Canton library to celebrate Native American Heritage Month

Haywood County native Charlie Rhodarmer, director and manager of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, will give a presentation on 18th century Cherokee history and culture at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, at Canton Branch Library.

Rhodarmer’s talk will focus on Sgt. Sumter and Lt. Henry Timberlake’s experience with the Cherokee. After visiting the Overhill Cherokee (a term applied to the Cherokee who resided in what is now eastern Tennessee) in 1762, Timberlake wrote about the two months in which he lived with the Cherokee and the months following when he and Sumter escorted three Cherokee to England.

Timberlake paints a colorful story about his adventure with the Cherokee in his memoirs. Reading his writings, you also discover that Timberlake was one of the unluckiest men of the 18th century, and that his bad luck had a tendency to rub off on those around him.

Speaking from the perspective of “Sumpter” (Timberlake continually misspells Sumter’s name in his writings), Rhodarmer will share a few of the Lieutenant’s misadventures and will go on to depict the Sergeant’s continued involvement with the Cherokee.

Sumter and Timberlake were with the Cherokee from the time they first met in the Overhill territory until Sumter and the Cherokee left England to return to the colonies (Timberlake remained in England). As Sumter traveled through South Carolina while escorting the Cherokee back to the Overhill, he fell in love with the Santee area of South Carolina, which was eventually renamed Sumter County.

Program participants will be invited to examine a few of the Cherokee items that Timberlake describes in his memoirs, and to enjoy refreshments generously provided by the Friends of the Library. For more information on the Nov. 17 event, call the Canton Branch Library at 828.648.2924.

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