A Creek village, Standing Peachtree (which many believe took its name from an Indian peach tree or orchard, but which may have been a corruption of pitch tree, referring to a pine) was located near where Peachtree Creek empties into the Chattahoochee River.
|A network of Indian trails lead to this village, an important
trading center. Walter G. Cooper, in his "Official History of Fulton County"
(1934) quotes an article by Eugene Mitchell in Bulletin No. 2 of the Atlanta Historical
"To the Standing Peachtree led a network of Indian trails before the white man came. It was the terminus of the Peachtree trail and the Stone Mountain trail and one of the objectives of the Sandtown trail. The Peachtree Trail ran along the top of the Chattahoochee ridge from near Toccoa to Buckhead, where it divided; one branch continuing by way of what is now called the Pace's Ferry and Moore's Mill roads to Standing Peachtree; but the other branch led southward from Buckhead across Peachtree Creek and struck the Sandtown trail at Five Points in what is now Atlanta."
During the War of 1812, the state of Georgia built a series of forts to control the Creeks, who were allied with the British against the United States. These outposts included Fort Peachtree at Standing Peachtree and Fort Daniel at Hog Mountain in what is now Gwinnett County. A road was built connecting these forts and was know as Peachtree Road. Today it is called Old Peachtree Road.
So the name "Peachtree" -- so closely associated with Atlanta that it is almost a municipal trademark -- is actually older than the city itself. And today's Peachtree Road had its beginnings as an important Creek trail.
Cooper quotes the Rev. William Jasper Cotter, who came to the area in 1812 with his father, who was a trader, and described it in his autobiography:
"...all was new -- waters in the creeks and rivers as clear as crystal; rich valleys, hills, and mountains covered with a thick forest; a land of beautiful flowers -- white, pink, yellow, and red honeysuckles, redwood and dogwood blossoms, wild roses and other beauties. There was plenty of wild game -- deer, turkey, and other varieties. When first seen, all was in lovely, beautiful spring, and I was nine years old."
The Creek Indians left no written records of their empire, but evidence of their everyday pursuits is still visible to experts. In the 1950s, Creek meal-grinding pits worn into granite boulders were uncovered during grading for construction of neighboring Lenox Square mall.
In their tragic struggle with encroaching whites, the Creeks were slowly driven from all their ancestral lands. By 1823, they had been forced from the territory that was later to be the site of Atlanta. The area became the property of the state of Georgia, and very soon the home of white settlers.
As the state of Georgia acquired land from the newly dispossessed Indians, it distributed it to white settlers by land lotteries.
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