VERNON - Just in time for National Historic Preservation Month, the Washington County Historical Society has established a new historical marker that recognizes the Native American presence in Holmes Valley.
The marker was unveiled Friday, May 3 at its location in Vernon, 3810 Holmes Valley Road. The marker was unveiled by the owner of the property and Tribe Elder, Dr. Peggy Venable, and Dorothy Odom, Director of Washington County Historical Society.
Dr. Venable spoke briefly on spoken stories handed down through the years by her ancestors. She noted how they, and many others, were allowed to remain in the area if they joined a church. Including Dr. Venable, several other descendants of the original Native Americans who lived in this area were present– Cathy Hunt and Ruby Kelly from Malone, Mr. & Mrs. H. L. Brown, Betty Sheffield and grandson, Cody, Debbie Carr Bush, Vivian Simmons McDonald, and Euchee Chief Deborah Frazier from Tama, Georgia. Also present for the unveiling were Chair of the Board of County Commissioners Tray Hawkins, Clerk of the Court Lora Bell, Washington County Tourist Development Director Heather Lopez, and members and guests of Washington County Historical Society.
The bronze marker is entitled "Native Americans in Holmes Valley" and reads: "Washington County was a center for Native American activity for thousands of years and became the scene of military action during the Creek War of 1813-1814 and First Seminole War of 1817-1818. A Red Stick chief named Holms (Holmes) left Alabama around the time of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814) and followed the Choctawhatchee River down into Florida. Dr. Thomas G. Holmes of Alabama wrote that U.S. troops destroyed villages in the 'Uchee and Holmes Old Fields' in 1815. Legend holds that the 'Holmes Old Fields' were at today’s Holmes Valley. The area was raided in 1818 during the First Seminole War and Capt. Thomas H. Boyles reported that Holms was killed and his town destroyed. Boyles built a small fort near today’s Moss Hill Methodist Church. The first American settlers arrived in 1819. Most of the Muscogee (Creek) and other groups were removed from West Florida and sent west on the Trail of Tears in 1837-38. A few remained by hiding in the woods and their descendants still live in the area today."
If you are interested in learning more about local historical society, contact the Historical Society at 638-0358. The museum is open Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and other times by appointment.