Wild West Wednesday: Samuel Sixkiller

SamSixkiller  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.

RedbirdSixkillerSam 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.

NOTE:  This article is being enhanced and re-purposed and will appear in a future issue of Digging History Magazine.  In the meantime, check out the digital version of Digging History — Digging History Magazine.  Subscriptions, individual issues, special editions, samples and more are available in the Magazine Store.


  1. Sam Sixkiller was my g/g grandfather my grandmother was Fannie Sixkiller.

    • Sam Sixkiller is my great great grandfather and my great grandfather was James T Sixkiller, Sam’s son.

      • That is an interesting family for sure. This article will appear in full in a future issue of Digging History Magazine. The Digging History blog where you read this snippet is being converted to a monthly digital (PDF) magazine. Subscriptions are available for 3-months, 6-months and one-year here: https://www.digginghistorymag.com/buy-a-subscription/

        If you’d like to try a free issue, email me at seh@digginghistorymag.com and reference this comment about the Sixkiller family and I’ll send you a free issue.

        Sharon Hall
        Publisher and Editor
        Digging History Magazine

  2. Sam was quite a guy. I researched him and did a presentation for some Cherokee groups. If you’d like to have a copy of it, email me and I’d be happy to share. You did a great job on this article!

    • Thanks for stopping by … I would love to have a copy. You can send it to seh@digging-history.com



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