The Secret Connection between Tallahassee, Florida and Hiawassee, Georgia

Late May 2010 on the Hiwassee River – I entered the surrealistic world created by North Carolina archaeologists . . . accompanied by an Austrian tourist. Dixie academicians really, really need to learn French so they can read the French eyewitness accounts of the Colonial Era. On the other hand . . . maybe the shock of learning that their version of Southeastern Native American History was fiction, would be too much.

Part 27 of The Americas Connected series

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

A Hilwasi-Creek village the Hiwassee River, Towns County, GA ~ now the location of the city of Hiawassee.
During the Etowah I period (1000 AD-1200 AD) , there was also a large town on Brasstown Creek in present-day Young Harris, GA (west of Hiawassee). It was mysteriously abandoned when Etula (Etowah Mounds) was abandoned. The largest mound is still visible immediately north of Main Street in Young Harris.

Etymologies and facts left out of the textbooks

Apalachen: [Panoan from Peru] It is the plural of the proto-Creek tribe in Northeast Georgia – Apalache or Apalache-te, which means “From Sea (or Amazon Basin) – Descendants of – People.” Apalachen was the name of one proto-Creek colonial village among the Arawaks in the Red Clay Hills of the Florida Panhandle. Unfortunately, it was the first village of that province, visited by Hernando de Soto’s expedition. He thought that he had reached the fabled Apalache of the Southern Highlands and so gave the name Apalache to that entire province. The Florida Apalache never called themselves that name until informed by the Spanish of the name change. Creeks continued to call themselves Apalache, Apalchete or Palache until the late 1740s.

Apalachen or an Anglicized Appalachian was the name solely of the mountains in northern Georgia until the early 1800s, when first the term was extended to northern Alabama and western North Carolina then during the Civil War to Virginia and West Virginia. It did not apply officially to all of the mountains in the Eastern United States until the 1960s.

Ichiaha: [Itza Maya] Principal – Salvia – River or the Capital of the Chiaha Province on an island in the Little Tennessee River, which is now mostly under Fontana Lake.

Nantahala River: [Southern Arawak] means “River Rapids – Place – People.” When Charles de Rochefort wrote about the native peoples of the Lower Southeast n 1658, there were still many Arawak immigrants from Peru living in the remote sections of the Southern Mountains. Immigrants from southern Mexico controlled the fertile river valleys. No Cherokees lived there. The French colonial archives in the Downtown Toronto, Ontario library state that the Cherokees lived north of the St. Lawrence River near the Great Rapids until 1649, when they were driven southward into western Virginia by the Iroquois.

Euphasee River: This is the Anglicized archaic name for the Hiwassee River, which seems to have only been used by those indigenous occupants of the Hiwassee Valley, who were not Creek, Uchee or later, Cherokee. The actual Creek word was Ufasi, which means “Dog (People) – Colony of.”

The Ufale (Dog People) appear on the earliest maps of La Florida as being in present day southeast Georgia. The town of Ufale migrated westward to the Chattahoochee River to get away from the Spanish. They joined the Creek Confederacy and became known by their English name of Eufaula.

Ufale villages apparently were scattered all over the Lower Southeast at one time. They were clearly a Uchee People, not Siouan as some anthropologists have conjectured. The “le” suffix was actually a heavily rolled “R” sound which northern European speakers wrote as an L. “Re” is archaic Irish and means “kingdom” or a tribe with a formal government. It appears in many old place and county names in Ireland.

Sketch of Dog River House by Brockington & Associates

In the mid-1990s, archaeologists with Brockington and Associates excavated a Ufale village in Douglas County, GA (SW Metro Atlanta). It was within an established Creek-speaking province. However, the Ufale lived in round pit-houses, not rectangular Mesoamerican style chiki’s like most Creeks. However, their pottery was a simplified version of classic Lamar Culture ceramics, which typified the ceramics of a vast area of the Southeast, ruled by the Kingdom of Apalache in the 1600s. As the reader will soon learn, North Carolina archaeologists are now labeling all round Uchee houses in North Carolina as being “Early Qualla Phase Cherokee houses.”

Ufale houses on a creek in the Hiwassee River Valley – Towns County, GA ~ VR image by Richard Thornton, Architect

Hiwassee River: Anglicized pronunciation of Itsate Creek word, Hiwalsi, which means, “Highlanders”. This accurate translation comes from French natural scientist, Charles de Rochefort, in a book published in 1658, based on the 1653 visit to Georgia and western North Carolina by Englishman, Richard Brigstock.

