The purpose of this blog is to provide authentic information about the origins and meanings of Cherokee-derived place names in the Southeastern United States.   It is intended to be a reference source, not a typical blog.  New information is posted when developed by research, and all sections may be updated at any time.  Please give credit to this copyrighted site if you use quotations from it on other sites.

What you see on this opening page is only the latest entry.   It will be helpful to use the Index to begin finding the place name you are seeking.

The work is ongoing, and there will be additions made periodically. There may be internal changes in the interest of better organization, improved details, and greater readability, as required. Please note that it is my intention to give only approximate locations of old Cherokee settlements; the primary focus here is on origins of place names.

Entries are written and researched by John Currahee. Every effort is made to have the information be accurate.   All material here is copyrighted by me.  If you wish to use this material in print, please contact me through the blog.  I am happy to have you link to this site.

If you find any errors in this material, please do let me know.  Your comments are welcomed.

Some of the place names are merely Cherokee attempts at the names given by earlier Indians.  Those names rarely had any meaning in Cherokee; some can be traced to Muskogean speakers.  Many others may have come from now forgotten and extinct or absorbed tribes never known to white people.

Thank you for your interest in place names.

I encourage those of you who may be interested in the Cherokee language and Cherokee ideals of behavior to view the video at this link.  It is in spoken Cherokee with English subtitles.

Here is a link to Amazing Grace, sung in Cherokee.   The song has a special meaning for Cherokee people; it was sung on the Trail of Tears, among other reasons.  The Cherokee words are not merely a translation of the English words.  The pronunciation is slightly off, but the rendition is a good one.  A more authentic Cherokee pronunciation, sung without music, in a pleasing voice can be found here.  Another version of Amazing Grace in Cherokee, also without music, can be found at this link.  Yet another version here shows the Cherokee words and the pronunciation is good.  You can find a fairly good translation of the Cherokee lyrics of the song at this place.  Go to this site for an excellent interlinear translation and a spoken Cherokee version of The Lord’s Prayer in several file formats.

I recommend this 10-minute documentary video for those who are interested in hearing Eastern Cherokee as it is actually spoken now in the mountains of North Carolina.   It is well worth the time, for those who are interested in the facts and sounds of present-day Cherokee life.

If you go to YouTube and search for work by Tsasuyeda, you will find nearly 50 excellent videos from which you may learn a great deal of the Eastern Cherokee [Giduwa] dialect.  Her URL is http://tsasuyed.blogspot.com/.

If you want to learn more about indigenous peoples from all parts of the world, including the Americas, I encourage you to visit nativeweb.org.   I am proud that this blog is among the thousands of authentic resources listed there.

Here is an account of the current state of American Indian health care.  If you care about what you read, perhaps you will ask your congressperson to do something about it?

If you have some interest in purchasing clothing and other items with American Indian themes, you might want to look at http://www.zazzle.com/chenocetah*  or the  Chenocetah Indian Store.

Please note: I receive many requests for assistance with genealogical research or related information.   I fully understand your desire to know more about your ancestors; however, I do not have specific genealogical information that will be of any help to you.  You can get access to that kind of research by Googling “Cherokee Genealogy,” where you will find many sites such as All Things Cherokee, or Native American Data.   I am sorry that I cannot be of help to you in your genealogical research.signature_3Note: Cherokee is now available as a Google search language.   The Cherokee language syllabary characters are now in Unicode.  You can type directly in Cherokee and whatever you write will be readable on most computers.  I recommend the Languagegeek  keyboard layout.  Installation is very quick and trouble-free.  Using the language bar on your computer, you can switch between typing in English [or other language] and Cherokee.  It is not even necessary for you to know the syllabary at all; just type in the Romanized Cherokee words. [Example: Typing  osiyo produces ᎣᏏᏲ.] Google now supports email in Cherokee, the first American Indian language to be represented.  You can change the Gmail language through Settings; look for ᏣᎳᎩ in the list of languages.  You will find this link to the Official Gmail Blog useful.


The Copyright

© Chenocetah Press, 2000-2014.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written/e-mailed permission from Chenocetah’s Weblog owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Chenocetah.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  The names Chenocetah Press and Chenocetah Indian Store are copyrighted.  You do not need permission to link to this site.  Comments on any part of this blog are welcomed.  Contact the owner through a comment in any section.

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10 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi John~

    I stumbled on your site while researching where I live. I live off Sixes Road in Canton, GA on a creek that I did not see on your website. My home sits on Tonigh Creek and a beautiful waterfall which empties into Little River and Lake Allatoona. My street is Waterfall Way. Have you heard of the creek or the waterfall? My property sits on the beginning of the Core of Engineers. As you can imagine, there is so much I have stumbled upon while walking the trails of this special place. Ironically, I am of Boone descent (father’s side) and have a small bit of Cherokee blood in me. When I found my home – I had no clue what to expect.

    Do you have any history on this area? From my understanding – the gold mines were on both sides of my home (Little River and Tonigh). I have found some interesting things on the land and I hope you can share your knowledge with me.

