The Cherokee were the early people of Johnson County
Perhaps when we are considering early Johnson County history, in particular the first inhabitants of the county, we tend to think of explorers and settlers such as John Honeycutt, James Robertson, Daniel Boone and others who once blazed trails through the wilderness that became Johnson County or even settled here.
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#1 Jun 20, 2012
Am extremely proud of my ancestors!
#2 Jun 21, 2012
The Cherokee and Eurotrash are both recent comers. Cherokee came from great lakes about 1200 AD and the first Eurotrash in late 1700's. This area has been lived in for at least 11,000 years.
#3 Jun 24, 2012
Actually, I do not believe your post,
nope, I do not!
Course ya might have been digging for your info for
Since: Oct 11
#4 Jun 25, 2012
You think he's been "digging" for that long & that's the best he could come up with???
Wow! He's a little slow, to put it mildly!
Maybe, he's just talking about HIS ancestors! Now, that I can believe! Lol!
#5 Jul 9, 2012
As far as I know, the Cherokee never lived in Johnson County in any organized settlements. They may have passed through to hunt or trade, but that was about it, and only then pretty recently (after 1567).
There was a tribe of Native Americans who lived in this area, but they were very fierce and warlike. They were called the "Chiska". The Cherokee didnt like to interact with them, and stayed away.
They had a town on the upper Watauga River, and one in what is now Saltville, Virginia. But they were wiped out by an expedition from the Spanish Army, in the year 1567.
This was part of the expedition led by Captain Juan Pardo. The Spanish warband that wiped out the Chicsa town on the Watauga River was led by a Sergent Moyano, who had a small contingent of Conquistadores, Spanish war dogs, and about 2000 Catawba warriors.
This case is well documented in the Spanish "Archivos des Indies" in Seville, Spain.
After that, the Cherokee didnt move inand settle the former lands of the Chiska, who were all but wiped out.
Which explains why, when the first Scots-Irish and English settlers came into this area in the mid 1700s, they found old evidences of Native settlements and lots of old artifacts, but no active towns.
The Native peoples had been largely destroyed by the Spanish, 200 years before. And then the trees and forrest grew over the former town sites, and the story was lost to history until recent times.
#6 Jul 9, 2012
This is mostly correct. The earliest people here were probably the Folsom people who were wanderers and hunter gatherers. The residents after that phase up to about 700 years ago were simply referred to in most texts as "Early Woodland Indians". The Cherokee are very recent. Their capital, Atocha,( various spellings) is about 135 miles from here.
#7 Jul 9, 2012
The local farmers often find curious ammounts of ancient native weaponry in concentrations, in a small area such as a field. Often these concentrations do not yield up much in the way of pottery, or scrapers, or any other manifestations of settlements.
Just lots and lots of weapons, and usually in the same strata.
That makes me think that what we are finding there, is a battlefield.
It has been suspected by scholars that there was some great war around the year 1200 AD, in where the Woodland tribes were pushing out the Meso-American tribes.This was a gradual North pushing South advance.
But then the Spaniards came in and totally upset everything. European diseases wiped out many thousands of Natives, andeliminated entire tribes from the power balance. Hernando de Soto left a sick make with a native tribe, which all but resulted in total wipe out.
And so,a great deal of evidence was lost in the 16th century. And the Anglo-Scots didnt settle in this area for another 200 years. So vast ammounts of knowledge were lost in that intervening two hundred years.
It would probably be prudent for us to toss out some long assumed truths (like the Cherokee being the first people to live in Johnson County), and just start over.
Archaeology is probably our best bet here, since so much has been lost from other sources.
#8 Jul 10, 2012
Agreed. And I think we should probably take a serious look at Native American origins. There is very strong evidence of at least two migrations, probably three. Over land from Europe and Siberia and by boat by the Ryukans from what is now Japan. Most artifacts date from 14,500 yrs ago to present. However, though contested, there has recently been some fire pits dated to 50,000 years ago. I thinks it's possible people came then and at some point went extinct with new people arriving in the later time period. To my knowledge no Neanderthal or other non-human remains have been found. Also sea levels are much higher now. Since people tend to concentrate along the coast, much of the ancient artifacts remaining are probably underwater.
#9 Jul 10, 2012
Oh yeas, I agree on archaeology being our best tool, at least till someone invents a time machine!
