Mysterious Cherokee Raiders

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Georgia historical markers and history books proudly proclaim the Great Cherokee Victory at the Battle of Taliwa, where they won all of North Georgia!  The description of the conflict describes an attack on the Creek town of Taliwa by brave Cherokee warriors. They were supposedly outnumbered 3:1 and were led to victory by a teenaged Cherokee girl named Nancy Ward.  The Cherokees immediately established the town of Long Swamp Creek to confirm their conquest.1

This story has always puzzled me because there is no contemporary archive or map that mentions a Creek town named Taliwa.  Official British and American Army maps showed almost all of northern Georgia occupied by the Upper Creeks until the end of the Revolution.

What was even more puzzling was that one of the last, if not the last battle of the American Revolution was at the exact same location as the Battle of Taliwa.  Bands of renegade, mixed-blood Indians that were assumed to be Cherokees and led by white men had ravaged the Georgia frontier throughout the war.  The mixed-bloods surrendered at the appearance of the Georgia and South Carolina Mounted Rifles.  All of the white men were either killed in the battle or hung afterward.  The renegade Indians were required to leave the area, after giving the American militia leaders a treaty that ceded all Creek lands in northeastern Georgia, but no Cherokee lands.  It was a little joke played on the victorious Patriots.

Battle of Taliwa
Battle of Taliwa Marker – This marker denotes as fact, what is only folklore from the Cherokee Tribe.

In 2008 a team of University of Oklahoma professors searched the colonial archives of Georgia and South Carolina.  They could find no reference to the Battle of Taliwa, only a series of devastating defeats of the Cherokees by the Creeks in 1754 and 1755, which resulted in the abandonment of all their land in Georgia, and large tracts in Tennessee and North Carolina.  A group of teenaged Creek girls, did by themselves, capture the principal Cherokee town of Quanasee, which is now Hayesville, North Carolina.

I continued to be puzzled by the story of the renegade raiders. Never have any names of their leaders appeared in documents.  The report on the battle by Colonel Andrew Pickens merely states that his troopers executed the white raiders, who were assumed to be Tories, but were dressed like Indians.


  1. Wikipedia article on the Battle of Taliwa

MLA Source Citation: Web. 24 July 2014. - Last updated on Jun 12th, 2014

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