The picture from the fine arts has some interesting things in the background. I can identify the Catholic Church and the cemetery on the hill, but what is the white square building that looks like might be near the swimming pool? ~Steve Nicholson
regarding Okie's story
from Vol. 8 Iss. 6
Does anyone have a picture of Freedom high school building before the additon or one with the additioon that they would share with me.
Thanks in advance
Marthesia Myers ~Marthesia Myers
regarding Okie's story
from Vol. 8 Iss. 47
Duchess of Weaselskin
Bayfield, CO - Living in the Rockie mountains of Southwest Colorado gives us no loss of beautiful scenery to photograph and view around here. Especially the reflections of the San Juan mountains in Vallecito Lake as seen through the pine trees on a calm afternoon when the lake is like a mirror. This is our online Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday card to All! Makes you want to Reflect on the Yesterdays, Todays and Tomorrows of your Life, huh?
The weathermen keep saying that a winter blizzard watch and warning from Arizona to Kansas that could dump over a foot of snow today and tomorrow. How are things in Oklahoma and Kansas so far? Here in southwest Colorado we did not get snow Monday, but it has been cloudy all day. Let us know what comes your way in the next few days. Get a shot of your blizzard conditions, if any, in your area!
Last couple weeks we heard from a few of you that the OkieLegacy ezine has been loading slowly for the last month or so. We think we have the OkieLegacy ezine pages trimmed down to load faster. Thanks to our nwOKtechie stepping in and fine tuning our database coding. Let us know how it is doing for you this week!
If you go to these pages, you will find a NEW LOOK. Some features have been moved from one site to another. You occasionally might find a broken link from other pages. If that happens, please let us know what you clicked on, what you were trying to view and the URL so we might fix it. We are saving The OkieLegacy for last!
Thanks for your help and patience while we do some website cleaning around here.
We are gearing up for the christmas holidays around here getting in the spirit of making life easier, happy for those less fortunate than ourselves. Are you?
This time next week we will have all gathered in the season of giving; eaten too much; playing a friendly family favorite of Karma (card game played with pennies, nickels & dimes); and enjoying everyone gathered around us during these holidays!
Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah! Seasons Greetings To All!
Alva, Oklahoma - We had an interesting email this week from someone who had met in 1978-79 with a former Prisoner of war by the name of Hans Henle, who was a POW in the Alva Camp. David Earl goes says, "During 1978,79 I met a former POW from the Alva camp. His name is Hans Henle. He was representing a German firm during the construction of the Chesterfield Cylinder plant in Enid." Does anyone else out there remember Hans Henle?
David goes on to state, "Subsequently, he was a guest in my home for dinner a few times. Later I went to the Manesmann De Magmeer plant in Monchen Gladdbach, Germany. While there my wife and I were guests in his home for dinner. It was very interesting to meet some one who was a POW. I moved to Alva after the war so have no direct memories of that period."
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On This Day In History (December 19)
America - On 19 December 1984, Britain and china signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997. Go to article
On 19 December 1906, Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet statesman who was the leader of the Soviet Union for 18 years, was born. Following his death on Nov. 10, 1982, his obituary appeared in The Times. Go to obituary.
On This Date - 19 December
1732 - Benjamin Franklin began publishing "Poor Richard's Almanac."
1776 - Thomas Paine published his first "American Crisis" essay, writing: "These are the times that try men's souls."
1777 - Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pa., to camp for the winter.
1843 - Charles Dickens' Yuletide tale, "A Christmas Carol," was first published in Britain.
1907 - A coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pa., killed 239 workers.
1946 - War broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.
1972 - Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, ending the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.
1974 - Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as vice president, replacing Gerald R. Ford, who became president when Richard M. Nixon resigned.
America - "Nunna dual Tsuny" translated from the Cherokee, "The place where they cried"
We found this true story of the Cherokee Indian removal, known as the Trail of Tears (history of bps.org website) as told by Private John G. Burnett, McClellan's company, 2nd Regiment, 2nd Bridage, Mounted Infantry, to his children on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
It is the most telling and most painful account of this sad chapter in our nation's history that we have read. If you read it you may feel it is not appropriate to share with your young Indians until they are older, but be sure to read it for yourself and share it when the young indians are ready.
