“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cairo in Alexander County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Cairo Connection

Land & Water Routes


— Fort Defiance Park —

Cairo Connection Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Shane Oliver, May 1, 2021
1. Cairo Connection Marker
Inscription.  Early removal plans called for transporting Cherokee by boat to Indian Territory. The first three detachments passed by here on steamships in the summer of 1838 as they descended the Ohio River. With low water levels and impassable shoals preventing use of the water route, the remaining detachments took the land route that the Cannon detachment used the year before. The overland groups did not depart for several more months and faced tough winter conditions while traveling just 50 miles north of here. The final detachment came on the water route in 1839 and included Principal Chief John Ross and 200 Cherokee previously imprisoned by Georgia authorities or too sick to make the land journey.

Desperate Letters

Several leaders of the land detachments had a growing concern for the well-being of their people due to bad road conditions, and impassable, frozen river crossing, and a lack of supplies. They were desperately trying to reach Principal Chief John Ross for guidance and finally connected with him at Cairo.

Frozen Rivers

After arriving at the river confluence and learning of the situation
Cairo Connection Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, November 29, 2020
2. Cairo Connection Marker
Marker is at the entrance of Fort Defiance Park.
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faced by the Cherokee traveling overland, Ross took passage on a boat heading up the Mississippi River. Fifty miles upstream, he arrived at the troubled crossing point at midnight. What he found was better than expected.

Reassured and Resupplied

Ross learned that despite the elements, one contingent finally crossed and three more were making preparations. He encouraged them to continue their journey westward as soon as weather allowed. He then returned downstream, boarded the Victoria, and proceeded to Indian Territory.

They Passed This Way

This painting shows Cairo in 1848, just 10 years after Cherokee detachments came through on steamboats and flatboats. The town, known as the "Mouth of the Ohio" and founded in 1836, was just a small riverfront settlement at the time of Indian Removal.
Erected 2019 by National Park Service and Trail of Tears Association.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Trail of Tears series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1838.
Location. 36° 59.25′ N, 89° 9.018′ W. Marker is in Cairo, Illinois, in Alexander County. Marker is on Washington Avenue (U.S. 60/62) west of U.S. 51
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, on the right when traveling east. Marker is at the entrance of Fort Defiance Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2130 Great River Road, Cairo IL 62914, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Critical River Confluence (here, next to this marker); Lewis & Clark (here, next to this marker); Historical Survey Marker (a few steps from this marker); Lewis and Clark in Illinois (a few steps from this marker); Cairo, Illinois (a few steps from this marker); Great River Road Illinois (within shouting distance of this marker); The Ohio River Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Mississippi River Bridge (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cairo.
More about this marker. Marker was dedicated on October 14, 2019; this was after the nearby city of Paducah, Kentucky (across the river) was hosting the Trail of Tears conference.
Also see . . .
1. Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. From the National Park Services' website. (Submitted on December 2, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 

2. National Trail of Tears Association. Official website for the organization. (Submitted on December 2, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 2, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 132 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on June 2, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia.   2. submitted on December 2, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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Sep. 28, 2022