#10 Jul 10, 2012
It may be that our dating instruments are the weakest link in the inventory of historical study.
The caron 14 methods have many variables, one of which is that we need to calibrate the machines on a certain location, with an item of a generally agreed on age.
The calibration can be somewhat subjective.
But, politics and national sensitivites sometimes enter into the equation too, where calibration of the machines is concerned. An assumed dating calibration scheme for the machines, may be pursuant to a particular theory one wishes to prove.
A case in point.
There are some parts of the Cherokee people (living in Mexico) that have oral historys that states that the ancient people who would later become the Cherokee came over from Europe (the entire pre-Cherokee people) on ships they made there. They do have some items of antiquity that they would no doubt wish to provide a date range which might conflict with supporters of a different theory.
Other parts of the Cherokee may go pretty much in lock step with the bearing straight theory, so as to not appear to question what is percieved by them to be modern science.
Other groups of Cherokee feel they might be decended from ancient Israel, and items found in association with the Bat Creek Cave Stone, and the Semetic writing found on it, might get a different assumed date, and thus the calibration might be done so as to produce a different age.
Yet still other groups find arrowheads such as from the Clovis points, and they point to the exact same sort of arrowhead being found in France and North America, from the strata that some say is the same age, others may say not be.
That would go against the Bearing Straight Theory.
And so, since the machines can give different results based on the calibration schemes, we have a problem to deal with sometimes.
And so, when we see so much political and social pressure placed on these types of dating methods,we can make mistakes sometimes.
BTW, is anybody familiar with the "Lake Hole Cave", a Native historic site in Johnson County that was plundered by grave robbers about 20 years ago?
Here is a link to the scientific study that was done after the fact.
SCIENCE VERSUS GRAVE DESECRATION: THE SAGA OF LAKE ...
Too bad there was so much damage done there. But I got the impression from reading this paper, that there wasnt really anything found in there to support the theory of any of it being of Cherokee origins.
More of a Meso-American feel to it, isnt it?
#11 Jul 10, 2012
Most of what we think we know about this areaa native culture is a collection of assumptions and myths.
For a beter look into what this area was like before the Anglo-Scots came here, can be found from the Spanish archives in Seville, Spain.
(Seville was the principle port of communication to the New World, BTW).
The Spanish scribes who went with the expeditions of the Conquest period were some of the best trained scribes in the world. There was an organization in Spain called the "Casa de Contratation" that trained these men in such things as navigation, map making, and so on. Also, expert metal smiths and gem smiths usually went with the expeditions.
That is because the Spanish explorers of the 16th century were all business. They were professional plunderers and conquerors in their day, and it was all very systematic and scientific.
We are fortunate to be able to read the record of the Juan Pardo expedition into this area in 1567, as the principle scribe who went with this expedition was a man named Juan de la Banderas. He was apprently a hand picked scribe (by the Spanish king himself) that went with the Pardo expedition.
You see, this was part of the Spanish territory then known as La Florida, and the Spanish had it in mind to come up to the Carolinas and the mountains of our region to stay. They even moved the capital of Spanish La Florida from the St Augustine are, to a place called Santa Helena, where Paris Island is today.
So, Pardo was exploring this area, building forts, and establishing claims for certain individuals on the silver and gem mines they were finding in this area, as is denoted in their expedition reports.
They were doing this to protect these claims from future rival claims. The Spaniards were serious about making money and getting rich. That is why their reports read as they do. They were not just stumbling about in the bushes like English explorers tended to do. The Spaniards were much more exact and systematic.
And from the Spanish accounts, it is clear beyond any question that the Cherokee did not live in this area. They lived further west, in fortified towns, and on an island if they could.
That is because the tribe that did live here (Chisca) were exceptionally warlike, and kept the Cherokee under a great deal of military pressure and raiding thier settlements further west.
The last place the Cherokee would have wanted to build a town would have been in whats now Johnson County.
We should be teaching about the Chicka tribe in our local schools, as it was they that lived here in the 16th century. Here is a quick link to the story...
So, we can see beyond any doubt that Johnson County was not the historical homeland of the Cherokee. It was the Chicka that lived in this area. But, what to look for?
How about their symbols on artifacts?