It Begins As Follows: by John G. Burnett
"This is my birthday, December 11, 1890, I am eighty years old today. I was born at Kings Iron Works in Sullivan County, Tennessee, December the 11th, 1810. I grew into manhood fishing in Beaver Creek and roaming through the forest hunting the deer and the wild boar and the timber wolf. Often spending weeks at a time in the solitary wilderness with no companions but my rifle, hunting knife, and a small hatchet that I carried in my belt in all of my wilderness wanderings.
"On these long hunting trips I met and became acquainted with many of the Cherokee Indians, hunting with them by day and sleeping around their camp fires by night. I learned to speak their language, and they taught me the arts of trailing and building traps and snares. On one of my long hunts in the fall of 1829, I found a young Cherokee who had been shot by a roving band of hunters and who had eluded his pursuers and concealed himself under a shelving rock. Weak from loss of blood, the poor creature was unable to walk and almost famished for water.
"I carried him to a spring, bathed and bandaged the bullet wound, and built a shelter out of bark peeled from a dead chestnut tree. I nursed and protected him feeding him on chestnuts and toasted deer meat. When he was able to travel I accompanied him to the home of his people and remained so long that I was given up for lost. By this time I had become an expert rifleman and fairly good archer and a good trapper and spent most of my time in the forest in quest of game.
"The removal of Cherokee Indians from their life long homes in the year of 1838 found me a young man in the prime of life and a Private soldier in the American Army. Being acquainted with many of the Indians and able to fluently speak their language, I was sent as interpreter into the Smoky Mountain Country in May, 1838, and witnessed the execution of the most brutal order in the history of American Warfare.
"I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at bayonet point into the stockades. And in the chill of a drizzling rain on an October morning I saw them loaded like cattle or sheep into six hundred and forty-five wagons and started toward the west.
"One can never forget the sadness and solemnity of that morning. Chief John Ross led in prayer and when the bugle sounded and the wagons started rolling many of the children rose to their feet and waved their little hands good-by to their mountain homes, not knowing they were leaving them forever. Many of these helpless people did not have blankets and many of them had been driven from home barefooted.
"On the morning of November the 17th we encountered a terrific sleet and snow storm with freezing temperatures and from that day until we reached the end of the fateful journey on March the 26th, 1839, the sufferings of the Cherokees were awful. The trail of the exiles was a trail of death. They had to sleep in the wagons and on the ground without fire. And I have known as many as twenty-two of them to die in one night of pneumonia due to ill treatment, cold, and exposure. Among this number was the beautiful Christian wife of Chief John Ross. This noble hearted woman died a martyr to childhood, giving her only blanket for the protection of a sick child. She rode thinly clad through a blinding sleet and snow storm, developed pneumonia and died in the still hours of a bleak winter night, with her head resting on Lieutenant Greggs saddle blanket.
"I made the long journey to the west with the Cherokees and did all that a Private soldier could do to alleviate their sufferings. When on guard duty at night I have many times walked my beat in my blouse in order that some sick child might have the warmth of my overcoat. I was on guard duty the night Mrs. Ross died. When relieved at midnight I did not retire, but remained around the wagon out of sympathy for Chief Ross, and at daylight was detailed by Captain McClellan to assist in the burial like the other unfortunates who died on the way. Her unconfined body was buried in a shallow grave by the roadside far from her native home, and the sorrowing cavalcade moved on.
"Being a young man, I mingled freely with the young women and girls. I have spent many pleasant hours with them when I was supposed to be under my blanket, and they have many times sung their mountain songs for me, this being all that they could do to repay my kindness. And with all my association with Indian girls from October 1829 to March 26th 1839, I did not meet one who was a moral prostitute. They are kind and tender hearted and many of them are beautiful.
