Cherokee American Citizens 1817-1819
The Federal Treaties of 1817 and 1819 allowed for Cherokees in modern Swain, Macon, and Jackson Counties to remain on lands ceded to the United States in the said treaties. The head of each household could apply for a reserve of land fee simple, or life estate of 640 acres, a square mile.
The State of North Carolina refused to acknowledge the Cherokee families who took reserves and by 1824 passed an Act of the General Assembly to force them off their lands with monetary compensation. The quagmire of lies, deception and back-room deals that transpired from 1820 to 1824 and after eventually led to violence against many Cherokee households who were peacefully abiding by the law. Their 640 acre reserves were surveyed and auctioned illegally by North Carolina in 1820 to many unsuspecting whites who had no idea that Cherokees were living on lands sold at the first auction in Waynesville, NC.
This is the original plat as surveyed off by Armstrong about 1819 for Jacob. It is located at the conjunction of the Oconaluftee River, Shoal Creek and Soco Creeks. This reserve was located on modern Highway 441 North just south of Cherokee where the shopping plaza and McDonalds is located.
The most sacred places were the graves of their ancestors, their traditional town sites and the ancient mounds. The above list identifies who claimed the mounds of the Little Tennessee and Tuckasegee River watersheds.
The story of Gideon Morris, a Cherokee countryman (white man married to a Cherokee wife) is a sad event in Cherokee history and blemish on the American conscience. Gideon Morris was directed by Cherokee leaders to take a 640 acre tract of land which was originally claimed by Long Blanket, a Cherokee head man. The tract of land was located directly across the Little Tennessee River (east side) from modern Franklin.
The idea was that Gideon, being white, could act as a mediator between the Cherokees who intended to remain and the white people and government at Franklin. Unfortunately, a land speculator named Robert Love and power broker to the North Carolina governor, bought a portion of Gideon and Naka’s tract of land and demanded that they remove off of it. Gideon repeatedly refused.
After a period of time and on a cold December day, Gideon was away on business. Love seized on the opportunity to recruit a group of vigilante friends and approached Gideon’s home. They threw Naka and their children out into the cold and burned their house, clothing, and provisions to the ground. Gideon attempted to represent his and other Cherokees cause before the justice system but the wealthy Love and his political allies outspent and wore Gideon into submission.