Cherokee :: Long Island :: Kingsport
& Kingsport Heritage by Muriel Millar Clark Spoden
Long Island :: Cherokee :: Kingsport
LONG ISLAND , sacred island of Nation of Cherokee . National registerd landmark. See map section.
Long Island: 4 miles long. averages 1/2 mile wide.
Holston river called Hogohegee.
Part of the Cherokee Nation hunting grounds. Abounding in animal life and pristine forest. Because rivers flowed to the great seas, they held spirtual meaning for the Indians who believed that the great islands in these holy waterways were place to rest and a refuge for man and best and that all "talks" or treaties held on the Island were blessed by the Great Spirit.
Long Island was a sacred place where "talk-talks" made peace with tribes who infringed on their hunting grounds.
Great Indian Warrior Path from ancient migration from Georgia and Alabama through East Tennessee to Long Island of Holston where it divided with the main northeast trail leading to Pennsylvania through VA. Another branch turned north from long island up the North Fork Holston River to Ohio. Path throught Virginia and Tennessee became known as the Great Trading Path. Another Indian path used by Cherokees in dry weather left the Great Path, crossed the Long Island and traveled in a southwestern direction in shorter route to the Cherokee towns but only usable in dry weather.
The Island Road, 1761, from Chilhowie to Kingsport, first wagon road. "the military road from chilhowee va to present day kingsport was completed september 1761 by major andrew lewis under the command of col. adam stephen. Upon reaching the Long Island of the Holston, the militia erected Fort Robinson [TN Forts] to treat for peace with the Cherokees." Major Andrew Lewis built a military road from Fort Chiswell to the Long Island on the Holston (Kingsport Tennessee), which is called “the Island Road”. more on Island Road.. also ..Island Road..
In 1761 troops on their way to aid besieged Fort Loudoun passed through this area of northeast Tennessee, built the Island Road, and constructed Fort Robinson on the Long Island of the Holston. Settlement of the area began shortly after the fort was constructed. The first permanent settlers came from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1765.
1673 Viginians, James Needham, Gabriel Arthur, mission to establish trade between Cherokees and Virginia Colony. Island heard the crack of the traders rifle.
1690's from South Carolina establish trade with the Overhill Cherokees.
Great Indian Path (later known as Great Trading Path) through Kingsport. Many killed.
Firm trading not until 1730. French at same time in lower Mississippi Valley compete.
Chief Moytoy. Many traders lived with Cherokee.
1748 Viginian Dr. Thomas Walker, physician, surveyor, explorer, land speculator and guardian of Thomas Jefferson, became agent of Loyal Land Company of Virginia.
Received a 800,000 acre grant of frontier land. James Patton, William Buchanon, John Findley and others explored and opposite the Long Island.
1750 with second exploring party, came to Long Island. Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, Henry Lawless, Colby Chew and John Hughes. Horse, armed, dogs pack horses. Changed the name of West Creek to Reedy Creek. Starts in Viginia, empties in Holston at Tilthammer Shoals opposite Long Island. Camped 5 miles up the creek in west end of Giant's Ditch, Boozy Creek (old name North Fork of Reedy Creek) enters Reedy Creek.
March 3, 1750 Walker's party down Reedy Creek to Holston and crossed the Great Trading Path's "old ford" of the North Fork Holston. Measured large elm "25 feet around 3 feet off from the ground." In the fork of Holston and its north Fork wrote "five Indian houses built with loggs and covered with Bark, an abundance of Bones, some Pots and Pans, some broken and many pieces of mats and cloth." Saw four more Indian houses on the west bank of the Old Ford. Traveled four miles down river and camped "on the Bank of the Holston Opposite to a large Indian fort."
Old Ford locaed a short distance up river from Rotherwood Bridge.
Indian Fort at or near Solitude Ford. Marked his name here 4.1.1750 on several Beech trees. (north river bank of Holston Defense property.)
Walker party continued on to 'discover' Cumberland Gap after crossing the Clinch and Powell Rivers. Then went home to Virginia.
Dr. Walker never mentioned the Long Island.
Some traders friends of Cherokee built cabins on Long Island. Carried on trade. Nathaniel Gist, Thomas Price, Richard Pearis. Pearis/Price partners may have been first there. 1751. 1754 he asked Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia for land grant Long Island. (not gotten) Pearis had trading post on the Island.
French Indian 7 year war with British decreased the trading. Explorations and long hunters from Virginia in to Long Island all but ceased.
Long Island of the Holston was for many years a jealously guarded possession of the Cherokee Indians. It became the scene of momentous events during the early years of exploration and settlement in the Old Southwest, the springboard for the initial settlement of Kentucky and Middle Tennessee. In its environs was fought the battle that gave those feeble settlements precious time to consolidate their positions during the first 2 years of the American Revolution. Long Island derived strategic importance from its location just east of the junction of the North and South Forks of the Holston. Nearby was the crossing of the Great Indian Warpath, a major trail to the northeast from central Tennessee. Thus the island figured significantly in the colonial struggle with the Indians that began in the middle of the 18th century.
Col. William Byrd, leading a colonial expedition into Cherokee country, built Fort Robinson at the river junction in 1761 and introduced white occupation of the area. When Byrd's force abandoned the fort soon afterward, the Indians resumed possession, although more and more white hunters and traders began passing through en route to the hunting grounds of Kentucky and Tennessee. Among them was Daniel Boone. In March 1775, while Richard Henderson was still negotiating with the Cherokees for their Kentucky land, he sent Boone with 30 axmen to open the trail that was to gain fame as the Wilderness Road. Boone's trailmaking began at Long Island on March 10, and 2 weeks later his party reached the Kentucky River, having marked the way that was to lead 200,000 emigrants to Kentucky within the next 20 years.
The Cherokees cast their lot with the British when the Revolution began. Stung into action by colonial settlement on the east Tennessee land they claimed, the Indians moved to crush the frontiersmen in July 1776. The defenders of Eaton's Fort, on high ground near Long Island, sallied onto Long Island Flats and, after a bitter fight, drove the Cherokees from the field. Two months later a punitive expedition against the Indian towns cowed the Cherokees, bringing 2 years of relative peace to the southwestern frontier. At the Treaty of Long Island, in July 1777, the Indians relinquished their claims to the land occupied by whites in east Tennessee.
Besides being the starting point of Boone's Wilderness Road, Long Island was a jumping-off point for the settlement of central Tennessee. Just before Christmas of 1779, Col. John Donelson lead a flotilla of flatboats from there on the long and hazardous voyage down the Tennessee and up the Cumberland to establish Cumberland Colony, the first permanent white settlement in middle Tennessee. The importance of Long Island as a terminus and starting point led to the establishment of a boatyard directly across the river from the west end of the island.
Present Appearance (1961). Long Island is approximately 4 miles long and 1/2-mile wide. The eastern third of the island is now taken up with a housing development, known as Long Island, and a fuel-supply yard for the nearby acetate plant of the Tennessee Eastman Co. The central third, largely undeveloped except for an interplant railroad that crosses the island diagonally, is held by six separate owners. The western third, virtually undeveloped, is in a single ownership and retains much of its primitive appearance.
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