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Dalton, GA was originally called Cross Plains. When Whitfield County was formed in 1851, the county seat was placed in Dalton which earned a place in Civil War history as a Confederate hospital and manufacturing town. ]
The Cherokee Indians called the Dalton. GA area home long before the Civil War. Dalton is the gateway to the 150-mile Cheftain's Trail, which traces the path of Cherokee Indian sites located throughout Northwest Georgia.
As the colonial population spread westward, efforts were being made by the United States government to prepare for the white settlers who would soon settle in this area. In 1831, the government entered into a treaty with the Cherokees allowing them to trade with the Indians, lands that would eventually become a bound federal Indian reservation in exchange for their homes in Georgia.
The final council meeting of the Georgia's native Cherokee was held in Whitfield County, and it marked the starting point of Andrew Jackson's well known "Trail of Tears."
Dalton's visitors can explore the historic home of Chief Joeseph Vann, the Echota Cherokee Capital, and the Red Clay Council Grounds, lasting remains of a strong and proud Cherokee Indian nation.
One of the Civil War's bloodiest and most decisive battles was fought just twenty miles away in Chickamauga, after which the Confederates retreated from the area and made their first "strategic withdrawal". In May of 1864, the Atlanta campaign began when General Sherman's troops met Johnson's Confederates at Tunnel Hill, Dug Gap and along Rocky Face Ridge. Thirty-two Civil War markers stand today commemorating important activities in the area. Locations like Dug Gap Battle Park, where breastworks used by Confederate soldiers are preserved, bring a sense of immediacy to the past century.
A virtual industrial revolution came to the area when a young farm girl named Catherine Evans Whitener revived the colonial art of tufting in the early 1900s. Whitener made a tufted bedspread which she was able to sell for two dollars and fifty cents. That first bedspread represents the birth of a significant cottage industry in Dalton. Other women began to sew for extra income, and by the early 1920s, the success of these business women had created quite a stir. Bedspreads led to scatter rugs and other products by the 1930s, and these new exports saved Dalton and Whitfield County from the pangs of depression felt by other parts of the nation.
By the 1950s, advances in machinery, technology and dyeing methods opened the doors to the modern carpet industry. The entrepreneurial spirit of the people of this Northwest Georgia Community turned a cottage bedspread industry into a multi-billion dollar carpet industry.
The people of Dalton Whitfield County share a rich and colorful past. You can share in it too. Learn more about the people and area by visiting the Crown Gardens and Archives Museum, which has a collection of permanent historical displays and interesting records.