Cherokee Wife Of Sam Houston
Who was Tiana Rogers? Most people have never even heard of her and unlike Pocahontas, Tiana was denied her rightful place in history. However, in 1904 Tiana's body was exhumed and she was given a most gracious funeral then laid to rest at Fort Gibson. Being a descendant of the Tiana Rogers clan I feel compelled to do everything I can to give this elegant American Indian woman the honor she deserves.
Tiana Roger's exact date of birth is unknown but historians believe she was born sometime around 1796. Tiana's father, a white man named John Rogers was known as "Hell-Fire Jack." He was also known as "Old Headman Rogers."
He was one of the most conspicuous white men in the whole Cherokee Nation. Ole Hell-Fire Jack was a Scots trader who was educated, wealthy and threw such famous Christmas parties that they were wrote about in missionary records.
Tiana's mother was Jennie Due, sister to Oo-loo-te-ka, a Cherokee chief known to the white man as "Chief Jolly." Their massive Cherokee village was set up on Hiwasee Island in Tennessee, near present day Dayton. Tiana was only ten years old when a tall striking lad walked into the village one day carrying a copy of The Iliad in one hand and a rifle in the other.
He took up with Tiana's two half-brothers, John and James Rogers and he called himself, Sam Houston. The great chief adopted the lad as his own son and he was given the name "The Raven."
Houston spent several years among the Indians then moved back into white society. When he returned back to the Indian village he found little Tiana all grown up and more than pleasing to the eye. She has been described as "tall, slender and beautiful."
One person described her as being "graceful as the bounding deer" and she was respected and admired among the whites who called her "Diana." Amos Williams magazine article described Tiana as being called "a half-breed of great personal beauty and as tall and stately for her sex as Houston himself."
The Rogers family was of distinguished tribal lineage, which qualified Tiana to become the wife of the Supreme Chief's son. In spite of that, Tiana only had eyes for Houston and in late May 1830, The Raven and Tiana Rogers were married.
The place of their marriage is not known but many suspect they were married at the Indian village in the presence of Chief Oo-loo-te-ka. White society disapproved of the marriage and claimed that it was not legal since Houston's first wife, Eliza Allen declined a divorce. However, they were united in marriage according to Cherokee law.
The Raven and Tiana either bought or built a large log cabin and named it "The Wigwam Neosho" where Houston set up his famous trading post. The location of The Wigwam is described as being,"near the Neosho River, a little above Cantonment Gibson, and thirty miles from the lodge of Oo-loo-te-ka." Here Houston engaged in trading, entertaining friends and planting his apple orchard.
Several years later Houston being a restless soul took off to liberate the Republic of Texas. He asked his Cherokee wife to go with him but Tiana wanting to settle down refused to leave The Wigwam.
Later both Tiana and Houston remarried and in 1838 Tiana Rogers Houston died of pneumonia. Ten days after her death, John Rogers (her father) seized all of Sam McGradys (Tiana's husband)property in payment for an alleged debt, through the help of his son, Judge William Rogers.
Legend tells that Tiana and The Raven never stopped loving each other and some have thought it interesting that he did not remarry until after the death of his Cherokee wife.
Long after the death of Sam Houston, a Cherokee woman arrived in Cherokee territory with the name of Tiana Rogers. She was married and had four children and some historians have confussed her with Tiana Rogers Houston.