DAYS OF CHEROKEES AND PIONEERS ON THE GEORGIA FRONTIER. At the close of the Revolution, for having sided with the losing British, the Cherokees were forced to give up substantial parts of their territory. They lost almost all of their former lands in South Carolina and adjoining areas in Georgia which included most of what were known as their "Lower Settlements." Cherokee settlements in and around Nacoochee were the last of the Lower Settlements as they existed at the time of the War. In 1783, the Georgia-Cherokee boundary was established about 40 miles southeast of the Helen valley/Nacoochee, where it remained for nearly 40 years. Referred to as the "Western Frontier," for a time this was a dangerous area for settlers who were exposed to raids by both the Cherokees and the Creeks. One of a series of forts built along this line still stands.

In 1819 the Cherokees signed the last treaty before the Removal, fixing the boundary generally along the crest of the Blue Ridge as far south as today's Neels Gap on Highway 129. From the Gap, the boundary ran down the Chestatee River to its merger with the Chattahoochee and from there to the Creek Nation.

This opened the Helen/Nacoochee area for distribution in the Georgia Land Lottery of 1820, but for nearly 20 years - until the Removal in 1838 - the nearest point on the Cherokee border was only about 9 miles away, at Unicoi Gap on Highway 75.

Indian trails and settlements are shown on the map below, as are the locations of modern towns; the return link is below.

Pioneer Period Map 1785 - 1820


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