Now, how about this mysterious Chiska town on the upper Watauga River.Could it be near where Old Butler once stood?
#12 Jul 10, 2012
For just a little bit more on this, the Spaniard who sent out the Pardo expedition was a fellow named Menendez de Avilles, founder of St Augustine, and organizer of the Treasure Fleets and even helped to develop the galeons. For those who may not exactly know what a galeon was...
Galeón Andalucía en el Mar de la China - YouTube
► 2:19► 2:19
We are only recently finding archaeological evidence which confirms the Spanish accounts of travels and expeditions into this area in the 1500s.
Here is a link to the Spanish archaeological site near Morganton, NC...
The History of the Berry site
So, its interesting, isnt it? Was the Chiska village once named Guapare, now under the waters of Watauga Lake?
#13 Jul 23, 2012
Were you proud of them when your grandfathers raped, and murdered them?
#14 Jul 23, 2012
I think you must have just shot up. The guy said he was proud of his Cherokee ancestors. After all everybody in East Tennessee likes to claim Cherokee heritage, even though most of them have very little or no info which will confirm that. When I ask they can rarely ever provide names etc. and go vague on me. To be a real Cherokee recognized by the Govt. you need to prove a direct descendancy from a person on the Dawes roles. I have no less than five. BTW people always have been and always will be raped and murdered in some fashion. Race has very little to do with that. Its human nature. Cherokees have traditionally held slaves, first other tribes then blacks, and raided other tribes for material goods and territory. Cherokee unwisely fought with the British in the Revolutionary war which caused a lot of heartburn among settlers leading to even more abuse. Then they formed a Division for the Confederate calvary under General Stand Wate in the Civil War. Just kept picking the losing sides!
#15 Jul 23, 2012
There was another Confederate unit that had a lot of Cherokees in it. It was called "Thomas;s Legion"
It actually saw a lot of service in East Tennessee.
Perhaps one reason why so many people in this area claim Cherokee ancestry is because its probably true. Appalachia is a unique place, in that it was prety much isolated for 200 years. It was like the first Anglo-Scots settlers came in, and slammed the door shut behind them. And it stayed much like that until after WWII.
So, here is how it can be explained. The very first Anglo-Scots arrivals were the long hunters and trading post opperators. They usually did take a Cherokee wife.
They largely stayed here. And then the rest of the Anglo-Scots settlers of the 1700s came in. Over time, the decendents of the long hunters and traders intermarried with just about all of the rest of the old families of Appalachia.
Thus, one single Cherokee wife of a long hunter in the 1700s, might be an ancestor to 100 different families of Appalachians today.
Thats because just about all of the old families up here are related to each other one way or another.
#16 Jul 24, 2012
What you say is true Say that was 10 generations ago. It was probably more like 15 if is the 1700s. But at 10 generations you would have 2*10 ancestors in that one generation. If one of them was Cherokee you would be 1/1024th Cherokee. Most of us can find 1/1024th in most any nationality or race in the world.Go back 20 generations and there are more than 1 million ancestors. However Cherokee is a racial characteristic. You can verify Cherokee, or at least native American, racial content by looking for 4 distinct genomes found only in Native Americans. I did that. It costs about $200 but it is well worth it.
But back to the real question - what is a Cherokee? There is definitely a racial aspect. However being a Cherokee, especially in the traditional sense, is more a cultural thing. I have seen people use it to try to get welfare, casino shares, and small business preference.
The "Anglo Scots" you refer to are what I call Scots-Irish - like D. Boone and D.Crockett. During the Revolution, one of the most active Indians, was a local Cherokee Chief named John Watts. He was only 1/8 Cherokee, or at least 1/8 Indian but did not even speak English! He killed many, many settlers for the Brits.. Another is Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee alphabet. He was 1/2 Cherokee, the son of an English trader named Candy. Again he spoke no English until he was older. It can be argued with a good case that there is no such thing as a real Cherokee.
