Thursday, October 15, 2015

CVHS Program for Sunday, October 18, 2015, at 3 p.m.

Ockfuskenena, a Creek Indian Town, and the Events that Lead to its Attack and Destruction
The quarterly meeting of the Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society will be held at 3:00 pm ET on October 18, 2015 at the Bradshaw Library in Valley, AL.  The Bradshaw Library is located on Highway 29 in Valley, Alabama, approximately one mile south of I-85 Exit 79.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

           Joseph H. Thompson, retired Historic Site Manager II, with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, will present “Okfuskenena, a Creek Indian Town, and the Events that Lead to its Attack and Destruction.” Joe is a graduated from West Point High School.  He received his A.A. degree from Middle Georgia College, and his B.S. degree in History from LaGrange College.  He served as Historic Site Manager at Sunbury Historic Site and as Historic Site Manager II at Wormsloe Historic Site, both Georgia Department of Natural Resources sites located on the Georgia coast.  Joe serves as a board member of The Friends of Horseshoe Bend, Fort Tyler, The Troup County Archives, and the Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society.

        The presentation, “Okfuskenena, a Creek Indian Town, and the Events that Lead to its Attack and Destruction,” will establish the Creek town’s origin and the events that brought about its demise.  A chronological order will be established putting into perspective the events that came about with the end of the American Revolution and the establishment of a new U.S. government and their effects on the Creek Nation and the town of Okfuskenena.

        The conclusion of the American Revolution brought about the end of British Trade and support for the Indians.  The State of Georgia made treaties with the Indians but not all were in agreement.  The eventual push back of the Native People against expansion and white settlements became known as the Oconee War.  With the ratification of the Constitution of February 6, 1788, it became illegal for states to make treaties and maintain a standing army. The United States efforts to establish a treaty at Rock Landing in 1789 on the Oconee River ended prematurely with Alexander McGillivray leaving with the Creek delegation.  In a second attempt the Creeks were invited to New York to sign a treaty on August 7, 1790.  McGillivray after returning home found that neither the Creeks nor the Georgians were satisfied.  With the Georgians continued desire for more land the Indian raids continued.  The Indian raids increased with the death of Alexander McGillivray in February, 1793.  The south was on the eve of an all-out war.   In retaliation the Green County Militia burned a Creek town on the Chattahoochee, Ofuskeenena.  During the Creek war 1813-14 General David Adams returned to the river crossing twenty years after burning Okfuskenena with orders to burn the Okfuskee town of Neuyauka on the Tallapoosa River.  

        In the mid-1960s the site of Burnt Village became an important archaeological site during the construction of the West Point Dam and reservoir.


Monday, April 13, 2015

CVHS Program for Sunday, April 19, 2015, at 3 p.m.

The LaFayette Ceremonial Stone Complex: 
An Unexpected Discovery of A  Prehistoric Stone Row and Stones Piles in Chambers County

Presenter: Teresa Paglione, Cultural Resources Specialist, National Resources Conservation Services, US Department of Agriculture

About a decade ago a member of The Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society Board of Directors followed a clue found in printed material in the Cobb Memorial Archives to rediscover a mysterious site of stones long ignored and almost forgotten by the inhabitants of Chambers County.  The Board member with family made lengthy treks through cottonmouth infested swamps to reach and walk over the undisturbed site.  In the nineteenth century this odd array of stones covering acres of land next to a creek was approachable by field roads and was visited by picnic parties of school children and families.
 Since the rediscovery of the site, the CVHS Board has identified the landowner and secured permission for access to the sight for purposes of study and documentation.   Teresa Paglione, as a professional archeologist, was asked by the Board to provide leadership in documentation of the site. The landowner is committed to protecting the site because of its unique value in understanding the history of Chambers County and this region.  The location of the site and name of the owner will not be publicized and access to the site is made by permission of owner through CVHS officers. A rattlesnake has been observed in the stones.
 The LaFayette Ceremonial Stone Complex consists of a single massive linear stone row in somewhat of a crescent shape-with both ends leading downhill to a creek.  Across from this linear stone work and the creek are at least 49 stone piles.  Archaeologists are certain that Native Americans erected these stone works but when they were constructed is not easily documented.  Dozens of these works have been identified in North Alabama. The LaFayette Ceremonial Complex is the largest known work of this type so far south in the topography of our state.  This stone work and site date from perhaps a thousand or more years ago. The historic Native Americans would have recognized these ancient sacred sites, given them names and may have contributed to the works.  Teresa will describe the LaFayette Ceremonial Site and the work to date in the effort to document the large site and its stone works.
Teresa was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, lived in Orlando, Florida (pre-Disney) and grew up in Montgomery, Alabama.  Graduating with a degree in Art and a double-minor in Sociology-Anthropology from Auburn University Montgomery, she started working with a local archeologist, Dave Chase, in her junior year at AUM.  After working for a year in archaeology in Alabama, she attended graduate school at Florida State University.  She has worked as an archeologist for private contractors, the State of Florida, Georgia Dept. of Transportation, the National Park Service (Florida), the US Forest Service (Chattahoochee National Forest, GA), and for the past eighteen years , the Natural Resources Conservation Service here in Alabama. She is former Vice President and President of the Alabama Archaeological Society, President of the local East Alabama Chapter of the Alabama Archaeological Society, and a Board Member of the Lee County Historical Society.

Monday, October 13, 2014

CVHS Program for Sunday, October 19, 2014, at 3 p.m.

Fiddlers, Banjo Players and Strawbeaters: Alabama's First Pop Musicians

Joyce Cauthen is the executive director of the Alabama Folklife Association, a statewide organization that sponsors research, promotion and preservation of Alabama’s folk culture. She is the author of With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow: Old-Time Fiddling in Alabama, published in 1989 by the University of Alabama Press, and has served as the producer of numerous recordings of traditional music of Alabama, including “Possum Up a Gum Stump: Home, Commercial and Field Recordings of Alabama Fiddlers.” She served as editor of Benjamin Lloyd’s Hymnbook: A Primitive Baptist Song Tradition and produced the accompanying CD. Her last project was a CD and booklet entitled Bullfrog Jumped, which features recordings made across Alabama of children’s folksongs and games in 1947. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and has a master’s degree in English from Purdue University.

In her presentation, Cauthen will discuss the early fiddles of Alabama, the musicians who played them and the popularity of this music in their communities. Discussions will also surround the pivotal role played by African Americans in developing the music at the roots of today’s bluegrass and country music. Cauthen will demonstrate use of the banjo, “straws” (a technique in which broom straws or knitting needles were beat on the strings as the fiddler played) and guitar in backing up the fiddle. Her talk will be made especially interesting by the presence of fiddler Jim Cauthen, who will demonstrate fiddle tunes that have been specifically mentioned in historical writings, slave narratives and early newspapers of Alabama. The audience will hear musical styles and tunes that are seldom heard today—and will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their perceptions of the differences in this music and the modern country music that are based upon it.