During the 1790s, James Vann became a Cherokee Indian leader and wealthy businessman. He was the son of a Cherokee woman and Scots-Irish man, and because of his mixed ancestry was able to do business with the Europeans and Indigenous People of the area.
James Vann established the largest and most prosperous plantation in the Cherokee Nation, working his 1,000 acres with African slave labor. The house, which was built on Cherokee Land is now apart of Murray County, Georiga.
In 1804 Vann completed construction of a beautiful 2 ½ story brick home. After Vann was murdered in 1809, his son Joseph inherited the mansion and plantation. Joseph was also a Cherokee leader and became even more wealthy than his father.
The house has many beautiful architectural features including this 12 foot mantle. I really love the amazing wood details and craftmanship apparent throughout the house.
Our guide, who was fantastic, told us that these are the original colors of the house, which I think is so cool! I really apricate it when houses are dedicated so authenticity.
Another amazing feature of this house is the floating staircase! A post had to be added on ground floor of the staircase because after almost 200 years the staircase was becoming structurally unsound. The stairs span three stories. I’ve never seen anything quite like this.
In the 1830s almost the entire Cherokee Nation was forced west by state and federal troops on the Trail of Tears. The Vann family actually traveled to Oklahoma a few years before the forced removal seeing the writing on the wall so to speak. They lost their elegant home, but rebuilt an almost exact replica in the Cherokee Territory of Oklahoma.
Today, the Vann House survives as Georgia’s best-preserved historic Cherokee Indian home.
I highly recommend visiting this site. Aside from the house there are also many outbuildings and a wonderful visitor center about Cherokee culture and heritage.
If you are interested about reading more about the history related to this site, the author, Denise Weimer has a historical fiction romance coming out in September of 2019 set here in 1805. The novel is about the Moravian missionaries who established a school on the property that Chief Vann’s children attended for a time. The novel is called, The Witness Tree.