Armuchee (ᎠᎽᏥ)

ᎠᎽᏥ (Armuchee)When I tell people I grew up in East Armuchee they almost inevitably say, “Ar-what?” If you spell it out for them, they say, “Ar-MU-chee?” It’s hard to make people understand the way we say it: Ar-MUR-chee. Yes, it’s weird, I know that. But it’s the way we say it. It’s like how in New York we say “How-stun” Street instead of “Hew-stun” like the city in Texas. If you say “Hew-stun Street” in NYC we’ll look at you as if you have three heads just like if you say “Ar-MU-chee” back home.

Armuchee (ᎠᎽᏥ) is a Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ) word. Cherokee is an endangered language but tech companies are doing their part to help preserve this valuable part of our world heritage. You can use Cherokee on your iPhone  or search Google with the language (Murph; Google). In spite of this, no one knows for sure what “Armuchee” actually means. There are various interpretations, including “land of beautiful flowers” and “much water” or “much fish” (Armuchee). In the words of Larry Salmon, “perhaps the real meaning was lost on the Trail of Tears” (Salmon).

The Armuchee valleys are not to be confused with the town of Armuchee, Georgia. The Armuchee Valleys are in Walker County (and creep just slightly into Chattooga county at the southern end). Armuchee, Georgia is in Floyd County. Even locals get the two confused. I’ve often told northwest Georgians that I grew up in East Armuchee and they immediately say, “Oh, just north of Rome, right?” That’s just how far into the country side East Armuchee is. Most people who don’t live there don’t even know it exists.

My roots in East Armuchee are at least eight generations deep. John H. Cavender, my 5th great grandfather, lived the last decades of his life in that fertile valley and died there 5 Jan 1879. Though a New Yorker I may be, East Armuchee is still home.

Learn more about East Armuchee and beyond in the Jordan’s Journey book as well as on this blog.



Armuchee Middle School website. Web. Accessed 27 Dec 2011.

Google search now supports Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ).” The Official Google Blog, 25 Mar 2011. Web. Accessed 27 Dec 2011.

Murph, Darren. “Apple Bringing Cherokee Language Support to iPhone and iPad.” Engadget, 27 Dec 2010. Web. Accessed 27 Dec 2011.

Salmon, Larry. “Armuchee: A Brief Capsule of a Long and Colorful History.” Web. Accessed 27 Dec 2011.


9 Responses to “Armuchee (ᎠᎽᏥ)”

  1. Wow, this is really great to know. I didn’t know much about the Cherokee language or that is was endangered. This sort of genealogy fascinates me. The land down south and just how vast it is – to the point that no one really knows – is astounding. I can’t know enough about this stuff. I really wish I could time travel!

    • Jordan says:

      Time travel indeed! If only I could step back in time… I long for that so much. But, alas, we are stuck in 2012 for now so exploring all the people and places is as close as we can get. You should go to Georgia sometime… I could tour you around and show you all the places from /Jordan’s Journey/!

  2. Mom says:

    We learn things everyday no matter how old we get! Keep the information flowing.

  3. Brian says:

    I heard once that we pronounce Houston Street the way we do because it was originally House-Town Street. Back when Manhattan was first being settled, Houston was the far north reaches, where the rich people had their houses, so it was called House Town.

    Wikipedia, however, tells me that it was named for William Houstoun, so maybe that was just a believable story someone made up!

    • Jordan says:

      That’s an interesting question indeed!

      As for Armuchee’s pronunciation, personally I think it’s just a mangled southern pronunciation. The Cherokee pronunciation would not have the “r” sound in it like it is said by locals today.

      Another interesting regional pronunciation is the town of LaFayette, Georgia (in Walker County where I grew up). It’s not pronounced like the French as in the Marquis de La Fayette, but rather a southern bastardization of the name. If you go there and say it with the French pronunciation you’ll get that look as if you have three heads!


  4. Elaine Grigsby says:

    Great posts on your site! Love this one especially. I think you are right about the mangled southern pronunciation. I remember growing up, my grandmother talking about the Jerden’s around Villanow. I was almost a teenager before I realized she was referring to the Jordan’s! When I was in the third grade we learned about the Cherokee origin of the Armuchee name. Mrs. Elaine Brown, our teacher, marched us all outside to the roadside sign to examine the letters. She pointed out the mispronunciation.

    • Jordan says:

      Thank you, Elaine. Do you have any more memories about Armuchee Valley School (even if it’s just a listing of the years you attended and the teachers you had)? I’m working on compiling information and photos so I can do some posts about the school.

  5. Mom says:

    I too had Elaine Brown in the third grade.

  6. James Whitfield says:

    Man this is Awesome I grew up in Armuchee first time I’ve even heard of east Armuchee any way we can chat a little man I’m interested in hearing some stories from you my Great great Grandmother lived in Armuchee or East Armuchee idk still trying to figured her life all out she was half Creek half Cherokee lived in one of the two places maybe you can help me gather more info

Leave a Reply