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In 1776, during the War for Independence, an expedition led by Griffith Rutherford sought to eliminate the Cherokee as a British ally and to punish them for attacking white settlements. In one month, Rutherford’s men left dozens of Cherokee villages in ruins with hundreds of acres of crops destroyed and livestock killed or seized. Residents of western North Carolina still tell multiple sides of the story. Michael Beadle, "Rutherford Trace," The Smoky Mountain News, week of August 23, 2006.