Armuchee: A State of Mind

  • History of Armuchee and Armuchee Middle School


    Taken from and authored by Larry Salmon

    Armuchee was for a time a part of the Chatoogee District of the Cherokee Nation. In 1832, however, the Georgia Legislature made this area a part of Floyd County, Georgia as a matter of law. Thereafter, in defiance of the United States Supreme Court, it became exclusively a part of Georgia as a matter of fact by military might. In 1838 government troops forced the Cherokees to travel the "Trail of Tears", or more literally "The Trail Where We Cried," where the Cherokees were removed to the Arkansas and Oklahoma Territory.

    Nevertheless, for a time Cherokees and Europeans lived in Floyd County as neighbors and some even as business partners. During this time of coexistence the Cherokee had some of the more picturesque names among the residents along the Armuchee Creek, such as Double Head, Goard, and Gut Sticker.

    During the War Between the States a locally significant battle was fought at Farmers Bridge, Armuchee Creek near the New Armuchee Baptist Cemetery. On May 15, 1864 Captain William Lokey’s Company G of the 12th Alabama Battalion Partisan Rangers dug in with no more than 50 men to defend the bridge against the advance of 3,000 Union cavalrymen under Colonel Robert H. G. Minty. The outcome of the battle was not in doubt. Captain Lokey was among the 10 Confederates killed and buried near the top of the cemetery at the site of the battle. Historian Gilbert R. Smith identified the Confederate unit and those killed as well as the location of the graves. Suitable markers and a plaque commemorating the battle were unveiled at a ceremony in November, 1998.

    The schools in Armuchee have been located at various sites. The first location known to the author was directly across Little Texas Valley Road from the Living Water Ministries (formerly the Methodist Church). The site was approximately 100 yards from the road, and the school’s hand powered water pump and its cement base remain today. The next school location was on U. S. Highway 27 just south of the intersection of Highway 27 with Georgia Highway 156. There were two separate sets of school buildings constructed at different times at this location with the student body moving into the later structure in 1956. The present high school building on U. S. Highway 27 adjacent to Northwoods subdivision was first occupied in 1982, and the Armuchee Elementary School on U. S. Highway 27 north of the high school opened in 1996. The current Armuchee Middle School at the intersection of Floyd Springs Road and Georgia Highway 140 opened in 2002.

    The meaning of Armuchee in the Cherokee language has long been a subject of comment. The sign at the entrance of Armuchee High School indicates that the word means, "Land of Beautiful Flowers". Others have said it means, "much water" or "much fish". Perhaps the real meaning was lost on the Trail of Tears.

    "Just where is Armuchee and what size place is it"? This was the derisive question posed to a young witness of this community who was called to give evidence in a court of another state. The reply was, "Well sir, Armuchee is more a state of mind than a place".

    Yes, indeed, a great part of Armuchee is a state of mind, a very wonderful state of mind. May it ever so remain.