Moytoy of Tellico ~ Cherokee

Published on January 23, 2011 by Casey

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Moytoy of Tellico (d. 1741) was a Cherokee leader from Great Tellico, recognized by British colonial authorities as the “Emperor of the Cherokee”; the Cherokee themselves used the title “First Beloved Man”. His name is derived from Amo-adawehi, “rainmaker,” although it is unclear whether this was his personal name or a title he held.

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In 1730 Sir Alexander Cuming, a Scottish adventurer with no particular authority, arranged for Moytoy to be crowned emperor over all of the Cherokee towns. He was crowned in Nikwasi with a headdress Cuming called the “Crown of Tannassy.”

Cuming arranged to take Moytoy and a group of Cherokee to England to meet King George. Moytoy declined to go, saying that his wife was ill. Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter) volunteered to go in his place. The “Crown” was laid at King George’s feet along with four scalps.

Some European sources refer to Moytoy’s wife as a woman named Go-sa-du-isga, and title her the “Queen of the Cherokee.” On his death the British recognized his 13 year old son Amouskositte as Emperor. He had little real authority among the elder-dominated Cherokee, and by 1753 Kanagatucko (Old Hop) of Chota had emerged as the dominant leader.

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