“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Birchwood in Meigs County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Blythe Ferry

Blythe Ferry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, January 2, 2011
1. Blythe Ferry Marker
Inscription. One of the worst acts of "man's inhumanity" took place when an entire race of peoples were driven from their lands in 1838. It was here at Blythe Ferry that approx. 9000 Cherokees and Creeks camped while waiting to cross the Tennessee River on their forced removal. They had been held captive in stockades a few miles back. Many books have been written on the heart-wrenching description of what is now called, "The Trail of Tears". Butrick's journal describes their condition in the camps as "very much like brute animals - lieing down on the naked ground exposed to wind and rain - like droves of hogs. "Butrick also states "But not only the Cherokees - the dear Creeks and Seminoles have fallen by the same means" fictitious treaties". He speaks of "Nanny as a slave" so this shows the diversity among the detachments. A mental picture of what happened here at Blythe Ferry can be drawn from these excerpts. Oct. 16th 1838 - 10 O'Clock AM "we have only succeeded in getting some twenty waggons across the river - proprietors of the Ferry - are determined to retard all exertions" J. Powell. The last detachment crossed Nov. 12th, 1838 "I reached Blythe's Ferry on Saturday Nov. 10 - found the great body of Mr. (Peter) Hildebrand's detachment of emigrating Cherokees quietly encamped - about twelve waggons had crossed - at dawn four boats were put in requisition
Blythe Ferry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, January 2, 2011
2. Blythe Ferry Marker
The Blythe Ferry site looking north across the Tennessee River.
and continued - until dusk - close of the day about sixty one waggons - across - this morning before 12 O'Clock eighteen waggons and all the people were over." To Winfield Scott. This park is dedicated in memory to these peoples. May it serve as a touchstone for future generations.
Erected by Alabama-Tennessee Trail of Tears Corridor Committee.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Trail of Tears marker series.
Location. 35° 24.564′ N, 85° 0.514′ W. Marker is near Birchwood, Tennessee, in Meigs County. Marker is on Blythe Ferry Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located at the Blythe Ferry site on the south bank of the Tennessee River. Marker is in this post office area: Birchwood TN 37308, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "To Learn and not Forget" (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Orders No. 25" (approx. 0.2 miles away); General Winfield Scott (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Your Fate is Decided" (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Chains of Friendship" (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Given by the Great Spirit above"
Blythe Ferry image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, January 2, 2011
3. Blythe Ferry
The Blythe Ferry landing on the north bank of the Tennessee River.
(approx. 0.2 miles away); "A Desire to Possess" (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Not a treaty at all" (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Birchwood.
Additional comments.
1. Tennessee Civil War Trails
The Tennessee Civil War Trails map for Southeast Tennessee has the following information: "A company of the 5th Tennessee Infantry Regiment was stationed for over a year at the ferry to guard the mouth of the Hiwassee River. The war's official records note a skirmish at Blythe's Ferry on November 13, 1863. During an artillery duel on that date, Company A, 1st Ohio Light Artillery of the Union forces, suffered one heavily wounded casualty. A great deal of corn was stored on Jolly's Island adjacent to the ford which, since both sides were short of forage and flour, was highly desired by Union and Confederate armies alike."
    — Submitted January 11, 2011, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama.

Categories. Native AmericansPolitics
Tennessee River bridge and ferry image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, January 2, 2011
4. Tennessee River bridge and ferry
The Tri-County Veterans (TN-60) bridge as seen from the Blythe Ferry site.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 3, 2011, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. This page has been viewed 633 times since then and 27 times this year. Last updated on January 5, 2011, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 3, 2011, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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