Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Broom Town

Broom Town

Broom Town was the home of a Cherokee man known as “The Broom.”  The Indian town was approximately 14 miles east to southeast of Fort Payne, Alabama.  The village was located on the northeastern border of present-day Alabama, where the Lower Cherokee had moved under pressure from settlers to the north and east.  The village was eventually abandoned by the Cherokee during the 1838 Indian removal in the area. 

The Cherokee where forced west of the Mississippi River by the United States Army and were gathered at nearby Fort Payne.  The Cherokees from Broom Town and the surrounding Fort Payne area were led west on the Trail of Tears to Indian Territory under the supervision of Wagon Master John Benge.  Chief Broom's daughter Nancy, a member of the Wolf clan married a white, man by the name of Nathan Hicks; they were the parents of Charles, William, and Elizabeth Hicks.

Charles Hicks became a Cherokee chief who actually run much of the Cherokee affairs under Chief Pathkiller.  Charles Hicks had equal shares to land west of Melton’s Bluff in present-day Lawrence County, Alabama, with Moses Melton.  According to microcopy 208, roll 7, and number 3740, Captain Charles Hicks sends a letter dated January 15, 1817, “About reserve made to me and Moses Melton on Spring Creek near the mouth of Elk River by the Treaty of General Jackson with the Chickasaws.  To whom I pay taxes and get deed.”  In microcopy 208, roll 7, number 3800, Charles Hicks identifies people still on the reserves in Lawrence County, Alabama, “Muscle Shoals Reservation-yourself and Bird, Doublehead’s son, and his daughter Elcey are all in this country except the heirs of Moses Melton.”  In microcopy 208, roll 7, number 3675, Hicks realizes that the reserve is to be sold to Andrew Jackson, “I am informed that John D. Chisholm has gone to Nashville to sell to General Andrew Jackson reserves at Muscle Shoals.  Request you stop it.”

On September 11, 1808, the Cherokee Council in Broom's Town passed an act forbidding the blood law:  “Be it known, that this day, the various clans or tribes which compose the Cherokee Nation, have unanimously passed an act of oblivion for all lives for which they may have been indebted, one to the other, and have mutually agreed that after this evening the aforesaid act shall become binding upon every clan or tribe, and the aforesaid clans or tribes, have also agreed that if, in future, any life should be lost without malice intended, the innocent aggressor shall not be accounted guilty. Be it known, also, That should it happen that a brother, forgetting his natural affections, should raise his hands in anger and kill his brother, he shall be accounted guilty of murder and suffer accordingly, and if a man has a horse stolen, and overtakes the thief, and should his anger be so great as to cause him to kill him let his blood remain on his own conscience, but no satisfaction shall be demanded for his life from his relatives or the clan he may belong to.”  The law was approved by Enola or Blackfox as Principal Chief and Pathkiller as Second Chief; it bears the signature of Charles Hicks as secretary to the Council.

The Broom was killed at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in March 1814.  He served with General Andrew Jackson under the command of Captain John Speirs (Spears) Company.  Today the area of Broom Town is known as Barry Spring.

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