    All the best,

    Kim Williamson

  2. Hey John, I spend a lot of time out in the woods hanging out on mtn tops. SE Appalachian are my favorite and I have been trying to come up with the pre-European names for prominent peaks such as those up in what is now called the Pishgah National Forest. Of particular interest would be “Sams Knob” and “Cold Mtn” in the Shining Rock Wilderness.

    And most curious to me right now is what is called “Cedar Rock Knob” (above Brevard, NC). There I had intense dreams of snakes and later have noticed that the west face of it bears strong resemblance to the “Cherokee Ouroboros”. Can you tell me anything about this place? It’s name? Did it have any significance in Cherokee lure?

    And, do you have any listing of Appalachian mountain top names as they were called by the Cherokee? (I’ve read that “Appalachian” is a native word that came from Florida??)


  3. John,

    You’ve compiled a lot of great information here. Thank you for making it available to us. I’m very interested in the accurate translations and origins of the places alleged to be of Cherokee or Creek origin and meaning. Oconee is one I’ve been tracking for the past couple of years. Thanks again!

  4. John,

    I am a semi-retired career newspaper report and editor from Western states. One fork of my father’s family left Maryvale in southeast Tennessee for Missouri after the Civil War. I moved to Cleveland, TN from California about four years ago.

    I discovered your website today while searching for origins of certain obviously Indian place names. You offer excellent and well-presented information.

    Congratulations. Keep it up. And thanks.

  5. I happened upon your web site when I was trying to find some information about Turtle Rock near Murphy, N.C. My daughter and her family are leaving Heflin, Al. today 10-12-to look at some of the land she has inherited. My story is not thought out and may seem convoluted. Here goes. Her Grandfather (Joe Bailey) and Grandmother (Lucy Warner Bailey) lived in Murphy at least 40 years before moving to Al. Joe and Walter (daughter’s father) did core drilling for talc on some of the land Joe owned. I was married to Walter and only some of this period of time (late 60’s) is clear. I taught school at the elementary school in Murphy. As time allowed
    Walter and I would explore the area where they were drilling. I do remember Joe hiking with us and showing us a rock that definitely looked like a turtle. The importance of the turtle was that the Cherokees had hidden their valuables in caves along the Hiwassee. He told us that there were other animals also carved or arranged rock that pointed the way to these caves. Some of the caves had been flooded when TVA dammed the river. My daughter was looking for information about this story so I said I would help. Of course this is short notice. I believe that I will check google maps and I think I can find the road to that land where the rock was. I happend upon your web site and it looked more promising than most. Have you ever heard this legend or have any information that I could share with her? Jo-Ann Harper Bailey

    • Dear Jo-Ann,

      Thank you for your comment on my blog. I am glad you visited.

      During the period before the removal, it is true that many of the Cherokee hid valuables to avoid those things being taken by the soldiers or the white people who took over their land. Most of the things hidden in the mountains and caves of western North Carolina were placed there for safety by those who did not go on the Trail of Tears, and these things were retrieved soon after it became clear that the soldiers would leave the mountain people in peace. There are many stories of others, who did go on the Trail of Tears, who also hid valuables, expecting to return for them when they were able. It is possible that some such caches remained unretrieved, the owners having died in the removal, and perhaps some of them still remain undiscovered. As you may know, some of the people had to take shelter in caves for a time during the removal, too.

      However, I do not have any special knowledge that would help anyone to find any remaining such caches. Quite probably, you already have better information than I have. I wish your daughter success in finding any traces, and I would be pleased to hear if she does.

      Best wishes,


  6. For several generations, my family owned a farm in the Eastatoee Valley in Pickens County. My grandmother told me that as a child, her grandfather told her tales of the days when the Cherokee of that region were forced from the valley. I have always heard that Eastatoee was Cherokee for “Valley of the Green Bird” an apparent reference to the Carolina Parakeet that flocked to the valley every year. The last wild parakeet was seen in the valley in the first decade of the 20th century. Is there any truth to this interpretation? One aside, I asked to take Cherokee as my foreign language in college. The request was denied but recently a former teacher remembered my request and notified me that today such a request would be heartily embraced. Your site gives me great appreciation for the language and its heritage.

  7. John, Thank you.

    About 26 years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to take “Poisonous and Medicinal Plants” (and since that year was to be your last I also took your “Environmental Issues” class). I worked my butt off to earn a C – which I was proud of by the way. As a teacher you had no equal in my experiences. Your overt lessons from organic chemistry and plant structures to nuclear power and water quality have faded to one degree or another (I believe much of it is still filed away. Little tidbits like Coprinopsis atramentaria and alcohol), but your coverts have resonated and found a home in me. You somehow ‘force’ me to put out only my best (spelling and memorizing were my bane). I am at this time a teacher in Pleasantville HS, not far from Stockton and each day I try to pull the very best out of my students, demanding their personal best. I am currently teaching physics and freshmen physical science.

    I continue to live life and play the game as if it really mattered, knowing that all things considered really it’s just a game and it doesn’t.

    Thank you,
    George Murray

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