Chapter 3: Nineteenth Century to 1865

Elias Boudinot (Buck Watie, Cherokee)

Paul P. Reuben

  December 28, 2018


new.gif Georgian Translation of this page by Ana Mirilashvili

  Swedish Translation of this page by Catherine Desroches

Outside Links: |
EB - Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix | EB - Cherokee Leader in the Indian Territory | EB on Removal |

Page Links: | Primary Works | Selected Bibliography | MLA Style Citation of this Web Page |

Site Links: |  Chap 3: Index  | Alphabetical List | Table Of Contents | Home Page |

Source: EB - Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix

Elias Boudinot was born near Rome, Georgia, about 1802. Like his cousin John Ridge, he was sent to Cornwall, Connecticut, to attend school. During the course of his journey he visited Elias Boudinot, the eminent jurist and diplomat, who was his patron and benefactor. As a compliment to him, this young Cherokee adopted his name. Several years after leaving the Cornwall school, he returned to that village to marry Miss Harriet Gold, whose acquaintance he had made while he was a student. He was one of the most progressive men in the Cherokee tribe. He labored with the missionaries in translating the Bible into the Cherokee language and he was the editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, which was the first paper published for any Indian tribe. With Major Ridge and John Ridge, he was regarded as a leader of the Treaty Party and he met his death by assassination on the same day that they did. Several of his descendants have been prominent in the affairs of the Cherokee Nation. Stand Watie, the Cherokee Confederate leader, was a younger brother of Boudinot.
Source: EB - Cherokee Leader in the Indian Territory

Elias Boudinot (Cherokee Newspaper editor) on Removal and "civilization" efforts, 1828: 

It appears that the advocates of this new system of civilizing the Indians are very strenuous in maintaining the novel opinion that it is impossible to enlighten the Indians, surrounded as they are by the white population, and that they assuredly will become extinct, unless they are removed. It is a fact which we would not deny, that many tribes have perished away in consequence of white population, but we are yet to be convinced that this will always be the case, in spite of every measure taken to civilize them. We contend that suitable measures to a sufficient extent have never been employed. And how dare these men make an assertion without sufficient evidence ? What proof have they that the system which they are now recommending will succeed? Where have we an example in the whole history of man, of a Nation or tribe, removing in a body, from a land of civil and religious means, to a perfect wilderness, in order to be civilized? We are fearful these men are building castles in the air, whose fall will crush those poor Indians who may be so blinded as to make the experiment. We are sorry to see that some of the advocates of this system speak so disrespectfully, if not contemptuously, of the present measures of improvement, now in successful operation among most of the Indians in the US -- the only measures too, which have been crowned with success and bid fair to meliorate the condition of the Aborigines.
Source: EB on Removal 

Primary Works

Boudinot, Elias. Poor Sarah: or religion exemplified in the life and death of an Indian woman. 1818.

Gaul, Theresa S. ed. To Marry an Indian: The Marriage of Harriet Gold and Elias Boudinot in Letters, 1823-1839. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2005.

Selected Bibliography

Cushman, Ellen. The Cherokee Syllabary: Writing the People's Perseverance. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2011.

Dale, Edward E., and Gaston Litton. Cherokee cavaliers; forty years of Cherokee history as told in the correspondence of the Ridge-Watie-Boudinot family. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1939. E99 .C5 D23

Gabriel, Ralph H. Elias Boudinot, Cherokee, & his America. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1941. E99 .C5 B74

Gaul, Theresa S. ed. To Marry an Indian: The Marriage of Harriet Gold and Elias Boudinot in Letters, 1823-1839. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2005.

Hudson, Angela P. '"Forked Justice': Elias Boudinot, the US Constitution, and Cherokee Removal." in Stromberg, Ernest. ed. American Indian Rhetorics of Survivance: Word Medicine, Word Magic. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2006.

Perdue, Theda. ed. Boudinot, Elias. Cherokee Editor: The Writings of Elias Boudinot. Athens, GA: U of Georgia P, 1996.

Peyer, Bernd C. The Tutor'd Mind: Indian Missionary-Writers in Antebellum America. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1997.

MLA Style Citation of this Web Page

Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 3: Elias Boudinot." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. WWW URL: (provide page date or date of your login). 
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