Hiwassee Island, on the Tennessee River

Sam Houston ran away from home at sixteen and lived with a band of 300 Cherokee Indians for three years on Hiwassee Island, at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers. It was here that he met Chief Oo-loo-tek-a, known to the whites as John Jolly, who became his adopted father and gave him his Cherokee name "Colonneh", the Raven.

 

Sam Houston grew up to become Governor of Tennessee, and later moved to Texas where he was elected first President of the Republic of Texas and later became Governor of Texas after it became part of the United States.

 

This view of the island is from a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River at the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park near Birchwood in Meigs County, Tennessee. It was at this spot that thousands of Cherokees crossed the River during their forced removal from their homeland on the infamous Trail of Tears.

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Taken on June 13, 2010