My name is Sarah Hill, and I’m from Georgia. I have been researching the removal of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia for about 10 years, with the goal of writing books on this subject. What started as one book has turned into two, as sometimes happens when you have a wealth of resources you had not anticipated. The second book will be technical and likely for a limited audience, many of whom are in this room today. I’m very glad to see you here, and I hope you find my presentation on one of the removal posts in Georgia, specifically the Cherokee town of Sixes, informative.

I want to give credit to the many people who have helped me in my research. Jeff Bishop, our incomparable president, has been particularly helpful. He is a mad genius, and his encouragement has been invaluable. Also, another member of Georgia ToDA, my friend from Alabama ToDA, has compiled every piece of data he has encountered about the Cherokee, which is an incredible resource. The National Park Service has also been a great help, and a colleague of mine in Washington, who knows the military records inside out, has provided invaluable assistance.

Sixes is significant as one of the 14 removal posts in Georgia. More companies were stationed at Sixes than at any other post in Georgia, and more prisoners were sent from Sixes than from other posts, highlighting its importance.

First, I want to locate Sixes in the records and provide some historical background. The earliest mention of Sixes is in the division of the Cherokee Nation into districts, with Sixes located south of the Etowah District. It was part of the Hightower District, which extended from the Coosa to the Chattahoochee River and included parts of Georgia and Alabama.

General John Coffee’s map from 1829-1830 provides early visual evidence of Sixes, placing it on the north and south sides of the Etowah River, just above its junction with Little River. Coffee took testimony from prominent Cherokees, including John Wright, who stated that Sixes was settled around 1799. This correlates with the loss of Cherokee land to the Carolinas and the movement of survivors into Georgia and North Alabama, suggesting that Sixes’ founders were refugees.

The discovery of gold in Georgia in the late 1820s brought thousands of prospectors into Cherokee land. In response, Georgia extended its domain over the Cherokees and surveyed the Cherokee Nation, dividing it into 160-acre lots for white settlers. John McNiel’s survey map shows Sixes on the south side of the Etowah River.

By 1835, hundreds of Cherokees were affiliated with Sixes, living along rivers and tributaries. The town had a townhouse, a council fire, and wealthy families like the Darnells and the Fields. Moses Fields also operated a profitable ferry across the Etowah River.

In 1987, a team of archaeologists identified at least 20 Sixes households, calculating an average town population of 194 Cherokees. The 1835 census and property evaluations provide detailed information about the Sixes residents, their homes, and farms.

The Sixes Cherokees were deeply conservative and opposed to removal. In 1834, John Brewster wrote to the governor that Sixes Cherokees opposed all treaty negotiations and threatened to kill anyone who enrolled for removal. This resistance was met with military preparations by the Georgia General Assembly, which authorized volunteer companies in each of the eleven Cherokee counties.

In 1837, these companies were federalized into the Cherokee service, mustered in late 1837 and early 1838. General Winfield Scott commanded the removal, delegating twenty companies to various posts in Georgia, including Sixes. This preparation underscored Sixes’ importance in the removal plan.

The roundup and removal began in May 1838. On May 24, troops traveled south from New Echota, reaching Sixes three days later. The Etowah River crossing suggests the Sixes camp was on the south side of the river. Over the next few days, troops rounded up Cherokees, often encountering armed resistance. By June 2, they had gathered nearly 400 prisoners.

The removal involved extensive logistical planning. Wagoneers transported baggage, and the troops, accompanied by personal slaves, carried out the roundup. The Cherokees’ belongings were transported to New Echota, where they received rations and were organized into detachments for the journey west.

Despite the federal presence, local volunteer companies played a significant role in maintaining order. They reported Cherokee resistance but also revealed instances of peaceful interaction and business transactions between Cherokees and whites.

After the roundup, the remaining Cherokees at Sixes continued to interact with local whites, selling forage to the Quartermaster and negotiating their departure. This complex relationship challenges the simplified narratives of removal, highlighting the nuanced interactions between Cherokees and their captors.

In conclusion, the removal of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia was a complicated process involving extensive planning, resistance, and negotiation. The story of Sixes provides a detailed look at these dynamics, emphasizing the importance of adding details to understand history’s nuance and texture.

Thank you very much for listening, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

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