Two state historic sites in northwest Georgia shine spotlights on the rich heritage of the Cherokee nation. The Chief Vann House, near Chatsworth, was home to James Vann and his son Joseph, two of the most influential Cherokee leaders of the 19th century. Nearby, New Echota served as the capital of the Cherokee and was the site of many notable events.
From Charlotte, New Echota is approximately 313 miles, about 5 1/4 hours, one way.
To see and do
New Echota was the Cherokee capital from 1825 to 1838. The Cherokee adopted a tri-lateral government similar to that of the United States, with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Among the site's several replica buildings are the Council House and the Supreme Courthouse. An original tavern house, circa 1805, built by James Vann along the Federal Road, has been relocated to the site, along with a representative, middle-class Cherokee farmhouse. Also on the site is a replica of a common Cherokee farmhouse and a reconstruction of the 1827 Phoenix Printing Office, where the Cherokee Phoenix was published from 1828 to 1834. The only original structure at New Echota is the restored Worcester House, built by Presbyterian minister Samuel Worcester. During the Cherokee removal in the late 1830s, Worchester moved west to continue his service to the Cherokee.
The visitor center includes a museum and film focusing on many events here, including the controversial New Echota Treaty of 1835, which relinquished Cherokee claims to land east of the Mississippi.
Seventeen miles north of New Echota is the Chief Vann House, a three-story, Federal-style brick mansion built by James Vann in 1805. Van, born in 1768 to a Scottish trader and a Cherokee woman, became tremendous wealth by establishing various businesses along the Federal Road, which ran through the Cherokee nation in the early 1800s. One of his most important contributions to his people was the support he gave to the establishment of the Springplace Moravian Mission, which not only sought to evangelize, but also to help educate the Cherokee. Vann built his mansion about a mile from the mission, and every room in the house reflects the wealth of its owner. In addition to the main house, the site includes a replica kitchen and a representative Cherokee farmstead. The visitor center features a small museum and a brief film focusing on the Vanns.