Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Writer Ricky Butch Walker’s hero Doublehead

Christal Cooper – 1,213 Words
Facebook @ Christal Ann Rice Cooper

Writer Ricky Butch Walker’s hero Doublehead

            Celtic Indian Ricky Butch Walker, 64, author of Doublehead Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief never remembers a time when he did not know of Doublehead. 
       “He was sort of a hero of mine and he was in my local and family history.  Doublehead’s uncle was in my family lineage; I was not directly kin to Doublehead, but I was kin to his ancestors.”
Walker researched every aspect of Doublehead’s life by making a copy of every single paper, document, letter that bore Doublehead’s name and then filing it away in his files.  At first, Doublehead was a stranger to Walker, but after thirty years of researching the great Chickamauga Cherokee Chief, Doublehead became someone he personally knew and understood.

“I feel I understood why he loved and fought so hard to save the land of his aboriginal ancestors; he was not just against white settlers because he had Scots Irish brother-in-laws and white son-in-laws.  He might have had more blood on his hands than anyone in America as stated by Judge Haywood in the early 1800’s; he had to prove himself a valiant warrior to earn the respect not only of his elders and peers, but also for his own personal fulfillment and deep love for the ancestral lands which contained the remains of ancestors.  He had a purpose for living and fighting!”

He wasn’t able to dedicate writing about Doublehead full time until he retired in 2009 after 35 years with the Lawrence County Board of Education.  The moment he retired he started writing the book, utilizing his 35 years of research of notes, documents, and other information.  The writing process took two years, and then, one year later, in 2012, Doublehead Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief, was published by Bluewater Publications (www.BluewaterPublications.com) owned and operated by Angela Broyles.  

“I considered her a friend and she wanted to publish the book since she had published previous books of mine.”
Walker preferred an image of Doublehead to grace the cover, but there are no known images of Doublehead in existence.  Instead, he chose the image of Doublehead’s brother Standing Turkey to grace the cover.  There is a description of what Doublehead looked like in a letter written by Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs to Benjamin Hawkins on February 13, 1805.

 “He is a man of small stature, compact and well formed, very dark skin, small piercing black eyes, the fixture of which when engaged in conversation are as immovable as diamonds set in metal and seem to indicate clearly that he comprehends the subject and in his reply to an address will omit nothing that has been said.  He is occasionally guilty of intemperance and then off his guard, and if he considers himself insulted the explosion of his passion resembles that of gunpowder.” 

       There has been a negative to having Walker’s book on Doublehead published – harsh criticism from others. 
       “After you do a book, it appears that some people think they know a lot more about the subject than you do; historians try to point out errors and make corrections to something they never wrote a book about.”

       Walker claims to not know everything there is to know about Doublehead – from the way he actually looked, to how many descendants he actually has, which Walker can only confirm is too numerous to count.
“Evidence suggests that the man got around with a lot of women; therefore, there is no way to accurately know the exact number and names of offspring.  Many people in North Alabama claim to be kin to Doublehead and I do not doubt their stories, but insufficient records leave one to rely on family folklore much of which is as true as historical books and records.”  

Walker believes that history is important because it enables us to learn about ourselves, the mistakes we make, how not to make those same mistakes, gives us proper direction, how to get along with other people, and how to treat our environment.
“History helps us to live in harmony with the land, water, air, and every living and non-living thing on this earth.” 
Walker believes his book on Doublehead can be a tool in teaching our students today about the importance of identity, including the importance of fighting to maintain that identity.

“American Indian blood and heritage is found in a large majority of the American population. We should celebrate with pride that we are the mixed lineages that make America strong; students should be taught to be proud of their entire heritage and not just one particular line.  Doublehead fought with pride for his people and country; our young people will be the ones to fight for our freedoms, and they should be taught to do it with pride.”

       Walker believes the life of Doublehead can teach us how to live our life and how not to life our life.
       “I will never have the opportunity to live the life Doublehead lived and neither will students in the future, but we need to know how life was in the past so we can share it with the future.  School children need to understand that cultural change is occurring continually; they need to develop an appreciation for the changes that have made life for the most part better for them and their future generations.”

       Walker thus far has written eight books on history, and all published by Bluewater Publications:  Appalachian Indians of the Warrior Mountains: History and Culture; Appalachian Indian Trails of the Chickamauga: Lower Cherokee Settlements; Celtic Indian Boy of Appalachia: A Scots Irish Cherokee Childhood; Chickasaw Chief George Colbert: His Family and His Country; Doublehead: Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief; Warrior Mountains Folklore: American Indian and Celtic History in the Southeast; Warrior Mountains Indian Heritage-Teacher’s Edition; and Warrior Mountains Indian Heritage-Student Edition.

       He is currently working on four books:  Hiking Sipsey: A Family’s Fight for Eastern Wilderness; Black Folk Tales of Appalachia: Slavery to SurvivalWhen Cotton was King: White Gold of the Muscle Shoals; and Soldier’s Wife: Cotton Fields to Berlin and Tripoli.
Walker’s day normally starts at the crack of dawn when he goes deer hunting or fishing.  He is in the process of enlarging his river house on McKernan Creek of Wilson Lake; and rebuilt his 6000 square foot home near Moulton that was blown away by a tornado on February 6, 2008. 
“I took all my insurance money and built until I ran out of money; by the time I was finished, I had a big house paid for!”
It is in this house that Walker writes in the sitting room of his bedroom.   He then watches the local news and goes to bed at 10:30 p.m., and then at the crack of dawn a new day to hunt, fish, reframe houses, and write.        

Contact Walker at Rickeybutch.walker@gmail.com; butch.walker.5@facebook.com; www.rickeybutchwalker.blogspot.com; write to Walker at P. O. 852, Moulton, AL 35650; or via phone at (256) 565-5461.

Photo Description and Copyright Info

Photo 1, 3, 4, 16, and 17.
Ricky Butch Walker.  Copyright by Ricky Butch Walker.

Photo 2.
Jacket cover of Doublehead Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief.

Photo 5.
Bluewater Publications logo.

Photo 6.
Angela Broyles.  Copyright by Angela Broyles.

Photo 7.
Portrait of Return J. Meigs, Sr.  Public Domain.

Photo 8.
Image of Benjamin Hawkins.  Public Domain.

Photo 9.
Jacket cover of Appalachian Indians of the Warrior Mountains: History and Culture.

Photo 11.
Jacket cover of Celtic Indian Boy of Appalachia: A Scots Irish Cherokee Childhood.

Photo 12.
Jacket cover of Chickasaw Chief George Colbert: His Family and His Country.

Photo 13.
Jacket cover of Warrior Mountains Folklore: American Indian and Celtic History in the Southeast.

Photo 14.
Jacket cover of Warrior Mountains Indian Heritage-Teacher’s Edition

Photo 15.
Jacket cover of Warrior Mountains Indian Heritage-Student Edition.

1 comment:

  1. I just purchased the book,"Doublehead Last Chickmauga Cherokee Chief," by Ricky Butch Walker and I think it is fantastic. The genealogy and Cherokee history are excellent. This book is very informative and I really like the way Ricky writes and makes it easy to identify with. Thank You Ricky! Great Job!!