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The Human Meaning of Removal

This photo shows a segment of road believed to have been used during the Cherokee removal of 1838.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Benjamin Nance, photographer

Read the following documents and describe the hardships and dislocations that the Indians faced along the Trail of Tears.

  • Eliza Whitmire was about five years old when she and her parents, who were enslaved to a Cherokee family, were forced to leave Georgia. She later described the process of removal.
    Read Whitmire's account
  • Elizabeth Watts, a Cherokee woman whose mother was born along the Trail of Tears, described the trek westward.
    Read Watt's account.

  • General Winfield Scott orders the Cherokee people not to resist the removal order.
    Read Scott's orders.
  • Lt. L.B. Webster, who accompanied the Cherokee along part of the Trail of Tears, offered a first-hand account of the journey.
    Read Webster's account.

  • Private John G. Burnett, who also accompanied the Cherokee westward, described what he saw.
    Read Burnett's description.
  • Jane Bushyhead, a Cherokee girl, wrote a letter to a friend about the impending forced removal of the Cherokees.
    Read Bushyhead's letter.

Routes of the Trail of Tears from the National Park Service
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail:

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the removal of the Cherokee and the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward. Today the trail encompasses about 2,200 miles of land and water routes, and traverses portions of nine states.

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