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Ives, Joseph Christmas (25 December 1828–12 November 1868), soldier, engineer, and explorer, was born in New York City, the son of Ansel Wilmot Ives and Laura (maiden name unknown), occupations unknown. Little is known of his early years. Apparently, he was raised in a boardinghouse in New Haven, Connecticut. He attended Yale College and graduated fifth in his class at West Point in 1852. Commissioned as a brevet second lieutenant of ordnance, Ives served at the Watervliet, New York, arsenal (1852–1853) and was transferred to the topographical engineers in 1853. He was an assistant topographical engineer on the Pacific Railroad Survey (1853–1854) and in the Pacific Railroad Office in Washington, D.C. (1854–1857). In 1855 he married Cora Semmes, who came from a prominent southern family; they eventually had three children, all sons, two of whom would serve in the U.S. military. In 1857 Ives was promoted to first lieutenant and was named to lead an expedition up the Colorado River in order to develop potential routes of supply in the event of a war between the national government and the Mormon settlements in Deseret (Utah)....

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Thomas, William Holland (05 February 1805–10 May 1893), the only white man to serve as chief of the North Carolina Cherokees, businessman, and soldier, was born in Haywood County, North Carolina, the son of Richard Thomas (who died before his birth) and Temperance Calvert. His father was a veteran of the American Revolution who had accepted land in western North Carolina as payment for his service during that war. Thomas grew up as a unique transcultural figure on the rugged, mountainous North Carolina frontier. From his mother he learned Christianity, impeccable manners, and the value of reading and hard work. Felix Hampton Walker, a local storekeeper, gave him a set of law books, which at the age of fifteen he read with such diligence that he was able to practice law. Thomas’s childhood friendships with Cherokee boys led to his learning their language and customs. They nicknamed him Wil-Usdi, or Little Will, because he was short. Yonaguska, the aging head man, treated the fatherless white boy as his own son. Thomas played ritualistic games with his adopted people, defended them against all intruders, and encouraged the perpetuation of their native culture and human dignity....

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Watie, Stand (12 December 1806–09 September 1871), leader of the Ridge-Watie-Boudinot faction of the Cherokees, Confederate brigadier general, and principal chief of the Confederate Cherokees, was born at Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation, Georgia, the son of Oo-wa-tie or the Ancient One and Susanna Charity Reese, farmers. After accepting Christianity Oo-wa-tie dropped “Oo” from his Cherokee name to form the surname Watie and afterward was known as David Watie. He also gave his children Christian names. Stand Watie, whose Cherokee name was De-ga-do-ga or He Stands, was named Isaac. Eventually he dropped Isaac and became known as Stand Watie—a combination of the English version of his Cherokee name and the Christian surname. Watie’s older brother Kilakeena or Buck Watie later changed his name to ...