DAR Chief John Ross Chapter Urges Preservation Of Historic Ross House

Monday, August 21, 2017
Members of the DAR Chief John Ross Chapter at the Chief John Ross House
Members of the DAR Chief John Ross Chapter at the Chief John Ross House

Members of the DAR Chief John Ross Chapter met at the Chief John Ross House to encourage a community partnership between interested citizens, the Chief John Ross Association and the city of Rossville to preserve the iconic historic landmark.   

CJR Regent Jessica Dumitru noted, “Built in 1797 near the intersection of several Cherokee trails, the John Ross House is linked to early settlements in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. The house recalls the story of the early trading post on the river, built by John McDonald, that became Ross’s Landing and later evolved in the city of Chattanooga.  This is the oldest two-story log structure of its type in the region and it was the residence of our namesake, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief John Ross. This place matters. It must be preserved.” 

Few people remember that John Ross distinguished himself as an adjutant in the Cherokee regiment during the War of 1812 or that he fought alongside General Andrew Jackson with over 1,000 Cherokee at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend against the British and Creeks, attaining the rank of lieutenant. 

Ross emerged as a leader among the Cherokee and, fluent in English and Cherokee, became the belle natural choice to work with Major John Ridge, the speaker of the Cherokee National Council. In 1819, Ross formally assumed leadership as president of the National Cherokee Committee and by 1825, he and Major Ridge had established New Echota as the capital of the nation. 

He  became principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1828 and held that position until his death in 1866. The leading figure in the adoption of the Cherokee Constitution of 1827, based on the U.S. Constitution and establishing a legislative body paralleling the U. S. Senate and House of  Representatives, Ross chose to move into his grandfather’s house in 1830 and lived there until 1838. 

In an ironic twist, Ross found himself immersed in an adversarial contest against his former friend and then President Andrew Jackson. Ross was instrumental in leading the political opposition to the state and federal governments’ actions to take the Cherokee land. While Ross won a number of court contests, President Jackson defied Chief Justice John Marshall and forced the Cherokee Removal on the infamous Trail of Tears. The Principal Chief, who consistently challenged the legitimacy of the land swap, ultimately chose to accompany his people on the arduous journey to the new Indian Territory in Oklahoma. 

“As Daughters of the American Revolution, we are charged with three purposes:  education, patriotism and historical preservation,” Ms. Dumitru observed. “Preserving the John Ross House is vital to our local communities but the house serves an even greater purpose for us as citizens.  It is a living historical legacy to an important person in our nation’s history, Chief John Ross, and to the Cherokee people whose history intertwines with our own history. You cannot examine Tennessee or Georgia history without exploring the Cherokee legacy and it is vital that John Ross’s role in history is never forgotten.” 

 

Chief John Ross House
Chief John Ross House


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