I was going to go visit a couple of places today - Chief Vann House and the New Echota Cherokee Capital Historic Site. Chief Vann’s House is listed as a “Showplace of the Cherokee Nation”. The plantation was built in 1804. But, I remembered it was Easter Sunday and they probably wouldn’t be open, so will go Tuesday when they open next. When I go through Rome on my way to the Sequoyah Caverns on Thursday, I want to stop and see the Chieftains Museum and the Major Ridge Home
So today, Easter Sunday, I got caught up on email and my blog, did some reading and just enjoyed the sounds of nature around me while soaking up the sunshine. Tomorrow is laundry day (again), then Tuesday will venture north. Wednesday I have no plans yet.
Here are some Notes & Observations I have made: The pine trees like to cover everything with a yellow dust; I’ve seen lots of little girls with big hair bows (reminds me of when I was their age and mom tried the big bow look but my hair was too fine to keep the bows or clips in): I have learned to ignore the road mileage markers because they start over at each county line; drivers are polite here - not just to me because I am from another state - but to each other (speaking from experience of being “out in the country”) and it rubs off on you; drivers are generally not in a hurry and usually stay close to the posted speed limit 55 mph mostly (except on the Interstates I have been on).
My ants returned a couple of days later back at West Point Lake campground. They found one of the back stabilizers, went under the water tank somewhere, thru the passenger side storage area and up to my stove and from there did their exploring. Well, I told those still on board, when it was time to leave, they were in for a ride and a new destination. Have always wondered what they do in that situation. After I set up, a few still on board remembered how they got inside and exited down the stabilizer. I took care of that and today I haven’t seen one. They did get into my open box of Key Lime White Chocolate Chip cookies. Those were good cookies too. They didn’t like my open box of Walker’s Shortbread cookies though, whew thank heavens. I don’t share those with anyone or anything!
TICK SEASON. Monday (3/24) I just took a tick off of me. Looks like he hadn’t been attached to me too long. I did hear them say on the radio, last week, that tick season is expected to start earlier than normal because of the warmer weather. Wouldn’t know that this morning; but, hey it’s spring when you expect the fluctuations. Winter is still trying to hold on and Spring is butting Winter out. What was I just saying - it’s SNOWING outside! Let’s see, I just pulled a tick off of me and it’s snowing outside. Is that a classic oxymoron? And, the Weather Service, from my weather radio, is telling us that this area of the State is prime for dangerous fire weather conditions due to low humidity and high pressure conditions. I also discovered I was bitten by a spider or something to in the same vicinity.
TUESDAY, MARCH 25TH. Oh what a beautiful day to have a birthday. According to the weather folks, it got down to around mid-20’s here last night. Sure like that electric blanket, as I’ve said a number of times. Today I drove up to New Echota and near Chatsworth to see Cherokee Chief Vann’s house. I stopped and had a birthday breakfast at a Cracker Barrel - I just love their sugar ham and potato casserole.
I swear on the way up and back on I-75, I saw more semi-trucks than I see in a year on I-70 that goes through Kansas. Whoopee that’s a lot of trucks!
HISTORY TIME: New Echota was made the Cherokee Nation’s Capital in 1825. (Below: Town Council Building)In October, annual council meetings were held and this council selected its top-level officers. By 1830, the town had been surveyed and a planned community had around 50 residents. The 1835 Cherokee census stated that over 90 percent of the Cherokees lived in small cabins on farms and tilled an average of 11 acres of land. Fruit trees, vegetable gardens and cornfields usually surrounded the typical farmstead buildings.
In 1809, Sequoyah began developing the written form of the Cherokee language. In 1826 it was adopted by the Cherokee Council for use in their new newspaper called The Cherokee Phoenix. and it was printed in New Echota and was distributed through out the Cherokee Nation and parts of the US and Europe. (Picture left:Newspaper office, note papers drying on rafters)
Despite the Cherokee’s progress towards adopting a lifestyle similar to their non-Indian neighbors, conflict with the state and federal government officials increased during the first two decades of the 1800’s. During this time, many Cherokees moved west across the Mississippi River. In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the government to move forward on the removal of all remaining Indians east of the Mississippi River.
Georgia declared Cherokee laws void and annexed the Cherokee land as part of Georgia and passed prejudicial laws aimed at making life miserable for the Cherokee people. Cherokee land was surveyed, divided and given, via lottery, to Georgia citizens in 1832.
In 1835, a treaty was signed ceding all Cherokee lands, giving the Cherokees $5 million for their land and $300,000 for improvements on their land in the new land in Indian Territory (now known as Oklahoma). It was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson in 1836. The Cherokees had two years to vacate their lands. In 1838, federal troops rounded up all remaining Cherokees, placed them in stockades until October and November and then started them on an 800 mile route west through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois Missouri and Arkansas. They arrived in the early part of 1839. Their ordeal has become known as the Trail of Tears. There is an excellent Trail of Tears Museum in Tahlequah OK, if you ever get the chance to travel that way. My visit today focused on the plight of the Cherokee; but, there are 4 other tribes who had to be moved westward to Indian Territory and they are the Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws and the Seminoles. All five are referred to as the Five Civilized Tribes.
From New Echota I drove GA 225 to near Chatsworth where the Chief Vann House is located. During the 1790’s James Vann became a Cherokee Indian leader and very wealthy. He had a plantation covering 1000 acres. He had a number of businesses along the Federal Road through the Cherokee Nation that supported his lifestyle. (Right: Chief Vann House)
MORE HISTORY: After James Vann was murdered (he was reported to not have been a very nice man), he left everything to his son Joseph, who was 11 years old at the time. Joseph had other siblings at the time, but he inherited most of the estate. He was a better businessman than his father; but he also was a victim of the Indian removal from Georgia and had to give up everything. He, and his family, fled to Tennessee and then to Webber’s Fall Oklahoma. He received restitution from the Federal government and built another mansion, which was destroyed in the Civil War. He purchased a steamboat line that operated on various rivers. In 1844, he was onboard his new steamship, the Lucy Walker - named for a racehorse of his - near Louisville KY when they experienced engine trouble and the steam boilers exploded and he was killed along with 60 plus passengers.
What I found interesting in the Vann House are the colors used inside. When the house was being restored in the 1950’s, the original paint colors were found. They represent the earth tones - blue for sky, red for Georgia red earth, yellow for the sun, and green for the forests. They are found in a variety of combinations throughout the house.
The young man who took me personally through the house was very knowledgeable and it was nice to see that. He told me he grew up in the area, but like we do with attractions in own backyard, we don’t pay that much attention to them. When he started working at the Vann House, be had to learn things as the visitors were asking questions. So he became more interested and said that he really likes this kind of work. I did comment to him about the gourd birdhouses and that I see them all over. He said, that if you’ll notice the openings face north (they are suppose to according to tradition) and that is because the openings facing north showed the runaway slaves which direction to head for their freedom.
Oh what a good day. Sleep tight folks.
PS Thanks to the Georgia State Historical Society for the historical notes I used here.