Historic Markers Across Georgia

American Indian Occupation of the Area

Marker ID:  
Location: At the Lee and Gordon Mansion, 217 Cove Rd (GA 341), Chickamauga, GA
County: Walker
Coordinates: N 34° 52.241    W 085° 17.610
  34.87068333    -85.2935
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMCA0D
American Indian Occupation of the Area Marker  


There were humans living in what is now Walker County is early is around 10,000 B.C. For thousands of years people subsisted through hunting and gathering of wild plant foods. The Middle Woodland period (ca. 200 B.C. - 400 B.C.) was marked by distinctive ceramic, lithic, and architectural complexes as well as a series of elaborate burial complexes. These are the people who built the stone walls and mounds in Georgia. They may have been ancestors of the historic Yuchi people. The Cherokees cleared some of the lands in the fork made by the spring stream and the Chickamauga Creek, about four or five acres, which was as much as they usually cultivated. In the "Fork-field," as it was known, are a number of mounds built by earlier people of whom the Cherokees knew nothing. This was James Gordon's first home.

The major disruption in the Earth's climate caused by the Krakotoa eruption in 535 A.D. that led to the end of the Middle Woodland culture also had a strong impact on western Mexico. Four groups of Muskogee speaking people left the area and began slowly moving toward the east. Around 900 A.D. they reached Georgia and began building large platform mounds, similar to the stone pyramids of Mexico. For much of the next 600 years the local area was a part of the major Muskogee complex known as the Paramount Chiefdom of Coosa that extended from upper East Tennessee to central Alabama. While there are no large sites presently known in Walker County, there could be a number of small farmsteads from this period. There was also a Yuchi presence in the local area during this time. The Tuskegee/Napochin presents should be also considered. The Muskogee subgroup known as the Koasati have the greatest probability of cultural affiliation to sites from this time in the local area. This culture broke up due to population decline is the result of European and African diseases introduced by the Spanish during the sixteenth century. Most of the people moved further south and became a part of the Muskogee Creek Confederacy.

For the short period of 1776 to 1838, the dominant Native people in the local area were Cherokee. In the early part of the nineteenth century, the Cherokee adopted a Republican form of government, and divided their nation into eight civil districts. The local district was called the Chickamauga District, and the courthouse for this unit was located and Crawfish Springs. This facility functioned from around 1821 until the general Indian removal. The structure was described as a "double log house" located just above the spring. The Cherokee population of what is now Walker County was never large and it should be noted that the Cherokee farms and houses would have been substantially the same as white farms of the day. One of these was a log farmhouse located in what was called the "fork-field" near Crawfish Spring.

After the Cherokee were removed from the area, the courthouse was used for the first county seat of Walker County. According to Sartain: "The first court of Walker County was held in this building, Judge Hooper presiding. A man named Claude Smith was tried and convicted of murdering two Indians; he was hanged on a gallows erected on the north side of the hill above the spring. This was the first legal hanging to occur in the County."

Historic Chickamauga Georgia


American Indian Occupation of the Area


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