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Historic Marker

The South Carolina Heritage Corridor erected a marker at the waterfall where Issaqueena made her daring leap to escape capture by the Cherokee.


Issaqueena Falls
The 100 foot waterfall is located on Stumphouse Mountain in Oconee County. Visitors can view the falls by entering Stumphouse Park, located on Stumphouse Tunnel Road in Mountain Rest, South Carolina. 


The legend begins with an infant born into a Choctaw or Creek Indian tribe sometime in the mid-1700s. The baby girl was given the birth name Issaqueena. She was later captured by the Cherokees who called her Cateechee.

Forced to live with the Cherokee in the Keeowee Indian Village, Issaqueena was a slave to the old chief, Kuruga. While captive, she became acquainted with Allan Francis, a white trader who traveled frequently to the village where Issaqueena lived. The pair eventually fell in love.


Heroic Ride to Warn Settlers

The years leading up to the American Revolution were filled with tension between the white settlers and the Cherokee Indians, who did not like the white man's encroachment into their territory.  

While held captive by the Cherokee, Issaqueena overheard the chief planning to massacre the traders at Fort Cambridge, where Allan Francis and his father had a trading post. Determined to warn her beloved, Issaqueena escaped from the village in the dark of night. Clad in white fawn skins, she stole a fast pony and galloped away. She rode over mountainous terrain, through valleys and dense forests, and crossed rivers and streams before arriving at the fort.

The legendary story describes this heroic ride as being 96 miles long. Before arriving at her final destination, she named various landmarks along the way, including Six Mile Mountain, Twelve Mile River, and Eighteen Mile Creek. It is said that Fort Cambridge was later renamed Ninety Six as a tribute to her bravery.

​​Daring Waterfall Leap

After her brave ride to warn the settlers, Issaqueena did not return to the Keeowee Indian Village. She remained at Fort Cambridge where she later married Allan Francis and had a child. The couple eventually moved to Stump House Mountain where they built a home.


When Chief Kuruga learned that Issaqueena was living nearby, he sent his braves to bring her back to the village. Issaqueena managed to escape capture by pretending to leap to her death over a 100 foot waterfall - which she knew the Cherokee believed was inhabited by evil spirits.


Believing that she was most certainly dead after such a leap, the Cherokee warriors stopped the chase and returned to their village. But Issaqueena was still alive. She had actually jumped onto a ledge just underneath the top of the falls, hiding behind the rushing waters until it was safe to rejoin her family. Her dramatic escape sparked the legend of Issaqueena Falls. 

Cateechee of Keeowee

The book Cateechee of Keeowee, A Descriptive Poem was penned by J.W. Daniels, of Abbeville. Published in 1898, the 78-page publication is archived in the Library of Congress. The book's inscription notes that the story contained within those pages is of historical fact and the author's intent was to record a great historic event. 


The inscription continues by stating that Captain James Francis and his two sons, Allan and Henry, came to the vicinity of Ninety Six in 1750. They were accompanied by two other pioneers, Gowdy and Savage. The men established a trading post with the Cherokees. Allan Francis, along with his father, frequently visited the Cherokee country on trading expeditions. During those visits, he became acquainted with Cateechee/Issaqueena and became enamored with her. 

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