The Cherokee Indians
The Cherokee Indians were the most powerful of the tribes in eastern Tennessee . Historians record some fifty to eighty Cherokee towns in the southern Appalachian Mountains with a population of perhaps as much as 22,000. This powerful group forced all the other tribes out of the East Tennessee area in the eighteenth century and lived in this area until they themselves were forced out in the nineteenth century by the United States Army, i. e. “The Trail of Tears”. The Cherokee were the Indian tribe that white men encountered when they explored this region. The Cherokee signed treaties establishing land boundaries between the white men and Indians. The Cherokee used the region that is now Johnson County mainly for hunting grounds although evidence exists that the area was also used as burial grounds. In 1954 a cave was discovered while workmen were blasting at the Maymead Quarry. Fifty skeletons as well as beads and ornaments were found. Artifacts found here dated back approximately 1000 years. Another burial site was found in 1990 in the Cherokee National Forest near Watauga Lake. The skeleton remains dated as far back as 800 to 900 AD and were from a pre Cherokee people. This burial site was named the Lake Hole Mortuary Cave. The cave also contained 6,029 bead and pottery fragments. Arrowheads, pottery, ax heads, and skeleton remains have been discovered throughout the county, but mostly in Shady Valley and near the Roan Creek areas.
Dan and Deanna Livorsi purchased the property in 1988. At that time, the site contained a popular store which Dan and Deanna continued to operate until their sons were born in the late 1990s. The Livorsi’s home is in the original store.
In 1983, the TVA drew down Watauga Lake for a brief time to make repairs on Watauga Dam. Representatives from Appalachian State University and other regional archaeological departments came to the lake to conduct research. Their research was focused on Wagner Island which had been covered by the lake and which is on Pioneer Landing property.
Wagner Island had been a central point for processing game by the Cherokee Indians and artifacts still remained on the island.
Consequently, the Livorsis refer to this area as “Cherokee Point”.
Pioneer Landing has been called “Little Boone” over the years because so many of its summer campers come from nearby Boone, North Carolina.