Tamassee, South Carolina

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Taken from Tamassee Knob Mountain
a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Tamassee, South Carolina

Tamassee is an unincorporated community located in northwestern Oconee County, South Carolina, United States.


The Tamassee area is located in and very near the Blue Ridge Mountains. A large part of the community occupies the scenic Cheohee Valley, "a beautiful rolling meadow framed by mountains and a wide triangle of sky."[1][2]

The valley, in fact, is surrounded by a portion of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains called the "Chattooga Escarpment" in reference to a Federally Designated Wild and Scenic River, the Chattooga, which flows just beyond these mountain ridges.[2]

Tamassee is bordered on the west and north by the Pickens Ranger District of the Sumter National Forest. This area of national forest is characterized by a portion of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, rivers, waterfalls and hiking trails. The area is noted for its extremely rich biological diversity; which is said to owe to unique soil characteristics and elevated annual precipitation levels.[2]

History: Cherokee origins[edit]

The name "Tamassee" means "Place of the Sunlight of God", according to an interpretation of the Cherokee word which gave the area its original title.[3] Tamassee was the name given by the Cherokee to originally describe a Cherokee village in the area, which legend tells, was home to a magical and powerful Cherokee prophet.[4] The Cherokee town of Tamassee was destroyed and abandoned on August 12, 1776 when Major Andrew Pickens of the South Carolina Militia fought in the famed "Ring Fight. The Ring Fight happened when a scouting detachment numbering around 25 men under Major (later General) Andrew Pickens was ambushed by a local band of Cherokees and Loyalists numbering over 100. Pickens ordered his men to make a circle and another circle within the circle. When one circle would fire, the other would fire while the others where reloading. Fierce hand to hand fighting with tomahawks and knives erupted. The Patriot Militia set fire to the nearby cane plants, which made a popping noise that sounded like musket fire and reinforcements. The Cherokee fled back to Tamassee Town. The Battle was won by the time the reenforcements arrived. Later on in the day, the South Carolina Militiamen under Major Andrew Williamson destroyed and drove the Cherokee from the otherwise peaceful village. There is currently a South Carolina state historical marker denoting the Cherokee Village of "Tamassee Town" in the Cheohee Valley of Tamassee.[5]

Today, the Tamassee area maintains a rural and agricultural foundation, and provides a pleasant setting for day hikes, country drives and historical investigation.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.dnr.sc.gov/managed/wild/jocassee/newsletters/jocvol6no1.pdf
  2. ^ a b c d http://www.chattoogariver.org/index.php?quart=W2007&req=tamassee
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2009-12-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ http://www.tdarschool.org/dynamicdata/Legend.aspx?id=2&sid=161&menuid=2
  5. ^ http://www.oconeecountry.com/oconeestories.html

External links[edit]

U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Tamassee, South Carolina Coordinates: 34°52′49″N 83°01′11″W / 34.88028°N 83.01972°W / 34.88028; -83.01972