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Preserve and Protect

Cherokee artifact with local family history gets new home at museum

By Zack Mauldin

Editor

zmauldin@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — After being presented to an Upstate man as a sign of gratitude around the turn of the 20th century, a priceless historic Cherokee artifact now has a permanent home at the Pickens County Museum of Art and History.

Local historian and interpretive naturalist Dennis Chastain said he got a call several months ago from Seneca resident Tom Bowen, who told Chastain he and his wife, Tody, had a unique Cherokee artifact and wanted to find a good home for it.

Chastain and his wife, Jane, went to Seneca to see the artifact, which he said turned out to be something he had never seen in his 40-plus-year career — a spatulate ceremonial crescent-shaped medallion.

“I was absolutely blown away,” he said. “I had never seen anything like it.”

And though the artifact is a unique piece of Cherokee history, Chastain said “it is the story that goes along with how they came to be in possession of it that is truly amazing.”

Although the medallion was passed down from Tody Bowen’s father, Rufus Kay “Pete” Nimmons, the story begins

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