Great Tellico History Day is June 22

Vicki Smith demonstrating the lifestyle of the 19th century Cherokee.

The Tennessee Trail of Tears Association and the Charles Hall Museum of History & Heritage are joining forces to have a special event in Tellico Plains on Saturday, June 22.

“Great Tellico History Day” will reflect and remember the Cherokee from the Greater Tellico Plains areas in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The free event, a part of Monroe County’s Bicentennial celebrations, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Charles Hall Museum of History and Heritage, located at 229 Cherohala Skyway in Tellico Plains.

On the 90th anniversary of the Tellico Plains Cherokee Indian Fair, the Charles Hall Museum will display their collection of photographs and newspaper articles regarding this event. Members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians came over the mountain and had an Indian Fair in Tellico Plains in 1929 and 1930. The museum will also feature the original 1934 Monroe County map that depicts the Indian Villages in the area and the Native American and Cherokee artifacts in the museum.

Activities continue throughout at the day at the Charles Hall Museum, including food trucks, water slides, potters and artists from the Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, 18th century pioneer and Cherokee demonstrations setting up living history tables, blowgun demonstrations with the Red Clay park rangers, blacksmithing, corn grinding, heritage educational booths and Cherokee syllabary. There will be corn husk doll classes at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Sons of the American Revolution will fire muskets at 10:30 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Tomahawk throwing is scheduled for 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The Tennessee Trail of Tears will host special presentations regarding the Cherokee history of the Great Tellico area at the Tellico Plains United Methodist Church, located at 215 Southard St., from 1-2:30 pm. The presentations are open to the public.

Quentin Bass, archaeologist for the Cherokee National Forest, will speak on the Unicoi Turnpike Trail and The Trail of Tears. Bass will include extensive research of this historical trail and the current status of Fort Armistead. Fort Armistead is located along the Unicoi Turnpike in Coker Creek. It was last used as an Indian Removal deportation station in 1838.

Dr. Brett Riggs, Western Carolina University research archaeologist, will discuss recent findings on the Cherokee Deportation Routes through McMinn and Monroe Counties during the Forced Removal of 1838. During this time, there were overnight encampments that occurred at Coker Creek and Tellico Plains. His presentation will address his culmination of years of archeological and historical research in the area and include highly anticipated information about the location of the routes in the Tellico Plains area.

Special guests will be members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma Tribal Council members. Eight members of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Youth Conservation group will join the festivities after they walk a 5-mile portion of the Trail of Tears, which is now located in the Cherokee National Forest. This section was walked by their ancestors during the Forced Removal of 1838.

The walk is in memory of the 3,000 or more Cherokee, mostly from North Carolina, who traversed the Unicoi Turnpike Trail (Trading Path) from Fort Butler (Murphy, North Carolina), Fort Armistead (Coker Creek) and through Tellico Plains to the deportation station at Fort Cass (Charleston, Tennessee). The forced removal groups then traveled by land to present day Tahlequah, Oklahoma. These groups were in Tellico Plains on or around June 22, 1838.

At 2:30 p.m., interested individuals can gather outside the United Methodist Church and join the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indian Youth Conservation Group for the last stretch of the “Trail of Tears Remembrance Walk.” The walk will travel through town and the short distance back to the Charles Hall Museum. The public is encouraged to participate in this event.

Following the Remembrance Walk, at around 3 p.m., there will be a Cherokee Trail of Tears Remembrance Ceremony with Cherokee music and prayers in the garden area behind the museum. Historical records show the Cherokee and prehistoric Native Americans resided and had many mounds in this area.

For more information, contact Debbie Moore with the Tennessee Trail of Tears Association at brad leyfolks@aol.com, Patara Marlow at marlow995@hot mail.com, or Pam Mathews at charleshallmuseum@hotmail.com or 423-253-2111. Follow the event page of the Charles Hall Museum of Heritage & History Facebook page for updates.

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