Loyal Cherokees, Cherokee
This marker has a bronze plaque set into the face of a column made of rough native stone six feet tall, two feet thick and three feet wide. The plaque is engraved with the profile of Will West Long who was a descendant of a Cherokee Indian Confederate Veteran.
Front: IN HONOR OF THOSE / BRAVE CHEROKEE INDIANS / LOYAL TO / THE CONFEDERACY / 1861-1865 / COMMANDED BY / COL. WM. H. THOMAS / ERECTED BY THE FIRST DISTRICT / UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY / 1935
September 29, 1935
Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013) 208-210
“U.D.C. Marker is Presented to Cherokees,” Asheville Citizen Times (Asheville, NC), September 30, 1935, 5
The first district of the North Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution (13 chapters in total)
The dedication ceremony began with an “Assembly Call” from a Boy Scout bugler in front of the reservation Council House. U.D.C district director Mrs. Preston Thomas of Asheville introduced the principal speaker Mrs. E.L. McKee of Sylva. Mrs. McKee “stressed the need of southern history being perpetuated and eulogized the Indian soldiers of the Confederacy.” Mrs. W.A. Hyatt of Waynesville presented the monument to Dr. Howard Fought the reservation superintendent who accepted the monument as representative of the government and to Chief Jarret Blythe who accepted on behalf of the Cherokee. John F. Hodges, Jr. grandson of Colonel Thomas and John Tatum Ellis then removed the Confederate battle flag that veiled the memorial. After a salute to the Confederate flag led by Mrs. E.E. McDowell of the Fanny Patton Chapter, U.D.C. the Indians sang “America” and “Beulah Land” in their native language. Several hundred were in attendance.
William Howard Thomas was the only white to ever serve as principal chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. He encouraged the able-bodied men of the tribe to enlist on behalf of the Confederacy. These men eventually became companies A and B of the 69th NC Regiment and primarily served as scouts and home guards along the border with Tennessee. Thomas eventually commanded the Thomas Legion which totaled 2,500 Indians and Highlanders.
Douglas Butler in his 2011 book North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History writes that the memorial “was at the edge of a field, out of the ground and facing a poison ivy-filled thicket” along with two memorials to World War One Cherokees that were also out of the ground.
The marker stands at the edge of a field.
The memorials original location was in front of a Council House since destroyed. The monument was then moved for highway expansion. At some point it was beside two similar World War One commemorations next to a parking lot. It is not known when it was moved to the current location.