Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Original Tiny House

In our present day of minimalism, the tiny house is quite the rage. Back in the early 1800s the tiny house was a way of life.  The Cherokee Indians in North Georgia had become fans of the European way of life as a result of James Vann's example as well as the influence of their Moravian friends.
Here is a picture of what the average Cherokee family called home.

This cabin was dismantled and moved to the Vann House property.

A fireplace, a table and a bed took up most of the space downstairs.

Here is the fireplace wall.

A ladder led to the loft where the children slept.

The Vann House did not have a kitchen as it was located in a cabin on the property. The slaves produced the meals and transported them to the dining room.

I loved seeing these "leather britches" hanging from the rafter. When I was a girl we spent many summer afternoons stringing green beans on thread and hanging them to dry on the front porch.

The Vann kitchen was very well appointed.

The fireplace in the kitchen was decorated very nicely for a kitchen. Notice the colors repeated from the Vann House decor.

Here I am standing in the kitchen door. I am about 5'8" so you can see how low the doorways were. Marvin had to stoop to enter. Our guide informed us that the Cherokee were taller than their European counterparts. Joe Vann was 6'6" tall which was very tall for that time period.

Here was an interesting sign we saw outside the garden.

The Cherokee had their own method of gardening!

Because the Cherokee claimed prime property in the area, many were jealous of them. And with land grants being given out to the white settlers, the government decided to relocate the Cherokee to join their "brothers" out west.  Joe Vann knew he was going to be evicted from his plantation and he was wise enough to take some money and move on his own. Being a shrewd businessman, he began a ferry service in the west. His business came to an end when the steam ship he was piloting on the river exploded.

The Cherokee with limited means were herded into a compound near the Chief Vann House. Many died of disease before they could even begin the trip west. On the trail, 14 people were buried at each stop as a rule. It was a tragic time in Georgia history. I have some ancestors who we think were of Cherokee descent. However, we cannot prove it as they did not dare claim their Indian blood on the US Census. We have several family names that were common to the  English surnames the local Indians took as their own.  Two of my ancestors applied for the Guion Miller Claim that paid reaparation to the descendants of the Cherokee who were displaced.  Many Cherokee in North Carolina were able to hide in the mountains to prevent being taken west. Our tour guide said that the Indians in this area did not try this as they had become very European in life style and they did not think they could make it in the mountains.  So they headed west and were fortunate if they made it to the end of the journey.

Hope you enjoyed this little step back in time. We need to remember the bad times in our History as well as the good times.


Gina said...

Arlene, thank you for taking us on your adventure! I love visiting colonial era houses and any old house really. I am always amazed how low the ceilings are and how thin the mattresses are. I'm so spoiled with a nice thick mattress! xo

Terri D said...

How very interesting!! I really enjoyed the photos and reading about the Cherokee!