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Lower Cherokee Settlements-

Lower Cherokee Settlements

Some History of The Lower Cherokee Settlements

Below: Composite Map from 1823 Tanner maps which showed Indian Territory after 1819. Note that white counties have surrounded the Cherokees and Creeks. By now, the Overhill and Valley Towns are all that is left of the old Nation in North and South Carolina. They are now called the Upper Towns and the newer towns in north Alabama and Georgia are called the Lower Towns. The Creek Nation joined the Cherokee lands below the text: Cherokee Boundary 1830.

SOUTH CAROLINA
A Short History 1520-1948

By DAVID DUNCAN WALLACE

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA PRESS · COLUMBIA

The Cherokees Join South Carolina. –Vital was the attitude of the Cherokees. They had so far taken little part beyond the murder of a few traders. The nation wavered for months. Maurice Moore with 300 men was sent up the eastern side of the Savannah River into the heart of the Lower Cherokee settlements. The Lower Cherokees were for helping the English, but there were great searchings of heart, especially among the Middle Towns in the Little Tennessee Valley. Creeks lurked in the forest to fall upon the white men as diplomacy strove in the council house. An act of passionate impulse decided the crisis in favor of the Carolinians when, on January 27, 1716, the Creek envoys were suddenly slain and the red stick of war was dispatched through the villages.

The war thus entered upon its third phase. The Lower Creeks, unable to stand before the Cherokee-Carolina combination, withdrew from their homes in central Georgia back to the Chattahoochee. Winning the friendship of the Cherokees, Governor Craven considered winning the war. He sailed April 23, 1716, leaving Colonel Robert Daniel deputy governor. Daniel’s skill in the war and his assistance in long-needed legislation won the praise of even the enemies he had made in the factional quarrels of former years. Skulking murders were common into the mid-summer of 1717. For £960 currency Governor Daniel bought for frontier garrisons thirty-two of the Scottish rebels being sold into servitude for the rebellion of 1715 and urged the public to buy more from others soon to arrive.

The Cherokees proved invaluable allies. They brought numerous tribes to make peace and put an end to the supplying of other Indians with arms by the Cheraws, who were actively in trade in Virginia. The ugly business charged against Virginia traders of seeking to engross South Carolina’s old Indian trade during her prostration was a feature of the long and bitter rivalry for this lucrative business.

The Cherokees knew their advantage, and “the last time they were here” in Charles Town in January, 1717, “they insulted us to the last degree, and indeed by their demands (with which we were forced to comply) made us their tributaries.” The Cherokees had saved the colony, even though at the cost of its humiliation. They had acted shrewdly in their own interest, for the spirit of the whites laid them under no obligation to act otherwise. All Indians were merely pawns in the white man’s game of trade and empire.

Peace with the Creeks formally closed the war. The Creek “Emperor” Brims was shrewdly playing his policy of keeping the French, the Spaniards, and the English all suitors for Creek support by keeping on good terms with all but in subjection to none. This very summer of 1717 the French built Fort Toulouse in the heart of the Upper Creek country, and seven Lower Creek chiefs went to Mexico and swore allegiance to Spain. In November, 1717, the last treaty with the Creeks, closing the Yemassee War, was signed in Charles Town; but how precarious a peace it was the next ten years were to show.