Cherokee Chief James Clement Vann II was the son of the Scottish trader John Joseph Vann and the Cherokee Waw-Li. He was born in 1766 in Spring Place Georgia or Tennessee. He died at Buffington’s Tavern 9 Feb 1809 and is buried at High Tower near Blackburn, Georgia.

James Vann was a town chief of the Cherokee. He owned a tavern and operated a plantation using 99 slaves. He built the home pictured in 1805. Chief Vann was shot to death at Buffington’s Tavern.

Reportedly, his grave is marked with a head stone, inscribed:

“Here lies James Vann

He killed many a white man

At Last by a rifle ball he fell

And devils dragged him off to hell”.

Waw-Li was baptised by the Moravians in 1819 and given the Christian name of Mary Christana. She later married James Clement Vann I, brother of John Joseph Vann and uncle of James Vann II. [New Information: WA-WLI was WA-WLI VANN daughter of JOHN VANN and SISTER OF RAVEN. She was born Abt. 1747, and died Abt. 1835 in Spring Place, GA.] James Vann’s home was deeded to his son Joseph, who afterwards was known as “Rich Joe”. The house was taken from the Vanns when the Cherokee were forced to leave the southeast for Indian Territory on “the Trail of Tears”. Joseph was later killed in Indian Territory when his steam boat exploded during a boat race.

James’s sister Alcie Vann married Captain John Rogers, a Scottish trader known as “Hell-Fire” Jack for his lifestyle. One of John’s daughters and Alcie’s half sister was Tiana Rogers, Cherokee wife of Sam Houston. She is buried in the national cemetery at Fort Gibson.

Alcie Vann’s daughter, Polly Ann Rogers married Sanuel Dawson. Their daughter Edna Dawson married James Magee and is buried in the Clark’s Chapel Cemetery in Caldwell County near Lockhart, Texas.



Died: 7 Jan 1781



1. Keziah B: ca 1763 D: 20 Dec 1849 Yancy Co, NC M: Martin Sep 1782Maney

2. John Isaac

Wife (2): WAW-LI Died: After 1819


3. Joseph David B: ca 1763 D: ca 1838 M: Milly Rowe d/o Rich. Rowe

4. James Clement II B: 1766 Tennessee or Spring Place, GA D: 9 Feb 1809 Buffington’s Tavern M: 1. Jennie Foster 2. Elizabeth Thornton 3. Nancy Timberlake 4. Elizabeth Hicks 5. Margaret Peggy Scott

5. Nancy M: John Fawling

6. Alcie (Mary Anne) B: ca 1768 D: Texas M: 1. Captain John Rogers 2. ? Pruitt

7. Ned M: Margaret McSwain

8. Mary B: 17 Oct 1787 D: 25 Mar 1850 M: Lewis Blackburn


“Vann Generations with Cherokee Origins from John Joseph Vann & James Clement Vann I of NC, SC, TN, GA ca 1750-1989”, Wm.H Vann II, Ft. Worth, Texas


John Joseph Vann was in SC along the Savannah River before coming to Cherokee country. His brother James Clement did not come to Cherokee country until 1779. James Clement later m. his brother’s Cherokee widow.

Wawli was baptised by the Moravians in 1819 and given the Christian name of Mary Christiana. Agnes Weatherford was a white woman who cohabited with John Vann. She claims to have been deserted by him and later m. a white man named Burlison and had many children.

Other References:

“Cherokees and Missionaries 1789-1839”, W.G. McLoughlin, 1984

“Cherokee Renascence in the New Republic”, W.G. McLoughlin, 1986

“Cherokees of the Old South”, H.T. Malone, 1956

“Chronicles of Oklahoma”, Vol. XXXII, p94

“Old Cherokee Families”, Starr

“Gann and Painter Ancestors of Paul Thurman Butler”, p11

“Families of Samuel Dawson and Polly Ann Rogers”, J.D.Blackwell

“Genealogy of Patrick Magee and Rosanna McCullar”, C.E.Moore

D.A.R. Historical Marker at Chief Vann House, Dalton, GA

“Whites Among the Cherokees, Georgia 1828-1838”, Warren & Weeks, 1987

“Oklahoma Chronicles”, Vol. XXXII, p 99

“Historical Sketch of the Cherokee”, James Mooney, 1975

“Annals of Tennessee”, Ramsey

“Cherokee Tragedy”, Wilkins, 1970

“Red Over Black”, R. Halliburton Jr., 1977


This is one opinion of the ancestry of John Joseph Vann.

