Friday, April 18, 2008

Settico

In the spring of 1761 Lieutenant Henry Timberlake kept notes of his time among the Overhills Cherokee. This is an account of his visit to the village of Settico:

About 100 yards from the town-house we were received by a body of between three and four hundred Indians, ten or twelve of which were entirely naked, except for a piece of cloth about their middle, and painted all over in a hideous manner, six of them with eagles tails in their hands, which they shook and flourished as they advanced, danced in a very uncommon figure, singing in concert with some drums of their own make, and those of the late unfortunate Capt. Demere; with several other instruments, uncouth beyond description. Chuelah, the headman of the town led the procession, painted blood-red, except his face, which was half black, holding an old rusty broad-sword in his right hand, and an eagle’s tail in his left.

We then proceeded to the door, where Chuelah, and one of the beloved men, taking me by each arm, led me in, and seated me in one of the first seats; it was so dark that nothing was perceptible till a fresh supply of canes were brought, which being burnt in the middle of the house answers both purposes of fuel and candle. I then discovered about five hundred faces; and Cheulah addressing me a second time made some professions of friendship, concluding with giving me another string of beads, as a token of it.


He had scarce finished, when four of those who had exhibited at the procession made their second appearance, painted milk-white, their eagle-tails in one hand, and small goards with beads in them in the other, which they rattled in time with the music. During this dance the peace-pipe was prepared; the bowl of it was red stone, curiously cut with a knife, it being very soft, tho' extremely pretty when polished. The steam is about three feet long, finely adorned with porcupine quills, dyed feathers, deers hair, and such like guady trifles.


After I had performed my part with this, I was almost suffocated with the pipes presented me on every hand, which I dared not to decline. They might amount to about 170 or 180; which made me so sick, that I could not stir for several hours.


The Indians entertained me with another dance, at which I was detained till about seven o’clock next morning, when I was conducted to the house of Chucatah, then second in command, to take some refreshment.


Soon after this, Timberlake prepared his famous map of 1762, shown here next to a contemporary Google Earth image.
The left side of the map is north.
At lower right, the Tellico River meets the Little Tennessee.
At upper left, Chilhowee Mountain.
Trading paths from Virginia and from Charleston, SC converged just down-river from Settico, located on the south bank of the Little Tennessee.
(Click on either image to enlarge)























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