Geography of a Massacre: Cherokee and Carolinian Visions of Land at Long Cane

Cook, Jessica, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Edelson, S. Max, History, University of Virginia

On February 1, 1760, after eighteen months of rising tensions between Cherokee peoples and British colonists, a contingent of Cherokee warriors attacked a convoy of fleeing British settlers near Long Cane Creek in northwestern South Carolina. Later named "The Long Canes Massacre” by Anglo-Americans, the deadly ambush made front page news throughout the colony and precipitated two devastating British military campaigns into Cherokee homelands. Over the last eighty years, scholars have considered the attack at Long Cane Creek only as a narrative event and have used it to illustrate rising tensions in their broader studies of the region's history. As a result, academic understanding of Long Canes' significance has changed very little since the nineteenth century. By using eighteenth century maps, treaty texts, settler plats, and contemporary documents, this essay explores Cherokee and British conceptions of land management and revises the current interpretation of the events leading up to the attack at Long Canes by arguing that spatial confusion, and the absence of a boundary line rather than the existence of one ultimately triggered violence.

MA (Master of Arts)
Long Canes Massacre, Long Cane, South Carolina, Early South Carolina, Cherokee
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