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The White Path Cabin, Home of a Cherokee Tribal Leader

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A very special feature at the Northeast Georgia History Center is the 18th century cabin of Cherokee Indian White Path. The cabin was built c. 1780 near the site of present day Ellijay, Georgia by White Path’s parents. During White Path’s time the cabin consisted of a single room downstairs with a loft above. In the land lottery of 1832 the cabin and the land it was on was awarded to the Pinson family who were white settlers. The Pinsons later added a dogtrot central hallway and another room downstairs. They also extended the loft into a full story under the eaves to bring it to the full size that it remains today. The cabin was relocated onto its current site in 1995 under the direction of Counte Cooley, a descendent of White Path, and of James Mathis.

White Path was born in 1761 near Ellijay and lived as a young man in the Cabin. His Cherokee name, Nunna-tsune-ga, translates literally as “I dwell on the peaceful (or white) path”. A skillful orator he frequently spoke out at the Cherokee national capitol at New Echota against ceding land to the white settlers. In 1813 along with other Cherokee warriors he joined General Andrew Jackson to fight the Creeks during the Red Stick War. 

White Path strongly protested the influence of white settlers in fiery oratory at the Cherokee capitol of New Echota. A strict follower of the traditional ways he spoke against the new Cherokee constitution and the introduction of Christianity by the missionaries. He eventually yielded to the new ways and focused his efforts on fighting the removal policies of his old comrade and now president, Andrew Jackson. He and Chief John Ross traveled to Washington to denounce the removal treaty signed as void. They were unsuccessful and returned to Georgia.

In the fall of 1838 at the age of 77 White Path helped to organize the removal, later known as the “Trail of Tears.” He and other Cherokee leaders realized that the best chance for survival lay in an orderly march to Oklahoma. On a stop near Hopkinsville, Kentucky, White Path died and was buried beside Chief Fly Smith who also died that same night. Today his former home is interpreted as a Cherokee farmstead c. 1835, with authentic furnishings, typical of a Cherokee home just prior to the removal.

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