Here is a favorite place that I like to visit and up until recently, I did not know that it was Benjamin Hawkins’ cabin. Friend and fellow historian Kelly Vickers recently told me about it. He had met the owner at a luncheon where he was speaking. Last week, I revisited the cabin where it has been relocated in Clarkesville with new eyes and I also enjoyed a conversation with its owner.
In the mid to late 1700’s, Hawkins was a principle agent for Indian Affairs south of the Ohio River. He held this position until his death in 1816. Although he was an agent to all Indians in the South, he chose to live among the Creek Indians, who resided in present day Georgia and Alabama. The Hawkins Line or the Indian boundary line ran through northeast Georgia. He helped to establish it and he also built the Creek Agency Reserve on the Flint River in what is now Crawford County where he lived with his wife, Lavina Downs; six daughters, Georgia, Muscogee, Cherokee, Carolina, Virginia, and Jeffersonia; one son, Madison; about seventy African slaves and a few Euro-American skilled laborers.
The Hawkins Line, sometimes called “the Four Mile Purchase Line” was the boundary between Georgia and the Cherokee Nation from 1804 to 1818. It was established when Georgia bought a four mile strip from the Indians so as to take in Wofford’s Settlement on Nancytown Creek. (Col. William Wofford, who served in the Revolutionary War, is buried near Toccoa Falls, Georgia.) Another interesting note about the Hawkins Line is that it formed the boundary between Jackson Co. and the Cherokees; later Franklin Co. and the Cherokees, and now the line between Habersham and Banks counties. White families could not live beyond this line because it was Indian land.