Founder of Rogersville Native American Gathering Stonewolf Moore dies

Jeff Bobo • Dec 17, 2019 at 8:30 AM

Stonewolf interview at Amis Mill in 2017

ROGERSVILLE – Tim “Stonewolf” Moore spent his final day in this world Saturday telling his people’s story on the land he loved — the land that was once ruled by his direct ancestor Chief Dragging Canoe.

A full-blooded Chickamauga Cherokee and member of the Kituwah band, Stonewolf was the founder of Rogersville's annual Native American Gathering held each October at the Amis Mill Historic Site near Rogersville.

Stonewolf loved the Amis Mill property, and he spent this past Saturday there selling crafts with his brothers Red Horse and Walking Bear — as well as visiting with people who attended the Colonial Christmas tour of the 238-year-old Amis House.

At about midnight on Saturday, Stonewolf succumbed to a massive heart attack at his home in Morristown. He was 63.

“We were blessed to spend his last day with him”

Jake Jacobs, who owns the Amis Mill property with his wife Wendy, said Stonewolf's death was nothing less than a total shock. There was no indication on Saturday that he wasn't feeling well, Jacobs said.

“He and Walking Bear and Red Horse came here and set up for the Colonial Christmas, and spent the day here and had a great time visiting,” Jacobs said. “When they were packing up to leave we hugged and said, 'Love you brother' and 'See you later.' They went down to the restaurant and ate and went home, and he had a massive heart attack around midnight.”

Jacobs added, “We were blessed to spend his last day with him, and I'm sure that he was very happy to spend his last day here because he loved this place.”

The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at Victory Baptist Church in Morristown, followed by the funeral service at 7 p.m. Westside Chapel Funeral Home in Morristown is in charge of the arrangements. 

Jacobs said he and Wendy have offered use of the Amis property to his family for a memorial service, and they’d like to erect a memorial on the property in Stonewolf's honor.

The Native American Gathering

Amis Mill hosted the Native American Gathering the first Saturday in October each year beginning in 2016.

Earlier that year, Jacobs met Stonewolf during an event at the Crockett Tavern in Morristown and invited Stonewolf to visit the Amis Mill Historic Site, which is located about 2 miles south of Rogersville.

Stonewolf was descended from Chief Dragging Canoe, who ruled the Cherokee in this region in the late 1700s at the same time Capt. Thomas Amis established his Rogersville farm.

According to historical accounts, Amis was one of the few white settlers Dragging Canoe befriended and traded with, and Stonewolf was very interested in the Amis property.

“The first time he visited us he got out and looked around, and he said, ‘I've been here before,’ ” Jacobs said. “He said, ‘I think my dad might have brought me here.’ He just loved it here. In fact, all of the Native Americans who participated in the festival loved it here. I think they just feel the roots, and we were totally welcoming. I told them, Y'all come any time. It was yours before it was ours.”

“They felt comfortable here, and that's when we started the annual gathering, and of course Stonewolf was the catalyst and driving force behind that event.”

“It's sacred land”

Stonewolf told the Times News prior to this year's gathering that he sensed his ancestors at Amis Mill.

He said, “You can feel the Indian spirits when you're there. I've felt it, and it's like no place that I've ever been. When I pass the (Hawkins County Farmer's) Co-Op headed that way, I start feeling it. The closer I get, the more it gets me. All the other Indians who come participate (in the Gathering) say as soon as they get on that land they feel it, too. It's sacred land. There's no doubt about it.”

Jake's wife, Wendy, is a direct descendant of Thomas Amis.

Stonewolf: “The Chickamauga Cherokee stood on that land years ago, and Jake knew that Thomas Amis traded with Dragging Canoe and the Chickamauga Indians, and they helped build that stone dam 235 years ago. They were friends. Now all these years later our families are friends again. It was meant to be.”

“A powerful look of pride on his face”

Stonewolf took the final tour of Amis House with about 20 other visitors during the Colonial Christmas event on Saturday. There’s a room in the house dedicated to him and his family.

Wendy Jacobs: “When we entered the Cherokee Room I told everyone 'This is our Cherokee Room, named after a great friend who happens to be here with us now,' “ Wendy said. “When I spoke of his ancestor Dragging Canoe and displayed their pictures sitting side-by-side on the table I could see a powerful look of pride on his face. As we concluded the tour I asked everyone to form a circle, clasp hands and, as is always my custom, shared with them the poem my mom had written.”

Wendy said Stonewolf was standing beside her holding her right hand as she recited the poem: “Let me live every moment for the moment, but keep me pointed toward the sky. Someday I shall stand, put out my hand and reach for the stars passing by. I’ll gather the winds to my bosom, wave back to my friends e’re I’m gone. It’s time I must try my wings to the sky, The Father will beckon me home.”

Wendy added, “Little did I know how prophetic those words would turn out to be. As we parted, he smiled, hugged me and said, 'Thank you, Little Mamma.' “