Friday, October 13, 2006

Princeton Caldwell County Trail of Tears Commission

Princeton Caldwell County
Trail of Tears
Commission, Inc.

In 1838, the mothers of the Cherokee were crying so much, they were unable to help their children survive the journey. The elders prayed for a sign to give them strength. The next day a beautiful rose began to grow where the mother’s tears fell. The rose is white for their tears; a gold center represents the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem represent the seven Cherokee clans. The wild Cherokee Rose grows along the route of the Trail of Tears.

Historical Sites of Caldwell County
Trail of Tears

Otter Pond
Kenedy Creek
Indian Meadow
Big Spring
TOT Library Room
Glen Martin Library
Caldwell Creek
TOT Commemorative Park
Old Fredonia Road
Skinframe Creek
Old Mexico Road
Elkhorn Tavern

The Trail of Tears was the forced removal of Cherokee Indians from their homelands in northwestern Georgia. The name comes from the Cherokee phrase nunna-da-ul-tsun-yi, which means the trail where they cried.
In 1829, white settlers discovered gold on Cherokee land. The settlers wanted the land for themselves and asked for the removal of the Cherokee. Supporters of President Andrew Jackson, who had been a famed Indian fighter, helped pass the Indian Removal Act of 1830 in Congress. The act called for the removal of all Indians in the Southeastern Unites States to a territory west of the Mississippi River. This included the Cherokee tribes and the Creek, Chickasaw, Seminoles, and the Chactaw. Their new land, in what is now Oklahoma, became know as the Indian Territory.

The Cherokee divided over the removal. In 1835, some agree to move and signed a treaty with the government, but most of the Indians, led by Cherokee leader John Ross, wanted to stay.

Beginning in May of 1838, the U.S. Army forced the Cherokee into stockades to prepare for the removal. The Army sent off the first group to Indian Territory on June 6th, 1838 and the last party arrived on March 24th, 1839. Sixteen thousand traveled nearly 1,000 miles through snow and ice.
Some groups walked or rode horseback through Tennessee, Kentucky, the southern tip of Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and finally into Indian Territory. Of the 16,000 men, women, and children forced to be removed 4,000 died on the trail.Princeton is the site of Big Springs Park where the Cherokees are believed to have stopped. Princeton is planning a Trail of Tears Park on a donated lot across from the spring in order to showcase Princeton’s significance on the Trail of Tears. Elkhorn Tavern site in Crider is believed to be a campsite and burial site. The George Coon Public Library has provided space in the Genealogy Center for the Trail of Tears research.