A huge thank you to the Cherokee Museum Archives in Cherokee, NC for allowing us to research this valuable information! We appreciate how helpful and kind you were.
Because the Cherokee Nation once called this area home, and because the phrase "The Blue Wall" is one that they coined, we feel it is important to provide some history on the tribe when they lived in the Upstate of South Carolina
The Cherokee Nation once inhabited a large portion of modern day South Carolina. There were several villages in the Upstate, including what is now Oconee and Pickens Counties.
The Blue Wall
Na Sakonige Atsoyv
Nah sah-ko-nee-gey ah-cho-yun
Ꮎ ᏌᎪᏂᎨ ᎠᏦᏴ
Cherokee Translation by Garfield Long Jr., Tribal Linguist, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
On this map, the Cherokee Villages that are located in our region can be seen in the Lower Settlements. A few familiar names can be seen in these villages sum as Eastatoe, Keowee, Toxaway, Tomassee (now Tamassee), and Oconey (now Oconee).
Many of these settlements that were once along the Keowee River are underwater today. The valleys that were once home to the Cherokee people now lie beneath Lake Jocassee and Lake Keowee, which were flooded in 1973 and 1970, respectively.
Additional Settlements Map
Here, we see again that many of the Cherokee settlements were situated along the rivers of the area. This map also shows the approximate location of Fort Prince George, which is linked to many important figures in South Carolina's history.
These are rare photos of Fort Prince George that were taken before Lake Keowee was flooded.
Archaeological Dig at Tomassee Town
This map and the following images come from a research manuscript detailing an archaeological investigation of Tomassee, a lower Cherokee town. These images also show a map of materials found during the investigation as well as photos of ceramics found during the dig.
The investigation was done in 1988 as a partnership between The Lamar Institute and The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.