Published On: Mon, Nov 1st, 2010

Wreath-laying ceremony planned for Junaluska Gravesite

Junaluska Memorial Site and Museum will host the annual Junaluska Wreath Laying Ceremony on Friday, Nov. 12 at 10:00. This year is a special celebration that marks the 100th anniversary of the commemoration of the Junaluska gravesite monument.

Junaluska gained fame for his participation in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. It was there that the Cherokee Nation assisted Andrew Jackson’s Tennessee forces in the defeat of the Creek Nation in 1814. Junaluska is credited for recruiting 100 Cherokee warriors from North Carolina for the American cause.

Upon returning from Alabama, Junaluska returned to his home in Sugertown, today the town of Franklin.  He lived there until being forced off of his land due to the state of North Carolina’s zeal to acquire land ceded under the Treaty of 1817.

Junaluska moved with his wife and children to Valleytown, in present day Andrews, NC, sometime around 1822. They were joined by his family, including brother’s Wachacha and Scoya. Also moving from Sugertown were Junaluska’s sister Rebecca and her white husband, Gideon Morris, as well as family friend John Welch.

During the removal of 1838, Junaluska departed with a detachment led by the Reverend Jesse Bushyhead on September 3, on the infamous Trail of Tears.  Several weeks later Junaluska and Wachacha led a group of 50 others who deserted their detachment and attempted to return to their homes.  Junaluska led a group of 25 older people while his little brother led a younger group of 25.  Junaluska’s group was captured just north of Knoxville, Tennessee and forced to remove to Indian Territory. 

A couple years later, Junaluska made his way back to North Carolina, and returned to his home place along Valley River. Because of his heroic status, the state of North Carolina granted Junaluska 337 acres of land in 1847. A large portion of his land is now a part of the present day town of Robbinsville.

Junaluska passed away on November 20, 1858.  He was buried on the land granted to him, along with his third wife Nicie.  In 1910 the General Joseph Winston Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a monument at his gravesite. This property was donated to the EBCI in 1998, when the Friends of Junaluska assumed responsibility for the memorial site and museum. In 2001, the EBCI Cultural Resources Office (Kituwah Preservation and Education Program) began managing the site.

The centennial event will begin at 10 a.m. Parking for this year’s event will be at the Robbinsville football field. Shuttles buses will begin at 9:15 to transport you to the museum. For those unable to walk to the monument, assistance will be provided. Lunch will be provided after the event.

Those who are assisting with this year’s event include the Kituwah Education and Education Program, Junaluska Youth Leadership Council, Graham County Indian Education, the American Legion Post 143, the EBCI Office of the Principal Chief, Robbinsville High School, Swain County High Schools, and the Snowbird Community.

Info: TJ or Louise (828) 479-4727.

Source: Kituwah Preservation and Education Program

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