Gordon County – Home of the Cherokee

Untitled Gordon County - Home of the Cherokee

According to the Gordon County Website,

The Cherokee Indians originally occupied all lands that would become Gordon County. The Gordon County area was home to New Echota, capital of the Cherokee Nation from 1825 to 1835. New Echota was the birthplace of the written Cherokee language and newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix. Even while Cherokees remained on their homeland, the Georgia General Assembly enacted legislation in December 1830 that provided for surveying the Cherokee Nation and dividing it into sections, districts, and land lots. Subsequently, the Georgia legislature identified this entire area as ”Cherokee County” (even though it never functioned as a county). An act of the General Assembly on December 3, 1832 divided the Cherokee lands into ten new counties – Cass (later renamed Bartow), Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding, and Union. Cherokee lands were distributed to whites in a land lottery, but the Georgia legislature temporarily prohibited whites from taking possession of lots on which Cherokees still lived.

It was not until December 29, 1835 that Georgia had an official basis for claiming the unceded Cherokee lands that included the future location of Gordon County. In the Treaty of New Echota, a faction of the Cherokees agreed to give up all Cherokee claims to land in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina and move west in return for $5,000,000. Though a majority of Cherokees opposed the treaty and refused to leave, the United States and Georgia governments considered it binding. In 1838, U.S. Army troops rounded up the last of the 15,000 Cherokees in Georgia and forced them to march west in what came to be known as the infamous “Trail of Tears.”

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