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The Trail Of Tears

1838
February 15,665 people of the Cherokee Nation memorialize congress protesting the Treaty of New Echola.
March Outraged American citizens throughout the country memorialize congress on behalf of the Cherokee.
April Congress tables memorials protesting Cherokee removal. Federal troops ordered to prepare for roundup.
May Cherokee roundup begins May 23, 1838. Southeast suffers worst drought in recorded history. Tsali escapes roundup and returns to North Carolina.
June First group of Cherokees driven west under Federal guard. Further removal aborted because of drought and "sickly season."
July Over 13,000 Cherokees imprisoned in military stockades awaiting break in drought. Approximately 1500 die in confinement.
August In Aquohee stockade Cherokee chiefs meet in council, reaffirming the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation. John Ross becomes superintendent of the removal.
September Drought breaks: Cherokee prepare to embark on forced exodus to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Ross wins additional funds for food and clothing.
October For most Cherokee, the "Trail of Tears" begins.
November Thirteen contingents of Cherokees cross Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois. First groups reach the Mississippi River, where there crossing is held up by river ice flows.
December Contingent led by Chief Jesse Bushyhead camps near present day Trail of Tears Park. John Ross leaves Cherokee homeland with last group: carrying the records and laws of the Cherokee Nation. 5000 Cherokees trapped east of the Mississippi by harsh winter; many die.
 

 

1839

January First overland contingents arrives at Fort Gibson. Ross party of sick and infirm travel from Kentucky by riverboat.
February Chief Ross's wife, Quati, dies near Little Rock, Arkansas on February 1, 1839.
March Last group headed by Ross, reaches Oklahoma. More than 3000 Cherokee die on Trail of Tears, 1600 in stockades and about the same number en route. 800 more die in 1839 in Oklahoma.
April Cherokees build houses, clear land, plant and begin to rebuild their nation.
May Western Cherokee invite new arrivals to meet to establish a united Cherokee government.
June Old Treaty Part leaders attempt to foil reunification negotiations between Ross and Sequoyah. Treaty Party leaders John Ridge, Major Ridge and Elias Boudinot assassinated.
July Cherokee Act of Union brings together the eastern and western Cherokee Nations on July 12, 1839.
August Stand Watie, Brother of Boudinot, pledges revenge for deaths of party leaders.
September Cherokee constitution adopted on September 6, 1839. Tahlequah established as capital of the Cherokee Nation.

--- Source of Timeline: Trail of Tears State Park


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