George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Keenetteteh, 25 May 1789

From Keenetteteh

Allejoy [Tenn.] May the 25th 1789

Greate & Beloved Brother I have thought the Day Long to See you, Since I heare So much good of you, I think you are the man that can Settle our Land in Peace, I have seen the Day when the Little Carpenter & my self Brought in Col. Stewart that I was able to walk, then I was a young man & warrior, & so was you1—But the Days are Past & cannot come Back no more, I Set off with my Beloved Son (Bennet Ballew) to See you once more, & the Greate Counciel of the white People, But I was not able to hold out, But was oblig’d to Return home after Coming Better than a hundred miles, But I hope to See you the nix time my Son comes in that way—I hope the greate Spirit above will Put it in to your harte to Do us all the good you Can, as we are in greate Destress at this time, my Son Can in form you all what we want you to Do for us, I hope our Greate father above will make all your harts as one, & cause you to Do Some thing for us, I am yr old friend & Brother to my oldest Brother

[mark] Keenetteteh

L, DNA:PCC, item 78. This letter was signed with a mark.

It is possible that Keenetteteh or Rising Fawn is Kanagataucko (Conogotocka, Conogtoco), whose name was spelled in a variety of ways and who was also called Standing Turkey. Standing Turkey was an Overhill Cherokee chief active on the southern frontier during the French and Indian War. Around 1760 he succeeded Old Hop as “emperor” of the Cherokee and held the position for several years until succeeded by the pro-English Attakullakulla, or Little Carpenter.

1In the spring of 1760 a large party of Overhill Cherokee under Ouconnostoah (Oconostota) attacked Fort Loudoun in the Cherokee country. The fort had been threatened by the Cherokee for some months, and in October 1759 John Stuart (1718–1799), superintendent of Indian affairs for the southern department and an officer in the South Carolina provincial forces, set out with his men to reinforce it. In December Fort Loudoun had a complement of some two hundred troops and supplies sufficient to last about six months. By May 1760, however, the fort was out of food and cut off from expected reinforcements from Virginia. Faced with massive desertion of soldiers, Stuart negotiated a capitulation, and the Cherokee invested the fort. By the terms of the capitulation the garrison was permitted to march unmolested to Virginia or to Fort Prince George in the Cherokee country, but the Indians, by now out of control of their leaders, attacked the English troops as they were marching away from the fort. Stuart was saved by the intervention of Little Carpenter and other Cherokee chiefs, who purchased him from his captors and returned him to the English forces.

Index Entries