The Trail Where They Cried

“The soldiers came and took us from home. They first surrounded our house and they took the mare while we were at work in the fields and they drove us out of doors and did not permit us to take anything with us, not even a second change of clothes… They marched us to Ross’ Landing, and still on foot, even our little children, and they sent us off.”

–Oo-loo-cha, widow of Sweet Water, 1842

The Cherokee Nation once spread across Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. It was home to thousands of men, women, and children. The 1830 Indian Removal Act required that the Cherokee surrender their land and move west. Most opposed giving up their land and refused to move.

In the spring of 1838, soldiers established forts and camps across the Cherokee homeland and swiftly rounded up every Cherokee they could find. The Cherokee knew this was coming, and chose to resist removal by waiting in their homes to be forcefully evicted by militias. In the camps, they suffered from exposure, disease epidemics, inadequate sanitation, and heartbreak, remaining prisoners in the camps until their final deportation to the West.

(Download the Georgia Removal Story, map, and tour guide here.)

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