Cherokee Villages Near Pine Log Mountain
Royce Map (1887). Note Pine Log Village, Long Swamp Village, Hickory Log Village, Red Bank Village all surrounding Pine Log Mountain.
Map courtesy of Library of Congress.
Cherokee Villages on the Royce Map
The Royce Map (1887) shows the location of the Cherokee villages in and around Pine Log Mountain and the Etowah River: Pine Log Village north of the mountain; Long Swamp, Hickory Log, Red Bank,Sixes, and Two Runs villages along the Etowah; and New Echota, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, to the Northwest near what is now the city of Calhoun.
Not shown here is the village of Lost Town, located in the valley that was flooded in the 1960s to create what is now Lake Arrowhead, about three miles Southwest of Waleska.
Cherokee villages were all located along creeks and rivers. Lost Town was along Shoal Creek, while Pine Log Village consisted of about 20 lodges along Pine Log Creek. Many Cherokee also lived along Stamp Creek, on the south side of the Mountain.
Shoal Creek Cherokee in the 1835 Cherokee Census
This page from the Oklahoma transcription of the Cherokee census of 1835 shows just a small number of the Cherokee who lived near Pine Log Mountain before the Trail of Tears in 1838.
Shoal Creek flows past Reinhardt University and along the east side of Pine Log Mountain, down to the Etowah River.
Waleska and Lake Arrowhead now sit where many of these Cherokee lived.
Elizabeth Hunt Gunter Schrimsher
Elizabeth Hunt Gunter Schrimsher was a Cherokee woman born in 1804 and the grandmother of the famous comedian Will Rogers. Will Rogers had roots in the Cherokee Nation in North Georgia and was descended from Chief James Vann and the Cherokee Rogers family who operated ferries on the Chattahoochee River.
Elizabeth Schrimsher was actually born in the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, not in North Georgia, but this rare early photograph allows us to visualize the people who lived in the Pine Log Mountain area before they departed on the Trail of Tears in 1838.
Elizabeth Hunt Gunter Schrimsher.
Photo Courtesy Reinhardt University Archives.
The Johnson Thompson House
The Johnson Thompson house in Rydal (Pine Log), Georgia, is one of the few remaining Cherokee structures in Georgia. Located along what is now U.S. Route 411, which used to be called the Tennessee Road or the Sally Hughes Road, the house was owned by a mixed-blood Cherokee man named Johnson Thompson, who owned 60 acres.
Johnson Thompson went on the Trail of Tears with his family.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Bishop.
Nathaniel Reinhardt, son of white settlers Lewis and Jane Reinhardt, described in his diary how the Cherokee near Pine Log Mountain were rounded up, first taken to the Fort Buffington stockade and then sent on the Trail of Tears, westward to Oklahoma.
They camped on the Reinhardt property on their first night on the Trail.
“In the spring, many U.S. Soldiers were passing through the country for the purpose of collecting and removing the Cherokee Indians to the West. They frequently lodged at night at Father’s.
Saw old Foekiller [Fourkiller], a neighbor Indian, just after he had been arrested by the soldiers, who were carrying him to Fort Buffington. They treated him rather cruelly, which excited my sympathies very much in his favor. The old Indian desired to see my father, who solicited better treatment in his behalf. He left all his keys with Father. After the Indians had been collected by the soldiers and started on their final march off, they came near our house the first night and camped.”
Fourkiller and The Indian Removal
In 1889, an Atlanta journalist named Belle Kendrick Abbot conducted oral history interviews about the 1838 Indian Removal now known as the Trail of Tears, publishing a series of articles in The Atlanta Constitution newspaper. In this excerpt, she tells of the Indian Removal in Waleska.
[Note: Throughout, she misspelled the Reinhardt family name as Rheinhardt, which has been corrected here. She also spelled Waleska as Walesca, an older spelling no longer used.]
"When the time of removal came, the Indians around what is now Walesca opposed going away. Some of them stoutly refused, and ran into the woods. It so happened that Mr. Reinhardt was absent from home that day. The enrolling officer called upon Mrs. Reinhardt to speak to some of the men, and urge them to obey the law. She did so.
"A man named Fourkiller, who had declared he would die before he would be captured, and who had sent his family into the woods, at last yielded. He took Mrs. Reinhardt to one side and gave her the keys to his cabins, and told her where his family and the other fugitives were concealed. If she would go to a certain spot and whistle with her fist in a certain way they would all come up.
"When Mr. Reinhardt came back these instructions were obeyed and all the hidden-out Indians came to light. He explained the situation to them and promised to accompany them to Fort Buffington and see that no harm was done them. This promise satisfied them, and soon a crowd of them, headed by Mr. Reinhardt, struck out for the fort. They could not walk the road, but went by trails through the woods.
"As they neared the fort suddenly they all halted and held an excited consultation and refused to go further. By persuasion they soon made known to Mr. Reinhardt that they had heard the drum beating in the fort, and were afraid. Mr. Reinhardt assured them, but before moving a step, they began to unpack the bundle of stuff they had with them, from which they took about two pounds of gunpowder and gave it to Mr. Rheinhardt to keep, saying they were afraid to take it into the fort themselves. Then reassured they went on into the fort.
"Fourkiller asked for four days of grace, in which to dispose of his things as he chose, and obtained it by Mr. Reinhardt standing as his security for his appearance.
"When old, the Cherokee Walesca went off. He left his name behind him in the settlement where he lived."
Photo credit: Donald Campbell, Cherokee Tribune Ledger News
Melanie and Paisley Fourkiller, descendants of the Fourkiller family that lived in what became Waleska, return to their ancestral homeland in November 2019 to help dedicate a Cherokee history exhibit at Reinhardt University's Funk Heritage Museum.
Photo credit John Stanton, Fortwiki.com
The Fort Marr Blockhouse in Tennessee is one of the few remaining structures used in the Trail of Tears. In 1838, all of the Cherokee people living in Georgia and the other Southern states were rounded up and interned in forts, then forced to walk, or taken along rivers, a thousand miles to Oklahoma on what is called the Trail of Tears.
Of the 16,000 who started West, 4,000 perished along the way.
Near Pine Log Mountain, Fort Buffington and Fort Sixes were the Removal forts.
Photo courtesy of fortwiki.com.