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The Massacre at Ywahoo Falls (or the Great Cherokee Children Massacre) is alleged to have occurred on Friday, August 10, 1810, at Yahoo Falls, now in the Daniel Boone National Forest in southeast Kentucky, in which women and children of the Cherokee were supposedly massacred for no reason.[1] [2] [3] [4]

The alleged massacre

According to the tale, in order that the women and children of the Cumberland River valley might acquire a white-man's education, the Reverend Gideon Blackburn proposed to open a school on Cherokee land 125 miles away near Chattanooga (the story claims the school was in Sequatchie Valley), and on the day in question it was arranged that anybody seeking protection at the school should meet at Yahoo Falls at full moon. According to the story, they were to be led by Cornblossom, daughter of the War Chief Doublehead. However, while the women and children were waiting for Cornblossom in the rock house behind the falls, a group of John Sevier's Cherokee fighters arrived. Authorized by the United States War Department and the Governor of the territory (and led by Hiram "Big Tooth" Gregory), they proceeded to massacre the assembled women and children.[3][4]


Doubt has been expressed as to whether the massacre ever actually occurred.[5][6][7] There are apparently no contemporary records that document (or even mention) the massacre, nor any that record the existence of a "Princess Cornblossom". Though the story is recorded as Cherokee oral history,[4] it is unlikely that such an event could have gone completely undocumented, and no evidence has been found.[5] The first written record of Cornblossom seems to occur in 1958 in a publication called Legion of the Lost Mine by Thomas H. Troxel,[8] but Troxel admits in the foreword to his book that some of the characters in it are fictitious (though he doesn't say which). There is no mention of the massacre in this book; the first mention of that seems to be in the 1975 book A History of the Daniel Boone National forest 1770-1970, written by Robert F. Collins, with the Yahoo Falls section based upon information assembled by Troxel.[9]


On August 12, 2006, persons unknown placed an unofficial monument to the alleged massacre in the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF), next to the grave of one Jacob Troxell, who died 10 October 1810. In late September 2007, DBNF officials removed the monument for two reasons: first, it is illegal to put up a monument on federal land without permission, and second, they questioned whether the incident had actually taken place. [10]


  1. Deaver, Brenda G.; Duncan, Howard R.; Smith, Jo Anna (1999), Hiking the Big South Fork (3 ed.), University of Tennessee Press, ISBN 1-57233-031-7,
  2. Cook, Bernard A.. Women and War: A Historical Encyclopedia from Antiquity to the Present. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-770-8.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tankersley, Kenneth B.. "YAHOO FALLS MASSACRE, McCREARY COUNTY, KENTUCKY". Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Dan Troxell. "The Great Cherokee Children Massacre at Ywahoo Falls". Manuscript. Available at Research Department, Kentucky Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Welsch, Anthony (14 September 2007). "Mystery Monument: history or just 'story'?". Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  6. Kunesh, Tom. "The Ywahoo falls massacre - fact or fiction?". Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  7. Perry, Sam. "Yahoo Falls -- An Historic Overview". Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  8. Troxel, Thomas H. (1958) Legion of the Lost Mine, Cumberland Publishing Company, Oneida, Tennessee
  9. Collins, Robert F. (1975). Ellison, Betty B.. ed. A History of the Daniel Boone National Forest 1770-1970. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Region.
  10. Slaven, Janie (September 12, 2007). "Yahoo Falls monument to be removed". Retrieved 1 September 2010.

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