Samuel Sixkiller was born circa 1842 in the Going Snake District (now Adair County, Oklahoma) of Indian Territory to parents Redbird and Permelia (Whaley) Sixkiller. Samuel was of mixed blood Cherokee heritage, his father being the son a half-breed Cherokee mother and a full-blood Cherokee father.
As you might imagine, the Sixkiller surname is unique and believed to have its origins during a time when the Cherokee and Creek nations were at war. A man, possibly a great grandfather to Samuel, was said to have killed six men before being killed himself. He was thereafter called Sixkiller and the name was passed down to his descendants. Sam’s ancestors had been among those Native Americans removed from the southeastern part of the nation to reservations in the 1830’s.
Sam was educated at the Baptist Mission, and when the Civil War broke out his father Redbird went north to join the Union. Sam, left behind to work on the family farm, decided to join the Confederate Army. After a time he deserted and made his way to Fort Gibson where his father was an artillery officer. Sam joined the Union Army and father and son served together until the end of the war.
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