"The only trouble that I had with anybody on the entire journey to the west was a brutal teamster by the name of Ben McDonal, who was using his whip on an old feeble Cherokee to hasten him into the wagon. The sight of that old and nearly blind creature quivering under the lashes of a bull whip was too much for me. I attempted to stop McDonal and it ended in a personal encounter. He lashed me across the face, the wire tip on his whip cutting a bad gash in my cheek. The little hatchet that I had carried in my hunting days was in my belt and McDonal was carried unconscious from the scene.
"I was placed under guard but Ensign Henry Bullock and Private Elkanah Millard had both witnessed the encounter. They gave Captain McClellan the facts and I was never brought to trial. Years later I met 2nd Lieutenant Riley and Ensign Bullock at Bristol at John Roberson's show, and Bullock jokingly reminded me that there was a case still pending against me before a court martial and wanted to know how much longer I was going to have the trial put off?
"McDonal finally recovered, and in the year 1851, was running a boat out of Memphis, Tennessee.
"The long painful journey to the west ended March 26th, 1839, with four thousand silent graves reaching from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to what is known as Indian territory in the West. And covetousness on the part of the white race was the cause of all that the Cherokees had to suffer. Ever since Ferdinand DeSoto made his journey through the Indian country in the year 1540, there had been a tradition of a rich gold mine somewhere in the Smoky Mountain Country, and I think the tradition was true. At a festival at Echota on Christmas night 1829, I danced and played with Indian girls who were wearing ornaments around their neck that looked like gold.
"In the year 1828, a little Indian boy living on Ward creek had sold a gold nugget to a white trader, and that nugget sealed the doom of the Cherokees. In a short time the country was overrun with armed brigands claiming to be government agents, who paid no attention to the rights of the Indians who were the legal possessors of the country. Crimes were committed that were a disgrace to civilization. Men were shot in cold blood, lands were confiscated. Homes were burned and the inhabitants driven out by the gold- hungry brigands.
"Chief Junaluska was personally acquainted with President Andrew Jackson. Junaluska had taken 500 of the flower of his Cherokee scouts and helped Jackson to win the battle of the Horse Shoe, leaving 33 of them dead on the field. And in that battle Junaluska had drove his tomahawk through the skull of a Creek warrior, when the Creek had Jackson at his mercy.
"Chief John Ross sent Junaluska as an envoy to plead with President Jackson for protection for his people, but Jackson's manner was cold and indifferent toward the rugged son of the forest who had shaved his life. He met Junaluska, heard his plea but curtly said, "Sir, your audience is ended. There is nothing I can do for you." The doom of the Cherokee was sealed. Washington, D.C., had decreed that they must be driven West and their lands iven to the white man, and in May 1838, an army of 4000 regulars, and 3000 volunteer soldiers under command of General Winfield Scott, marched into the Indian country and wrote the blackest chapter on the pages of American history.
"Men working in the fields were arrested and driven to the stockades. Women were dragged from their homes by soldiers whose language they could not understand. Children were often separated from their parents and driven into the stockades with the sky for a blanket and the earth for a pillow. And often the old and infirm were prodded with bayonets to hasten them to the stockades.
"In one home death had come during the night. A little sad-faced child had died and was lying on a bear skin couch and some women were preparing the little body for burial. All were arrested and driven out leaving the child in the cabin. I don't know who buried the body.
"In another home was a frail mother, apparently a widow and three small children, one just a baby. When told that she must go, the mother gathered the children at her feet, prayed a humble prayer in her native tongue, patted the old family dog on the head, told the faithful creature good-by, with a baby strapped on her back and leading a child with each hand started on her exile. But the task was too great for that frail mother. A stroke of heart failure relieved her sufferings. She sunk and died with her baby on her back, and her other two children clinging to her hands.
"Chief Junaluska who had saved President Jackson's life at the battle of Horse Shoe witnessed this scene, the tears gushing down his cheeks and lifting his cap he turned his face toward the heavens and said, "Oh my God, if I had known at the battle of the Horse Shoe what I know now, American history would have been differently written."
"At this time, 1890, we are too near the removal of the Cherokees for our young people to fully understand the enormity of the crime that was committed against a helpless race. Truth is, the facts are being concealed from the young people of today. School children of today do not know that we are living on lands that were taken from a helpless race at the bayonet point to satisfy the white man's greed.
