The Cherokees refused to emigrate and on May 26, 1838 the Army and civilian volunteers began the brutal roundup of the Cherokees. They captured men and women in their homes, farmers working in fields, and children at play. The captives were often given no tie to gather their belongings and were marched away with nothing but the clothes on their backs. By mid-July 1838, 13,870 persons were in stockades under deplorable conditions. The region was undergoing a severe drought and the Army’s attempts to transport 3,000 Cherokees by water was disastrous. Cherokee leaders were fearful of the toll that a journey in what they called the “sickly season” would have on their people. They asked for and received permission to manage their own removal and wait until fall to start their journey overland. Between August 28 and November 7, 1838 twelve detachments of about one thousand each departed by land and one smaller detachment by water.
Nine of these detachments departed their ancestral land here, at Blythe’s Ferry. The movement across the river was slow and many camped in the fields and forest east of the ferry for as long as six
There are no accurate records of the deaths that occurred due to the Cherokee Removal. The best contemporary estimate was by Elizur Butler, who was an attending physician to the emigrating Cherokees. He estimated about 1,500 died in the Army’s transport by water, 2,000 died in the stockades, and 700 died on the trail for a total of 4,200, which is over one-fourth of the 16,542 Cherokees in the 1835 Census. Some scholars place the number of deaths as high as 8,000 taking into account the aftermath.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native Americans • Wars, US Indian. In addition, it is included in the Trail of Tears series list.
Location. 35° 24.43′ N, 85° 0.368′ W. Marker is in Birchwood, Tennessee, in Hamilton County. Marker is on Blythe Ferry Lane (County Road 131) 1.3 miles north of Blythe Ferry Road, on the right when traveling north. Marker located within the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6615 Blythe Ferry Ln, Birchwood TN 37308, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking
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Credits. This page was last revised on January 31, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 31, 2021, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 31, 2021, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.