Monday, June 21, 2010

The Death of Peter Cornstalk III

The Death of Chief Peter Cornstalk (III)

By Freda Cruse Phillips

Ticks, chiggers and the possibility of snakes didn’t deter Cecila and me but the dead fall from last year’s ice storm did as we headed off to the base of the mountain at the back of her farm in Searcy County. We edged our way over rocks along the ledge searching for the rock box (cairn) the reported final resting place of Peter Cornstalk (III)/85. It’s difficult to sort out who is who in the Cornstalk family lineage because they were a polygamous clan of the Shawnee and Young Hokolesqua (1710-1777) the first “Peter” Cornstalk had at least 8 wives and possibly as many as 30 children. The lineage may be tedious to follow but three of his son’s are important to our local history; Young Peter (I) born 1744 by his 1st wife Helizikinopo and Peter (II) b. 1755 and John Wolf b. 1750 by his 2nd wife, Ounacona Moytoy. Young Hokolesqua Cornstalk of Chalakatha/Mekoche (Shawnee) lineage became Chief of the 20 tribe Northern Confederacy in the Ohio Valley in 1755 serving until his death in 1777. He was the first “Chief Peter Cornstalk”, given the name by whites due to his height of over 6 ft 6 and his flowing white hair, “Cornstalk”.

His son Young Peter (I)/44 married Elizabeth See, his adopted white sister, the daughter of Chief Peter’s 5th wife Catherine Vanderpool Sharp and Frederick See (Seay). Young Peter (I)/44 and Elizabeth had White Wing, b. 1770. She became the third wife of Tecumseh. Young Peter I/44 was Tecumseh’s father in law and Peter II/55 and John Wolf/50, White Wing’s uncles.

Chief Peter’s second wife was Ounaconoa Moytoy (1718-1758), mother of Black Beard born 1735, Black Wolf/41 John Wolf/50, Peter Jr (II)/55 and Susannah/57.

Black Wolf fathered a child with Jenny Sellard Wiley, captive white woman. She reportedly gave their son to Black Wolf as ransom to return to the whites. Then reported the Indians had tomahawked the child. That child is Chief John Black Wiley, Wiley’s Cove now Leslie, Arkansas.

Peter (II)/55 married Mary Francis Avery (Avey)/b. 1764, ½ white and half Shawnee who had been raised by Chief Peter’s 5th wife Catherine See (Seay). They had Peter/85.

John Wolf/50 married a Shawnee woman with whom he had a daughter, Black Poddee/85 and sons Henry Clay/90, John Wolf Jr/92 and Peter Wolf/94.

In 1826 at Norfork, Arkansas, Wolf House, John Wolf Cornstalk/92 married his second wife Nancy Jane Avey/05, the daughter of his cousin Chief Peter III/85 and wife Mary Frances Avey. John’s brother, Peter/94, married Mary Adams. Brothers, John/92 and Peter/94 took the names of their wives becoming John Avey and Peter Adams. Peter (Avey)/85, John (Avey)/92, Peter (Adams)/94 and Chief (John Black) Wiley/87, were grandsons of Young “Chief Peter Cornstalk”/1710. The Adams descendants reside primarily in Searcy and Marion County. It is the descendants of Peace Chief John Cornstalk born 1792 aka John Avey who we find in Stone County. He settled west of Mountain View, near Big Springs.

Of greater importance is the relationship created between the Moytoy’s and the Cornstalks with the marriage of Young “Chief Peter” Cornstalk to his second wife, Ounaconoa Muskrat Moytoy. Ounaconoa’s brothers and uncles were of the Principal Chiefs, members of the 1730 Delegation to King George II. Their portraits hang in the British Royal Museum in London. Ounaconoa‘s brother Fivekiller, a member of the delegation, married Tame Doe. Their daughters, Nancy Moytoy, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee, married Bryant Ward, and Elizabeth Kittegusta Moytoy married Chief John Walker. Caty Walker, grand daughter of Chief John and Elizabeth and niece of Ounaconoa and Chief Peter/1710, married David Fulks, the first of the Fulks to arrive in Arkansas along with Peter Cornstalk Jr (III Adams), John Wolf Cornstalk/92(Avey), Peter/94 and the Wards around 1820. Elias Fulks, son of David and Caty, married Martha Houston Grigsby, a cousin to brothers, General Sam Houston and John Paxton Houston, first clerk of Izard Co, buried at Athens, 3 miles south of Calico Rock. Although many Cherokee came through Arkansas on the Trail of Tears (1831-1838) these Shawnee and Cherokee came here voluntarily, were not assigned roll numbers and contrary to belief most did not leave when the 1817-1828 reservation ended. The Native Americans who moved here voluntarily were among the first to circumvent the U.S. patent laws by adopting the white man’s names and thus patenting land as such. It is the fear of the loss of their land that for years forced silence and denial of their ancestry upon the people who moved here.

