Echota Mission historical marker

Echota Mission (Q-45)

Methodist. Maintained by Holston Conference for Cherokee c. 1840-1885. School established 1850. Missionary's house stands 50 yards north.

Location: US 19 at SR 1427 in Cherokee Indian Reservation
County: Jackson
Original Date Cast: 1954

To minister to the Cherokee people living in the area of present-day Jackson County, the Holston Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the South established the Echota Mission along Soco Creek. In 1841 Reverend D. Ring became the mission’s first pastor. Eventually several native preachers served the congregation. After attending one of the worship services, Charles Lanman reported that Cherokee worship was very similar to the worship of white Christians only that the service was done in Cherokee. He found the congregation to be neatly dressed and worshipping according to the Methodist custom, with the exception of singing hymns with more wild excitement.

The mission established a school in 1850. Reverend Ulrich Keener, who had previously served as minister to the mission in 1847 to 1848, became the first resident superintendent of the school. He held the position until his death in 1856. Keener’s original cabin still stands next to the Cherokee United Methodist Church in the Soco Community of Cherokee. The cabin is the oldest architectural structure at a Cherokee site in North Carolina.

John R. Finger, The Eastern Band of Cherokees, 1819-1900 (1984)
Richard Price, Holston Methodism: From Its Origin to the Present Time (1913)
Barbara R. Duncan and Brett H. Riggs, Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook (2003)
Vicki Rozema, Footsteps of the Cherokees (2007)

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