Cherokee Blood - Wilkes County, North Carolina

Sikwo-yi (Sequoyah) (1776-1843)

On Friday, November 1, 1745 the following article appeared in the Maryland Gazette (Newspaper) - "William Cromwell and Tobias Stansbury have land for sale, lately the estate of Christopher Gist of Baltimore County."

It is quite possible (if not probable) that Christopher Gist, Indian scout, pioneer and surveyor, was established and settled in what is now Wilkes County, North Carolina prior to the previously published date of 1751 when he "set out to my own home on the Yadkin River. When I came there I found all my family gone, for the Indians had killed five people in the winter near that place, which frightened my wife and family away to Roanoke about 35 miles nearer in among the inhabitants, which I was informed of by an old man I met near the place." He settled on the north side of the Yadkin river and on the west side of the stream named Saw Mill Creek, near and west of Reddies River.

Christopher, the first white settler of Wilkes, and an early settler in Maryland, was the son of Richard Gist of Baltimore County, also a surveyor, and was one of the commissioners who laid out the town of Baltimore. He was an educated man and agent for the Ohio Company, making many of the surveys for the Fry & Jefferson map.

While living in NC Christopher was recruited by Colonel George Washington to "pilot him out" to the French Forts on Lake Erie, where Washington was dispatched by Governor Dinwiddy. He not only took Washington out, but brought him back alive. He showed Daniel Boone the way to Kentucky and a preserved journal kept by Gist are the first accounts those explorations.

His son was Nathaniel Gist who came to North Carolina with his father presumably to enlist the Cherokees to the side of the British.

Nathaniel Gist was the father of Sikwo-yi (Sequoyah) (also known as George Gist) the famous Indian who invented the Cherokee alphabet. He was born in 1776 and died in 1843 near Tyler, Texas. Sequoyah's mother was Wur-teh, daughter of Tarchee (a.k.a.Dutch) and sister to one of the great Indian Chiefs, Old Tassel and Doublehead. Wur-teh was also the aunt of John Watts. Nathaniel Gist was apparently well liked by Old Tassel and Doublehead, as Nathaniel established his right to live on Cherokee lands on the Holston.

Nathaniel Gist had two other sons: Richard Gist, who was killed at Kings Mountain and Thomas Gist who lived and died on the Gist planation in North Carolina.

Other Sequoyah Sites:

Sequoyah (a.k.a. George Gist)

Sequoyah's Descendants

Sequoyah Links and Resources


The Land of Wilkes, by Johnson J. Hayes, Wilkes County Historical Society, 1962.

Going Home for History, Wilkes County, North Carolina

Webmaster, Faye Jarvis Moran

2000, 2001, 2002 Faye Jarvis Moran