Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chronology of Robert Benge

Chronology of Robert Benge, aka Chief Bench
Copyrighted by Don Chesnut, 1997

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Robert Benge was born circa 1760 probably in the Cherokee village Toquo to John Benge and Wurteh, a Cherokee. Robert grew up to be the most notorious Cherokee in history. He was so feared in the central Appalachian areas of present-day Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, that the settlers admonished their children by saying, "if you don't watch out, Captain Benge will get you."

Toquo was a Cherokee village on the Little Tennessee River in present-day southeastern Tennessee. Robert grew up as a Cherokee, but with his red hair, European look, and his good command of English, he could also pass as a pure Euro-American. He used this double identity to good effect in his raids against the settlers. He was known as Captain Benge, Chief Benge, Chief Bench, or just The Bench. If he had a Cherokee name, it is not known.

Robert's father was John Benge, an Indian trader who lived among the Cherokee, and his mother was Wurteh who was part of an influential Cherokee family.

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