Days Gone By - stories from the past

Centre, Cherokee County, Alabama – near the home of Chief Pathkiller


Centre is the county seat of Cherokee County, on the northeastern bank of the Coosa River, near the center of the county, about 28 miles southwest of Rome, Georgia, and about 25 miles northeast of Gadsden. Old newspapers include the Coosa River News, established in 1878, and the Cherokee Harmonizer, established in 1899, both Democratic weekly newspapers.

Chief Pathkiller lived near Centre

Cherokee County was created on January 9, 1836, and was named for the Cherokee Indians, who ceded the land that now comprises the county to the Federal government by the treaty of New Echota, 1835 Dec. 29.

A possible burial site of Pathkiller exists in a cemetery found in the old Cherokee Nation capital of New Echota, Calhoun County, Georgia (Wikipedia)

The famous Cherokee chief Pathkiller lived in Turkeytown near the present day town of Centre. Cherokee County is located in the northeastern portion of the state, in the Appalachian Mountains. In 1836 the newly founded town of Cedar Bluff became the county seat, but in 1884 the county seat was moved to the more centrally located town of Centre.  The name was chosen, and carries the old English spelling, because of this central location in the county.

Early settlers

For the first ten years, the residents of Cherokee County quarreled over the location of a county seat. In 1837, the AL legislature authorized the seat of county government to be established at Cedar Bluff. In 1844 an election was held and the county seat was moved to the town of Centre.

Among the early settlers were the Gen John Garrett and the Tatum, Neely, Reeves and Geer families. Among the prominent citizens were William M. Elliott, Ellis Hale, James A. Reeves, Judge Robert R. Savage, and Chancellor S. K. McSpadden. The first court for Cherokee County was held in the house of Singleton Hughes, the first settler at the town of Centre.



References —Armes, Story of coal and iron in Alabama. (1910); Rev. J. D. Anthony,  Gadsden Times, circa 1875 Polk’s Alabama gazetteer, 1888-9, p 257- Alabama Official and Statistical Register, 1915.

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. How did he get the name Pathkiller?

  2. Been to this site many times. Wish there was away to look for book about Lineville, Clay County, Alabama.

    1. For histories of Lineville and Clay County go to this website and click on any of the great articles by Don C. East, a Clay County native and local historian.

      My wife’s ancestors, the McCains, settled in what is now Clay County in the late 1830’s.

  3. Didn’t Sherman come thru Cherokee county on his march, near the end of the Civil War. Destroying everthing in his path?

    1. Sherman was a despicable individual ( Notice I did not say person or human). He should have been charged with war crimes and then hung for his actions against the people of the South. (Women and Children who suffered)

  4. My ancestors, surnames Wright and Starnes, were residents of Cherokee County in the 1900 Census.

  5. How would I go about finding Pathkillers’ grave site…..I am a history nut and
    would like to at least see it?

    I am sure there are a lot of sites close to Gadsden I could investigate if I only
    knew where they were.

  6. Beautiful, reflection old cemetary, history.

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