"Future generations will read and condemn the act and I do hope posterity will remember that private soldiers like myself, and like the four Cherokees who were forced by General Scott to shoot an Indian Chief and his children, had to execute the orders of our superiors. We had no choice in the matter.
"Twenty-five years after the removal it was my privilege to meet a large company of the Cherokees in uniform of the Confederate Army under command of Colonel Thomas. They were encamped at Zollicoffer and I went to see them. Most of them were just boys at the time of the removal but they instantly recognized me as "the soldier that was good to us". Being able to talk to them in their native language I had an enjoyable day with them. From them I learned that Chief John Ross was still ruler in the nation in 1863. And I wonder if he is still living? He was a noble-hearted fellow and suffered a lot for his race.
"At one time, he was arrested and thrown into a dirty jail in an effort to break his spirit, but he remained true to his people and led them in prayer when they started on their exile. And his Christian wife sacrificed her life for a little girl who had pneumonia. The Anglo-Saxon race would build a towering monument to perpetuate her noble act in giving her only blanket for comfort of a sick child. Incidentally the child recovered, but Mrs. Ross is sleeping in a unmarked grave far from her native Smoky Mountain home.
"When Scott invaded the Indian country some of the Cherokees fled to caves and dens in the mountains and were never captured and they are there today. I have long intended going there and trying to find them but I have put off going from year to year and now I am too feeble to ride that far. The fleeing years have come and gone and old age has overtaken me. I can truthfully say that neither my rifle nor my knife were stained with Cherokee blood.
"I can truthfully say that I did my best for them when they certainly did need a friend. Twenty-five years after the removal I still lived in their memory as "the soldier that was good to us".
"However, murder is murder whether committed by the villain skulking in the dark or by uniformed men stepping to the strains of martial music.
"Murder is murder, and somebody must answer. Somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country in the summer of 1838. Somebody must explain the 4000 silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees to their exile. I wish I could forget it all, but the picture of 645 wagons lumbering over the frozen ground with their cargo of suffering humanity still lingers in my memory.
"Let the historian of a future day tell the sad story with its sighs, its tears and dying groans. Let the Great Judge of all the earth weigh our actions and reward us according to our work.
Enid, Oklahoma - I had to do a search for the Chesterfield Cylinder Plant of Enid, Oklahoma to see if it was still in business and what it produced. I found that in March, 1985 the firm temporarily discontinued production of the cylinders used by natural gas producers. It was also around that time period that the company's work force was reduced from 100 to 25 by the Fall of 1985.
It sounds as though the Nicholas Investment Company took over the business at the 54th Street site, in Enid, which was the former Chesterfield Forge and Cylinder Press manufacturing site. If I am reading this correctly the Chesterfield Forge was constructed in the early 1980's as a 54,000 square foot facility that was served by a rail spur and over-head crane lift.
America - Would you believe that back in the 1900's around the time of President Theodore ROosevelt, a Progressive Liberal and Yes! A Republican, believed in regulation, not obstructionism; wider participation in fruits of labor; federal control of interstate business; shifting of burden from poor to rich; and from employee to employer?
The photo above, left was a 1908 USA editorial cartoon, showing the progressive policies advocated by President Theodore Roosevelt in his farewell message to Congress. It was first printed in the Duluth Herald. Roosevelt came to attack the wealthy and privileged society from which he had sprung. In his last annual message to Congress makes many recommendations pointing toward the betterment of social and industrial conditions in the United States.
President Theodore Roosevelt, Progressive Republican, believed in regulation, not obstruction; wider participation in fruits of labor; Federal control of interstate business; shifting of burden from poor to rich; from employee to employer.
The GOP, Grand Old Party, became a minority after failing to reverse the Great Depression in 1932. The New Deal Coalition led by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt came to power in 1933-1945. When that coalition collapsed in the middle 1960s.
Remembering when Republicans were the Progressive party in the Progressive Era (1896-1932). Things have sure changed for this GOP party, hasn't it?
