Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stand Watie

Not long ago, I ran across a short article in the September 14, 1871 Neosho Times about the death of Stand Watie that had occured a few days before. (Yes, I spend a lot of time perusing old newspapers.) Watie, as anyone who has studied the Civil War in the Trans Mississippi knows, was a Confederate general during the war, perhaps most famous for the two battles of Cabin Creek near the spot where the Fort Scott to Fort Gibson road crossed the creek a couple of miles north of present-day Pensacola, Oklahoma, not far from the Craig-Mayes county line. The first battle, in the summer of 1863, was a Federal victory, but Watie got a measure of revenge a little over a year later when he whipped the Yankees at the Second Battle of Cabin Creek.
In the years leading up to the war, Watie was the leader of the mixed-race Cherokees, while John Ross, chief of the tribe, was the leader of the purebreds. This is quite ironic, though, since Watie was seven-eighths Cherokee while Ross was a Scotsman with only one-eighth Cherokee blood. The mixed-bloods, who had a long history of interaction with whites, had mostly favored the treaty by which the tribe was removed from the Southeast, while the full-blood Cherokees largely opposed it. The split led to a bitter feud between the two factions that resulted in the deaths of Watie's brother, uncle, and others and that continued clear up through the Civil War. There's a lot more to the story, but that's the very short version.
Stand Watie is buried at the Ridge cemetery just west of Southwest City, Missouri, a mile or so inside Oklahoma.

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