Trail of Tears

  • Also Known As: Cherokee Trail of Tears
  • Cherokee: Nuna dat suhn'yi, "the trail where they cried"

A Journey of Injustice

Remember and commemorate the survival of the Cherokee people, forcefully removed from their homelands in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee to live in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. They traveled by foot, horse, wagon, or steamboat in 1838-1839.

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the forced removal of Cherokee from their homelands; the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward; and the revival of the Cherokee Nation. The trail passes through 9 different states including Alabama and Tennessee. The sites on the trail, stretching 5,043 miles, form a journey of compassion and understanding. - NPS


Y/M/D Description Place
1819/02/27 Cherokees negotiators, including Chief John Brown, give up all their lands, almost 4 million acres, in East Tennessee north of the Tennessee River in exchange for new territory.
1823/00/00 The munificence so conspicuous in the cases of Florida, Michigan and Missouri has never been extended to or territory, but we have seen vast numbers of our citizens driven out of their lawful habitations to make room for various tribes of Indians. - RC
1829/08/00 Jeremiah Evarts writes 24 articles, August to December 1829, for the Washington National Intelligencer charging that Andrew Jackson's policy of removing Native American tribes is illegal and immoral
1830/10/27 The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the ninth treaty, surrenders remaining Choctaw claims in Mississippi.
1831/11/00 The first contingents of some 4,000 Choctaws set out for force westwart migration under civilian leadership.
1832/02/05 By February 5, about 5,000 Choctaws settle in Indian Territory at the conclusion of the second phase of removal.
1832/09/26 An advertisement in the Arkansas Gazette seeks suppliers of rations and forage for the removal parties, "from Post of Arkansas, AT, via Mrs Black's and Samson Gray's to Little Rock, AT. Memphis to Little Rock Road: Bayou Two Prairie Segment, Lonoke
1832/10/00 A group Choctaws under the command of Capt William Armstrong arrive in Memphis. While some board steamboats for the next leg, others, fearing cholera, take the overland route along the Military Road and plan to meetup at Rock Roe landing (Clarendon, AR).
1832/11/00 A removal group of Choctaws under the command of Capt William Armstrong take the Memphis to Little Rock Road near Village Creek. Fall flooding caused them to travel through knee to waist deep water for more than 30 miles. Memphis to Little Rock Road-Strong's Ferry Segment, Wittsburg
1832/11/21 the party in charge of Col Rector, consisting of about 19 hundred, left Rock Roe on Friday last.... This party lay at Mrs Black's on Monday night. - Arkansas Advocate Clarendon, AR, Arkansas
1832/12/02 Col Rector's group of 1900 Choctaws pass Little Rock, Arkansas.
1833/11/02 The last removal party of Choctaws crosses the Mississippi River, heading west down the Memphis to Little Rock Road. Mound City Site, Marion
1835/00/00 In the 1830s, William Strong's store, a stopping place for most travelers, is the second ration depot for supplying removal Indian groups. Memphis to Little Rock Road-Strong's Ferry Segment, Wittsburg
1835/02/02 Creeks removal groups begin using the overland route through Arkansas along the Military Road and the Cantonment Gibson Road. Creeks travel overland through Arkansas more than any other tribe due to their many horses. Memphis to Little Rock Road: Village Creek Segment, Village Creek State Park, AR
1836/11/00 The last group of Creeks pass through the Village Creek site. "They had nearly as many ponies as people." - George W Morris Memphis to Little Rock Road: Village Creek Segment, Village Creek State Park, AR
1837/00/00 In the 1830s, Edwin Johnson is awarded a contract with the federal government to supply the Choctaw Indians with food and other provisions during Removal over the Southwest Trail. Mounds Cemetery, Columbus
1837/03/09 John M Millard and a removal group of Chickasaws camp for two days about three miles west of William Strong's place. Memphis to Little Rock Road-Strong's Ferry Segment, Wittsburg
