Built by Cherokee Chief James Vann in 1804 (34 years before the "Trail of Tears").  He was killed in 1809, and his son Joseph inherited the home.  In 1834 the Georgia Guard seized his properties and awarded them to a white land lottery winner.  Georgia, in its battle to take over lands belonging to the Cherokee Nation, had passed many laws against the "Indians."  One stated it was illegal for a white man to work for an Indian.  Unaware of this new law, "Rich Joe" (known as such because of his great business successes) Vann fell prey to it when he hired a white overseer.  Forced from their home on a cold March day, he and his family made their way to a farm he owned in what is now Tennessee.

Special Notes:





In 1805, Vann opened his new brick mansion to Moravian missionaries to hold one of the first Christmas celebrations in the Cherokee Nation. 

In 1819 President James Monroe stayed at the home with Joseph Vann and his family while visiting the south. 

In the late 1820s, gold was discovered in the Cherokee Nation in what is now the northwest part of Georgia increasing the boldness of the whites. 

Interior paint colors were selected by Vann to represent the sky (blue), the trees and grass (green), harvested fields (yellow), and the Georgia clay (red earth). 

After much litigation, the federal government paid the Vanns, in the 1840s, for property taken by Georgia. 






The confiscation included:


Their brick home
800 acres of cultivated land
42 cabins
6 barns
5 smokehouses
1 grist mill
1 sawmill
1 blacksmith shop
8 corn cribs
1 shop & foundry
1 trading post
1 peach kiln
1 still
1100 peach trees
147 apple trees and other property.

(Pictures without photo numbers, such as "Rich Joe," are cropped pieces of photos I took)




Left & above: Cellar area beneath the house.


Above and below:  Some of the Cherokee items displayed in the house.  Traditional Stick Ball Rackets used in a game called "Anetsa" (similar to LaCrosse).  Ceremonial mask.  Basket of blowgun darts, feathered with thistle down, used by the Cherokee when hunting small game. 




Description from the Vann House website (click on links page below for listing)

During the 1790s, James Vann became a Cherokee Indian leader and wealthy businessman.  He established the largest and most prosperous plantation in the Cherokee Nation, covering 1,000 acres of what is now Murray County. In 1804 he completed construction of a beautiful 2˝-story brick home that was the most elegant in the Cherokee Nation. After Vann was murdered in 1809, his son Joseph inherited the mansion and plantation. Joseph was also a Cherokee leader and became even more wealthy than his father. 

In the 1830s almost the entire Cherokee Nation was forced west by state and federal troops on the infamous Trail of Tears. The Vann family lost their elegant home, rebuilding in the Cherokee Territory of Oklahoma. Today the Vann House survives as Georgia’s best-preserved historic Cherokee Indian home. A guided tour allows visitors to see the house which features beautiful hand carvings, a remarkable “floating” staircase, a 12-foot mantle and fine antiques.