When the Democrats won control of the House in 1910, a rift between insurgents and conservatives widened. In 1912 Roosevelt broke with Taft and tried for a third term. He was outmaneuvered by Taft and lost the nomination. Teddy Roosevelt led his delegates out of the convention and created a new party the Progressive or Bull Moose ticket in the election of 1912. Few party leaders followed him except Hiram Johnson of California. The Roosevelt-caused split in the Republican vote resulted in a decisive victory for Democrat Woodrow Wilson, temporarily interrupting the Republican era.
The Republican party did very well in large cities and among ethnic Catholics in presidential elections of 1920-24, but it was unable to hold those gains in 1928. By 1932 the cities had become Democratic strongholds.
Chattooga, Georgia - The following article was sent to the OkieLegacy Ezine via Bill Barker -- Prior to May 24, 1838 Chattooga County in Georgia was a different place. It was peopled primarily by persons of a different race and culture living in loosely connected towns. It was a part of the Cherokee Nation which until 1832 had their capitol at New Echota near present day Calhoun Georgia.
In 1832 the state of Georgia prohibited the Cherokee from holding tribal government meetings in the state and the capitol was moved to Red Clay, Tennessee. Chattooga County was inhabited by persons who played major roles in the history of the Cherokee Nation. We will reveal where the major trails, major towns and who the important people were in this story of Cherokees in Chattooga.
One major trail was originally called the Five Springs Trail. It was located on the western side of the county bordering the foot of the Lookout Mountain Chain. It started just over the border in Chief Broom's camp, Broomtown, and ran north to Crayfish Springs, present day Chickamauga, GA. It was so named because five major springs were located about one day's march apart along the trail. The first spring was Barry Spring, the site of an internment camp, located just over the border in Alabama near Fort Likens. The second spring was the Knox Spring, located on the Knox property near the Alpine Church, The third spring was Teloga Spring located just north of where the Trion/Teloga road intersects the Five Springs Trail. The fourth spring was Euthitilooga Springs located just inside the Chattooga/Walker County line. The fifth and final spring was the Blue Bird Spring located agt the foot of Pigeon Mountain where the former Patton's Rock Quarry was.. Each spring was inhabited by a chief who extended hospitality to travelers when they attended council meetings at Crayfish Springs. In later years the trail had several other names: Broomtown Road, Alpine Road and currently Highway 337.
The current US Highway 27 starting at the Floyd County border and going through the town site of Kar Teh (Dirt Town, located along the banks of Armuchee Creek in the Tidings community) crossed Taylor's Ridge, named after an important Cherokee Chief Richard Taylor who descended from Nancy Ward, beloved woman of the Cherokees. His camp was located at Wood's Station in Walker County. He also had a tavern at Ringgold, GA. It descended from Taylor's Ridge and passed by Big Spring located at present day Summerville, GA and entered Island Town located at present day Trion, GA. It continued into Walker County along the Alabama Road. Chief Taylor led a group on the Trail of Tears.
Present day GA Highway 114 had its beginning in Chattooga Town, the largest Indian town in the county, continued by the camp of Chief Dirtseller on Dirtseller Mountain just north of present day Lyerly, GA and continued through Raccoon Town, located at present day Berryton. It joined present day Highway 27 at the Big Spring site in Summerville, GA.
Another major trail was present day GA Highway 48 coming off the top of Lookout Mountain, passing through Broomtown and the Five Springs Trail and on to the Big Spring at Summerville where it joined present day Highway 27. Cherokee Agent Hugh Lawson Montgomery lived along this trail at the southeast corner of present day Fish Hatchery road.
Present day Highway 100 had its beginning at Coosa in Floyd County and passed by Scraper Mountain, camp of Chief Scraper; when it entered the county, it joined GA Highway 114 in present day Summerville, GA.
The location of the trails and towns were greatly influenced by the presence of large springs. The underground structure of the county is a huge aquifer in a dolomite (limestone invaded by sea water) cavern. Occasionally the roof of the cavern collapses and creates a sink, a water source extending into the aquifer with a very deep pond and an inexhaustible source of water. It is best illustrated at the Island Town site where three such sinks exist: Round Pond, Sucker Pond, and Carp Pond in close proximity to the Chattooga River. A huge artesian spring is also in the area that to this day furnishes water for the manufacturing processes of a large textile plant at the site. It is easy to see why these areas serve as ideal sites to put a permanent camp.
