The pioneer settlers of Macon County lived side by side with Cherokees who were trying to resolve their legal status in the newly ceded territory. Eventually the Cherokee reservees lost the reservations that had been granted to them as North Carolina citizens under the 1817/1819 treaty and moved away, either to the West or to one of the remaining Cherokee settlements in Western North Carolina. The vivid impression they made on the pioneers survived, however. We still remember them in names that cling to the landscape of present Macon County.
The widow of a Cherokee reservee named Little Deer, Sally is memorialized in Saldeer Gap, between Burningtown and Rose Creeks in north Macon County.
Sally and her second husband Wallosee received $200 in settlement for the lost Little Deer reservation. Gideon Morris became the guardian of her three daughters by Little Deer -Ava, Ola and Susannah.
An ancient Cherokee reservee named Mouse - sometimes called Old Mouse or Mouse Old Indian - gave his name to Mouse Mountain in north Macon County, between Rickman and Bradley Creeks. Mouse's children, Tom, Chaw-caw Hee and Tannagaha, received compensation for his lost reservation.
Rabbit, called Chief Rabbit by his white neighbors, was said to have played an important role in negotiations with the U.S. government. For his efforts, he was awarded a pair of clasped hands, wrought in silver. This token of friendship was buried with him, accordiing to legend.
The east Macon County creek on which Chief Rabbit lived has ever after been known as Rabbit Creek.
"Chief" Wildcat lived near Rabbit during the early years of settlement. The creek he lived on is known today as Cat Creek .
Jane Otter was tragically killed by a panther while working as a camp cook for early settlers in the Nantahalas. The well-liked Cherokee woman is remembered today in Jane Otter Creek. Her father's name also lives on, as Otter Creek in the Nantahala Community.
Muskrat Creek, a tributary of Cartoogechaye Creek, was named for a Cherokee man named Muskrat. He received a $100 settlement for his rights in a reservation.
The widowed head of a large family, Betty or Little Betty gave her name to Betty Creek, which rises in south Macon County and flows south into Georgia, where it joins Darnell Creek and heads back north as the Little Tennessee River.