Generation (1)

(1) JOHN VANN. He was transported into Virginia by 1666, as evidenced by a land patent in Accomack County VA. (Nell Marion Nugent, CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS Vol.1 p553; Abstracts Of Virginia Land Patents And Grants 1623-1666 PATENT BOOK NO.5)

It is not known at this time if this John Vann is our ancestor, no other record have been found to know more about what happened to him and where he went.

There were other Vann in the general area about the same time period, to what relation they had is not clear. They may have been brothers or father son.

Edward VANN pat 250 acres on southern branch of Nansemond River Isle of Wight Co. Va. 9 Apr 1662, William VANN and John VANN appear about the same time; one with a headright in Accomac and the other in Lower Norfolk.

Generation (2)

WILLIAM VANN was born ca 1665 in Nansemond, Virginia and married ca 1688. He died 11 Aug 1740 in Chowan County, North Carolina. There is a link to William Vann on Dick Fox's home page.

Generation (3)

JOHN VANN was born ca 1700 in Nansemond, Virginia and died 1770 in Bertie County, North Carolina. There is a link to John Vann on Dick Fox's home page.

Generation (4)

EDWARD VANN was born ca 1720 in Bertie County, North Carolina. He married (1) ca 1735 MARY BARNES and (2) after 1748 CHARITY (?).

MARY BARNES born ca 1718 in Chowan County, North Carolina and died ca 1748 was the daughter of RICHARD BARNES Jr, and MARY ODOM.

Generation (5)



Another researcher believes that there was no person named John Joseph Vann and that instead John and Joseph Vann were two different men. A letter dated 1779 mentions that there were a number of whitemen living among the Chickamauga band of Cherokees and are described as joining war parties to attack the American frontier. Joseph Vann joined 1 bunch of warriors, while John Vann joined another. This researcher further believes that James Vann's mother, Wor-Li was not a full blood Cherokee but rather a ½ blood named Vann & her father was an Indian trader named John Vann (active in the 1750-s along with Maj. John Downing, Bernard Hughes, Robert Goudey, and other "Indan Countrymen". Wor-Li’s Cherokee mother apparently also had children by Bernard Hughes & a unknown man named Roe or Rowe.

According to references in the Moravian diaries at Spring Place, GA. and other sources, their patron James Vann had (maternal) uncles named Charles Hughes, Richard Roe [Rowe], and John Vann, all Cherokees. James Vann belonged to the same clan as old Chief Sourmush & his uncle Charles Hughes. His aunt Sallie was married to a Tory named Thomas Waters, In 1796 Benjamin Hawkins (U.S. government agent) met "Old Mrs. Roe" and her grown sons David Roe & John Vann, as well as Richard Roe , Mrs. Sallie Waters (a niece of Chief Sourmush), and Chief Terrapin, son of Occonostota.

The son of Vann's uncle John Vann was probably named John Oowanna Vann, who m. Mary (daughter of Chief Terrapin & granddaughter of Occonostota). John Oowanna was possibly a brother of Keziah Vann, who m. Martin Maney. Several of John Oowanna's children married members of the Schrimsher famiy (which is separate from the Schrimshers that were ancestors of Will Rogers).

James Vann's white relatives included an aunt Edith Vann (who m. Arthur Archibald Coody, a whiteman) and uncle Edward (Ned) Vann. Chief Vann employed two of his white cousins as overseers, Zachariah Coody & Josiah Vann, both of whom had children attending the Spring Place school. Josiah Vann, 1st cousin of Cherokee James Vann, is almost certainly the person called "Joseph David Vann, brother "of James Vann and father of Lamelia Vann (Josiah's daughter Lemelia Vann was a student at Spring Place ).

