Wilenawa Cherokee

Wilenawa Cherokee (1720 - 1807)

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Wilenawa "Great Eagle" Cherokee
Born in Cherokee, Alabama, Colonial Americamap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Hiwasse River, Tennessee, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 9 Jun 2014
This page has been accessed 557 times.

Categories: Fort Toulouse | Cherokee.

Wilenawa Cherokee was a Native American member of the Cherokee tribe.
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Willenawa (Great Eagle) first appears in the historical record about 1750. His parents are unknown, as are any wives or children. The little we know of his family comes from a statement made by Old Hop in 1756:

“It is true that Willenawah and the Little Carpenter [Attakullakulla] are my nephews, but I do not know how they would behave.”[1]

He was a prominent man, best known as a military leader for laying siege to Fort Loudon in 1760.[2]

Lt. Henry Timberlake described Willenawa as the “Governor” of the Overhill town of Toqua on his map drawn in 1762.[3]

Christopher French recorded in his journal:

“On August 21 [1761] the Little Carpenter set out for Fort Prince George with a delegation consisting of Oconostota’s brother, Williniwah, Old Hop’s son Cappy, Old Caesar, Moytoy of Hiwassie, the Raven of Tomatly, Half Breed Will of Nequassie, the Mankiller of Nequassee, and a large number of attendants.” [4]

He was one of the chiefs present at Sycamore Shoals in 1775, although not a signer of the Henderson Purchase document. [5]

The last mention of Willenawa occurred in the spring of 1777 when Dragging Canoe and his followers split from the rest of the Cherokee Nation. Willenawa was one of the older chiefs who supported Dragging Canoe.[6]

There is no record of Willenawa's spouse or children; claimed profiles of them have been detached.

Listed below are the children previously attached to Willenawa in Wikitree, most of whom are the siblings of Old Tassel and Doublehead with no connection to Willenawa. These people are all members of the same family, but not through Willenawa.

Research Notes

He is not Kitegista; Kitegista was a brother of Oconostota and clearly a different man:

“Oconostota, however, was still wary of trusting himself within the power of the English, but sent his brother Kitegista with a peace pipe to represent him. Judd’s Friend and Willenawah likewise declined to attend.”[7]

He was not killed with Abram and Old Tassel; his death date is unknown, but after 1777:

"The murdered Cherokees were: Old Tassel, head chief of the upper towns; Abram and his son; and the Hanging Man of Chote and his brother.” [8]

As with most Cherokee names, there was probably more than one man with this name. James Hicks claims that Willenawah and Tistoe/Tiftow of Tannasee are the same man, but they can’t be:

  • Tistoe went to England with Attakullakulla in 1730 and was already a chief, not a young man.[citation needed]
  • Attakullakulla was the youngest of the group and he is believed to have been born about 1710.
  • In addition, all of the men who went to England in 1730, except Attakullakulla were dead by 1760 and Willenawah was most certainly alive then.

Since he does not appear in records until the 1750s, it’s probable that he was born around 1720, but there is no information whatsoever about his birth or parents.


  1. Brown, John P., Old Frontiers. Southern Publishers, Inc., Kingsport, TN.1938, p. 67
  2. Brown, p. 95
  3. Map, Museum of the Cherokee Indian collection, reproduced in the Museum edition of the “Memoirs of Lt. Henry Timberlake,” p. 16
  4. Corkran, David H. The Cherokee Frontier 1740-1762. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 1962. p. 265
  5. Brown, p. 4
  6. Brown, p. 164
  7. Brown, p 114
  8. Brown, p. 277, quoting N.C. State Records, 22: 695

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No known carriers of Wilenawa's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 1
Willenawah Great Grey Eagle
Willenawah Great Grey Eagle


On 23 May 2018 at 18:15 GMT Jeanie (Thornton) Roberts wrote:

Moytoy-208 and Cherokee-80 appear to represent the same person because: This is a duplicate of an established profile. please merge.

On 22 Nov 2017 at 14:21 GMT Jillaine Smith wrote:

Nice work here; would be great to add links to the various other folks mentioned in the narrative. I get very confused trying to follow it all.

On 28 Mar 2016 at 22:14 GMT Rhitt Garrett wrote:

Moytoy-179 and Moytoy-126 appear to represent the same person because: Clearly duplicates... Moytoy-126 clearly contains superior data

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