Though Chief John Ross was only one-eighth Cherokee, he grew up steeped in Cherokee culture. He was born in 1790 at Turkey Town, on the Coosa River, near present–day Center, Alabama. As a young man, he became a planter and ferry operator near present–day Rome, Georgia. But it was his service in the military and as Indian agent for the U.S. government that honed his leadership and diplomatic skills.
Ross was elected the principal chief of the Cherokee nation in 1828. When the Cherokees lost their fight to stay in north Georgia, Ross oversaw the tribe's tragic and forced migration on the Trail of Tears. For Ross, the great sadness of the trail was compounded by the death of his beloved wife, Quatie, along the way.
John Ross, the man who dreamed of a Cherokee star on the American flag was still serving as chief when he died on August 1, 1866, Today in Georgia History.
Rossville, Ga. -- named after John Ross -- is the location of the "John Ross Home," where Ross lived from 1830-1838.