The story begins……Long before Nantahala Lake (which used to be called Aquone Lake) and where the Nantahala River flowed through the valley and was met by rushing Wines Springs Creek, was the small Cherokee Indian Village of Aquone. The Cherokee’s lived in peace in this area for 4,000 years in an area they called Nantahala (Land of the noonday sun) where they fished, hunted and farmed alongside the rolling banks of the Nantahala River. The Aquone village received many European visitors; Hernando de Soto in 1540 and William Bartram (Bartram Trail in 1774)
By the time the Civil War started there were several well-established communities of white settlers living on small farms. Like other parts of the Southern Appalachians, almost all were of Scots-Irish descent; the topography and remoteness reminded them of home. Small communities with names like Little Choga, Aquone (Cherokee: "by the river" or “where the two waters meet”), Otter Creek, Beechertown, Camp Branch and Briartown flourished with schools, churches, stores, lumber and corn mills. Many of the ‘new settlers’ married into the Cherokee families which brought peace to this newly formed community.
The picture was taken in 1893 on the front porch of the Moore house in
Aquone, NC. They had moved there in 1873 or so from Blount Co. TN.
Junaluska was a prominent leader who traveled to Washington and met with President Jackson and members of Congress to protest the Indian Removal policy. He was among the Cherokee in North Carolina who were forced from their homes in 1838. His home was a log dwelling between Aquone and Valleytown on what is now known as Junaluska Creek. After surviving the Trail of Tears, Junaluska returned to North Carolina in 1843 to try and reclaim his land. His dwelling had been dismantled and moved, but Junaluska eventually succeeded in getting lands granted to him near Robbinsville in recognition of his service during the Creek War. He died in 1858, and the graves of Junaluska and his wife Nicie are located on a hillside in Robbinsville. When you visit Aquone Cabins the road leading from Andrews NC is called Junaluska Road
Following Jefferson’s lead, President Andrew Jackson pushed for the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The act provided funds for the United States government to negotiate removal treaties with the Indians. The federal government coerced tribal leaders to sign these treaties. Factions arose within the tribes, as many opposed giving up their land. Cherokee Principal Chief John Ross even traveled to Washington to negotiate alternatives to removal and pleaded for the government to redress the injustices of these treaties. The United States government listened, but did not deviate from its policy. Although President Jackson negotiated the removal treaties, President Martin Van Buren enforced them. The impact of the Removal was first felt by the Choctaw. Starting in 1831, they were forced off their native lands in Mississippi. The years 1836-38 saw the Creeks, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Seminoles forced from their homes and removed to Indian Territory.
Not all Americans agreed.
For example, Congressman David Crockett of Tennessee [who would later die fighting for the Alamo] sided with the American Indians. Christian missionaries also opposed the Indian Removal Act. They denounced the injustice of the policy. “Will not the people in whose power it is to redress Indian wrongs awake to their duty? Will they not think of the multitudes…swept into Eternity by the cupidity of the ‘white man’ who is in the enjoyment of wealth and freedom on the original soil of these oppressed Indians?” wrote Lucy Ames Butler to her friend Drusilla Burnap in 1839. Lucy’s husband was the noted missionary Elizur Butler. He accompanied the Cherokee and served as their doctor and estimated that over 4,000 (a fifth of the Cherokee population) died along the trail.
In May 1838, volunteer troops from Macon County, North Carolina, established Camp Scott as a temporary base to support the capture of Cherokees from isolated communities in the area of Aquone on the Nantahala River Valley. This militia sent most of the detainees to Fort Butler (present-day Murphy) and, from there, to deportation camps in Tennessee. At the end of June, however, the volunteers’ terms of service ended. When the soldiers dispersed, they left behind 30 to 40 Cherokee prisoners. Most of these Cherokees fled into the mountains, where they joined other fugitives. After removal, they joined the Cherokee communities at Qualla Town and Sand Town, helping to form the nucleus of the present-day Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
In the 1830s the United States government forcibly removed the southeastern American Indians from their homelands and relocated them on lands in present day Oklahoma. This tragic event is referred to as the Trail of Tears as over 10,000 Indians died during removal or soon upon arrival.
Since its inception, the United States government struggled with a problem: greedy citizens looking for gold and precious gems, started a 'Land Grab' stampede (discovered in Stanfield 1799). The venal politicians in the southeast were bent on acquiring the valuable lands occupied by the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole Indians. After the Louisiana Purchase (an enormous acquisition of territory west of the Mississippi in 1803), President Jefferson presumed that these Indians could be persuaded to give up their homes in exchange for land further west
The Cherokee Indians lived in the Aquone area exclusively for nearly 4,000 years, until European traders followed Indian paths to Western North Carolina The Cherokee Indians are credited for finding this region in North Carolina. They called their “town” Aquone. This area is now covered with water and known as Nantahala Lake. There is plenty of evidence to prove that other people lived in this area long before the Cherokee Indians were here (Lilliputian people). There are many Indian villages in the Aquone area, and other similar evidence of other villages throughout the entire Nantahala community.
Reed Gold Mine Stanfield
In 1799, 12-year-old Conrad Reed, son of a Hessian mercenary who left the British Army near the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, made the first documented gold find in the U.S. at a spot between Charlotte and Albemarle. He spied something shiny in Little Meadow Creek, dug up what turned out to be a 17-pound rock, and started using it as a doorstop. The elder Reed sold the rock to a Fayetteville jeweler in 1802 for $3.50, when it was probably worth thousands more.....This unique find changed the course of history
Train Wreck at Horse Shoe Bend Aquone, Nantahala River. Now Covered by Nantahala Lake (credit to Jim Flood local historian) Nantahala NC
Dave Howard's Store & Post Office..People unkown..
( Post Office Bulletin Board on Porch)