Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Smoky Mountain "Walls"

Cosby Campground and Porters Creek Revisited, Oct. 19-20, 2011

November 23, 2011 by Margie Hunter
As the foliage drops, evidence of settlement like this wonderful zig-zag rock wall, becomes more obvious

rock wall built by pre-park residents
the Ownby Cemetery

The Old Settlers Trail
Narrative and photos contributed by Gary Acquaviva

In this issue, meet the managers of Cultural Resources. The area where Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now has a rich prehistoric, historic, and ongoing culture. It is the park’s job to preserve and share the stories of changing human life on this land.

Mossy rock walls edge many old homesites in the park.
NPS photo.
For thousands of years prior to European settlement, these smoky mountains were the home of people who fished the swift rivers, hunted on high grassy meadows, and gathered food in forested coves. These people—the Tsalagi or Aniyvwiyai, as they called themselves, or the Cherokee, as they are known now—mark their place of origin as a valley tucked between the river and the shrugging shoulders of hills outside Bryson City.
In the 1800s, settlers of European descent began displacing the Cherokee, culminating in the 1838 Trail of Tears, a grueling, forced journey that forced most Cherokee to relocate—on foot—to reservations in Oklahoma and Arkansas. The few remaining Cherokee gathered in what became the town of Cherokee, North Carolina, the community at what is now the south entrance to the park. The settlers of European descent farmed in the valleys and long coves throughout the rest of the Smoky Mountains.
The faces on the land changed yet again in the early 1930s, when ownership passed from private hands to those of the nation. In 1934, President Roosevelt dedicated the park to the people of the United States, which meant that families living within the new park boundaries had to leave. 

Although the people have moved, many traces of their lives remain in these mountains. Walk through the woods and you may see old millstones, mossy lines of old stone walls, or daffodils bursting yellow at someone’s long-gone doorstep. You may not see what lies under the ground: sherds of pottery, chips from stone tools, and even evidence of posts from centuries-old Cherokee houses. All of these cultural resources—seen and unseen—need our protection, because they represent a lifestyle long past.
 Cultural resource managers in the Smoky Mountains maintain five types of culturally significant resources:

·         Museum collections
·         Ethnographic resources
·         Historic structures
·         Historic landscapes
·         Archeology

Road Turn Branch - "moonshine" rock cave on the way to Quilliams Cave and CH rock. http://gosmokies.knoxnews.com/profiles/blogs/thanks-to-all

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