Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Smallpox

Thomas' Legion
American Civil War HOMEPAGE
American Civil War
Causes of the Civil War : What Caused the Civil War
Organization of Union and Confederate Armies: Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery
Civil War Navy: Union Navy and Confederate Navy
American Civil War: The Soldier's Life
Civil War Turning Points
American Civil War: Casualties, Battles and Battlefields
Civil War Casualties, Fatalities & Statistics
Civil War Generals
American Civil War Desertion and Deserters: Union and Confederate
Civil War Prisoner of War: Union and Confederate Prison History
Civil War Reconstruction Era and Aftermath
American Civil War Genealogy and Research
Civil War
American Civil War Pictures - Photographs
African Americans and American Civil War History
American Civil War Store
American Civil War Polls
North Carolina Civil War History
North Carolina American Civil War Statistics, Battles, History
North Carolina Civil War History and Battles
North Carolina Civil War Regiments and Battles
North Carolina Coast: American Civil War
Western North Carolina and the American Civil War
Western North Carolina: Civil War Troops, Regiments, Units
North Carolina: American Civil War Photos
Cherokee Chief William Holland Thomas
Cherokee Indian Heritage, History, Culture, Customs, Ceremonies, and Religion
Cherokee Indians: American Civil War
History of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Nation
Cherokee War Rituals, Culture, Festivals, Government, and Beliefs
Researching your Cherokee Heritage
Civil War Diary, Memoirs, Letters, and Newspapers

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Smallpox

[added: paid by R.J. [illegible]]


Stekoa Nov [November] 20, 1865

Dr Jno [John] Mingus

If you have assafeotida [asafetida] I want you to send me an ounce by the first opportunity. Also procure me at least two gallons purified whiskey and [unclear: inform] me,

The small pox is coming so close [illegible] that it becomes necessary to use assafeotida [asafetida] and whiskey as a preventative,

[Signed] Wm H [William Holland] Thomas

Source: Museum of the Cherokee Indian (see original "smallpox" letter)

Notes: The Cherokees that joined the Union Army not only fought against their brothers, but after the War are credited for returning to Western North Carolina with the dreaded smallpox. Captured Confederate Cherokees, however, were held in Federal prisoner of war camps. After the War, the paroled Indians immediately returned to the North Carolina mountains and, also, most likely with smallpox. Smallpox is considered biological warfare and is currently deemed a Weapon of Mass Destruction or WMD. Not combat, but mumps, measles and, after the War, smallpox were responsible for killing hundreds of Cherokees.

Site search Web search

Recommended Reading: Medicine of the Cherokee: The Way of Right Relationship (Folk Wisdom Series). Midwest Book Review: Medicine of the Cherokee: The Way Of Right Relationship is the story of the physical, mental, spiritual, and natural aspects of humans as told through many generations of elder teaches of Native American medicine. With stories that tell about the "four directions" and the "universal circle", these ancient Cherokee teachings also offer wisdom on circle gatherings, herbs, healing, and ways to reduce stress and find harmony and balance in all our relationships. The way of our modern world can separate us from nature and make us prone to disease, signs of being on the wrong path.
About the Authors: J.T. Garrett, Ed.D., and his son, Michael Garrett, Ph.D., are members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee from North Carolina. As students and teachers of Indian Medicine, they draw on the ancient wisdom teachings of their Medicine Elders on the Cherokee Reservation in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Garretts have developed ways to present the "old teachings" to effectively guide people today to appreciate and understand living the "Medicine Way."
Editor's Choice: The Cherokee Full Circle: A Practical Guide to Sacred Ceremonies and Traditions. Description: The Cherokee Full Circle gathers techniques representing Native American cultures from across America--stories, exercises, and individual and group rituals--to teach the inherent dynamics of right relationship and apply them to the healing path. The authors provide a comprehensive overview of Native American spiritual principles and traditions and demonstrate how these ideas and methods can be applied universally to deal with life's situations--from depression and grieving to finding purpose and establishing positive relationships.
For Children: Children's Reiki Handbook: A Guide to Energy Healing for Kids. Description: Reiki is an Japanese system of energy healing through the "laying on of hands" that is simple enough for children of all ages to learn. The Children's Reiki Handbook is a guide to energy healing that provides kids with the information they need to prepare for their First, Second and Master Reiki Attunements, and shows them how to use their new skills to heal themselves and others. This guide also includes: healing with Reiki, attunements; how to prepare for them and what to expect, handpositions for healing, chakras and auras, and more.

Recommended Reading: James Mooney's History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees (768 pages). Description: This incredible volume collects the works of the early anthropologist James Mooney who did extensive studies of the Eastern Cherokee Nation (those who remained in Appalachia) at the turn of the century. The introduction is by Mooney's biographer and gives a nice overview of both Mooney and the Cherokee Nation, as well as notes on Mooney's sources. It then goes straight into the first book "Myths of the Cherokee", which starts with a history of the Cherokee Nation. Continued below...

It progresses from the earliest days, through de Soto, the Indian wars, Tecumseh, the Trail of Tears, the Civil War and ultimately to 1900. Continuing, it explores Cherokee mythology and storytellers. This book is truly monumental in its scope and covers origin myths, animal stories, Kanati and Selu, the Nunnehi and Yunwi'Tsundi (little people), Tlanuwa (thunderbirds), Uktena (horned water snake), interactions with other Nations and numerous other myths, as well as local legends from various parts of the Southeast (North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, etc). There is also a section of herbal lore. Mooney closes with a glossary of Cherokee terms (in the Latin alphabet rather than the Sequoya Syllabary) and abundant notes. We advance to the next book, Sacred Formulaes of the Cherokee, which covers a number of magical texts amongst the Cherokee Nation. This book does a wonderful job talking about such manuals, mentioning how they were obtained, going into depth about the Cherokee worldview and beliefs on magic, concepts of disease, healing ceremonies, practices such as bleeding, rubbing and bathing, Shamanism, the use of wording, explanations of the formulae and so forth. It then gives an amazingly varied collection of Cherokee formulae, first in the original Cherokee (again, in the Latin alphabet) and then translated into English. Everything from healing to killing witches, to medicine for stick ball games, war and warfare. Both books include numerous photographs and illustrations of famous historical figures, Cherokee manuscripts and petroglyphs and a map of Cherokee lands. Again, this is a truly massive book and even today is considered one of the essential writings of Cherokee religion. Anyone with an interest in the subject, whether anthropologist, descendant of the Cherokee or just a curious person interested in Native culture, should definitely give this book a read. I highly recommend it.

Try the Search Engine for Related Studies: Native American Medicine Treatment, American Indian Medical Treatments, Cherokee Healing For Disease or Diseases, Spiritual, Physical, Natural, Nature, Indians Herb and Herbal Traditions, Health Care, and Smallpox

Return to American Civil War Homepage

Best viewed with Internet Explorer or Google Chrome

Google Safe.jpg