At the heart of the township is the Valley River. Once known by the Cherokee name Gunahita, meaning long, the Valley River begins near the Topton community in the far eastern corner of the county, and meanders southeasterly until it meets the Hiwassee River below Murphy.
The area is rich in Native American history. An 1805 map shows the area as the Cherokee settlement Toonatla. It was later listed on a map of the Cherokee Nation as Gunahita. By the time of the removal of the Cherokee Indians in 1838, it was known as Konehetee, or valley. One of the most infamous periods in history, the removal of the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears, also impacted the valley. Fort Delaney, one of five forts in the area, was located about 16 miles from the mouth of the Valley River. The road across Tatham Gap was built by the US Army to transport Cherokee from Fort Montgomery, which was located in what is now Robbinsville, to Fort Delaney and beyond. It is said that the first store in the valley was opened in a former home of Chief Junaluska, who was residing in Valley Town at the time of the removal.
The town of Marble derived its name from the white, blue, gray and pink marble which were quarried in the area and known throughout the country for its high quality. It is located on the western edge of the township.
Topton, which is the first town visitors see coming from the east, was instrumental in the expansion of the railroad into the western corner of the state.
The largest town within the township is Andrews. In the early 1800s, when most white settlers began arriving, the area was known as Jamesville, after James Whitaker. An Indian Trading Post was established in 1837 and soon after the community was known as Valley Town. The present town was established like many other southern towns, through a land auction. The Richmond and Danville Railroad had stopped construction of the Murphy Branch just east of here. In the late 1880s, Col. A.B. Andrews, who was a second vice president for Richmond and Danville, was sent to the area to establish a commissary for workers in the Nantahala construction camps. Andrews bought 50 acres (200,000 m²) of land for the sum of $1,200.
By the spring of 1890, Andrews was instructed to sell off the 50 acres (200,000 m²) tract at a land sale, which was held in September. The land was plotted out and about three quarters of the lots were sold at the initial sale. Some lots were donated for a schoolhouse and churches. The remaining lots were sold through private sales.
In 1905 the town was incorporated, with David Samuel Russell appointed as the first mayor of the new town.
There were 703 households out of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.7% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.7% were non-families. 36.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the town the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 23.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 88.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.8 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $20,273, and the median income for a family was $28,320. Males had a median income of $23,462 versus $16,375 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,350. About 17.6% of families and 21.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.4% of those under age 18 and 22.9% of those age 65 or over.