 1840-1960, compiled by Mrs. Frank Ross Stewart (Stewart University Press, Centre AL 1981)
given the direct citation from both grave markers without reference to them, and the date of the text, i presume the reference to Hugh Cardon is to the latter, which also corresponds to the 20th-century use of cement/concrete domed grave liner top. ]

[ "Frequent references by missionaries to Path Killer as "The King" indicate a probane tendency on the part of some Indians to regard the Principal Chief as a tribal rather than a republican leader.
An interesting picture of Cherokee Council sessions during the early years of the republic was given by the missionary Ard Hoyt on the occasion of his visit to the seat of Cherokee government in October, 1818:

On entering I observed the King [Path Killer] seated on a rug, at one end of the room, having his back supported by a roll of blankets. He is a venerable looking man, 73 years old; his hair nearly white. At his right hand, on one end of the same rug or mat, sat brother Hicks. The chiefs were seated in chairs, in a semicircle, each facing the king. Behind the chiefs a number of the common people were standing listening to a conversation, in which the king and chiefs were engaged.

Presumably Path Killer represented conservatism in a day of rising liberalism. It seems likely that more and more of the progressive younger men, usually mixed-breeds, came to dominate Committee and Council sessions. The rise of Charles Hicks, John Ross, and George Lowrey offers good examples of this development.
- Henry T. Malone, Cherokees of the Old South (University of Georgia Press: Athens 1956) pp 82-84 ]

[ " King Pathkiller, Supreme Chief of the Cherokee Indians. "
- famous visitors at Brainerd Mission ]

Ancient Cherokee Kings
Ancient Cherokee Rulers

Chief of Turkey Town
USA Colonel in the War Against the Creeks
Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation,
1808-1810, 1811/1817 - 1827

Turkey Town - Gun'-di'ga-duhun'yi - "turkey settlement", the largest of all Cherokee settlements, named for the original chief of the settlement, Turkey or Little Turkey, principal chief, 1788 - 1804.
US fort built during the Creek War (1813-1814), first called Fort Armstrong, then Fort Lovell, later used as a concentration camp ("stockade") in the final racial cleansing of the South of all Native Americans in 1838 euphemistically called "The Removal".

"During the Creek War, Pathkiller was chief of Turkeytown and principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. In October 1813, Turkeytown was in danger of being attacked by the Red Sticks, a hostile faction of the Creek Indians. Pathkiller sent runners to Andrew Jackson's army in the north with a plea for help. Jackson responded by ordering a detachment led by General James White, which included many Cherokee soldiers, to relieve the town.
By December 12 of that year, General John Cocke and the combined Cherokee and Tennessee forces had built Fort Armstrong on the Coosa River near the site of the Turkeytown settlement. At first, the fort was garrisoned by Cherokees, but the new commander, Colonel Gideon Morgan, had to decommission the Indians because theirs terms of service as Tennessee volunteers had expired." p 353

[the Battle of Horseshoe Bend occurred on 27 March 27 1814.]

"The Turkeytown Ceremonial Grounds are located north of Gadsden [NE Alabama], at the site of the original Cherokee settlement of Turkeytown. Located at the site is a well dating from 1810 or 1811, when Turkeytown was the largest of all Cherokee settlements. At that time, the village stretched for twenty to thirty miles along both banks of the Coosa River.
Pathkiller was chief of Turkeytown and a principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. When Pathkiller died in 1827, John Ridge, son of Major Ridge, served as executor of Pathkiller's estate, which included a ferry on the Alabama Road at the Coosa River in Turkeytown. Ridge bought the ferry from the Pathkiller heirs, as well as property on either side of the river. The property included one hundred acres of cleared land, most of which was bottom land, a peach and apple orchard, a large house, and several outbuildings including slave quarters.
Much of Turkeytown and Pathkiller's estate are now underwater. Pathkiller's grave is reportedly located at the Garrett Cemetery on a high bluff overlooking the Coosa River. However, a headstone with Pathkiller's name on it has also been placed at the cemetery at New Echota, Georgia. The Turkeytown Ceremonial Grounds opened August 1993. ..." p 354-355

- Vicki Rozema, Footsteps of the Cherokees: a guide to the Eastern homelands of the Cherokee Nation (John F. Blair: Winston-Salem NC 1995)
Pathkiller, Chief, 46, 48, 325, 353, 355

and because it's a good read, with a good quote about Pathkiller, see Wilma A. Dunaway's
Rethinking Cherokee Acculturation: women's resistance to agrarian capitalism and cultural change, 1800-1838,
in American Indian Culture and Research Journal 21 (Spring 1997).

modern pics:
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