I was looking up places on my HISTORY HERE app, and I came across Junaluska’s burial site. The strange thing was, the place it took us to from the app, was not his burial place at all. I am not sure who gives the information to the HISTORY app, but it was an interesting detour to our true destination anyway. The app’s address is a cemetery where soldiers are buried. That is filling, seeing how Chief Junaluska fought for the US, but of course, he wasn’t buried there. I snapped a couple of pictures of the tree that seemed to have been there as long as the cemetery though and the table that was around it, maybe once for holding dinner on the grounds for families who had come to bury their relatives or to picnic with their remains? It is a peaceful area, this place, but not the right site for Junaluska.
The real Memorial is in Robbinsville, NC and it made my heart sink to see it. It is supposed to be a memorial, educational garden, and museum. The who was the volunteer for running it has since passed away, and the museum is closed up. There have been no more volunteers lining up to take her place, so the garden isn’t in too good of shape either. Of course, the signs for all the plants are still there and where they are supposed to be, so it wouldn’t be hard for someone to take care of the place again. The grave of this great American Indian hero and his second wife doesn’t look too terrible, I suppose, considering the age of the site. It just made me sad that this tiny town had such a big sign to display this memorial only to see how it has been neglected by the community. Of course, we were just passing through on our journey, and it was still a very educational experience. If anyone would like to volunteer to help this poor little place, I am sure this town probably has a chamber of commerce that would take your information. Ok, on with the history lesson… Junaluska help fight wars side by side with American soldiers and actually became friends with General Andrew Jackson. He even saved Jackson’s life at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Jackson swore to Junaluska that he and his family would always be able to remain in NC. But, of course, as politics go, Jackson threw him out along with many other Cherokee, sending him to Oklahoma. Junaluska did not stay in Oklahoma, but made his way back to his home of NC on foot! By the time he got back to the state, the government decided to give a small piece of land for his service to the American people in helping them fight. This memorial is a peaceful little place and the small, short hiking trail that they label the educational garden is quite informative. It slopes up the mountain, with a sign introducing a different plant every few feet along the way. It is not a strenuous walk, and it isn’t very long, but take your time to read and enjoy each one. All in all, just for the garden and memorial, plan on being there a couple of hours. Hopefully, someone will volunteer in this place again and get the museum up an running. I am sure it will add to the wonder of this great memorial to the great American/Indian hero from our history.