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Gordon County Historical Markers

Cherokee Nation

  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Cherokee Nation
  • Location: Northbound on I-75 in Rest Area 34 just north of Ga 140


During the early 1800’s, northern Georgia was heart of the sovereign, independent Cherokee Indian Nation. By this time the Cherokee were the most progressive Indian tribe in North America. In 1821, they became the first American Indians with a written form of their native language, invented by Sequoyah, an uneducated Cherokee.

New Echota, the Cherokee national capital, was located 10 miles north. There a constitutional government of executive, legislative, and judicial branches ruled the Nation. Once the largest town in the area, New Echota consisted of houses, stores, taverns, a Council house, Supreme Courthouse, and a printing office which published a nation bilingual newspaper, the CHEROKEE PHOENIX.

Most of the 17,000 Cherokee were farmers and lived in small log cabins but some grew very wealthy and owned great plantations such as the Vann House, located 27 miles north.

In 1838, at gunpoint, the Cherokee were rounded up and imprisoned by state and federal armies. Later that year they were forced to what is now Oklahoma. Four thousand Cherokees died on the terrible march west known as the “Trail of Tears.”