The Cherokees belong to the Iroquoian linguistic family. No Indians in North America have a more interesting history. In prehistoric times they lived in what is now the State of Ohio, where they erected many mounds and other earthworks. Other tribes expelled them from the Ohio country. They retreated from the Ohio River up the Kanawha, settling about the headwaters of that stream and the Tennessee. They also claimed the country extending far down into Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. They were virtually expelled from their Eastern home by the United States, and were given a reservation in what is now Oklahoma, where they now live. They were one of the large tribes. The seven millions of acres there did not seem to satisfy them as to quantity of land. In 1836 they purchased the Osage lands known as the “buffer” tract, lying immediately east of the Osage reservation. The tract contained eight hundred thousand acres, and the Cherokees paid five hundred thousand dollars for it. But they never occupied the land. The tract came to be known as the Cherokee Neutral Lands.

On July 19, 1866, this tract was ceded to the United States to be sold for the benefit of the tribe. The Cherokee Nation joined the Southern Confederacy in the Civil War. If this act had any binding force, then this eight hundred thousand acres of Kansas land was technically, at least, a portion of the Southern Confederacy during the Rebellion.

It was at length determined that the South boundary of the Osage reserve was not the thirty-seventh parallel. The Osage line was found to be about two and one-half miles north of that parallel of latitude. As the north line of the Cherokee land—from the west line of this eight hundred thousand acre tract—was the south line of the Osage land, there remained the strip between the Osage line and the Kansas State line belonging to the Cherokees in Kansas the full length of their outlet. This treaty provided for the sale of this narrow strip also for the benefit of the Cherokee tribe.

Additional Cherokee History