The Legend Behind Hanging Dog

There are so many stories about the legend of how Hanging Dog got it’s name.  We feel the story is best described by local real estate agent, John Poltrock with Remax Realty as seen on his website, www.ilovemurphy.com.

 The Legend Behind Hanging Dog

It’s always fun to go into the Hanging Dog community and folks are always curious where such a bizarre name originated. It’s not a twisted tale of animal cruelty, rather it actually dates back to a legend from a Cherokee Indian who lived in the area. Sure, there are probably many variations to this local legend, however, here’s my version of where the name of Hanging Dog actually came from. Enjoy!

Take a step back in time… to a time when the Cherokee Indians ruled the region and there was no white man to be found. It was the middle of winter, and it was no ordinary winter. It was a long, bleak, and miserably cold. The brutal winter robbed the tribe of food. Much of the food reserves were depleted and the tribe was forced to find food or face starvation.

The brave’s hunting partner was his hunting dog. It was no ordinary dog; his innate skill made him a force in the field. Together, they ventured on an excursion to find a deer that could feed many hungry mouths with fresh venison.  Dog-Crossing-River

Equipped with mere primitive weaponry of the time, the dog was instrumental in finding and pushing out deer that were well hidden from the naked eye. He pushed out a large buck that could provide the much needed meat for the tribe. He was able to draw his bow and arrow and hit the deer on the mark. The buck, being a large and strong animal, did not give in easily. He raced away from the duo with the dog close on its heels. The deer leaped across the creek and the determined dog would not let the deer escape so easily. He forged the creek only to be swept away in the strong current.

As he rushed down the creek, the dog was caught in a snag of briars and vines in the middle of the creek. Instantly realizing the predicament, the brave knew he, nor the tribe, could afford for his dog to perish. The dog was instrumental in successful hunts, and they could never find prey without the skill of the dog. He jumped into the creek to save his dog from a certain fate. He freed his dog and then the two were able to successfully track the dear and capture it.

Upon returning back to the tribe, the brave told his tribesman the story of the events that transcribed. In celebration of a meal and the survival of their prized dog, the Cherokee named the creek Hanging Dog.

As time drew on and Europeans entered the area, the name was popular. Ultimately, the large area north of Murphy NC became known as Hanging Dog – all thanks to a hunter and his dog.