There were seven towns in Chattooga County: the three major towns being Chattooga, Island Town and Broomtown; the other towns were Kar Teh (Dirt Town), Raccoon Town, Dirtseller Mt. and Scraper Mt.
Chattooga was the largest town and was located on the western border of the county. It had a "Meeting House" where meetings of the Tribal Council (Chief governing body of the Cherokee Nation) were held. It was at one such meeting in 1819 that Sequoyah, while living in the Alpine section of Chattooga County with his young daughter, gave the first public demonstration of the Syllabary he had just perfected that would make the Cherokee Nation literate. The site of the meeting house has been located, an old structure is on the site. It is currently on the list to be examined by archeologists, to confirm its age. It could well beome the most important historical building in Chattooga County, since this mis the site where Sequoyah first publicly demonstrated his Syllabary.
Island Town, located at present day Trion, GA, was located in a large bend of the Chattooga River and was intersected at the mouth of the bend by a large creek thus forming an island. The residents of the town migrated from an area in Tennessee where they lived on an Island in the Little Tennessee River, thus the name Island Town. It was an ideal location for a permanent settlement being easy to defend and having an abundance of water furnished by three "sink" ponds located nearby, a huge artesian spring and the river.
It was ruled by Chief Cabin Smith until an event that occurred there shortly after the start of the Revolutionary war. Chief Smith then relocated to a site near the Coosa River where two creeks joined, in his honor one creek was named Cain Creek and the second Creek was named Smith Creek, the creek for by the joining of the two creeks was named Cabin Smith Creek, this creek enters the Coosa River between Inland Paper and Plant Hammond, a Georgia Power power generating facility. Island Town was strung out along the Chattooga River from Trion to a point across from the Trade Day grounds in Pennville. Mount Vernon Mills a textile manufacturing facility currently has occupied the site since 1845. After Chief Smith's departure several of his sons assumed leadership positions, Archillia Smith and Sixkiller.
This town was originally located in Alabama, but in later years was located in the Broomtown Valley, near the Trion/Teloga road intersection. The town area was quite extensive extending from its beginning in Alabama into Georgia all along the Broomtown Valley - it covered the present day Alpine section and Menlo area. It was ruled by Chief Broom, an important chief whose children and grandchildren played important roles in the history of the Cherokee Nation, especially his grandson Charles Renatus Hicks, who rose to become a Principal Chief of the Cherokee. The first Cherokee laws were passed at Broomtown in 1802 which abolished the Cherokee "Blood Law" (concerning vengeance for wrongs) and brought the Cherokees closer to being recognized as a viable nation.
Little is known about this town located at the present site of Berryton, GA. In later years a son of Cabin Smith, Archillia Smith owned property there and may have been involved in the leadership of the town. Richard Guess the son of Sequoyah was also listed as liking there in 1835 just prior to the removal/
Kar Teh (Dirt Town)
There is no known chief connected to this town located on the banks of Armuchee Creek in the Tidings Community. It was an important town however and a Methodist Church was established there and pastored by Rev, Summerlin who went on to be a hero in the Civil War and ended his career as editor of the Methodist Advocate.
This town located on a high ridge near Lyerly, GA, was led by Chief Dirtseller. Since there is a great deal of iron ore on the ridge that mixes to a dark red color, it is surmised that the chief got his name by selling dirt for body painting.
This high ridge that extends from Coosa in Floyd County to the southern reaches of Chattooga County, running parallel to Kincaid Mt., was the camp of Chief Scraper, an important chief in the early day history of the Cherokees. Chief Scraper married a daughter of Chief Cabin Smith, Tiana.
There were several important Cherokees who lived in Chattooga County who played important and lasting roles in the history of the Cherokee Nation.
