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This man’s ancestors probably carved the original Track Rock petroglyphs

This man’s ancestors probably carved the original Track Rock petroglyphs


A very pleasant Saturday afternoon, spent by the Chattahoochee River. 

Fanciful 1658 engraving of the Apalache Sun Temple in the Nacoochee Valley.

One could not be more steeped in history than Curtis Dyar.  His home is built on the site of the first trading post and US Post Office in the Nacoochee Valley.   His farmland has been occupied by humans, at least since the last Ice Age.   Archaeologist Robert Wauchope found Clovis Points there in addition to artifacts from every cultural period since then.  Wauchope also found a stone tablet in the ground on his land, which stated that the adjacent hill was the site of Eleanor Dare’s home for the last decade of her life.  You see, articles “trashing the Dare Stones” don’t tell you that several of them were found in situ by a highly respected archaeologist. 

The land was the site of the Proto-Creek village of Hontaowase, who name means “Descendants of People, Who Irrigated Crops.”  His land contains stone box graves,  16th and 17th century metal European artifacts.  From 1822 to 1830, the Rabun County Courthouse was located on his land.  It was abandoned when Rabun County was moved to its current location.  Inside his farm tract, his daughter now owns the large hill, which everyone thinks is a mound, on which the Apalache temple to the Sun Goddess Amana was located.   An engraving of the temple was features in a book published in 1658 by Charles de Rochefort.  Oh, did we mention that the first major gold rush in North America began at the edge of his property, where Dukes Creek joins the Chattahoochee River?

I am preparing a computer model of the Native American structures on Curtis’s land.  The project is quite complicated, so I have to repeatedly go over to Curtis’s farm to take measurements and make photos.  It is also a excuse to sit under the Dyar Family Picnic Shed and learn so more history from Curtis.  He is 81 and has lived in the Georgia Mountains all his life.  Yesterday I asked him about the early days of his family.  

Curtis surprised me when he said that their family were one of the first white families in Union County, GA.  There were still Indians living in the Nottely River Valley, when his ancestors were building their log cabin.  In fact, Curtis added, at least one of them married a Cherokee gal.  Maybe that is why they were able to live there while it was still the land of the Cherokee Nation.  I asked Curtis, where she came from.  He said Choestoe!   Choestoa was an ancient Uchee town, going back to the late Archaic Period.  In Uchee, the word means “Rabbit Clan.”  Toa is an old pre-Gaelic word, meaning “tribe, clan or village.”   Track Rock Gap is about four miles north of present day Choestoe Community.   The Highland Uchee are the prime candidates for carving most of the petroglyphs at Track Rock.  The Uchee have always said that their ancestors crossed the Atlantic Ocean in ancient times and first settled in the Savannah River Valley, before establishing villages in the mountains.   Curtis added that his family eventually moved over to the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River, where they lived until the land was purchased by the US Forest Service.  They took the money from the USFS and purchased most of the tillable land  near the Nacoochee Mound from widow of Governor Lamartine Griffin Hardman after he died in 1937. 

This is the Chattahoochee River at the location of the Apalache Sun Goddess Temple in Charles de Rochefort’s book.

This is a view of the Sun Temple Hill looking east. The river is to my right.

This is the same hill during the wintertime, looking south toward Yonah Mountain and Dukes Creek.


The Uchee town of Choestoa on the Nottley River in Union County, GA

Later this week, I will be publishing a scholarly article in The Americas Revealed website, which will be a comprehensive discussion of Uchee Anthropology.   You will be shocked to see that a full blooded Coastal Plain Uchee looks just like the people, who built Stonehenge, while a Highland Uchee, such as Curtis Dyar, looks exactly like the Sea Sami of northern Lapland.  People in Sweden assumed that I was a Nord Sami, a group of Sami Tribes near Kiruna, Lapland that have a more “Asiatic” appearance to them. 

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

1 Comment


    Journal article on the subject

    “Another Lost Colony? Charles de Rochefort’s Account of English Refugees and the Apalachites”
    by Rodney M. Blaine
    The Georgia Historical Quarterly
    Vol. 83, No. 3 (FALL 1999), pp. 558-564


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