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Nimrod Jarett Smith was born in Cherokee County, North Carolina, in 1837, and his mother was a full blood Cherokee and his father was part white. During the Civil War, Smith had served in Walker's Battalion, Thomas' Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders. In 1868 he was elected clerk of the Eastern Band of Cherokee and later was selected principal chief, and he died in 1893.
Smith's Cherokee name was Tsa la di hi.

Nimrod Jarret Smith: Confederate Military Service Record

Nimrod Smith
Chief Smith Confederate Descriptive Roll.jpg
Confederate Service Record

Smith transfers from Co. A to Co. B
Smith's promotion to 1st Sgt..jpg
Smith's promotion to 1st Sgt.


Published in the Franklin [North Carolina] Press, Aug. 9, 1893 - Vol. VII, No. 43


Nimrod Jarrett Smith, ex-chief of the
Eastern Band of Cherokees, died August 2nd, at his home in Swain County, after a long illness. Chief Smith was the most prominent member of the Eastern band of Cherokees. He was born in Cherokee County about 50 years ago. He was pretty well educated, quite intelligent, a man of honor, and made friends among the whites wherever he went. To form his acquaintance was to become his friend. He was a man of splendid physique, straight and majestic in build, while his hair hung in jet black curls about his shoulders. He was one-fourth white. He leaves a wife, and two sons and three daughters. He was a prominent Mason, and was buried with masonic honors at Yellow Hill on the 5th inst. He was a good man, and the Cherokees will mourn his death.

Sources: Franklin [North Carolina] Press, Aug. 9, 1893 - Vol. VII, No. 43; National Archives and Records Administration; Official Website of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation (; Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains: Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers.

Recommended Reading: Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. Description: One of the many ironies of U.S. government policy toward Indians in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values. As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought with Andrew Jackson against the British. Continued below...

As he and other Cherokee leaders grappled with the issue of moving, the land-hungry Georgia legislators, with the aid of Jackson, succeeded in ousting the Cherokee from their land, forcing them to make the arduous journey West on the infamous "Trail of Tears." ...A treasured addition for the individual remotely interested in American Indian history as well as general American history.

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Recommended Reading: Famous Indian Chiefs: Their Battles, Treaties, Sieges And Struggles With The Whites For The Possession Of America (Hardcover: 516 pages). Description: This comprehensive book, regarding famous Native American Indian Chiefs, is drawn from the chiefs' own words from rare manuscripts, diaries, treaties, Bureau of Indian Affairs, special collections, national archives, and repositories, and it vividly portrays the chiefs' struggles, thoughts and views. There are two sides to every story and this is their story - the untold story and it has finally been explored and portrayed with this scholarly research. I highly recommend it!
Recommended Viewing: 500 Nations (372 minutes). Descriptioin: 500 Nations is an eight-part documentary (more than 6 hours and that's not including its interactive CD-ROM filled with extra features) that explores the history of the indigenous peoples of North and Central America, from pre-Colombian times through the period of European contact and colonization, to the end of the 19th century and the subjugation of the Plains Indians of North America. 500 Nations utilizes historical texts, eyewitness accounts, pictorial sources and computer graphic reconstructions to explore the magnificent civilizations which flourished prior to contact with Western civilization, and to tell the dramatic and tragic story of the Native American nations' desperate attempts to retain their way of life against overwhelming odds. Continued below...
Mention the word "Indian," and most will conjure up images inspired by myths and movies: teepees, headdresses, and war paint; Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Crazy Horse, and their battles (like Little Big Horn) with the U.S. Cavalry. Those stories of the so-called "horse nations" of the Great Plains are all here, but so is a great deal more. Using impressive computer imaging, photos, location film footage and breathtaking cinematography, interviews with present-day Indians, books and manuscripts, museum artifacts, and more, Leustig and his crew go back more than a millennium to present an fascinating account of Indians, including those (like the Maya and Aztecs in Mexico and the Anasazi in the Southwest) who were here long before white men ever reached these shores.
It was the arrival of Europeans like Columbus, Cortez, and DeSoto that marked the beginning of the end for the Indians. Considering the participation of host Kevin Costner, whose film Dances with Wolves was highly sympathetic to the Indians, it's no bulletin that 500 Nations also takes a compassionate view of the multitude of calamities--from alcohol and disease to the corruption of their culture and the depletion of their vast natural resources--visited on them by the white man in his quest for land and money, eventually leading to such horrific events as the Trail of Tears "forced march," the massacre at Wounded Knee, and other consequences of the effort to "relocate" Indians to the reservations where many of them still live. Along the way, we learn about the Indians' participation in such events as the American Revolution and the War of 1812, as well as popular legends like the first Thanksgiving (it really happened) and the rescue of Captain John Smith by Pocahontas (it probably didn't).

Recommended Reading: The Cherokee Nation: A History. Description: Conley's book, "The Cherokee Nation: A History" is an eminently readable, concise but thoughtful account of the Cherokee people from prehistoric times to the present day. The book is formatted in such a way as to make it an ideal text for high school and college classes. At the end of each chapter is a source list and suggestions for further reading. Also at the end of each chapter is an unusual but helpful feature- a glossary of key terms. The book contains interesting maps, photographs and drawings, along with a list of chiefs for the various factions of the Cherokee tribe and nation. Continued below...

In addition to being easily understood, a principal strength of the book is that the author questions some traditional beliefs and sources about the Cherokee past without appearing to be a revisionist or an individual with an agenda in his writing. One such example is when Conley tells the story of Alexander Cuming, an Englishman who took seven Cherokee men with him to England in 1730. One of the Cherokee, Oukanekah, is recorded as having said to the King of England: "We look upon the Great King George as the Sun, and as our Father, and upon ourselves as his children. For though we are red, and you are white our hands and hearts are joined together..." Conley wonders if Oukanekah actually said those words and points out that the only version we have of this story is the English version. There is nothing to indicate if Oukanekah spoke in English or Cherokee, or if his words were recorded at the time they were spoken or were written down later. Conley also points out that in Cherokee culture, the Sun was considered female, so it is curious that King George would be looked upon as the Sun. The "redness" of Native American skin was a European perception. The Cherokee would have described themselves as brown. But Conley does not overly dwell on these things. He continues to tell the story using the sources available. The skill of Conley in communicating his ideas never diminishes. This book is highly recommended as a good place to start the study of Cherokee history. It serves as excellent reference material and belongs in the library of anyone serious about the study of Native Americans.

Try the Search Engine for Related Studies: Eastern Band of Cherokees Indians, Swain County, Macon County, Cherokee County, Qualla Boundary, Indian Chief Smith member of the Eastern band of Cherokees, Sequoyah: Legendary Creator of the Cherokee Syllabary (Alphabet), Tsali: Cherokee Hero and Legend; Squirrel: First American Indian to Completely Manufacture a Firearm; History of Cherokee County, North Carolina

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