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STRIKER TOWN

STRIKER TOWN. Striker Town was a Cherokee Indian village established in what is now Cherokee County sometime after 1819, when the first refugee Cherokees arrived in East Texas, and before 1838, when they were expelled by the Republic of Texas government. The townsite is just west of present Lake Striker on land now owned by the Texas Power and Light Company. An ancient road from Trammel's Trace ran through or near the town on its way northwest to the great saline on the Neches River in the area of present Smith County. The Texas Cherokees, mostly Chickamaugans from the lower towns on the Tennessee River near Lookout Mountain, fled west to escape fighting along the advancing white frontier in the early 1800s. The name Striker was well-known among the Cherokees. One Indian history includes the name Middlestriker in a list of Cherokees known to hate whites. Although there is no evidence this person migrated to Texas, others on the list including the Bowl, Young Tassel, and the Tail (brother of Bob the Bench) moved to Texas. Since no complete roster of Texas Cherokees exists, the namesake of Striker Town cannot be identified.

A Cherokee town or village generally contained thirty to sixty family houses clustered about a town house or meeting hall. In front of the town house was the square, an elevated level ground used by the Indians for games, dancing, and all celebrations. No physical description of Striker Town has come to light. Certainly the village must have retained some of the characteristics of the old villages back east, although it may have been somewhat smaller. Striker Town existed before any stable governmental authority descended upon East Texas. The land between the Neches and Angelina rivers was occupied by eastern refugee Indians who had no official claim to the land, but were tolerated by the Spanish and later Mexican authorities, who wanted to avoid civil disturbances. Now and again Striker Town is mentioned as a reference point in some of Cherokee County's earlier deed records. Perhaps the earliest noting of the place was June 1, 1835, when Jeremiah Stroud, deputy surveyor of Nacogdoches County, marked out the boundaries of the Isaac Kendrick league in the David G. Burnet grant. Stroud described the survey as being "on the watters of the Angelina bout 6 miles west of Striker's Village including an improvement made by William (F.) Williams and George May in the month of November last at the forks of a path leading from the Saline on the Naches to Striker Village." The road from the Neches Saline to Trammel's Trace was remembered by John W. Middleton in his memoirs written at age seventy-five. Back in 1838 First Lieutenant Middleton had been with a Texas militia company from Shelby County chasing Cordova's rebels through East Texas. He describes an Indian attack on Daniel Martin's house east of the site of present New Salem in Rusk County. The attack occurred only a few miles east of the site of Striker Town, and although Middleton states the renegades retreated down the old road to the Neches Saline, he does not mention Striker Town. Either the old soldier forgot the town when he was writing or the place was abandoned by 1838.

In July 1839 at the battle of the Neches the Texas army defeated the Cherokees and drove the Indians from Texas. Although the Cherokees lived less then two decades in East Texas, they left a legacy of names to the land. In 1846 the organizers of Cherokee County perpetuated the name of its former Indian occupants. Also the names of individual Cherokees became firmly attached to many county streams-Keys, Tails, Bowles, Little Bean, One-Army, One-Eye, and Striker. In 1847 the site of Striker Town was included in a survey patented in the name of José I. Sanchez. At the time immigrants were pouring in from the United States. Cherokee County officials were making every effort to open up the country to these would-be settlers. In November 1849 the commissioners' court ordered a road review from Striker Town to the saline utilizing much of the old Indian trace. Then on December 16, 1850, more than a decade after the Cherokees left, Hundley Wiggins, who had purchased the Sanchez league the year before, deeded 580 acres of the land to his son James F. Wiggins. As described in the deed, the land was bounded on the east by Striker Creek and according to the elder Wiggins was called the Striker Town survey.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Mary Whatley Clarke, Chief Bowles and the Texas Cherokees (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971). John W. Middleton, History of the Regulators and the Moderators (Fort Worth: Loving, 1883). Rupert N. Richardson, Texas: The Lone Star State (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1943; 4th ed., with Ernest Wallace and Adrian N. Anderson, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1981). Hattie Joplin Roach, A History of Cherokee County (Dallas: Southwest, 1934). Grace Steele Woodward, The Cherokees (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963).

Bernard Mayfield

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Bernard Mayfield, "STRIKER TOWN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvsel), accessed December 26, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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