May 16, 2010, 08:28 PM
Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust
Hidden Silver Mine
(This is reprinted from The Hardin County Historical Quarterly from 1986)
Silver Mine Henry (McGee)
2420 Vine St.
Savannah, TN. 38372
Grandfather Henry McGee was assassinated by one Bill Reed a quarter blood Cherokee, the trouble growing out of a silver mine which Grandfather owned and operated in connection with Dick Rowe and other Cherokee Indians, near the mouth of Coon Creek on Hitower River now in Bartow County, Georgia, between the years A.D. 1812 and A.D. 1820.
Affiants Grandmother (a white woman) against the advise of her Cherokee neighbors and through fear left her farm and most of her livestock, with no compensation and went to her Father and brothers in east Tennessee, and soon thereafter married Samuel McKinney, he being a white man, which destroyed her interest and property rights as a Cherokee, she moved to middle Tennessee, Lawrence County, where our Father was bound out until he was supposed to be 21 years of age (there being no reliable record of his birth) after this he married Sallie Davis in 1850, a native of Indiana.
Historically, the first silver mine in the U.S. was the “Silver Hill Mine” discovered in 1838, ten miles from Lexington, N.C...(2) Too bad Henry McGee missed the history books.
From a Genealogical standpoint the most significant statements to come out of the trial are “Henry McGee had a sister Judith Sellers and his Mother was Ottertail related to the Vanns.”
Henry McGee has lots of descendants and differing stories about him have been handed down. Perhaps some unknown descendant or interested party has facts not yet brought to light. The family lore available to this writer states that the Cherokee name for Henry McGee was ‘Tarle Skawee.’
Henry McGee had a silver mine which he worked at intervals, not going the same way twice to avoid leaving any trail to his mine. He also had a shop where he melted the ore and coined it into silver dollars. Henry McGee was killed by someone while working in his shop. After his death the family moved to Tennessee
And of course, after he (Henry McGee) was killed, the silver mine was never worked anymore and is to this day a lost mine. However, Nancy McGee, his daughter, tried years after to get my Grandfather, James Giles, to go back and find it. Nancy McGee knew where it was as she had gone with her Father many times to help carry ore back. It was what they call pure block silver. But for some reason they never went back.
My Father and three brothers and one sister moved from Missouri in 1890 into the Cherokee Nation (now Oklahoma) and there they tried to establish their Indian rights but were defeated by the lower courts and instead of appealing to the higher courts, they just let it drop. They had proved their Indian blood by a number of old Cherokee Indians who knew Henry McGee in the Indian Territory (now Georgia). And they also knew about the silver mine, but of course, did not know where it was. My Uncle Jess McGee made several (16) trips back to Georgia to try to find the mine but was not successful, but he did find the ruins of the old shop and the cinders from the ore which would pay to work their claim. So now, they are all dead and I suppose it will always remain a lost mine.”
James Adair, the Scotch trader who lived among the Cherokee and other Indians during the life of Henry McGee said there was a band of men who mined silver in Georgia, made silver into coins which were traded for slaves in Augusta, Georgia. (11)
If you travel to the site of the Henry McGee farm, as this writer has, you will see a lot of very level topography that it must have taken many slaves to clear and till. The remains of the shop can still be located in the winter when the weeds and grasses are low. Far away in the distance are the hills from which the silver may have come. You are overcome by the immensity of the farm, the futility of looking for a hole in the ground that has been covered and hidden since 1816, but very near-by is the Etowah Mound Group which is really worth seeing. There, one of the Nations largest pre-historic Indian Mounds rises to a height of sixty-five feet and covers three acres
I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow
Jul 20, 2010, 12:24 PM
HAVE DETECTOR WILL TRAVEL
Re: Hidden Silver Mine
Thanks for the very interesting tale. Keep'em com'in!
Jan 17, 2011, 01:10 PM
Re: Hidden Silver Mine
A little late on the reply to this post but I've been doing a little research myself on the Indian presence here in Bartow County particularly on the Etowah (High tower R. from what I understand) but I have only found 1 other article on a lost silver mine and it's lead is somewhere around the area of Stilesboro, Euharlee and Taylorsville.
Nov 03, 2012, 11:07 PM
Even later on the reply.
I have been searching for this mine since 2010 I have found some promising areas. in around the Etowah river. This past winter March 2012 I found a small stream where a tree had fallen and the flooding rains of 2010 had re-route the stream, Exposing a 20 foot area along the bottom which has a gray clay vein, after doing some metal detecting around the area I discovered a pre 1840 pick some old spikes and a rail connector. the spikes and rails are from an old 1900's iron mine located near by. Not sure what the Gray clay is, did remove and still have a 5 gallon bucket full of this gray clay. The clay matches the descriptions of some of the stories concerning the lost mine.
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