By Werner Willis
Open Edition Paper 8″ X 10″
“The Stalking Turkey”
The Cherokee are the ancient people of the southern Appalachian Mountains and for centuries had lived a simple life among these hills. By the time of the American Revolution, they were beginning to feel pressure from the increasing number of white settlers encroaching their land.
In 1761, the British and the Cherokee signed a treaty of friendship. To improve relations and instill respect for the might of the British Empire and for the king, some prominent Cherokee chiefs were escorted to England to be presented to King George III. During such a visit, Chief Cunne Shote sat for a portrait.
Aware of the hostilities between the Cherokee and settlers, British agents incited the tribes to war. In 1776, Cherokee war parties swept across the Carolina and Virginia frontier striking at isolated cabins and farms. Patriot militia from these states attacked their villages and forced the Cherokee to flee deep into the recesses of the mountains. As British support dwindled, the Cherokee were forced to enter a peace treaty with the patriots at Long Island in 1781 to end military reprisals and bring peace to these hills.
Portrait of Cunne Shote taken from the original painting by Francis Parsons