Now You See It

I can remember as a girl my mom talking about how they used to follow behind the plow in order to gather the arrowheads as my grandfather was preparing the garden. She said that they were plentiful back then. This wasn’t the case when I was growing up in Happy Valley. The only arrowhead that I found was a small milky quartz in a branch on our property. In school, I learned a little about the history of the Cherokee Indians and their village of Chota which seemed so far away but wasn’t since it was the next county over, Monroe. Looking back, it probably didn’t cover as much as it should have but considering who wrote the history, European descendants, I’m not surprised; to the victor goes the spoils as they say. While doing research for the blog, I discovered that there were at least two Cherokee towns/villages within only a couple of miles from where I grew up, Chilhowee and Tallassee.  timberlake-map-from-book

There were numerous villages along the Little Tennessee River but none have been recreated since most of the original sites are under the water of man-made lakes.  We have a difficult enough time to trying preserve the historic places of the European descendants so why should it be any different for Native Americans. By not doing so, it perpetuates our reluctance in acknowledging a very ugly part of our history, The Trail of Tears.  However, there is the Sequoyah Museum in Monroe County that is run by the East Band of the Cherokke, not far from a replica of the 18th Century fort built by the British during the French and Indian War, Fort Loudon

While doing some research about these places, I came across this memoir by Lt. Henry Timberlake, where this map is taken from,,  It’s his account as an emissary for Great Britain, in order to try to improve relations with the Cherokee.  This occurred during the winter of 1761-62.  It mentions that the Holston river was frozen.  He also wrote that he became rather sick from their tobacco.


What started this obsession was the draining of Chilhowee Lake which is obviously named after the Cherokee village  I’m really bad about researching something to death which takes me forever to post.  I guess I’m bit obsessive compulsive.  2 years ago or so, they had to drain the lake in order to repair it because it was leaking.  I think that they have repaired it now and the lake will be allowed to fill again.  With it drained, you can see remnants of the old 129 highway,  Abrams Creek Bridge, building foundations, old cars, etc.   The old Chilhowee and Tallassee sites were exposed and there were numerous warnings posted to not venture out onto the lakebed looking for artifacts.


Repair site of Chilhowee dam


Rapid area of the Little TN River



The original Little Tennessee River bed


Another view, this time to the left, of Chilhowee


To the right is the site of the Chilhowee Cherokee town. To the left Abrams Creek Bridge

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