Pay attention now, as there may be a test afterwards.
First, I want you to go back 20,000 years. That was when the polar ice cap was quite frozen over, all the way down to at least Kentucky.
We have always been a curious lot and we have always wanted to know what was “over there.” So hearty folks from south Russia and north China began a trek eastward. It was no problem to cross the frozen ocean into Alaska, where some folks decided it was too cold to stay and they ended up heading south. I always give present place names when talking about history, and the descendants of these folks came down through Washington, Oregon, and California into Mexico. Some of them in Mexico said “Oops, this is too hot,” and headed east some more.
Obviously it was too difficult to feed hundreds of folks at a time, and they stayed in small family groups, but each group was not too far away from each other in case help was needed.
They arrived in Georgia several thousand years ago and settled along our many streams and rivers. Consequently when DeSoto and his men traveled through here from Florida, these very first inhabitants of our state were named “Creeks” as that is where they were found living.
How do I know they were living in Fayette County for several thousand years? I have actual proof.
The county began to grow in the early 1970s and creating foundations for new houses were turning up interesting pieces of pottery. Builder Huie Bray, knowing my interest in history, gave me a box full of these strangely marked pieces of pottery to check with state officials and see what they might know.
I made an appointment with the state archeology department and headed into Atlanta. On the way I thought maybe the pieces (technically called shards) might possibly be several hundred years old and that would be exciting.
The archeologist laid the pieces out on a table and slowly walked around and around it deep in thought. Finally he said “when the Indians were making this pottery, Christ was choosing his disciples.”
Got my attention!
I have personally found many shards in the county: one time was when Lake Peachtree was drained in the early 1970s and I remember finding a shard that had once been a whole pot, because it has legs on it. Oh, what I would have given to have found a whole pot.
All of this led to meeting the direct descendants of our early settlers, the Creek McIntoshs. In the late 1790s a Creek Indian princess, Senoya He-Ne-Ha, married a McIntosh who had come to Georgia from Scotland.
Many of these Creek McIntosh descendants became chiefs of their Creek Nation, lawyers, mayors, teachers, and my favorite, Chief “Dode” McIntosh became a good personal friend of my children and I. Respect for my own father was highest on my list and respect for Chief Dode placed him second on the list.
A vast majority of us are ancestors of immigrants who have only been in this country for no more than 400 years. The ancestors of my subject today were already here by over 2,000 years before that.