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The Legend of Nocatula October 10, 2007

Posted by mplibrary in fun stuff.
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Soon after the Battle of King’s Mountain in northeast Tennessee, around 1780, a hunting party of Cherokees found a young English officer wounded and almost dead not far from their village, near the present site of Fort Loudoun.  The Indians, who were friendly to the British, brought the soldier to their chief, Attakullakulla, who had him carried to his own house.  Here he was nursed back to health by Nocatula Coowena, the daughter of the chief.  Soon the soldier and the Indian woman fell in love. 

The old chief blessed the couple and gave the soldier an Indian name, Connestoga, or “The Oak”, and adopted him into the tribe. 

Later in the autumn, the tribe was on a hunt and camped at the big springs on the west of the Eastanallee.  Connestoga was out tracking deer and was stabbed from behind by a young warrior who had been an unsuccessful rival for Nocatula’s hand.  Nocatula arrived at her dying lover’s side and plunged the same bloody knife into her own bosom. 

According to Indian custom, the bodies were buried together.  The grief-stricken chief placed a seed in the right hand of each:  in Connestoga’s hand an acorn, and in Nocatula’s a hackberry seed.  From these seeds grew the two trees, symbolizing undying love and devotion. 

Years later, a college, now Tennessee Wesleyan, was built on the site, but the trees were not disturbed.  The hackberry became diseased and was removed in 1945, with the oak withering soon after.  Today, new trees have been planted in the Nocatula Gardens outside the library near the statue of Nocatula to commemorate the legend.

bdnocatula.jpg

Legend taken from the TWC student handbook and 13 Tennessee Ghosts and Jeffrey, by Kathryn Tucker Windham, 1988

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