1837/03/13 Chickasaws and Capt John M Millard camp for one night on to the L'anguille River. Memphis to Little Rock Road: Highway 306 Segment, Colt
1837/07/00 A removal group of Chickasaw cross Blackfish Lake. Another party will cross the lake in December. Blackfish Lake Ferry Site, New Shady Grove
1837/07/15 Camp Upshaw This day drive has been a good one considering the very bad condition of the roads and the heavy rains which have just fallen. The distance is 11.5 miles from cypress, the country is flat and covered with post oak timbers. - John M Millard Memphis to Little Rock Road: Henard Cemetery Road Segment, Brinkley, AR
1837/07/25 John M Millard camp with a party of 516 Chickasaws on the north shore of the Arkansas River opposite Little Rock. While some Chickasaws will board steamboats, about 300 led by Chief Samuel Sealy choose to take the overland route.
1837/12/23 About 356 Cherokee in the detachment led by B B Cannon, camp near Pea ridge. It is the first removal contingent to travel through the area. Pea Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas
1838/00/00 John Bell's detachment of about 650-700 Cherokee who supported the removal treaty, cross the Natchez Trace. Old Natchez Trace-Trail of Tears, Collinwood, TN
1838/00/00 Bainbridge Ferry, Cape Girardeau
1838/00/00 Green's Ferry, Cape Girardeau
1838/04/00 John Brown, vice president of the National Council, and John Ross, work as members of the committee to make with Gen Winfield Scott all arrangements necessary for the removal of the Cherokees west of the Mississippi. New Echota, Calhoun
1838/05/00 Jane Ross, the daughter of a Cherokee chief and a student at The Little Girls' School, leaves to join her family on the Trail of Tears. Salem College, Winston-Salem, Winston-Salem, NC
1838/05/26 US Army, commanded by Winfield Scott begins the first phase of the removal. Relocating Cherokees from Georgia to Fort Wool at New Echota. New Echota, Calhoun
1838/10/15 In a dispatch to John Ross, director of the removal, Dr John Powell complains of Blythe's slowness and uncooperative attitude in ferrying the Cherokee and supply wagons across the Tennessee River. Blythe Ferry, Cherokee Removal Memorial Park
1838/10/21 "We have been required to draw rations of sugar, coffee, salt and soap, at Blythes Ferry to supply the detachment to Readyville or Nashville." - Cherokee detachment leader Jesse Bushyhead Blythe Ferry, Cherokee Removal Memorial Park
1838/11/00 The last major removal party of Chickasaws reach William Strong's land. While some groups make the journey with little trouble, others, especially groups with many horses, struggle with poor road conditions, mud and the swamps. Memphis to Little Rock Road-Strong's Ferry Segment, Wittsburg
1838/11/04 "We are now about to take our final leave and kind farewell to our native land the country that the Great Spirit gave our Fathers, we are on the eve of leaving the Country that gave us birth." - Cherokee detachment leader Elijah Hicks Blythe Ferry, Cherokee Removal Memorial Park
1838/11/25 The Bell detachment of Cherokee arrive in the Memphis area.
1838/11/28 Traveling the road through the swamps, the Bell detachment of Cherokees are ferried across the St Francis River on November 28 and 29 and spend several days on William Strong's land, just east of today's Village Creek State Park. Memphis to Little Rock Road-Strong's Ferry Segment, Wittsburg
1838/11/28 The Bell party of Cherokee cross on the Blackfish Lake Ferry. Blackfish Lake Ferry Site, New Shady Grove
1838/12/00 John Bell's Cherokees march westward in their forced migration. Memphis to Little Rock Road: Henard Cemetery Road Segment, Brinkley, AR
1838/12/14 The Bell Party of Cherokee buy 80.75 bushels of corn at $1 per bushel and 1,878 bundles of fodder at $0.625 per dozen from Pleasant McCraw. McCraw Cemetery, Jacksonville, Jacksonville, AR
1839/00/00 Between 1837 and 1839, members of William Ruddick's family witness more than 11,000 Cherokee people pass by on their forced removal to Oklahoma. Pea Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas
1839/01/00 John Bell's group of Cherokee and their military escort, led by Lt Edward Deas, reach Indian Territory.

Data »

Cultural Affiliation: Cherokee

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