Wild South Maps

This collection consists of selected maps generated by Lamar Marshall using Adobe Photoshop, Google Earth Pro, National Geographic TOPO!, and GIS mapping. This geographical data is the result of thousands of hours spent studying rare archives in the form of microfilms, fragile original documents, land records, early surveys, and historical maps. Hundreds of scholars’ books, dissertations, and theses have been consulted.  Among those, noted Cherokee scholars include Brett Riggs, Lance Greene, Anne Rogers, Duane King, Tom Hatley, Russell Townsend, and many others.

Cherokee Towns and Major Trails

The above map shows the watershed, trails in yellow and Cherokee towns located in Western North Carolina

Cherokee Valley Towns Trails 1720 small

The above map is a detail from a map I designed for the kiosk at Spikebuck Mound at Hayesville, NC.  Historian Rob Tiger is working to preserve the Cherokee story surrounding the ancient Quanassee Town.

Tuckasegee Towns Revision 1 sepia

The above map was created from modern topographic maps and shows the general locations of early Cherokee towns and main trails along the Tuckasegee River in Swain, Macon and Jackson Counties of North Carolina. Qualla Boundary is shown in red. Note that Cherokee towns were not always present at the same time. Towns shifted up and down the river to utilize fertile soils and firewood. Some towns were burned by British and American armies and were never rebuilt again.

Cowee Vicinity Towns Trails

The above map shows the network of Cherokee trails throughout modern Macon, Swain and Jackson Counties. Modern town names are in red and the historical town names are in black.

Historic Towns on Prime Bottomlands

Major historic towns were located on the fertile river bottoms along the Little Tennessee River and its tributaries. Map by Lamar Marshall

Trai of Tears Routes

Trail of Tears routes used in the 1838 expulsion of Cherokees from their Western North Carolina homes.  A number of Cherokees resisted and led by the efforts of William Holland Thomas established the Cherokee-owned Qualla Boundary and other land holdings in and around Murphy, Robbinsville, Andrews and the Cowee Mountains.  Map by Lamar Marshall

Cherokee Middle Towns













The map at left shows the relative locations of Cherokee towns along the Little Tennessee River from about modern Almond to Clayton, Georgia

Watersheds & Trails

Watersheds were the natural units of understanding in early days. Boundaries were generally assigned to dividing ridges. Every river and stream had a name that was known to travelers and hunters.

WNC Cherokee Trail on GIS

A new map is being developed in GIS with trails and towns

Barrier Mountains

The Cherokee towns were safely protected by great mountain ranges that were all but impossible to cross in the early days. Some mountain passes were so dangerous and high that horses passing scraped the hair off of each other.

Love Map TN River Section with towns

The above map was drawn by Robert Love in 1820 as a supplement to the surveys of Cherokee lands. Wild South has added the locations of Cherokee towns. The early surveyors usually would not record Cherokee places in their notes.  Hundreds of Cherokee structures and families were conveniently left off of the surveys which misled many white purchasers at the first land auctions in Waynesville and Franklin.  After buying prime land before viewing, they were surprised to find Cherokee cabins, orchards, crops and people living on the land. Decades of litigation and recompense followed the North Carolina eviction of these first federally recognized Cherokee citizens.

Cherokee Trails Project National Geographic Topo

The above map was generated early on in the project to identify major trails and town locations.

Schematic of Ind Trails

The above image is a schematic diagram of travelways between Cherokee towns. Nikwasi was located at modern Franklin, NC and Stecoah Old Town was at modern Clayton, GA.  Tuckaleechee at the top is Bryson City, NC and Nununyi is modern Cherokee, NC.