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DAILY POST ATHENIAN/Sesqui-Centennial Edition, June 10, 1969, p. 10-D.

Starr Mtn. once western boundary of country.

In 1817 the U. S. Federal Government bought from the Cherokee Indians all the land between Hiwassee, Little Tennessee and Big Tennessee Rivers lying west of Starr Mountain and the foothills of the Smokies; and that part of Polk County lying north of the Hiwassee River. The old Cherokee capital, Echota, was on Tellico River below the Plains. The Cherokee towns on Valley River in North Carolina were called the Overhills Towns. This purchase of 1817 was called the Hiwassee Purchase. So Hiwassee River and Starr Mountain were the boundaries of the United States from 1817 to 1836.

Sometime after the purchase, the land was laid out in Townships and Sections which, according to history, was the first place ever be done so.

John Ross was Cherokee Chief for 40 years and lived in the vicinity of Chattanooga. Chattanooga was first called Ross' Landing, and the present town of Rossville was named for him. The Old Ross Home at Rossville it still standing. (Can be toured.)

Soon after the sale of the Hiwassee District the Federal Government began trying to buy the remainder of the Cherokee lands, but Ross persistently refused to consider a sale. 

The Cherokees were divided into two parties. A large majority of them followers of Ross and the minority party led by John Ridge. 

Failing to deal with Ross, a government representative held a meeting with the Ridge Party at Red Clay in Bradley County in December 1835 and contracted with that Party to buy all the remainder of the Cherokee Lands which extended from Hiwassee River to Chatahooche River in Georgia for the sum of five million dollars. Another meeting was held in June 1836 and the treaty was amended and another million dollars given for a school fund.

The treaty with the Ridge Party provided that the Indians vacate the land and move west to what was afterwards known as the Indian Territory. The Ridge Party complied with the treaty and moved west, but the Ross Party refused to move. The Federal Government finally sent troops into the territory and gathered them together, except in the mountains of North Carolina where there are still a goodly number of them."

Note: See The Trail of Tears articles elsewhere on web page.

Transcribed by: Bill Bigham


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