The Life of Stand Watie by P.J. Gilliam Stewart
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This painting is read like lines on a page from left to right.
1. The Treaty of New Echota (1835) was signed by Stand Watie, Major Ridge, John Ridge, Elias Boudinot and several other Cherokee leaders. Known as the Treaty Party, they joined the Western Cherokees or "Old Settlers, whose capital at Tahlonteeskee near Gore.
2. The Trail of Tears (1838-39). The sixteen thousand Cherokees who refused to leave the East were herded into stockades and forced west. Four thousand died on the Trail. They were known as the Anti-Treaty Party or The Ross Party.
3. In 1839 Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot were murdered. Stand Watie declares he will pay $10,000 to know who killed his brother, Elias Boudinot. Many years later John Rosss son said he was involved in the murders, or as he believed assassinations, as that was the penalty for ceding any land to the U.S.
4. The two factions fought one another for years and almost divided the Cherokee Nation but succeeded in a compromise in 1846, with Ross and Watie shacking hands in front of U.S. President Polk. The Nation then entered what has been called the Golden Age as they all began to prosper. But soon the Civil War erupted and factions developed along the old line of disagreements. Chief Ross wanted to remain neutral, but eventually signed with the Confederacy but was captured and lived the remainder of the War in the East.
5. Watie joined the Confederacy and led the Cherokees during the War. His men were known as the Mounted Rifles. Watie was the last General to surrender in the War and is the only Native American to achieve the rank of Brigadier General. Wagons in the Confederate flag depicts the raids made by Watie on Union supply trains.
6. Early map of the Cherokee Nation.
7. Rose Cottage, home of Chief Ross burned by Watie, Elias Boudinot, brother of Watie behind the flames. Today the only home not burned during the Civil War is a t Tahlequah (Park Hill), is called the Murrell Home.
8. Watie was skillful horseman, an it was said there was never a bullet made that could kill Stand Watie, who was called "The Red Fox." His men believed he held magical powers.
9. Stand was a plantation owner near Gore/Webbers Falls area. He went into the tobacco business with his nephew E. C. Boudinot, near Vinita. In 1871 the federal government impound their tobacco company.
10. Stand and his wife Sarah had five children, three boys and two girls. One son Cumisky died during the Civil War while the family sought safety in Texas, their son Saladin who fought so gallantly throughout the War with his father died suddenly when he was 21, Watica died while attending school. Stand died in 1871, his two daughters died within a month of each other in 1875. With no heirs Sarah, wife and mother, died in 1883.
The circumstances and violent chain of events of Stand Waties life placed this ordinary man in a position of leadership which he assumed with dignity and courage.