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Why people have assumed that the Calhoun Spanish Village Site was in the Nacoochee Valley

Why people have assumed that the Calhoun Spanish Village Site was in the Nacoochee Valley

 

This addendum has been inserted into the article on the Bronze Flagon, found in the Nacoochee Valley.  However, since most POOF subscribers have already read it, we are also publishing it as a separate article.  

In 1821, the Native Americans living in the Nacoochee Valley sold most of the valley to a group of families from Burke County, NC.  Most of these Native Americans moved to thinly populated sections of the Creek Nation in Alabama, but in a few years had to move again.  The same phenomenon was occurring in what is now the Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead and Peachtree Hills areas of Atlanta.  Hitchiti and Apalache Creek villages, who were not Muskogee Creeks, individually sold their lands and moved on prior to these lands being formerly ceded to the State of Georgia.

The North Carolinians’ land was somewhat in legal limbo until 1828, but was considered part of Habersham County.  After 1828, the land between the Nacoochee Valley and the Chestatee River, plus the Calhoun Mining Operation was added to Habersham County until December 1832, when Lumpkin County was created.   Thus, when the Spanish villages and artifacts were discovered by gold miners, these sites were all in Habersham County.

When pioneer archaeologist, Charles C. Jones, Jr., briefly visited the Nacoochee Valley in 1858, it just had been cut off of Habersham County and placed in a new county (White), which didn’t have a courthouse yet.  There was still confusion about the boundaries between the counties in that area.  Keep in mind that at the time, this was a very remote mountainous region that few people ever visited.

Jones found a newspaper article from 1828, which said that the employees of John C. Calhoun had found the ruins of a Spanish mining village on the western end of Habersham County.  Jones had a pre-1828 map that showed the Habersham County line to be at the western end of the Nacoochee Valley, so in his book that he wrote in 1873 he placed the Calhoun Mining Operation immediately south of Helen, GA at the western end of the Nacoochee Valley.

In the 1970s, considerable research was done of the Georgia Gold Rush by professional historians.  Among other things, it resulted in the designation of the Calhoun Mining Operation as a National Historic District and a National Historic Landmark.  However, no standard history texts even mention the substantial presence of Sephardic Jewish colonists in the Southern Appalachians, so these historians were not aware of 16th and 17th century European village sites in the Georgia Gold Belt.  Meanwhile, local history lovers have been vainly looking for the Calhoun Mining Operation in what is now White County, GA.

There are Spanish village sites in the Nacoochee Valley Area.  Several were discovered by gold miners in the 1820s and 1830s.  Infrared imagery shows what appears to be the footprint of a triangular fort with bastions in the flood plain of the Chattahoochee River, south of Sautee, GA.   However, the one discovered by John C. Calhoun’s employees was definitely on the Chestatee River in Lumpkin County, GA.

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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.

9 Comments

  1. Tfworthy@bellsouth.net'

    Richard, please call me re: the purposed Westville ( Columbus, GA ) reconstruction of “Creek Town” next to the 1820 “white” Westville town. It appears that these folks know little or nothing about our history. I asked project manager where she received her degree in archaeology and she replied, “Oh, I don’t have an archaeological degree. Mine is in journalism!!!” Please accept my sincere apologies if I have offended you in anyway. I am sincerely trying to let the Truth be known re: the theft of Creek land and accompanying genocide of our people. After we are gone, the Truth will die, too. I am looking forward to meeting with you at your convenience. Phone: 706-289-0638. Email: tfworthy@bellsouth.net

    Reply
    • Do you have any photos of the Creek village at Westville? I couldn’t find any on their website.

      Reply
  2. pantherugap@gmail.com'

    Howdy, From the wilds of West Texas. My own work has met much the same resistance as your own. I have been accused of using drugs, as well as being lunatic and trouble maker. Have not developed absolutely ancient origins herein the Colorado River drainage. You will find my boneefidees at ROCKARTOLOGYTX.org.
    Finding your work is a pleasure indeed.

    Reply
    • Well thank you sir. In your area are some petroglyphs of Bronze Age ships, which seem to be road markers pointing to where they landed at the headwaters of the Savannah River . . . where the Tugaloo Stone was placed.

      Reply
  3. markveale@hotmail.com'

    Richard, Your research finds of boulder art of Bronze age ships (Northern Europe), Sun stone pillars on mountains in Georgia, Celtic speaking natives, the same basic round houses design by the Yuchi and the British isles, Ogam script finds in the US, same type of Earth works and symbols, DNA connections indicates that many Eastern American natives are related to the more ancient people of Europe (Pre- Iron age). This bronze age evidence indicates a Asian/Indo-European mixed people lived on both side of the Atlantic Ocean and continued to make crossings for thousands of years. A possible time when the Atlantic Sea Trade network ended is when the Romans conquered the Celtic age peoples and killed off the large ship building people of Western Europe. Bronze age artifacts found in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tenn. as well as silver items traded is overwhelming evidence that has been overlooked by men that wrote the ancient history of this land. Numerous connections with Peru (Para) in Native words and technologies seems to indicate that the South had Sea fairing port cities that were connected to South America and Central America perhaps before and during the “Hopewell” time period. The Bronze flagon mining device found 15 ft. down noted in the 1833 map of North Georgia is one more item of Proof of that world Trade network. We should not forget that Native Sea fairing people built the first pyramids, invented the first written script and created the first Stonehenge’s on this landmass … as far as we know. The Copper/tin trading Kingdom of “Alashiya” (Elishah) might have originated in North America? Thanks for your Great articles.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Copper_Complex (5500 BC)

    Reply
    • Well, Mark, actually I am beginning to wonder if Atlantis was on the eastern tip of the Caribbean Basin. The eastern Caribbean is very active geological.

      Reply
      • markveale@hotmail.com'

        Richard, Thanks for the reply. There seems to be evidence of an ancient Sea fairing Kingdom. The Greeks (600 BC) named the Royal city “Atlantis” but in Egypt a Bronze age kingdom called “Alashiya” is documented (1400 BC) on clay tablets who’s king called the Pharaoh “his brother” and stated his forefathers had a long connection in copper/tin trade with them. “Alashiya” could be Native people and decedents of the Sea Kingdom that built Sea port cites in the same manner as “Atlantis”. Savanna (3400 BC), which you have identified, had the basic design of one their Sea ports, and are connected to Northern South America peoples / Bronze age Europe thru Native lore /words /symbols indicates that some of the Natives of the South remembered their Sea fairing past.

        Reply
  4. Reilly@aol.com'

    Please excuse me if this has already been discussed but is there a connection between the ancient copper mines in the Great Lakes area and the Warrior Road that leads from Savannah to the Great Lakes?

    Reply
    • Probably so Ed. We were talking about that last night. During the colder months, it was easier to get copper out of the Great Lakes region via Savannah than it was through the frozen Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

      Reply

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