Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century (1853)

82

SILVER MINE IN TENNESSEE.

mountainous. The former is on the head branches of the beautiful Savannah, and the latter on those of the easternmost river of the great Mississippi.

The same writer says, that forty years before the time he wrote, (1775,) the Cherokees had sixty-four populous towns, and that the old traders estimated their fighting {typo corrected} men at above six thousand. The frequent wars between the Over-hill Towns and the northern Indians, and between the Middle and Lower Towns and the Muskogee or Creek Indians, had greatly diminished the number of the warriors, and contracted the extent of their settlements.

Within twenty miles of the late Fort Loudon, continues Mr. Adair, there is a great plenty of whet-stones for razors, of red, white and black colours. The silver mines are so rich, that by digging about ten  yards deep, some desperate vagrants found at sundry times, so much rich ore, as to enable them to counterfeit dollars to a great amount, a horse-load of which was detected, in passing for the purchase of negroes at Augusta. He also mentions load stone as being found there and at Cheowhee, and also a variety of precious stones, of various colour and beautiful lustre, clear and very hard. A tradition still continues of the existence of the silver mine mentioned thus by Adair. It is derived from hunters and traders who had seen the locality, and assisted in smelting the metal. After the whites had settled near and began to encroach upon the Over-hill towns, their inhabitants began to withhold all knowledge of the mines from the traders, apprehending that their cupidity for the precious metals would lead to an appropriation of the mines, and the ultimate expulsion of the natives from the country. The late Mr. De Lozier, of Sevier county, testified to the existence and richness of mines of silver, one of which he had worked at, in the very section of the Cherokee country described by Adair.

The Cherokee tribe is closely identified with the settlement and history of Tennessee. Their nation, and some of their villages, are frequently mentioned in the account of De Sotoís invasion, and the journals of other explorers and adventurers into the interior of the south-west. They were formidable alike for their numbers and their passion for war.


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