Monday, May 1, 2017

The Name Pigeon Forge

People often ask how did they come up with the name Pigeon Forge this is what we found from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia HERE

The name "Pigeon Forge" comes from an iron forge built by Isaac Love (1783–1854) sometime around 1820. The name of this forge referred to its location along the Little Pigeon River, in the vicinity of what is now the Old Mill. The name of the river comes from the flocks of passenger pigeons that frequented its banks at the time of the first Euro-American settlers' arrival.[4]
For centuries, the Cherokee used the valley where Pigeon Forge is now located as a hunting ground. A Cherokee footpath known as the "Indian Gap Trail" crossed the Great Smokies from North Carolina, and passed through the Pigeon Forge valley en route to its junction with the Great Indian Warpath in modern Sevierville (US-441 closely parallels this ancient trail, although it crests the mountains at Newfound Gap rather than Indian Gap). From Sevierville, the Warpath headed west toward the Overhill Cherokee towns along the Little Tennessee River.[5]
The Indian Gap Trail brought the first Europeans to the Pigeon Forge area in the early 18th century. Along with hunters and trappers from North Carolina, traders from Virginia had passed through the valley before 1750.[4] Sometime after 1783, Colonel Samuel Wear became one of the first permanent Euro-American settlers in the Pigeon Forge area. Wear, a veteran of the American Revolution, erected a stockade near the confluence of Walden Creek and the Little Pigeon River (what is now Pigeon Forge City Park) in 1792. This "fort" provided a safe stopover for the early pioneers in the Sevier County area. Wear would later serve as a member of the committee that drafted Tennessee's state constitution.[6]
In 1785, the Cherokee signed the Treaty of Dumplin Creek, ceding much of what is now Sevier County to the United States.[7] Among the first to take advantage of this was Robert Shields (1740–1802), who received a survey for a tract of land in the Pigeon Forge area from the Watauga Land Office in 1786. Shields, who like Wear was a veteran of the Revolution, established a small fort along Middle Creek (near what is now Dollywood).[8] Shields' son would later write that the fort was 100 feet (30 m) long and 16 feet (4.9 m) wide, with 12-foot (3.7 m) walls constructed with "heavy logs." The fort contained living quarters for six families, with a common kitchen at one end and a common living room at the other. As his family grew, Shields constructed separate houses for his children, one of which was purchased by Horatio Butler in 1797 and remained with his descendants until being torn down in 1994.[8]
Although the Shields Fort was too far from the main Cherokee trails to ever experience a serious assault, the Wear Fort straddled the Indian Gap Trail, making it a popular target for small bands of Cherokee warriors. After the Cherokee attacked his fort in 1793, a frustrated Wear led a band of 60 frontiersmen across the northwestern Smokies into the Overhill Cherokee region. The frontiersmen attacked and destroyed the town of Tallassee (near modern-day Calderwood Dam), killing at least fifteen Cherokees and capturing several others.[4] In 1794, the Cherokee fired on Wear and his two sons just outside Calvin's Blockhouse (near Maryville), although the Wears escaped unharmed.[9]

While treaties negotiated at the Tellico Blockhouse in 1794 and 1798 brought calm to the region, sporadic fighting between Cherokees and the settlers continued. One notable incident occurred in 1802, Tavenor Runyan (1787-1802), the son of Isaac Barefoot Runyan (1749–1845) and Margaret Rambo[10] (who had settled near the heart of modern Pigeon Forge), was killed by a Cherokee warrior. The recently elected Governor Archibald Roane was forced to personally intervene to prevent retaliatory strikes.

No comments:

Post a Comment