In May 1794 General Elijah Clarke crossed the Oconee with the intention of establishing a Transoconee Republic. He began recruiting and erecting fortifications to the alarm of both Georgia and the United States. He also negotiated with the French to mount a joint attack on the Spanish. The Oconee War and Clarke's Transoconee Republic came to an end on September 28, 1794, when Clarke surrendered to a large force of Georgia and Federal troops even though his men voted to stand their ground and sell their lives dearly. The Federals then burnt Fort Defiance and the other fortifications of the short lived republic.
In the east, the Unicoi Turnpike brought settlers from the north to northeastern Georgia. Many of these settlers encroached on Indian lands causing much consternation to Cherokee in the area. Brutal attacks by whites on Native Americans and vice versa created an unfriendly atmosphere that lasted until whites completed the subjugation of the Indians of the area by 1820.
In 1803 the Cherokee agreed, in principal, to a Federal Highway(Map) to join Knoxville and Savannah meeting in the area of present day Ringgold, Georgia. Road construction started immediately and when the federal government ran out of money in 1804, Georgia contributed $5,000 to its completion. The Cherokee viewed the whites desire to build such a road as a curiosity at the time, but agreed in writing to the road in the Treaty of Tellico, 1805, the year it was finished. In spite of completion of this and other roads, river travel remained the chief form of transportation in Georgia until the advent of a major rail system in the state in the 1830's.
Counties began to organize in North Georgia. Gwinnett, Habersham and Hall Counties were formed in 1818. With Rabun County, which formed the following year, Georgia stretched from the Atlantic Coast to North Carolina. Development was slow though, because there was little to attract settlers other than those who had won land during the lottery. That was about to change. The face of North Georgia would alter dramatically with the "discovery" of gold.
Historian and author Richard Irby contributed to this article
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