Friday, October 24, 2008

The Legend Of Sautee & Nacoochee


The Legend of Sautee and Nacoochee is well documented. The first White settlers, coming up the Unicoi Trail, now known as Georgia Highway 17, heard the story as they stopped to rest in the shade of the giant white oak, still standing adjacent the Old Sautee Store. (Hwy 17 & 255).

One among them, George Williams, a young lad at the time, retold this story in his memoirs. The Cherokees considered themselves to be a superior race, as indeed they were. Handsome, tall and intelligent, they even had an alphabet, the first in America. They were not nomads, they built log houses and tilled the soil. They had but one grievous fault. This superiority was allowed to show. Naturally, this did not endear them to the neighboring tribes. One of these, the Chickasaws, was constantly at war with the Cherokee.

However, there were moments of relative calm. During one such truce, a band of Chickasaws was allowed to cross over Cherokee land, provided they stay on the Unicoi Trail and rested only at designated spots. One such spot was where two trails crossed at the junction of two lovely valleys, the same place where - a century later, a young George Williams stopped. As the Chickasaw band rested, in the shade of the giant oak, around them gathered curious Cherokees, trying to get a closer look at the dispised Chickasaws. Soon they were trading insults and obscenities. The Cherokees were hoping to bait the Chicasaws into making an overt act. But, the Chickasaws were too cagey to be trapped by such obvious maneuvers.

One of the Chickasaws stands aloof from this bickering. It is Sautee: young, handsome and a chief's son. He dreams of the day when he will be chief. And has the authority to negotiate permanent peace with the Cherokees. Some of this greatness must have shown, for Nacoochee, the Cherokee chief's 16-year-old daughter, is so taken by this handsome stranger that she stares unashamedly. Then their eyes meet. The magic alchemy of love does the rest. Not one spoken word - and yet a tryst was made.

That night Nacoochee steals away from her father's log house to meet with Sautee, under the giant white oak, now known as the Sautee Oak. By this time, they are helplessly and hopelessly in love. The rest of Sautee's party, counsels against this madness. No good could come of this flagrant violation of their truce. If Wahoo, the girl's father, learned of this meeting, all would be doomed. But, then, as now, teenagers feel they must defy the establishment. "Run, if you must," Sautee tells his followers, "but, I remain here with Nacoochee. Together we will make Wahoo understand. This must be the first step to a lasting peace between our two nations."

[End of Excerpt]

To read entire story and find out how this story ends, click on the web site of Old Sautee Store.

Dot, of Strolling Through Georgia, visited the mound (that is the burial place of Sautee and Nacoochee) and snapped a few pics of it and the area. Check them out - there is also a link to this story in her post.

Thanks for the pics and story link, Dot.


Eddie over on the Chickenfat blog has written a great post to compliment this one! He has a lot of family from the Helen, Ga. area. He includes photos of the area and also a few tales of the family and people who once lived there.

Read the post: Helen, Georgia and the Sautee Valley.


  1. Thank YOU! Some people laugh at our Native American legends but I think they are really interesting.

  2. Thanks for the PR, Deborah!

    Ever since I moved to the North Georgia Mountains, I have been fascinated by native American history and lore.

    When I tells clients and customers the legend of Sautee and Nacoochee, as we drive through the beautiful valley- I say it's an Indian equivilent of "Romeo and "Juliet!"

    I appreciate your putting a link to my site in your post.

    So many people are looking for a great place to have a place to "get away from it all"- and are discovering that North Georgia is the place to be! So many savvy investors have been able to take advantage of this "buyer's market" that we are experiencing right now.
    Lots of great buys on everything from building lots to cabins, to rental income opportunities and more.

    Our mountains are just 85 miles north of Atlanta and a "day trip" from Florida- LOCATION-LOCATION-LOCATION!!!

    The story of Alpine Helen, Georgia is also a testiment to the people who live and work here. Oktoberfest is now in fulll-swing, and Helen boasts nearly 3 million visitors a year- the third largest attraction in the state, after Six Flags and Stone Mountain.

    Back in the 70s- it was just a sawmill town, struggling to survive. But the innovation and creativity of 3 men- to town Helen into a Bavarian Village, caught on like wildfire.

    It's a glorious fall weekend up here in the North Georgia Mountains-
    Hope you can make a trip up from the city to enjoy!

    All the best and thanks again!
    And- if you would like any pictures of the area - I would be happy to send them to you.
    Have a great day!

    Harriet Carter
    North Geogia Mountain Realty
    Sautee-Nacoochee-GA 30571

  3. Deborah,

    Wow! The history in this legend is magnificient. I enjoyed reading your excerpt and seeing Dot's photo. I also read the ending to the story and believe I have read about it before.

    Thanks for posting. I certainly enjoyed my visit.


  4. Dot, Mary,

    There's so many of them - it's fun finding the ones that are unique. I believe that many of the legends are true - we have to remember that native americans have a different culture and much of their history is oral - or was.


    Thanks for stopping by. Helen is a beautiful little town! I haven't been there in quite a few years, perhaps it is time to get back up that way.

    I'm always looking for good pics with a good story behind them - especially in N. Ga. - I'll send you an e-mail on this tomorrow.

  5. Deborah,
    I missed this one before.
    I really enjoyed it.
    It also reminded me of my relatives (WASPs) of the Sautee Valley.

  6. Deborah,
    I just took your Sautee and Helen and ran with it. I hope you don't mind - it covered different subjects.

  7. Eddie,

    Saw this earlier today, been running my legs off!, I just read your post. I'm going to update this one with your post. I know that you have a lot more about Helen on your blog.

  8. interesting story. we bought our home in the ngm's in 1993 as a vacation home but since retiring we come half the year now.

    thanks for visiting.

    smiles, bee