The Trail of Tears
Lawrence County Arkansas

TRAIL OF TEARS the rise and fall of the Cherokee Nation

Words from John Ehle, author Penland, North Carolina

"My editor, Marshall DeBruhl, and I grew up in Ashville, North Carolina not far from Cherokee and as children we absorbed many impressions of the Cherokees and stories of the past. Early in life we became aware, as they taught us, that the earth is flat and is suspended from it's four corners by great ropes and in the center of of the Earth live the Principal People, the Cherokee."

The Trail of Tears came through Baxter and Marion County and there is a nice marble plaque in the Baxter County Court House. The trail was called the "Old Military Road". I understand from some of the Marion County History that the road left the Mississippi River near Memphis and went norththrough the town of Batesville, on up near the banks of White River until a good ford was found to Denton Ferry, at a farm now known as the Joe Fee place. This place was known as the Talbert Ford, later Talbert's Ferry. The road crossed Boone County and on into Indian Territory. The old road from the White River into Marion County is now known as Dentons Ferry Road, and goes just north of Flippin on west toward Yellville approximately where HWY 202 is now. I am told that because Shawneetown (now Yellville) was such a trouble town, the indians were sold whiskey, that they bypassed this town on the Old Military Road, going north of it probably leaving the Military Road about Wilkerson Crossing. The other "Trail of Tears" crossing for Arkansas was up the Arkansas River. There may have been more that I have not read about. Much of this data came from an article in 'The Mountain Echo' Yellville, AR dated 24 Jan 1963.

Don Ott President, Marion Co. Historic Genealogical Society

DON OTT, Route 1 Box 1270, Lakeview, Arkansas 72642-9408 USA , Tel - 1-501-431-8112, Email address is: Don Ott at

"Pray for a good harvest, but keep hoeing."

Portions of: John G. Burnett's Story of the Removal of the Cherokees

Birthday Story of Private John G. Burnett, Captain Abraham McClellan's Company, 2nd Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Mounted Infantry, Cherokee Indian Removal, 1838-39.

Children: This is my birthday, December 11, 1890, I am eighty years old today. I was born at Kings Iron Works in Sulllivan County, Tennessee, December the 11th, 1810. I grew into manhood fishing in Beaver Creek and roaming through the forest hunting the deer and the wild boar and the timber wolf. Often spending weeks at a time in the solitary wilderness with no companions but my rifle, hunting knife, and a small hatchet that I carried in my belt in all of my wilderness wanderings.

One can never forget the sadness and solemnity of that morning. Chief John Ross led in prayer and when the bugle sounded and the wagons started rolling many of the children rose to their feet and waved their little hands good-by to their mountain homes, knowing they were leaving them forever. Many of these helpless people did not have blankets and many of them had been driven from home barefooted.

The long painful journey to the west ended March 26th, 1839, with four-thousand silent graves reaching from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to what is known as Indian territory in the West. And covetousness on the part of the white race was the cause of all that the Cherokees had to suffer.

The doom of the Cherokee was sealed. Washington, D.C., had decreed that they must be driven West and their lands given to the white man, and in May 1838, an army of 4000 regulars, and 3000 volunteer soldiers under command of General Winfield Scott, marched into the Indian country and wrote the blackest chapter on the pages of American history.

Murder is murder, and somebody must answer. Somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country in the summer of 1838. Somebody must explain the 4000 silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees to their exile. I wish I could forget it all, but the picture of 645 wagons lumbering over the frozen ground with their cargo of suffering humanity still lingers in my memory.

Let the historian of a future day tell the sad story with its sighs, its tears and dying groans. Let the great Judge of all the earth weigh our actions and reward us according to our work.

Children - Thus ends my promised birthday story. This December the 11th 1890.

Marion Co. Historic Genealogical Society: "Mountain Echo" article written by W.B. Flippin in 1899.

The Trail of Tears used by Chief Benge and 3,000 Cherokees/Creeks. There were about 3,000 Cherokee and Creek men, women and children who moved west through Marion County. Many were well dressed and riding good horses; fine looking men from their appearance they were half breeds, while many were poorly clad. Many of the women had only a blanket wrapped around them while those with babies had them strapped in cloth attached to their backs.

It was winter when they came to the White River and ice was frozen over along the banks. they forded the river and made camp shortly. They built big fires which burned all night. The indian agent had priced them and brought provisions for those lacking. That evening a "large fine looking" man came to the indian camp. He had recently arrived in the country. His name was Micajah Hogan. His older brother Ewing had preceded him by several years, both coming from Kentucky. He was a gambler and he came to gamble with the Indians. They gambled a lot that night and won a considerable amount of money. Early the next day the Indians moved on, but two of the braves crossed back over the river. Hogan had returned and "put up" at the house of the ferryman. The braves, Benge, a sub-chief, and Young, a tall good-looking Cherokee, found Hogan and told him they wanted to play a game of cards. Hogan consented and they sat down on a large log and "commenced" playing what is called "seven-up." Hogan kept talking and soon a crowd had gathered to watch. Young hardly ever spoke, but seemed to watch the game closely. Hogan was losing almost every game. They were betting freely, playing out a hand. Hogan came in one of being out, as they called the end of the game. He threw down his cards and cried, "Out!" in a loud tone. "Yea," said the Indian. "Out of Hell and a pity for that." Young got up pretty soon and said, "I am satisfied. I have won back all the money you won from me last night." During the game Benge had spoken to Young in Cherokee. Hogan told him to speak English. Benge, whose eyes blazed fire, drew out a fine silver handled pistol. Hogan told him he had no arms. Benge said, "You shall not have that for an excuse" and pulled out a mate to the pistol and offered it to Hogan. He refused to take the pistol. Instead of Benge shooting Hogan, he let loose with a volley of oaths, cursing Hogan and the white man, saying they had taken their homes and compelled them to go from the land of their fathers to a land they knew nothing of in the far west. Hogan told him he had nothing to do with it. Benge replied, "But your people did and I hate them all alike." Benge was a large square-built man and appeared as vicious as an enraged lion. Benge and Young mounted their horses and rode off.

Many Thanks to Don Ott for the contribution of this article....

The Trail Of Tears Map

Conway County History

Pope County AR - Trail of Tears

History of the Cherokee - - White Indian's Homepage

Cherokee Messenger

Native America

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