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Near Benton in Polk County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Nancy Ward

 
 
Nancy Ward Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, August 27, 2017
1. Nancy Ward Marker
Inscription.  According to legend, Nancy Ward (Nanye’hi or Na-ni) was born in the 1730s at Chota in the Overhill Towns, at a time when Cherokee society was largely traditional despite the extensive fur trade. As the child of a Cherokee woman, Nancy was by birth a member of her mother’s matrilineal clan. She lived among her mother’s kin and worked beside them in garden plots and corn fields allotted by their clan. Some accounts say her father was a Cherokee; others say a British trader or a Delaware Indian. Attakullakulla, peace chief of Chota, is said to have been her mother’s brother.

Nancy became a prominent War Woman and Beloved Woman (Ghi-ga-u). She helped respected male elders (Beloved Men) carry out ceremonies and assisted war leaders with negotiations. Among British and Americans, Nancy gained a myth-like reputation as an emissary, orator, and protector of white settlers and captives. She was known by the surname of a British trader, Bryan(t) Ward, whom she married.

After repeated destruction of Chota in the 1770s-1780s, Nancy Ward, her children, and other kin moved south of the Hiwasee River, finally settling at Amoiah, near present-day Benton.

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During Nancy’s last decades, she operated an inn and stockpen at Womankiller Ford, not far from this gravesite. According to a great-grandson who attended her funeral, Nancy Ward died in 1822 and was buried by Cherokee custom.

On May 2, 1817, a Woman’s Council, led by the elderly Nancy Ward (or her representative), presented and signed an address to a Cherokee National Council meeting at nearby Amoiah. They demanded an end to the ceding of Cherokee lands, which by tradition belonged to Cherokee women and their children.

Caption:
Sketch of a Cherokee woman drawn circa 1838-1839 by George Catlin
From Catlin, North American Indians, 1913
 
Erected by Tennessee Dept. of Transportation; Tennessee 200, Inc.; East Tennessee Foundation; the counties of McMinn, Monroe, and Polk.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraNative AmericansWomen. In addition, it is included in the A Tennessee Overhill Experience - From Furs to Factories series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 2, 1817.
 
Location. 35° 9.867′ N, 84° 40.786′ W. Marker is near Benton, Tennessee, in Polk County. Marker is on Old Highway 411, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located in the Nancy Ward Gravesite State Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Benton TN 37307, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers.

Nancy Ward Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, August 27, 2017
2. Nancy Ward Marker
At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Nancy Ward (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bear Lawson Bridge (approx. 1½ miles away); Civil War in Polk County (approx. 1.6 miles away); Historic Benton Station (approx. 1.6 miles away); Polk County World Wars Memorial (approx. 1.6 miles away); Polk County Veterans Monument (approx. 1.6 miles away); Polk County Confederate Monument (approx. 1.6 miles away); Ocoee No. 1 (approx. 4.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Benton.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .  Nancy Ward. (Submitted on October 26, 2017, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.)
 
Ah-hee-te-wáh-chee image. Click for full size.
Photographed By George Catlin, 1841
3. Ah-hee-te-wáh-chee
The image on the marker is originally by George Catlin of Ah-hee-te-wáh-chee, a Cherokee woman. Catlin described her as "... a pretty woman in civilized dress, her hair falling over her shoulder."
Another image of Ah-hee-te-wáh-chee, Cherokee woman image. Click for full size.
Photographed By George Catlin, 1841
4. Another image of Ah-hee-te-wáh-chee, Cherokee woman
This image courtesy of the LUNA Image and Media Repository at the University of Cincinnati.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 27, 2017. It was originally submitted on October 26, 2017, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 684 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 26, 2017, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.   4. submitted on October 27, 2017, by J. Makali Bruton of Accra, Ghana. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 25, 2024