It’s a new season for Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals

Published 12:38 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Often when we think of Sycamore Shoals, we think of John Sevier and James Robertson, the men and women who first came to the Watauga Settlement, built homes here, fought the Indians and British, and drew up the first government west of the Alleghenies. They thirsted for freedom and were willing to fight for it.
Tennessee’s first permanent white settler, William Bean, established a small settlement along the Watauga Branch of the Holston River in 1769. Other settlers, including Sevier and Robertson, soon followed. Already here were the Cherokee Indians. The settlers decided to strike a deal with the Cherokees, to lease the land from them. However, the Wataugans were still beyond the boundary of any organized government. They were outside the boundaries of Virginia and the state of Tennessee was yet to be. To solve the problem they created the Watauga Association in 1772.
The relationship between the Cherokee and the settlers of Tennessee was as complex and diverse as the individuals involved. Attakullakulla, Cherokee peace chief and diplomat, played a key role in Tennessee’s early history. By the time of the Transylvania and Watauga Purchases, Attakullakulla was an old man who had spent his life trying to find a way for the Cherokee and Europeans to peacefully coexist.
Attakullakulla was one of several Cherokee leaders who agreed to the Transylvania and Watauga Purchases.
Unlike his father, Dragging Canoe vehemently opposed the Transylvania and Watauga Purchases. He saw the start of the American Revolution as an opportunity to drive the settlers off of Cherokee lands.The Cherokee were defeated and ceded more land in the treaties that followed.
There’s much more to the story and lots more people involved. It includes the story of the Overmountain Men. The story of Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals began more than 240 years ago, but it’s as real today as it was then. The story will be brought to life when the drama opens Friday, June 2, at Sycamore Shoals Park for the 2023 season. The official outdoor drama of Tennessee, “Liberty!” will be presented at 8 p.m. June 2-3, 9-10, and June 15-17 and 22-24.
The drama will be presented by a cast of local performers, and it’s always a treat. It’s an old story, but it’s a story of freedom and one that causes us to remember the bravery of the men and women – our ancestors – who traveled here over 200 years ago to begin a new settlement, which is now our home.
We invite you to take time out to attend the drama and pay homage to these brave men and women who paved the way for us and first tasted freedom in America. It’s a story of freedom and our heritage.

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