Our Native American Heritage and Rabun County’s Founding
Rabun County’s Cherokee heritage is strong and pervasive. To the early settlers in the 18th century, the Appalachians in northeast Georgia were known as the Cherokee Mountains. Rabun County was home to at least four Cherokee settlements. Located at present-day Clayton was the confluence of five major Cherokee trails known as The Dividings. This intersection linked the Cherokee to points throughout the Southeast. Rabun County was established in 1819 on Cherokee land ceded to the state of Georgia, and Claytonsville, later renamed Clayton, became the county seat in 1821. The Cherokee and other Indian nations were finally expelled from Georgia and surrounding southeastern states in a series of forced relocations between 1831 and 1838 known as the Trail of Tears. It is estimated that upwards of 5,000 Cherokee died during these relocations.
Visit our Cherokee Heritage Exhibit
Want to learn more about Rabun County’s Cherokee Heritage? Visit our Museum to view this exhibit and many others that tell the stories that shaped Rabun’s history.