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Cherokee in Controversy: The Life of Jesse Bushyhead by Dan B. Wimberly

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The controversy alluded to in the title of this book is the conflict between the Cherokee faction led by John Ross and that led by Major Ridge at the time of the Trail of Tears. The Ross faction signed the Treaty of New Echota that accepted the inevitability of removal from their homelands in Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. The Ridge faction opposed the removal implemented by President Andrew Jackson and the U.S. Army despite a Supreme Court ruling against it. Jesse Bushyhead (1804-1844) was born in Bradley County, Tennessee, and educated at Candy’s Creek Mission. He became a Baptist minister and taught at several schools for boys that surrounded that mission. In 1838, he led a party of almost 1,000 Cherokees to Oklahoma. After arriving in Oklahoma, Bushyhead became the Chief Justice of the Cherokee Supreme Court, a position he held for the rest of his life, despite death threats and the murder of two of his relatives and allies. The author, Dan B. Wimberly, taught history for twenty years at Oklahoma Wesleyan University and is now retired.

 

Macon, Georgia, Mercer University Press, 2017. 218 pages, with an index, bibliography, map and photos. Hardback in dust jacket