by JC Pinkerton
Tiana Rogers, Cherokee wife of Sam Houston died November 4, 1838 of complications from pneumonia. John E. Gunter's sister of Muldrow was said to be living with Tiana when she died. Col. J.S. Holden, publisher of Ft. Gibson Post, exhumed the corpse of a woman identified as Tiana Rogers. The grave was located on a hill near the mouth of Skin Bayou at the Old Arkansas River steamboat port of Wilson's Rock.
In 1895, Col. J.S. Holden, Judge William Wilson and George Williamson, found an unmarked grave while clearing brush. Williamson, an ex-Confederate soldier from Ft. Smith had seen the grave of Tiana Rogers years ago. He remembered the grave being near a Cedar tree and identified the grave as being the same spot he visited over 30 years ago.
Williamson placed sandstone slabs at the head and foot while Col. Holden inscribed with his pocketknife, the following:
liberator of Texas.
On that day, Col. Holden vowed to gather proof that the grave before them was indeed the grave of Tiana Rogers. In July 1895, he interviewed W.W. Weaver of Ft. Smith who had visited the grave with Tiana's sister, Mrs. John Drew. Weaver told that in 1840 they went to Wilson's Rock and planted shrubs and flowers on Tiana's grave. He too, identified the same spot as being the one he visited over 55 years ago.
Narcissa Owens, who later wrote her memoirs, claimed,
This supposedly took place at Skin Bayou, just west of Ft. Smith. She also talked of a little John Rogers who lived at Skin Bayou. Emmet Starr and Shorey Ross, Cherokee Historians, insisted that a serious mistake was made. Starr believed that the remains in the grave was a woman with the last name Coody. But further investigation pointed to the grave as being that of Tiana Rogers.
Today the grave of Tiana Rogers is at Ft. Gibson National Cemetery in the circle around the flag among army officers and their wives.