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John Ross (1790-1866) was Principal Chief of the Cherokee during the most critical time in Cherokee history - the Cherokee Removal Period and the establishment of the Cherokee Nation. Gilcrease Museum is proud to be the home of the John Ross Papers, a collection of rare documents spanning over 11 linear feet of shelving space and comprised of more than 2,000 documents. This unique collection contains the personal correspondence of Principal Chief John Ross, his proclamation as Chief of the Cherokee Tribe, legal papers, records, accounts lists of names, and rations allocated during the Cherokee people’s forced removal from Tennessee to Indian Territory. Papers of the Cherokee Council, petitions and protests to Congress, and papers relating to the East and West Cherokee controversy and the Civil War are also part of the John Ross Papers. Items of particular interest include papers related to the various detachments of Cherokees being removed from their homes in the East. One such paper is the Muster Roll of Captain John Benge’s Detachment of Emigrating Cherokees. Another document records payments for services rendered for each of the detachments and the costs for which the U.S. Government promised reimbursements. The John Ross Papers holds volumes of knowledge and insights about the history of the Cherokee period during some of most turbulent periods in Cherokee history.

See all items in the online John Ross Papers Collection.