Cherokee Families of Rusk County, Texas

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Cherokee Land Cessions (1721-1835)


At the beginning of the 18th Century, Cherokee lands extended over a vast area.  Major portions of the states of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky were part of the Cherokee domain. The map, shown at the right, depicts the approximate extent of Cherokee land before the first land cession in 1721.

In all, more than 120,000 square miles of territory were once contained within the Cherokee Nation.  Unfortunately, by 1836, every single square mile of this Cherokee land had been either voluntarily or forcibly ceded to the white man! 

This loss of territory took place as a result of a series of 22 treaties which occurred during the years 1721 through 1835.  The first 6 treaties were with the British Government or one of its colonies. The 7th treaty, in 1775, was with a private individual, Richard Henderson; it was considered illegal by the British Crown, by the colonial governors of VA and NC, and by the successor state governments of VA and NC! The next 3 treaties were with the state governments of SC, GA, VA and NC.  The remaining 12 treaties were with the United States Government.

Based on information contained in the book entitled The Cherokees - A Population History, by Russell Thomas (published 1990), the following table summarizes these 22 land cessions:

Date Treaty  Participant Description of Land Ceded Square Miles
1721 1.  Colonial SC Tract in SC between Santee, Saluda and Edisto Rivers 2,623
24 Nov 1755 2.  Colonial SC Tract in SC between Wateree and Savannah Rivers 8,635
14 Oct 1768 3.  Britain Tract in southwestern VA 850
18 Oct 1770 4.  Colonial SC Tract in VA, West VA, northeastern TN and eastern KY 9,200
1772 5.  Colonial VA Tract in VA, West VA and eastern KY 10,917
01 Jun 1773 6.  Britain Tract in GA, north of Broad River 1,050
17 Mar 1775 7.  Richard Henderson Tract in KY, VA and TN 27,050
20 May 1777 8.  States of SC and GA Tract in northwestern SC 2,051
20 Jul 1777 9.  States of VA and NC Tract in western NC and northeastern TN 6,174
31 May 1783 10. State of GA Tract in GA, between Oconee and Tugaloo Rivers 1,650
28 Nov 1785 11. United States Tract in western NC 6,381
02 Jul 1791 12. United States Tract in western NC and eastern TN 4,157
02 Oct 1798 13. United States Tracts in TN and NC 1,539
24 Oct 1804 14. United States Tract in GA known as Walford's Settlement 135
25 Oct 1805 15. United States Tract in KY and TN west of Tennessee River and Cumberland Mountain 8,118
27 Oct 1805 16. United States Tract in TN of one section at Southeast Point 1
07 Jan 1806 17. United States Tract in TN and AL between Tennessee and Duck Rivers 6,871
22 Mar 1816 18. United States Tract in northwest corner of SC 148
14 Sep 1816 19. United States Tract in AL and MS 3,433
08 Jul 1817 20. United States Tracts in northeastern GA, southwestern TN and northern AL 1,018
27 Feb 1819 21. United States Tracts in northern AL, TN, NC and GA 5,941
29 Dec 1835 22. United States All remaining lands of the Cherokee Nation! 12,316
    Total Amount of Land Ceded to the White Man (1721-1835) 120,258

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