18 July 2016

Warwoman Dell in Rabun County

Warwoman Dell is a small wooded valley amid the Appalachian Mountains near Clayton in Rabun County, Georgia.  It's also part of the Chattahoochee National Forest.

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A stream here is a tributary of Warwoman Creek.  Lucian Lamar Knight in Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends (1913) writes:  "War Woman's Creek is the name given to a small mountain stream entering the Chattooga [River]." He further quotes James Mooney, author and studier of the Cherokee:  "The name seems to be of Indian origin, but the Cherokee word is lost.  A writer quoted by White attempts to show its origin from the exploit of a certain Revolutionary amazon in capturing a party of Tories [Nancy Hart], but the name occurs in Adair, as early as 1775.  There is some reason to believe that it refers to a former female dignitary among the Cherokees described by Heywood as having authority to decide the fate of prisoners of war.  Several instances of women acting in part of warriors are on record among the Cherokees."

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An informational marker at the dell echoes this with the following:  "The Warwoman was a beloved Cherokee dignitary who voiced the decision of the Council on war and peace.  These 'pretty women' had the power to decide the fate of captives.  Legend states that each spring this woman visited the Dell to preside over rituals."

The marker explains further:  "America's first natural-born botanist, William Bartram, explored the area in the 1770s.  He documented the plants, climate, geology, and culture of the people of this period and paved the way for future development." Of course, the Bartrum Trail runs through the area.

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2 comments:

Unknown said...

God, I love Black Rock Mountain State Park

Stephanie Lincecum said...

Me, too! One of my favorite spaces in Georgia. When we began looking to move to the mountains, Clayton was my first choice. Work took us elsewhere, but we're not too awful far.