FEBRUARY 11, 1798


Vann, born in Murray County, Georgia, was the son of Chief James Vann. In 1809, Joseph was present as his father, then the dominant chief in the Cherokee councils, was murdered, likely in retaliation for killing his brother-in-law in a duel in 1808. Joseph became a shrewd and wealthy trader. Inheriting the Vann house, he entertained President James Monroe there in 1819. In 1827, Vann served on the National Council, the lower house of the Cherokee legislature. In 1834, Georgia evicted him from his property for violating a state law prohibiting whites from working for Indians. (Vann hired a white man to oversee his plantation). Vann successfully sued the state and was awarded $19,605. After the eviction, Vann moved to his plantation in Tennessee, near the mouth of Ooltewah Creek. In 1836, Vann moved to Webbers Falls on the Arkansas River. He died on October 6, 1844, when his ferryboat exploded during a race near Louisville, Kentucky.

Source: N. Michelle Williamson, “Joseph Vann (1798-1844),” New Georgia Encyclopedia, 1/20/2006.  Retrieved 3/24/2021, Joseph Vann (1798-1844) | New Georgia Encyclopedia
Photo: Branan Sanders (1913-1963), 3/1922.  House of Chief James Clement Vann and home of Chief Joseph Vann.  Public Domain. Source:   Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (ga0291).

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