Nancy Ward was born as a member of the Cherokee tribe sometime around 1738, and at that time her name was Nan’yehi. As a young woman she took part in battles against other Native American tribes, and largely because of this she became a leader within the Cherokee nation. But she could also be a peacemaker, and at one point she spared the life of a captured white woman.
Later, as European settlers took over parts of Tennessee, she began to blend into the white world, and she became known as Nancy Ward. As an elderly lady she ran a hotel, or inn, in Polk County. Today there is a monument to her there.