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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - August/September 2003
Book Review - Cherokee Rose: On Rivers of Golden Tears

Joseph H. Vann
1st Books Library, 2001
ISBN: 0-75965-139-6
Soft Cover: $18.50
Hardcover: $23.95
Electronic Book, Size: 4579K: $5.95

Joseph H. Vann, great, great grandson of Chief Rich Joe Vann, gives us an insight into one of Georgia’s colorful Cherokee families—the Vanns. Vann gives freshness to a part of history that is sometimes passed over or glibly mentioned in history books. The life and times of the Vann Family is a story of a clash between two cultures—Cherokee and the white settlers. There was a clash of ideologies and the need for land. One of the most definitive causes of conflict was the discovery of gold in North Georgia. Word eventually leaked out and the rush was on and the river of golden tears flowed freely.

The gold rush was one of the contributing factors to the wealth of the Vanns. Chief James Vann built the Vann House mansion and owned Diamond Hill Plantation. Rich Joe Vann inherited the plantation and mansion. He purchased a steamboat The Lucy Bell. The Lucy Bell, while in a race, exploded and Joe Vann was killed.

No novel, fact or fiction, is written without romance. The Vann men were cavalier and lovers. James Vann was married four times but still had a wandering eye. Rich Joe Vann had numerous romantic encounters but it was Jennie Springston who caught his eye. He married Jennie in 1820. He affectionately referred to Jennie as "my Cherokee Rose." The Cherokee Rose was a small flowering, rose-like plant. It was sacred to the Cherokee.

Joseph H. Vann writes as though he was keeping a journal with short and long entries. As a reader, I found his style easy to read. I enjoyed the book. While reading, I felt as though Mr. Vann was sitting in an easy chair telling his story about the Vanns and their adventures. He gave a personal snapshot of his family and how they related to the changing times of Georgia and to the United States. The Vanns were representatives for the Cherokee Nation to George Washington and Andrew Jackson. They were in contact with John Sevier, Jean Lafitte and the Georgia Guard.

I recommend this book to students of history and to those readers who like to read nonfiction novels, adventure, romance and family history. Very few books about the First Americans exist that tells the story from the First American point of view and are written by a First American.

---Will W. Rogers

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