The Calhoun area was settled by John Walker (c. 1770-1834), a part-Cherokee grandson of Nancy Ward and a prominent figure in the formation of McMinn County. Walker operated a ferry along the Hiwassee River and helped contract the Cherokee Turnpike Company in 1806, which maintained the road between Knoxville and Georgia. In 1819, Walker helped negotiate the Calhoun Treaty, in which the Cherokee ceded the remaining lands between theLittle Tennessee River and the Hiwassee River, including what is now McMinn County. McMinn County was organized at Walker's house that same year. In 1820, Walker laid out the town of Calhoun, which he named for the Calhoun Treaty's chief U.S. negotiator, John C. Calhoun. Walker would eventually be assassinated by two anti-removal Cherokees, who felt he had betrayed the Cherokee nation
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