This researcher believes that there were 3 separate Vann lines:

(1) James Vann, an offspring of Indians named Vann marrying whites also named Vann.

(2) John Vann, known as "The Linguister", a ½ blood & father of John Oowana Vann & uncle of James Vann.

(3) Avery Vann, possibly the white son of Clement Vann. Clement was the stepfather of James Vann/

The intertwining of mixed-blood Indians and whites with the same surname was not uncommon; the Adairs (one of my famileis), Ross's, Coodys, Benges, and Rogers all had similar cross-cultural family ties.



John Rogers, the Scottish trader had at least 3 Cherokee wives. One of these wives is commonly believed to be Alcy Vann, a sister of Chief James Vann. Here is another opinion.

Information from Jerry Clark:

I believe that I have found contemporary evidence that MAY identify the origins of Alcy Vann, alledged sister of James Vann and her daughter Polly Anne Rogers. The Moravian Diaries for June 30, 1806 record a visit by John Rogers, a white man with Cherokee citizenship who lived on the Hiwassee River in TN. This was undoubtedly "Hell-Fire Jack," John Rogers whose two other wives (mother and daughter) are mentioned elsewhere in the Diaries. Rogers told the missionaries that he wanted to place his 12-year old daughter (unnamed) in the Spring Place school, but since the girl's mother (also unnamed) was a sister of John Falling (brother-in-law of James Vann) it might be inpolitic to put her so close to the residendence of James Vann, still angry at the Falling family. On May 15, 1806 Vann had killed John Falling in a famous duel (both on horseback and armed with rifles). Vann had been adverse to the marriage of his sister Nancy Vann to John Falling. In 1819 Ruth Falling, daughter of John Falling and Nancy Vann, was at Spring Place and read a letter from her unnamed female cousin, who was a student at the Presbyterian school at Brainerd (Chickamauga, TN). Was this cousin the daughter of Rogers and Ms. Falling? Thus we have a contemporary record of John Rogers' 3rd wife , who was a sister of the brother-in-law of James Vann, whose daughter was born ca. 1794. Neither the wife or daughter was listed in Emmet Starr's book or unpublished notes. This is mighty close to the story of the third wife of John Rogers, Alcey, who was a sister of James Vann, and whose daughter Polly Ann was born ca. 1787. While the testimony of the Dawsons apparently convinced the Cherokee Citizenship Court in 1886, it was pretty shakey eividence not otherwise corroborated by tribal census or other records. The bad news is that if this is your Alcey and Polly Anne , then you descend from the mixed-blood Falling family (John and Edmund were sons of a white man named Rim Falling and Mary Emory [Starrm p, 305), and not the better-known Vann clan. I will later post this information on the Vann Family Forum (Genforum), where I have put a lot of other new information about James Vann and his relatives. Jerry L. Clark

Note by Dick Fox: My data on the Samuel Dawson - Polly Ann Rogers family indicates that their first child Betsey Dawson was born in 1805 in Missouri Territory and a second child Edna Belle Dawson was born in 1808 also in Missouri Territory. These dates and locations dispute Polly being the 12 year old child with John Rogers in 1806. I would guess that the 1787 birth date generally assigned to Polly Ann Rogers was based on the known birthdate of her first child.



Cherokee Biographies:
This web site indicates that John Rogers who married Alsey Vann was not the same John Vann who married Jennie Due.


Return to Dick Fox's Homepage

More Information on the Vann Family and Chief Vann House in Georgia

More information on James Vann

Another Link to the Chief Vann House

History of the Cherokee

Jim Hick's Cherokee Page

Book: Cherokee Lineages

Chapater: John & Edward Vann

The Chattanooga Sunday Times Magazine Section July 26, 1936

Descendants of Edward B. Vann I & Mary Barnes

Cherokee by Blood

Dick Fox
1512 Parkview Drive
Lockhart, Texas 78644

United States

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