#17 Jul 24, 2012
BTW I am of the opinion that you cannot be both a Christian and a Traditional Cherokee at the same time.I would expand that to say none of tew Western montheistic religions reflect traditional Cherokee values. To believe the things they believed, you have to be a pagan. By pagan I am not referring to the Druids or other European traditions but to not having a single God. To be a traditional Cherokee you must be open to the possibility that bugs could at one time talk! Despite that I must also say that we really dont know a lot about traditional Cherokee religion. If you can find a copy I recommend reading a historical book called "Old Frontiers" by a guy from Johnson City named John Brown. It is very hard to find and someone stole the ETSU library copy. Its a fascinating account of the interactions between the Cherokee and early settlers. If your family is from here you will almost certainly find someone from your family tree mentioned. The settlers just went nuts at some of the Cherokee customs like eating the hearts of people they killed in battle. Their way of life was definitely not compatible with Christian beliefs.
#18 Jul 24, 2012
Yes, and that makes me think of a Cheif named "Double head", who also practiced canibalism on the setlers of East Tennessee. Quite a shocker, that was.
Lots of folks know about Little Carpenter and Dragging Canoe, but double head is lesser known.
I find it interesting that the "three sisters" planting method is usually considered a taboo up here among the locals. It is a no-no, even to this day. The local farmers just wont do it, and usually act prety defensive when it is even mentioned.
I think that might be a cultural holdover from a forgotten time.
And yeah, having one Cherokee ancestor from 250 years (10 generations ago) will not get one on the Dawes rolls, but it is still good for some bragging rights, I suppose.
Funny how having some Cherokee ancestry dont seem to have ever been anything to have been ashamed of around here, even in the old days. Unlike the rest of the nation, the old legends of a distant Cherokee ancestor were proudly passed down on the front porche family talking sessions, through all these many generations.
Young kids listened to the aged grandfathers, and thus the oral traditions of Appalachian culture were handed down over these 10 generations.
Interesting, isnt it?
And yes, the Scots-Irish were the same people as the Anglo-Scots. I like to use the term Anglo-Scots, because the settlers were pretty well mixed together by the time they got up here.
The Presbyterian Church was the national Church of Scotland, and the Baptist were English in origin. But the two churches of that time had a religion (strong Calvinist) that were nearly identical in doctrine.
But the Baptist used circuit riders, where one preacher could cover half a dozen churches. Often a new Baptist Church would spring up in every holler, every few miles or so (walking distance). They often started with the locals meeting in someones house or barn for services.
The Presbyterians tended to not found a Church until there were enough of a congregation in a community to justify one.
So the Baptist denomination grew faster. And the Scots-Irish quickly intermeshed with the Baptist (English) and intermarriages were common. And so I use the term "Anglo-Scots".
Explains why there are so many Baptist Churches up here, in the land of the Scots-Irish.
There really wasnt anything Irish about the Scots-Irish. They were Scots who were shipped to Ulster (Northern Ireland) by the English monarchy to lessen the grip of Catholicism in Ireland. That was called the Ulster Plantation.
But the Ulster Scots (Scots-Irish) were themselves the victims of religious persecution while in Ulster. The British Parliament passed the "Penal Acts" of 1718. Unless they converted to the Anglican (Church of England), then their marriages were not legal, they couldnt inherrit anything, etc etc.
These staunch Presbyterian Scots werent about to convert to the Church of England, so off to America they went in droves.
And they eventually settled here (out of reach of British authority). This was beyond the proclamation line of 1763, and thus not officially in the British Empire.
They did actually work out a lease for the land, starting in 1775. They leased it from the Cherokee for 10 years.
But the Revolution negated the lease, as the Cherokee sided with the British.
(I dont think the Scots-Irish even intended to give it back anyway).
And there we have it, the story of the first Anglo-Scots settlers in this area.
Quite a mess, wasnt it?
#19 Jul 24, 2012
Yes and very complex and poorly documented. I love digging into that era in this part of the country. Ever hear of a cannibal Cherokee named RedHead?
You wrote: Funny how having some Cherokee ancestry dont seem to have ever been anything to have been ashamed of around here, even in the old days. Unlike the rest of the nation, the old legends of a distant Cherokee ancestor were proudly passed down on the front porche family talking sessions, through all these many generations.
Thats why we had the trail of tears? After the removal one of my ancestors pretended to be part black. Blacks cold legally stay, whites could not. The relationships here between Indians and whites created a unique culture.
#20 Jul 24, 2012
Correction: blacks could legally stay, Cherokee could not.
I have a friend descended from Jessee Chisholm, Cherokee slave trader from Knoxville who went west as a scout/diplomat fter the civil war.
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