He served as the leader of Broomtown and signed several important treaties negotiated with the United States. He had two daughters: one married a trader named Hicks and had one son named Charles Renatus Hicks and one named Elijah Hicks, both of whom rose to be Principal Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation. His second daughter married a trader named Brooks. They had four daughters. Three of the daughters were wives of James Vann, the richest man in the Cherokee Nation. Two of the daughters were not married to him for very long, but the youngest, Peggy Brooks, was married to him at the time he was assassinated and shared in his estate. She became closely allied to the Moravian missionaries who lived on the property and was converted by them to Christianity. James Vann's son, Joseph Vann, built what is today known as the Vann House on the site known as Diamond Hill near Chatsworth, GA. The two story mansion is a State Historic Site and a showplace for the state of Georgia.
Charles Renatus Hicks
A grandson of Chief Broom, Charles Hicks was literate and served as the interpreter for his grandfather when he went to Washington for treaties. He was an interpreter for Return J. Meigs, the first Cherokee Indian agent located at Hiwassee, present day Charleston, TN. He served in the U.S. Army under Andrew Jackson and fought the Red Stick Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. He was a close friend of Sequoyah, serving in the Army with him.
When Sequoyah wanted to inscribe his silver work with his name, Charles wrote out his name for him to use. He wrote both his English name - George Gist - and his Indian name Sequoyah. He was a strong supporter of Sequoyah's syllabary ad worked with the Moravian missionaries to help them understand it.
He was a close friend of the Vanns and may have played a role in arranging the marriage of his Brooks nieces to James Vann. It is surmised that he may also have secured Sequoyah a place in the Alpine section of Chattooga County to continue work on his syllabary after Sequoyah became estranged from his wife; she had burned all his work thinking it was a futile endeavor. Sequoyah was living at the Wills Town Mission near Fort Payne at the time. He worked with Indian agent Hugh Lawson Montgomery to resolve a boundary dispute with the Creeks. Charles was considered a level-headed peacemaker who made a strong contribution to the creation of the Cherokee Nation. He was appointed Principal Chief of the Cherokees and died shortly thereafter. He was succeeded by his brother Elijah Hicks who did not prove to be an effective leader and was soon defeated by John Ross, who went on to serve as Principal Chief for forty years.
Chief Cabin Smith
Chief Cabin Smith was the leader at Island Town for a number of years until sometime during the Revolutionary War. A small pox epidemic decimated the population of Island Town and shortly thereafter he moved to the confluence of two creeks which joined to become one and flowed into the Coosa River between Inland Paper and Georgia Power Plant Hammond. In his honor one of the creeks was named Cabin Creek; the other Smith Creek. The joined creek was named Cabin Smith Creek and remains so to this day. His statement upon making his move was, "I can no longer walk the ground that I walked with my friends who are no longer here." Cabin Smith signed two treaties that the Cherokees negotiated with the United States. His sons remained at Island Town until the removal in 1838.
SequoyahSequoyah was born near Tuskegee in Tennessee to a white father named Gist and a Cherokee mother. His given name was George Gist. His father abandoned him and he was raised by his Cherokee mother in the Cherokee culture. He was born with a limp and thus could not aspire to be of the warrior class, but he was very talented and artistic. He became an accomplished silversmith and made ornaments to adorn both people and the harnesses of horses.
He wanted to put a distinctive mark on his silver work and had his friend Charles Hicks write out both his Indian name, Sequoyah, and his English name George Gist. He then inscribed his names on his work.
He became intrigued with the white man's way of communicating with the written word; he referred to it as "talking leaves." His friends told him this came from the superior knowledge of the white man and would be impossible to duplicate.
Sequoyah took this as a challenge and after many tries finally devised a syllabary, dividing the sounds of the Cherokee language into syllables and combining them to create the Cherokee language.
He worked on this for many years and during this time married a Cherokee woman named Sally. Around 1818 they moved from Tennessee to Wills Town, Alabama near Fort Payne. He continued to spend most of his time on his syllabary and neglected his family, leaving the job of raising the children to his wife Sally. She tired of this and one day she gathered up his work, papers, carved symbols etc. and threw it all into the fire.
