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Oconastoto, Indian chief

Elected head chief of the Cherokees in 1738. In the French and Indian War he sided at first with the English, but in consequence of a dispute between the Indians and some English settlers, he made a general attack on the frontier settlements of the Carolinas. At the head of 10,000 Creeks and Cherokees he forced the garrison of Fort London to surrender, and in violation of his promise, treacherously killed all his prisoners, over 200 in number. Three men only escaped—Capt. John Stuart, and two soldiers. Stuart's life was saved by one of the chiefs, who assisted him in returning to Virginia. As a result of the massacre the colonists burned the Cherokee towns, and forced Oconastoto into an alliance which lasted until the war of the Revolution, when Captain Stuart, who had been made British Indian agent, induced Oconastoto to head an attack on the colonists with 20,000 Indians. John Sevier (q. v.) after a five years struggle succeeded in permanently crushing the power of the allied Indians. Oconastoto was reported alive in 1809 by Return J. Meigs, United States Indian agent, although eighty years previously (1730) he had reached manhood and had represented the Cherokee nation in a delegation sent to England.

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