BOB BENGE

Bob Benge was born around 1765 in one of the Overhill Towns. He was the son of the white trader John Benge and his second wife Wuretha. It has been said that Wuretha was also the mother of Sequoyah by Nathaniel Gist.

Bob Benge was called The Bench and said to be the commander of the last Cherokee War Party against white settlers. Because of his intelligence, cunning and efficiency in his raids, he was much feared by the whites living in Cherokee country.

He had a sister Lucy who married George Lowrey and a brother known only by the name, The Tail. Some writers have confused The Bench and The Tail with O. M. Benge‘s sons, Robert and Martin. Robert and Martin were white men with Indian wives and were still living in 1838 to go on the Trail of Tears. The Bench and The Tail were half breeds, The Bench was killed in 1794 and nothing is known of The Tail’s death.

In Lyman Draper’s Calendar of the Tennessee Papers, many of the exploits of The Bench are related scalpings, kidnappings and the attempt on the life of John Sevier.

In 1794, The Bench picked up his brother, The Tail, at Will’s Town, Alabama, and rode to southern Virginia where he was killed and scalped by Vincent Hobbs. His red-haired scalp was sent to the governor of Virginia. It was recommended that Hobbs receive a “neat rifle” as a reward.

A small hatchet was taken from Bob Benge‘s body and given to the Livingston family. Earlier, The Bench had captured the family of Peter Livingston. This hatchet can be seen at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina.

Bob Benge had married a full blood Cherokee and had children. One was Richard who married and had children. He was murdered in Tennessee by a white man named Robertson. A daughter, Polly, married John Baldridge.

More is known about his son John who was born about 1787. He was very intelligent, could speak English and Cherokee, could read but not write. He was a delegate of the Cherokee Nations and made several trips to conferences in Washington.

He joined his half-uncle in what is now Dade County, Georgia. In 1835, when an inventory was taken of his holdings, it showed a two story house, kitchen, smoke house, stable, fields and many fruit trees On John Benge‘s mill place, most of the improvements were made by O. M. Benge and were to revert to John. John was in possession of the land at the time of the 1835 treaty and was disposed under the laws of Georgia. On the Trail of Tears, John was captain of one of the largest parties of Cherokees traveling west. John and family can be found in the 1850 Cherokee Roll in Oklahoma.




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