Paducah in McCracken County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
They Passed This Way
— Trail of Tears National Historic Trail —
In 1838, more than 15,000 Cherokee began their migration west from their eastern homeland to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) over the "Trail of Tears." They traveled by roads and rivers and stopped in Paducah for supplies. More than 1,000 died during the journey westward, and more than 4,000 died as a result of their forced relocation.
Most Cherokee removed over land routes but some traveled by boat. Hazards included the quick spread of sickness onboard, the fear of disease along the river lowlands, fires abroad steamers, and the unpredictable water levels and weather patterns that affected river navigation. Food was prepared on deck or in steerage with rations consisting of flour, cornmeal, and bacon.
I have no more land. I am driven away from home, driven up the red waters, let us all go, let us all die together
From Sin-e-cha's Song, heard on removal boats along the Trail of Tears.
1830s Indian Removal Policy
Federal Indian removal policy aroused fierce and bitter debate. Supporters claimed it was a benevolent action to save the tribes east of the Mississippi River from being overwhelmed and lost in the onslaught of an expanding American population. Opponents decried its inhumanity and the tragic consequences it would have for Indian peoples. One thing was certain; millions of acres of Indian lands were given to white settlers.
Learn more at nps.gov/trete or nationaltota.org
Despite the hardships of the journey, members of the five removed tribes established new lives in the West. They stand as successful sovereign nations, proudly preserving cultural traditions, while adapting to the challenges of the 21st century.
Cherokee who survived the Trail of Tears joined those who removed earlier to form a new government for their sovereign nation in present-day Oklahoma. Some Cherokee remained in North Carolina and formed the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The United States government forcibly removed more than 15,000 Cherokee, 21,000 Muscogee (Creek), 9,000 Choctaw, 6,000 Chickasaw, and 4,000 Seminole.
You can visit more sites along the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The story of the forced removal of the Cherokee people and other American Indian tribes is remembered and told by the National Park Service and its partners.
Erected 2019 by City of Paducah, National Park Service & Trail of Tears Association.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Native Americans. In addition, it is included in the Trail of Tears series list.
Location. 37° 5.235′ N, 88° 35.596′ W. Marker is in Paducah, Kentucky, in McCracken County. Marker is on The Foot of Broadway east of South Water Street, on the right when traveling east. Marker is near Paducah's Riverfront park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200-298 S Water St, Paducah KY 42003, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Quick Stop (here, next to this marker); Dawn of the Atomic Age (a few steps from this marker); The "A" Boom in Paducah (a few steps from this marker); Paducah's Railroad Heritage (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to the Atomic City (a few steps from this marker); Bicentennial of Paducah (within shouting distance of this marker); Iron Horse Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Ride Round The Rivers / Paducah Harbor (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Paducah.
More about this marker. Marker was dedicated on October 11, 2019; this was when the city of Paducah hosted the Trail of Tears conference.
Also see . . .
1. Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. From the National Park Service's website. (Submitted on August 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.)
2. National Trail of Tears Association. One of two links mentioned on the marker, this is the official website for the organization. (Submitted on August 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 54 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.