This page is dedicated to assisting researchers who are looking for their Cherokee County Indian ancestors. A wealth of Indian history can be found in Cherokee County. If you believe your Cherokee ancestor went to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears, visit the Oklahoma/Indian Territory web site. The site provides excellent instructions on how to find your Indian ancestor. Other Cherokee families remained in this area or returned from Oklahoma later and others went to Oklahoma later to be with their families. By contributing information about families living in Cherokee County before and after the removal in 1838, researchers can share information and connect with their past. If you have information regarding a Cherokee County Indian family you wish to contribute please contact me, Crystal French, with the details.


The area that is now Cherokee County was once part of the Qualla Boundary, the stronghold of the Cherokee Nation prior to the Trail of Tears removal in 1838. Many mixed Indian families farmed in the style of English, Scottish and Irish settlers who came to the area following the American Revolution and had been granted land and American citizenship. When the government undertook the removal all of the Indians and Indian families to Oklahoma, many stayed behind, hiding in the mountain wilderness. Later, when it was safe, they returned and resumed their lives. Most lost the land they owned prior to the removal, but North Carolina, realizing their mistake, made efforts to correct the injustice that was done. Many were able to buy back their land. Often it was not the same land they owned prior to the removal because the land had been sold. About 5,600 acres of Cherokee County is "reservation" land, belonging to the Eastern Band of Cherokees and descendents of the first Cherokees to live in the area. This is just a beginning of the Cherokee County Indian Families page which will attempt to provide accurate history and information about the Indian families living in the county throughout the 1800s and into the 1900s. All contributions and corrections are welcome.

Cherokee County Indian Census Databases:

The Indian Census of 1835, preparatory to the removal of 1835 includes the Heads of families, number of family members and the creek the village was near.

Preparatory to the removal of 1838-Indian Census 1835

In the Indian census of 1851, the Chapman Roll, Indian families were found in three villages in Cherokee County - Buffalo Town, River Valley and the Neighborhood of Murphy. By 1870 many of the families were still living in the same areas which became Beaverdam Township, Cheoah Township, Valley Town and Murphy Township, Murphy and were included in the federal census. Census takers indicated whether the family or individual was White, Black or Indian. It is possible that some families were not recognizably Indian and did not give that information. The following Cherokee County census information is based ont he information provided in the original handwritten census for 1870.

1870 Cherokee County Indian Families-Beaverdam Township

1870 Cherokee County Indian Families-Cheoah Township (Valleytown)

1870 Cherokee County Indian Families-Murphy Township

Other links:

Cherokee Reservation (Eastern Band) -Web site includes genealogy help section

Cherokee By Blood- Can't find your Cherokee ancestor?

Cherokee Reservation Genealogy -Talk to the experts.

As your Cherokee County USGenWeb coordinator, I receive many, many requests for help and suggestions from those who have an enigmatic Cherokee Indian ancestor. Cherokee Indian Families were scattered after Trail of Tears, but there's a chance to can find them through the Chapman, Siler, Guion Miller and Dawes Rolls. The Cherokee by Blood web site is a great source for information online. There you will find the Chapman and Silers Rolls as well as other helpful hints on tracing your Cherokee heritage.

Useful Oklahoma/Indian Territory Links

Oklahoma/Indian Territory

All rights reserved. The information found at this site is for the purpose of non-commercial genealogical research. Information submitted by other researchers is copyrighted by the submitter. Queries are also copyrighted by the submitter. Any commercial reproduction or inclusion of this information is prohibited without the express authorization of the author/host of this site. Send all questions and/or comments to Crystal French