Nancy Ward

Eastern Cherokee Ghighau + Or Beloved Woman + Warrior + Introduced Dairying and Chattel Slavery To Cherokee
Born 1738

Nanyehi, known in English as Nancy Ward was a Ghigau, or Beloved Woman of the Cherokee Nation, which meant that she was allowed to sit in councils and to make decisions, along with the other Beloved Women, on pardons. She believed in peaceful coexistence with European-Americans.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Nancy Ward.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Nancy Ward.


1738 Birth Nanyehi was born around 1738 in the Cherokee capital, Chota (Cherokee: “City of Refuge”) in what today is known as Monroe County, Tennessee. … Read More


1751 13 Years Old About 1751 she married the Cherokee "Tsu-la" or Kingfisher, who according to Emmett Starr was a member of the Deer Clan. … Read More


1776 38 Years Old As a Ghigau, Nancy had the power to spare captives and in 1776, following a Cherokee attack on the Fort Watauga settlement on the Watauga River (at present day Elizabethton, Tennessee), she used that power to spare a Mrs. William (Lydia Russell) Bean, whom she took into her house and nursed back to health from injuries suffered in the battle. … Read More


1778 40 Years Old The British supported Dragging Canoe’s war against the settlers supplying weapons but in 1778, 700 soldiers under Colonel Evan Shelby attacked his territory and limited the Cherokee resistance to a minor conflict.
1780 42 Years Old In 1780, Ward continued warning American soldiers of attacks trying to prevent retaliations against her people. … Read More
1781 43 Years Old Nanyehi became a de facto ambassador between the Cherokee and the whites. She learned the art of diplomacy from her maternal uncle, the influential chief Attakullakulla ("Little Carpenter"). In 1781, when the Cherokee met with an American delegation led by John Sevier to discuss American settlements along the Little Pigeon River, Nancy expressed surprise that there were no women negotiators among the Americans. … Read More


1793 55 Years Old On June 12, 1793, a delegation had gathered at Hanging Maugh's preparing to proceed to Philadelphia in compliance with an invitation from the President. … Read More


1807 69 Years Old On July 5, 1807, the Moravian mission school at Spring Place, Georgia, in the Cherokee Nation, was visited by three elderly women, including a very distinguished lady who had been a widow of fifty years and almost one hundred years old. … Read More
1822 84 Years Old She died in 1822, or possibly 1824, before the Cherokee were removed from their remaining lands during the Trail of Tears. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.