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Ross

cherokee, indian, nation and william

ROSS, William Potter, Cherokee Indian leader: b. at the foot of Lookout Mountain, Tenn., 28 Aug. 1820 d. Fort Gibson, 20 July 1891. His father was a native of Scotland and his mother was a sister of John Ross, who was principal chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828 to 1866. His early education was obtained in the Presbyterian mission school at Will's Valley, Ala., and at the Greenville (Tenn.) Academy. He finished his preparation for col lege at the Hamil School, Lawrenceville, N. J., and then entered Princeton College, where he pursued the full classical course and whence he was graduated with honor, in 1842. The fol lowing year he entered public life as the clerk of the •Cherokee senate. In 1844, he was selected as the first editor of the Cherokee Advocate. He subsequently filled other public positions in the Cherokee Nation. In the lat ter part of 1861, the Cherokee Nation entered into a treaty of alliance with the Confederate States and agreed to furnish a regiment of troops for the Confederate military service. This action was taken against the better judg ment of William P. Ross but he felt himself bound by it. He was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Cherokee regiment which was raised in compliance with the terms of the treaty. The regiment became demoralized and practically ceased to exist soon after the battle of Pea Ridge, Ark., in 1862. He accepted a parole as a Confederate officer and took no further part in the war. He was an active

participant in the Indian peace council which was convened at Fort Smith, Ark., in Septem ber, 1865. After the death of Principal Chief John Ross, in August, 1866, William P. Ross was elected as his successor for the unexpired term. In 1867, he was one of the commis sioners deputed by the Cherokee Nation to negotiate the agreement with the people of the Delaware tribe whereby the latter were incor porated into the citizenship of the former. He was a prominent and active participant in the annual inter-tribal councils which convened at Okniulgee between 1870 and 1878. At the first of these councils, which held sessions in September and December 1870, he was named as chairman of the committee which framed °the Okmulgee Constitution," proposed and sub mitted as an organic union of the several tribes in the Indian Territory. In 1873, upon the death of Principal Chief Lewis Downing, he was again elected to fill an unexpired term. After retiring from public life, in 1875, he as sumed the editorship of the Indian Journal at Muskogee, and subsequently he filled similar positions on the Indian Chieftain, at Vinita, and the Indian Arrow, at Fort Gibson and Tahlequah. He was a man of remarkably versatile attainments, interested in agriculture and horticulture and in the cause of education, a talented writer, an orator of power and eminent as a lawyer,