Nancy Ward: Military and Genealogical Records of the Famous Indian Woman of Tennessee, Third Edition
Nancy Ward (Nan’ye hi) c. 1738-1824, was titled the Ghighua or Beloved Woman of the Cherokee. As such, she had the right to sit on council meetings and to commute sentences of death. One story tells of her saving a white woman named Mrs. Bean who had been captured and about to be burned at the stake. Nancy Ward kicked the tender aside and declared, “No woman shall be tortured to death while she was Beloved Woman!” How Mrs. Bean repaid her savior by teaching the Cherokee both how to weave and how to make dairy products had a significant and lasting effect on the Cherokee civilization. Nancy Ward also saved the white settlement of Watauga by warning them of an impending Cherokee raid. The whites thereafter considered her also “beloved.” Some of her own however consider her a traitor by this act, but her intentions were to save her own race from the inevitable retribution the unending number of whites back in the East would have exacted for any massacre.
Nancy Ward’s surname is said to have come from her “marriage” to a white trader by the name of Bryant Ward. Others claim her Ward name was actually from her father, purported to be an Englishman who had a union with her mother. This book attempts to separate fact from fiction.
This third edition of Annie Walker Burns’ book, originally titled Military and Genealogical Records of the Famous Indian Woman of Tennessee: Nancy Ward, was undertaken in an effort to make the book (now out of print and out of copyright) more accessible by making it available both in printed and digital form. At the same time, the hope was to make it more readable. The original text was self-published, and no doubt lacked the benefit of editor or proof-reader because it contains many typographical errors plus other factors making it hard to read.
Annie Walker Burns was a prolific researcher and writer/compiler of genealogical data. Those of us interested in the history and genealogical records of the subjects of her research are deeply indebted to her for her work. While research was her forte, typing was not. Her text is hard to read because of frequent punctuation errors, run-on sentences, typographical errors and (evidently) a typewriter that wrote only in capital letters. It was reproduced in mimeograph and probably only had about 100 copies printed. The second edition was really just an appendix containing a few pages of additional genealogical data on a couple of the descendants.
The editor of this third edition, Henry Matthew Ward, has completely rewritten the book so that it is more readable and included many footnotes to explain statements in the original text. These annotations explain the location of many of the geographical references such as forts, Cherokee towns, rivers that have since been renamed. The notes also explain the significance of many of the individuals mentioned by the author but whose importance went unnoted in the original version. The new edition also has an extensive index listing all the individuals in the book and the pages on which they can be found for quick reference.
The book consists of 296 pages, softback, priced at $16.95