John Ridge (1802-1839) was the son of Cherokee leader Major Ridge and a political leader in his own right. Edcuated in the United States, Ridge became an advocate for Cherokee removal to the west rather than holding out in the east. He signed the Treaty of Echota in 1835, which in turn justified forced removal by the U.S. government during the Trail of Tears. John Ridge and his father were both assassinated for their indirect participation in the Trail of Tears.
In 1814, young John, his sister Nancy, and their cousin, Buck Watie, had been students of the school established by the Moravian Brethern. However, their father wanted them to be more thoroughly educated in American ways.
In June, 1814, Lt. Sam Houston met with Major Ridge at Oothcaloga and asked Ridge to accompany Houston's expedition to Washington, knowing that if he did go, he would lose his credibility among his people. He instead asked Houston to take his children and his nephew and find a good American school for them. Houston, realizing that doing so would curry favor with Major Ridge, agreed.
The group arrived in Washing just prior to the British attack on the city. Initially, Houston and Ross wanted to have the Ridge children taken to a safe location, but all protested strongly enough that the group stayed together.