Chief Peter (1794) settlement known as Sequatchee was located on Bear Creek in Searcy County. Some say the creek is named due to the abundance of bear in the area, while others say it is due to the fact it was the location of the Bear Clan of the Shawnee of whom Peter was Chief. Cecilia Wood who lives in Mountain View, was born and raised north of Marshall where she retains ownership of a portion of the former Shawnee land not far from Bear Creek. She is the descendant of Peter Adams Tyler, son of Baker Tyler and Agnes Adams. Peter Tyler married Eveline Minerva Price daughter of Elizabeth Brewer and Buck Price, believed to be a relative to John Price who settled Bull Pen Holler in Stone County around 1820 and the Brewers of west Stone County.

According to Shawnee Heritage by Don Greene, “In 1841 Chief Peter Cornstalk (Peter III/85) was killed in Kansas by Peter A. Tyler, a former family friend.” Both family and local stories report that while at a tribal gathering near where the Buffalo and White River’s converge, Chief Peter (III) became enraged when a child stepped on a stick at the fire circle flipping fire sparks onto him. Chief Peter (III) in anger struck the child killing him. Realizing what he had done he fled. On the decision of the convening chiefs, members of Chief Wiley’s clan (Wiley’s Cove, now Leslie, Arkansas) along with Peter Adams Tyler pursued Chief Peter (III) into Kansas.

The Adams family bible lists as brothers, Matthew and Robert Adams. Robert Jr. is the first white settler of Searcy County. Mary, Robert Sr’s daughter, married Chief Peter/94 in 1826 at Wolf House. Matthew’s daughter, Agnes Adams married Baker Tyler, parents of Peter Adams Tyler. Therefore Mary’s first cousin Agnes’ son, Peter Adams Tyler, killed Chief Peter Cornstalk (III/1785), the cousin of Mary’s husband “Chief Peter Cornstalk”/94.

Little is known as to what transpired that they did not bring him back alive other than Chief Peter (III) was killed by 18 year old Peter Adams Tyler. The body of Chief Peter (III/85) was brought back to the Bear Creek settlement for burial. He is reportedly buried in an above ground three sided rock box, cairn, at the face of the mountain overlooking Bear Creek Valley. Tyler’s Bend located on the Buffalo River, north of Marshall is named for the Tyler family. Peter Adams Tyler was one of the men marched to Little Rock in chains as a member of the Searcy County Peace Society which then included most of west Stone County. He died during the Civil War at Bowling Green, Ky.

Descendants of Chief Peter Cornstalk Adams, Chief John Wolf Cornstalk Avey, Walkers, Wards, Fulks, Grigsby, and many others continue to live in the White River Valley.

Please contact Freda at 870 213 5015 or if you have any information regarding Native American descendants


Cecilia Wood on her farm near the burial site of Chief Peter Cornstalk (III)/85

Daniel Peter Avey (1858-1899), son of Jacob Avey (1835-1880). Jacob is the son of John Wolf Cornstalk (Avey)/92 and 2nd wife Nancy Avey/1805, married 1826 Wolf House.

Dulcie Avey Kirby holding the original photo of her grand father Daniel Peter Avey. Her father was his only son Charlie LeRoy “Lee” Avey. Dulcie is the “double” GGGG Grand daughter of Young Hokolesqua “Chief Peter” Cornstalk 1710-1777, Principal Chief 1757-1777 due to the marriage of cousins, John/92 and Nancy Avey/05


  1. I am a descendent of Cornstalk line thru the Avey family. I have only discovered this rich family history in the past 5 years. My Grandmother was Mary Francis Avey . She married aLEXANDER BAKER. i did not hear her speak at all about her family history but I did hear my Dad, ( Her Son) Elmer LeE JACKSON bAKER, speak of Uncle Buck Baker. I have no other history other than to say that the West coast is peppered with Baker descendents.

  2. Thanks for a great story of our ancestor

  3. My 6th generation on back are Cornstalk, Moytoy and Powhatans so very likely we are cousins! Great information you have here!

  4. I'm from the daughter of one of the Chief Cornstaulk's Blue Sky and she married an Adkins. From the Adkins family on down to myself I have found to be doubled related to this Adkins. This family married 1st cousins which both came from the marriage into the Adkins family which came from Blue Sky Cornstaulk.

  5. I have really enjoyed reading about your family history... I am wondering about your Cruse name. My third Great Grandmother was Jane Cruse. She married Henry D Jordan in Newton County, Georgia. She was a daughter of Richard Cruse. I thought me might have a connection there. Cindy White

  6. I find this interesting I also have been researching my family's history from my grandmothers family located at Indian creek Va where our homeplace is located. My grandmother was Rawsie Marie Blacky Christian Her father John Hyland Christian His father George Dos Wynepuechiska Christian son of Thomas Bailey Kumskaka Christian whose father is listed as Elinipsico Cornstalk and mother Standing Deer Bailey. However it gets really confusing from there lol I knew we had Cherokee in us but was surprized to hear of Shawnee heritage, had never heard this before. It is exciting to learn more as time goes on I do love a good book and ours appears to be such. Looking forward to each new path I go down and Thank you for your time and efforts to help people learn their roots have found the site Appalachian Ancestry to be helpful but without more information not sure where I go from here. Sinceerly yours ,Katie