Cherokee heritage runs deep in Knowlton's ancestry

Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Jeff Knowlton of Manila creates a dream catcher in a teepee. According to Native American legend the dream catcher filters out bad dreams and good dreams flow off the side. (Town Crier photos/Revis Blaylock)

Manila's Jeff Knowlton, musician, writer, artist and craftsman, enjoys preserving history and legend through his music, paintings, stories and poems.

He has long been a researcher of Native American history with a special emphasis on the Cherokee tribe. He is even learning the Cherokee language and sharing it with other interested people through weekly lessons on Facebook. Knowlton enjoys sharing the "Cherokee Corner."

Knowlton's mother, the late Irene Holley Knowlton, was one-eighth Cherokee.

Jeff Knowlton enjoys making Indian pipes and other replicas of the Cherokee tribe.

"My mother, my brother and I were interested in our native American heritage," Knowlton said. "There is so much to learn. A lot is legend and passed down through story telling. It has been told my Mom's ancestors hid in the Ozark Mountains to keep from going to the reservations. Like so many other stories passed down, there is no way to prove what is factual."

Knowlton said when he first started learning the Cherokee language it was difficult. The language has its own symbols. It is getting easier for him and the more he learns, the more he wants to learn.

Knowlton also enjoys oil painting and naturally one of his favorite subjects to paint is Indian scenes. For many years he has made replicas of Cherokee pipes, tools, medicine rattles, bows, arrows, spears, Indian jewelry, and other Native American items with Cherokee being his favorite. He uses everything original in his craft.

He has created an Indian dream catcher surrounded by a teepee in his front yard.

"In Native American legend, the dream catcher filters out the bad dreams and allows the good dreams to flow off the side and fill the world with good," Knowlton said. "My dream catcher is a yard decoration but I enjoyed making it."

Knowlton has made several dream catchers and has sent one to a friend in Mississippi and is working on another one.

"Everything I do is for sharing and learning," Knowlton said. "I welcome anyone to join me on Facebook," he said.

In addition to the Native American history, Knowlton enjoys area history of the early settlers.

He has written the first in a series of books, fiction and fact, with lots of names from the early settlers including Nance, Harris, Eubanks, Stacey, Cockrum, Ingram, Reed, Palmer, Fleeman, and many others. He also has added Mr. Dale Poag and Mr. Lowell Polston. The name of the first book in the Hogleg Cockrum series is "Trails to the Great Swamp."

"I have really learned a lot about this area through my research," Knowlton said. "The last ditch on Highway 18 was a river in 1837. It was called White Horse River."

Knowlton has been putting his book on line chapter by chapter on under knowlton-rangers. The main line to all the chapters as they are edited and posted is, "Trails to the Great Swamp."

"I have received some good comments from my book so far," Knowlton said.

He also has links to short stories and poems he has written. His poems and short stories come from the heart. One he wrote about a couple he knew who had been married over 60 years and died within two weeks of each other. He has written a poem in memory of his dad, R.G. Knowlton, as well as in memory of Joe Bill Tucker and many others who have touched his life.

Knowlton said if anyone is interested in learning more about the Cherokee heritage or his book he can be emailed at or join him on Facebook or log on to

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: