TAHLEQUAH – Genealogist David Hampton has studied and traced his ancestry since 1961. For 30 of his 61 years, he has devoted himself to studying and locating the descendants of Nanyehi or Nancy Ward, the beloved Cherokee woman.
Ward was a political leader born in 1738 in what is now Chota, southeastern Tennessee. She died near Benton, Tennessee in 1822 or She died in 1824, and her cemetery near Benton is administered by the state. Along with the family tree, Hampton provides a biography of Ward’s life and her influence on Cherokee history and politics in his book.
She was a member of the Wolf clan and came from a family important in Cherokee politics, but her parents are unknown. They had two children, Katie and Little Fellow, who used the name.
Nancy first took part in Cherokee affairs, notable for the Battle of Taliwa against Muskogee (Creek) in northern Georgia around 1755. The battle took place in what is now Cherokee County near the Etowah River and involved 500 Cherokees and twice as many Muskogee. At first, the Cherokee backed off, but rallied and forced Muskogee out of cover. Kingfisher was killed during the battle and Nancy picked up her rifle and continued fighting, her bravery in the fight making her famous. Her defeat was so great that Muskogee left upper Georgia and Alabama, never to return.
In 1759 Nancy married a merchant named Bryant Ward and had a daughter named Betsy.
Hampton, Ward’s seventh great-grandchild, said his intention in compiling the book was to include the names of all of Ward’s fourth great-grandchildren.
“There may be stragglers I haven’t discovered, but I’ve mostly succeeded. It goes against my grain to publish easily findable information when it’s not fleshed out. But, “As I got older, I realized that it was either published now or never,” Hampton said. was a little surprised.
Additionally, Hampton said he digitized old newspapers, magazines, congressional documents and other sources online to create a new biography about Ward.
“She lived during a period of great change in the Cherokee way of life and the relationship between the tribe and other Native Americans, British and Americans,” he said. “In the years following Nancy’s death, the Cherokee people experienced a period of great change and turmoil. It was a pivotal event that directly affected all Cherokee citizens.”
Hampton, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, added that it is difficult to determine how many descendants of Nancy Ward are alive today, but his educated guess is about 40,000. It is also difficult to pinpoint how many of Ward’s descendants he has met and communicated with over the last 60 years, but more than 2,000.
He has served as president of the Nancy Ward Descendants Society since its inception in 1994 and says he sees additional descendants each year. He is free to share his discoveries about Ward with all her descendants, he said. This year, the association will meet at 2:00 p.m. on her Cherokee national holiday, September 3, at Tallequua Her Armory Municipal Center in downtown Tallequua.
“Nancy Ward and Her Descendants”: (David Keith Hampton, Volume 2, 760 Pages/1,518 Pages, Hardcover – $125, $10 for shipping and handling.)
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