Most times when I am researching a family or an area here, I am looking at Union County/Blairsville as that is where the family, I try to follow backwards, is located now. But since I reside in Towns County, I sometimes get sidetracked. This ramble may well be headed in that direction.
Three hundred years ago the southern Appalachians were home to the sovereign Cherokee Nation. Over sixty towns and settlements were connected by a well-worn system of foot trails, many of which later became bridle paths and wagon roads and the roads we travel today. This Indian trail system was the blueprint for the circuitry of the region’s modern road, rail, and interstate systems. Cherokee towns and villages were scattered from Elizabethton, TN, to north Alabama, Western North Carolina, north Georgia and Upper South Carolina. The most isolated of these towns were in the remote valleys of Western North Carolina along the Little Tennessee, Cheoah, Valley, Hiwassee, Nantahala, and Tuckasegee Rivers. Mountainous barriers reaching into the sky surrounded these towns and European explorers described them as “impassable” on early maps.
The Valley Towns were primarily located along the Valley River between modern Andrews and Murphy, North Carolina. Murphy is located at the confluence of the Valley and Hiwassee Rivers. The Valley Towns extended up and down the Hiwassee and included those along Shooting Creek at modern Hayesville, NC. Agusdogi, the Immortal Town”, was located where Shooting Creek came into the Hiwassee River. That location is now covered by the still waters of Chatuge Reservoir.
The Cherokees lived in more than forty well-organized riverside villages, each with several dozen to several hundred dwellings, in present-day east Tennessee, north Georgia, and the western portions of the Carolinas. The villages fell into four major geographic divisions: the Lower Towns along the Savannah River, the Middle Towns on the Tuckaseegee and the headwaters of the Little Tennessee, the Upper Towns on the Hiawassee, and the Overhill Towns on the lower stretches of the Little Tennessee.
There we are! A village in the Upper Towns region. Wait… The towns of the Lower Cherokee were located along the outer edge of the eastern Blue Ridge Mountains in the lands of the present day Carolinas and North Georgia.
Since each village had all seven clans within it, these were not little villages but full-blown communities. You would think it would be easier to find information on exactly what our little area may have been called, but I have seen several accounts of both those names. Lake Chatuge is large, a 7,000-acre lake straddling the North Carolina-Georgia state line. The dam is located about 121 miles from of the mouth of the Hiwassee River where it meets the Tennessee River. It was first known as the Fowler Bend Dam inasmuch as the site is on Fowler Bend where the Fowler Family settled in 1853 and lived from more then 60 years.
Walking along Chatuge Dam one can check out the information about Quanassee Town on the reverse side of the existing kiosk at the dam. The sign contains a 1721 English map with the location of Quanassee and other Cherokee communities that were in the upper Hiwassee River Valley, along with the description of a typical Cherokee town.
So there you have it, another place along the Cherokee history trail that I need to go to sooner than later. Maybe I can find some great information about the families, both Cherokee and European.
Make a day to visit the dam yourself. Some of the links above have shown you the many sites you can go to from there.
Thank you for spending a little part of your day with us and as always
Welcome to the Mountains