History

The main trail into Rocky Fork State Park leads to an intriguing cultural heritage site. In January of 1789, during the brief State of Franklin movement, a group of Cherokee and Creek Indians led by John Watts, “Young Tassel,” established a winter camp on Flint Creek near its junction with Rocky Fork Creek. John Sevier, who a few years later would become the first governor of the new state of Tennessee, marched his militia to the site, led a surprise attack on the camp and achieved “a complete victory” burying 145 dead after the “battle” with all others fleeing or being taken captive. This was one of many conflicts in what became known as the Chickamauga Wars between settlers and a group of Native Americans who chose to fight rather than assimilate into white society. The site, often referred to as “the battlefield,” is located an easy three-fourth’s mile hike into the park from the parking area at what locals call “The Old Indian Fields.”

Nightland by Elizabeth Ellison, courtesy of elizabethellisongallery.com
Photo from The Overmountain Men by Pat Alderman showing the site of the massacre at John Sevier’s hands.