Posted by: ushistoryfiles | June 23, 2009

New Echota – Georgia

Last week my in-laws were in town and since my father-in-law is interested in Native American history we thought we would take a ride down to New Echota in Georgia.  You can imagine our disappointment when we discovered it was closed.  According to Joe Yeager with Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites a budget cut of 39% (yes, 39%) has forced many of the parks to transition to a Thursday-Friday-Saturday schedule.  (Unfortunately, it was a Wednesday when we made our journey.)  So a big hefty BOO goes out to the State of Georgia for (in addition to starting all the trouble with the Cherokee in the 1800s) cutting the budget on important historic parks.

New Echota is located at the junction of the Coosawattee and Conasauga rivers.  Originally named Newtown, the Cherokee council began meeting there annually in 1819.  A November 12, 1825 resolution made Newtown the capital of the Cherokee nation and the name was changed to New Echota.  It evolved into a planned community with about 50 residents, wide streets, and a town square.  Sadly, on December 29, 1835 the “Treaty of New Echota” was signed that ceded all Cherokee land east of the Mississippi for lands in Oklahoma.  The foundation for the “Trail of Tears” was laid.

Here are a few photos from one of my previous visits to New Echota.

Picture_0542This is the print shop.  Thanks to the efforts of Sequoyah the Cherokee became the 1st Native American tribe with a written language.  A weekly newspaper the Cherokee Phoenix was printed here from 1828-1834 by Elias Boudinot and Elijah Hicks.

Picture_0543Picture_0548Here we have the Vann Tavern.  James Vann built this tavern about 1805 near the Chattahoochee River in Forsyth County, Georgia.  It served travellers along the old Federal Road and was moved to New Echota in 1955.

Picture_0554Last we have the Worcester House.  Samuel Worcester was a Presbyterian minister/missionary who had this structure built in 1828.  It is the only original building to survive at New Echota.  It served as a mission station and the Worcester family home.  Arrested in 1831 by the State of Georgia because he refused to obtain a permit to live among the Cherokee, Worcester took the case all the way to the US Supreme Court.  The Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee, but the State of Georgia ignored the court and continued to steal Cherokee land.  Worcester would go west as the Cherokee were forced to Oklahoma.

For more details on the Cherokee and removal check out:

Ehle, John.  Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation

Wilkins, Thurman.  Cherokee Tragedy

Woodward, Grace Steele. The Cherokees

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