Welcome to www.n-georgia.com Discover Trail of Tears - The Georgia chapter has first-hand experience with the value of state chapters’ partnering with local entities to further the work of mapping and marking Trail of Tears sites.
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What began as a proposal by the chapter’s research chair, Doug Mabry, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Old Federal Road in Georgia has resulted in the creation of a driving tour of the Federal Road which ran through the heart of the Cherokee Nation at the time of the Removal.

At completion, the brochure and audio tour will feature all the important Cherokee landmarks in north Georgia,which were adjacent to the Federal Road,such as New Echota, the Vann House, and the boyhood home of Brigadier General Stand Watie and Elias Boudinot. The documenting, mapping, and preserving of the Federal Road is coming to fruition thanks to the partnership of the Georgia chapter of the Trail of Tears Association, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and various other state and local governments and historical societies.

Representatives from the various entities involved in the Federal Road initiative updated progress of the project at the July 9th Georgia chapter membership meeting, held at the historic Old Stone Church in Catoosa County, GA. About 80 interested individuals attended the meeting, shared lunch provided by the chapter, and took a bus tour of remnants of the Federal Road adjacent to Little Tiger Creek in CatoosaCounty. Catoosa County Commission Chair Bill Clark opened the presentation, noting historical connections between the Federal Road and the Trail of Tears removal route.

Doug Mabry explained the initiative and its impact on historical preservation and the tourism value of the planned tour, which will connect scenic byways being planned by various communities in North Georgia.

Ted Ownby of the Center for SouthernCulture at the University of Mississippi presented an overview of Phase I, which involves photo documentation by Dr. David Warton and Ownby’s written report.

Matt Reynolds of the Center for Archeological Research, also at the University of Mississippi, explained Phase II, the mapping process, which employs 19th-century maps, current maps with global positioning aspects, and on-site observation of intact portions of the roadbed. Phase II will also include testing at three tentatively identified removal fort/stockade sites near the road.

The work of these professionals will be presented to archeologist Eric Duff of the Georgia Department of Transportation. The result will be directional markers, a brochure, and audio tour, which will be available to the NPS.

Among those present at the meeting were Jerra Quinton from the national TOTA office; Lucy Banks, from The Trust for Public Lands; Alice Carson from the tourism division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Betty Ann Serkowski, President of the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce; and State Senator Don Thomas, State Representative Tom Dickson, and County Commissioners Bill Clark and Ron Gracy of Catoosa County.

NPS Trail of Tears
The Georgia chapter is off and rolling with a big year ahead, full of challenges, opportunities and achievements. The last six months of 2004 was really encouraging in that we had outstanding attendance at our bi-monthly membership meetings, averaging over 40 attendees at every meeting and signing up several new members.

The chapter’s growth is aided through mailing chapter newsletters to a larger number of interested groups, sending out more meeting notices to the news media, attending more consistently at related events, and providing programs about the Trail of Tears for other organizations.

The chapter is currently partnering with the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) on their Federal Road project, which involves a commemoration of the road’s 200th anniversary.

Phase I, a study designed to provide interpretation of the historic and cultural highlights of the Federal Road through public outreach and education, is underway. Graduate students from the University of Mississippi will be doing the research for the DOT. Doug Mabry, the chapter’s research committee chairperson, is coordinating the project with the DOT, Federal Highway Administration, National Parks Service (NPS), Georgia Department of Natural Resource’s Historic Preservation Division, and a host ofother organizations.

We are fortunate to have many members who have firsthand knowledge of the locations of the original road beds. These individuals will be working with DOT personnel to document these roads and associated historical sites. In an effort to better inform the membership, the DOT will be providing a program on their Federal Road project for the March 12th chapter membership meeting.

In addition to this project, the chapter is planning to acquire certification on collection camps and forts. As part of that effort, the chapter will meet with Aaron Mahr, Steve Burns (both from the NPS), and Carey Tilley (chapter member and Director of Chieftain’s Museum) in Rome to visit owners of the two fort sites there.
Marvin Sowers, Membership Chairman, has designed a contest for all members and any interested parties to submit an essay on “Why should someone want to become a member of the Georgia chapter of the TOTA?” in 50 words or less. Very nice prizes are offered for first, second, and third-place winners.

Doug Mabry and J.B. Tate have worked hard on the research committee to pinpoint two of the fort sites in the Rome/Floyd County area. Fort Means, is the eastern part of Floyd County, while the other, Fort Scott, more commonly known as Fort Rome, is in the extreme western part of Floyd County.

The Georgia chapter members attending the next regular membership meeting on July 10th will experience a special treat with a trip to each of these sites after the meeting. The meeting will be held at the Chieftain’s Museum in Rome.

Our research committee is asking the chapter to reexamine and streamline its focus, planning, and direction in approaching its goals and objectives. The guidelines laid out in the interpretive plan will be used as a guide to provide planning and organization needed to achieve the chapter’s mission.

Mabry, Research Chairman, provided one opportunity to improve research achievements recently with a proposal he made to the Georgia Department of Transportation to partner with the chapter. The DOT is enthusiastically reviewing Mabry’s proposal, and from their initial input, it appears this proposal will be accepted. Such a partnership would enhance research tremendously and provide great publicity and credibility.