Sequoyah was most distraught at what Sally did and left the family home in Wills Town with his young daughter, went over Lookout Mountain and moved into a cabin in the Alpine section of Broomtown Valley. Several published articles indicate he lived on the Knox Compound that would be near the present day Alpine Church. There is a log cabin at the rear of the antebellum home built in 1848 by Hugh Montgomery Knox the grandson of Hugh Lawson Montgomery that has all the characteristics of a Cherokee Cabin, small entrance door, no windows that is a possible Sequoyah home site.
Hugh Lawson Montgomery was awarded 3000 acres by the State of Georgia in recompense for hs efforts in facilitating the removal of the Cherokees. His ancestors have stated the he wrote In his diary that he selected the land of the Cherokee Chiefs, this would include the land owned by the heirs of Chief Broom in the Broomtown Valley. Charles Renautus Hicks the grandson of Chief Broom furnished Sequoyah a place to stay while he was finishing his syllabary, it could well be that cabin It is surmised at this point that his good friend Charles Renatus Hicks may have aided him in his settlement because he was a lifelong friend of Sequoyah and a staunch supporter of his work. The Broomtown Valley was the territory of the grandfather of Charles Hicks, Chief Broom, and thus he would have had access to the dwellings there.
Today we have determined that there is a home currently standing that may have been the home Sequoyah lived in when he was there. It sits on a knoll and faces the Old Federal Road. The house is clapboard, but the interior is hand hewn planks. Further research is needed to authenticate the home. In addition new information has made the cabin at the rear of the antebellum home built by Hugh Montgomery Knox in 1848 a strong candidate also.
The 1832 records of the Cherokee Evaluators show that a 12 acre tract in the area was owned by Richard Guess, Sequoyah's son, and his wife. It is logical to assume that Richard inherited the property from his father.
While living in the cabin with his daughter, he completed the work on the syllabary and taught its use to his young daughter who quickly picked it up and became quite adept at it. He would give private demonstrations to his family and friends by having the young daughter remain in another room in the house while he wrote a message on a slate using the syllabary. The daughter would come into the room and read what he had written to the amazement of their guests.
The first public demonstration of the syllabary occurred at a council meeting of the Cherokee Nation in 1819 at the meeting house at Chattooga Town located on the western border of present day Chattooga County. Sequoyah was asked to testify in a border dispute between Tennessee and Alabama. He did this by writing his testimony on a slate using the syllabary and reading his testimony to the Council. The Council was electrified, none more so than John "Rattling Gourd" Watt, the Cherokee storyteller to the Council. He went to Sequoyah the next day and said he was unable to sleep thinking of the advantages of using the syllabary. He asked him if he could write anything. Sequoyah replied that as long as it was Cherokee he could write it; he knew no other language. Rattling Gourd told him he wanted him to transcribe the "Words of the Elders" so that they would be related the same in Council meetings each time "and stop all this lying". Unfortunately Sequoyah went on a visit to Arkansas and Rattling Gourd died a short time later. The above account of the first public demonstration of Sequoyah's syllabary comes almost verbatim from the Payne Butrick Papers, an actual interview of Cherokees who knew Sequoyah and were alive when Sequoyah was.
Sequoyah was one of the "Early Settlers" and moved with his reunited family to Arkansas from Wills Town, Alabama in 1824.
Chattooga County was an important part of the Cherokee Nation because of its towns and its leaders who were instrumental to the formation of the Nation that emerged to become the most effectively governed of all the Indian Nations with the formation of a government based on the United States of America.
Charles Renatus Hicks and Sequoyah played important parts with Hicks being the steadfast negotiator and Sequoyah making the Nation literate with his syllabary. The county is moving forward in partnership with the Trail of Tears Association and the National Park Service to permanently mark with signage the trails, town sites and home sites where these events occurred before the forced Removal on May 24, 1838.
[Bibliography: Ehle, John Trail of Tears, the Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation
Foreman, Grant Sequoyah Hicks, Brian Toward the Setting Sun, John Ross, the Cherokees, and the Trail of Tears Hoig, Stan Sequoyah, the Cherokee Genius Satz, Ronald N. Tennessee's Indian Peoples, From White Contact to Removal, 1540-1840.