Nancy Ward (c. 1738 – 1822)
- Nancy Ward was a Cherokee War Woman from Tennessee.
- She was also called Nanyehi.
- Some claim her father was a British officer named Ward, but others argue that he was a member of the Delaware Tribe.
- In 1755, her husband – Kingfisher – was killed in action against the Muscogee Creeks. She was with him on the battlefield, helping to load his musket.
- Although only 18 years old, Nancy Ward picked up her fallen husband’s weapon, rallied the surrounding warriors, and led them to victory.
- She was given the title Ghigau (War Woman / Beloved Woman) for her bravery.
- This warrior woman believed in a peaceful co-existence with the colonists.
- Through her interactions with the early Europeans, she brought farming and dairy production to Cherokee society. A prisoner whose life was spared by Ward – Mrs. Lydia Russell Bean – taught the women how to weave cloth.
- Nancy Ward also owned African American slaves who worked in her fields.
- Legend claims that she had a recurring vision forewarning the Trail of Tears that would leave behind “a trail of corpses – the weak, the sick who could not survive the journey.”
Carney, Virginia Moore. Eastern Band Cherokee Women. Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 2005.
Finger, John R. Eastern Band of Cherokees: 1819-1900. Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.
Wikipedia, “Nancy Ward,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Ward