Said to be the largest rebellion the Indian Territory, the Cherokee Nation Revolt began when a group of twenty-five black slaves, typically from Joseph Vann Plantation bid to escape to Mexico where slavery was already abolished. This violent action began on November 15, 1842, when slaves from Webber troop into Cherokee Nation to gather with Vann Plantation fugitives.
The narrative has it that, the fugitives raided a store taking several war tools like mules, riffles, horses, and ammunition to power their group escape to Mexico. As the fugitives continued their move in search of a way out of Cherokee Nation towards the southwest, they had ten escaped slaves from plantations in the Creek Nation joining them. Once Cherokee officials discovered the fugitives escape, a search party was sent to bring them back.
The Creeks equally joined the Cherokees in chase of the fugitives, meeting them close by the Canadian River. Here the first battle initiated having twelve fugitives captured with two killed and the other twenty-one escaped continuing to head for Mexico while their Cherokee and Creek pursuers returned to their nations for further reinforcements.
As the fugitives paraded about fifteen miles of the Canadian River, they met with Billy Wilson and James Edward who were both white men. Billy Wilson and James Edward got killed by the Greek and Cherokee slaves while continuing their journey to Mexico and added Choctaw fugitives to their group.
The fugitives may have suspected Billy Wilson and James Edward would be against them. However, Billy Wilson and James Edward knew the fugitive slave hunters, had in their custody eight slaves including one man, two women, and five children who had previously escaped from the Choctaw Nation and were headed west to join the Plains Indians before being caught.
John Drew was appointed the captain Cherokee Lighthorse Militia, a group authorized by the National Council of the Cherokees on November 17, 1842, to find and return the escaping slaves. This arises from the fact that fugitives from three of the five foremost nations in the Indian Territory were fleeing the area constantly.
The first major move by John Drew came on November 21, 1842, when he left Webbers Falls with seven properly armed men under his command to pursue fugitives who were 29 in number. John Drew impressed in his first assignment as he caught up with fugitives who were confused and disoriented near the Red River. Fugitives had their journey cut short after disagreeing on whether to go south or west to Mexico on the high plains, allowing John screw and his men to meet up.
On December 7, 1842, John Screw returned to Webbers Falls with thirty-one captured fugitives with two caught on their way back. Five of the Fugitives slaves after investigation were ordered to hold at Fort Gibson pending trial for the murders of Billy Wilson and James Edward by the Cherokee Nation Council. Five of the Fugitives were murdered after the trial. Other Fugitives were ordered by the Cherokee council to return to Cherokee, Greek, and Choctaw accordingly.
The Cherokee revolt till date is said to be the largest mutiny the Indian Territory has ever had, involving fugitives from other Nations.
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