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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Gravestone of Chief Chuttahsotee, Franklin

  • Type

    Grave

  • Subjects

    Historic Native American Figures

    Tragedy

    American Indian Monuments

    Local History

  • City

    Franklin

  • County

    Macon

  • Description

    The grave marker, approximately four feet tall, is made of granite. The face bears an inscription to the memory of Chief Chuttahsotee and his wife Cunstagih.

  • Inscription

    CHIEF / CHUTTAHSOTEE / WIFE / CUNSTAGIH / 1879

  • Custodian

    St John’s Episcopal Church

  • Dedication Date

    July 30, 1932

  • Decade

    1930s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.143280 , -83.490920 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      Anderson, William L. and Wetmore, Ruth Y. Cherokee, Part V: The Trail of Tears and the Creation of the Eastern Band of Cherokees, NCpedia.org, (accessed April 16, 2016) Link

      Duncan, Barbara R. and Brett H. Riggs. "Sand Town Indians" in Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 164-65.

      Duncan, Mary Lynn. "The Legacies of the Cherokees" in An Adventure of the American Mind. Cherokees in Macon County: History and Folklore," Western Carolina University, (accessed November 21, 2014) Link

      Duncan, Mary Lynn. "The Return to Macon County" in An Adventure of the American Mind. Cherokees in Macon County: History and Folklore," Western Carolina University, (accessed November 21, 2014) Link

      Morgan, A. Rufus. History of St. John's Episcopal Church, Macon County, North Carolina, Franklin, N.C. : 1974, (accessed November 21, 2014) Link

      United States Department of the Interior National Park Service. "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. Historic and Architectural Resources of Macon County, North Carolina, ca. AD 600-1945," (accessed November 21, 2014) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Granite

  • Sponsors

    The Ladies of St. John’s Episcopal Church

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    St. John's Episcopal Church placed the tombstone on July 30th, 1932. Every year on August 17th the church holds a memorial service for the chief of the Sand Town Cherokees.

  • Subject Notes

    In 1838, in response to the influx of the white settlers, the United States Government decreed removal of the Cherokee to Indian territory in Oklahoma. Many Indians died during the forced march on the “Trail of Tears”, but some escaped and traveled back to their homeland. Among these were Chief Chuttahsotee (Chutasohti, also known as Jim Woodpecker) and his wife Cunstagih (Sally Woodpecker) and many of the Indians of the Sand Town settlement on Muskrat Creek, a tributary of the Cartoogeehaye Creek which enters the Little Tennessee River just south of the City of Franklin, North Carolina.
    One of the early white settlers in the Cartoogeehaye Valley was William Siler who arrived in 1822. William lived in peace with his Cherokee neighbors. When they reappeared in the valley, he deeded land to Chuttahsotee on Muskrat Creek. Now, as legal landowners, they could not be removed from their homes.
    Chuttahsotee and his wife Cunstagih (Sally Woodpecker) died within two days of each other in August 1879. According to local tradition, when her husband died, Cunstagih stated that she loved Chuttasotee so much that she would be with him when the sun went down.
    In the early 20th century, the Sand Town Cherokees left Macon County to join the rest of the Eastern Band on the Qualla Boundary. The only remnant of the community is the gravestone of the chief and his wife.

  • Location

    St. John's Cartoogechaye Episcopal Church and its small cemetery are located in the valley of Cartoogechaye Creek. The graves of Chutahsottee and Cunstagih are in the southeast corner of the cemetery, located on Johns Church Road.

  • Landscape

    The grave is located in a wooded area.

  • Death Space

    Yes

  • Post Dedication Use

    Every year on August 17th the church holds a memorial service for the chief of the Sand Town Cherokees.

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