As part of the Natives and Immigrants exhibit now on display at the historic Belton train depot, a special presentation is planned for Thursday, Nov. 11.
“The public is cordially invited to attend a free entertaining and informational talk about the Cherokee Trail,” said BAMA educational coordinator Alison Darby.
Renowned historian Dennis Chastain, who has conducted extensive research on the subject of the Cherokee Trail, will present a slideshow of historic waypoints along the nearly 300 mile long Indian trading path that once ran diagonally across South Carolina from Earle’s Ford on the Chattooga River in northern Oconee County to Kings Street in Charleston.
From the founding of the South Carolina Colony in 1670 on the banks of the Ashley River to the Revolutionary War era, the Cherokee Path functioned as a conduit of communication and commerce between the colonial government in Charles Town and the powerful Cherokees of the Carolinas and eastern Tennessee.
Chastain said, “For at least a hundred years, the ancient Cherokee Trading Path was like I-26, the Internet and Facebook, all wrapped up in one.”
During the Cherokee War of 1761-1762 and the scorch and burn campaign of Andrew Williamson during the Revolutionary War, thousands of military troops marched up and down the old Cherokee Path determining the future of not only the South Carolina Colony but also of the nation itself.
“If the Cherokees had allied with the French instead of the British,” Chastain says, “we would all be having croissants for breakfast instead of grits.”
The slideshow will feature the lore and legends of important points along the historic footpath, places like Fort Prince George and the town of Six Mile in Pickens County, the town of Pendleton in Anderson County, Due West in Abbeville County, and right on down the line toward Charleston: Saluda, Lexington, Cayce, St. Matthews, Santee, Moncks Corner, Goose Creek, and of course the colonial era city of Charles Town on the Cooper River side of the peninsula.
Recent research along paths and roadways, fields and creeks in Anderson County will also be featured in the presentation.
“If anyone is interested in Native Americans and the early colonists and being entertained while learning a little bit of history, you should come hear Mr. Chastain’s presentation,” said BAMA Executive Director Abigail Burden.
The presentation will begin at 7 PM, and is free to the public.
Guests are also encouraged to view the exhibit on display, which features 15,000 year old stone implements, a buckskin dress, ritual masks, photographs and portraits, basketry and pottery by renowned Native American crafters, silver pieces and minted items from the Carolina colony, trade industry items, furniture and everyday cultural items of the settlers.
The exhibit and activities are sponsored by the WebbCraft Family Foundation and the City of Belton HTAX. The exhibit will be on display until December 11, 2021.
The Belton Area Museum Association is a place where people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities can learn about and experience our area’s history and culture. Museum admission is free.