Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cohutta Springs in the 1830s

Before the 1830s, Cohutta Springs (if it was so named) was still located within the Cherokee Nation. On early maps, the place name was located on the Old Federal Road, which forked at Chief Vann's plantation in Spring Place. The early maps are so generalized that the location of the place name can't easily be compared to modern maps. One branch of the Old Federal Road ran northwest toward Rossville, and the other, northeast, crossing the state line at Tennga, going past Chief David McNair's home in Tennessee. (See notes, below).*

The mineral springs in the eastern section would have been used as a watering place for people traveling along the Old Federal Road. The word "Cohutta" is said to be Cherokee for "poles of the shed" (such as the Cohutta Mountains, referring to poles which hold up the sky). However, it is not known whether the mineral springs bore this place name in these earliest times. There may have already been a grist mill near the springs even in the 1830s, but this is speculation. Not much is known about the very early history of Cohutta Springs.

In the late 1820s and early 1830s, the Cherokee Nation was pressured by the State of Georgia to give up all Cherokee lands within the boundaries of the state. Cherokees were told to move and were given a grace period. The date of forcible removal was set for May 1838. The U.S. Post Office established a branch at Cohutta Springs in 1836, before the removal. The location of the post office was near western Cohutta Springs (five miles west of the mineral springs).

Early deeds in Murray County usually specify county land as "originally Cherokee now Murray County." Cherokee County was a large, undivided county in North Georgia, so named by the State during the era that the Cherokee lands were claimed and confiscated. One of the lots lying in Cohutta Springs is Murray County Land Lot 320 in the 27th District, 2nd Section, once owned by James Edmondson. Further abstracts and look-ups in the land lottery books show that it was first granted (sold) to Thomas Clark on March 27, 1834, who sold it to James Morris in 1835. Edmondson acquired it after the land lottery.

The Trail of Tears, or Cherokee Removal in this area occurred in 1838. The minor chiefs who opposed John Ross and signed the Treaty of New Echota had tried to negotiate to allow Cherokees to remain in Georgia as Georgians, each keeping a homesteader's lot ~ but this clause was stricken by the president. Whether specific chiefs would have been the beneficiaries of this clause needs researching. Various participants in the treaty were later executed by the Cherokee government

For more on these topics, search Georgia History sites for the Act of December 21, 1830, Act of December 24, 1831, 1832 Georgia Land Lottery, and the 1838 Cherokee removal, or Trail of Tears. Also, here's a very good document (with references) that I found while doing a quick look-up on McNair's name: http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v011/v011p0927.html

*NOTES: Specific details about the Old Federal Road were gleaned from the Georgia DOT's document on the subject: 
I had to do a quick look-up to clarify that the Old Federal Road did run past McNair's.

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