New officers were elected in January and sworn in for the Georgia Chapter. The new officers include President Jean Belew, Vice- President Tommy Cox, Secretary Wanda Patterson, and Treasurer Dola Davis.

The Georgia chapter has been active in researching the histories of removal forts and has made progress on several forts/encampments.

J.B. Tate and Doug Mabry are moving forward on their research regarding the removal fort located at Rome, Georgia. Through comparison of various primary source documents, they
have identified the location of the site.

Dr. Sarah Hill has been busy in her research efforts with trips to the National Archives and state, regional, and local libraries and fort sites. Dr. Hill continues to dig up great bits of information, giving a clearer picture of who served at the various removal locations in Georgia and how events took place in May - June 1838.

We look forward to Dr. Hill’s completion of this project and thank her for her hard work. We extend our thanks to the cooperative grant sponsors for their support of Dr. Hill’s research, including the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail’s office of the National Park Service, and Dr. David Crass, State Archaeologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Certified Trial of Tears site Chieftain’s Museum-Major Ridge Home has opened a newly renovated building, the Cherokee Studies Center. Chieftains is also sponsoring the Cherokee Nation history course from the Cherokee Nation.

The four-day course will be taught in Rome, Georgia, at Floyd College. Initial response and sign-up looks like the course will be a sell-out. Patsy Edgar and Dola Davis attended the semi-annual board meeting in Knoxville in June and enjoyed hearing of the Trust for Public Land’s effort with their Trail of Tears Site Protection Initiative, as well as news from the national Association.

Dr. Sarah Hill’s research on Fort Wool at New Echota has turned-up evidence of two additional storehouses, an office, two sets of officer quarters and possible winter quarters. Her research is in conjunction with the state of Georgia’s Office of the State Archaeologist and through a costshare program with the NPS. Additional finds on Fort Cumming and other Georgia forts are being discovered also. Possible future archaeological work at these sites will help secure new information and support to protect the location of these sites.

Georgia chapter member Charles Walker and chapter research chair Doug Mabry have been working on documenting and preserving the last remnants of the old Federal Road. Assisted by TOTA President Jack Baker, they have been working with local county commissions and the state’s Department of Transportation in their efforts. The Federal Road was used extensively during the Cherokee removal.

Chapter secretary Wanda Patterson has written a form letter with pertinent information about the significance of Georgia’s participation in the removal and compiled a list of key Congressional representatives from Georgia. With these documents, chapter members have been writing their Congressional representatives to help drum up support for legislative action to change the Trail to include Georgia and North Carolina.

Georgia chapter nominations are underway to fill upcoming vacancies of several Georgia chapter board positions. One of the most significant is the position of president. With President Patsy Edgar having served out the maximum length of her term, we are looking for the next president to carry the Georgia chapter forward. Although she will continue to be an active member in many ways, Patsy and her leadership will be missed. We thank Patsy for her dedication, enthusiasm and loyalty to the chapter these past years.

MAY 2003
In order to help build public support for preservation efforts, chapter member Dr. Sarah Hill, Dr. David Crass from Georgia’sHPD Office of the State Archaeologist, and the NPS National Trails System Office - Santa Fe are currently working on an $18,000 Cost-Share grant. This grant is aimed at producing a tri-fold pamphlet and display and a technical report with GPS mapping of the Georgia removal “forts.”

The Georgia chapter welcomes Doug Mabry as the new chairperson for the Chapter Research Committee. Doug’s anthropology training and past experience in removal research of the Cherokees and the Creeks will be useful as he steers members in their efforts to assist Dr. Hill. New Echota State Historic Site’s research library has received a bequest from the late Martha Redus, including her collection of genealogical research material. Martha was an active member in the Georgia chapter’s research work, and, before her death, had assisted countless people in their genealogy research through her business, “Cherokee Cousins.”

Georgia chapter members who attended the National Association conference in Arkansas (and Oklahoma) had nothing but high praise for those organizing the events this year. The speakers, presentations, and historical sightseeing were outdone only by the hospitality of the host chapter. Thank you, and our compliments go out to all involved!

Congratulations to the Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home for attaining approval as spota certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Director Carey Tilley and the Chieftains’ board of directors have worked hard to refocus the Ridge site toward the mission of telling the Cherokee story.

The executive board and members of the Georgia chapter wish to express our sorrow to the families of Walter Baker and Donald Lance, who passed away this past year. The dedication and commitment of these past board members over the years are greatly appreciated, and we will miss them.
The Georgia chapter's efforts to locate, confirm, and mark removal sights continue. Thanks to the NPS staff’s commitment to our goals and Research Chair Sarah Hill's diligence in developing a grant proposal, the State of Georgia will soon receive NPS challenge cost-share funding.

The funds will facilitate a partnership with the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) to complete a systematic review of all known Georgia removal site documentation, complete site visits with the OSA, refine existing maps, prepare a report to the NPS to encourage site certification, and produce a driving tour brochure.

The report will also form the basis for the OSA's development of a preservation planning document. The past and future work of each chapter researcher will contribute to these goals.

Other member contributions include the generous donation by Will Rogers of his artwork honoring his Cherokee heritage, used to produce fundraising note cards; and Doug Mabry's presentations on the TOTA and the chapter at two productions of a touring Trail of Tears drama.
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