Hiawassee, Georgia: This is the slightly different spelling of Hiwassee, used for the county seat of Towns County, GA

Tallahassee, FL: Anglicized pronunciation of Itsate Creek word Tula – Hiwalsi, which means “Town of Highlanders.” Charles de Rochefort wrote in 1658 that the Apalachete (North Georgia Creeks) established colonies in the Florida Panhandle among Arawak peoples from Peru, who also lived along the headwaters of the Hiwalsi River in the Apalachen Mountains.

The Ufale (Uchee) town of Chestua on the south side of the Hiwassee River in Clay County, NC – c. 1700 AD

In our next article, readers will join me and a tourist from Austria, Gaston Glock, as we toured the archaeological site known today as Quanasee, on the Hiwassee River in Hayesville, NC. We were fortunate to be there when an archaeology class from Western Carolina University was excavating a house site in the village that the professor called the Cherokee village of Quanasee, but as you just learned was the location of the massacred Uchee town of Chestoa.

All this was new to my companion, Gaston, but I knew something was very, very wrong when the professor told the student that the rectangular houses of an adjacent town were the vestiges of the first Cherokee settlement on the Hiwassee River in 1400 AD. Cherokees, never, ever built Chichen Itza-style houses or made Lamar-style pottery. You will find out the rest of the story next time.

Does the name, Gaston Glock sound familiar? At the time, he was in the Hiwassee Valley, he was going through a messy divorce. Herr Glock is the Austrian mechanical engineer, who designed the famous Glock semi-automatic pistol in 1981 and then founded Glock Ges.m.b.H. It is now one of the largest privately-owned firearms companies in the world. However, it also manufactures a wide range of camping accessories and tools. He told me that after Barrack Obama was elected president, there was a gun-buying mania in the USA, so a separate company, Glock, Inc. was established in Smyrna, GA. He knew that the US government was not about to ban his high quality firearms, but took advantage of the situation to greatly expand production. According to online sources, Gaston is now worth $1.54 billion!


  1. OK, now, what I was taught as a kid, Iroquois and Lenape ancestors came to the east coast about 5,000 +/- years ago. The Horde moved across the Mississippi and wound up in Illinois, where trouble started between the ani ktana (fire priests) and the rest of the Iroquois. There was a major battle and a large number of people were killed. The ani ktana and their followers fled south and wound up in what is today Tennessee. They were forced to move to Appalachia and remained there. The rest of the Horde moved east and north into what’s New York and parts of Penna. BTW, Nana (Granny) was Longhouse Gili Yu, People of the Dog Spirit. niio

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are you aware that kitani is a Alibaami (Alabama) word for a priest, who started the “sacred fire.? In current Alabama, it means a “sorcerer.” The word is derived from the Alabama verb, kitua, which means “to start a fire”. Kituwa is the Alabama word for “sacred fire.” You are probably aware that Kituwa was the name of a prominent Cherokee town in North Carolina and is the name of one the three federally-recognized Cherokee tribes. Never particularly inclined to study the cultures and languages of Southeastern tribes, the Cherokees are completely unaware of these word origins.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This shows there was a lot of movement between individuals. War was meant to shame the enemy, not to kill. Captives were usually respected and add their genes and what they knew to their captives by becoming citizens. When Europeans showed up, my ancestors were still developing a language from some 27 different groups. Wy-O-Minkh. Wy-O is Iroquois but minkh is Shawnee/Lenape (longhouse). We called ourselves the ani susos kanona, words from Iroquois/Shawnee-Lenape. Someone once said of England, bad food, bad weather, and they don’t speak English. I used to joke with English teachers that I didn’t speak English and knew no one who did. We speak American. this is what was becoming of all languages. We are one big unhappy family. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. From what Charles de Rochefort said, the period when the Apalache Kingdom (or confederacy) dominated the Southeast, the times were generally peaceful, since an important role of the Parakusate or High King was to prevent war. It was a time of long roads being built between the mountains and the Gulf of Mexico and much trade. This all fell apart due to the combined effect of waves of epidemics and intrigues by European governments. You see, the Cherokees were members of the Apalachen Confederacy and thus were allies of the Creeks, when they murdered the leaders of the Creek towns in their sleep. This extreme act of treason was the reason that the war dragged on for 40 years until the Cowetas felt that they had gotten sufficient revenge.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, that sounds like the Cherokee. Too many hotheads, but since then Nana’s longhouse was pretty much wiped out by other Cherokees for witchcraft, the shon people. Just ahead of an ax, her ancestress ran north to what is today West Virginia.

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