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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Stoga, John Astooga

by William S. Powell, 1994

d. 15 Sept. 1862

Listing of John Astoo-ga Sto-ga in William H. Thomas's "Indian Company," from Clark's <i>Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina, In the Great War 1861-'65</i>, Vol. III, 1901.  Presented on John Astooga Stoga, popular Cherokee leader from that part of Jackson County in south-western North Carolina that became Swain County in 1871, was the grandson of Junaluska. His name was said to mean "standing in the doorway," suggesting that he was regarded as a door or shelter. The name also has appeared as Astoogatogeh and without the given name, John. As a Christian, Stoga was instrumental in persuading the American Bible Society to translate the New Testament into the Cherokee language. It was published in 1857.

Title page from the <i>Cherokee New Testatament,</i> published 1860 by the American Bible Society.  Presented on On 9 April 1862 he was commissioned second lieutenant in Company A of Captain William H. Thomas's legion of Cherokee troops, the Sixty-ninth Regiment of North Carolina Troops (also designated as the Seventh Regiment of Cavalry). In the late summer of 1862 several companies of the regiment were ordered to Powell's Valley between Jacksboro and Cumberland Gap in East Tennessee, where Federal activity threatened to cut Confederate lines of communication. At Baptist Gap, Lieutenant Stoga, described as "a splendid specimen of Indian manhood and warrior," led his men in an attack on a Federal position, but he was fatally shot. A contemporary reported that the lieutenant's men were "furious at his death and before they could be restrained, they scalped several of the Federal wounded and dead." The arrival of reinforcements, however, brought victory for the Cherokee warriors.




Walter Clark, ed., Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina, vol. 3 (1901).

Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains (1982).

James Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee (1902).

John Wheeler Moore, comp., North Carolina Troops in the War between the States, vol. 4 (1882).

National Union Catalog, vol. 55 (1980).

P. Marion Simms, The Bible in America (1936).

Additional Resources:

Godbold, E. Stanly, and Mattie U. Russell. 1990. Confederate colonel and Cherokee chief: the life of William Holland Thomas. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. 

Thomsen, Paul A. 2004. Rebel chief: the motley life of Colonel William Holland Thomas, C.S.A. New York: Forge. 

McKnight, Brian Dallas. 2006. Contested borderland the Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. (accessed January 16, 2014) . 

"Significance of Thomas' Legion." Civil War Era NC, NCSU. (accessed January 16, 2014).

Image Credits:

Clark, Walter. Histories of the several regiments and battalions from North Carolina, in the great war 1861-'65. Raleigh, N.C.: E.M. Uzzell, printer. 1901. 730. (accessed January 16, 2014).

American Bible Society. Cherokee New Testament. New York: American Bible Society. 1860. (accessed January 16, 2014).


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