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Supper with the Spirits
April 27 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm$35
You are invited to spend an evening and have dinner with living history representatives of 15 early Calhoun area residents who served a significant role in McMinn County history. Supper with the Spirits is planned for April 27 at Calhoun Community Cemetery.
In a dinner theater setting, a three-course meal will be served, followed by a visit with townsfolk who were laid to rest in the old Methodist graveyard during the 1800s. Lives of intrigue, betrayal, mystery, tragedy, war and hard work are well-represented by these residents of God’s acre on Church Street. A Cherokee businessman, a land speculator, a doctor, a Cherokee preacher, a teacher, two Civil War soldiers and a Cherokee widow are among the “spirits” who have promised to materialize at Meditation Park.
A survey of the gravestones in the old cemetery by researchers with the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society led to interpretation of family relationships and identification of connections within the town occupants. An index and history of those resting at thissite is currently being developed to be made available to local residents and visiting genealogists.
The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. with tickets costing $35, which includes dinner and a special, secret item yet to be revealed.
Calhoun was founded on the Hiwassee District reservation of Maj. John Walker, Jr. and McMinn County was established in his home on November 13, 1819.
As early as 1806, Walker, a prominent Cherokee and grandson of the Cherokee beloved woman Nancy Ward, established his home and ferry crossing on the Hiwassee River. The location, known as Walker’s Ferry, became an active trading post frequented by both Cherokee and early white settlers in the area. Walker served with Andrew Jackson in the 1814 Creek War, received a major’s commission and developed close ties with Col. Gideon Morgan, commander of the Cherokee Regiment.
Walker returned to Walker’s Ferry and was instrumental in the negotiation of the 1817 Treaty of the Cherokee Agency and the 1819 Washington Treaty with the Cherokee leaders. The land cession, known as the Hiwassee Purchase, placed the territory south of the Little Tennessee River, east of Starr Mountain, west of the Tennessee River, and north of the Hiwassee River into possession of the U.S. government, leaving only the Ocoee District south of the Hiwassee in Cherokee control.
As a result, Walker was granted two 640-acre reservations on the Hiwassee: one including his dwelling house and ferry, and the other at the site of his mill on the Eastanallee Creek.
Walker laid out the town of Calhoun on one tract. After McMinn County was established by the Tennessee Legislature Nov. 13, 1819, the organizational meeting of the circuit court for McMinn County government was held in Walker’s home in April 1820.
At this time, the U.S. Indian Agency was moved up the Hiwassee River into the Ocoee District, the only land remaining in Cherokee control, and this area of commerce continued to develop. Storehouses, churches, schools, postal services and a boarding house were located in Calhoun and frequented by local residents and travelers.
Methodist circuit-riding preachers began holding services on a hill above the riverbank, and the Calhoun Methodist Episcopal church was established there in 1820. The area surrounding the early church became the final resting place of local residents and settlers connected with the agency across the river.
The Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society was established in 2008 with a mission to collect, preserve and disseminate knowledge about the cities of Charleston and Calhoun and surrounding communities. The headquarters of the society is the Hiwassee River Heritage Center, located at 8746 Hiwassee St., Charleston. It can be reached by calling 423-665-3373.
Tickets can be purchased at Calhoun City Hall or at the Hiwassee River Heritage Center.
Supper with the Spirits happens at the Calhoun Community Cemetery at 106 Church St., in Calhoun.