Valley Head Yesterday and Today

Town of Valley Head, AL about 1880, looking east from the corner of highway 137 and Winston St. In the background is the train depot, and in the foreground is the Post Office. Photo contributed by Marion C. Vaughn

Valley Head is a tale of two histories. The history of the Native Americans who lived here and the history of peoples who migrated to the area.

With the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the wheel was set in motion to open the Cherokee lands to white settlers. The terrain of northern DeKalb County Alabama was a perfect place to hide. With it’s caverns and deep rolling hills many Cherokee avoided the painful journey , today called the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee were successful farmers and hunters, so survival in the unforgiving wilderness around Valley Head would have been an easier task for them, than the white settlers who pushed their way across the Appalachian Mountains. Today’s science may one day reveal yesterdays dramatic story of those left behind.

Perhaps so little is known about the Native Americans in the Valley Head area, because this area is an excellent hiding place. And hide they did. A clue to the successful hiding is found in the minutes of the Head Springs Primitive Baptist Church constituted 1835. In September 1835 two new members were received, Isaac, “a man of colour the property of Elizabeth Packs” and Caty “a woman of colour the property of Elizabeth Packs”. Elizabeth Pack was Cherokee, daughter of Chief John Lowrey. She managed to hold her entitlements of land long after the forced migration of the Cherokee Nation. The stories of who was or was not a Cherokee were held silent for years. Slowly, however, the family stories are emerging to take their rightful place in Valley Head history.

"Mrs.Mrs. E. Pack
> Cherokee by blood
> Land Owner
> Slave Owner

The creek top center of map is Lookout, runs from north Georgia to Valley Head. The creek that runs from Buffington’s to the southwest is Wills Creek. Valley Head would be between Buffington’s and Mrs. E. Pack (Ent.)

Cherokee Towns and Villages
Cherokee Towns and Villages The Cherokee Nation The DeKalb Legend, Bicentennial Edition, Vol. IV, 1975-76
1841 Map Valley Head and Willstown

Map by
John LaTourrette
Published 1837